About This Blog


This blog was created by Tim Shaffer (nephew of pilot Ralph Vincent Shaffer) to maintain an active interest in the WW2 B-24 bomber “Ginger”, which, after being crippled by flak during a bombing mission over Ludwigshafen Germany on 26 August, 1944, crashed in the village of Schoeneck, France.


On the morning of 26 August 1944, 446 Heavy Bomb Group B-24 bomber "Ginger" took off from the English airfield Bungay on a group mission to bomb the I. G. Farben chemical works at Ludwigshafen, Germany. Ginger took a direct hit by flak over the target area and went into a spin which was successfully recovered by the efforts of pilot 1/Lt Ralph Vincent Shaffer, copilot 2/Lt George Lesko, and other crew members. They managed to fly the severely damaged aircraft towards the English Channel, but were again attacked by flak while passing over the German city of Saarbrücken. There, due to loss of altitude and the difficulty in flying the severely damaged bomber, the decision was made to bail out. 

From various eye-witness and crew reports, it appears that they were flying almost due west at this point, passing directly over Saarbrücken, then turning towards the southwest. This would have placed them just to the east of Burbach Germany when the crew started jumping, probably on the north side of the Saar river. (One crewman landed in the Saar where he drowned). A post-war crew member incident report states that they were jumping out over a shooting range, which was west of the center of Saarbrücken, across the river, and near today's Messegelände or fairgrounds. The last to bail out, pilot Vincent Shaffer was seen to successfully exit the plane over the woods between the German village of Gersweiler and the French village of Schoeneck, directly on the border between the two countries 

According to a French eye-witness, the aircraft then continued in a sweeping descent from southwest to south, narrowly missing the Schoeneck church tower, and crashed on the southwest edge of town. It was destroyed but didn't burn. 

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