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(NYPost)   WW2 bomber pilot Charlie Brown spared death by German fighter who had him in his crosshairs in 1943. He never knew why, until they met...oh my, subby allergic to dust   (nypost.com) divider line 72
    More: Unlikely, Charlie Brown, Germans  
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35206 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Dec 2012 at 1:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-12-09 01:30:44 PM
13 votes:

superdude72: So he was too honorable to shoot down a bomber when it was vulnerable. Nice job, Stigler, you've just freed that bomber crew to return to battle and kill god knows how many of your countrymen.

It's such an aristocratic way of thinking. Who cares how many of the little people die as result of your actions (or lack thereof). The important thing is that you keep your "honor."

Thank God such chivalry has gone out of fashion. We're a better world for it.


Thank God not everyone thinks like you do, you pathetic little worm.
2012-12-09 02:16:39 PM
9 votes:

semiotix: So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.



Actually, no. There was a big difference between the regular German military, and the party military units like the SS and the Gestapo. In fact, the regular German military couldn't stand the SS, because they were like animals. That's not to say the regular German military was completely innocent of any wrong-doing, but here's a case in point:

I made a documentary about a group of Allied airmen who were captured by the Germans after being shot down, and ended up in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The Gestapo had declared them "terrorists" instead of allowing them POW status. After a couple of months of disease and starvation inside Buchenwald, officers from the German air force showed up and got them out, taking them to a regular Luftwaffe POW camp, which was like the Ritz by comparison. Regarding the German air force rescuing them from the SS, a Canadian airman in my film put it, "they were enemies in combat, but comrades in arms" and "everybody detested the SS and the Gestapo." After the war, when American POWs had reunions, they actually invited some of the German POW camp commanding officers -- the ones who had behaved according to international law -- to their reunions, and they showed up.

Another example: My grandfather said that in their POW camp whenever they did daily roll-call, the senior officer of the Allied prisoners would step forward and salute the German camp commander, who was in their case most likely a Luftwaffe officer, i.e. not SS or Gestapo. In the final months of the war, the SS started forcing all of the regular military officers to use the Nazi salute, including their camp's commander. On the first day that he did this, the Allied senior officer saluted back, per usual. The next day, the Allied senior officer came out with no hat on, because if he didn't have a hat on, it meant he wasn't required to salute. Hence, he wouldn't have to return a salute to someone doing the Nazi salute at him. The Germans understood. They didn't want to do it, either. So we can argue all day about who let what happen, but it's not as black-and-white as "oh, they were all criminal Nazis." I mean, you're saying this in a thread about a story where a German pilot put personal honor before his country, risking his own execution in the process.
2012-12-09 01:47:26 PM
6 votes:
Forgoing the possibility of being trolled...

The idea of this code of honor exhibited by the German pilot, that you find hypocritical and needless...

First, in the article, it was discussed by his superior, that to conduct yourself personally with honor and forethought may not "help your side", but it will help your own mental well-being, and preserve your humanity. So consider that he was following orders, albeit esoteric orders, from his commanding officer.

Second, such ridiculous things at the Geneva Convention also offer acts of chivalry and codes of honor/ethics, such as using bullets with full metal jackets, so that more people shot remain casualties and aren't converted to kills.

Perhaps human beings engage in warfare under hypocritical principles, but often those who don't adhere to that chivalry, and place the ends justifying the means as their guiding principle, they are vilified by the rest of us... as per terrorism.
2012-12-09 01:35:04 PM
6 votes:

scavenger: I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?


i210.photobucket.com
2012-12-09 11:41:41 AM
6 votes:
offsite2.seriousshops.com

CURSE YOU, RED BARON!!
2012-12-09 02:05:36 PM
5 votes:

scavenger: ElLoco: scavenger:
I'm neither cool nor edgy, don't worry. I just abhor violence and anything that glorifies war.


You "Just abhor violence" yet you click on a link about WW2? Guess you don't know the meaning of 'abhor'. Let me define it for you:


abhor [əbˈhɔː]
vb -hors, -horring, -horred
(tr) to detest vehemently; find repugnant; reject
[from Latin abhorrēre to shudder at, shrink from, from ab- away from + horrēre to bristle, shudder]


Given that you abhor violence, your claim that you came to this thread and had to post your miserable thoughts make no sense. You must now be traumatized about reading about two old men who survived a horrible period in their lives and found each other 50 years later?

Go read threads about unicorns and rainbows and only post happy hippy thoughts. You'll feel much better.
2012-12-09 02:46:46 PM
4 votes:
My grandmother had a landlord who was a German conscript late in the war as a teen. He was in a tank unit. He manned the machine gun on the tank. He told her that they knew they had lost, but, because the Nazi's were fools and wouldn't surrender, they had to keep fighting. He told her with tears in his eyes that he (among others) were handcuffed to their gun so they couldn't surrender or desert. He said that if he actually hit anyone, it was by mistake, as he spent most of his time shooting where the enemy wasn't, all while praying he'd be taken prisoner--because fighting he had a chance, but to be caught not fighting he would be executed.

So, yeah. "Nazi" does not equal "German soldier."
2012-12-09 02:06:13 PM
4 votes:

semiotix: So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.

And yeah, he did a brave and beautiful thing, end of story, no caveats or hesitations or "but he was a Nazi!" about it. Nor is it the first such story we've heard.

The thing is, in sixty years (or sooner) we're going to start hearing these exact same stories about the occasional Talibani commander or al-Qaeda henchman. And immediately you want to say, "no, that's different, this guy had a personal moral code, he wasn't an insane jihadist zombie trying to get himself killed for his 72 virgins, he was just born on the wrong side of the war." But come on--what are the odds that this is the first war in history where the bad guys all turn out to be exactly like the bad guys at the very top of the bad guy food chain?

So the sappy, schmaltzy moral I take away from this is that we'd probably have fewer wars--and for that matter, fewer Talibans and Nazi reichs--if we'd start figuring that out sooner. (And by "we" I mean, for the most part, the people who aren't going Over There and learning first hand that real-life people are complicated.)


Wehrmacht soldiers != Waffen-SS soldiers

I don't blame Wehrmacht soldiers, particularly conscripts, for fighting in military battle against military foes. If the Taliban had a uniformed military with professional soldiers or citizen soldiers that fought largely by the rules of war, which they probably had when they were fighting the Northern Alliance, I wouldn't hold them to the same fire that I would the al Qaeda or current Taliban fighters that attack civilians freely.
2012-12-09 01:42:35 PM
4 votes:
I met a German Major one time who had some interesting stories to tell.

He fought with full force when he thought the war could be won, but as soon as he knew it was lost, he turned around and saved as many of his men as he could.

He crossed the lines many times, negotiating surrender of hundreds of German troops, saving not only their lives but also those of many Americans.

He was a genuine hero, and if he had been caught he would have faced a terrible, slow execution.

I also met an American citizen who renounced his country and joined the Wehrmacht, one of three men in all history who did so. I do not agree with his politics, but he had an "interesting" slant on life.
2012-12-09 01:20:49 PM
4 votes:
Bonus: constant references to Red baron in Peanuts and of course the Peanuts song where the Red Baron doesn't shoot down snoopy because it's Christmas. Pilot in real life similar situation named charlie Brown. Coincidence?
2012-12-09 11:56:37 AM
4 votes:
That's a *really* good article, subby.

Thank you for finding that and submitting it.
2012-12-09 09:08:31 AM
4 votes:
Yes, it's getting pretty dusty in here. Damn woodstove. Or maybe it's the cat hair. I'm glad they finally did get in touch with each other.
2012-12-09 02:35:28 PM
3 votes:

scavenger: I'm neither cool nor edgy, don't worry. I just abhor violence and anything that glorifies war.


I hate the glorification of war, too. That's why I happen to enjoy stories like these. Since Thursday, I have seen the film Joyeux Noel (about the WWI Christmas Truce), and the musical War Horse (which also takes place in WWI), so the theme is already on my mind. Both stories portray all of the soldiers involved as human, including the Germans. The WWII story linked here does the same thing. Because these stories don't dehumanize one side, they better communicate the horrors and moral failings of war in general. They do not glorify war. They glorify acts of peace in spite of, well, everything.
2012-12-09 02:26:53 PM
3 votes:

bhcompy: semiotix: So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.

And yeah, he did a brave and beautiful thing, end of story, no caveats or hesitations or "but he was a Nazi!" about it. Nor is it the first such story we've heard.

The thing is, in sixty years (or sooner) we're going to start hearing these exact same stories about the occasional Talibani commander or al-Qaeda henchman. And immediately you want to say, "no, that's different, this guy had a personal moral code, he wasn't an insane jihadist zombie trying to get himself killed for his 72 virgins, he was just born on the wrong side of the war." But come on--what are the odds that this is the first war in history where the bad guys all turn out to be exactly like the bad guys at the very top of the bad guy food chain?

So the sappy, schmaltzy moral I take away from this is that we'd probably have fewer wars--and for that matter, fewer Talibans and Nazi reichs--if we'd start figuring that out sooner. (And by "we" I mean, for the most part, the people who aren't going Over There and learning first hand that real-life people are complicated.)

Wehrmacht soldiers != Waffen-SS soldiers

I don't blame Wehrmacht soldiers, particularly conscripts, for fighting in military battle against military foes. If the Taliban had a uniformed military with professional soldiers or citizen soldiers that fought largely by the rules of war, which they probably had when they were fighting the Northern Alliance, I wouldn't hold them to the same fire that I would the al Qaeda or current Taliban fighters that attack civilians freely.


Well said, bhcompy. Thought we all settled this "Not all Germans were Nazis, and Germans are not collectively guilty" thing decades ago. The victors punished the leaders and those most able to stop the crimes against humanity, and forgave the rest. In fact, Germans are harder on themselves over their history than their former enemies are -- there are severe restrictions on what we Americans consider to be inviolable freedoms of expression.

It appears semiotix's lesson is backwards ... he's worried about future generations getting the lessons wrong, when he is the one who has history all wrong.
2012-12-09 02:17:07 PM
3 votes:
Stigler, too, was crying. He explained everything: that he could tell that Brown had no idea how bad the plane was, that he was pointing first to the ground, to Germany, and then pointing away, mouthing "Sweden," that he was trying to escort them to safety...

To me, that was the moment where it stopped being a "what a decent fellow" story and started being a "there should be some kind of a medal for that" story. It seems like it's one thing to spare a helpless enemy and another entirely to actually start thinking about how to help them save their own lives, potentially at the cost of your own life.
2012-12-09 02:03:04 PM
3 votes:
I've read this story a half-dozen times, but it never gets old. Here's the two pilots when they met again a few years ago, before they passed away:

voiceseducation.org

That's the German pilot, Stigler, on the left, American B-17 pilot Charlie Brown on the right, and the artist who painted some pictures of the incident in the middle.
2012-12-09 02:00:01 PM
3 votes:

ha-ha-guy: While it is a nice story, from a purely practical standpoint Stigler went too far. I'm all for giving them a chance to land (or go to Sweden and be detained for the duration of the war). Letting them cross the Channel though just means at least some of them will be back (on other B-17s) to bomb again. You give the enemy a chance to surrender, but you don't let them just walk off.

There is honor on the battlefield, but above that comes the honor of protecting the populace of your country. Letting a bomber crew head on home doesn't satisfy the latter.

/although that said I can see why a conscripted soldier wasn't in that much of a hurry to finish off a wounded duck


Being a conscript is a part of it, but, also, as his superior mentioned, you need to maintain your humanity. You're betting on living through the war, and you need to live with what you did. Codes like bushido and chivalry exist in part to ensure that you can live with yourself. Spielberg turned this around in Saving Private Ryan with the released German soldier, but such is Spielberg's way, given his ethnic background.
2012-12-09 01:43:42 PM
3 votes:
Wow, humanity springs up where you least expect it. Glad that Brown got to finally meet the man who saved him and his crew.
2012-12-09 01:38:52 PM
3 votes:
Although I'm not entirely against their use, a drone wouldn't make the same decision. Great story.
What I find interesting is how removed people feel from the war. It's as if it's simply a TV show that we all know major plot details to. This isn't ancient history. If you were born in the 50s or 60s, you lived in the consequences and ongoing momentum of WW2 (Hirihito and Hess lived until the late 80s, well Hirihito for sure). The war didn't really end until the 1990s.
2012-12-09 01:32:34 PM
3 votes:
blog.maxandmittens.com
2012-12-09 11:13:22 AM
3 votes:
Cool story, bro. Seriously though.
2012-12-10 02:34:06 AM
2 votes:
The most important part of the whole story is the beginning where Franz was told about honor. Were it not for that, the story might have had a much different ending. Words matter people. Use them wisely. And teach, don't scream or put down or be sarcastic. Just teach.
2012-12-09 06:22:59 PM
2 votes:
He craned his neck and yelled back for his top gunner, screamed at him to get up in his turret and shoot this guy out of the sky. Before Brown's gunner could squeeze off his first round, the German did something even weirder: He looked Brown in the eye and gave him a salute. Then he peeled away.

He saw that the bomber was crippled, and that there were probably man casualties inside, and they were combat ineffective, and he let them go, hoping they would make it. What a gentleman. I salute not only you for sparing the lives of those aboard, but also the brave crew of the B-17.

/tips a glass

//Salute'
2012-12-09 06:19:37 PM
2 votes:
Like Subby's Mom, those B-17s could really take a pounding.

www.ww2aircraft.net

www.daveswarbirds.com

www.daveswarbirds.com
2012-12-09 05:10:18 PM
2 votes:

chuckufarlie: JesseL: superdude72: Farty McPooPants:

There were plenty more to replace them, it wouldn't have made a difference as far as that is concerned.

Oh, really? I wasn't aware that the British in 1943 had such a surplus of qualified bomber crews and able-bodied men aged 18-35 to train as replacements. I thought the war was kind of a hard slog for them. I thought that was why they kept increasing the number of sorties the bomber crews had to fly, as Joseph Heller portrayed in Catch-22.

1. He didn't think they were even going to survive the trip back across the channel.
2. This was an American crew flying an American bomber from an American airbase in England. The Brits didn't fly B-17s and they avoided daylight bombing runs.

Dumbass.

psst. Don't tell anybody but the Brits actually did fly B-17s.


Jesus, how easy it is for us internet enabled trolls to debate the judgement of two men engaged in deadly combat decades ago. As if either of these guys did all these calculations in the moment. It was an act of mercy granted from one person to another in a situation virtually none of us have the ability to even comprehend. Neither man was worrying about how many replacement pilots were available or who might return or who flew what model of bomber or didn't.
2012-12-09 03:44:22 PM
2 votes:

bhcompy: You have poor reading comprehension skills. I hold no disrespect for someone that as a solider fights soldiers. The second you start to target civilians directly(among other things), such as killing and disfiguring the women of your own country for the audacity of getting an education, you cease to become redeemable.


chuckufarlie: Yes, that pilot was fighting for the people running Auschwitz but he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

If you really believe that there will come a time when the people in the USA look upon the taliban or al qaeda in the same way, I repeat that you are a fool. There is no comparison between a man who fought in an honorable war and the taliban/al qaeda assholes.


Look, I know you want me to be the guy who's saying that Osama was just misunderstood, and that killing civilians is hunky-dory. But guess what? Those guys you're talking about are war criminals, or just criminals period. So were the properly-uniformed German military personnel at the concentration camps, for that matter, not all of whom were exactly thrilled to be there or entirely in a position to comfortably refuse. But yeah, on some level, fark 'em. Fark Goebbles and Ayman al-Zawahiri a good deal more than the soldier on guard duty in front of Auschwitz or the Pakistani dirt farmer who lets the local cell store their bottles of face-acid in his shed. But still, fark those guys at least some.

What I'm saying--all I'm saying--is that not every single individual among the present day's bad guys, or rooting them on, is always going to seem automatically completely and cartoonishly evil, any more than Herr Stigler was even though he fought for Nazi farking Germany. And yeah, there will come a day when that sort of thing can be said without people freaking out about it. But Jeeeeeeesus, not today, I guess. Let's check back in fifty years.
2012-12-09 02:54:08 PM
2 votes:

chuckufarlie: I suppose that you believe that there was no difference between German and a Nazi. If so, you would be wrong once again. With all of your pontificating, your grasp of the reality of the situation is very poor.

And if you think that some member of the Taliban is going to show mercy, you are even a bigger fool.


I think the odds of me being shown mercy by any given Nazi or Talibani fighter are extremely slim, just as I think the odds of them being given a break by any given Allied or U.S. soldier are extremely slim. It's war; the point isn't to show how merciful you are. For that matter, if it had been good ol' Charlie Brown showing that mercy to a guy fighting for the guys who were running Auschwitz, I don't think we'd all be feeling so warm and fuzzy about his act of tender humanity.

What I am saying is that in fifty years, if we're lucky, you're going to have the same nuanced approach to Nazis vs. Germans that you do towards the people we tend to lump under the general heading of "Middle Eastern/Central Asian evildoers" today. And, miraculously, you will always have been able to make that distinction. In fact, you'll be on HyperFark.com lecturing some ignorant kid about how a lot of those "insurgents" were effectively conscripts themselves with no way of knowing that the horror stories they were told about American atrocities or plans for world domination weren't true. Etc. etc.

bhcompy: If the Taliban had a uniformed military with professional soldiers or citizen soldiers that fought largely by the rules of war, which they probably had when they were fighting the Northern Alliance, I wouldn't hold them to the same fire that I would the al Qaeda or current Taliban fighters that attack civilians freely.


Yeah, I know, they're not fighting by the "rules of war" with uniforms and such. Of course they're not--if they lined up in formations and all tied identical ribbons to their arms, they'd all be dead in the first round of drone strikes. They're engaging in asymmetrical warfare (or whatever synonym you prefer) which is functionally impossible to do by the "rules." The fact that they're not scrupulously calling war-fouls on themselves is NOT why we're mad at them, though, you know. We'd be every inch as much up Afghanistan's ass if their marked bombers, commanded by Gen. bin Laden, had tried to blow up a bunch of military installations on 9/11. We just would have won a lot faster.

A bunch of agreed-upon ground rules codified in Switzerland a hundred years ago and then kinda-sorta followed, tongue-in-cheek, by certain parties to certain parts of one war fought immediately afterward, is not what defines personal honor or humanity. No one set of one-size-fits-all rules does that. Hell, think of your favorite Nazi-prison-break movie. Now count the Geneva Convention violations committed by the good guys. Using the Red Cross to smuggle in contraband?! A flagrant violation of the rules of war! I'm sure the Axis powers had to retire to their fainting couches when they realized that was going on. But I'm not exactly about to say we were fighting dirty in WWII on that account. 

For both of you, and for anybody else who freaked out in the meantime because TERRORISTS, here's the tl;dr: relax. Just prepare yourself for the inevitable day when you have to acknowledge that there are a few of the current bad guys who actually don't turn out to be as bad as they look in the middle of a war against them.
2012-12-09 02:35:21 PM
2 votes:

olddeegee: This isn't ancient history. If you were born in the 50s or 60s, you lived in the consequences and ongoing momentum of WW2 (Hirihito and Hess lived until the late 80s, well Hirihito for sure).


I was in Japan when Hirohito died in January of 1989. We wondered if there would be riots, but there were none. I actually have a recording I made that night of the nightly "All is well, be safe in your homes" speech that was broadcast over a Tokyo PA system every night. I wondered if it would be different that night, but it wasn't.

You're right. It is not ancient history. But it might as well be for anyone under 35 or so. We'll forget, and we'll do it again. And again.
2012-12-09 02:03:19 PM
2 votes:
Great story, thanks Subby
2012-12-09 01:58:46 PM
2 votes:
So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.

And yeah, he did a brave and beautiful thing, end of story, no caveats or hesitations or "but he was a Nazi!" about it. Nor is it the first such story we've heard.

The thing is, in sixty years (or sooner) we're going to start hearing these exact same stories about the occasional Talibani commander or al-Qaeda henchman. And immediately you want to say, "no, that's different, this guy had a personal moral code, he wasn't an insane jihadist zombie trying to get himself killed for his 72 virgins, he was just born on the wrong side of the war." But come on--what are the odds that this is the first war in history where the bad guys all turn out to be exactly like the bad guys at the very top of the bad guy food chain?

So the sappy, schmaltzy moral I take away from this is that we'd probably have fewer wars--and for that matter, fewer Talibans and Nazi reichs--if we'd start figuring that out sooner. (And by "we" I mean, for the most part, the people who aren't going Over There and learning first hand that real-life people are complicated.)
2012-12-09 01:58:17 PM
2 votes:

superdude72: So he was too honorable to shoot down a bomber when it was vulnerable. Nice job, Stigler, you've just freed that bomber crew to return to battle and kill god knows how many of your countrymen.

It's such an aristocratic way of thinking. Who cares how many of the little people die as result of your actions (or lack thereof). The important thing is that you keep your "honor."

Thank God such chivalry has gone out of fashion. We're a better world for it.


There were plenty more to replace them, it wouldn't have made a difference as far as that is concerned. Allowing them to live and thereby retaining his own humanity, that made a difference if even only to them.
2012-12-09 01:31:53 PM
2 votes:

scavenger: I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?


Jesus. Great sentimental story about honor and heroism, yet the peace hippy trolls have already arrived posting this crap in the first 2 dozen posts. Why do you asshats even click on links about war?

Must be a new fark record...
2012-12-09 01:27:06 PM
2 votes:
So he was too honorable to shoot down a bomber when it was vulnerable. Nice job, Stigler, you've just freed that bomber crew to return to battle and kill god knows how many of your countrymen.

It's such an aristocratic way of thinking. Who cares how many of the little people die as result of your actions (or lack thereof). The important thing is that you keep your "honor."

Thank God such chivalry has gone out of fashion. We're a better world for it.
2012-12-09 01:16:49 PM
2 votes:
Very old Article, but well worth mentioning time and time again. I have this painting on my wall behind my computer, next to the Red Baron's Portrait and on the other side a copy of the V-day Newspaper.
2012-12-09 01:16:11 PM
2 votes:
Good grief that's an interesting story.
2012-12-09 01:14:30 PM
2 votes:
The news had come out in the First World War
The bloody Red Baron was flying once more
The Allied command ignored all of its men
And called on Snoopy to do it again.

Was the night before Christmas, 40 below
When Snoopy went up in search of his foe
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought
With ice on his wings Snoopy knew he was caught.

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ring out from the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man
2012-12-09 12:41:38 PM
2 votes:

ArkAngel: [offsite2.seriousshops.com image 400x283]

CURSE YOU, RED BARON!!


www.fletcherarmstrongblog.com
2012-12-09 11:54:42 AM
2 votes:
Great story. Glad they both survived to tell.
2012-12-10 06:44:05 AM
1 votes:
"You follow the rules of war for you - not for your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity."

A timely message for America...from a Nazi.
2012-12-10 12:16:32 AM
1 votes:

superdude72: So he was too honorable to shoot down a bomber when it was vulnerable. Nice job, Stigler, you've just freed that bomber crew to return to battle and kill god knows how many of your countrymen.

It's such an aristocratic way of thinking. Who cares how many of the little people die as result of your actions (or lack thereof). The important thing is that you keep your "honor."

Thank God such chivalry has gone out of fashion. We're a better world for it.


Assuming you're not trolling...

I don't think you understood the speech Roedel gave. If you have a reputation of showing no mercy, you can't expect any in return, and the Germans' numbers were getting low in a hurry.

It's okay, the world needs garbage collectors, too.
2012-12-09 10:23:33 PM
1 votes:

Discernibly Turgid: scavenger: ElLoco: scavenger:
I'm neither cool nor edgy, don't worry. I just abhor violence and anything that glorifies war.

You "Just abhor violence" yet you click on a link about WW2? Guess you don't know the meaning of 'abhor'. Let me define it for you:


abhor [əbˈhɔː]
vb -hors, -horring, -horred
(tr) to detest vehemently; find repugnant; reject
[from Latin abhorrēre to shudder at, shrink from, from ab- away from + horrēre to bristle, shudder]

Given that you abhor violence, your claim that you came to this thread and had to post your miserable thoughts make no sense. You must now be traumatized about reading about two old men who survived a horrible period in their lives and found each other 50 years later?

Go read threads about unicorns and rainbows and only post happy hippy thoughts. You'll feel much better.


Even worse - he takes a story about war WHERE HUMANITY AND MERCY IS THE STORY and takes a big smelly dump in the thread.
2012-12-09 08:05:28 PM
1 votes:

miniflea: Medic Zero: D2theMcV: chuckufarlie: D2theMcV: My grandmother had a landlord who was a German conscript late in the war as a teen. He was in a tank unit. He manned the machine gun on the tank. He told her that they knew they had lost, but, because the Nazi's were fools and wouldn't surrender, they had to keep fighting. He told her with tears in his eyes that he (among others) were handcuffed to their gun so they couldn't surrender or desert. He said that if he actually hit anyone, it was by mistake, as he spent most of his time shooting where the enemy wasn't, all while praying he'd be taken prisoner--because fighting he had a chance, but to be caught not fighting he would be executed.

So, yeah. "Nazi" does not equal "German soldier."

Anytime I hear a story that was told to the person by a person who heard it from a third person, I have trouble accepting it. In this case it seems very hard to believe. Handcuffing a soldier inside of a tank is a virtual death sentence. If the tank got hit, this guy was screwed.

There are so many things about this story that just do not add up.

They weren't concerned with whether or not they died. They were concerned that they would surrender or retreat. And he, specifically, wasn't inside the tank. It was the machine gun on top. (OK, probably in the tank from the waist down.) And while I don't disagree that third-hand information isn't reliable, I have no reason to doubt my grandmother's version. Whether or not the landlord was telling the truth can be questioned, but the "fight or be shot" dictum from German officers has been a verified actuality, as illustrated in TFA.

Maybe it wasn't a tank? Because no German tank had a machinegun mounted on top that your only job was to shoot it.

If I recall correctly, Germany did continue to use open topped self propelled guns until the end of the war. And keep in mind that the word "tank" (especially through the filter of translation) could refer to any number of armored vehicles that ...


It is VERY difficult for me to believe that they handcuffed a man to his machine gun.

1. The SS was fighting on the eastern front at the end of the war and this event would have had to have happened on the western front. A German soldier on the Eastern front knew that it was kill or be killed.

2. The machine gun on the STUG III was operated by one man. An additional gunner would have been exposed to fire so they only used one. A man operating a machinegun by himself would need the use of both hands with full mobility. He could shoot one can of ammo and then he was finished.

3. Self-propelled artillery did not use their machine gun unless the front line had been over run so it seems unlikely that he was on a self-propelled gun.

4. German soldiers recognized the difference between a tank, a STUG and a self propelled gun. If the man said tank, he meant tank.

This was a story invented by an old man who wanted people to look upon him with sympathy because he did not want to kill anybody any more. He did not want people to consider him a nasty German.
2012-12-09 05:37:28 PM
1 votes:
May be a good thing I skipped reading pgs 2&3 of comments for all the verbiage that may or may not be justified. Now that both major players in this tale have years since greeted each other, & their comrades, in Valhalla or wherever, it was safe to write the book. Don't make 'em, any of 'em, men or women, like they used to. Could not resist reading the article tho.
Also line about WW2 not ending til the 1990s. Yes indeedy! Not until Berlin ceased to be the Last Remaining Occupied City from that war.
Schluss damit, & no am not of German forbearance, but lived in W Germany & W Berlin for almost 8 yrs in the 1970s.
2012-12-09 05:01:09 PM
1 votes:

JesseL: superdude72: Farty McPooPants:

There were plenty more to replace them, it wouldn't have made a difference as far as that is concerned.

Oh, really? I wasn't aware that the British in 1943 had such a surplus of qualified bomber crews and able-bodied men aged 18-35 to train as replacements. I thought the war was kind of a hard slog for them. I thought that was why they kept increasing the number of sorties the bomber crews had to fly, as Joseph Heller portrayed in Catch-22.

1. He didn't think they were even going to survive the trip back across the channel.
2. This was an American crew flying an American bomber from an American airbase in England. The Brits didn't fly B-17s and they avoided daylight bombing runs.

Dumbass.


psst. Don't tell anybody but the Brits actually did fly B-17s.
2012-12-09 04:52:56 PM
1 votes:

superdude72: Farty McPooPants:

There were plenty more to replace them, it wouldn't have made a difference as far as that is concerned.

Oh, really? I wasn't aware that the British in 1943 had such a surplus of qualified bomber crews and able-bodied men aged 18-35 to train as replacements. I thought the war was kind of a hard slog for them. I thought that was why they kept increasing the number of sorties the bomber crews had to fly, as Joseph Heller portrayed in Catch-22.


1. He didn't think they were even going to survive the trip back across the channel.
2. This was an American crew flying an American bomber from an American airbase in England. The Brits didn't fly B-17s and they avoided daylight bombing runs.

Dumbass.
2012-12-09 03:21:17 PM
1 votes:

superdude72: "Stigler, you've just freed that bomber crew to return to battle and kill god knows how many of your countrymen... Thank God such chivalry has gone out of fashion. We're a better world for it."

Mister Dude72,
Neither side targeted civilians during the early part of the war (Dresden and V2 rockets were much later), and there was a battle code observed by many experienced officers on both sides - non-combatants were to be left alone, Hospitals and medics were untouchable, and there were slack periods when the wounded could be collected to be treated. What you are advocating is butchery of the wounded, those unable to protect themselves, and that is shameful.
2012-12-09 03:14:33 PM
1 votes:

A_bomb37: chuckufarlie: Dumb-Ass-Monkey: My high school driver's ed teacher was a former German fighter pilot. 14 years old, and he was conscripted, trained to fly, and put into tankbuster duty. The war ended before he had to fly any combat missions, but he immediately fled with his family out of Germany and eventually into the US.

I think that your teacher was pulling your leg. The idea that a 14 year old was trained to fly is not feasible. The Germans had plenty of pilots. What they did not have was the fuel to fly the planes. A 14 year old that was designated as a tank buster would have been given a Panzerfaust.

No... by the end of the war the Germans were down to using boy scouts and the elderly and infirm in the defense of Berlin. I think it's entirely likely.


yes, they were using Hitler Youth members and the elderly, but not as PILOTS. There was no shortage of PILOTS. There was a shortage of infantry.
2012-12-09 03:01:54 PM
1 votes:

semiotix: Yeah, I know, they're not fighting by the "rules of war" with uniforms and such. Of course they're not--if they lined up in formations and all tied identical ribbons to their arms, they'd all be dead in the first round of drone strikes. They're engaging in asymmetrical warfare (or whatever synonym you prefer) which is functionally impossible to do by the "rules." The fact that they're not scrupulously calling war-fouls on themselves is NOT why we're mad at them, though, you know. We'd be every inch as much up Afghanistan's ass if their marked bombers, commanded by Gen. bin Laden, had tried to blow up a bunch of military installations on 9/11. We just would have won a lot faster.

A bunch of agreed-upon ground rules codified in Switzerland a hundred years ago and then kinda-sorta followed, tongue-in-cheek, by certain parties to certain parts of one war fought immediately afterward, is not what defines personal honor or humanity. No one set of one-size-fits-all rules does that. Hell, think of your favorite Nazi-prison-break movie. Now count the Geneva Convention violations committed by the good guys. Using the Red Cross to smuggle in contraband?! A flagrant violation of the rules of war! I'm sure the Axis powers had to retire to their fainting couches when they realized that was going on. But I'm not exactly about to say we were fighting dirty in WWII on that account. 

For both of you, and for anybody else who freaked out in the meantime because TERRORISTS, here's the tl;dr: relax. Just prepare yourself for the inevitable day when you have to acknowledge that there are a few of the current bad guys who actually don't turn out to be as bad as they look in the middle of a war against them.


You have poor reading comprehension skills. I hold no disrespect for someone that as a solider fights soldiers. The second you start to target civilians directly(among other things), such as killing and disfiguring the women of your own country for the audacity of getting an education, you cease to become redeemable.
2012-12-09 02:45:00 PM
1 votes:

scavenger: Frantic Freddie: Hey scavenger, how many civilians did the Germans kill during the occupation of Western Europe?

farking troll.....

a bunch. They killed a bunch.


I suspect our scavenger pieced history together from Code Pink pamphlets and rants by angry sociology profs, and thinks ideological zeal is a substitute for knowledge.
2012-12-09 02:40:03 PM
1 votes:

Canton: scavenger: I'm neither cool nor edgy, don't worry. I just abhor violence and anything that glorifies war.

I hate the glorification of war, too. That's why I happen to enjoy stories like these. Since Thursday, I have seen the film Joyeux Noel (about the WWI Christmas Truce), and the musical War Horse (which also takes place in WWI), so the theme is already on my mind. Both stories portray all of the soldiers involved as human, including the Germans. The WWII story linked here does the same thing. Because these stories don't dehumanize one side, they better communicate the horrors and moral failings of war in general. They do not glorify war. They glorify acts of peace in spite of, well, everything.


That's a good point.
2012-12-09 02:39:16 PM
1 votes:
Wow. What a touching story.

Pollen count is heavy today.
2012-12-09 02:39:10 PM
1 votes:

chuckufarlie: what part of "return to combat" did you not understand? The fact that he ended up killing the guy who freed him is minimal.


It's also apparently a common misunderstanding of the film. They were two different characters with similar haircuts, but the guy who killed Mellish was SS, while the prisoner was regular infantry.

/ CSB: Rather than returning to the Third Reich, my grandmother's oncologist, a brilliant physician who a small midwestern town was very lucky to have, was captured in combat by the Soviets and "allowed to escape" from a gulag for being such an absurdly nice guy. He made his way to the United States and never really spoke of Germany again. The first the community heard of it was when he had it published in his obituary, an anecdote casually wedged between a mention of his time playing the flute on German national radio as a teenager and having his body flown back to be buried on his family estate in Germany.)
2012-12-09 02:31:00 PM
1 votes:

RogerClemente: This article made me remember how one of the most well known classic Christmas songs is actually about a Nazi trying to shoot a dog.


Do you people even know who the Nazi's were?

Here's a hint: there were no Nazi's serving in the First World War.
2012-12-09 02:28:16 PM
1 votes:
Also, since we've gotten this far without it:

cache.gawkerassets.com

Does not approve.
2012-12-09 02:27:58 PM
1 votes:

semiotix: So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.

And yeah, he did a brave and beautiful thing, end of story, no caveats or hesitations or "but he was a Nazi!" about it. Nor is it the first such story we've heard.

The thing is, in sixty years (or sooner) we're going to start hearing these exact same stories about the occasional Talibani commander or al-Qaeda henchman. And immediately you want to say, "no, that's different, this guy had a personal moral code, he wasn't an insane jihadist zombie trying to get himself killed for his 72 virgins, he was just born on the wrong side of the war." But come on--what are the odds that this is the first war in history where the bad guys all turn out to be exactly like the bad guys at the very top of the bad guy food chain?

So the sappy, schmaltzy moral I take away from this is that we'd probably have fewer wars--and for that matter, fewer Talibans and Nazi reichs--if we'd start figuring that out sooner. (And by "we" I mean, for the most part, the people who aren't going Over There and learning first hand that real-life people are complicated.)


No we're not. Being drafted into the military is a lot different than volunteering for a militia. There were a lot of Germans who were forced to serve but hated the Nazis. There were Germans who were forced to kill Jews who cried the entire time. There were a lot of examples of humanity from the German side. From the Russians, not really.
2012-12-09 02:24:40 PM
1 votes:
Huh. Cool story, and thanks for greening it. I probably wouldn't have seen it, otherwise.
2012-12-09 02:24:12 PM
1 votes:
1. All Spielberg did was have the guy return to combat. That is probably what ever soldier on both sides would have done under the same circumstances.

Actually he had the soldier return to battle and THEN shoot the guy who freed him. ruined the movie actually
2012-12-09 02:13:36 PM
1 votes:

bhcompy: ha-ha-guy: While it is a nice story, from a purely practical standpoint Stigler went too far. I'm all for giving them a chance to land (or go to Sweden and be detained for the duration of the war). Letting them cross the Channel though just means at least some of them will be back (on other B-17s) to bomb again. You give the enemy a chance to surrender, but you don't let them just walk off.

There is honor on the battlefield, but above that comes the honor of protecting the populace of your country. Letting a bomber crew head on home doesn't satisfy the latter.

/although that said I can see why a conscripted soldier wasn't in that much of a hurry to finish off a wounded duck

Being a conscript is a part of it, but, also, as his superior mentioned, you need to maintain your humanity. You're betting on living through the war, and you need to live with what you did. Codes like bushido and chivalry exist in part to ensure that you can live with yourself. Spielberg turned this around in Saving Private Ryan with the released German soldier, but such is Spielberg's way, given his ethnic background.


1. All Spielberg did was have the guy return to combat. That is probably what ever soldier on both sides would have done under the same circumstances.

2. Bushido? You mean that philosophy that the Japanese followed in WWII? You remember the Japanese, don't you? They were the guys who tossed babies in the air to see if they could catch them on a bayonet. They were the guys that buried civilians while they were still alive. And let's not forget that they beheaded POWs, they tied POWs to trees and used them for bayonet practice. And then there were the ones who herded a punch of POWs into a trench, poured gasoline on them and then set them on fire, allowing them to burn to death.

The Japanese treated anyone that they captured, including civilians, as if they were animals that they could slaughter at will. All under the banner of Bushido.
2012-12-09 02:10:22 PM
1 votes:
Man, that dust is a problem over here in Japan, too. It must be an epidemic.
2012-12-09 02:06:05 PM
1 votes:

semiotix: So, don't take it the wrong way when I point out that this Franz Stigler guy was a Nazi. Maybe not technically in the sense of being an inner Party member, but he's flying a Nazi plane, he's an officer in the Nazis' air force, he's shooting Nazi bullets at our guys. In every Brad-Pitt-as-Aldo-Raine-in-Inglorious-Basterds sense of the word, he's a Nazi.

And yeah, he did a brave and beautiful thing, end of story, no caveats or hesitations or "but he was a Nazi!" about it. Nor is it the first such story we've heard.

The thing is, in sixty years (or sooner) we're going to start hearing these exact same stories about the occasional Talibani commander or al-Qaeda henchman. And immediately you want to say, "no, that's different, this guy had a personal moral code, he wasn't an insane jihadist zombie trying to get himself killed for his 72 virgins, he was just born on the wrong side of the war." But come on--what are the odds that this is the first war in history where the bad guys all turn out to be exactly like the bad guys at the very top of the bad guy food chain?

So the sappy, schmaltzy moral I take away from this is that we'd probably have fewer wars--and for that matter, fewer Talibans and Nazi reichs--if we'd start figuring that out sooner. (And by "we" I mean, for the most part, the people who aren't going Over There and learning first hand that real-life people are complicated.)




I suppose that you believe that there was no difference between German and a Nazi. If so, you would be wrong once again. With all of your pontificating, your grasp of the reality of the situation is very poor.

And if you think that some member of the Taliban is going to show mercy, you are even a bigger fool.
2012-12-09 01:53:26 PM
1 votes:

scavenger: I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?


Those would be the civilians who looked the other way while Jews and other "undesirables" were sent off to camps, right?
2012-12-09 01:46:09 PM
1 votes:
My dad used to shoot down German fighters during ww2. He made a picture frame out of a ME-109 that he shot down in Africa and put my mom's photo in . Still have it.
2012-12-09 01:43:16 PM
1 votes:
Hey scavenger, how many civilians did the Germans kill during the occupation of Western Europe?

farking troll.....
2012-12-09 01:39:34 PM
1 votes:
He's a clown, that Charlie Brown
2012-12-09 01:30:58 PM
1 votes:

scavenger: I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?


0 out of 10 on the troll scale
2012-12-09 01:30:49 PM
1 votes:

scavenger: I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?


0.5/10
2012-12-09 01:24:56 PM
1 votes:
I wonder how many civilians Mr. Brown killed by dropping bombs on them?
2012-12-09 01:24:23 PM
1 votes:
That is a great story. My guess, the Post is scrambling to shore up its image in the wake of publishing that awful "this man is about to die" photo, realizing they still need to be in that market in between the Daily News and the Times.
2012-12-09 01:20:48 PM
1 votes:

ArkAngel: [offsite2.seriousshops.com image 400x283]

CURSE YOU, RED BARON!!


Why didn't the headline play on this? It's such an obvious (and funnier) reference.

[reads TFA]

Gee, I can almost smell the smoke from that burning plane. It's getting in my eyes too.
2012-12-09 01:17:27 PM
1 votes:
You ----> cdn.hotstockmarket.com <---- Death (not yours)
2012-12-09 01:13:46 PM
1 votes:
Excellent story but a B-17 is not a fighter subby
2012-12-09 11:31:35 AM
1 votes:

kimwim: Yes, it's getting pretty dusty in here. Damn woodstove. Or maybe it's the cat hair. I'm glad they finally did get in touch with each other.


Nah, it's summer here in Australia and it's damn dusty too. So sorry pal, not the woodstove.

Awesome link subby.
 
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