Story of courageous WW2 Pilots - Sent to me by Peter Tramm
Quite a B 17 Story - Sent to me by Peter Tramm
Thought people would appreciate this story. Peter Tramm is a retired Marine Corps officer who sends us articles for our websites.(Pearl Harbor Pictures blog) is another one of his contributions that I have shared on Keep and Share.
His friend sent this story to him, with the following comment, explaining that the picture wasn't taken when it happened, but recreated to tell the story, which did actually happen: Peter thinks that the B17 pictured is actually the one which limped home.
Peter explains, "I thought you’d like this - - - - but the
picture has to be “put together” Ham said. They wouldn’t have
another plane with a camera to take the picture and the picture wouldn’t have
been in color."
Peter continues, "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."
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
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
never 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 fuselage! . The nose was smashed and
there were holes everywhere .
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.
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 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
saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had
never talked about the incident, not even at post-war
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
Research shows that Charlie Brown lived
in Seattle and
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
Creation date: Jul 5, 2008 9:19am Last modified date: Jul 6, 2008 5:34pm Last visit date: May 23, 2020 4:15am