I think most people on iModeler will know of the story of Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler. On the return journey home from a bombing raid on Germany in December 1943, 20 year old pilot Charlie Brown nursed his critically injured B-17 toward the North Sea at under 2,000 ft and only just above stalling speed.
Seeing the stricken plane fly over his airfield, Franz Stigler jumped in his Me109 and flew to finish off the fortress. However, on his approach to attack, Stigler saw how sorry a state the B-17 was in; the rear gunner dead, other crew injured and clearly visible through the shredded fuselage of the plane.
Instead of applying the coup-de-grace, Stigler made a bold and honourable decision; he escorted the American bomber past the German anti aircraft sea defences until they were over the English Channel, where he saluted the crew and turned for home. This mercy, a crime in the eyes of the Nazi party punishable by firing squad, was a great gamble on his own values by the young German pilot.
Unbelievably both pilots not only survived the war but found each other in 1985, going on to become lifelong friends until they both died within a few months of each other in 2008. The story is beautifully written in the book, ‘A Higher Call’.
My homage to this great piece of aviation and war history is in 1/48 scale, using the Revell B-17, and the Eduard Me109G-6.
The build will be a little intermittent (due to having other projects on the bench) so updates will be…sometimes. But this is my initial efforts – starting with the B-17.
In memory of my friend Bernard E. Hackett Jr – Rest well.
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.