Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during combat

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Panzermahn
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Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during combat

Post by Panzermahn » 11 May 2012 10:03

Hi all

I read before (a couple of years ago) in a short story by an English pilot (in Reader's Digest) who fought during the Battle of Britain mentioned that sometimes there were communication (in terms of taunts and mocking) between Allied and Luftwaffe pilots during combat.

The English pilot mentioned once that he spoke his best German, "Halts maul!" and was delighted to receive the reply from a German pilot who said in clear English, "You feelthy Englishman, we'll teach you how to speak to a German!"

Are these inter-radio communication between Allied and Luftwaffe pilots during combat common during WW2? Any more examples?

Panzermahn

Larry D.
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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by Larry D. » 11 May 2012 14:35

Technically possible, of course, but I have one major problem with it. Since WWII cockpit radios were only able to tune in on one frequency at a time, it would have meant leaving the frequency you were ordered to maintain contact on and switching over to an unauthorized frequency. I would think the Allied pilot doing so would risk getting in trouble with higher authority. Personally, I have only heard of this in the context of airborne signals intelligence missions tasked to listen in on enemy radio chatter and either break in to confuse the enemy air crew and ground controllers or to jam the enemy signal.

L.

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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by Panzermahn » 11 May 2012 19:36

Thanks Larry for the additional info.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by phylo_roadking » 12 May 2012 02:03

WWII cockpit radios were only able to tune in on one frequency at a time, it would have meant leaving the frequency you were ordered to maintain contact on and switching over to an unauthorized frequency.
The only details I have tonight are for the Spitfire MkV...and the pilot could only toggle between a maximum of four preset frequencies; the control box was on the left side of the cockpit just below the cockpit sill and back from the instrument panel. There was ENOUGH to do in the cockpit without blessing a pilot with a tuneable radio!

(Apart from anything else, trying to operate a dial in flying gloves it would have been a bollix trying to get back ON frequency again!)
Personally, I have only heard of this in the context of airborne signals intelligence missions tasked to listen in on enemy radio chatter
However...that's not to say that the British weren't eavesdropping on the Luftwaffe's radios! They just provided a whole intel-gathering service to do it, the "Y" Service! Although it rapidly became a MUCH bigger undertaking, RAF Air Intelligence set up their own operation within the overall "Y" Service umbrella; they bought a number of American Hallicrafter 510 units which could be tuned to to the 40-megacycle band, and by March 1940 they were set up at Hawkinge and operators could hear some Luftwaffe R/T traffic....unfortunately noone there spoke German! :lol:

An Army AA gunner at the airfield could, and he was transferred...rapidly! Meanwhile, the RAF mounted a recruiting drive within the WAAF to find personnel with a grasp of idiomatic and regional German...and by the start of the BoB half a dozen had been dientified and were installed at a new base at Fairlight in East Sussex. They were able to eavesdrop on german aircrews, and found they showed little respect for wireless security! They'd often mention the number of aircraft in a given formation, and their destinations! 8O Information that went to Air Intelligence....and straight to Bentley Priory too :wink: (from Bishop)

The Germans of course were doing the same...but the RAF seems to have been far stronger in their R/T security...and it took them a very long time to grasp the elements of Ground Controlled Interception :wink: It didn't help that the intel had to pass through Beppo Schmidt's hands for analysis either.... :P
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Larry D.
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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by Larry D. » 12 May 2012 12:59

Panzermahn can read more about the RAF "Y" Service in:

Clayton, Aileen. The Enemy is Listening. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982. ISBN: 0-345-30250-8. Pb. 404p. Maps. Appendix. Glossary. Footnotes. Bibliography. Index.

A most interesting read, by the way, and one of the few on this subject. The "Y" Service had its greatest success in the Mediterranean, according to the author.

However, Panzermahn was referring to pilot-to-pilot conversations from cockpit-to-cockpit while airborne, so Clayton's WRAF "Y" Service girls at their ground intercept stations were another matter altogether.

L.

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redcoat
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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by redcoat » 12 May 2012 20:46

The RAF also later used a number German speaking radio operators to send luftwaffe night fighter crews false information about the progress of raids.

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Re: Communication between Luftwaffe/Allied pilots during com

Post by Panzermahn » 14 May 2012 16:33

Many thanks again to Larry D. and redcoat for additional information

Panzermahn

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