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Thread: Chivalry in the Battle Of Britain

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    Chivalry in the Battle Of Britain

    I'm just reading 'Fighter' by Len Deighton and it's an excellent book! Amongst other things, it gives a day-by-day account of the Battle Of Britain and mentions some of the tactics used by the RAF and Luftwaffe pilots. I found the piece below particularly interesting ...

    The fighting was hard and yet there was surprisingly little bitterness between the two sides. Erich Rudorffer of the 'Green Hearts' Geschwader JG54, (who ended the war as one of the top German aces with 222 victories) remembers the Battle Of Britain as a time when no-one fired upon men descending by parachute. He added:

    "Once - I think it was on August 30th, 1940 - I was in a fight with four Hurricanes over Dover. I was back over the Channel when I saw another Hurricane coming from Calais, trailing white smoke and obviously in a bad way. I flew up alongside him and escorted him all the way to England and then waved goodbye. A few weeks later the same thing happened to me. That would never have happened in Russia - never!"

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    Here's a photo of a Heinkel that force-landed on Westfield Farm in Studland (Dorset) during the Battle Of Britain. It's the original, taken at the time of the crash ...


    If you believe the wartime propaganda and local folklore, the farmer's wife bravely ran out of the farmhouse armed with a pitchfork and tackled the crew. What in fact happened though was that she went out and offered them a cup of tea until the authorities arrived

    Unfortunately, one of the airmen died in the crash and a couple more were injured out of the five crew members. There's a brief mention of it here (dated 25/09/40) ...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwinson View Post
    If you believe the wartime propaganda and local folklore, the farmer's wife bravely ran out of the farmhouse armed with a pitchfork and tackled the crew. What in fact happened though was that she went out and offered them a cup of tea until the authorities arrived
    In April 1941 a Dornier Do 17 crash landed in an orchard no more than half a mile from where I live. The farmer’s wife who witnessed the crash rushed out with her children and helped to pull the aircrew from the wreckage. Whilst waiting for the home guard to take the men away, she too made them tea and offered them her finest biscuits. I worked in the orchards in question, and the son of this woman still owns the land. He mentioned that the Germans were far more gentlemanly than they were lead to believe, and very appreciative of the gesture. The orchard is still littered with gears from the aircraft all these years later.

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    Not necessarily the BoB but Chivalry none the less.

    On December 20, 1943, the 379th Bomb Group (H) of the Eighth Bomber Command (U.S. Eighth Air Force) attacked Bremen, Germany. During that attack, Lt. Charles Brown from Weston, West Virginia, flying B-17F number 42-3167, witnessed an extraordinary act of chivalry by Franz Stiegler, the pilot of a Bf-109, who had taken off to attack him.

    As Brown guided his B-17, Ye Olde Pub, toward the target, an aircraft factory, it was buffeted by flak. "Suddenly," he later recounted, "the nose of the B-17 was mangled by flak. Then three of the four engines were damaged. The entire left stabilizer and left elevator were gone, ninety percent of the rudder was gone, and part of the top of the vertical stabilizer was gone. I quickly pulled out of formation so we wouldn't damage our other planes if we exploded.

    It didn't take long for the Germans to pounce on us. Eight fighters came at us from the front and seven more from the rear and we were in no condition to fight them off. I headed straight at one of them. I had given up. I really didn't think we would get through this one. I had the plane in a tightening circle when I blacked out. Our oxygen system had been shot up."

    Brown's plane then plunged from 25,000 feet to 200 feet at which point he regained consciousness. Incredibly, Ye Olde Pub was flying straight and level directly over a German airfield. At that moment, Oberleutenant (1Lt) Franz Stiegler, who had been on the ground reloading his guns, spotted Brown's mortally wounded aircraft. He leaped into his Bf-109 and took off in pursuit. Eager to score a kill, Stiegler closed in from the rear to within ten feet of the B-17.

    As Stiegler described the encounter, "The B-17 was like a sieve. There was blood everywhere. I could see the crew trying to help their wounded. The tail gunner was slumped over his gun, his blood streaming down its barrel. Through the gaping hole in the fuselage, I could see crewmen working frantically to save a comrade whose leg was blown off. I thought to myself, 'How can I shoot something like that? It would be like shooting a man in a parachute.'

    When I was flying in North Africa, my commander said, 'You are a fighter pilot. If I ever hear of you shooting someone in a parachute, I'll shoot you myself.'"

    Stiegler then flew wingtip-to-wingtip with the crippled bomber, close enough for the two enemies to see each other clearly. The German pilot escorted the struggling B-17 to the North Sea. Then, to Brown's amazement, he saluted, put his plane into a crisp roll and flew away, allowing Brown to make it back to a British airfield.

    On board the B-17 were Brown and nine other crewmen, four of whom were wounded and one was dead. Brown had a bullet in his right shoulder but it was not discovered until 40 years later.

    Stiegler, who was shot down 17 times, is one of only 1,200 of Germany's 30,000 fighter pilots to survive the war. During the war, he shot down 28 aircraft. Originally from Regensburg, Bavaria, he now [lives] in Canada.

    Years later, while attending a meeting of the American Pilots Association, Brown was asked if anything interesting had happened to him in the war. He replied, "I think I was saluted by a German Luftwaffe pilot one time.

    Brown had not thought about this for years, but subsequently began to search for the German pilot. With the assistance of Lt Gen Adolf Galland he made an inquiry via the German Fighter Pilots Association and Stiegler responded. The two men eventually met in Seattle. On December 20, before encountering Brown, Stiegler had already shot down two B-17s. For a third, he would have been awarded the Knights Cross. Had the German Military discovered that he had let Brown's aircraft escape, he would have been court-martialed and shot.

    [Source: Travis Air Museum News]

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    Before everyone works themselves up into a frenzy about the beautiful nature of whitey, I would like to point out that story in the OP is still very early on in the war. I would assume hatred needs a reason. Or is that politically incorrect?

    The Blitz (from German, "lightning") was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941

    The quote in the OP is August 1940.

    Hmm

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    Why then is chivalry still going on in 1943, midway through? Despite the OP being about the Battle of Britain, I don't believe you can take in as just one theatre of battle. Why would chivalry begin afterwards? See my above post^^ Your argument is knackered from the outset fella.

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    Quote Originally Posted by renownedwolf View Post
    Why then is chivalry still going on in 1943, midway through? Despite the OP being about the Battle of Britain, I don't believe you can take in as just one theatre of battle. Why would chivalry begin afterwards? See my above post^^ Your argument is knackered from the outset fella.
    It's an isolated incident. It hardly negates my argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosey View Post
    Before everyone works themselves up into a frenzy about the beautiful nature of whitey, I would like to point out that story in the OP is still very early on in the war. I would assume hatred needs a reason. Or is that politically incorrect?

    The Blitz (from German, "lightning") was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941

    The quote in the OP is August 1940.

    Hmm
    An air raid most likely.
    'Militia est vita hominis super terram [The life of man upon earth is a warfare] (Job 7:1).'

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    From Naval History Forums:

    Adolf Galland spoke to this as not being considered as chiverous during the Battle of Britain by both sides, although it happened a few times by both sides. Late war, it became common practice to shoot at German pilots who had bailed out. It became an unspoken policy among American fighter pilots to kill any German pilot in or out of the aircraft. The problem was that the German pilots bailed out over their own territory and would just get in another plane the next day. The Americans were trying to destroy the Jadgewaffe but the production of German fighters had actually increased despite the bombings. There were far more new aircraft available than there were fighter pilots. As long as the experienced core pilots remained alive they were not really destroying the Luftwaffe's fighter command. It was a brutal unofficial policy, but a necessary policy to win and shorten the war.
    http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewt...hp?f=28&t=2730

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosey View Post
    Before everyone works themselves up into a frenzy about the beautiful nature of whitey, I would like to point out that story in the OP is still very early on in the war. I would assume hatred needs a reason. Or is that politically incorrect?
    Yes. This is why as soon as Mr. Churchill was sitting in the driver seat (May 10, 1940) a so called "Anger-Office" (as part of the domestic SIS/SOE 'psychological'-ops) under Lord Vansittart was installed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosey View Post
    The Blitz (from German, "lightning") was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941

    The quote in the OP is August 1940.

    Hmm
    The "strategic bombing" (translate: terror bombing at nighttime to minimize bomber-plane losses at the price of accuracy) against Germany started much earlier. One of the first directives
    Mr. Churchill signed was the directive to resort from leaflets to bombs for Bomber Command night missions over Germany.

    The result:

    May 12/13, 1940: Munchen-Gladbach (by 40 2-engine Blenheims and Wellingtons)was the first target.

    First bombing of Düsseldorf was conducted on June 10/11, 1940.
    Cologne was bombed first June 17, 1940, and i MCP3 am going to continue to remind the Germans on that.


    What amazes me the most is Hitler's patience on the matter. In the false hope of still being able to gain a negotiated armistice with Britain , he waited until September 7, 1940 for the first major retaliation raid against London.
    I do understand that it makes no sense (and would have been tactical idiocy) to conduct major air raid against Britain during May and June.
    All Luftwaffe units were needed to provide ground support during the Battle of France. Also i understand that he waited after the armistice with France up to his Reichstagspeech of July 20, where he made a second public armistice offer to the British government. But latest after Mr. Churchill's government "denied" him negotiations and continued its practice of night raids against German cities, London under normal circumstances (I am talking here about the first of August), would have been "due" for a major retaliation night-raid with all available Luftwaffe bomber groups, as it happened on September 7, although by then the bomber groups were already decimated by "Battle of Britain" daylight action from Eagle's Day on.
    .

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