FLYING FOR THE ENEMY

Discussion in 'Stories' started by gepp, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. gepp

    gepp Member

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    I came across this and was just amazed has any one read this before if so where and who was this pilot and is it true all i know he was canadian pilot
    8)

    I was shot down on a fighter sweep over enemy territory fairly early in the war and taken prisoner. There was the usual interrogations on the spot and later in Germany and ending up in a POW camp. From the perpetual excitement of every day in the air to a state of inactivity as a prisoner was not to my liking or most other prisoners. Oh, there were things to do like planning escape tunnels, sports and the library. Because it looked like a long war, I thought more about learning something besides fighting. Although I loved flying and adventure, would there be a future after the war for an ex-fighter pilot? Therefore I guess I looked at it all logically and decided on languages — German especially. Here I could learn and practice it at first hand. The war was bound to end just like ww1 and a language or two might turn into a good job — especially with my past good record.
    Early 1943 came. I was bored but was getting along very well with German. One day there was a call for me to report to the "Kommandant". Orders were for me to go for another interrogation — this time in Berlin.
    It proved to be a little different as the questions proved. "You flew fighters and really liked flying?" was the first question. "Yes," I replied, keeping my answers short and omitting the expected Sir. "You are bored with POW life but are interested in languages." When I sort of nodded, he continued, "What do you know about communism?"
    Well, most of us knew little about Russia, probably because we were not interested, but now the Russians were supposed to be our Allies. I had read writeups on meetings back in England but since the German invasion of Russia everything seemed to be O.K.
    "How would you like to learn a little more about Russia and Communism and see how the language works first hand, perhaps?" was the startling question.
    Anything would be better than sitting around camp; besides, I would be sure to see much and learn something. If I could get the Russian language too that would be a real asset for the future.
    Next day I was moved to another building where I met five other men. They were POW but we were a little cagey because we knew something was up but did not know what.
    "O.K. you guys, you are all here to learn something. You are from several countries and technically we are enemies but historically we are the same — mainly Anglo Axons. Now you all have a smattering of German, in fact several of you are fairly good at it. I'll use English so that you will understand perfectly what we hope to teach you and show you. We hope you can polish up on your German, because it will sure help a lot during the next few months.
    First you'll learn what communism is because we have some real experts on this subject. Then you'll learn what it does to a country and its people; how it affects other countries; and of course its long range objectives. Then you will be taken on a long tour, through countries we have liberated; you'll be able to talk to the people and politicians; then you'll take a trip to our fronts in Russia for a first hand look at what things are really like."
    I looked around at my "classmates". There was Al, a fellow Canadian, Geoffrey and Morris from Britain, and Carl and Pete from the U.S. All were ex-fighter pilots. Our questions and answers to each other were meant to try to prove that each man was really who he said he was. We had all been warned in POW camp, and even before, about German "plants" intermingling with prisoners.
    The "training" was all very interesting. We had films, books to read, lectures and discussions with experts — German and foreign. Food, drink and lodging were very good. It sure beat POW life! In a month's time we started our promised trip — and it was a real "Cook's Tour". We ended up among the German armies and air forces in Russia and saw things at first hand. It was not pretty. We saw the savagery, the ruins, the tragedy, the thousands of corpses. We saw villages taken from the Russians where everyone had been butchered. We saw Communism at work. Of course any brutality from the German side was non-existent and places like Belsen or Auschwitz never heard about,
    We had all seen war — but a "clean war" from a cockpit. We hardly ever saw the results of our bombing and strafing and only occasionally saw our victim blow up or burn in the air.
    We were especially shown large numbers of Russian POWs who were now fighting in German uniforms against their former friends, the communists. That was real power of dedication for and against a cause. We also saw many other European nationalities fighting the Russians and in German uniforms. This included Dutch, Belgian, French, Danish, Norwegian - and in fair strength. Last that we saw and met were the British POWs who were doing the same - and in considerable strength. It was a little strange talking to British soldiers on the Russian front complaining about being shot at by Hurricanes-and Spitfires in the air, and Sherman tanks on the ground — all "lend lease" war material.
    When we got back to Berlin, the whole purpose and intent of our "excursion" was explained to us, and after the episode with the British POW we were rather expecting what came.
    You have seen what communism is and what it does to people's minds. You have also seen those who have deemed it their duty to fight this evil, even though they may be considered traitors by their own countrymen who don't understand what really is going on with the communist scourge. You all were very good fighter pilots. Now we're offering you a job flying for us, but only against the Russians. You will fly our latest Me109 or FW190. You know from experience how good the Me's are, even superior to those you fought against a year or two ago. In the hands of experts like yourselves, they would be hard to beat.
    "We have pilots from every country in Europe flying in our Air Force so you won't even be noticed. We'll do some name changes on your I.D. cards; you'll have commissions, and your pay will be in marks, supplemented by any cash currency you desire. You'll make a lot more than a Group Captain or a Colonel in your old air forces. Your letters will be post-marked from various POW camps and you'll get your mail regularly. You will wear German Luftwaffe uniforms and be subject to our promotions and our decorations. That should go well with those D.F.C.s several of you are wearing. Also you will keep your old uniforms in case of emergency. We'll even get you an extra one. In case you are shot down behind the Russian lines a Yank or R.A.F. uniform could save your life. Our fliers are all shot by the Russians. We will figure out a cover story as if you are an escaping POW. Anyway, all these details will be worked out. Now, gentlemen, we'll leave you alone to discuss this privately."
    Talk about a bull session! We seemingly went over everything — patriotism, survival, love of flying, next of kin, secrecy, hatred of POW life, ultimate happenings, adventure and what else. Most of us had been out of circulation for a couple of years and were not sure what those on the outside thought of the Russians. We had heard it was only a paper alliance. But especially, what we had seen of communism probably swayed us unanimously in the end to accept the offer.
    From then on the pace speeded up. First thing was uniforms, I.D. cards and military papers. Then we had to doctor our names to something similar but different — all except Carl whose name was originally German anyway. Next was our introduction to the new Me109 with a couple of weeks familiarization course on them, as well as the German Air Force jargon, procedure, flying, firing and the new language. Flying the 109 was like riding a different horse, but were they good! After years of learning to shoot at black crosses, now we were all friends and had to be very careful. Practice we did because we were enthusiastic pupils. Then we joined a new fighter wing on the Russian front. That first new combat was something!
    There were plenty of Russian aircraft to shoot at and our cannon and machine guns tore hell out of them. The aircraft were everything from their own Yaks, and LA5's to British Hurricanes, Spitfires, Blenheims and American P40's and Bell Airacobras. We too became a little bitter about all that "lend lease" stuff going to the Russians. Little did the Allies know the folly of their ways! So we had superior aircraft and their pilots didn't have the experience compared to us. Whether it is air force or army it is usually the inexperienced that get the chop first, while some weather the storm, with a little luck and protection from the veterans, and in turn become the experienced.
    We were used quite often on ground strafing in addition to attacking enemy bombers and fighters. Because this was very hazardous, we relied on speed and low altitude. The bigger guns did not bother us low down, but small ground fire from rifles and burp guns was always dangerous. The Russians used mass infantry in successive waves which just kept coming in tens of thousands. A fighter plane could kill or wound hundreds in one pass as the two cannon and four machine guns cut quite a swath. Quite often we attacked enemy T34 tanks and the bigger giants. We could not damage the tanks unless we carried bombs, but enemy infantry loved to ride on these monsters and in a surprise attack we could "sweep" them off in scores.

    continued below sorry its so long people
     
  2. gepp

    gepp Member

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    R.A.F. and Yank fighter ops were tough enough, but this was a new ball game. The old days were a picnic — compared to this. As time went on into 1944 there was an emergency feeling about it all. We were being pushed back and good pilots were getting scarcer. And we were caught up in this desperate feeling! When the weather was flyable, we were up from dawn to dusk. The R.A.F. system of "tours" did not work here. Our missions were soon in the hundreds and still our luck held.
    Our fellow fighter pilots were a dedicated bunch. They were from all over — we even heard about a couple of Russians who flew with us, after being re-oriented. No one asked too many questions, probably because we all had a bizarre story to tell — especially the Europeans and us. The six of us kind of stayed together on the ground and watched out for one another in the air. We could all fly and fight with the very best of them, so acceptance was easy. As time progressed and the very magnitude of the fighting increased in the air, and on the ground, we knew our luck could not hold out forever. Time was running out.
    We were on a strafing mission against a road convoy behind their lines and swooped in at over 400 m.p.h. I was first and was almost finished my ammo when my engine was hit dead on and seized. There was no chance of making our lines and death stared me right in the face, with so many of the enemy below. Even my own uniform underneath wouldn't help now. "Pull up and land on the highway about a mile behind that convoy," yelled Al, over the intercom. "I'll land right behind you and the others will give us fire cover." It worked perfectly, and in minutes I was in Al's cockpit and we were taking off again. It was a little crowded but I was alive. Anything that moved within half a mile was shot up by the rest of the squadron and in minutes we were at home base, with me looking for a new ME. Our airfields were always fairly close to our lines so we had no lost time between missions. For rescuing me Al got the first of many decorations awarded to us. Naturally I was all in favor! At this time we had another visit from our Berlin liaison officers. We agreed that we were having an "exciting time".
    And then it happened! We were on a low tank strafing job well behind their lines when Geoffrey took a shell in the motor and it burst into flames. There was no chance and he told us so over the intercom. "I'm going to take as many of them as possible with me — you're a great bunch, cherio."
    He hit just in front of several T34 tanks loaded with infantry, at over 300 m.p.h. I think his motor went right through one tank, but the fuel tanks exploded and there was a firepath twenty-five yards wide and over a hundred yards long, which enveloped several tanks. It was all over in seconds, we were all shocked but what could we say? Geoff was a great guy and his personal score was around 60. Sure, we expected this, but the death of a real friend is so final! His next of kin in Britain were notified he had died while a POW.
    Our second loss happened very soon. Pete was having trouble with a couple of Yak fighters. They were always tough because of the heavy armor around the engine and pilot. He had downed one, but then there was just a flash in the sky; and two aircraft were spinning down in flames. It was one of those mid-air collisions that happen sometimes.
    I never believed in that "three in a row" stuff but within a week Morris "got the chop". This time it was well behind their lines on a dawn attack against one of their airfields. We were really shooting things up but it was that "one more time" sweep that ended a great guy's life. A stray burst of fire dead on and Morris went in at 400 m.p.h. — and not a word over the radio.
    We were getting a week's leave and one of our German pals invited us to his place. We were all dead tired from constant flying and fighting so when Franz suggested some quiet country air we all accepted. He lived between Hamburg and Brunswick on a beautiful farm, well treed, just off the main highway. There were big buildings and a long hayfield perfect for a landing field. We arrived in two Me109's "doubled up" to conserve gas, and spent a week I'll never forget. Allied bomber raids never bothered us, and here we found peace and quietness — a wonderful contrast to our year of savagery and murder. Of course we visited the local beer cellars and dance halls — and fell in love a couple of times. Life was so short now that we were down to half!
    Now it was into early 1945. We were being pushed back into parts of Germany. Most of us suspected the end was coming, but some still believed in some miracle weapon. Gas was scarcer but for the Air Force especially, it was a necessity, so we never really went short. Our groundcrews were super-human and we became fairly close after well over a year together. The pilots were being steadily replaced as some were killed, wounded, transferred or just couldn't take it. Carl, Al and I still kept together, carefully watching each other in action.
    We did a couple of missions with Eric Hartmann, who ended the war as the top ace with 352 enemy aircraft shot down. We thought we were very good fighter pilots, but he was a natural born flier and a dead shot. No one who flew with him during the war or postwar, has ever doubted his score as a minimum one.

    Continue
     
  3. gepp

    gepp Member

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    Our German speech now was fairly good and no one ever suspected we were not German. We almost felt it ourselves and at times it felt more like a dream — or a nightmare. But we made our plans as the end came closer. It was cold so we wore our own uniforms under our German ones. Franz suggested we fly to his place as it would likely be in Allied hands shortly. Things were confused all over Germany. Allied POWs were being moved ahead of the Russian armies and refugees were on the move on most roads.
    But again tragedy struck in April. Al, my fellow Canadian and such a good friend, just blew up one day as we were over the front. It must have been an artillery shell that hit him. We could see both sides firing from below. Just how can a man cope seeing all his friends being killed one by one!
    Our personal "scores" were substantial — all over one hundred with so many hours in the air — we just kept shooting the enemy aircraft down. We had the experience, the better aircraft, and the determination to do our best. Four of us were killed, but all by flukes.
    In early May we decided to leave this hell on earth. We were all nerves and physically worn out. All we thought was fly, shoot and kill. Carl and I, Franz and two other pilots gassed up before dawn one morning and prepared to take off. We were determined to take as many of our groundcrew as possible, so had to lighten our ME's. We didn't expect any action so only carried a minimum of ammunition. We made enough room in the cockpit for two and then made enough room in each aircraft for two more in the fuselage, just behind the cockpit. Each fighter took off with four men aboard and we flew wide open on the deck to our old holiday retreat. Landing at the farm was like another world. All the aircraft were covered so they would not be spotted from the air. The extra gas if mixed would come in handy for the spring work.
    We lay low for a few days, just sleeping, eating, drinking and relaxing. The radio announced the war was over. Our worldly possessions fitted into a haversack. One thing we had plenty of was cash, plus the usual watches and rings. We had been paid regularly mainly in American and Canadian dollars, and English pounds — just enough marks to keep us going. And we had arranged at the beginning that our pay would be divided up by the survivors. We promised to visit the next of kin of those who were killed, and make sure they were not suffering financially. We had about $50,000 each in cash. But what a price we had to pay! With four of our six gone, it felt like illgotten gains.
    It was hard to say goodbye. However, we all had permanent family addresses and promised to keep in touch and visit when the world returned to normal. We donned our old uniforms and started walking along the highway like a couple of lost POWs. A couple of Yank jeeps came barreling down the road and stopped. We explained who we were and one jeep took us to an American base nearby for interrogation. Everything was in order and in a couple of days we were flown to England.As an F/L for over four years as a POW, I got a lot of back pay but left it all in my paybook. My big bankroll was divided up by adding to my British bank account, sending a couple of drafts home and keeping the rest in my money-belt. I phoned Carl to ask about leave and we both had over a week. We met and visited with Morris' and Geoffrey's families a few days. I think they felt a lot better knowing that we had been such good friends. But we had to be careful with our arranged story of what supposedly happened.
    Carl and I parted and were home shortly after. Home — with no fighting and killing! I decided on a job even if money was no object. In a few months I visited Carl and by the next year we were both married. No, we didn't forget Franz and the boys. We sent him parcels of cigarettes and sweets mainly. The next year we all went over by boat to Germany. Our wives had to be told of our experiences. It was a shock at first, but it didn't take long for the Russians to show their true communist colors, and our wives even began to realize maybe what we did wasn't such a bad thing.
    Al's parents were told he was killed on one of the many death marches so many POWs were on at the end of the war. But I told them he had saved my life in the process. We are still very close.
    Now our families are grown up but we still see all our old friends. As things turned out over the years, who was right or wrong? War doesn't prove anything and man doesn't seem to learn from war. Ask the man who was there! I found just as good men on both sides doing a duty. Could my own children do or take what I did? Each generation ponders the same question — and perhaps sells its youth a little short.
    Everything man needs is within his grasp — love, family, security, social acceptance and to be able to do what he wants. But to be able to live in harmony with others — and the world, is what we perhaps need the most. To hell with war, it’s all the same — no one ever really wins.

    again im sorry its so long
     
  4. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Very interesting piece
    is it an extract from a book?

    I bet your fingers ache...:)
     
  5. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    Its possible i suppose as ther were certainly British soldiers who served in the Waffen SS so not much of a stretch to canadians in the luftwaffe really .never heard of it before though and would like to hear from some of the more knowledgable forum members as to their opinions perhaps Erich or Wurger might have more insight
     
  6. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't ring true to me. I cannot see a group of allied pilots getting over 100 kills and not being used by the Propoganda people.

    Sorry but I don't buy it
     
  7. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    The more i think about it the less likely i find it.there was no effort made to hide the identitys of those soldiers who joined the Brittische Freikorp indeed if i remember correctly they wore a union flag on their uniform also doesnt seem likely that the luftwaffe would be paying wages in foreign currency as this would not have been all that readily available .1 question if you strip out all the weight from a 109 could you really get 4 people in it
     
  8. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I only read the first post because it was already clear to me by then that it isn't true. I have looked up some information on allied pilots changing sides before and I hadn't found anything so I was already sceptical. But the way this 'pilot' tells his story is very unlike any veteran would tell his story. He is too brief on certain subjects and too elaborate on others, especially things people like us would be interested in. (I am mainly talking about aircraft types.)

    It is complete bogus. Reminds me about that 'duel with Hartmann'.

    Kris
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #9 GrauGeist, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
    Fascinating read, but I stopped at the point where "Al" picked our author up in his "ME" after being downed by ground fire...

    Noway in hell you could get two people in the cockpit of a Bf109 and still fly it...
     
  10. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I enjoyed it too
    but I'm even less sure how you'd get FOUR in, even with the ample time you'd have to tackle the problem that being on your own airfield affords you. Even if you could get two people in the fuselage in a volumetric sense, how would they physically get in there? And not foul the control cables?
     
  11. gepp

    gepp Member

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    I thought it sound to out there but you never know
    what i have found so far its from a book "Canadians in the Royal Air Force" by Les Allison
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Agree with all that this is pure fiction. Although I believe there were very small groups of POWs in German hands who "defected" I have never heard of any used on Ops, especially pilots. Most were used as propaganda and if employed at all, it was for radio broadcasts, leaflet writing, etc.

    and Grau, 2 people could get into a Bf 109 athough it would be cramped as hell. During the evacuation of NA several pilots took their crew chiefs etc. Almost at all points where the German armies had to retreat, the Luftwaffe evacuated in any way they could.
     
  13. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Four people could get into a Fw 190. Three in a Bf 109G. Some armour plates and the radio had to be removed though. On one occasion even five people including the pilot got into a Fw 190. The pilot and two passengers in the cockpit, one in the fuselage and one in the ammunition space. Don't ask ...

    Kris
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  15. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    #15 seesul, Nov 10, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
    Absolutely no true story for me...
    Show me someone who´s able to learn the foreign language in 2 years or so and no one recognize his langauge is not his born language. Pure bullshit!
    I got friends who spent more than 10 years in USA and my American friend immediately recognized they are not Americans although their accent always sounded pure American to me...
     
  16. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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  17. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Unknown Candian Bulls*itter more like.

    File under: Military Myth.
     
  18. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yep, smells like Bullshit to me too. Still it makes a good (if rather imaginative) read...
     
  19. gepp

    gepp Member

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    well that's settled that :) all B.S. got to admit that is one cool story though.
     
  20. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    Would make for a great movie, but it's pure fantasy.
     
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