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Old 12-18-2009, 07:58 AM
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BLUEHAWK BLUEHAWK is offline
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Default Charlie Brown, LtCol USAF(Ret)

Some may know this story, but it turns out to be interesting and true, worth repeating.

LtCol Brown passed away in Florida on 24 Nov 08:
-------
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 are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

[CURRENT PHOTO caption]
(L-R) German Ace Franz Stigler, artist Ernie Boyett, and B-17 pilot Charlie Brown.

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

Other Comments:
Source:
http://www.valorstudios.com/Franz-St...rlie-Brown.htm

JG 27 ACE
FRANZ
STIGLER
Franz Stigler started flying gliders at age 12 and soloed in a bi-plane in 1933. He joined Lufthansa, becomin an Airline Captain, before joining the Luftwaffe in 1940. There, he became an instructor pilot, with one of his students being Gerhard Barkhorn, who would later become the second highest scoring Ace in history with over 300 victories.

Franz transferred to Bf 109 fighter aircraft upon learning of the loss of his brother August, who died piloting a bomber shot down over the English Channel. Franz flew combat in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Western Europe. He served as a Squadron Commander of three squadrons (Numbers 6, 8, and 12, of JG 27) and twice a Wing Commander, all flying Bf 109 fighters.

Franz formed EJG-1, possibly the first ever pre-jet training squadron before being hand picked as the Technical Officer of Gen. Adolph Galland?s elite JV 44, ?Squadron of Experts,? flying the Me-262 jet.

Franz was credited with 28 confirmed victories and over thirty probables. He flew 487 combat missions, was wounded four times, and was shot down seventeen times, four by enemy fighters, four by ground fire, and nine times by gunners on American bombers. He bailed out six times and rode his damaged aircraft down eleven times.

He emigrated to Canada in 1953 and became a successful businessman. In addition to his many Luftwaffe decorations, Franz was presented with the ?Order of the Star of Peace? by the Federation of Combattant Allies En Europe for his act of compassion on December 20, 1943. He is believed to be the only Luftwaffe pilot to be so recognized. Franz was also made an honorary member of the 379th Bomb Group Association. Our friend, Franz, died in 2008 at the age of 93.
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2009, 09:25 AM
eriksale eriksale is offline
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Bluehawk

Great story!

FYI check your PM's sent you a note

Dave
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by eriksale View Post
Bluehawk

Great story!

FYI check your PM's sent you a note

Dave
Got the PM, thanks.

Yup, the story is true and, evidently, though it did not happen very often in the air war, there are a handful of similar stories, mostly among fighter pilots from what I've seen thusfar.
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