680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
17th Airborne Division
At Christmas 1944, the battle for the Bulge was still in full swing. German troops had breached the thinly held American lines on the Belgium/Luxembourg – German border. Their goal was to reach Antwerp and cut the Allied forces in two.
From lots of places, troops were brought up to the Ardennes front. The 82nd Airborne Division was placed on the northern shoulder and the 101st Airborne Division was to become famous for her stand at Bastogne.
The 17th Airborne Division was in England at the time of the breakthrough. Troop Carrier had the task of bringing the division near the frontlines. Such missions were not without risk.
The History of the 91st TCS tells:
Late on Christmas Eve 70 ships from our Group had come over from England carrying the 17th Airborne to A-70, but due to weather got a late start, and stayed the night at Châteaudun (A-39).
On Christmas morning our planes took off again from our field, headed for A-70 carrying personnel.
One plane, piloted by Lt. Warren L. Shulman, went into its turn in the pattern, and as he did the plane got out of control and nosed in. The plane crashed on Highway 155, two miles southwest of the airfield.
Lt. Henry L.Harris who followed Lt. Shuman on take off stated that he believed the crash was due to icing conditions on the wings, and possible the prop wash from other aircraft, which may have caused him to stall.
The planes in the pattern were at 500 ft. and according to the men who saw the plane go down, if it had been a little higher, the pilot might have been able to pull it out. The pane was loaded with six airborne personnel and cargo.
The planes crew was:
PIL 1 LT Warren R. Schuman
COP F/O Harold L. Boggs
R/O SGT Robert M. Kelley
C/C T/SGT Roy L. Harker
Dr. Charles H. Fee (439th Group Surgeon):
On Christmas Day, as our airplanes were flying troops for deployment to the Bulge, one of our airplanes crashed on take-off and killing all aboard.
I had the exceedingly unpleasant task of sorting and identifying the burned and mangled bodies of my friends. Capt. M. Horowitz helped me with my task. He was the only volunteer.
It was a horrible day. Merry Christmas? No way.
From the 680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion:
We finally took off Christmas Eve. Arriving in France at dusk, the planes had difficulty getting in, and some landed at Dreux and Orleans. The battalion was finally reassembled about noon on Christmas Day. However, tragedy has struck.
On take off at Chateaudun, one plane crashed and burned, killing all occupants. Our casualties were from A battery.
Six more men of B battery were injured on a similar take-off crash at Orleans Field.
The casualties of 680th GFa/A battery were:
T/4 Alvin P. Hymel
Cpl Frederick B. Cannon
Pvt August C. Teresi
Pvt Doyal Kincade
Pvt Thomas H. Williams
Pvt Alpha A. La Favers
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