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Parrots, Parachutes, and Pancakes.

A short Friday distraction to start the day.

73 years ago, almost to the day, Eduard Schallmoser climbed into his Me 262 (sometimes erroneously described as white 5 or 14, but was actually ‘white 11’) in response to incoming American B-26 Marauders.

He was part of Galland’s famous JG-44, the ‘Parrot Squadron’ (so called because of the escort FW 190s’ bright IFF stripes, see below). The Schwalbe pilots tended to rotate and share their aircraft due to the high attrition rate of the jets and difficult maintenance.

Schallmoser had the nickname ‘The Rammer’ due to his tendencies to hit enemy planes, and not always intentionally. This day was no exception as he clipped a B-26 propeller with his rudder, forcing him to bail. He had already been hit by a 50. cal round which blew apart his armour plating and shredded his leg.

Astonishingly, (and why I am writing this short article) when Schallmoser managed to bail he found himself parachuting into his own mother’s back garden! In a story you could not make up, Eduard found himself tangled up in his mum’s washing line. After helping him down, his mother tried calling the hospital to get treatment but could not get through. Instead she cleaned and bandaged him up and made him a large meal of pancakes to regain his strength before eventually getting to the hospital and returning to JG-44 the next day.

Schallmoser and mum…


37 responses to Parrots, Parachutes, and Pancakes.

  1. Unbelieveable marksmanship (I mean to land in mums garden from 10000 ft high…)

  2. Quite an achievement, no? He gets shot, loses a hugely valuable plane, reinforces the unwanted nickname of ‘Rammer’, and then lands in his mum’s garden. I wonder what point he realised where he was falling to? Do you think he aimed?

  3. maybe mum’s dog was barking and he aimed for that sound…

  4. What a great story.

  5. Isn’t it? Nice possibilities for an authentic diorama!

  6. This is quite a story, one of those seeemingly impossible events that happen once in a million. Remind me of the story I read sometime about an RAF bomber crew jumping from its stricken plane several thousand feet high without parachute and still lived to tell the tale.

    • Pedro, not sure if it’s the story you mean, but Nick Alkemade (Lancaster rear gunner) fell 18,000 feet without a chute while flying over Germany in ’44. Trees and snow broke his fall and although the Gestapo did not believe him at first, after they found the wreckage they gave him a certificate of ‘proof’ to mark the feat.

    • Sqn Ldr B. Arct of no. 316 (Polish) squadron, who parachuted over Holland and spent the last year of the war in captivity, wrote in his memoirs that there were 2-3 such cases only in Stalag Luft III (airmen who survived a fall from altitude without a parachute). The men and their stories were quite popular among other POWs.

  7. Nice of him to drop in on his Mum !
    Truth is stranger etc.

  8. Oh, David – I’ve never knowingly left any pun behind, and even I didn’t catch that one!

  9. All this definitely comes under the heading of “…ya learn sumthin’ new every day…” ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Never heard this one – what a great story!

  11. Yeah great stories both,I was able to closely examine the 262 at Cosford aircraft museum and was surprised at the poor build quality ,badly shaped and fitted panels all over the little Komet is the same, the wings seem to have been smothed over but the fuselage was the same as the 262 , you can compare them to the earlier Luftwaffe aircraft built when things were going better for them and the build quality we would expect from German engineers is obvious.
    Great article David.

  12. Thanks, Neil. Obviously the metal quality deteriorated as the war went on, thankfully. The build quality really suffered as time went on, but the engineering and design remained amazing.

  13. To bad it wasn’t mothers day.

  14. Now, that really would have been one coincidence too much.

  15. Oh ,I just got what you meant about Mothers day ,it’s been a long week……

  16. Neil, I’ve been thinking that thought every week for the past 20 years…

  17. You can’t make this stuff up! If you did, folks wouldn’t believe it. It’s a wonder he survived.

  18. Amazing story, thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks, Tom.

    Another favourite ‘stranger than fiction’ pilot story is the amazing tale of T. Kuznetsov who, flying his Il-2 Sturmovik home from a reconnaissance mission over occupied Russia in ’42 was ambushed by several Bf 109s. He was shot down but managed a forced landing. As he was hiding in nearby woods the 109 pilot who shot him down landed himself near to his plane (presumably to grab a souvenir of his ‘kill’).

    Kuznetsov, seeing the German pilot rifling through the Il-2 cockpit, made a run for the Messerschmitt and promptly took off! He managed to negotiate friendly fire (the Russians by this time in war had no affection for German fighter planes) and landed, eventually, unharmed at his home base.

    He was awarded the highest Russian honour for his valour, a ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’. Sad to say, his next crash landing was in Poland in 1944, when he again force landed – this time after being blinded by anti aircraft fire. He survived the landing but after leaving his new Il-2, was never heard of again. Of course, this is not necessarily a sad ending, and I like to think he went on to have a happy and long old life in the West…

  20. Thanks for sharing that tale!

  21. Now these are some very good tales David !!! My Dad served in the Berlin Brigade for a tour during the 1950’s, before the “Wall” went up. He told me a few stories that he heard first hand while stationed there.

    First one was rather odd. He was talking with a German civilian, who was a crewman in a U-boat during the War. He told my Dad that they dropped “Old Adolph” in Argentina. This man told Dad the last time he saw the Fuhrer, he was being rowed ashore (with several others) in a small boat.

    Now how true is this story ??? Who knows…….but I’m sure he is dead now, since you can’t outrun the aging process.

    The other story Dad told me was this:
    He would be checking out the fencing along the border, and a Russian soldier was walking on the “other” side as his “mirror”. The Russian started talking to Dad in English, with a perfect Southern Draw Accent. He told my Dad that he was living in the USA prior to and during the War. After the War, he obtained permission to visit his family, who were still living in the USSR. Once he arrived in the Soviet Union, he was not allowed to return. Instead he was forced into military service.

    Now how much is truth to this story ???? Again who knows. Dad told me that he thought the Russian may have been a spy trying to get information from US troops in casual conversation. Because of this, Dad never replied to the Russian soldier.

    But if this were true, (and the man was forced into military service), it would be just the opposite of what could have happened to T. Kuznetsov………………

    I have read accounts of how the Soviet Union treated their own soldiers that served honorably during the “Great Patriotic War”, but had been outside the borders of the USSR. On occasion these men were shipped off to Siberia Work Camps…………..

    Interesting stories David……………. and some amazing photos !!! One can only imagine what his Mom thought when her son parachuted into her garden……………. When you read of accounts like this, how men have survived free falling from 18,000 feet and survived by some “miracle”, (and how statistically the number is much higher than ever thought possible), it makes you wonder in awe that “someone above” intervened…………..

    Thanks for sharing them with us.

  22. Hello all!

    Great and VERY interesting stories, Comrades! Landing in your Mother’s garden! Amazing. Now don’t quote me, because I don’t have the Guiness Records book anymore, but I THINK I recall that an ME109 or perhaps an FW190 pilot fell from his plane sans ‘chute and survived a 32,000+ ft. (approx. 10,000 m) when he landed in snow on the side slope of a mountain and survived after rolling the last few hundred m in the snow. Someone who has a copy of the Guiness Book of World Records can look that up – I’m too lazy myself. I mean busy – right! Ha! (I don’t have much luck with these fancy electricalatronic marvels: I call this laptop my “confuser!”) Anyway, I posted this just for the sake of discussion. Don’t quote me … unless I’m right! LoL!

    • OK- I found the Guinness website and the longest fall is NOW 10,160 m (33,333 ft) by a woman who spent 16 months in hospital after waking from a 27 day coma. The DC9 she was in exploded. She was the only survivor.

      The German pilot I referred to wasn’t mentioned. Especially since she set the NEW record 26 January, 1972.

      Now you know the REST of the story. (RIP Paul)

  23. Jeff, that really defies belief. What do you do with the rest of your life after falling 33,000 feet from an airplane and survive? You’ve got to think that you are a walking miracle. I wouldn’t be able to stop asking myself “why?”

  24. Well, David – @dirtylittlefokker – you probably wouldn’t need to bother buying any lottery tickets because you used ALL of your luck already!

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