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Great War Story!!!

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by 635 G, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Look carefully at the B-17 & note how shot up it is- one engine dead,tail, horizontal stabilizer & nose shot up. It was read to fall out of the sky. Then realize there is a ME-109 fighter flying next to it. Now read the story below. I think you'll be surprised.

    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" & was in terrible state , having been hit by flak & fighters. The compass was damaged & they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton. After flying over an enemy airfield a German pilot named Franz Steigler was order to take off & 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 & rear section was severly damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed & there were holes everywhere.

    Despite having ammunition,Franz flew to the side of the B-17 & looked at Charlie Brown,the pilot. Brown was scared & struggling to control his damaged & blood stained plane. Aware they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted & guided the stricken plane to & slightly over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown & turned away, back to Europe.

    When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea & never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown & his remaining 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 save his 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 today-some of them because Franz never fired his guns on day.

    Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle & Franz Steigler had moved to Vancouver,BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years.

    This was back in the days when there was honor in being a warrior. They proudly wore uniforms & didn't hide in ambush inside a mosque, or behind women & children, nor did they use mentally women as suicide bombers to target & kill innocent civilians---HOW TIMES HAVED CHANGED !!!


    Phil Berkowitz
     
  2. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    I would be interested to see the picture. What is the source of this information?

    I am a student of WW2 history and the epic battle between the German Luftwaffe and the US Army 8th AF is one that is under-emphasized. Their service and sacrifice in the skies of Germany and the occupied countries made the D-Day invasions possible. God bless them all!
     
  3. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Tbonz-email me I fwd the e-maill I copied to post the story, the photo is attached.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  4. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Tbonz Google -- B-17 "Ye Old Pub"--you'll find a great picture of the incident. I did bring tears to my eyes. Would be great if someone could post this picture.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  5. Beretta687EELL

    Beretta687EELL Well-Known Member

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    Hope this works. Bill Malcolm
     
  6. dverna

    dverna Active Member

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    Not to be a jerk; but how was the picture and taken and by whom? I guess I have been "taken" one too many times to believe without questioning.

    I hope the story is true. It would be great.

    Don
     
  7. Beretta687EELL

    Beretta687EELL Well-Known Member

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    I wondered that too. I suspect that the picture of both planes is real, but someone merged and colored them to go along with the story. I believe the story to be true, since I was trying to find the picture I read the same story on a number of military history web sites. Bill Malcolm
     
  8. Hauxfan

    Hauxfan Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if the story was true or not, but it is a good one.

    I doubt like heck that the picture is true. Who would be taking the photograph?

    Here's a link to the story of "Ye Old Pub".

    Hauxfan!
     
  9. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    Thanks Hauxfan!
     
  10. BRGII

    BRGII TS Member

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    What a wonderful story, what happened to chivalry and honor? Thanks for the story and photo. BRGII
     
  11. hdskip

    hdskip Member

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    The picture is an artist's rendition.
     
  12. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that the American people today would tolerate the percentage of casualties the Army Air Force suffered during WWII. For every plane lost there was a loss of ten crewmen (B-17's); more in B-24's. Losses in the Army infantry, Navy, and Marine Corps were much less. Single-ship losses were high, but low in percentage.

    My parent's generation is full of WWII veterans. I never met one of their friends who didn't personally know someone who was killed, wounded, or captured during the air war. My mom's first boy friend was a tail gunner in a B-24, and killed over Italy.

    Best,
    Dennis
     
  13. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    Dennis

    I agree, and I have wondered how successful the Allied effort would have been if that generation had the attitude of many present day Americans. I suspect the world would be totally different in it's political make-up.

    Pat

    I read the German side of your story and much to their disliking the RAF dropped more then just a prosthesis. Adolph Galland and his fighter group in France hosted Bader for several days and did give him the royal treatment. Galland allowed Bader to inspect his personal ME-109 fighter which Bader found an interesting piece of equipment. In light-hearted humor Bader asked Galland for permission to just take it up for a short spin around the aerodrome. His request was denied.
     
  14. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    In the Air & Space Museum in DC there is a breath taking mural depicting a flight of B-17's under attact--it is great--wondering if anyone could post a copy of this mural.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  15. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    This probably isn't the one you referenced but it's a good one.
     
  16. Dednlost

    Dednlost Member

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    The story is true, even the commies at snopes admits it is.
     
  17. M R Ducks

    M R Ducks Member

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    Bomber casualties dropped precipitously once the P-51's were equipped with drop away fuel tanks allowing escort to and from bombing raids. Without escorts loss rates were over 30% (in just planes!). Had the Germans done the same with their ME-109's during the Battle of Britain, the war could easily have gone the other way.

    Joe
     
  18. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    Joe

    True enough. The Luftwaffe was like "a dog on a chain" because of the limited flying time of the ME109. Their bombers were too lightly armed to even think of operating against enemy fighters without protection. So, where the fighter could not go the bomber could not operate. The British and the Russians both exploited this weakness by moving the war industry and military installation beyond the fighters range.

    The Germans made a critical error in trying to revamp their existing aircraft by upgrading the 109's and even the 190's. The biggest mistake was not going forward at all costs with the ME262. The ME262 prototypes** were flying as early as '43, and they could have had several operational squadrons flying by '43. Thankfully, Hitler confused the issue and postponed the issue for almost two years. I think it was Churchill who stated in one of his writings "that Adolph Hitler was the best field general the allies had".

    **Footnote: The years mentioned regarding the ME262 are factual, however they easily could have been operational much earlier then 1943. The Germans flew the first jet airplane in the summer of 1939, just months before the invasion of Poland. In 1941 (after the Battle of Britian), Hitler issued a decree ordering ALL experimental projects stopped so the industrial efforts of Germany could focus on the conventional war production, without straining supply and other associated resources. The engineers at Messerschmitt obliged (sort of) and it stalled the 262 project by about a year.
     
  19. slide action

    slide action Well-Known Member

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    Having served in the Air Force in both active and reserve for nearly 25 years, and having known several WW2 air veterans, I have encountered the story several times. The story is almost "all" true true. The "only" part that was ever disputed by the crew is the part about the B-17 being lost and turned around. The raid was a daylight raid and the crippled bomber had followed the other 17s coming off target, but being heavily battle damaged had of course dropped behind the flight( a formation was forbidden from holding back for a damaged bommber which would have put the whole group in peril). The piots had the sun to determined direction and the 17 still had a mag compass and was heading back to England but no one on the crew of the heavily damaged bomber thought that they would ever make it! Franz "WAS" ordered to find and destroy the bomber. He did did find it bably damaged as the story sated, and DID escort it out to sea instead of shooting it down(which in it's crippled state he could have easily done)! The rest of the story including Franz salute, the crew briefing, the orders of silence, and the two pilots living 200 miles apart was all true! Times have indeed changed. During WW2 even the more liberal leaning served their country in combat(unknown to serveral is the fact that George McGovern flew 35 missions as a B-24 commander in WW2). I have know many of those WW2 air crews and they were some of the bravest men anybody could ever meet. Unfortunetly bravery in war time doesn't mean much to a lot of Americans these days. John McCain's treatment(even by some of these threads) in the last election is proof of that. God bless our vets from WW2 and all other wars! They are the best of this country!
     
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