09.04.1945 561st Bombardment Squadron (H) B-17G 44-6574 ’Solid Sender’,1st Lt. Rex F. Barwick
Operation: München-Riem airfield (Mission #935), Germany
Date: 9th April 1945 (Monday)
Unit No: 561st Bombardment Squadron (H), 388th Bombardment Group (H), 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force
Type: B-17G Solid Sender
Serial No: 44-6574
Code: None issued
Location: Landsberg, Germany
Base: Knettishall airfield (Station #136), Suffolk, England
Pilot: 1st Lt. Rex Franklin Barwick O-829369 AAF Age 25. KiA
Co Pilot: 1st Lt. Warren Carmack Perkins O-825967 AAF Age 23. PoW *
Navigator: 1st Lt. Lorenzo James Arthur O-2071505 AAF Age 21. PoW *
Togglier: S/Sgt. Earl John Glancy 33129062 AAF Age 25. KiA
Radio/Op: S/Sgt. Nicasio ‘Nick’ Iannelli 36006102 AAF Age 28. KiA
Engineer: S/Sgt. Robert Glenroy Hancock 19147413 AAF Age 23. PoW *
Ball Turret: S/Sgt. Leroy Barry 16117281 AAF Age 21. PoW *
Waist Gunner S/Sgt. Morris Peter Thompson 39901899 AAF Age 22. Murdered (1)
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Floyd Eugene Pernu 39421743 AAF Age 19. PoW *
One of the two Waist Gunners were removed from crew complements starting on the 7th June 1944 and then both from 23rd February 1945.
* Unknown PoW Camp
Togglier - When it was required for all aircraft in a Squadron formation to drop their bombs simultaneously, the designated Bombardier was on the lead aircraft. The task of the Bombardiers in the rest of the formation was to drop their bombs when the lead aircraft dropped theirs. When there were personnel shortages the role of Bombardier was carried out by an enlisted crew member who was designated as the Togglier.
REASON FOR LOSS:
The Solid Sender was one of 38 aircraft that the 388th Bombardment Group (H) provided from the mission to bomb the München-Riem airfield on the 9th April 1945.
It was reported that 6 Me262s from Jagdverband 44 (JV-44) and 2 Arado Ar234s from 1.(F)/AGr100 were destroyed or severely damaged on the ground. The Riem airfield was completely destroyed in this attack. (Luftwaffe Airfields 1939-45 Germany. (1937 Borders) - Henry L. deZeng IV)
(F)AGr = Fernaufklärungsgruppe = Long range reconnaissance group.
The after mission interrogation report described that just at or immediately after bombs away the aircraft was hit by flak in the nose, the stabiliser and #3 engine, causing the aircraft to enter a steep dive. Six parachutes were seen but some of these may possibly have been from another aircraft from the Squadron which went down at approximately the same time. It was believed that the Solid Sender was last seen heading for Switzerland.
The second aircraft was B-17G 44-8504 flown by 1st Lt. John C. Carroll which received a direct flak hit knocking off part of the port wing and causing the aircraft to enter a spin. The crew was blown out of the aircraft when it exploded. 1st Lt. Carroll, FO. Joseph T. Diaz Jr. and Sgt. Casimir A. Formichella were killed. The other seven crew were hospitalised and became PoWs.
Last contact with the Solid Sender was by radio when the aircraft was at Lat/Long 48 28N, 11 40E, which was some 9 km (5½ mls) NE of Freising and some 38 km (23½ mls) north of Munich, Germany.
No German documents have been found that record where the aircraft crashed, However, anecdotal information records that the aircraft crashed at or near Landsberg, Germany which was some 75 km (46½ mls) SW of the last radio contact.
(1) The circumstance leading to the death of S/Sgt. Thompson were determined by a General Military Government Court during the period 12th to 15th May 1947 at Dachau, Germany.
Nine German nationals were charged in that they did, at or near Munich (München), Germany, on or about the 9th April 1945, wrongfully encourage, aid, abet and participate in the killing of a member of the United States Army, believed to be S/Sgt. Morris Peter Thompson, who was then and there a surrendered and unarmed PoW in the custody of the then German Reich.
The nine accused were:
Franz Montscher who was a former Unterfeldmeister (S/Sgt) in the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) (Reich Labour Service) and a member of the Nazi party;
Hans Schemm who was a former Unterfeldmeister in the RAD, and pledged to the Nazi party;
Johann Engelniederhammer who was a civilian railroad official whose Nazi party affiliation, if any, were unknown;
Ludwig Obermayr who was a civilian farmer with no Nazi party affiliations;
Bartholomäus Misslinger who was a former Unterfeldmeister in the RAD with unknown Nazi party affiliations;
Karl Ruehling who was a former Oberstfeldmeister (Capt) in the RAD, and a member of the Nazi party;
Max Maier, Anton Pfeiffer and Johann Eisner were acquitted of the charge.
The court heard that following a bomber attack upon the München-Riem airfield near München, Germany, on the 9th April 1945, an American airman, believed to be Staff Sergeant [S/Sgt] Morris Peter Thompson, parachuted from his disabled aircraft landing near the München East Railroad Station where he was immediately taken prisoner by two Wehrmacht soldiers and a civilian.
A group of civilians and men from the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) (Reich Labour Service), rapidly gathered and with the aid and encouragement of two unnamed men from the SS the airman was forcibly taken from his original captors.
A witness testified that he saw Montscher push through the crowd and furiously rush at the airman tearing off his uniform, searching him and then knocking him down with his fists. He continued to assault the airman causing blood to be sprayed over a two metre area. Montscher admitted that he was present during the incident but never struck the airman.
Witnesses testified that Schemm was one of the RAD men who attacked the airman and also saw him inciting the crowd. One witness stated that he saw him fire shots into the airman’s head, however, witnesses for the defence testified that it was an SS man that shot the airman. Schemm admitted that he struck the airman because he believed that he might shoot him.
Several witnesses testified that they saw a railway worker, who was identified as Engelniederhammer, strike the airman with his rifle butt while he was on the ground and trying to get up. Engelniederhammer justified his actions by claiming firstly, he did so for the people that the airman may have killed from the bombing and secondly that he feared that the airman was trying to take his rifle. Pfeiffer testified that it was an SS man that shot the airman. Misslinger, for the defence, testified that it was a RAD man that administered the death blow to the airman and that he did not see any railway workers at the scene.
Although several witnesses placed Obermayr at the scene and that he was near to the airman when he was being attacked there was no direct evidence which positively identified him participating in the mistreatment of the airman.
Several witnesses testified that members of the SS and RAD administered the blows that killed the airman and that the RAD men prevented the Wehrmacht soldiers from rescuing the airman. Only one witness testified that he saw Misslinger hit the airman on the head several times with his helmet which Misslinger denied in his testimony. Two witnesses for the defence testified that an SS man shot the airman.
Although a number of witnesses identified several RAD men being present at and participated in or aided in the mistreatment of the airman no witness claimed that Ruehling was involved in the assault and the killing. Ruehling admitted that he saw the airman descending under his parachute and that Montscher was one of the men under his command. He denied that he instructed his men to kill captured airmen.
The SS men that several witnesses claimed to have participated in the beatings and alleged to have shot and killed the airman are unknown and it is not known what steps were taken to identify them or their whereabouts.
Engelniederhammer and Montscher were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Montscher’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment then reduced to 30 years and he was paroled in May 1955. Engelniederhammer was executed on the 14th January 1949 at the War Criminal Prison No. 1, Landsburg, Germany.
Schemm and Misslinger were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Schemm’s sentence was reduced to 25 years and he was paroled in December 1954. Misslinger’s sentence was reduced to 10 years and he was released in September 1953.
Obermayr and Ruehling were found guilty and sentenced to 10 and 7 years commencing 14th April 1947 and 7th August 1946 respectively. The Review and Recommendations board disapproved their convictions as there was no evidence given that they were present or participated in the beating and killing of the airman. It is assumed that they were released.
Above: Funeral services for 1st Lt. Barwick (The Edinburg Daily Courier dated Monday November 4th, 1946)
1st Lt. Rex Franklin Barwick. Repatriated and buried at the Highland Park Cemetery, Williamsport, Warren County, Indiana. Born on the 4th April 1919 in Warren, Huntington, Indiana. Son of Raymond Arthur and Hazel May (née Zellor) Barwick. Husband to Katholeen A. (née Rehling) Barwick from Liberty, Warren, Indiana, USA.
S/Sgt. Earl John Glancy. Repatriated and buried at the Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery, Pennsylvania. Born 18th December 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Son of Ralph Dorman and Margaret Mary (née Whitehead) Glancy from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
S/Sgt. Nicasio ‘Nick’ Iannelli. Air Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart. Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot C, Row 7, Grave 52. Born on the 11th February 1917 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Son of Guiseppe (Joseph) and Pietra (née Polizzi) Iannelli. Husband to Ethel G. Iannelli from Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.
Above: Funeral services for S/Sgt. Thompson (Credit: Deseret News, dated Thursday January 27th, 1949)
S/Sgt. Morris Peter Thompson. Air Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart. Repatriated and buried at the Spring City Cemetery, Block 1, Lot 10, in Spring City, Utah. Born on 4th January 1922 in Castle Dale, Emery, Utah. Son of Andrew Merinus and Anna Violet (née Hanson) Thompson from Spring City, Sanpete, Utah, USA.
Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.