The war in the European theater was particularly bleak in 1943 for the US and its Allies. Bombers were brutally attacked by highly proficient German fighters as they attempted bombing runs over continental Europe. Losses were extremely high for the Allies.
In the midst of all this misery, an unusual occurrence happened just days before Christmas as a German Luftwaffe Ace gazed into the cockpit of a severely damaged B-17 and happened to make eye contact with the pilot. The German Ace took pity and spared his life by not taking a final shot at the crippled bomber. Years later, a unique friendship emerged between these two former enemies.