"Books like The Wooden Horse and Reach for the Sky were full of these moments"

The Wooden Horse is a 1949 novel by Eric Williams, a former pilot and POW. The book details an actual escape from Stalag Luft III. The name derives from the wooden horse (i.e. a piece of gymnastic equipment) which was placed over the entrance to the escape tunnel, from which POWs would vault in order to disguise the vibrations caused by the digging activity. Read more about the escape plan here.  

Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill is the story of Douglas Bader, the second world war pilot whose piloting skills were legendary. As a POW his tin legs had to be confiscated in order to prevent him from escaping. Paul Brickhill is also the author of The Great Escape (see bookmark p.405 here)