Memorial to the B-17 bomber

Memorial to the B-17 bomber

The American B-17 bomber, which bombed the Austrian city of Graz in 1945, crashed in Graz due to damage caused by German anti-aircraft defences. All crew members survived and safely returned to their unit at an air base in Italy.

On the memorial at the crash site, we can accurately read the entire sequence of events of that unfortunate-fortunate day of March 9, 1945. It is important to know that all ten crew members jumped from the plane. The first one landed with a parachute somewhere above the settlement of Mirna in the Dolenjska region, and the pilot, who left the plane just before the crash as the last member of the crew, landed here near the village of Gradenc. Within five days, all crew members were happily found with the help of the partisans. Pilot Edward F. Logan died in 2021 at the age of 100.

This is how the pilot described the moments just after landing with a parachute between the trees and just before the plane crashed into the ravine below the village of Gradenc in his book “Jump, Damn it, Jump!”: “I could see “Je reviens” slowly gliding away from me. It was in a slow and descending left turn, and was actually on its way to executing a complete 180-degree left turn, aiming itself directly back toward me. What a frightening sight! After the catastrophic events of the day so far, here I was thinking I was safe in the trees only to see my wonderful B-17, its one engine still going strong, flying directly at me. It finally came to rest about a hundred yards down the slope from me.”

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was an American heavy bomber of World War II with 4 engines and centre-mounted wings. It had a large operational range of up to 6035 km. The first test flight was in July 1935. The payload was among the largest on European soil, as it could carry up to 8,000 kg of bombs, although the total weight of the loaded cargo was usually around 2,500 kg. Its max. speed was 480 km/h, and the travelling speed was approximately 260 km/h.


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