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German pilot in WWII spared an American B-17 pilot over Germany only to reunite 40 years later
War History.com ^ | March 12, 2013

Posted on 03/18/2013 10:18:04 AM PDT by robowombat

German pilot in WWII spared an American B-17 pilot over Germany only to reunite 40 years later and become fishing buddies March 12, 2013 at 21:45

The pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision.

“My God, this is a nightmare,” the co-pilot said.

“He’s going to destroy us,” the pilot agreed.

The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

The B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.

But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer “Pinky” Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn’t pull the trigger. He nodded at Brown instead. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War II. Years later, Brown would track down his would-be executioner for a reunion that reduced both men to tears.

Living by the code

People love to hear war stories about great generals or crack troops such as Seal Team 6, the Navy unit that killed Osama bin Laden. But there is another side of war that’s seldom explored: Why do some soldiers risk their lives to save their enemies and, in some cases, develop a deep bond with them that outlives war?

And are such acts of chivalry obsolete in an age of drone strikes and terrorism?

Charles Brown was on his first combat mission during World War II when he met an enemy unlike any other.

Those are the kinds of questions Brown’s story raises. His encounter with the German fighter pilot is beautifully told in a New York Times best-selling book, “A Higher Call.” The book explains how that aerial encounter reverberated in both men’s lives for more than 50 years.

“The war left them in turmoil,” says Adam Makos, who wrote the book with Larry Alexander. “When they found each other, they found peace.”

Their story is extraordinary, but it’s not unique. Union and Confederate troops risked their lives to aid one another during the Civil War. British and German troops gathered for post-war reunions; some even vacationed together after World War II. One renowned American general traveled back to Vietnam to meet the man who almost wiped out his battalion, and the two men hugged and prayed together.

What is this bond that surfaces between enemies during and after battle?

It’s called the warrior’s code, say soldiers and military scholars. It’s shaped cultures as diverse as the Vikings, the Samurai, the Romans and Native Americans, says Shannon E. French, author of “Code of the Warrior.”

The code is designed to protect the victor, as well as the vanquished, French says.

“People think of the rules of war primarily as a way to protect innocent civilians from being victims of atrocities,” she says. “In a much more profound sense, the rules are there to protect the people doing the actual fighting.”

The code is designed to prevent soldiers from becoming monsters. Butchering civilians, torturing prisoners, desecrating the enemies’ bodies — are all battlefield behaviors that erode a soldier’s humanity, French says.

The code is ancient as civilization itself. In Homer’s epic poem, “The Iliad,” the Greek hero Achilles breaks the code when his thirst for vengeance leads him to desecrate the body of his slain foe, the Trojan hero Hector.

“There is something worse than death, and one of those things is to completely lose your humanity.”Most warrior cultures share one belief, French says:

The code is still needed today, French says.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some have seen, and have done, things that are unfathomable.

A study of Vietnam veterans showed that those who felt as if they had participated in dishonorable behavior during the war or saw the Vietnamese as subhuman experienced more post-traumatic stress disorder, French says.

Drone warfare represents a new threat to soldiers’ humanity, French says.

The Pentagon recently announced it would award a new Distinguished Warfare Medal to soldiers who operate drones and launch cyberattacks. The medal would rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, two medals earned in combat.

At least 17,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the medal. The petition says awarding medals to soldiers who wage war via remote control was an “injustice” to those who risked their lives in combat.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defended the new medal at a February news conference.

“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cybersystems, have changed the way wars are fought,” Panetta says. “And they’ve given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar.”

Still, critics ask, is there any honor in killing an enemy by remote control?

French isn’t so sure.

“If [I'm] in the field risking and taking a life, there’s a sense that I’m putting skin in the game,” she says. “I’m taking a risk so it feels more honorable. Someone who kills at a distance — it can make them doubt. Am I truly honorable?”

The German pilot who took mercy

Revenge, not honor, is what drove 2nd Lt. Franz Stigler to jump into his fighter that chilly December day in 1943.

Stigler wasn’t just any fighter pilot. He was an ace. One more kill and he would win The Knight’s Cross, German’s highest award for valor.

Yet Stigler was driven by something deeper than glory. His older brother, August, was a fellow Luftwaffe pilot who had been killed earlier in the war. American pilots had killed Stigler’s comrades and were bombing his country’s cities.

Stigler was standing near his fighter on a German airbase when he heard a bomber’s engine. Looking up, he saw a B-17 flying so low it looked like it was going to land. As the bomber disappeared behind some trees, Stigler tossed his cigarette aside, saluted a ground crewman and took off in pursuit.

As Stigler’s fighter rose to meet the bomber, he decided to attack it from behind. He climbed behind the sputtering bomber, squinted into his gun sight and placed his hand on the trigger. He was about to fire when he hesitated. Stigler was baffled. No one in the bomber fired at him.

He looked closer at the tail gunner. He was still, his white fleece collar soaked with blood. Stigler craned his neck to examine the rest of the bomber. Its skin had been peeled away by shells, its guns knocked out. He could see men huddled inside the plane tending the wounds of other crewmen.

Then he nudged his plane alongside the bomber’s wings and locked eyes with the pilot whose eyes were wide with shock and horror.

Franz Stigler wondered for years what happened to the American pilot he encountered in combat.

Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn’t shoot. It would be murder.

Stigler wasn’t just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family’s ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest.

A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.

Yet Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him:

“You follow the rules of war for you — not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity.”

Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn’t shoot down the slow-moving bomber. (The Luftwaffe had B-17s of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.) Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away and returned to Germany.

“Good luck,” Stigler said to himself. “You’re in God’s hands.”

What creates the bond between enemies?

Stigler was able to recognize the common humanity of the enemy when he locked eyes with Brown. It caused him to take mercy.

That sudden recognition can spring from many sources in battle — hearing the moans of a wounded enemy; sharing a common language; or opening the wallet of an enemy and seeing pictures of his wife and children.

That respect for the enemy’s humanity typically starts at the top, some scholars say. A leader sets the tone, and the troops get the message. A military leader who embodied this approach was one of Germany’s greatest World War II commanders, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, also known as the “Desert Fox.”

One time, a group of British commandos tried to sneak behind enemy lines and assassinate Rommel in the North African desert. They failed. But Rommel insisted the commandos be buried in the same graveyard as the German soldiers who died defending him, says Steven Pressfield, author of “Killing Rommel.”

There were battle zones during World War II where that type of magnanimity was almost impossible. On the Eastern Front, German and Russian soldiers literally hated one another. And in the South Pacific, U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers took no prisoners.

At times, the terrain can force soldiers to follow the code. The North African desert during World War II was one such place, Pressfield says.

Fortunes turned quickly because so many battles were fought by fast-moving tanks and mobile units. A German unit that captured British soldiers could end up surrendering to them minutes later because the battle lines were so fluid. Also, the desert sun was so harsh that both sides knew if they left enemy prisoners stranded or mistreated, they would quickly die, Pressfield says.

Some British and German soldiers never forgot how their enemy treated them and staged reunions after the war.It was not unusual for German and British doctors to work together while taking care of wounded soldiers from both sides, Pressfield says.

“The Germans and the British used to get together for soccer matches,” Pressfield says. “It was the Desert Foxes versus the Desert Rats.”

These soldiers weren’t just engaging in nostalgia. They shared a sense of hardship. They had survived an ordeal that most people could not understand.

“In many ways, a soldier feels more of a bond with the enemy they’re fighting than with the countrymen back home,” Pressfield says. “The enemy they’re fighting is equally risking death.”

That bond could even lead to acts of loyalty after the war, says Daniel Rolph, author of “My Brother’s Keepers.”

Once, when a Union officer mortally wounded a Confederate captain during the Civil War, the Union man sang hymns and prayed with his enemy as the man took his last breaths. Before the captain died, he asked the Union officer to return his sword and revolver to his family — a request the soldier honored after the war ended, Rolph says.

“I even have an article from The New York Times in 1886 where Union soldiers who were on the pension rolls of the federal government were actually trying to transfer their money toward Confederate soldiers,” Rolph says.

These bonds can even form between enemies who do not share a language or a culture.

Harold Moore Jr. was a U.S. Army colonel who led a desperate fight depicted in the 2002 Mel Gibson film, “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young. ” In 1965, Moore lost 79 of his men fighting against a larger North Vietnamese force. It was one of the first major battles in the Vietnam War.

In 1993, Moore led some of his soldiers back to Vietnam to meet their former adversaries on the same battlefield. When they arrived, Moore met the Vietnamese officer who led troops against him, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Huu An.

Charles Brown, with his wife, Jackie (left), found peace after his reunion with Franz Stigler, with his wife, Hiya.

An held out his arms and greeted Moore by kissing him on both cheeks. Moore gave him his wristwatch as a token of friendship.

Moore described in an essay what happened next:

“I invited all to form a circle with arms extended around each other’s shoulders and we bowed our heads. With prayer and tears, we openly shared our painful memories.”

An died two years after meeting Moore. Moore traveled to Vietnam to pay his respects to his former enemy’s family. While visiting their home, Moore spotted a familiar object displayed in the viewing case of An’s family shrine: It was his wristwatch.

A reunion of enemies

As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn’t thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival.

He flew back to his base in England and landed with barely any fuel left. After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.

Brown flew more missions before the war ended. Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War and eventually retired to Florida.

Late in life, though, the encounter with the German pilot began to gnaw at him. He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.

Brown took on a new mission. He had to find that German pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life?

On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter. He opened it and read:He scoured military archives in the U.S. and England. He attended a pilots’ reunion and shared his story. He finally placed an ad in a German newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the pilot.

“Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to the B-17, did she make it or not?”

It was Stigler. He had had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1953. He became a prosperous businessman. Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer and “it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter.”

Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn’t wait to see Stigler. He called directory assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler. He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up.

“My God, it’s you!” Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks.

Brown had to do more. He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said: “To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crewmembers and their families appears totally inadequate.”

The two pilots would meet again, but this time in the lobby of a Florida hotel.

One of Brown’s friends was there to record the summer reunion. Both men looked like retired businessmen: they were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts. They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.

The mood then changed. Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown. Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English:

“I love you, Charlie.”

Years later, author Makos says he understands why Stigler experienced such a surge of emotions.

Stigler had lost his brother, his friends and his country. He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German air force. Only 1,200 survived, Makos says.

“The war cost him everything,” Makos says. “Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz. It was the one thing he could be proud of.”

The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner.

They met as enemies but Franz Stigler, on left, and Charles Brown, ended up as fishing buddies.

Brown and Stigler became pals. They would take fishing trips together. They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans’ reunions. Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.

Brown’s daughter says her father would worry about Stigler’s health and constantly check in on him.

“It wasn’t just for show,” she says. “They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week.”

As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says:

“The nightmares went away.”

Brown had written a letter of thanks to Stigler, but one day, he showed the extent of his gratitude. He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members, along with their extended families. He invited Stigler as a guest of honor.

During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived — children, grandchildren, relatives — because of Stigler’s act of chivalry. Stigler watched the film from his seat of honor.

“Everybody was crying, not just him,” Warner says.

Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008. Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.

Makos discovered what that was by accident while spending a night at Brown’s house. He was poking through Brown’s library when he came across a book on German fighter jets. Stigler had given the book to Brown. Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.

Makos opened the book and saw an inscription Stigler had written to Brown:

In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December, 4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction, a plane so badly damaged it was a wonder that she was still flying.

The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me, as precious as my brother was.

Thanks Charlie.

Your Brother,

Franz


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Germany; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: yeoldepub
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1 posted on 03/18/2013 10:18:04 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat
The mercy of Franz Stigler.
2 posted on 03/18/2013 10:18:31 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Call-Incredible-Chivalry-War-Torn/dp/0425252868


3 posted on 03/18/2013 10:26:09 AM PDT by TomServo
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To: robowombat

God Bless our Brave Warriors past and present.


4 posted on 03/18/2013 10:27:42 AM PDT by sgtyork (The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage. Thucydides)
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To: robowombat

I had read of this before, and reading it again made my day.

There is good in the world, and I’m beginning to believe that there’s a heck of a lot more good in military folks on both sides than there is in our government.

(Note: Islam excepted, of course. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.)


5 posted on 03/18/2013 10:32:28 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: robowombat

I’ve always been disgusted by chests full of medals — none of them for valor. I’d like to see more distinction made between the BS medals and the Valor medals. Commanding officers would never qualify for a medal awarded for the valor of those under him.

My father got three valor medals in WWII, and a couple rows of tourist medals.


6 posted on 03/18/2013 10:33:32 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: robowombat

I feel awkward saying this, but failing to shoot down a bomber that is bombing your cities is not chivalry. It is dereliction of duty and treason.


7 posted on 03/18/2013 10:33:39 AM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: robowombat

The WWI Christmas truce.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce


8 posted on 03/18/2013 10:35:04 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: robowombat

“...losing your humanity...”?

It’s only a problem if you HAVE any humanity to begin with. Some foes of the US have none and never did have any!


9 posted on 03/18/2013 10:36:38 AM PDT by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: rmlew

The bomber in this story was not bombing anything. It was severely shot up and simply trying to return to home base. I would say that shooting it down would be comparable to shooting an enemy soldier who was already wounded and unable to defend himself.

A true warrior does not kill needlessly. I too would have allowed this bomber to proceed.


10 posted on 03/18/2013 10:39:12 AM PDT by rfreedom4u (I have a copy of the Constitution! And I'm not afraid to use it!)
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To: rmlew
Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn’t shoot. It would be murder.

Stigler wasn’t just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family’s ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest.

A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.

He knew that, and did it anyway.........

11 posted on 03/18/2013 10:39:27 AM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: robowombat
And in the South Pacific, U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers took no prisoners.

Much has been written about the Japanese that the US Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps fought against in the Pacific during WWII.

The code of "Never live to experience shame as a prisoner" by the Japanese fighting man cost many lives on both sides.

12 posted on 03/18/2013 10:41:30 AM PDT by TYVets
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To: robowombat

In his book Saburo Sakai said that he followed a disabled American fighter at Guadalcanal. He said he flew near it and put a single cannon round into it’s engine.

The pilot bailed out.

I have no way of knowing if he was telling the truth or not.


13 posted on 03/18/2013 10:42:51 AM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: rmlew

You are correct, nevertheless, one is moved by Stigler’s compassion.


14 posted on 03/18/2013 10:43:30 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
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To: GreyFriar; Interesting Times; SeraphimApprentice

Ping to an important insight on the warriors’ code.


15 posted on 03/18/2013 10:47:36 AM PDT by zot
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To: rfreedom4u

Uh uh...


16 posted on 03/18/2013 10:49:21 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (Piffle....)
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To: rmlew

I hope someday your mind heals.


17 posted on 03/18/2013 10:49:40 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://gatesofvienna.net/)
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To: SMARTY

Guess there is a lot some people will never understand.


18 posted on 03/18/2013 10:50:21 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://gatesofvienna.net/)
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To: TYVets

It was a vulgar corruption of true Bushido, fostered by megalomaiacal monsters running the Japanese government.


19 posted on 03/18/2013 10:51:40 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://gatesofvienna.net/)
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To: robowombat
During the latter stages of the Battle of the Java Sea, the British destroyer HMS Encounter and the US destroyer USS Pope were attempting to escort a crippled British heavy cruiser to safety when they were overwhelmed by the Japanese Navy and sunk, leaving hundreds of men in the water.

The next afternoon the Japanese destroyer HIJMS Ikazuchi, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Shunsaku Kudo, spotted the survivors and closed in on them. Despite the very real risk of being torpedoed by one of the many Allied submarines lurking in the area, Kudo ordered his ship to come to a halt and for his crew to begin pulling the dazed Allied sailors from the water. By the time they were finished, Ikazuchi was laden with 442 Allied survivors, more than double the ship's 219-man crew. Although they had to endure the horrors of the Japanese POW camps for almost three-and-a-half years, the men of the Encounter and Pope considered themselves fortunate because there were a number of Allied ships sunk during the Battle of the Java Sea whose survivors were abandoned or machine gunned by the Japanese.

Today in Japan, Commander Kudo is considered by many to be the last samurai.

20 posted on 03/18/2013 10:53:45 AM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: robowombat

“the tail gunner was dead”

If I remember correctly, the B-17 did not have a tail gun until much later in the war.


21 posted on 03/18/2013 11:00:09 AM PDT by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (Learn three chords and you, too, can be a Rock Star!)
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To: robowombat

May they both RIP. I salute you both.


22 posted on 03/18/2013 11:01:01 AM PDT by DonkeyBonker (Hard to paddle against the flow of sewage coming out of the White House.)
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To: SMARTY

Anyone who can read this story without tearing up has no humanity.

No soldier goes to war with the intension of becoming a hero. All they want to do is come home. These pilots came to love and respect each other because of who they were, honorable men first, enemies second.


23 posted on 03/18/2013 11:01:50 AM PDT by beelzepug (Telling other people they need to die is a good way to get your own lamp blown out.)
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To: robowombat
What will the rest of my office think of a 6.2, 225 pound Irish Guy balling his eyes out?

Answer: Who gives a dam.

Thank you for posting this story.

Thank God for men like Stigler and Brown.

24 posted on 03/18/2013 11:19:40 AM PDT by WomBom ("I read Free Republic for the pictures")
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To: robowombat

Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.


25 posted on 03/18/2013 11:21:28 AM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: spel_grammer_an_punct_polise
“the tail gunner was dead”
If I remember correctly, the B-17 did not have a tail gun until much later in the war.

I believe it was the chin turret in the front that was added later. Like around the F model? German fighters had found attacking head on was the best approach.

26 posted on 03/18/2013 11:24:06 AM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: robowombat
This film was taken when Bf-109 ace Franz Stigler met B-17 pilot Charlie Brown for the first time since their encounter during WWII!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8EkmyoG83Q
27 posted on 03/18/2013 11:24:23 AM PDT by servo1969
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To: robowombat

“In many ways, a soldier feels more of a bond with the enemy they’re fighting than with the countrymen back home,” Amen Bro


28 posted on 03/18/2013 11:34:34 AM PDT by Rannug ("God has given it to me, let him who touches it beware.")
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To: Stonewall Jackson

http://1-22infantry.org/history4/lengfeld.htm

The plaque on the monument erected for
LT Friedrich Lengfeld.

The inscription (in both English and German) reads:

No man hath greater love than he who
layeth down his life for his enemy.

IN MEMORY
OF
LIEUTENANT FRIEDRICH LENGFELD

Here in Huertgen Forest on November 12, 1944,
Lt. Lengfeld, a German officer, gave his life
while trying to save the life of an American
soldier lying severly wounded in the “Wilde
Sau” minefield and appealing for medical aid.

PLACED AT THIS SITE ON OCTOBER 7, 1994

THE
TWENTY SECOND UNITED STATES
INFANTRY
SOCIETY - WORLD WAR II

“Deeds Not Words”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_H%C3%BCrtgen_Forest
Erstwhile enemy remembered
There is a stone monument with a bronze plaque at the Hürtgen military cemetery dedicated by veterans of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division to the memory of Friedrich Lengfeld (29 September 1921–12 November 1944), a German lieutenant. Lengfeld died on 12 November 1944, of severe wounds sustained while helping a wounded American soldier out of the “Wild Sow” (”Wilde Sau”) minefield. It is the only such memorial for a German soldier placed by his erstwhile opponents in a German military cemetery.[14]


29 posted on 03/18/2013 11:35:19 AM PDT by DUMBGRUNT (The best is the enemy of the good!)
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To: spel_grammer_an_punct_polise

The B-17E introduced the tail gun. It was the first production run to go over 42 units— to 512— and first flew on September 5, 1941 (over three months before the US entry into the war).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-17


30 posted on 03/18/2013 11:35:54 AM PDT by ExGeeEye (It's been over 90 days; time to start on 2014. Carpe GOP!)
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To: spel_grammer_an_punct_polise

If I remember right, those B-17s which arrived at Pearl Harbor during the attack did not have tail gunners.

I think every picture or video of them in Europe showed them having tail guns which were very much needed. They eventually added a chin turret too.


31 posted on 03/18/2013 11:37:48 AM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: ZULU
I hope someday your mind heals.

Defending its cities was the only moral thing the Luftwaffe did in the entire war.
I am a son and grandson of Holocaust survivors. I hate the Nazis.
32 posted on 03/18/2013 11:42:57 AM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: rfreedom4u; Red Badger
The bomber in this story was not bombing anything. It was severely shot up and simply trying to return to home base. I would say that shooting it down would be comparable to shooting an enemy soldier who was already wounded and unable to defend himself.
The bomber will be patched up and return, or its crew will in other bombers. Crushing your enemy quickly is moral. Allowing them to flee and fight again is not.
33 posted on 03/18/2013 11:45:39 AM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: robowombat

During or maybe after the battle of Fredricksburg, many thousand Union dead and wounded were lying on the battlefield near Marye’s Heights.

A Confederate soldier named Kirkland gathered as many canteens, blankets etc. as he could and during the night went around doing what he could for them.

At first the Union soldiers thought he was stealing but quickly realized what he was doing and quit firing. Kirkland was later killed at Chickamauga.


34 posted on 03/18/2013 11:49:28 AM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: rmlew

I’ve got a similar sense. Stigler was yet sending back trained airmen who could well return and then turn the tables on his own people.

I think I’d have put that plane on the ground where hopefully, the crew might have been captured. But they’d be going down regardless.


35 posted on 03/18/2013 11:52:16 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: zot

Thank you.


36 posted on 03/18/2013 12:01:25 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: rmlew

I guess that’s why David slew Saul TWICE when he had the chance...............


37 posted on 03/18/2013 12:13:31 PM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: robowombat
if you read the book, what Stigler actually did was purposely fly in formation with the damaged bomber over some deadly flack batteries on the coast. With Stegler’s plane there, the batteries couldn't open fire, otherwise flying as low and as slow at the damaged B17 was, the batteries would have downed it for sure.

The best part of the book is near the end where Stegler meets with the children and grandchildren of the American fliers, none of whom whould have been in existence but for his charitable whim forty years earlier.

38 posted on 03/18/2013 12:18:49 PM PDT by PUGACHEV
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To: rmlew

“It is dereliction of duty and treason.”

Your comment suggests that you cannot know or ever experience the extraordinary bond that Franz Stigler and Charley Brown came to know and and experienced. Franz Stigler was true to himself and true to his humanity. It was not dereliction of duty. It was not treason.


39 posted on 03/18/2013 12:21:08 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders.)
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To: rmlew
Defending its cities was the only moral thing the Luftwaffe did in the entire war.

Scenario 1) Reagan is president. War has broken out against the Soviet Union. You're an American fighter pilot and you're coming up on a Russian bomber that has been shot to hell and limping home, you don't think they'll even make it back over Canada. You're fighting to stave off Communism.

Scenario 2) Obama is president. War has broken out against Israel. You're an American pilot based in England. The U.S. has joined up with the entire islamic world to punish Israel for not ceding it's territory. An Israeli bomber is shot to hell and limping home. You don't think they'll even make it back across the Atlantic. You're fighting at the whim of a mad man bent on destroying the Jews and creating a global calaphate.

Do you apply the same personal credo in fighting in scenarios 1 and 2 ? If not, why not? If so, let's hear it.

40 posted on 03/18/2013 12:23:28 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
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To: rmlew
I feel awkward saying this, but failing to shoot down a bomber that is bombing your cities is not chivalry. It is dereliction of duty and treason.

With all due respect, the bomber was in no condition to be a threat any longer. It's kind of like if a mugger assaults me and I respond properly. With him laying wounded at my feet, it would feel good to finish him off, but the threat has been neutralized.

41 posted on 03/18/2013 12:25:46 PM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: rmlew
Defending its cities was the only moral thing the Luftwaffe did in the entire war. I am a son and grandson of Holocaust survivors. I hate the Nazis.

Everyone hates the nazi's but not everyone who lived in or fought for Germany were nazi's. The nazi's were a political party, just like our democrats were the political party that got us into the Vietnam war.

The majority of the German soldiers, just like our Vietnam vets, were merely following the orders of their government.

And not all of us Vietnam veterans were democrats........

42 posted on 03/18/2013 12:28:42 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (This space for rent)
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To: rmlew

What that pilot did was an act of chivary and mercy. Too nad there weren’t more of them on both sides.


43 posted on 03/18/2013 12:31:38 PM PDT by ZULU (See: http://gatesofvienna.net/)
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To: Sirius Lee

In scenario # 2 i would hope I would have the moral courage to resign my commission and insist on being discharged regardless of consequences that could indeed include prosecution for refusing to execute lawful orders. In this case conscience would dictate that the orders while technically correct were not in the most profound sense lawful.


44 posted on 03/18/2013 12:32:36 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat
"The Pentagon recently announced it would award a new Distinguished Warfare Medal to soldiers who operate drones and launch cyberattacks. "

The medal can be a model of Donkey-Kong throwing a barrel! PERFECT!

45 posted on 03/18/2013 12:35:58 PM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: rmlew
I hate the Nazis.

If Franz Stigler carried a rosary into battle, he was no Nazi.

46 posted on 03/18/2013 12:36:56 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: rmlew

you have to read the whole story- the bomber was not bombing his cities, it was reatreating and already heavily damaged.

That was the entire point of the story. It would have been like shooting an unarmed man literally in the back


47 posted on 03/18/2013 12:44:44 PM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: rfreedom4u

There is also a practical reason for not bayonetting the enemy’s wounded survivors.

Your enemy has to spend time and resources taking care of them.

Resources that would be used against you if they were not tending their wounded, and they would be filled with vengeance too.


48 posted on 03/18/2013 12:47:49 PM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: rmlew

In 1943 whatever the average German felt about ‘’final victory’’ and Germany winning the war is the subject of endless academic and historic debate. But among the professional soldiers in the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe the feeling was either a kind of military/political stalemate might be effected at best but as most knew it was obvious Germany was going to lose the war. Those German soldiers who knew only of Germany’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian population centers, the merciless U-boat campaign, the atrocities of the Russian campaign and the few who knew the darker secret of the genocide and the Holocaust knew the Allies, especially the Russians, would extract a terrible vengeance on the German military and the German people and tried to do no more than their ‘’duty’’, that is only the most basic of fighting to satisfy ‘’honor’’ or satisfy their commanders and perhaps buy mercy from their enemies. Others were motivated by a hatred of Hitler and his criminal regime and did little more than that or surrendered outright when they could. Others, at many levels from the ordinary ‘’landser’’(German for “GI Joe’’) to high ranking officers directly or indirectly disobeyed orders from Berlin or simply, to use an old boxing adage ‘’took a dive’’. I often feel the Wehrmachts, not the Waffen SS performance during The Battle of the Bulge, particularly it’s attacks on Bastonge was proof of this.


49 posted on 03/18/2013 1:05:28 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: rmlew
Crushing your enemy quickly is moral.

Is it really? By whose definition of morality, yours?

Is shooting a paratrooper who bailed out of a disabled B-17 while still in the air a moral and ethical thing to do? Mr. Stigler didn't think so.

So you would have had no problem with the Confederacy in killing all the Union soldiers it had captured? And conversely, you would have had no problem with the Union killing all the Confederate soldiers it had captured?

If I'm not mistaken, Japan was condemned for killing their prisoners, many of whom were tortured. Forget the torture, do you support their immediate killing of the others?

Sorry kid, but there is more to war than just killing everyone in your sights, especially those who are no longer a military threat. Hopefully one day you'll be able to experience it for yourself rather than pontificate about it in the comfort of your nice New York Jewish neighborhood.

50 posted on 03/18/2013 1:13:41 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (This space for rent)
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