Luftwaffe response to allied courier flights.

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SES
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Luftwaffe response to allied courier flights.

Post by SES » 05 Nov 2005 22:56

Throughout the war British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) continued their airline operations mostly in support of the war effort. One of the more spectacular routes established in 1941 was the one from Leuchars in Scotland to Bromma near Stockholm in Sweden. The aircraft employed included Hudsons, Loadstars, Whitleys, C-46, C-47 and Mosquitos. Among the passengers were Scandinavian nationals, who wanted to go to the UK and join the fight against Germany, but also individuals even more vital to the allied war effort. Professor Niels Bohr, who helped design the "Atom Bomb" flew from Bromma in the converted bomb bay of a Mosquito. The SOE and MI 5 was deeply involved in some of the passengers and cargo ferried. Part of V-Weapons, which through malfunction had crashed in Sweden was ferried on this route. Material collected by the Clandestine Danish Intelligence Service was complied in Sweden, processed and passed to MI 5. And finally Sweden sold ball bearings to the allies, which were also ferried along this route. Many of the aircrew were Norwegians, who had fled the country after the German occupation, were enlisted and trained in the RAF and were on contract with BOAC.
This is the rest of the story:
http://www.gyges.dk/Courier%20flights%2 ... weeden.htm
bregds
SES

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Stormbird
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Post by Stormbird » 06 Nov 2005 00:52

Yes i've heard of this, aircrews called it the Ball bearing run, I first read about it in a fiction book called "The Ball Bearing Run" by Walter Winward. After reading it i done a little reasearch into BOAC and found that these flights were fact. There is not alot about it floating around so thanx for the site it proved to be most interesting.

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Post by SES » 06 Nov 2005 10:27

Yes I think the history of these flight contain so much cloak and dagger, that someone ought to pick it up, do the in depth research and publish a book. I'll continue to research the German side of the coin.
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Post by Englander » 06 Nov 2005 11:00

The opposing air crews wine and dine at the same restaurant in neutral Sweden. Not at the same table you understand, heaven forbid.

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Post by Erik E » 06 Nov 2005 15:50

Interesting subject SES :wink:

Seems like there were 3 different types of courier flights on these routes.

Some info from Hafsten`s "Flyalarm"

The BOAC you mention, but also a Swedish airline "AB Aerotransport"(ABA)
The Swedish DC-3 planes were painted orange with SCHWEDEN painted on the fuselage....
They operated with permission from the Germans, but with strong regulations.

As a third part, the Norwegian exile government in England payed for two Lockheed 18 Lodestar`s, which were brought over from USA by Norwegian crew, the two planes were given civil British registration, and the Norwegian crew weared BOAC uniforms. (G-AGDD "Loch Lesna" and G-AGDE "Loch Lesja")
A few more Lodestar`s followed later, also with Norwegian crew.

The first kill seems to be 3rd April 1943, when a Norwegian operated BOAC Lodestar (G-AGEJ "Loch Lange") was downed by Werner Speidel (10./NJG.3) NW of Skagen, DK.
Later that year, also two swedish ABA planes were shot down.
27th August 1943, DC-3 SE-BAF "Gladan" downed by Lt.Karl Rechberger 12./NJG.3
22nd October 1943, DC-3 "Gripen", downed Werner Speidel 10./NJG.3
After these attacks, ABA closed their flights.

In January 1944, also the Americans started their own route, operating coverted Liberator bombers.
The unit later called "1403rd AAF base unit Air Transport Command" , was stationed at RAF Leuchars airbase.
These planes operated with false British civilian markings.

In October 44, the Swedish ABA once again started flying, this time with converted B-17 bombers.
7 B-17 bombers were converted to passenger aircrafts at Saab, with US permission. 3 of them were earmarked ABA, and were used to fly Ameircan bombercrews stranded in Sweden back to UK.

By the end of the war, BOAC had flown 1200 missions, ABA had 346. The American ATC had 550 missions.
In the end, over 6000 persons had been brought from Sweden to UK.

EE

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Post by SES » 06 Nov 2005 15:59

Hi Eric,
Thank you very much for you kind comment and this additional information. On my latest up-date I have included some comments on the USAAF part of the operation.

To Englander,
I'm not sure that there was this much James Bond to it. But German agents were hot in the heels of the american personnel stationed at Bromma, in order possible to learn something about flight schedules and flight plans.
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Post by Englander » 06 Nov 2005 18:08

There was an article about this very subject in a British aviation magazine publish last year i think.
It was thought or it was claimed that several aircraft were lost due to German infiltration, by means of smuggling bombs on board British aircraft due to make a return leg back to Britain. If i remember correctly.

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Post by Stormbird » 07 Nov 2005 02:10

This thread has sparked my interest in this subject again, im even reading the book i mentioned above again here are some links to info i've found

http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avmoss2.html#m6

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=25936

I even found an old thread here http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... highlight=

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Post by SES » 07 Nov 2005 10:26

Erik E wrote:Interesting subject SES :wink:

Seems like there were 3 different types of courier flights on these routes.

Some info from Hafsten`s "Flyalarm"

The BOAC you mention, but also a Swedish airline "AB Aerotransport"(ABA)
The Swedish DC-3 planes were painted orange with SCHWEDEN painted on the fuselage....
They operated with permission from the Germans, but with strong regulations.

As a third part, the Norwegian exile government in England payed for two Lockheed 18 Lodestar`s, which were brought over from USA by Norwegian crew, the two planes were given civil British registration, and the Norwegian crew weared BOAC uniforms. (G-AGDD "Loch Lesna" and G-AGDE "Loch Lesja")
A few more Lodestar`s followed later, also with Norwegian crew.

The first kill seems to be 3rd April 1943, when a Norwegian operated BOAC Lodestar (G-AGEJ "Loch Lange") was downed by Werner Speidel (10./NJG.3) NW of Skagen, DK.
Later that year, also two swedish ABA planes were shot down.
27th August 1943, DC-3 SE-BAF "Gladan" downed by Lt.Karl Rechberger 12./NJG.3
22nd October 1943, DC-3 "Gripen", downed Werner Speidel 10./NJG.3
After these attacks, ABA closed their flights.

In January 1944, also the Americans started their own route, operating coverted Liberator bombers.
The unit later called "1403rd AAF base unit Air Transport Command" , was stationed at RAF Leuchars airbase.
These planes operated with false British civilian markings.

In October 44, the Swedish ABA once again started flying, this time with converted B-17 bombers.
7 B-17 bombers were converted to passenger aircrafts at Saab, with US permission. 3 of them were earmarked ABA, and were used to fly Ameircan bombercrews stranded in Sweden back to UK.

By the end of the war, BOAC had flown 1200 missions, ABA had 346. The American ATC had 550 missions.
In the end, over 6000 persons had been brought from Sweden to UK.

EE
Hi Erik,
Thanks again, I've updated the page to refelct some additional information. The figures you mention are they sorties or missions. I would say that the MISSION was not accomplished until the aircraft had returned i.e. 1 MISSION = 2 SORTIES.
I am also interested in Luftwaffe claims and acknowledged allied losses; anybody?
bregds
SES

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Post by SES » 07 Nov 2005 11:05

Englander wrote:The opposing air crews wine and dine at the same restaurant in neutral Sweden. Not at the same table you understand, heaven forbid.
Hi,
Having done some additional research and received many comments from helpful people, I have found that you are not on bang on target, but not too far off either. On 2 MAR 1941 the Swedish authorities granted permission for the Germans to run a scheduled airline service to Stockholm. On 3 MAR 1941 The Allies were granted a similar permission. These crews could easily have had their dinner at the same places. Aircrew - no matter what the nationality - seems to gravitate to the same places of joy and entertainment :wink: .
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Post by Erik E » 07 Nov 2005 17:08

Thanks again, I've updated the page to refelct some additional information. The figures you mention are they sorties or missions. I would say that the MISSION was not accomplished until the aircraft had returned i.e. 1 MISSION = 2 SORTIES.
You are right SES...My usual bad translations :)
I mean sorties!

Forgot to add that after 1944, atleast the Swedish ABA used the nothern route on tour map, most due to lesser German activities up there. The B-17 flights all went to Prestwick, as they needed longer runways.

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Post by SES » 07 Nov 2005 17:18

Hi,
Don't worry. Even the pros use it at random, that's why I asked for clarification.
The Northern routes were even more risk free that the Skagerak Run. There was one Stellung in the Oslo area, which could do Seeburg-Lichtenstein Verfahren and one on the west coast, which could do Himmelbett, and NJ Staffel Norwegen was way up north.
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Post by LWD » 08 Nov 2005 00:16

SES wrote:
Englander wrote:The opposing air crews wine and dine at the same restaurant in neutral Sweden. Not at the same table you understand, heaven forbid.
Hi,
Having done some additional research and received many comments from helpful people, I have found that you are not on bang on target, but not too far off either. On 2 MAR 1941 the Swedish authorities granted permission for the Germans to run a scheduled airline service to Stockholm. On 3 MAR 1941 The Allies were granted a similar permission. These crews could easily have had their dinner at the same places. Aircrew - no matter what the nationality - seems to gravitate to the same places of joy and entertainment :wink: .
bregds
SES
It may have been that way early on but according to my uncle it wasn't when he made the trip. The following is his story as well as I can remember it.

He was a squadron navigator on B-24's. He had just completed his "last" combat mission when he was informed that they had upped the number of missions required to rotate home. He was rather displeased with his command over their handling of it so volenteered for a special mission with a different outfit. It turned out to be the Sweden run. He sadi that they took all the guns out of a B-24 and painted it black (not sure if it had any markings) and had a bunch of bench seats in the bombays. Each way counted as a mission by the way. When he landed in Sweden there were two customes lines and they were speaking German in the other line. He said that the Swedes had rated the resteraunts and hotels and due to altercations in the past they assined the even number hotels and odd number resteraunts to one side and vise versa (I don't remember who got which) so facilities for one side were off limits to the other side. He managed to meet up with a friend who was intered in Sweden and had gotten permission to come to Stockholm. Apparently the Swedes kept very close track of American and British internees. On the other hand there was a Norwegen internment camp seperated from the airport by two strands of barb wire and the allied planes were directed to park next to the wire. The allied crew were told not to look in the "cargo" area until they were airborne and it would be too late to return "stowaways".

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Post by Valtoro » 08 Nov 2005 19:01

Just a picture of the Lodestar preserved at the Airforce Museum at Gardermoen (well worth a visit btw!)
Repainted as the G-AGIH used by BOAC. Also a picture from a German Identification Manual showing the Lodestar's armed relative : the Lockheed Hudson.

/Valtoro.
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Post by SES » 08 Nov 2005 19:32

Very nice pictures, thank you very much.
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SES

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