Following Smoke Trails (imaginary) in Gö – July 28 2021 Gravel Ride

I have undertaken three rides so far to scout a Göttingen castles asphalt tour, firstly the Rusteberg and Gleichen Castles and then the Grone, Jühnde and Berlepsch Castles were added.

My most recent was a visit to Niedeck where I looked up at the summit of the Kronenberg but I didn´t take the gravel road to the Alte Niedeck Castle ruins because I was on my road bike. Today, I climbed to the top on my rough stuff fit machine and at the start of this tour I imagined it was April 8, 1945 and I could follow the smoke trails of a doomed B17 bomber.

The Luftfahrtarchäologie Niedersachsen group report that in the area below the heights of the Mackenröder Spitze east of the Göttingen Wald there are some seventeen World War Two crash sites, seven being from the United States Airforce (USAF) and the others Luftwaffe.

Almost all crashed in March or April of 1945 as the United States Army advanced into the area and one of the last USAF aircraft lost in the war because of enemy fire fell at Mackenröder. This was a B17 Flying Fortress called Miss FlorAla with all but two of the crew killed. Eyewitnesses recall that the burning plane flew low over Göttingen trailing thick black smoke and when over the high ground of the Zieten Terrace and Wald it skipped above houses and trees before it exploded and fell. Two crew members managed to escape and one of the survivors had to cut himself free from his parachute when caught in trees and he was then able to change from his heated shoes to normal GI issue before being captured.

On route to the Alte Niedeck I went close to the Miss FlorAla crash site and others such as a Luftwaffe fighter on the Göttingen Wald, another upon the Hengstberg adjacent to the Alte Niedeck and at Benniehausen where Charles Fletcher lost his life in a USAF P47. 

The Ride – 30km
This was a cool ride with climbs and descents. it was also great to see the Sun Flowers in bloom whilst farmers have started harvesting and it can get dusty plus busy on the farm roads.

Garmin Connect:

Ride 1 – Rusteberg and Gleichen
Ride 2 – Grone, Jühnde and Berlepsch
Ride 3 – Alte Niedeck mit kuchen und pommes

Links to more castle tours
Zoll and the Lords of Grone
Burnt to the Ground (Jühnde)
Atop the Gleichen
Knights of the Gleichen
Two Bergs Ride
All Along the Watchtower
Castle Hanstein

In the field beyond is where the B17 Miss FlorAla crashed, in the distance are the Harz Mountains

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