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Junkers Ju-290 to Manchuria 1944

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.

Postby Erich on 12 Aug 2003 23:36

Matt :

His monster book is stil being republished I don't know how many times with terrible text and photo rescanning. The profiles in his book are bogus for the most part and William acquired his materials in my estimation back in the 1960's when there was really nothing in the way of books on the subject matter dealing with Luftwaffe a/c and personell. I doubt seriously that the man ever had contacts that could use the vital Freiburg BA/MA resources which are invaluable to a Luftwaffe historian and in this day and age if a book author plans in any way shape or form to produce a book of value these resources must be used.....

In my large circle of Luftwaffe historians and friends, William's name is not mentioned in a postive tone. Sad to say.

~E
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Postby hisashi on 14 Aug 2003 01:44

Hi,
I am a newcomer from Tokyo. I have no additional information about Ju 290/390 flight, but you might be interested to read an explanation from Japanese side.
The flight by Italian aircraft in 1942 to northern China (exactly it arrived to Japanese occupied area nearby Mongolia) is mentioned briefly in the volume 59 of Senshi-Sosho, a semi-official war history of Japanese WWII. A Non-fiction writer Akira YOSHIMURA gave more detailed overview on this topic in his book 'Shinkai-no-Sisha (deepsea missionists)'. Also an anonymous researcher specialized in Europe-Japan relationship during the WWII provides some additional informations in Japanese.
An Italian SM82 (some soursebooks say it was SM75) transporter arrived from Crimea via neutral Afghanistan to northern China. Refueling in Cabul, this route was withen the endurance of some axis aircrafts, such as SM82 and Fw200, but Japanese government worried that this course might have violated the territory of Soviet. Japan did not expect the attack by Soviet near in the future, but was cautious not to irritate Soviet. Moreover, against a request from Japan to keep this secret, Italy appealed this success to the public without detailed explanation of flight course. The anonymous researcher states that Germany proposed to keep this route as a scheduled flight. Anyway Japan denied to use this route again.
In 1943, a specially designed long-range aircraft tried to reach to Crimea from Singapore without overpassing Soviet, but this aircraft became missing in the halfway.
As far as I know, no Japanese source states any German aircraft arrived from Europe during WWII.
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Postby varjag on 18 Aug 2003 12:31

Thanks Maisov for your post. Let me clarify; are u saying that Japanese sources claim that the Italian Savoia (75/82?) DID fly VIA Kabul? In other words - it refuelled there? I was intrigued to read what you wrote about the Japanese govt.'s sensitivity of such transit flights NOT violating Soviet territory which was quite interesting as I assume that Soviet 'air-defence' must have been very weak to non-existant in those parts of the Soviet Union. The 'Italian story' of the flight does NOT mention Kabul and the range of the aircraft would have made a direct flight, Crimea-Manchuria quite possible. Is it possible that the 'Japanese story' included Kabul to make certain that the Soviets would not 'feel violated'?
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Postby daveh on 18 Aug 2003 13:03

Dr. Kenneth Werrell in "World War II German Distance Flights: Fraud or Record?" in Aerospace Historian, XXXV, No. 2 (Summer/June 1988), pp. 111-16 debunks the myth of Ju 290 flights to Japan/Manchuria. A Ju-290 could in theory fly one way to Manchuria, and such flights were at one time envisioned. The story got started through disinformation provided by a captured German serviceman, Unteroffizer Wolf Baumgart, which was duly recorded in Ninth Air Force A.P.W.I.U. Report 44/1945. As well, research by Gunther Ott, the leading authority on the type, has established the careers and fates of all these long range modified aircraft and ascertained that no such flights were actually carried out.

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Postby hisashi on 19 Aug 2003 13:05

varjag,
I reread carefully the sentence of my source. A website states that the flight was 'via Kabul', not via Afghanistan. Judging from this expression, I interpreted that they refueled in Kabul. In July 1943, however, a Japanese aircraft tried a flight from Singapore to Crimea without refueling, and lost (no record states the fate of the plane). If refueling was possible, they would have done so. I therefore correct my post that refueling seemed not to be done. Very sorry. Japan worried to fly OVER Soviet territory, at will or by chance; nothing is mentioned about refueling in neutral states.
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Postby varjag on 20 Aug 2003 12:02

Thank you Maisov for your reply.Very interesting that the Japanese source states 'via Kabul' - the Italian does not.But then again, Italy was at war with Russia - Japan was not. For this Japanese attempt in July, 1943 to reach the Crimea by non-stop flight from Shonan as Singapore was called then, do you know what aircraft type was chosen? It was certainly a bold attempt - given the enormous distance! Have you any information of the cargo (diplomatic mail only?) or the crew? A quick string over the Great Circle on a globe indicates that indeed, such a route WOULD have avoided violating most, if not all, Soviet territory.A pity it failed...perhaps there is yet wreckage of a Japanese courier-plane to be found somewhere in the wilds of southern Asia? Rgds, Varjag
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Postby daveh on 20 Aug 2003 12:16

At last, on 05.26hrs on 29 June 1942, the S.75 RT MM.60539 took off from Guidonia with the following crew: Ten.Col. Antonio Moscatelli, Cap. Mario Curto, Cap. Dr. Publio Magini (all pilots), S.Ten. Ernesto Mazzotti (radio-navigator), M.llo Ernesto Leone (Engineer). At 14.10 hrs the S.75 landed at Saporoshje, where the CSIR (Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia) had established a refuelling and radio base. It was an uneventful trip to Saporoshje, where Dr. Magini and his fellow crewmembers decided not to risk starting the second leg of the trip in the afternoon in the hopes of avoiding interception. As a result, they spent the night at the airfield and took off on the following evening 20.06 hrs on 30 June.

Because of the load of fuel they carried, their aircraft could not get above 2500 feet and their airspeed was dangerously slow, making them a very vulnerable target. Pushing the aircraft threatened to overheat the engines and the crew watched anxiously as the temperature crept higher on the gauges.

It should be noted that Saporoshje was very near Rostov, where fierce fighting for control of the city was taking place. Soviet searchlights were everywhere, illuminating the night sky as the aircraft crossed the front. Almost immediately, they were spotted and beams of light fastened onto the aircraft. Streams of broken fire, Soviet anti-aircraft shells, rose up to greet their aircraft which must have appeared to be a slow easy target. Luckily for the crew, the Soviets scored no hits on the slow and low-flying aircraft. Dr. Magini and his crewmates endured the enemy's AA fire for the next 100 miles of their trip - Dr. Magini understates it in his journal - "It was not at all pleasant."

Eventually, the shooting stopped and the aircraft was all alone in the dark night. Their route took them north of the Caspian Sea, then the Aral Sea, and Lake Balkhash. As morning approached, they had reached the Altai mountain range which separates the USSR from China. Flying low in a long valley, they finally found themselves over the Gobi desert. For hours, they flew over the vast uninhabited sand and wasteland that is the Gobi. This is where Dr. Magini’s ‘Star Altitude Curves’ celestial navigation was vital, as the they had no aviation-coded maps of the Gobi desert.

Dr. Magini was of the opinion that they could have made it all the way to Japan but as they neared Japanese held territory, the Japanese had insisted that they land at Pao-Tow-Chen, located west of Peking, near the Yellow River. This was necessitated by the Japanese security measures imposed over Japanese airspace after the Doolittle Raid two months earlier. Fighters patrolled the home islands day and night, ready to shoot down any planes without the Japanese insignia on the wings.

The Italians had actually flown past Pao-Tow-Chen and were forced to turn back. As they did this, they found themselves in a torrential rainstorm and had difficulty finding their own position and finding the town. The storm let up long enough for Dr. Magini to determine the former and they were nearly gliding below the cloud cover when they encountered the latter.

At 17.20 hrs on 1 July 1942, after a flight of 6,000 Km in 21hours and 14 minutes, the S.75 RT landed safely at Pao-Tow-Chen airfield in China. Japanese soldiers immediately took up stations around the aircraft as the crew got out. Japanese authorities and two Italian officials were waiting for them. The Italians were Captain Roberto de Leonardis, the Naval Attaché and Enrico Rossi, an interpreter.

They were ushered to the local hotel, which ironically, was a replica of the Pompeii houses outside of Naples. Each crewmen was "given" at least two Geisha girls who bathed them and washed their dirty garments. While they waited for their clothes, the Italians wore kimonos, which only added to the surrealism they felt in this environment.

Dr. Magini and his fellows were obliged to layover for a day, waiting for a Japanese Air Force guide to arrive from Tokyo. The flight paths to and from the home islands changed daily and any aircraft at the wrong location or altitude or on the wrong course ran the risk of being shot out of the sky. While they waited, Japanese ground crews painted the rising sun insignia on the wings and fuselage of their aircraft.

They finally took off for Tokyo around 7:00 AM on July 3. The Japanese flight guide, a Captain, accompanied them and instructed them on exactly what course they should take. Their route took them over Peking – Dairen – Seoul – Yonagom - Tokyo; a trip of 2700km. They landed at the Tachikawa air force base near Tokyo at 17.04 hrs on July 1942.

After several days between ceremonies and planning of the return flight, the aircraft left Tokyo, still without any load on board, at 05.20 hrs on 16 July 1942, reaching Pao-Tow-Chen at 15.40hrs. There the Japanese provisional markings were removed and the aircraft took off with maximum fuel load (and with some difficulty, due to the short runway...) at 21.45 hrs GMT on 18 July, landing at Odessa at 02.10 hrs GMT on 20 July. At 11.00 hrs on the same day, the S.75 RT took off again, reaching Guidonia at 17.50 hrs. Mussolini himself was waiting for the arrival of the plane.


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Postby hisashi on 20 Aug 2003 15:18

Japan used experimental aircraft KI-77.
http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/g ... 7TACH.html
8 men were on board; a captain (officer), five civilian crews from newspaper publisher, and two army ataches for Japanese embassy in Germany. No top secret seemed on board.
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Postby varjag on 21 Aug 2003 12:52

maisov wrote:Japan used experimental aircraft KI-77.
http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/g ... 7TACH.html
8 men were on board; a captain (officer), five civilian crews from newspaper publisher, and two army ataches for Japanese embassy in Germany. No top secret seemed on board.
Many thanks Maisov. I thought it might have been the Ki-77! Now able to dive into my books - AIRVIEW in Tokyo published as early as 1953 that it was the second prototype, started from 'Fussa airfield' (Japan?) for Berlin,Germany on 30.06.1943. After it left Singapore 'last word was heard from the aeroplane over Indian Ocean 07.07.1943'. The aircraft was only 2 months old, still at prototype and thus untried. As a matter of interest, the first Ki-77 prototype took off on 02.07.44 for a world distance record attempt on a triangular course Changchun-Paichengtsu-Harbin (all Manchuria I think) and during 57 hours and 12 minutes covered 10272 miles (16575 km's)
- easily a new world record but never recognised due to the war. For those that may smile at this - let me say that THAT was some 1400 miles (2250 km's) BETTER that the FAI record set by a B-29 three years later. And when the Japanese plane had landed they still drained 800 litres of gas out of it's tanks!
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Postby hisashi on 21 Aug 2003 13:16

Fussa army airfield was in Fussa city west of Tokyo, and formally called as Tama airfield. SM75/82 also visited there from northern China, because it had the largest runway in Japanese airfield of the day. Nowadays U.S. Air Force use this airfield (enlarged) as Yokota Air Base.
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Postby varjag on 22 Aug 2003 12:25

Thanks Maisov and also thks to Daveh for bringing that Italian Savoia flight to the forum. I had read it before from 'supremo' but of course had no idea how to transcribe it to Skalman, Varjag
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Junker Ju290 to Manchuria 1944

Postby Simon Gunson on 30 Mar 2004 13:44

My source for the Ju-290 claims was a library book I read about KG200 operations about five years ago. I do not have the book infront of me but I did take contemporary notes as I read the book.

Looking back at those notes the three aircraft which were converted with extra fuel tanks in Spring 1944 at Finsterwalde were constructor numbers #10182, #10183 and #10184. The aircraft were re-termed Ju-290-A9 variants.

The notes that I took only referred to I/KG200 under Major Gartenfeldt and Hauptman Braun flying these routes. Hpt Braun's co-pilot was Lt Pohl. They were based at Vienna's Neustadt airport and Prague's Rusyne airport under the codename CARMEN. Actually the book also mentions long range missions over Russia flown from Roumania.

Unfortunately because KG200 took over all Ju-290 aircraft from 4th April 1944 and because the converted aircraft came from FAG.5, I too made a false assumption that FAG.5 aircraft operated flights to Manchukuo.

This was the only way that I could reconcile flights from Odessa which must have fallen in 1943 after Stallingrad ?

It appears some unit other than KG200 may have flown earlier flights, but it is equally likely that only KG200 flew these missions. KG200 had Ju-290 aircraft long before FAG.5's Ju-290 unit was deactivated in April 1944.

My notes however make no claim that FAG.5 aircraft ever flew these missions. My notes only indicate that I/KG200 did.

It is not inconsistent therefore that a soon to be published account of FAG.5's history has no record of these flights to Manchuria.

After returning to my original notes I see that I also noted FAG.5 aircraft were employed for long range patrol in the Atlantic with serials like KR+LQ and KR+LR.

Incidentally Ju-390 V2 aircraft had the serial RC+DA which implies maybe it was not flown by FAG.5 for the New York mission. Can anyone tell us which unit had the serial "RC+" ?

One of the grounds upon which this string dismisses Ju-290 flights to Manchukuo was the dismissal of Ju-390 V2 flights by FAG.5 to New York.

If Ju-390 V2 aircraft did not wear FAG.5 serials then this reasoning may be based on a flawed assumption.

Other units also flew Ju-290 prior to 4 April 1944 were Luft Transport Staffel 5 and Luft Transport Staffel 290.

Hauptman Braun of LTS-290 apparently later flew Manchukuo missions for I/KG200 so is it possible that flights from Odessa were flown by LTS-290 before Odessa fell to the Russians ?

Does anyone know if either Hpt Braun, Lt Pohl, or Major Gartenfeldt are still alive ?

Former FAG.5 Ju-290 aircraft in KG200 service bore the serials 9V+AH to 9V+FH etc. The Fuhrer's Kurrierstaffel which is known to have flown special missions to Japan with an Me-110 aircraft early in the war also operated Ju-290 aircraft and the Me-264 which was supposed to fly Hitler into exile in Japan.

Ju-290 aircraft also wore other serials starting with SB+QA to QG, but I can't identify that unit. Some also wore serials starting "PJ+" and "CE+". The serial starting "J4+" was allocated to former LTS.5 aircraft flown after April 1944 with I/KG200.

Sorry but I don't accept this thread conclusively disposes of these flights.
It does thankfully dispel the myth that FAG.5 flew these Manchuria missions. :lol:
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Postby DrG on 30 Mar 2004 14:11

Simon Gunson wrote:My source for the Ju-290 claims was a library book I read about KG200 operations. I do not have the book infront of me but I did take contemporary notes as I read the book.

When you'll have the time to see the title of that book, please tell me, I'm very interested in this topic.
The Fuhrer's Kurrierstaffel which is known to have flown special missions to Japan with an Me-110 aircraft also operated Ju-290 aircraft and the Me-264 which was supposed to fly Hitler into exile in Japan.

While, if proved, I can believe the existance of a flight of a Ju 290 to Far East, I don't undestand how a Messerschmitt Bf 110 could have made such a flight (unless it was able to refuel in USSR if the mission was done before Barbarossa). And the idea of an Hitler's escape to Japan on a Me 264 looks quite foolish, not to talk about the fact that the Me 264 was destroyed on 18 July 1944 (see: http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/me264.html), too early for any idea of a defeat of Germany, at least in the mind of Hitler.
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Junkers Ju-290 to Manchuria 1944

Postby Simon Gunson on 30 Mar 2004 14:25

Dear Daveh and Varjag 8)

I wonder if you guys were aware that KG200 took over operating Savoia S.75 aircraft under codename TOSCA following Italy's capitulation in Sept 1943 ?

I do know that KG200 operated flights to Rhodes and performed landings in what is now known as Iraq in 1944 with Ju-290. Given this fact it is not such a stretch of the imagination for S.75 aircraft flown by KG200 to fly via Kabul and Rhodes.

It would also explain why the Italians kept no records. KG200 was to the Luftwaffe what Air America was to the USAF. A very secretive operation.

Does anyone following this thread know what records were kept of KG200 operations/aircraft ?

Incidentally at least one KG200 Junkers Ju-290 may have flown Kammler to freedom from Czechoslovakia to Spain on 26 April 1945.

The Ju-290 A-5 aircraft constructor's number was 110178 and it had served with FAGr.5 (fernaufklaringsgruppe) with a serial KR+LI from Feb 1944 until 4th April 1944. It then became 9V+DK from 4th April 1944.

9V was a serial number used by I/KG200 on former FAG.5 aircraft. The aircraft was then rebuilt at Templehoff into a civil aircraft in September 1944 with DLH serial D-AITR "Bayeren" from October 1944.

Why a millitary transport aircraft would be converted to a civillian role during wartime is noteworthy by itself, but clearly it's dash for freedom was planned well in advance.

I have read conflicting information that the pilot was either Flugkapitan Paul Sluzealek or Hauptman Braun. Perhaps both were at the controls ?
At least 50 top Nazis are said to have been aboard her. The aircraft was later inducted into the Spanish air force and broken up in 1956.
:? :?
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Postby DrG on 30 Mar 2004 14:48

Simon Gunson wrote:It would also explain why the Italians kept no records.

The flight of the SIAI-Marchetti SM.75GA (GA = Grande Autonomia; also known as SM.75RT = Roma-Tokio) to Far east is well documented, also by photos (notice the hinomaru on the fuselage; it was painted also on the wings):
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