PDA

View Full Version : Life German pilot saves American B-17 crew


Count Alex's Losses
06-07-2010, 12:10 PM
Truly inspiring story.


Look carefully at the B-17 and note how shot up it is - one engine dead, tail, horizontal stabilizer and nose shot up.. It was ready to fall out of the sky. (This is a painting done by an artist from the description of both pilots many years later.) Then realize that there is a German ME-109 fighter flying next to it. Now read the story below. I think you'll be surprised ...

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=4468fb5bb0&view=att&th=129135bce178031b&attid=0.1&disp=emb&zw

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England . His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

BF-109 pilot Franz Stigler B-17 pilot Charlie Brown


https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=4468fb5bb0&view=att&th=129135bce178031b&attid=0.2&disp=emb&zwhttps://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=4468fb5bb0&view=att&th=129135bce178031b&attid=0.3&disp=emb&zw


Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and slightly over, the North Sea towards England . He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe . When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions. They met in the USA at a (L-R German Ace Franz Stigler, artist Ernie Boyett, and B-17 pilot Charlie Brown) 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.



https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=4468fb5bb0&view=att&th=129135bce178031b&attid=0.4&disp=emb&zw

When asked why he didn't shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn't have the heart to finish those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”

Both men died in 2008.
Even better:

The B-17 did make it across 250 miles of storm-tossed North Sea and landed at Seething near the English coast, home of the 448th Bomb Group, which had not yet flown its first mission. The crew was debriefed on their mission, including the strange encounter with the Bf-109.

For unknown reasons, the debriefing was classified "secret" and remained so for many years. Lieutenant Brown went on to complete a combat tour, finish college, accept a regular commission, and serve in the Office of Special Investigations, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in other Air Force and State Department assignments until his retirement. He now lives in Miami, Fla., where he is founder and president of an energy and environmental research center.

The image of his strange encounter with the Bf-109 remained firmly embedded in Charlie Brown's memory. In 1986, he began a search for the anonymous pilot. Finally, in 1990, former Oberleutnant Franz Stigler, now living in Canada, responded to a notice published in a newsletter for German fighter pilots. By comparing time, place, and aircraft markings, it was determined that Stigler was the chivalrous pilot who had allowed Brown's crew to live. Not surprisingly, Brown and Stigler have become close friends.

On that December day in 1943, there had been two persuasive reasons why Stigler should have shot down the B-17. First, earlier in the day, he had downed two four-engine bombers and needed only one more that day to earn a Knight's Cross. Second, his decision to not finish off the aircraft was a court-martial offense in Nazi Germany and if revealed could have led to his execution. He considered these alternatives while flying formation with the B-17, "the most heavily damaged aircraft I ever saw that was still flying." He could see the wounded aboard and thought, "I cannot kill these half-dead people. It would be like shooting at a parachute."

Franz Stigler's act of chivalry has been justly, though belatedly, honored by several military organizations here and abroad. On the other hand, Charles Brown was not decorated for his heroism over Germany, which never was reported by the 448th Bomb Group at Seething to his commanders. Such are the fortunes of war and its aftermath.

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 12:14 PM
This story about Charlie Brown is almost as good as the one about Snoopy and the Red Baron....
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Jlf---13Q0g&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Jlf---13Q0g&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Rain Man
06-07-2010, 12:21 PM
Pretty cool. You hear occasionally about acts of chivalry. Not to be overly dreamy, but I wonder what would happen if all soldiers did this? Can you have a war if everyone refuses to fight, and if not, then what happens?

I'm not sure why the article complains about Brown not getting a medal, though. I guess he piloted the other guys home, but I'm not sure you should get a medal just for avoiding dying.

Stinger
06-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Pretty cool.

I'm not sure why the article complains about Brown not getting a medal, though. I guess he piloted the other guys home, but I'm not sure you should get a medal just for avoiding dying.

What about getting a medal for those of us still on the Tarmac for 6 years from a certain simulation...........

DA_T_84
06-07-2010, 02:07 PM
When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody.

On that December day in 1943, there had been two persuasive reasons why Stigler should have shot down the B-17. First, earlier in the day, he had downed two four-engine bombers and needed only one more that day to earn a Knight's Cross.

So... he got his Knight's Cross anyways, right?

Hydrae
06-07-2010, 03:35 PM
So... he got his Knight's Cross anyways, right?

You would think so since he reported it shot down over the Channel. :shrug:

Sofa King
06-07-2010, 03:41 PM
So... he got his Knight's Cross anyways, right?

unless he said he went up to get it, but said it had already gone down before he got there.... he never said it had been shot down by him..

AustinChief
06-07-2010, 03:45 PM
You would think so since he reported it shot down over the Channel. :shrug:

Nope, it wouldn't be recorded as a CONFIRMED kill... requires at least one witness or visible wreckage.

Dave Lane
06-07-2010, 04:06 PM
What about getting a medal for those of us still on the Tarmac for 6 years from a certain simulation...........

My B17 has surely run out of gas waiting on that Kevin guy

listopencil
06-07-2010, 04:35 PM
Snopes says it's a true story by the way:

http://www.snopes.com/military/charliebrown.asp

Frankie
06-07-2010, 05:13 PM
Truly inspiring story.

Even better:

This is a bogus story unless you provide a link.

Rain Man
06-07-2010, 05:22 PM
What about getting a medal for those of us still on the Tarmac for 6 years from a certain simulation...........


No habla englis. Donde es bano?

Count Alex's Losses
06-07-2010, 05:24 PM
This is a bogus story unless you provide a link.

I checked it out on snopes.

bevischief
06-07-2010, 07:29 PM
Sounds right from that generation.

Hydrae
06-07-2010, 07:35 PM
Nope, it wouldn't be recorded as a CONFIRMED kill... requires at least one witness or visible wreckage.

That was the one thing I wondered about. Thought that might be the case.

Discuss Thrower
06-07-2010, 07:40 PM
A hold over from the days when aerial combat was seen as the modern version of knightly combat. Airmen acted with the utmost chivalry when dealing with their enemies, even though the sentiment expressed by the German pilot says otherwise.

Frankie
06-07-2010, 08:29 PM
I checked it out on snopes.

But no link heh?

Kraus
06-07-2010, 08:32 PM
But no link heh?

Are you blind?

Snopes says it's a true story by the way:

http://www.snopes.com/military/charliebrown.asp

Frankie
06-07-2010, 08:48 PM
Are you blind?

I asked for source and the story in it. I know about Snopes and use it often.

Are you slow?

Count Alex's Losses
06-07-2010, 09:04 PM
I asked for source and the story in it. I know about Snopes and use it often.

Are you slow?

Apparently you are.

This was linked on the snopes page:

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-6355403_ITM


A life in the balance is spared aloft: Airman finds counterpart who refused to shoot.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

| December 28, 1995 | Russell, James | COPYRIGHT 1999 Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. (Hide copyright information (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:if%28typeof%20showhidecopy%20==%20%27function%27%29%20%7B%20showhidecopy%28%27bylinecopyhidden% 27,%20%27bylinecopyshown%27%29;%20%7D))Copyright (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:if%28typeof%20showhidecopy%20==%20%27function%27%29%20%7B%20showhidecopy%28%27bylinecopyshown%2 7,%20%27bylinecopyhidden%27%29;%20%7D) <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"><!-- if (typeof showhidecopy == 'function') { showhidecopy('bylinecopyhidden', 'bylinecopyshown'); } //--></script>
<!-- /docbyline --> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"><!-- function google_ad_request_done(google_ads) { var s = ''; /* Verify that there are actually ads to display. */ if (google_ads.length <= 0) { s += '\r\n<!-- No google ads returned. -->'; document.write(s); return; } else { /* There are ads */ var oneline = "True" == "False"; var hideheader = "True" == "Nolongerallowedtodothis"; /*"True";*/ var surround = "True" == "True"; var surrdiv = "doctextad"; var twocolumn = "True" == "False"; var i; /* two columns */ if(surround) { s+='<div'; if(surrdiv.length > 0) { s+=' class=\"' + surrdiv + '\"'; } s+='>'; } if(!hideheader) { s += 'Ads by Google (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/\&quot;')

'; } if (google_ads.length >= 1) { var specdnumber = 3; //alert(specdnumber); if(0 >= specdnumber) { specdnumber = 150; } var colSplit = -1; if(twocolumn){ colSplit = specdnumber / 2; s += '' } for(i=0; i < google_ads.length && i < specdnumber; ++i) { if(twocolumn && i==colSplit){ s += '
' s += '' } if(oneline) { s += '' + '' + '' + google_ads[i].line1 + ' (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/' + google_ads[i].url + ')' + '' + google_ads[i].line2 + ' ' + google_ads[i].line3 + ' ' + '' + '' + google_ads[i].visible_url + ' (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/' + google_ads[i].url + ')' + '
'; } else { s += '' + '' + google_ads[i].line1 + ' (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/' + google_ads[i].url + ')
' + '' + google_ads[i].line2 + ' ' + google_ads[i].line3 + '
' + '' + google_ads[i].visible_url + ' (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/' + google_ads[i].url + ')' + '
'; } } if(twocolumn){ s += '
' } } if(hideheader) { s += '

'; } if(surround) { s+= '</div>'; } document.write(s); return; } } google_ad_client = 'pub-1767711865744298'; // substitute your client_id google_ad_channel = '6902369211'; google_ad_output = 'js'; google_max_num_ads = 3; google_kw_type = 'broad'; google_kw = ""; google_skip = 0; google_feedback = 'on'; // --></script> <!-- /* The JavaScript returned from the following page uses the parameter values assigned above to populate an array of ad objects. Once that array has been populated, the JavaScript will call the google_ad_request_done function to display the ads. */ --> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"></script> MIAMI _ A few days ago, Charlie Brown marked the 52nd anniversary of the event that saved his life.

That's not Charlie Brown the comic strip character but Charles L. Brown, a Miami inventor-entrepreneur who recently turned 73. His two decades of work in business and scientific research will have to suffice as a reason for telling his remarkable personal story in the Business section of this newspaper.

What happened to Brown on Dec. 20, 1943, is an uplifting tale for any place or any time. But it's especially pertinent around Christmas, for it reflects mankind's compassionate instincts that often surface even in the worst of times.

Brown's rendezvous with death occurred high in the air over Germany during …

rockymtnchief
06-07-2010, 09:26 PM
http://www.valorstudios.com/Franz-Stigler-Charlie-Brown.htm

More info and pics if you keep scrolling down.

Rain Man
06-07-2010, 10:36 PM
I checked it out on snopes.

I never thought about this before, but wouldn't it be cool if snopes was a big elaborate scam that always concluded the opposite of the truth? That'd be the best internet gag ever.

Kraus
06-07-2010, 10:47 PM
I asked for source and the story in it. I know about Snopes and use it often.

Obviously not, the sources are right at the bottom of the Snopes page.

stlchiefs
06-07-2010, 10:47 PM
Amazing, awesome story. Crazy they both kept it a secret for so long, really cool they reconnected.

rockymtnchief
06-07-2010, 10:54 PM
What's even more amazing is that they only lived 200 miles apart.

Stinger
06-07-2010, 10:55 PM
No habla englis. Donde es bano?

No estoy seguro. Hemos estado cruzando las piernas durante seis años en el plano

listopencil
06-07-2010, 11:57 PM
I never thought about this before, but wouldn't it be cool if snopes was a big elaborate scam that always concluded the opposite of the truth? That'd be the best internet gag ever.

http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs604.snc3/31819_391878134279_174829724279_3770635_5408141_n.jpg

mikeyis4dcats.
06-08-2010, 05:40 PM
http://www.valorstudios.com/Franz-Stigler-Charlie-Brown.htm

More info and pics if you keep scrolling down.

that's pretty awesome. I'd have bought that a few years ago....but now I've got a wife and kid to support. :(

Frankie
06-09-2010, 02:08 PM
No estoy seguro. Hemos estado cruzando las piernas durante seis años en el plano

If you that you have to clean it yourself.