WWII Pilot Ludwig Havlak Visits Old Plane “Witchcraft”

Many surviving WWII pilots are relatively nervous about seeing their old planes for the first time in so many years. It seems like a reasonable fear, as there is no telling what sort of memories may be brought up at the sight of an aircraft which took them through some of the hardest trials of their lives. Ludwig Havlak, on the other hand, a pilot who performed operations in the Pacific Theater during WWII, went to visit his planes with the sole intention of kissing his B-24J heavy bomber in commemoration of the times he had shared with the vehicle.

Havlak saw the plane in San Angelo as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour, which is dedicated to bringing older aircraft into the public view, specifically those from WWII. They believe that pilots of the time were among the most important military men of the era.

Those running the tour also strongly believe that we owe the current state of world affairs to more than just the pilots, but to the planes themselves as well. The bulk, the weaponry, the flight capabilities—all aspects of the plane, by their estimation, helped to give the Allies an edge over WWII warfare and help to ensure the freedom gained by the Allies’ victory over the Axis powers, the Chron News reports.

The bomber that Havlak kissed, nicknamed “Witchcraft,” is no ordinary plane by any means. Although the plane is an impressive mass of metal, the inside is tightly quartered, meaning much of the outside serves as defense. Havlak had not been inside of such a plane since WWII ended, but he was grateful to be a part of history once again. He took joy from seeing the Browning machine gun the plane used for defense, another thing he had not seen much of since the end of his pilot days. Not only was he in an impressive aircraft, but he was in the last of its kind still operational.

Havlak brought his son with him for the occasion, and it was special for both of them. His son Roger had heard much about his father’s days as a WWIIpilot, but had never before seen his father juxtaposed with an actual plane from the era. Havlak used to fly 12-hour missions by night, and even though he was able to opt out of the war after having performed almost three dozen such missions, he opted to continue on as a WWII pilot. Given his excitement at seeing Witchcraft, some may say he is still living that role to this very day.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE