My Enemy — My Friend by Rick Tozier | Script Revolution

My Enemy — My Friend

The crew of a battle damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, limping back to England, meet an enemy unlike any other when one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry ever recorded during World War Two occurs.

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36pp

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A short drama based on the Charlie Brown & Franz Stigler incident that occurred following an almost disastrous bombing mission over Bremen, Germany, on 20 December 1943.

2nd Lt. Charlie Brown, the 21 year old pilot of a B-17 flying Fortress called "Ye Olde Pub", along with his crew of nine other men are on their first combat mission together as part of a large formation on a bombing run over Bremen, Germany. The bombers begin their 10-minute bomb run at 27,300 feet, the temperature: negative 60 degrees. Flak is heavy and accurate. Before “bombs away,” Brown’s B-17 takes hits that shatter the Plexiglas nose, knock out the number two engine, damage number four, and caused undetermined damage to the controls. Coming off target, Lieutenant Brown is unable to stay with the formation and becomes a straggler.

Almost immediately, the lone and limping B-17 comes under a series of attacks from 12 to 15 Bf-109s and FW-190s. The number three engine is hit and can produce only half power. Oxygen, hydraulic, and electrical systems are damaged, and the controls are only partially responsive. The bomber’s 11 defensive guns are reduced by the attacks and extreme cold to only the two top turret guns and one forward-firing nose gun. The tail-gunner is killed and all but one of the crew in the rear are incapacitated by wounds or exposure to the frigid air. Lieutenant Brown takes a bullet fragment in his right shoulder.

Each time a wave of attackers approaches, Brown turns into them, trying to disrupt their aim with his remaining firepower. The last thing oxygen-starved Brown and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Spencer "Pinky" Luke, remember is reversing a steep turn, becoming inverted, and looking “up” at the ground. When they regain full consciousness, the B-17 is miraculously level at less than 1,000 feet.

While nursing the battered bomber toward England, Brown looks out the right window to see a Bf-109 flying on his wing. The pilot, Oberleutnant Franz Stigler, waves, then flies across the B-17’s nose and motions Brown to land in Germany, which he refuses to do. Stigler then tries to motion for them to land in Switzerland, but Brown doesn't understand the message and again refuses. Brown realizes to his astonishment that the German fighter is flying escort on the B-17. After escorting them for several miles out over the North Sea, the Luftwaffe pilot salutes, rolls over, and disappears.

Having made it home to England, Brown and his crew are debriefed on their mission, including the strange encounter with the Bf-109. The debriefing is then classified as “top secret” and Brown is ordered not to discuss it with anyone.

In 1986, Brown begins a search for the anonymous pilot, and finally, in 1990, former Oberleutnant Franz Stigler, the chivalrous pilot who had allowed Brown’s crew to live, a true fighter ace who had shot down 28 Allied aircraft although he himself was shot down 17 times, and a recipient of Germany’s Knight’s Cross, is now living in Canada, and responds to a notice published in a newsletter for former German fighter pilots.

Brown and Stigler become close friends, and eventually die within months of each other in 2008. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more, they became brothers.

Submitted: January 8, 2022
Last Updated: May 16, 2022

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Rick Tozier's picture

The Writer: Rick Tozier

Rick is a retired photographer/videographer and an aspiring screenwriter who draws from his own life experiences, great films of the past, and from history to create his works. Rick is a baby-boomer, an old school muscle car enthusiast, a former soldier and military contractor, and has enjoyed many hobbies such as NHRA drag racing, racing homing pigeons, and breeding purebred Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds. In civilian life, he has worn many hats, from working as a building engineer and maintaining commercial HVAC systems, to owning and operating a residential lawn care and snow removal business. Most importantly, he is also a husband, a father and a grandfather. Rick is self taught... Go to bio

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