Prison Break

stalag-luft-the-great-escape
The Background

Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II, which held captured Western Allied air force personnel.

The Stalag was established in March 1942 in the German province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań, Poland), 160 kilometres (100 miles) south-east of Berlin. The site was selected because its sandy soil made it difficult for POWs to escape by tunnelling.

It is best known for two escape plots by Allied POWs.

  • One in 1943 that became the basis of a fictionalised film, The Wooden Horse (1950), based on a book by escapee Eric Williams.
  • The so-called Great Escape of April 1944, which was conceived by Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, and was authorised by the senior British officer at Stalag Luft III, Herbert Massey. A heavily fictionalised version of the escape was depicted in a film, The Great Escape (1963), which was based on a book by former prisoner Paul Brickhill.
The Great Escape

In March 1943, Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Roger Bushell conceived a plan for a mass escape, which occurred on the night of 24/25 March 1944. He was being held in the North Compound with the other British and Commonwealth airmen. He was in command of the Escape Committee that managed all escape opportunities. Falling back on his legal background to represent his scheme, Bushell called a meeting of the Escape Committee to advocate for his plan.

Massey, as senior British officer, authorised the escape attempt. The simultaneous digging of three tunnels would become an advantage if any one of them was discovered, because the guards would scarcely imagine that another two were well underway. The most radical aspect of the plan was not the scale of the construction but the number of men intended to pass through the tunnels. Previous attempts had involved up to 20 men, but Bushell was proposing to get over 200 out, all wearing civilian clothes and some with forged papers and escape equipment. It was unprecedented in size and would require unparalleled organisation. As the mastermind of the Great Escape, Roger Bushell inherited the codename of “Big X”. The tunnel “Tom” began in a darkened corner next to a stove chimney in one of the buildings. “Dick”‘s entrance was hidden in a drain sump in one of the washrooms. The entrance to “Harry” was hidden under a stove. More than 600 prisoners were involved in their construction.

The Tunnel

The tunnels were very deep – about 9 m (30 ft) below the surface. They were very small, only 0.6 m (2 ft) square, though larger chambers were dug to house an air pump, a workshop, and staging posts along each tunnel. The sandy walls were shored up with pieces of wood scavenged from all over the camp, much from the prisoners’ beds (of the twenty or so boards originally supporting each mattress, only about eight were left on each bed). Other wooden furniture was also scavenged.

the great escape
Harry – The Great Escape

tunnel-harry-the-great-escape
Tunnel Harry | The Great Escape

“Harry” was finally ready in March 1944. In their plan, of the 600 who had worked on the tunnels only 200 would be able to escape. The prisoners were separated into two groups. The first group of 100, called “serial offenders,” were guaranteed a place and included 30 who spoke German well or had a history of escapes, and an additional 70 considered to have put in the most work on the tunnels. The second group, considered to have much less chance of success, was chosen by drawing lots; called “hard-arsers”, they would have to travel by night as they spoke little or no German and were only equipped with the most basic fake papers and equipment.

The prisoners waited about a week for a moonless night, and on Friday 24 March the escape attempt began. Unfortunately for the prisoners, the exit trap door of Harry was frozen solid and freeing it delayed the escape for an hour and a half. Then it was discovered that the tunnel had come up short of the nearby forest; at 10.30 p.m. the first man out emerged just short of the tree line close to a guard tower. To avoid being seen by the sentries, the escapes were reduced to about ten per hour, rather than the one every minute that had been planned. Word was eventually sent back that no-one issued with a number above 100 would be able to get away before daylight. As they would be shot if caught trying to return to their own barracks, these men changed back into their own uniforms and got some sleep.

Despite these problems, 76 men crawled through to freedom, until at 4:55 a.m. on 25 March, the 77th man was spotted emerging by one of the guards. The guards had no idea where the tunnel entrance was, so they began searching the huts, giving men time to burn their fake papers. Hut 104 was one of the last to be searched, and despite using dogs the guards were unable to find the entrance. Finally, German guard Charlie Pilz crawled back through the tunnel but found himself trapped at the camp end; he began calling for help and the prisoners opened the entrance to let him out, finally revealing its location.

The Aftermath

Of 76 escapees, 73 were captured. Adolf Hitler initially wanted them to be shot as an example to other prisoners, along with Commandant von Lindeiner, the architect who designed the camp, the camp’s security officer and all the guards on duty at the time. Hermann Göring, Field Marshal Keitel, Major-General Westhoff and Major-General von Graevenitz (head of the department in charge of war prisoners) all argued against the executions as a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Hitler eventually ordered SS head Himmler to execute more than half of the escapees. Himmler passed the selection on to General Arthur Nebe, and fifty were executed singly or in pairs. Roger Bushell, the leader of the escape, was shot by Gestapo official Emil Schulz just outside Saarbrucken, Germany. Bob Nelson is said to have been spared by the Gestapo because they may have believed he was related to his namesake Admiral Nelson. His friend Dick Churchill was probably spared because of his surname, shared with then British Prime Minister. Seventeen were returned to Stalag Luft III, and four were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where they managed to tunnel out and escape three months later, although they were recaptured and returned there. Two were sent to Oflag IV-C Colditz.

There were three successful escapees:

  • Peter Bergsland, Norwegian pilot of No. 332 Squadron RAF
  • Jens Müller, Norwegian pilot of No. 331 Squadron RAF
  • Bram van der Stok, Dutch pilot of No. 41 Squadron RAF

Reference: Stalag Luft III

Brian Bo Larsen

Lo and Behold. The man who escaped prison not once, not twice but astonishingly 22 times.

Yep, you read that right. Its not 2 times and no, its not a typo. Its freaking twenty two times!

Brian Bo Larsen - PrisonTales.com

The Background

Brian Bo Larsen learned to escape from an abusive father during his childhood. In an early age, Larsen learned to escape his alcoholic and abusive father, who used to beat his mother if not Larsen. He started his ‘criminal’ record at a young age of 8. He used to steel toys and candies from other kids. And at 13 years old, Larsen robbed a gas station with a bayonet. Police patience with the small troublemaker had run out and he was placed in foster care, first in Rynkeby then in Lohals on Langeland. After emptying the safe at his school twice, he was nabbed. Therefore he came to work at a farmer so he could pay the money back.

The First Escape

Brian Bo Larsen’s escapade began in the year 1989. He was also one of the country known prisoner escape from the state prison Vridsløselille in 1995. Larsen’s escape attempt in 2000 was quite dramatic. After a wild escape from Aalborg police in a stolen car, he drove dangerously and ended up totaling the car. As the car could not go any further, Brian Bo Larsen continued on foot into a nearby forest, where a police dog eventually got wind of him.
He was placed in detention in the Aalborg Police Headquarters, but it was not enough to keep him confined, as he escaped by removing the insulating glazing and jump to freedom.

The Recent Escape

Brian Bo Larsen was rearrested after police found him in the company of a prostitute and in possession of drugs in December 2014. Larsen escaped from jail for the 22nd time on 13 December, is known across the country as the “Escape King”. Larsen was finally tracked down on Funen island after he wrecked a stolen car while high on drugs. He was with a prostitute according to her, Larsen crashed through a fence hallucinating and started fighting imaginary people. A local resident called up the police, but by the time the police arrived Larsen had fled the area. The prostitute later explained the strange goings on to the authorities. Police dogs eventually tracked down Larsen wearing a brown wig.

Brian Bo Larsen - PrisonTales.com

Brian Bo Larsen’s Personal Life

Brian Bo Larsen’s mother tried to persuade him and guide him on the right path, but in vain. In 24th of June 2004, Larsen’s mother passed away. He was allowed to attend his mother’s funeral. The 42-year-old wishes to settle down with a family and possibly open a small shop and become independent. Brian Bo Larsen’s record contains, among other escape attempts, car theft, individual robbery and violence against officials.

Image Credits:-  The Local

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Prison Tales

What could be the most badass prison break, which committed not only once, but twice?!

What do you get when you cross Jesse James, Robin Hood, and Jack Bauer in the body of a giant, bearded, bald Greek man?

Meet Vassilis Paleokostas:

prison break vassilis

This crazy, utterly fearless dude is public enemy number one in Greece, and probably one of the most badass motherfuckers to come from the country since the days of our friend Leonidas.

The background

Vassilis’ story starts back in the early 90s. He went on an insane crime spree of delicious armed robbery, blackmail, extortion, and kidnapping. Basically, his modus operandi was to kidnap a super-rich bastard and hold him for a ridiculous ransom. And then, he will sell him back to his stupid family in exchange for giant piles of cold, hard cash. After that he will keep a small percentage of it for himself, and distribute the rest of his newly-acquired wealth to impoverished farmers of the tiny rural province in which he grew up. The dude quickly made a name for himself as the Robin Hood of Greece, and was beloved by fans of badassery and the people of the lower classes. Shit, even the fucking people he kidnapped came out later and said that he was very polite and respectful to them while they were in captivity. And that it was pretty much the most pleasant kidnapping they’d ever experienced. He also made a vow never to harm a member of the public in his criminal escapades. He’s been true to his word.

The sidekick

prison break Alket Rizai
In true badass fashion, Vassilis Paleokostas also has a trusty sidekick – a lunatic Albanian named Alket Rizai. Rizai is like the Friar Tuck in this story, only if instead of being a benevolent, staff-swinging priest, the clergyman was a crazy gunman with a hair-trigger and a penchant for firing automatic weapons at heavily-armed tactical police officers. Rizai is currently up on charges for murder, though there haven’t been any details about any of that. According to some, this guy once blew up a known Mafia hangout by shooting it with a fucking rocket launcher.

The arrest

Of course, the downside to being a career criminal – even a happy-go-lucky one who commits non-violent crimes in the name of the oppressed populace – is that eventually the long arm of the law is going to bitch-slap you in the fucking face really really hard. In 1995, Vassilis Paleokostas was caught by the fuzz, convicted of kidnapping, robbery, and weapons charges, and hauled off to a federal pound-me-in-the-ass penitentiary known as Korydallos Prison.

Now over the years, Korydallos Prison has gained a reputation as being one of the harshest and most brutal prisons in Greece. This place is like a mix between Andersonville, Oz, and that stupid plastic box they keep Magneto inside in the X-Men movies. The warden is a hardass son-of-a-bitch, the guards don’t give a shit, and people that go inside the facility never come out.Except Vassilis Paleokostas.

Prison Break

In June 2006, Paleokostas’ older brother (another pathological criminal who is now serving jail time on 16 counts of armed robbery) commandeered a helicopter, and landed it right in the middle of the fucking exercise yard of the prison in broad daylight. The armed guards at Korydallos, not expecting to be subjected to such an unbelievable display of gigantic steel-plated testicles, assumed that this chopper belonged to the warden or the Chief of Prisons or something, and instead of investigating it they all decided to make sure their shoes were appropriately spit-shined so as not to incur a citation from their wrathful bosses. Vassilis (who had orchestrated the entire operation from the beginning) and his Albanian buddy simply walked up to the helicopter, hopped inside, and lifted off. By the time the guards got their heads out of their asses and started firing their guns at the bird, it was already too late. Paleokostas had escaped.

The search

Paleokostas evaded them for two and a half years. He lived in the mountains outside Athens, evaded all attempts to recapture him, and even orchestrated another high-profile kidnapping in the process. He snatched a powerful CEO industrialist, ransoming him for a huge wad of cash, and once again distributing the loot to local farmers and families. There are also rumors that he planned and executed another kidnapping while he was still incarcerated.

The recapture

In August 2008, Paleokostas was tracked down and re-captured by the Greek police. He was placed in a different maximum security facility, where he was held for another six months, awaiting trial for his brazen escape in 2006. On 21 February 2009, Vassilis Paleokostas was transferred back to his old home – Korydallos Prison. His trial was to begin on the 23rd, and he was to stay in his former holding area while he stood trial for this crime.

The re-escape

But he never made it to trial. The very next day, 22 February, ANOTHER FUCKING HELICOPTER showed up in the skies above Korydallos Prison. It flew over a large tower of the prison, lowered a long rope ladder, and Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizai climbed up into the chopper. As the helicopter flew off into the sunset, the prisoners of Korydallos cheered.
The police eventually tracked down the helicopter, and found that it had ditched on the side of the road outside Athens with a bullet hole in the gas tank. According to the pilot, Paleokostas and his associates left the chopper and drove off on totally sweet motorcycles to an undisclosed location. They also popped some totally bitchin’ wheelies while doing so.

The conclusion

Vassilis not only earned his freedom for the second time, and once again showed the world that his ballsack is roughly the size of a small continent. But he also got some sweet delicious revenge on the motherfuckers in charge of the Greek prison system at the same time. For allowing the same guy to escape the same prison in the same manner twice in a row, the Greek government fired the country’s Chief of Prisons, the Inspector-General of Prisons, the warden of Korydallos, and three guards at the facility.

Vassilis Paleokostas is fully rad because he kicked ass, won the respect of the people, said “fuck you” to the police, and managed to single-handedly place the country’s three top-ranking prison officials in the back of the unemployment line.

He is still at large.

Source:- Abhishek Rai

Image Credits:-  Edgar Daily

 

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