A Higher Call

Franz Stigler escorting "Ye Old Pub"

Good day all. This is not my usual ranting and raving against everything. This is a simple story about a fighter pilot who chose not to shoot down a crippled bomber during World War Two. The incident occurred December 20th, 1943.

The Boeing B-17F1 nicknamed Ye Old Pub, on it’s first mission, had been badly shot up during a bombing raid on Bremen, Germany. When I say badly shot up, the plane was barely flying. The B-17 received heavy damage to the port wing and tail and three of the bomber’s four engines were inoperative. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Charlie Brown, lost consciousness but came to as the bomber was flying low over a German airfield.

Franz Stigler escorting “Ye Old Pub”

On that field was Franz Stigler, an ace with Jagdgeschwader 272. He was in the process of refueling his Messerschmitt BF1093 when the Ye Olde Pub overflew the airfield. Stigler took off and caught up with the bomber. I’ll let you hear what happened in the pilots own words.

Stigler tried to signal Brown to land and surrender, but Brown and his crew decided they didn’t want to be POW’s and also wanted to get the wounded medical treatment. Stigler would have been within the rules of war to shoot down Ye Olde Pub. He couldn’t.

War for pilots is a bit different then for infantry. While pilots know intellectually that the airplanes are manned, they don’t see the crews and feel they are only destroying machines. Stigler was once told by one of his commanding officers, “You are fighter pilots first, last, always. If I ever hear of any of you shooting at someone in a parachute, I’ll shoot you myself.” Stigler latter commented, “To me, it was just like they were in a parachute. I saw them and I couldn’t shoot them down.”

Below is a rendition of what happened during that flight. It’s in French, and appears to have been created using a gaming engine. The damage to the B17 shown is not what the actual damage looked like. Still, it will give you an idea of what it was like.

There are several recorded instances of enemy aircraft surrendering in flight. Generally heavily damaged bombers with wounded on board. They way it worked was simple. They lowered their landing gear and tossed their weapons overboard. I also know of one incident where a bomber surrendered and then for some reason pulled up it’s gear, opened fire on the escorting fighter and tried to run. At that point it was fair game and the bomber was shot down with the loss of all aboard.

A book has been written about this act of chivalry, titled “A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II.” It will be released December 19th and I recommend ordering it. I will be as soon as it’s available.


~The Angry Webmaster~


Mercy: Charlie Brown (above) was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when Franz Stigler (below) decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier because he ‘fought by the rules of humanity’. Re-enactment: The German plane …
http://bulcranium.blogspot.com/ — Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:33:00 -0800
Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident (link) I found an interview with Stigler from a few years ago that suggest how deeply held this belief was, and how much he was willing to risk for it: Q: Why did you stay with him for so long? A: …
http://eisengeiste.blogspot.com/ — Sun, 09 Dec 2012 22:22:00 -0800
New book “A Higher Call” tells of interactions between American WWII pilot Charlie Brown and German flying ace Franz Stigler – NYPOST.com:On Dec. 20, 1943, a young American bomber pilot named Charlie Brown found himself somewhere …
http://ronsbloviating.blogspot.com/ — Sun, 09 Dec 2012 21:50:00 -0800

You find wisdom in the strangest places » Why Aren’t You Outraged?

… plane and let them fly safely instead of shooting them down. Lt. Charlie Brown (pictured) feared a new threat when he spotted a German plane directly next to his plane, so close that the German pilot Franz Stigler was looking directly at them.
http://whyarentyououtraged.com/ — Sun, 09 Dec 2012 18:54:10 -0800
The following article is from ValorArtStudios This never-before-seen film was taken when JG 27 Bf-109 ace Franz Stigler met American 379th Bomb Group B-17 pilot Charlie Brown for the first time since their encounter during World War II!
http://portraitsofwar.wordpress.com/ — Sun, 09 Dec 2012 08:49:56 -0800
The book describes the dramatic meeting between Charlie Brown, an American B-17 pilot and Franz Stigler, a German fighter pilot, over wartime Germany on December 20th, 1943. Simply put, Brown’s B-17 bomber was crippled and trying to …
http://thehistorynetwork.org/ — Tue, 04 Dec 2012 05:57:23 -0800

Nice story: B-17 meets Bf 109 over Europe | Drug War 101

Nice story found on the Internet, not related to drugs. This never-before-seen film was taken when JG 27 Bf-109 ace Franz Stigler met American 379th Bomb Group B-17 pilot Charlie Brown for the first time since their encounter during World …
http://www.drugwar101.com/blog/ — Sun, 02 Dec 2012 12:21:14 -0800
  1. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress []
  2. Jagdgeschwader 27 []
  3. Messerschmitt Bf 109 []
  • http://twitter.com/angrywebmaster/status/305727566860394496/ angrywebmaster (@angrywebmaster)

    A Higher Call – #angercentralarchives http://t.co/RmuvUKsmLj

  • Christopher Blake

    Very, VERY cool of Stigler. I would buy THAT man a beer!

  • http://twitter.com/nedb/status/278229157618524160/ nedb (@nedb)

    A Higher Call http://t.co/EDJuKSrT #angercentral #B17 #WW2 #chivalry #tcot #books #luftwaffe #ahighercall #twitchypolitics #history

  • http://twitter.com/angrywebmaster/status/278229097300242433/ angrywebmaster (@angrywebmaster)

    A Higher Call http://t.co/pRDoF4gj #angercentral #B17 #WW2 #chivalry #tcot #books #luftwaffe #ahighercall #twitchypolitics #history

XSLT Plugin by Leo Jiang
%d bloggers like this: