Charlie Brown's B17

Discussion in 'History' started by Threetango, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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    A really good true story from WWII.

    f you haven't seen this before, or even if you have, it is an amazing story.



    Charlie Brown and his B17




    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 ...

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    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

    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 are alive now - 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.



    This is a true story! http://www.snopes.com/military/charliebrown.asp
     
  2. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    great story! shows even that your enemy can have mercy and respect for others in battle.
     

  3. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    I heard about that once before, thats an amazing story. Honor among combatants isnt a universal hallmark anymore and it wasnt one of the Luftwaffes norms.
     
  4. JW357

    JW357 New Member

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    Good story. I've heard it before, but its always slightly chilling.
     
  5. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    Compassion, though rare, did exist. Thanks for the story.
     
  6. shadecorp

    shadecorp Active Member Supporter

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    Read this story some years ago.
    Brought tears to my old eyes then
    and now.
    Thanks for the post.

    Just remembered,
    I have a book about this,
    "A Higher Call"
    from Amazon
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  7. zaitsev44

    zaitsev44 Active Member

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    I read or saw this somewhere else. A really cool story. I love cool WWII stories
     
  8. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Nice story.

    Just a note, snopes is not a credible source for the veracity of a story.
     
  9. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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  10. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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