Photos courtesy of Kelly McNichols
The following is translated from the German website: http://www.luftkrieg-ederbergland.de/flakfall.htm
The Flakfalle by Wega by Hans-Joachim Adler
Bad Wildungen. In Vega was until a few years ago, the only railroad track in the Northern Triangle. Even
today you can partially recognize the dismantled railway tracks. The railroad bridge behind the crossing
three years ago was made better to allow truck passage. But how did it look in the last days of war in the
area of the station and from triangle?
Between the eastern part of the railway land and Vega in 1943 The Company Fieseler Flugzeugbau had
supplemented their camp set up, from here have been outsourced Schreufa works, Eschwege,
Battenhausen Kassel and aircraft parts supply. Even in the last days of March there was a train with 60
wagons loaded, the material going to Kassel which until then had only been bombed a few times. On an
area of 30,000 m , before March 1944 production of Focke - Wulf 190, had been outsourced in the
surrounding forest areas of Vega and continued continued to build airplanes until the invasion by the
Americans. There was also a smaller camp with barns and barracks. . Also spare parts inventory of air
Fritzlar were produced in the villages of Vega Edertal. Even today, many of these devices, such as
lifting equipment and the like are in use.
To protect the freight trains standing in the station area usually was a Flak Gun. In the March days we
had this gun set on a railcar moved by a locomotive. While flying around Mandern, Boehner and his
other aviator Richard Hewitt attacked these steam locomotives. The flak guns were posted at the tunnel
entrance where the shot at the planes. They got some hits on Boehner's Mustang and a plume of smoke
accompanied the flight of the plane.. Hewitt radioed Boehner that he said that he should stop, but
because of the low altitude was no longer possible. Until the impact of west Mandern passed Only a few
seconds passed before Boehner crashed west of Mandern. Hewitt circled the crash site shortly, but
Boehner could no longer be seen. All was done against the clock 14 45.
Upon his return to base, Hewitt put everything down in writing. His notes were later used for the Missing
Air Crew Report.
After Boehner crashed, Polish foreign workers was the first ones at the accident site. Boehner had been
hurled from the burning cabin. He stood in the meadow ground in near to the crash site and this
attracted the poles who found him seriously wounded in the nearby creek, where he was but a short
time before he died.
He was first buried in the cemetery of Mandern. Here, however, he was already exhumed him 1946 and
transferred to Holland. The German Army had evacuated a few days later the remains of the plane.
In celebration of the event, witnesses took members of the AG aerial Eder to some small hills, and found
a propeller blade of the Mustang. Lying on the forest floor were the relics of the crash that survived 50
years without anyone knowing they had been there. (Picture Below)
The display panel of the speedometer from Boehner's plane and a copy of the Missing Air Crew Report.
The tunnel entrance today.
|Google map showing location of tunnel and railyard
An Awards Service for Lt. Ernest J. Boehner was held at Beloit High School
7:00 pm Friday, March 13, 2009. Lt. Boehner was killed on March 1, 1945
just short of his 25th birthday on a ground attack mission in his P-51
Mustang near Bad Wildungen, Germany. Lt. Boehner was flying with the
78th Fighter Group, 82nd Fighter Squadron out of Duxford, England. The
Beloit, Kansas VFW Post # 6242 provided the presentation and retiring of
the Colors. Warren Inskeep, Chaplain of the Cawker City, KS American
Legion Post # 379 had the invocation and benediction. Kelly Mc Nichols of
Burr Oak, KS welcomed Lt. Boehner family members and guests. Mr. Mc
Nichols showed a Power Point presentation of the military life of Lt.
Boehner. Two local St. John’s Catholic High School students, Richelle
Perez and Vanessa Kresin shared talks. The service awards were
presented by Lt. Col. Rick Watson Commander, 10th Air Support
Operations Squadron, Ft. Riley, KS accompanied by Sgt. Major Arnold
Lewis to Mary Dillon and Ralph Boehner, sister and brother of Lt. Boehner.
A reception followed the awards presentation hosted by the Beloit, KS VFW
Post #6242 Auxiliary.
Sgt. Major Arnold Lewis accompanied Lt. Col. Rick Watson in presenting
awards to Ralph Boehner
Cousin Walt Seidel, sister Mary Dillon and brother Ralph Boehner with Lt.
Ernest Boehner’s Service Awards
Lt. Ernest Boehner was the son of Fred and Laura Boehner and grew up
on a farm near Glen Elder, KS. His siblings included Cecil, Mary, Ralph
and his twin brother, Earl. Lt. Boehner flew the PT-23 at Cape Girardeau,
Missouri, the BT-13 at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas and the AT-6 at Dothan,
Alabama. At Clearwater, Florida, getting into the cockpit of a Curtis P-40
must have been an exhilarating feeling. Lt. Boehner flew his first missions
with the 33rd Pursuit Squadron out of Patterson Field, near Keflavik,
Iceland. Here the squadron flew anti-submarine and convoy patrol
missions. At Patterson Field the group flew P-40 and Republic P-47s. A
photo supplied by sister-in-law, Doris Boehner shows Lt. Boehner and his
L/R Marle Brendle, Tom Donovan, Richard K. Corbett, John Custy,
Howard Brockleman and Lucian Bibeau Front L/R Joel Li and Ernest
Boehner Brendle, Boehner and Bibeau KIA 78th FG
Custy killed in Iceland on a training mission in a UC-64
Lt. Boehner transferred to the 78thFG, 82nd FG stationed in Duxford,
England. Artist Nicolas Trudgian shows a scene reminiscent of the base in
his painting, “Duxford Eagles”. A link showing the print is: http://www.
Lt. Boehner standing by
his 78th FG, 82nd FS
Lt. Boehner’s first combat mission from Duxford was January 14, 1945.
His last bomber escort mission in his Mustang to Ulm, Germany was
March 1, 1945 flying less than two months of combat. According to his
Squadron Commander, Richard Hewitt the final mission lasted 5:50.
After escorting the bombers, the fighters peeled off and looked for
“targets of opportunity”. A copy of the Missing Air Crew Report shows
the location of the crash site of Lt. Boehner. A link to a German language
website describing the same incident is: http://www.luftkriegederbergland.
With the help of Curt Shepard host of the 78th Fighter Group website at:
http://www.ulongbeach.com/78th_MCAR_Homepage.html and Master
Sgt. Matt Jepsen who translated the German website, a picture of the
final moments of Lt. Boehner emerges.
The town of Bad Wildungen near Wega, Germany had the only rail
junction in the area during the final days of the war. Several aircraft
companies had stored parts in and around the area of the Wega tunnel.
Many parts were loaded onto rail cars in the marshalling yard at Bad
Wildungen. Capt. Hewitt and Lt. Boehner were flying from the northeast
over the German town of Mandern toward the southwest to Wega and
Bad Wildungen. Anti-aircraft began firing at the Mustangs and Boehner
was hit with a 20mm from a weapon located near the Wega tunnel
entrance. Being less than 500 feet off the ground, Lt. Boehner had little
chance of survival. Hewitt mentions this incident in his book, “Target of
Opportunity”. Lt. Boehner was killed in the attack and was buried initially
near the town of Mandern. According the German website, his body was
transferred after the war to a cemetery in Holland. Yet later, his remains
were brought to the Glenwood Cemetery located at Glen Elder, Kansas.
Final resting place of Lt. Ernest Boehner in the Glenwood Cemetery,
Glen Elder, Kansas
Lt. Boehner’s Service Awards
The help that Congressman Jerry Moran and his Hays, KS office
provided in preparation for this service cannot be understated. Although
Congressman Moran could not attend, he sent a note that was read at