Escape and Evasion - With An Entourage

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1st Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
On 3 Aug 1944 Flying Officer Kilpatrick of 193's Squadron Typhoon was shot down by flak near Vire, France, about a half mile behind the front lines. There were numerous German troops in the area and Kilpatrick resorted to hiding under a manned and operational German tank. But before he could find a better hiding spot the Germans captured him.

The Germans moved him further and further East each night. On the 6th night the cluster of wooden huts they were hiding in was bombed by Allied aircraft. Diving into a ditch with five Germans, Kilpatrick pointed out to them they would not have to put up with such attacks if they surrendered. He said he would ensure that they were treated decently. The Germans finally agreed to lead him back to the Allied lines. They stole a truck but it broke down and set fire to it.

Finally, when they got closer to the forward lines, some French civilians were able to tell them just where the Allied troops were and they decided to just wait until the lines moved further East. Then 22 more Germans showed up and were persuaded to join them.

He turned his entourage of 27 Germans over to the Allied advanced columns. It must have looked rather like that scene in "Captain America." He then hitchhiked back to his squadron 9 days after he was shot down, having traveled about 250 miles.
Remember, though, many if not most "German Soldiers" in Normandy were neither, being non-Germans drafted into service. If they had to hunker down in a fixed position and man a machine gun, with a German NCO stopping by to make sure they were doing the job, they could perform pretty well. That did not mean they liked it or could do anything more complex or daring. Operation Cobra began at the end of July, preceded by massive daylight heavy bomber strike that was like nothing ever seen before. By 3 Aug there probably were more than few "German" troops that had decided the jig was up.

Still, 27 surrendering to an unarmed shot down pilot must be a record, at least until we had Iraqis surrendering to drones in 1991.
There is a similar story with a Brazilian pilot that was shot down behind enemy lines in Italy. The order was to head off to Switzerland if you were shot down, but he decided to come back to the allied lines and he succeed. I'll try to post the whole story in another post here.

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