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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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To: rmlew
I read once where some of George Washington's men found a dog and Washington recognized it as belonging to the British General. Washington loved dogs as well, and under a flag of truce rode in with the dog to the British camp and returned the dog and briefly discussed dogs and hunting with the other general.

There is something about these stories that tug at one’s heart and that goes beyond the pragmatic. Not being a warrior - I don't understand it fully.

But where they showed all of the slides of American grandchildren, etc. that now existed because he didn't shoot down the bomber. I wonder how many German children and grandchildren were never born because the American pilot was able to (presumably) carry out his 20 additional bombing runs (or whatever the number was).

Although I guess it wouldn't have mattered. I recall some German saying “We would shoot down 1, and you would send 10 more”.

51 posted on 03/18/2013 1:25:49 PM PDT by 21twelve ("We've got the guns, and we got the numbers" adapted and revised from Jim M.)
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To: Hot Tabasco

I am not a serious student of history but have always found it interesting. One thing I am basically certain of is that bombing civilians whether Germans bombing England, the Allies bombing Germany or Japan did nothing to win the war. It basically only hardened them.

Now military targets are completely the opposite. Having air supremacy was pretty much a necessity for winning.


52 posted on 03/18/2013 1:25:52 PM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: DUMBGRUNT

Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it.
53 posted on 03/18/2013 1:34:02 PM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: robowombat

I read where, near the end of the war in Europe, an American ambulance full of wounded, strayed into German territory and ran into a roadblock.

The Germans stopped the truck, checked out the inside, and told the terrified driver to turn around and go back. About a hour later another truck headed towards the roadblock and the Germans get ready to open up, but the truck stops short, throws out a couple of boxes and takes off.

The Germans watch the boxes for a half hour suspecting a bomb or a trick. The Sgt sends out a couple of men to check ‘em out and they bring back two boxes filled with cartons of American cigarettes.

I never read of anything along that line in the Pacific campaigns.


54 posted on 03/18/2013 1:41:49 PM PDT by Oatka (This is America. Assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: Hot Tabasco

“Is shooting a paratrooper who bailed out of a disabled B-17 while still in the air a moral and ethical thing to do?”

I read somewhere (maybe FR) recently about an American WWII fighter pilot who said he was a “parachute ace.” That meant he had killed five enemy (Luftwaffe) pilots who had bailed out of their aircraft and were hanging from parachutes. The rationale was that they would be given new fighters and be back in the air the next day. If the guy was coming down over allied territory where he would be captured, he was allowed to live.

I understand the chivalry party of it, but I understand the cold hard reality of it, too.


55 posted on 03/18/2013 2:07:27 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: PLMerite
I understand the chivalry party of it, but I understand the cold hard reality of it, too.

I don't and I don't accept it.

Look, I'm not going to get into any escalating pissing contest with anyone here, especially you.

If you think you could have shot a defenseless parachutist from your fighter plane or execute the survivors of a VC camp you just overtook, then so be it.

You have to live with that, not me, I couldn't...........

56 posted on 03/18/2013 2:23:53 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (This space for rent)
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To: Sirius Lee

Scenario 1. The US has prbably been nuked as has the USSR. Game over either way. That said, shoot it down
Scenario 2 Israel doesn’t have the capability to hit us. And would not be taking out our cities either way. There is a significant moral difference between precision bombing and city busting.


57 posted on 03/18/2013 4:29:00 PM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: Hot Tabasco

I didn’t say I could or would do it. I just said I understood the math.

The last time we won wars so decisively that the losers haven’t bothered anyone since was WWII when we bombed enemy cities flat without regard to civilian casualties. We can’t really say that about any of the conflicts we’ve been in since 1945.


58 posted on 03/18/2013 4:30:22 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: JimRed
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.

War is not analogous to crimes. There are no cops.
59 posted on 03/18/2013 4:43:49 PM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: Mr. K
That was the entire point of the story. It would have been like shooting an unarmed man literally in the back
If someone had bombed an American city or attacked my family, I would have shot him.
This was not an American fight vs a German fighter. Our bombers area bombed their cities.
60 posted on 03/18/2013 4:46:41 PM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: Hot Tabasco
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.
Shooting people baling out is immoral. But the B-17 was heading back home to fight another day.

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?
The captured analogy would be to parachuting, not a plane returning to base.

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.
Your analogies don't apply. If you think that a plane returning to base is a prioner, then you lack perspective.

61 posted on 03/18/2013 4:49:51 PM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: rmlew

>>War is not analogous to crimes. There are no cops. <<

Oh yes it is. The cops come around in the middle of the night when everyone else is sleeping and reminds you of the crimes you saw and those you committed. Those are nightmares that you will never forget.

There is an immense difference between defending your life from an armed attacker and murdering a defenseless soldier who can do you no harm.

I will pray that you never see combat.


62 posted on 03/18/2013 6:01:50 PM PDT by B4Ranch (When democracy turns to tyranny, we still get to vote. We just won't use voting boxes to do it.)
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To: robowombat

I had a friend whose Father had a large farm in Alabama. During WWII He had a large group of German POWs from the Africa Corps, who worked on his farm.

He would give each of the prisoners a coca cola and a pack of cigarettes every day which was above what he was required to pay them. These German prisoners would get Red Cross packs from Germany. One of the items in them would be ersatz cigarettes. He said the first thing they would do was throw away their German cigarettes.

The old farmer became good friends with a bunch of them and traded letters and Christmas cards with some until he died.

My Father watched German POWs being loaded into trucks. There was only one guard per truck. As he tried to step up to the trucks body, he handed one of the prisoners his Garand and the German helped pull gun up.


63 posted on 03/18/2013 6:07:40 PM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: Dilbert56

It was the G model that had the chin turret. I knew a man who was a B-17 ball-turret gunner. Man was that guy lucky. That was the ‘’dead mans’’position. You had to cram yourself into that thing without a parachute and it was hydraulic operated. If the hydraulics were shot out you were toast. There wasn’t anyway to manually crank it up. Many a poor guy in that position ended up a red smear on the runway if it had to make a belly landing.


64 posted on 03/18/2013 8:57:15 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: yarddog
“...In his book Saburo Sakai said that...”

I have the book, I think he had a conscience, and was very frank. He also meet with enemy pilots after the war. I believe if he lived by a code, then he may have spared an enemy pilot. He had the same compassion for a shot up enemy fighter plane.
many of the pilots of both nations failed to survive the war the 1st 4 months of pacific war.

65 posted on 03/21/2013 6:18:33 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: ExGeeEye
you are correct,

In pacific late 1941, B17C and D models were still in operation. The new E/F model were just entering service.
(by mid 42 they had replaced and were in full operation, in Europe a little later because philosphy there was LARGE formation use, where as in Pacific they were used piece meal).

66 posted on 03/21/2013 6:30:39 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: jmacusa
“...average German felt about ‘’final victory’’ and ...”

Good analogy,

War is brutal and atrocities were(will be) commit ed by both sides. But, it is acts of compassion that reflect true humanity.
Many in the German army were professionals. They believed in the code.
Stigler’s action was not unique,but I have no doubt, he never regretted his decision!!

Thanks for your remarks

67 posted on 03/21/2013 6:38:34 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: robowombat
Good Post!!!

Mercy trumps sacrifice!!!!

68 posted on 03/21/2013 6:39:59 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: kimtom

You’re welcome however any German soldier conducted himself personally its important to never lose sight of the fact that every German soldier, flier or Kreigsmariner who did his duty that soldier made it possible every month, everyday day, every hour for some unfortunate to be shoved into a gas chamber. This is and will forever be the awful legacy of that generation of Germans who served Fuhrer und Vaterland’’.


69 posted on 03/21/2013 12:19:08 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: yarddog

One of the sad ironies of WW2 is that German prisoners in the South were given passes to go into towns and basically have a good time for themselves. It was galling for sure to see Germans be able to go to movie theaters and get front row seats while African-Americans had to sit in the balcony.


70 posted on 03/21/2013 8:36:29 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: jmacusa
One of the sad ironies of WW2 is that German prisoners in the South were given passes to go into towns and basically have a good time for themselves. It was galling for sure to see Germans be able to go to movie theaters and get front row seats while African-Americans had to sit in the balcony.

I talked to a GI one time who told me that when he was a guard at one of those hastaly-built POW camps, the POWs lived in heated barracks while the GIs guarding them still lived in tents before their own barracks were erected.

The US policy then was to be real nice to the German POWs hoping the Germans would respond in kind. The only thing the US did do was attempt to identify the real hard-core Nazis among the POWs and keep them in separate higher security facilities.

The average German 'Grunt' was treated very well, and even allowed to hold jobs in the local area on farms etc. They were treated like 'trusties' in a civilian prison. They just had to report back at the appointed time. Some of them left the POW camps after the war with a lot of savings.

71 posted on 03/21/2013 8:54:20 PM PDT by Ditto
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To: Stonewall Jackson

It might have been humane on the part of the Japanese commander to do what he did. It might however been a matter of practicality too. Leave your enemy to be rescued by his own comrades and your enemy lives to fight another day. To see the real face of Japanese treatment of Allied prisoners look up the “Hell Ships’’ and the nightmare that was for so many unfortunate Allied prisoners. John Toland’s excellent book “The Rising Sun’ is a good place to start.’. From the Bataan Death March, the “Hell Ships’’’ to the Thai-Burma Railway the Japs were brutal captors.


72 posted on 03/21/2013 8:58:33 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: yarddog

The B-17E and later had tail gunners. There were very few B, C and D models. The Pearl Harbor B-17s were D models, IIRC and didn’t have tail gunners. All the B-17s in Europe were E or later and B-17Fs were the first to do large scale bombing in Germany.


73 posted on 03/21/2013 9:06:30 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: jmacusa
“...who did his duty that soldier made it possible every month, everyday day, every hour for some unfortunate to be shoved into a gas chamber....”

The same could be said about our current armed forces and the present administration. (sarc)
Also then, we (WE, US) share the same responsibility for the millions (unborn) of innocent that have been slain since Roe vs Wade.
That is a terrible burden.

I will give the ordinary soldier some mercy and benefit of doubt for their ignorance.

I too served in ignorance,but at least it was under Reagan, and not the last few poor excuses. (sarc)

Thanks, you still make good points.

74 posted on 03/22/2013 5:00:43 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: jmacusa
“...however been a matter of practicality too. Leave your enemy to be rescued by his own comrades and your enemy lives to fight another day....”

Not all Japanese combatants were brutal. There were some acts of kindness, even at Bataan. Though it WAS not the practice of Japanese Military to treat POW humanely, there are many accounts of Humane acts.
On the the high seas as well as the desert of N. Africa, soldiers still had a code.
Americans have been known to strafe pilots in parachutes as well. (not to mention the B-25/ A20 that strafed merchant ships in Solomons).
So, war brings out the best and worse in mankind.
The Godless Nations will always lean to the Beastly side.
(and cruelty to their own people as well, Pol Pot, Stalin.)

thx

75 posted on 03/22/2013 5:18:12 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: MediaMole

see post 66, close


76 posted on 03/22/2013 5:19:48 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: jmacusa
I recommend the book "Ship of Ghosts", which is about the survivors of the heavy cruiser Houston, which was sunk during the Battle of the Sunda Straits. The survivors, along with those from the Australian light cruiser Perth and a Texas National Guard field artillery battalion captured on Java, were transported to Burma and forced to work on constructing the Burma-India Railroad. They assisted in constructing the Bridge on the River Kwai.
77 posted on 03/22/2013 6:58:13 AM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: kimtom
The fact that as many as 36 to 40% per cent of Allied prisoners of war died under Japanese captivity is testament to their harshness as captors. The figure for Allied prisoners under German captivity is around 1%. I understand your sarcasm, thank you, and that aside, I'm not of the temperament to listen to arguments of moral equivalence when it comes to who were the worst aggressors in the Second World War, Allied or Axis. The bloody Germans and the Japanese started the whole damn mess with every intention of winning it and enslaving the world, and had they done so this would be a very different world indeed. They are directly responsible for launching a six-year cataclysm humanity barely survived. The German nation committed the most heinous and unspeakable horror mankind has ever witnessed in The Holocaust and the legacy of Japanese cruelty is very fresh and painful in the minds of the Asian peoples who suffered the barbarity of the Imperial Japanese Army. Thank you for your comments to my post.
78 posted on 03/22/2013 11:54:04 AM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: Stonewall Jackson
Thank you, I'll get a copy. Toland’s book is a very powerful and graphic account of so much of how cruel the Japanese were. Oddly enough Toland’s wife was Japanese. I started reading WW2 history when I was in the fifth grade(1967) and from then on was mesmerized by the scope of it and unashamed to say that despite whatever Americas short comings as a nation and a people, without the United States winning the war, and we did WIN that war, humanity might well have become extinct.
79 posted on 03/22/2013 12:02:22 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: jmacusa
I still have my first history book, "Air War Over Hitler's Germany", which I picked up at a bazaar in West Germany when I was six.

My maternal grandfather was a college history professor and a veteran of World War Two and Korea, so I learned a great deal of history on his knee. After he passed away several years ago, I inherited his collection of history books. I had to build a whole new wall of shelves to house them, and I still have a bunch that are languishing in boxes because I don't have a spare wall right now.

80 posted on 03/22/2013 5:45:44 PM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: Stonewall Jackson

God bless your grandfather. My paternal grandfather was a WW1 vet who served in a unit that shot poison gas. It was dangerous duty that had to be undertaken at night as it was necessary to crawl out into No-Mans-Land to set up what were called “Stokes Mortars’’ as close to the enemy trenches as possible so the gas would be more effective. This meant not wearing a helmet , no rifle or pack, just a pistol,brass knuckles and a knife. Any resistance meant things had to be done quickly and quietly if you know what I mean. And he never talked about any of it, least not to us grandkids. In WW2 my Dad was waiting to be drafted but the war ended before he was called up. A few of my uncles ( my dad’s brothers-in-law) served. One , my late Uncle Fred, saw combat in Europe with the 84th. Inf, Div.during the Battle of the Bulge. He barely made it out of that. He got the ‘’million dollar wound’’ that got him off the battle field and eventually back here in a hospital. Two others were in the Navy, one as a Shore Patrolman and another, my late Uncle Dave served as a gunners mate on the cruiser Santa Fe in the Pacific. He made it through all of that only to be killed in a construction accident after the war, leaving my aunt a widow with four young sons to raise. And my late-father-in-law, “Jack’’ served with the 4th. Marine Division . he survived Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima where he also got the ‘’million dollar wound, a leg wound that got him the Hell out of there.


81 posted on 03/22/2013 9:55:34 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: jmacusa
you put your points elegantly. Enough said.
War is H@#**( as it is said.) Man's inhumanity to man is profusely documented.

I do not excuse the leaders who rallied the worse of mankind to wage war on fellow men.

Man had lost his way because he abandoned God.

The parallels are frightening what is happening in our own country. Twenty years ago I laughed at my friends warnings about the encroachment of a new Evil. I believed in the American Way of Life and the “Idea”.

Well, times have changed, he was proven right. And if History is any indication, then we as a people will see jack boots** in our life-time.

(**or the equivalant)

thanks

82 posted on 03/26/2013 11:12:34 AM PDT by kimtom (USA ; Freedom is not Free)
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To: spel_grammer_an_punct_polise

The B-17 had a tail-gunner position from 1941 to ‘45.


83 posted on 04/09/2013 8:58:04 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: rmlew

Nothing the German Army, Luftwaffe or Kreigsmarine did was moral. NOTHING! Every German soldier, pilot, sailor and Waffen SS man who stood a post, who fought for “Fuhrer und Vaterland’’ made it possible every day, every hour and every minute for your people and millions of others to be shoved into gas chambers. Never forget that!


84 posted on 04/09/2013 9:04:01 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: yarddog
When the civilian works in the factory that produces the weapons of war that supplies his soldiers the weapons to kill your soldiers then killing that civilian becomes a strategic necessity. War sucks. There's no way around that.
85 posted on 04/09/2013 9:49:44 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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