Skip to comments.Amazing tale of a desperate WWII pilotís encounter with a German flying ace
Posted on 12/09/2012 5:23:56 AM PST by lowbridge
On Dec. 20, 1943, a young American bomber pilot named Charlie Brown found himself somewhere over Germany, struggling to keep his plane aloft with just one of its four engines still working. They were returning from their first mission as a unit, the successful bombing of a German munitions factory. Of his crew members, one was dead and six wounded, and 2nd Lt. Brown was alone in his cockpit, the three unharmed men tending to the others. Browns B-17 had been attacked by 15 German planes and left for dead, and Brown himself had been knocked out in the assault, regaining consciousness in just enough time to pull the plane out of a near-fatal nose dive.
None of that was as shocking as the German pilot now suddenly to his right.
Brown thought he was hallucinating. He did that thing you see people do in movies: He closed his eyes and shook his head no. He looked, again, out the co-pilots window. Again, the lone German was still there, and now it was worse. Hed flown over to Browns left and was frantic: pointing, mouthing things that Brown couldnt begin to comprehend, making these wild gestures, exaggerating his expressions like a cartoon character.
Brown, already in shock, was freshly shot through with fear. What was this guy up to?
He craned his neck and yelled back for his top gunner, screamed at him to get up in his turret and shoot this guy out of the sky. Before Browns gunner could squeeze off his first round, the German did something even weirder: He looked Brown in the eye and gave him a salute. Then he peeled away.
What just happened?
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
Should have said UNchivalrous ...
I want to share that story with everyone I see today. Thanks for posting.
First. Last. Always.
Without honor, there is nothing else.
Something this country seems to be losing.
Both men knew the definition of “is.”
A minor correction - a B-17 couldn't generally fly on one engine, except when very light and in "ground effect" (closer to the ground than the span of the wings).
There is a story of one B-17 that lost three engines, the pilot was ditching the aircraft, and it bounced back into the air. Pilot figured "WTF? At least we're getting closer to England." A bit later, still couldn't keep it in the air, so he went to ditch again. Bounced again. Meanwhile, the aircraft was getting lighter due to the fuel burned by one good engine so they were getting a little farther with each bounce, and eventually made it back to England.
A pleasant account for a Sunday morning ... thanx for the post
Looks like a photo of the amazing event described.....but how could that be? That, or one heck of a photorealistic painting.
My wife used to complain when I watched old war movies. She said “they glorify war.” I told her they are an example of the human spirit overcoming incredible odds.
One of my uncles served in WWII against the Japanese on Okinawa. To this day he has never spoke of what he saw. I’ve read a lot about how the Japs were and I don’t doubt he saw some terrible stuff. But he survived and prospered. He currently lives in Kansas but his health has been failing.
those are both paintings. But there are pics out there of what the plane looked like when it got back to England.
Most of my uncles and father also served during WW2. We were so proud to be related to them. They too never talked much about their experieces, but to a man they said they'd do it again if they were called.
These were men!
One of the 56th's worst setbacks occurred on June 26, 1943, when 48 P-47Cs left a forward operating base at RAF Manston late in the afternoon to provide escort for B-17 Flying Fortress bombers returning from a mission against Villacoublay airfield in the Paris suburbs. As the P-47s approached the rendezvous point near Forges-les-Eaux, they were jumped from above and behind by 16 Focke-Wulf Fw 190s of II Gruppe, JG 26. The first pass scattered the Thunderbolts, and Johnson's aircraft, flying at the rear of the 61st Squadron's formation, was seriously damaged by a 20 mm shell that exploded in his cockpit and ruptured his hydraulic system. Burned and partially blinded by hydraulic fluid, Johnson tried to bail out, but could not open his shattered canopy. After pulling out of an uncontrolled spin and with the fire amazingly going out on its own, Johnson headed for the English Channel, but was intercepted by a single Fw 190. Unable to fight back, he maneuvered while under a series of attacks, and although sustaining further heavy damage from both 7.92mm and 20mm rounds, managed to survive until the German ran out of ammunition, who, after saluting him by rocking his wings, turned back. His opponent has never been identified, but Johnson could have been one of three victories claimed that day by the commander of III/JG 2, Oberst Egon Mayer. [N 1]After landing, Johnson tried to count the bullet holes in his airplane, but when he passed 200, including 21, 20 mm cannon shell impacts, without even moving around the aircraft, he gave up. While Johnson made it back to crash land at Manston, four other pilots of the 56th FG were killed in action. A fifth, able to extend only one of his plane's landing gear struts, had to bail out over the English Channel and was rescued north of Yarmouth. Five other Thunderbolts suffered battle damage. Johnson suffered shrapnel wounds and minor burns to his face, hands, and legs, and was awarded the Purple Heart. He resumed flying missions on July 1.
What I remember from reading his book, is that he had run out of options, he couldn't fight back, he couldn't bail out, and his only option was to get his seat as low as possible behind the armor plating and hope it didn't get hit by a 20 mm shell,
Isn't Snoopy supposed to be the one who has encounters with the Red Baron?
This story made my morning. Thanks for posting it.
I would have shot him down. How many Germans did the pilot kill on subsequent missions?
Wow...what a story....
Thanks for posting it...