A Man of Honor

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Asphalt Cowboy, May 29, 2008.

  1. Got this in an e-mail, hope the c&p works.

    Look carefully at the B-17 and note how shot up it is - one engine dead, tail,
    horizontal stabilizer and nose shot up. It was ready to fall out of the
    sky. Then realize that there is a German 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' and was in a terrible state, having been hit
    by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper
    over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

    After flying over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Steigler was
    ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he
    could not believe his eyes. In his words, he had nev er seen a plane in such a bad state.
    The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded.
    The top gunner was all over the top of the fuse lage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere .

    Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at
    Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

    Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and
    slightly over, the North Sea towards England.
    He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe .

    When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew t old all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about

    More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot
    who saved the crew. After years o f research, Franz was found. He had never
    talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

    They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.


    Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and FranzSteigler 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!

  2. CalifgirlinOk

    CalifgirlinOk G&G Evangelist


  3. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    Is there supposed to be a picture or two that I am not able to see?
  4. FS00008

    FS00008 Сергей Иванович Мосин. Forum Contributor

    Nice story. Check the crew numbers again. I believe they're overstating it by either 15 or 12 depending on the model B-17.
  5. I think he's counting the generations born to the crew.
  6. FS00008

    FS00008 Сергей Иванович Мосин. Forum Contributor


    I didn't get that. Thanks for pointing that out Troy.
  7. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    Outstanding story

    Asphalt Cowboy: Sir; an outstanding story. Many times;verification, has been attempted. I for one would like to believe it's true.
    Veterans Network; has spent many hours on this very subject.

    Thanks for sharing
  8. deadman03

    deadman03 G&G Addict

    thanks for sharing, how come they never teach me interesting parts of history in school?
  9. Windwalker

    Windwalker G&G Newbie

    Thanks for sharing.
  10. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera G&G Newbie

    Insofar as I can determine, this one seems to be true.

    Awesome. Even on the wrong side, you can find good men.

    - Coeloptera
  11. Devil's Advocate: How many more bombs did Brown drop on the Fatherland because Steigler failed to do his job?
  12. Usually because it is no longer "politcally correct" to "tell it like it is"[ really was]
  13. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    There is another story that I read in a book once when I was about 20 that I've been trying to track down ever since concerning my personal favorite fighter of the European air war, the P-47 Thunderbolt.

    As I remember it, a Thunderbolt squadron got into it with a bunch of ME-109s. Two Messerschmitts latched onto one Thunderbolt and dropped out of the furball, the Thunderbolt defensive and the MEs trying to nail him.

    They eventually ended up down at treetop height, the Jug pilto trying to kiss off his foes into the trees or a hilltop. He spotted a town and headed for it.

    According to the story, the Thunderbolt was so low he was screaming down the mains treet of the town looking UP into the second story windows. He risked a glance into his rearviews and saw he was in it deep. One of the 109s was on his tail and the other was up over the rooftops behind and to his right. He stood the Jug on her left wingtip and whipped down another street - and that was where he figured his luck had run out.

    There was a bombed-out factory right infront of him, one of the Temple to Industry types with big cathedral windows in the walls. The Thunderbolt pilot had just enough time to think the traditional "Oh, crap!" last words fo the aviator and aim for the big center window of the far wall, on the theory that when the walls took his wings off, maybe the fuselage would come down upright and he'd have some faint chance to escape getting killed. He hunched down and shut his eyes


    There was a tremdous blast of wind. The airplane was bucking and vibrating like a mad horse. He cautiously looked up.

    The tips of his propellor were bent, which explained the vibration. Most of his canopy and the tip of his rudder and stabilizer were gone. His radio antenna was gone. He'd lost two feet off each wingtip. But the Jug was still flying!

    He looked to the left and saw a Messerschmitt, just sitting there and pacing him. He looked to the right. Ditto. The German pilot waved at him and pulled out a small camera. He held it up to his face and snapped a couple of photos, obviously thinking, "No one back at Base is ever going to believe me if I don't have photos of this!"

    Then he talked to the American with hand signals, telling him to keep going, that they would escort him. The two Germans eased the formation up to about 2000 feet and escorted the battered Thunderbolt most of the way across the Channel to within sight of the white cliffs of Dover before the peeled off with a final salute and headed back to base. The Thunderbolt made it to a British emergency field and landed safely.

    That P-47 never flew again, of course, but it proved the essential toughness of the breed. As far as I know, it's the only airplane ever to fly through a brick wall and live to tell the tale!
  14. Seabeescotty

    Seabeescotty G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I read another story about Jugs, where the pilots guns jammed. The 109 would go to his rear, and rip off a burst, and then fly back to his wing tip, to see the results. This went on, to the coastline, where the 109 pulled back to his wingtip, waggled his wings, saluted him, and turned back to Fance. The pilot was able to land, and they counted 1900 holes in his plane. What saved him, was the armor behind the seat, and the rugged construction of the P47. I've read the other stories, also, and yes, there are men of honor on all sides, in any conflict.