Baker & Taylor Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulledup on the bomber's tail -- a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day -- the American, Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17; and the German, Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who had sought to avoid fighting in World War II.