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  • Death by Plane October 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    death by plane

    Death by plane, the latest in the unusual execution series. Imagine, you are bundled, for a terrible crime, into a bomber bay and tied to a bomb. The bomb is, then, dropped, after a terrifying wait, from 10,000 feet on the enemy. Will you die by explosion or by falling?

    Some stories are so terrible that they are hard to believe. Roger Codou, a Communist veteran of the International Brigades, reached Lyons in October 1944. He had been summoned back by the party from Algeria, officially to work in the Cabinet of the Communist minister, Charles Tillon, but also to help set up a secret factory in Paris for manufacturing false papers. In Lyons, a Communist major from the FTP looked after him. During their time together he took Codou out to the military airfield of Bron. In August, the Germans had massacred 109 prisoners from Montluc prison on the runway, now used by French bombers flying over enemy territory ahead of de Lattre’s 1st army. One of the pilots asked: ‘Have you got any customers for us tonight’ The major then explained to Codou that, as a fitting punishment for traitors, any Vichyist prisoners acquitted by the courts in Lyons were kidnapped, bound and gagged, then taken to the airfield after dark and put in the bomb-bay of an aircraft on top of the bombs. They were then dropped on ‘their friends’ during the next sortie. Nearly fifty years later, Codou still did not know whether this was a ghastly revelation or told only to shock.

    Can anyone help sort out Codou’s old problem: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. The passage is from Beevor, Paris: after the liberation (99 in Beach’s epub file)

    The only parallel Beach could think of for this instance of death by plane were the Argentinians who used to drop leftists out of planes into the deep Pacific (though note that these were without bombs and the victims were typically drugged out of the ordeal).

    Beach just found this interesting Wikipedia page on death flights: allegedly the French used the practice in Algeria: is this a national habit, then?

    EC writes in, 28 Oct: It would be helpful to know what type of aircraft was involved. If the Vichy men were strapped to bombs inside the unheated, unpressurized bomb bays of high altitude strategic bombers, they would most likely have died long before the bay doors even opened. Doesn’t mean it mightn’t’ve happened, just that neither explosion nor falling would’ve been the likely cause of death.

    ALSO numerous readers wrote to point out that Argentina would have dropped their bodies over the deep Atlantic (not the Pacific)