"MIDDAY" (ROOM III.) - Part 3
"Kovarska / Schmiedeberg area"

A Czech village Kovarska where the museum stands is the centre of the battle. Around our hometown crashed four B-17s and some fighters. These cases were first on which we had begun our research in middle of 80´s.


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Crew of Lt. Lawrence W. Riegel (100th BG) - B-17G 44-6089
- 6 KIA, 3 POW - crashed in Kovarska, CZ   11.9.1944

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Global look on showcase dedicated to the Riegel crew - the left side (2002). The showcase contains wreckage from the plane, crew personal equipment and memorabilia of the killed pilot, Lt. Lawrence W. Riegel An example of the pilot´s, Lt. Lawrence W. Riegel (KIA), personal memorabilia donated to the museum on year 2000 by his mother, Jean Riegel. Mrs Riegel survived her son for more than 58 years, passed away on December 2002. On the photo is the Air Medal, the first of total three awarded to L. W. Riegel´s crew on 5th August 1944 Some of airmen personal property and equipment recovered from the crashsite, including two wrist watches  (stopped on 12:13 hrs.) and the silver 1st Lt. rank insignia of pilot, Lt. Riegel (sole 1st Lt. aboard)
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Back side of the Air Force "Bulova Watch" A-11 wrist watches Oxigen bottle found close to the 44-6089 crashsite in middle 60´s and later donated to the Museum Some buckles, buttols and two braces used for hang-up of oxygen mask to the flying helmet Various pieces from the instrument system and pieces from equipment of navigator, Lt. George Prater
This area is dedicated to the crew
  Lt. Lawrence W. Riegel - KIA
   Lt. Joseph E. Johnston - KIA
   Lt. George H. Prater - POW
   Lt. Charles L. Dolby - POW
   T/Sgt. Edgar L. Herrick - KIA
   T/Sgt. Raymond S. Deming, Jr. - KIA
   S/Sgt. Nestor A. Celleghin - POW
   S/Sgt. Philip D. Mangan - KIA
   S/Sgt. Jewell D. Spruell - KIA
The plane 44-6089 "LN-B" flew by Lt. Riegel's crew was heavily damaged and lost altitude the crew parially bailed out before the plane finally crashed in forested hill close to Kovarska. Six crewmembers were killed during the crash.

Wreckage of this airplane burned till the next day with exploding ammunition. While archeological investigation on this site in time 1988-2003 we found also many personal equipment items.

As an unusual result of our family search was finding of this plane pilot's mother, Mrs. Jean Riegel. She was 98 when we visited her in 2000, accompanied by pilot´s uncle, Mr. English and a cousin, Mrs. Alice Keefe. Mrs. Riegel followed her son, killed in the battle, on Christmass of 2002 when she passed away in age of 100 years. Meantime we were able to set contact also with family of the R/O, Sgt.  Ray Deming (KIA)


Crew of Lt. Albert E. Trommer (100th BG) - B-17G 42-102657
- 5 KIA, 4 POW - crashed in Kovarska, CZ   11.9.1944

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Global look on showcase dedicated to the Trommer crew - note the personal items of the puilto A. E. Trommer, donated by his family (showcase version 2003) Detail of the showcase as was re-designed in 2003 when we can use other valuable material courtesy of Mrs. Hubbard-Groce-Young.
(showcase version 2003)
Model of the Trommer´s B-17, some personnal belogning of Sgt. J.C. Kluttz found in ovarsa school in 1982 Part of  the left wing tip (this part of wing was donated by Mr. J. Balon)
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The glazy part on left photo is a timber from the tail section found in school in 1982, above is part of the 5th bulkhead between bomb-bay and radioroom found in forest, close to area of this plane´s explosion.

The B-17 42-102657 came to area of Kovarska (Schmiedeberg) with burning wing and fuselage, exploding in mid-air shortly after the pilot gave order to bail out. Only four crewmembers survived. The tail section crashed in a roof of the school. Other parts, including burning cockpit and engines crashed inside of the village. In the cockpit wreckage were found bodies of pilot Albert Trommer, bombardier Levi Groce and other crewmembers.
In 1982 the documents and flying jacket of BTG Sgt. Kluttz were found in the school building. In 1994 the school was named "Basic school of Sgt. J. C. Kluttz. In 2000 the street in front of the Museum received it´s name as "Albert E. Trommer Street" to celebrate the pilot who gave his life trying get to his crewmembers to survive.

This area is dedicated to the crew
   Lt. Albert E. Trommer - KIA
   Lt. Timothy H. Bradshaw - POW
   Lt. James H. Wright - KIA
   Lt. Levi F. Groce - KIA
   T/Sgt. Alvin J. W. Severson - KIA
   T/Sgt. William M. Stone - KIA
   S/Sgt. John C. Kluttz - POW
   S/Sgt. Thomas C. Kenntes - POW
   S/Sgt. Charles E. Wilson - POW
m-wilson.jpg (16127 bytes) Only living member of this crew, Charles Wilson, was contacted in 1997 and visited in 2000, when we bring for him from Kovarska also a piece from his plane (see on left).
During 1998 and 2003 we were able to set contact also with family of the KIA pilot Albert Trommer and widow of the KIA bombardier, Levi Groce.


Crew of Lt. Charles E. Baker (100th BG) - B-17G 42-97806
- 6 KIA, 3 POW - crashed in Kovarska,   CZ 11.9.1944

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Global look on showcase dedicated to the Baker crew Detail on model of the plane, pieces of the enfine cylinder heads Piece of a shoe found at the crashsite Navigator of this plane, Donald H. Lienemann during his first visit of Kovarska in July 1995
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(coming soon)
Some personal items, such as pocket-knife, coin and wrist-watches with time of final stop as 12:21 hrs. Wreckage of the Norden bomb-sight and an oil ventil. On the right pieces from pencils, below right - German 20 mm bullet found on wreckage of this B-17 (!) Plucked pieces of three layers of the clothes, as the underwear, uniform and warm suit. Terrible evidence of the crew aboard...
This showcase is dedicated to the crew
   Lt. Charles E. Baker - KIA
   Lt. Charles D. Chiles - POW
   Lt. Donald H. Lienemann - POW
   Lt. Raymond J. McGuiness - KIA
   T/Sgt. Eugene C. Damrel - WIA&POW
   T/Sgt. David A. Gurman - KIA
   S/Sgt. Roy C. Johannesen - KIA
   S/Sgt. David Rattin - KIA
   S/Sgt. Fred A. Fischer - KIA
The B-17 42-97806 exploded in midair over area between Horni Halze (Oberhals) and Kovarska, losing both wings and broking fuselage. All the parts crashed in area between Oberhals and Muthütte, about 2 kilometers from Kovarska.

Learn more in new Don Lienemann´s book


In 1995 it was navigator of this plane, Donald H. Lienemann, the first veteran of the battle who visited Kovarska and his crashsite again. Since then he visited the area two more time, including museum opening ceremony in 1997.
We were able to set contact also with the co-pilot, Charles Dwight Chiles and visit him in 2003, also as set contact with family of the engineer, Sgt. Damrel.
     In 2004, the navigator of this plane Don Lienemann poublished a book of his memoires to the mission when were shot down "Miracles Do Happen". See details here. If you want to order the book, please contact us.


Crew of Lt. Orville C. Everitt (100th BG) - B-17G 42-97834
- 6 KIA, 3 POW - crashed in Kovarska, CZ   11.9.1944

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Global look on showcase dedicated to the Everitt crew Look to the part of the cockpit panel with part of noseart nickname "Mud In Yer Eye". See photo of the plane left of te noseart piece Piece of mechanism for control lines some pieces of the elevator found on place where the tail section crashed, about a mile away from the main crashsite
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(coming soon)
Two oxigen bottles from the A/C 834 and a piece of the main wheel disk The electrical heated glove was donated by a local eyewitness who saved it from crashsite soon after the tragedy  Bottom engine housing plate  (this piece was donated by Mr. J. Balon) Navigator, Warren Soden whom we have met at 100th BG reunion in Salt Lake City, 1997
This area is dedicated to the crew
   Lt. Orville C. Everitt KIA
   Lt. John B. Manniello POW
   Lt. Warren L. Soden POW
   S/Sgt. Edward G. Minton KIA (DOW)
   T/Sgt. Robert L. Williams KIA
   S/Sgt. Lawrence A. Radka KIA
   S/Sgt. Robert A. Howard KIA
   S/Sgt. Homer K. Hirsch KIA
   S/Sgt. William E. Kenney POW
After JG 4 Strmjäger´s attack the A/C 834 fall from formation and was attacked again, finally exploded in midair in area between Kovarska and Vejprty. The wreckage crashed near of the Velky Spicak (Spitzberg) hill, close to Kovarska, killing five crewmembers. The sixth, Ed Minton died later in German hospital. Only three survived and were taken POW. The crashed part with cockpit and bomb-bay section was totaly destroyed when after hitting the ground the bomb load blown out in terrible explosion which made big crater.
In 1997 we were able to set contact with the navigator of this crew Warren Soden adn later meet him personally on te 100th BG Reunion in Salt Lake City. A few years later we were also able to set contact with family of Sgt. Robert Williams (KIA).


Fhr. Günther Strauss (II.Sturm/JG 4) - FW 190A-8/R2 - KIA
crashed at Vejprty, CZ   11.9.1944

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Look to showcase dedicated to Günther Strauss, including his own flying helmet, MG 151 20 mm canon barrel, piece from the MK 108 30 mm canon, engine pieces, etc. The flying helmet summer type which was taken out from Günther´s head by firemen from Kühberg when he was found on trees and dead. It was donated by Mr. Dinelt from Kühberg.
See details here
Model of Strauss´s Sturmböck in front of the 20 mm cannon barrel which was smashed one meter into rock. Its pick-up digging in Summer of 1995 take more than 5 hours... Pieces from the cylinder heads from Strauss´s BMW 801D engine  which was completely broken during the crash
It is not known if this was the very first combat mission for Günther Strauss, but it is very possibly. After he was hit, h bailed out of his crippled Fockewulf, but was found later died. Originally he was buried on the local cemtetery in Bärenstein. Brother of Günte¨her Strauss attended the Museum opening ceremony in September 1997.


Lt. Wayne E. Rosenoff (55th FG) - P-51D Mustang - POW
crashed at Giftschacht, CZ   11.9.1944

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Wayne E. Rosenoff, the only survivor from 55th FG losses on that day was one of our honorary guests while the Museum opening ceremony in 1997 Book "A Wing and a Prayer" by 100th BG veteran Harry Crosby donated to the Museum by Wayne Rosenoff during the museum opening ceremony in September 1944 Wayne´s granddaughter Emily in July 2001 while her visit of Kovarska and the site where her grandfather´s Mustang    crashed. In hands she have a few pieces from the plane One of a few pieces recovered from Wayne´s Mustang during August 2003. Unfortunatelly it was time when Wayne passed away...
The piece is now also displayed in Museum
During the combat with JG 4 fighters over Kovarska was hardly damaged also Mustang of Wayne Rosenoff. He succesfully bailed out and escaped for some days before he was captured and taken POW. Wayne attended the Museum opening ceremony in September 1997, where he represented his 55th Fighter Group. The crashsite we have found in 2001 and later we vere visited by his Granddaughter Emily Rosenoff. It was great possibility for us to visit Wayne and his family twice in California. Unfortunatelly, Wayne passed away on August 1st, 2003...


Fw. Otto Kiefer (II.Sturm/JG 4) - FW 190A-8/R2 - bailed out / wounded
crashed at Kovarska, CZ   11.9.1944

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Look to the showcase dedicated to Fw. Otto Kiefer, as look in cca. 2000. The place was already re-designed. Actual photo come soon.

(left) the wrecked compass

Part of the "Panzerplatte", side armor platte
5 mm, mounted on the pilot´s compartment. This is one additional equipment typical for the R2 "Sturmböck" version

An engine block from the BMW 801D recovered from the crater
An abanonded Sturmjäger crashed on 11th September 1944 close to Kovarska. All the details shown that the pilot was very probably Fw Oto Kiefer, who really bailed out on tis area. 


Fw. Friedrich-Karl Frank & unknown Sturmböck (II.Sturm/JG 4) - FW 190A-8/R2
- bailed out / wounded crashed at area Kovarska - Grassbaum / Vejprty, CZ   11.9.1944

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(coming soon)
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Table in the showcase dedicated to Fw. Frank Look to the showcase dedicated to Fw. Frank Crashsite of  the "unknown" Sturmböck at Kovarska - Grassbaum Some wreckage of the Sturmböck
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An instrument plate - who can identify? This piece was found with yellow color. We do believe, this could be from the A/C number on fuselage - Fw. Frank flew "Yellow 8"... (!?) "Sauerstoff"  ("Oxygen") is written on the plate Some wreckage recovered from crashsite, in front - the barrel from MG 151 - 20 mm canon mounted in wings
A Focke Wulf crashed during the battle in area Grassbaum, North of Kovarska. It´s unknown pilot bailed out and survived. Also is confirmed that on this area bailed out from a FW 190 Fw. Friedrich-Karl Frank from II.Sturm/JG 4. We do believe, that this one particular plane should be Frank´s Sturmböck. Fw Frank survived this battle, but was killed later - on 2nd November 1944 while take-off accident on his base Welzow. We were able to contact his family.


Hptm. Heinz Schocker (III./JG 4) - Me 109G - KIA
crashed at Kovarska / Vejprty, CZ   11.9.1944

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Look to the showcase dedicated to some Luftwaffe airmen. Hptm. Schocker is far right
Hptm. Heinz Schocker, well experienced pilot, was killed close to Kovarska in combat with US fighters. During our research we were able to contact his family.


One of the "Kovarska - Vejprty" victims was also Ofw. Ernst Mündlein.
He was shot down in area Bärenstein. This well experienced pilot came to his fateful day while first combat flight as pilot of III./JG 4 Messerschmitt. We have no plane wreckage or other exhibits related to him, but have photos donated by his family. Therefore he is mentioned on the JG 4 panel (see in section 5


If you find a family member or someone you know on this site,
we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at


Photos on this site may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Museum



Actually you are in Room III - "Kovarska area"
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Oberwiesenthal area (Room III)

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