On April 27th, 1944, an 8th Air Force B-17 piloted by Lt. W.C. Shaddix was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Belgium. Shaddix and his crew bailed out of their crippled bomber and Shaddix alone was able to elude capture by the German Army. The rest of his crew spent the war in German POW camps. Shaddix was hidden and protected by the Belgian underground who passed him along from family to family. While trying to make his way to neutral Spain along with another downed pilot, Shaddix was picked up by the French Underground who were fighting a guerilla war in the Ardennes Forest. He joined them in their battle against the retreating German Army. Finally their unit was swept up by Patton’s 3rd Army as it raced across Europe.
Drawing on interviews, diaries, and declassified documents, author Tom Bartlett, a former Air Force officer, traces the remarkable story of training, survival, and return of a downed B-17 pilot.