Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Junkers Ju 88 (PJ876)

Several years ago I was at a signing event at the RAF Hendon museum with Wing Commander John Freeborn. During the afternoon we had a look around the Battle of Britain hall together where John talked to me about each aircraft on display. One of the aircraft in the hall is a Junkers Ju 88 R-1 (Serial number PJ876). I remember it well as John told me it was an absolute burden to shoot down because of its heavy armour. As I have mentioned before I have recently been looking into aircraft tested at the RAE Farnborough, and I was surprised to discover that this particular Ju 88 (PJ876) was in fact extensively tested at Farnborough in May 1943. The story behind this Ju 88's arrival is fascinating.

Junkers Ju 88 at Hendon museum

On Sunday 9 May 1943 this aircraft took off from Aalborg, Westerland, Denmark at 1503 hours and landed at Kristiansand, Norway for refuelling at 1603. It took off again at 1650 for a mission over the Skaageraak. The Ju 88's crew of three were: Oberleutnant Heinrich Schmitt (Pilot), Oberfeldwebel Erich Kantwill (Flight Engineer) and Oberfeldwebel Paul Rosenberger (Wireless Op/Gunner). At 1710 hours Rosenberger sent a bogus message to Night fighter HQ at Grove, Denmark, saying the aircraft's starboard engine was on fire. Schmitt took the aircraft down to sea level to get below German radar and dropped three life rafts to make the Germans think the plane and crew were lost at sea, then headed for Scotland.
      Two Spitfire VBs of No.165 Squadron were scrambled  from Dyce with orders to intercept Schmitt's Ju 88 near Peterhead. Flight Lieutenant Arthur Roscoe was flying as 'Blue 1' and Sergeant Ben Scamen was 'Blue 2'. The Spitfire pilots made contact with the Junker's at about 1805 hours 13 miles north west of Aberdeen.
      No.165's Squadron Diary recorded the following about what happened next: `Arthur Roscoe and Ben Scamen were scrambled today to investigate a raider plotted due east of Peterhead. The raider turned south and eventually started to orbit as though lost. The section identified the raider as a Ju88 and when Arthur approached, the Hun dropped his undercart shot off very lights and waggled his wings. Blue 1 waggled his wings in turn and positioned himself in front of the enemy aircraft - Ben Scamen flew above and behind and the procession moved off to Dyce aerodrome where all landed safely causing a major sensation'.
     Schmitt landed his aircraft at Dyce at 1820 hours. He had delivered the Ju88 (that was fitted with the latest FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar, as well as associated signals documents) into British hands. It is thought that both Schmitt and Rosenberger had been working with British Intelligence for some time.

Further details surrounding this incident can be found by clicking HERE

Schmitt's Ju 88 was soon flown from Dyce to RAE Farnborough by Squadron Leader R A Kalpas, escorted by Beaufighters. Once at Farnborough the aircraft was given RAF markings and the serial number PJ876. It was thoroughly tested making 83 flights, totalling 66 hours 55 minutes with the RAE, mostly from Farnborough.

Today Schmitt's Junkers Ju 88 can be seen at RAF Hendon.

PJ876 - Note the RAF Roundels

Close up of the FuG 202  antennas

1 comment:

  1. A estranha rendição dos 2 pilotos alemães (o outro aceitou sob a ameaça de uma arma segundo li) que pilotavam o Junker Ju 88 R-1 D5+EY e que aqui nesta página dá pelo nome FuG 202.