It was 1943 and the Allied war machine was quickly building toward it''s peak. The invasion of western Africa provided their bombers with a platform from which they could strike the under belly of Europe At the'same time, the German defense forces, both anti-aircraft and aircraft fighters, were reaching the peak of their efficiency. Aircraft B-17, 0837 had made thirty four sorties over enemy targets when her luck ran out. On August nineteenth she was going after a power station at Foggia, Italy. Combining the flack and the enemy fighters, this was her last mission. Shortly after noon, eight of her surviving crew members parachuted down into Italian hands. Bruce and Ken were quickly moved into an Italian interrogation camp. The next stop was a permanent camp and two days after their arrival, the Italian Government surrendered to the Allies. Now prisoners of the Germans, they were moved to a third camp in preparation for a move northward. That''s when these two aI'men decided to try an escape. On the outside, an Italian-American put the escapees into non-descript civilian clothes, pointed to the'southe'st and the Allied lines, and sent them on their way. Even thought they remained in the ""back country,"" it quickly became clear that the enemy not only included the German army but the local Facists and numerous groups of young boys hiding out to avoid conscription. Ten days later the civilian dressed aI'men discovered their position was accidently right in the middle of the German lines. With infantry positions dead center in front, heavy weapons somewhere behind them, there simply was no direction left to go. For the next interesting five days they had but one goal: evade the German army and get to the Allied forces not more that a couple miles away.
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May 10, 2006
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