WWII in Imotski

Croata flightAccording to American Robert Nelson, 80 years old former gunner on the B-24 bomber,  sky above the Imotski was very hot toward the end of World War II. He was flying daily bombing raids from the airport  Cerignola, in southern Italy, to the Budapest, Hungary.   On April 13, 1944 he was returning from the missions when the German anti-aricraft unit oppened fire and downed two US planes.  Out of 20 crewmembers on the two planes, only 5 safely parachuted, and were later captured by Germans.  They were transferred to Stalag Luft III Prisoner of the war camp, in Sagan, Poland,  made famous by the movie "The Great Escape", where Mr. Nelson spent 418 days as POW.  Rest of the story you can read at "Statesman Journal".

Imotski flightAccording to archive of Franciscan monastery in Imotski, from the World War II era, there is a short notice written by Marketo Kolombani:

April 13. 1944 (Thursday):  “The German anti-aircraft unit downed 2 American bombers at 2 pm.  A few crewmembers were safely parachuted.   One aircraft ended in The Red lake. The second aircraft was cut in half, and one half ended on the ridge of the lake, another ended in The Red lake.”

The same day Main Command of Homeland Defense of Independent State of Croatia emitted short message: 
“Two enemies aircrafts were downed near Imotski.  Five crewmembers parachuted and were captured. “

From the eyewitness report:

The German anti-aircraft unit opened heavy fire on the large Allied aircraft formation returning from bombing mission somewhere north (probable Hungary).  Two aircrafts, type Liberator (four engines bomber B-24) with 12 crew members were shot.  One aircraft lost its wing immediately and spiraled down very quickly.  No crewmembers ejected from this plane.  The Second aircraft was hit and set on fire.  Ten crewmembers parachuted from the plane, and five survived.  Both aircrafts ended in The Red Lake, except part of the aircraft’s wing that landed on the ridge of the lake.  According to an eyewitness’s account, The Red Lake become the last resting place for 15 Americans crewmembers.  It is speculated that due to anti-hurricane like spiral air movements above The Red Lake that is isolated water surface in otherwise dry carst area, the bombers were simply sucked in.