I was assuming that the aircraft was heading west as that's the general run of the valley (and the continuation of the flight path from RAF Lindholm) and at a height of 50ft to clear the trees that I estimate at about 40ft high.
The performance specs indicate a ground roll of 1265ft but with a 50ft obstruction, the necessary runway length is 2710ft. By my estimation, that means that the wheels wouldn't touch the ground until 1445ft past the boundary. Given that the grassy area is only 700ft long at best, they would have needed double the length of the park just to touch down, let alone stop.
It then follows that any descent was not voluntary, particularly as the open fields about a mile further west would likely have been visible even allowing for low cloud.
B17s generally operated with 5-10% fuel reserve but much of this would have been used to get as far as Sheffield while damage could account for further fuel loss. Or the engines may have simply given up.
More amateur detective work (no expert here). For interest: the USAAF B-17G #42-31322 'Mi Amigo' Flying Fortress crew positions shown in the pic below. WW2 Luftwaffe gun camera film posted on here shows Luftwaffe fighters going for the Nose compartment and engines. As noted on the thread, three crew were mortally wounded so that could have included the navigator up front.
Bombers not only lowered their undercarriage but fired off flares, or waved white flags, in an attempt to convince attacking fighters that they wished to surrender. However, footage on this thread shows that some fighters (not all) intended to destroy them anyway.
It's especially good when you put it in perspective. At over 200mph, Lindholme to Sheffield is less than 15 minutes. Not a lot of time to realise that you've overshot.
In one of my earlier posts, I expressed surprise that they didn't head for a closer airfield. Having looked at a Google Earth, it turns out that (if chosen at the start of the return) Lindholme WAS the closest airfield.
Until then, I thought I was quite good at geography.
This is the kind of thing I have occasionally despised the US for.... until I was in Afghanistan and attended far too many repatriations US, UK and Afghan - I was at one in 2009 when I was the only Brit in a long and fairly ragged line of Marines and Afghans honouring a USMC KIA, complete with filing onto the C130 and off again. I was pretty blase about the whole thing until a USMC Huey rolled down the runway at 50' with the crew at the salute as they departed on a mission and I suddenly 'got it'.
Our (far more beautiful but less earthy) equivalent was a 0200hrs repatriation of KIA onto a C17 in sub-zero temperatures. ******* freezing, immaculate drill, full turnout, Guards drummer etc, C17 lights flicking off as the ramp closed.
I'm not going to bother getting up a map of Lincolnshire to count the airfields between Sheffield and the coast in those days, plus the wide wide expanses of countryside that is England's second largest county. I'm sorry but the pilot was a total idiot to be anywhere near Sheffield.
.....Unless you've been on a bombing mission to Northern Denmark, limped back across the North Sea after being shot up by fighters, started looking for the airfields in the lower Trent valley (Finningley, Lindholme and Sandtoft), mistook the River Don for the Trent and badly over shot.... Then yes, you very much would end up over Sheffield.
Sheffield City Council have released interviews made with two "eye-witnesses". One is a bus/tram conductress who claims to have been one of the first on the scene, the other is a policeman who helped to identify the bodies.
The conductress describes the crash as having happened early in the morning, between 5 and 6 a.m. The policeman describes attending the mortuary at about 5 p.m. (though doesn't say which day).
My first thought was that the conductress must have been mistaken but it rather depends on the timings of the raid. Mi Amigo was attacked on it's way to the target, jettisoned its bomb in the sea and returned. It seems just plausible that if the raid was timed to be over the target just after dawn, Mi Amigo could have been back by about 6 a.m. That would also fit in better with the reports of fog which tends (but not always) to be an early morning phenomenon.
A further witness (I think it was in a 2014 report in Sheffield's The Star) reported that Mi Amigo "fell out of the sky" - i.e. didn't glide in. They didn't mention what time of day it was.
Hats off to Mr. Foulds.
He deserves all the recognition he gets. He is a wonderful bloke.
As for those who are critical of the pilot and his skills, eat a dick. He killed his mates making sure your grandfathers were not turned into fender Ketchup. Ten Airmen died on foreign soil, far from home. If that were your relative would you want a bunch of Yanks saying he was a window licker for piss poorly flying his shot up Lanc...