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POW's Make Sign To Avoid Being Bombed

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Welcheston, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. Welcheston

    Welcheston New Member

    Dec 7, 2016
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    Hi There,

    I am doing some research and have heard of a story (and seen an article in a newspaper around the time) about about several hundred POW's (American and British) in Germany who were being transported in an unmarked train and were bombed by allied planes. The train was moved into a tunnel for several hours. When it re-emerged bombing restarted...so the men removed their shirts and formed a massive POW sign by bending over and showing their bare backs. Thunderbolts overshot them with bullets apparently as a "test" to see if they would break ranks...they didn't. Apparently the Thunderbolts returned and dipped their wings in acknowledgement. The POWS were apparently from a camp at Limburg and were being moved further East in Germany

    The article I have seen is not dates but appears to be from the time.

    Has anyone heard of this story and can point me in the direction of any sources/write ups etc.

    Kind regards

  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Member

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Have a google of Stalag XIIA, Limburg. Some places say the aircraft were P47s, others P38s.

    There is also the tragedy at Gresse, Germany on 19 April, 1945 when a flight of RAF Typhoons killed 60 POWs.


  3. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Sep 10, 2000
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    Festung Colorado
    In 'The Last Escape' about Allied POW's in Europe at the end of the war, its mentioned several times that POW camps were targeted (mistakenly) on several occasions. In one camp, POWs got permission from their guards to climb onto the roofs to paint POW on their buildings. The Gresse tragedy is mentioned as well - one of the survivors speaks of it (and how, once liberated, they were being flown back homeward somewhere and an Airmen came over to talk to them and discovered that he had been the flight leader of the planes involved in that attack to his horror). Other instances had them write in the snow, or even get a message to allied lines stating that they were a POW column and not to attack them.

    The only problem I see with your story is - how did they get of the moving train to moon the pilots? When transported on trains, they were quite literally stacked in cattle-cars with the doors locked (and virtually no windows) so it would be interesting to know how they got out - and why would they moon the pilots instead of using their shirts to spell out POW instead?
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Jun 5, 2008
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    There may have been some pragmatism there, Mussolini. The guards would get shot up too, so why not let the PWs wave off the fighters?

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