Essays on the Theme of Heroism

Chivalry in the Sky

by Dylan Cutchin from San Diego, California in United States


Dylan Cutchin


HS English 2

16 February 2018

Chivalry in the Sky

We all think of Germans in WWII as evil people without hearts or Nazis. We think of all them all as brutal killing machines, but this is not true.  World War II the most costly war known, Axis vs. Allies, from this war; a story that begs the question, “Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?” (Makos 7). Most German soldiers and German citizens did not agree with the Nazi Party, and so did this pilot Franz Stigler, “Being Catholic and a well-educated family, we just did not buy into the propaganda. My family was anti-Nazi from the early days. I must admit that I was also very indifferent, and thought it was all bullsh*t to be honest.” (Makos 39). He also loved flying from a young age and was trained for free by the German Government, there was a catch, you would have to bend to their will and do as they tell you to do. (Makos 29-30). A hero must possess chivalry and have honor. Chivalry is the code for knights in medieval times; it has many codes, and one of them is forbearance, forbearance is self-control, along with mercy for your enemy (Crouch). Honor is the way conduct yourself and your values, along with good acts. Franz Stigler is a hero because he is chivalrous and good-natured.


120896Art of the incident on December 20, 1943 Stigler shows great chivalry with the actions he has done throughout his life.On December 20th, 1943, The B-17 “Ye Olde Pub” came under heavy flak fire destroying the nose of the plane disabled the number 2 engine and damaging the number 4 engine; this caused them to fall behind fly on alone. Later on they were swarmed with fighters knocking out the third engine, killing the tail gunner, weapons jam, O2 tanks, incapacitating the rear crew members, and the pilot taking a bullet to the shoulder. Having 3 heavily wounded crew members, he refused to bail out, with the only the slim chance of returning to England. The Charlie Brown looked out the window and saw a BF-109, and to his surprise it didn't shoot at them and escorted them back to UK airspace. (Frisbee). One of the reasons why he did this chivalrous act was that sis commanding officer told him, “If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute, I will shoot you myself.” he then said “ "To me, it was just like they were in a parachute. I saw them and I couldn't shoot them down." (Makos 54). This story is a great story of war as it can unite two sides and restore faith in humanity. This shows one the codes of chivalry, mercy, mercy for your enemy. "I didn't have the heart to finish those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home, and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them."(IIJG27Rich). This shows chivalry as it shows one the many codes for it, which is mercy towards your enemy. It also shows another code of chivalry, with is hardiness, which is loyalty to military virtues and how he should live by his moral virtues.  In this incident, it shows how Franz Stigler shows two of the many values of chivalry.


121037A photo celebrating the 70th anniversary of their first meeting Stigler is good natured by heart, but was stuck on the wrong side of the war. Franz was taught how to fly powered aircraft for free by the German Government. And because nothing is totally free, he was able to be told what to do by the government. He was brought in the Air Force to train other pilots; and only after his brother was killed in combat, he join the Fighter Corps.

“August earned a week-long vacation prior to his final exams. He decided to go home to spend time with his fiancée. It was a Friday, and that morning Franz had sent him on a long-distance training hop where August had followed his map from airfield to airfield. At each point he was to land and get his logbook stamped by the duty officer in the tower as proof. When August reported back to Franz that evening along with the other students, Franz found that only one pilot was missing a stamp—his brother. August explained that he could not find the duty officer and left without the stamp. Franz knew his brother had been in a hurry. August admitted this was true. Franz ordered to go prepare an airplane for more training. August obeyed and left Franz’s office, sulking. The brothers took to the skies, Franz in front, August behind, to practice August’s least favorite mission—flying blind. Soon after takeoff, Franz ordered August 'under the hood.' August pulled a handle and a black cloth covered his canopy, locking him into a cockpit lit only by instruments… August asked to remove the hood, which was customary, but Franz denied the request. Franz landed the craft, taxied to a stop, and only then told August he could remove the hood. August started to give Franz a piece of his mind for keeping him in the dark for so long, but he stopped mid-sentence. Waiting for him by a hangar on the tarmac was his fiancée. August immediately recognized the airport—Regensburg—they weren't back at Dresden—they were home. August’s fiancée giggled at the shock on his face. She knew what Franz had done.“ (Makos 36-37).

This was before war with Poland, and war was the farthest thing from his mind at that moment. He just want to surprise his brother to be nice and to be nice only. In this awful war you needed to keep your humanity.  Rodel said "You fight by rules to keep your humanity." (Makos 54). Franz’s commanding officer told him this in regards to shooting a man in a parachute. He said this because once you fight without rules and barbarically, you become inhuman. Our humanity is what makes us human, our ability to spare and show compassion for one another, and not being animals. Franz has a good heart but was portrayed poorly by stereotypes of Germans in WWII.

121038Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown at a party together. Stigler shows great chivalry and good natured things throughout his life with his actions. In the dedication of A Higher Call, it read, “In a church graveyard in Garmisch, Germany, a headstone stands against the backdrop of the Alps. Mounted to the stone is a photo etched on a porcelain circle, an image of a farm boy hugging a cow. He was killed while serving in World War II. This book is dedicated to him and all the young men who answered their countries’ calls but never wanted war.”

They had a job to do and they both knew what it was and they both have to live with all that they did. He didn't want, he just answered the call and showed kindness in a dark time. Franz Stigler inspires others with his actions of chivalry in the time that the world needed them most. Franz Stigler inspires others with his actions of chivalry in the time that the world needed them most. And to answer the question, “Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?” (Makos 7); yes, yes they can .


Works Cited

Barber, Mark. “[Ace Profile] Oberleutnant Ludwig Franz Stigler.” [Ace Profile] Oberleutnant Ludwig Franz Stigler , War Thunder , 12 Jan. 2015,  

Crouch, David (2005). The Birth of Nobility: Constructing Aristocracy in England

and France 900–1300. Harlow, UK: Pearson.ISBN 0-582-36981-9.

Frisbee, John L. . “Don't just Talk Chivalry. Live It.” Chivalry Today, Air-Force-Mag, 2004,

Globalo. “The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler Incident.” History from WWII - The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler Incident, Globalo , 6 Aug. 2017,

IIJG27Rich. YouTube, YouTube, 9 Sept. 2015,

Makos, Adam, and Larry Alexander. A Higher Call. Berkley Books, 2013.      






Page created on 2/13/2018 6:46:12 PM

Last edited 2/18/2018 4:04:12 PM

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