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Respect for your fellow man even though he is your enemy...

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HEROES !! .... a true story of the human spirit

 

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 Steigler 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.

 

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 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who were alive - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

 

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.

 

http://www.waltsrchanger.com/html/b-17_f__ye_olde_pub_.html

 

Here's a link to the website... which has a painting to show the bomber...

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Those are the men we tend to admire, and it`s good they got the chance to met after the war, really worth of admire, thanks for sharing...

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I read about Steigler sometime in the past. Apparently, he had a reputation amongst the 8th AF as being a mystery Luftwaffe pilot would let heavily damaged aircraft fly on instead of going in for the kill.

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incidents such as this one, the christmas truce of WW1, and most likely many, many others, sadly kept secret are what keeps the faint glimmer of whats left of our collective humanity alive, please, if given the same opportunity, dont be afraid to take it, no matter what the reprocussions may be,

 

 

 

PEACE,

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This kind of events are honorable, and the German pilot who did it is a gentleman and a hero.

 

But to tell the truth, i wouldn´t have done the same. If there is something worth fighting a war, it is worth destroying a bomber mid air so it can´t get back to bomb your side. Without any doubt, this was better for the brave men aboard the bomber, and for the whole of the mankind (sorry germans, but despite feats like that, you were a bit of trolls back then). Try to think about it without thinking about good or bad side. Imagine just two sides in war. If i was in his place, i don´t know what would i do, but i think that the best choice would be to prevent this plane from ever taking off against its targets. If they don´t jump over land controlled by yout own forces, you down the aircraft. It is not fair play, but it is not meant to. If you don´t want to see people die in the most unfair, cruel and ridiculous ways, don´t go to war. But once it has started, you must take it to the limits.

 

The limits are not to kill innocents, or anybody wich doesn´t pose a threat. But while it is not gallant nor nice, i don´t have any trouble with the enemy being strafed with Apaches or Spectres wich they can´t see, or plant mines or charges to blow them up from afar. Trouble is when somebody is killed when no longer a menace, such as wounded, surrendered, civilians, or tortured in any fashion. But downing a bomber wich could get repaired and airborne to bomb targets within my cities? Of course i would. And i would probably feel sorry about it, but still that wouldn´t have been wrong.

 

Beside that, Herr Steigler is without any doubt the best example of what the military are respected, good people wich get themselves into troubles for something greater than themselves. And i´m glad that he, as such a good man, displayed on that day the compassion wich, while in my opinion was wrong (if i were him, wich of course i´m not, so i don´t have the right to whipe his ass) allowed the crew live and earned him the respect of whoever may know about it.

Edited by macelena

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The 379th BG later became the 379th Bomb Wing based at Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda, Michigan. The "K" on the tail was painted on most of thee Buff's there. That story was known at the 379th and they had it their unit history book. The reason I know about is because my dad was stationed there twice when I was growing and met my wife there. That base and wings holds a special place in my heart. A true warrior with a high ideal of morality Herr Steigler showed that day. A salute to him and that crew.

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A refreshing point of vieuw by Macalena...... Another bomber - or more important another crew- that returns home, meaning another plane available for dropping bombs on Germany ?. On the other side , at least theoretically, it may have shortened the war, thereby saving lots of lives, not only of soldiers but also of civilians (also in Germany !) and most of all of prisoners. Every day the war was shortened saved lives, especially since the Germans executed people up to the last minute of the war and in the concentration camps people died like flies.

I do wonder if Franz Steigler knew anything about that. Was it really pure chivalry or was he fed up with Hitler and his bastards.....?

 

Houdoe,

 

Derk

Edited by Derk

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