Reinhold R. Hoffman

Reinhold R. Hoffman[1, 2]

Male 1917 - 1945  (27 years)

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  • Name Reinhold R. Hoffman 
    Born 25 Oct 1917  Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Census 1920  Jackson County, Cleveland Township, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    1920 U. S. Federal Census 
    Ernest Hoffman household, 1920 U. S. Federal Census, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin.   {EH 04.]
    Ernest Hoffman household, 1920 U. S. Federal Census, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. {EH 04.]
    Ernest Hoffman; his wife, Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman; their children: Walter H., Esther W., and Reinhold R. Hoffman
    Census 1930  Jackson County, Cleveland Township, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    1930 U. S. Federal Census 
    Ernest Hoffman household, 1930 U. S. Federal Census, Fish Pond Road, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin.  [EH 05.]
    Ernest Hoffman household, 1930 U. S. Federal Census, Fish Pond Road, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. [EH 05.]
    Ernest Hoffman; his wife, Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman; their children: Walter H., Esther W., Reinhold W., Alvin T., and Otto E. Hoffman.
    Census 1940  Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    1940 U. S. Federal Census 
    Age: Abt. 22 
    Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman household, 1940 U. S. Federal Census, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin.  [JML 11.]
    Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman household, 1940 U. S. Federal Census, Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. [JML 11.]
    Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman; her two sons: Reinhold R. and Alvin T. Hoffman.
    High School Graduate Unknown  LaCrosse Central High School, LaCrosse, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Postmaster 19 Jun 1941  Fairchild, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9
    Reinhold R. Hoffman, Appointment as Postmaster, Fairchild, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin; 19 Jun 1941
    Reinhold R. Hoffman, Appointment as Postmaster, Fairchild, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin; 19 Jun 1941
    Military Rank 1944  Victorville Army Air Field, Victorville, CA; England/Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 10
    1st Lieutenant in the U. S. Army Air Corps 
    Hoffman, Reinhold R., World War II
    Hoffman, Reinhold R., World War II
    Commissioned 1st Lieutenant and awarded silver wings as a pilot.
    Died 17 Apr 1945  WWII, over Dresden, near Oelsa, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [11, 12
    Age: 27 
    Buried 25 Jan 1950  Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 2900 Sheridan Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63125, Section 82, Site 30d Find all individuals with events at this location  [10, 13
    Reinhold Hoffman, Headstone, Burial, 25 Jan 1950, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis County, Missouri.
    Reinhold Hoffman, Headstone, Burial, 25 Jan 1950, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis County, Missouri.
    Was killed over Dresden Germany on 17 Apr 1945.
    Plot: Section 82, Site 30D; Find A Grave Memorial ID 44742480.
    U. S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms 5 Apr 1950  Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis County, Missouri. Find all individuals with events at this location  [14
    Group Burial: 1st Lt. Reinhold R. Hoffman; First Officer E. J. Pruitt; Staff Sgt. Elwood Johnson 
    Reinhold R. Hoffman, 1st Lt.; E. J. Pruitt, First Officer; and Elwood Johnson, Staff Sgt., Group Burial
    Reinhold R. Hoffman, 1st Lt.; E. J. Pruitt, First Officer; and Elwood Johnson, Staff Sgt., Group Burial
    Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri County, Missouri; Section 82; Lot 30D
    Person ID I99  Lange Pierce
    Last Modified 3 Apr 2018 

    Father Ernest Theodor Hoffman,   b. 1 Dec 1879, Garden Valley Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jul 1938, Humbird, Wisconsin, at a railroad crossing of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Julianna Martha Lange,   b. 1 Jun 1887, Weissenhoehe, West Preussen [Prussia]. The birth certificate [JML03] indicates that Martha's birth took place in Weissenhoehe, the family living in Hoffmannsdorf. Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Jan 1950, Fairchild, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 22 Nov 1911  Fairchild, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [15
    Photos
    Hoffman, Ernest and Julianna Martha Lange
    Hoffman, Ernest and Julianna Martha Lange
    Marriage 22 November 1911
    Family ID F63  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Hoffman, Reinhold R.
    Hoffman, Reinhold R.
    Pilot, World War II
    Matthias Schildbach with a Machine Gun from Reinhold Hoffman's B17 that Crashed over Dresden in 1945
    Matthias Schildbach with a Machine Gun from Reinhold Hoffman's B17 that Crashed over Dresden in 1945
    Bombs gathered from two B17s that Crashed over Dresden in 1945.
    Bombs gathered from two B17s that Crashed over Dresden in 1945.

  • Notes 
    •        In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Reinhold Hoffman is a two year old, white, male, born in Wisconsin of a father, who was also born in Wisconsin, and of a mother, who was born in Germany and who speaks German as a native language. As a two year old, Reinhold would obviously have no employ outside the home. He lives with his parents, Ernest and Martha and two siblings: Esther and Walter. The family lives in Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. [EH 04.]
             In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Reinhold Hoffman is a 12 year old, white, single male. He speaks, reads, and writes English. He was born in Wisconsin of a father, who was also born in Wisconsin, and of a mother, who was born in Germany. He is still in school. Reinhold lives with his parents, Ernest and Martha, and four siblings: one sister, Esther; three brothers: Walter, Alvin, Otto. The family lives on Fish Pond Road in Cleveland Township, Wisconsin. [EH 05.]
             In the 1940 U. S. Federal Census, Reinhold R. Hoffman is a 22 year old, white, single male. He was born in Wisconsin of parents who were born in Germany (mother) and Wisconsin (father). He had finished high school. He had lived in the same house since 1935 and that house was on a farm. His occupation was that of laborer on a farm, where in 1939 he wored 52 weeks. Has had an income of $100. He worked 30 hours the week prior to that of the Census. He has no income from other sources. Reinhold lives with his mother and another brother, Alvin. The family lives in Cleveland Township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. [JML 11.]
             Reinhold was a first Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. His plane collided with another U.S. Air Force plane over Dresden, Germany. [WHH 02.]

             INFORMATION ABOUT REINHOLD HOFFMAN from Matthias Schildbach, Waldstrasse 45, 01796, Pirna, Germany Matthias has moved recently and is living at Spitzberstra▀e 35, 01731 Kreischa, German; His email is: mimaschi35@gmail.com

             Shortly after the beginning of 2014, I received a package of information from Matthias Schildbach, including affidavits, pictures, and his own description of the events of what happened to Reinhold Hoffman, as well as current activity surrounding the extraction of bombs from the forest near Dresden. What I will do here is to provide as much of the information Matthias has provided as well as to give those affidavits that relate to Reinhold. There is a lot of information about the crews of the two B17s that I will not include because it is extraneous to the Reinhold?s story. However, that information will remain in my possession and can be retrieved if it is necessary. I will edit the story that Matthias writes to make it sound more English than German, including grammar and punctuation. This editing does not change Matthias meaning under any circumstances; it only provides a more consistent American English version of what he presents in his original version.

      ELEVEN BOMBS IN A FOREST AREA SOUTH OF DRESDEN, GERMANY

             April 17, 1945. The war was nearly over in Europe. The 92nd U. S. Air Force Bomb Group received an order to bomb marshaling yards in Dresden. It was a long trip from England to middle Germany for that purpose, the danger of attacking enemy jets was sill something not to underestimate.
      '
             Lt. John W. Paul, Jr., flew his 34th and final mission on that day. In a letter to Major William Sanders three months later in July 1945, he remembered the situation of his crew members:

             ?We took off and encountered no difficulty until a short time before reaching our target. At this time the weather became hazy and we were advised by weather control to go in at a lower attitude than we were originally briefed. My understanding was that all ships were to go in a 21,000 feet. ? We started a 360 degree turn to the right to make another bomb run on the target. While making this turn, I glanced ahead and saw another squadron of ships coming directly at me in the clouds. I was leading the low elements in the squadron and was therefore lower the the other nine ships in our squadron. I didn?t have time to look and see where my wing man was flying at the time, but pulled up on an attempt to go over these ships. Upon pulling up, I was struck in the section near the top turret by another ship in our squadron. when the crash occurred, I was temporarily knocked unconscious, and, upon recovering, found myself on the floor of the ship near the escape hatch. The hatch had been removed and I fell through it. About five seconds later, I saw piece of the aircraft floating down and three chutes other than my own.?

             Lt. Arthur H. Huether?s Ship, the 44-8903, drifted of Lt. Paul?s B-17 43-39110 and the rotors of the propellers cut Paul?s lower ship in the section of the top turret, shortly behind the pilot and the copilot?s seat. The top turret gunner, Sgt. Joseph Budzius, must have been immediately killed. The middle of the airplane must have been so enormously damaged that the B-17, after 10-20 seconds exploded and broke into pieces. Lt. Heuther?s ship, the higher plane, lost most of its propellers, and that plane also went down.

             German eye-witnesses remember still today, that they saw pieces of planes floating down from the bomber stream. Some witnesses said, one plane sank to an altitude of about 5,000 ft. - it had no smoke line - and then exploded. All parts fell into a forest area.

             Local fire services arrived and fought the fires caused by the crash of the airplanes. There were reports of dead airmen hanging in trees in their parachute and others on the ground partially burned. Two curious teenaged boys, who went to the wreckage some minutes after the crash, foraged food and chocolate bars from the pockets of dead Americans. It is not known why they chose to rummage from dead people.

             Lt. John W. Paul, Jr., his co-pilot, Lt. Nathaniel N. Shane, and the tail gunner, Sgt. Peter Taylor, all escaped from the lower ship, the 43-39110. Paul and Taylor were captured by German Wehrmacht soldiers and became POWs. Lt. Shane was captures by an SS-man. Angry Civilians came to this scene and Share was shot by the SS-man. Witnesses reported that Shane begged for his life on his knees. buried at the local cemetery, he was exhumed in 1947 by an American Army Team and returned home to his family for a final burial.

             From the higher B-17, the pilot, Lt. Arthur H. Huether, and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt, Frank K. Jones, were lucky enough to bak out. They landed in an broad forest area. First, they tried to hid themselves, but later that day were captured by German military. They were brought to the next district town. The mayor, a died-in-the-wool Nazi, abused and insulted the Americans, but they were not harmed. During the next days, these captured men were sent to Czechoslovakia. Finally, they were liberated by American ground forces at a prisoner of war camp at Pilsen.

             On April 17, 1945, the following airmen were killed in action during the mid-air collision from Lt. Paul?s Crew in Ship 43-39110:
      Co-pilot Lt. Nathaniel N. Shane From Bronx, NY (Murdered)
      Navigator FO E. J. Pruitt From Buena Vista, GA
      Bombardier Lt. Reinhold R. Hoffman From Fairchild, WI
      TT T/Sgt. Joseph A. Budzius From Chicago, IL
      RO T/Sgt. Thomas J. Shanahan From Detroit, MI
      BT S/Sgt. Bradford W. Mathewson From Fresno, CA

             From Lt. Huether?s Crew, Ship 44-8903
      Navigator FO James J. Sussman From Holyoke, MA
      NT S/Sgt. Maurice J. Brookhouse From The Dalles, OR
      TT T/Sgt. Owen A. Olson From Goodridge, MN
      RO T/Sgt. Robert R. Bon From Milwaukee, WI
      BT S/Sgt. Elwood F. Johnson From Manor, TX
      TG S/Sgt. Joseph O?Hara From Bardstown, KY

             I, Matthias Schildbach, work in a residential home for handicapped people. I am the father of a family. My big passion has always been the history of the area surrounding my home, especially what happened here in the final days of WWII. In 1999, I got to know the happenings of April 17 1945 and the crashing of four American B17s in the area, especially the two of them of the 92nd Bomb Group. I have found a lot of small wreckage parts in the forest section, carabiners, partly burned silk of parachutes, parts of uniforms, and window shards. I was able to contact Lt. John W. Paul, Jr., who shared his memories with me and all Lt. Arthur Huether?s widow, Olga. Her husband passed away in the early 1990s. I also found German eye witnesses and documented all that material that I could bring together.

             Then, one day in September 2013, I found out that the Ammunition Removal Service was working with police authorities in the forest area of the crash site. I knew that could become interesting and requested a conversation.

             I found out that the Ammunition Removal Service was to remove rifle ammunition and smaller grenades from that area - remains of the final days of the war and the complete evacuation of a German division in that territory. They had just localized one of the 500 lb bobs and were perplexed. They were looking for an explanation. I came to them with my knowledge of the bomber collision. Soon we knew that we had to look for 14 bombs. This was the bomb load of the April 17 mission of the 92 Bomb Group. During the search, we found the wreckage of one of the engines so we could identify its remains as the crash site of Lt. Huethers plane, the 44-8903. At the beginning of November, the work was done. Eleven bombs were found and additional three bomb craters.

             November 12, 2013. About a hundred police officers were in action around the forest area, south of Dresden. A helicopter was circling most of the time. The whole area was closed off. A state road was completely barricaded. The bombs were to be disarmed on that day. If something were to go wrong, the destruction would be enormous. That?s why people of the surrounding area had to leave their homes. A lot of media were present - TV, newspapers, radio. They were all here and wanted to get the latest information. The public interest was enormous. Reports went out on that day and the next.

             The search for the crash site of the second bomber that of Lt. Paul?s B-27, 43-39110 and his bomb load, will continue in spring 2014. The recovery of the eleven bombs was Saxony/s biggest recovery action since 1945. The coming recovery action will be an even bigger record, if we find all fourteen bombs.

             If there are veterans and comrades who knew these crewmen, have crew pictures, pictures of both planes or additional reports about the mission to Dresden on April 17, 1945, they would be very welcome. [RRH 05.]

             I have recently acquired a couple of pictures from Matthias Schildbach. He indicated that the two bombers each had 14 bombs on board. The searchers were able to find 23 of the bombs. One picture shows some the bombs that were found. The other shows Matthias holding a machine gun from Reinhold's B17. Matthias has written a book about the two B17s that crashed over Dresden on 17 April 1945. I will purchase the book and include as much information that is not provided above. [DLL]

  • Sources 
    1. [S399] Letter, Walter H. Hoffman to Dale L. Lange, 06 December 2002. [WHH 01.].

    2. [S8665] Information about Reinhold Hoffman and Eleven Bombs in a Forest Area South of Dresden German, by Matthias Schildbach, Waldstra├če 45, 01796, Pirna, Germany [RRH 05.].

    3. [S400] Letter, Walter H. Hoffman to Dale L. Lange, 06 December 2002. [WHH 01.].

    4. [S7912] Reinhold Hoffman, birth certificate no. 140733 (1917), State of Wisconsin, Department of Health, Madison, Wisconsin. [RRH 03.].

    5. [S403] Ernest Hoffman household, 1920 U.S. census, Jackson County, Wisconsin, town of Cleveland, ED 48, SD 6, dwelling 109, family 109; National Archives micropublication T625, roll 1990, page 83. [EH 04.].

    6. [S404] Ernest Hoffman household, 1930 U.S. census, Jackson County, Wisconsin, township of Cleveland, ED 10, SD 7, sheet 5, dwelling 97, family 97; National archives micropublication T625, roll 2575, image 913.0. [EH 05.].

    7. [S8996] Julianna Martha Lange Hoffman household, 1940 U. S. Census, Jackson County, Wisconsin, Cleveland Township, ED 27-10, SD 9, sheet 2A, Number of Household in Order of Visitation 28; National Archives micropublication T627, roll m-t0627-04484. [JML 11.].

    8. [S7996] Reinhold R. Hoffman, comissioned officer, Chippewa Valley's Contribution to World War II. http://www.memorial.ecasd.k12.wi.us/Departments/SociStud/Diz/Diz.htm/: 2002. [RRH 04.].

    9. [S8995] Reinhold R. Hoffman, Appointment as Postmaster, Fairchild, WI. (2010). Ancestry.com. Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [database online]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. [RRH 07.].

    10. [S7899] Reinhold R. Hoffman, 1Lt. , U. S. Army Air Forces, World War II. National Cemetery Administration, Nationwide Gravesite Locator, 2006. [Ancestry.com. (2006). U. S. Veterans Cemeteries, ca. 1800-2006 [database online]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc.] [Interment date is given.] [RRH 02.].

    11. [S401] Letter, Walter H. Hoffman to Dale L. Lange, 06 December 2002. [WHH 01.].

    12. [S7898] Reinhold R. Hoffman, 1Lt. , U. S. Army Air Forces, World War II. National Cemetery Administration, Nationwide Gravesite Locator, 2006. [Ancestry.com. (2006). U. S. Veterans Cemeteries, ca. 1800-2006 [database online]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc.] [RRH 01.].

    13. [S402] Walter H. Hoffman, response to questionnaire, 3 March 2003. [WHH 02.].

    14. [S8994] Reinhold Hoffman, 1st Lt.; First Officer E. J. Pruitt; Staff Sgt. Elwood Johnson. Burial in the same grave. (2012). Ancestry.com. U. S. National Cemetery interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 [database online]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. [RRH 06.].

    15. [S7238] Letter, Walter H. Hoffman to Dale L. Lange, 06 December 2002. [WHH 01.] See also Hoffman-Lange marriage, no. 9, 1911, Eau Claire County, Fairchild, Wisconsin, State of Wisconsin, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Madison, Wisconsin. [EH 02.].


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