During World Wars, in time of death and despair, soldiers gave many examples of honor.
The Second World War, also known as World War II or WWII, from 1939 to 1945, was the most widespread war in history. The two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis cumulated 100 million people serving in military units. The real number of the war casualties in unknown, believed to be between 50 and 85 million.
Here is the story of two fighter pilots that took place on Dec 20, 1943. Charlie Brown, an American bomber pilot, was trying to fly his seriously damaged B17, with his crew killed or hurt, to England. As he was flying to a safe place, the pilot noticed a German plane flying directly next to his own.
The German pilot was making desperate hand gestures that scared Charlie Brown even more. To the American pilot’s consternation, the German plane did not attack. The pilot merely saluted him and turned away, sparing the lives of the injured crew. Many years afterwards Charlie Brown could not understand why the German pilot spared their lives during that moment of uncertainty during the Second World War.
The German was 26 year old Franz Stigler. The man was one victory away from the Knight’s Cross, boasting a total of 22 victories. As he was flying his Bf-109 that day, he immediately noticed something was wrong with the American plane. Not only was the plane not engaging, but it had suffered massive damage, some even unknown to its pilot. Part of the plane’s outside had been ripped off. The gunner was drenched in blood and the crew was dead or injured.
Seeing the state of the plane, Stigler remembered the words of his commanding officer Lt Gustav Roedel who had told him that honor was everything. 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, the man had told his pilots. Franz Stigler chose not to attack the American plane.
The two pilots met, decades after the Second World War. After their first meeting, Charlie Brown said: It was like meeting a family member, like a brother you haven’t seen for 40 years. They became friends and remained so until they both died in 2008. Do you know other impressive honor stories?