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CAPTURED FLEET AIR ARM AIRCRAFT


Supermarine Spitfire in Germna Luftwaffe Nazi markings

During the war it was inevitable that Allied aircraft would fall into the hands of the Luftwaffe or its allies due to accidents , pilot error, or from careful reconstructions of crashed aircraft.

 

                      

 



Captured Allied Fighters were ferried from airfield to airfield to train Luftwaffe pilots on combat techniques against certain types of Allied fighters. Heavy bombers found their way to the secretive KG200 for various "black operations" mostly behind enemy lines. The examples listed below were used in various roles by the Luftwaffe and the Axis Forces. 

Fairey ALBACORE
Albacore N4323 of 826 squadron strippped by FAA ground frew and left at Ma'aten Bagush in the Rommel push in North Africa, 1942. Fate of aircraft in enemy hands not known.

Albacore X8941 of 828 squadron at Hal Far, Malta failed ro return on night ops 23/24 January 1942. The crew were taken POW by Italian troops. The Albacore was captured by the Italians. The wreck was present at the Stabilimento Costruzioni Aeronautiche, Guidonia, June 1942.

Albacore X9154 of 821 squadron failed to return from a bombing raid on enemy desert Landing Ground, force landed at Fuka and captured by the Italians, 5 August 1942. The crew were all taken POW by the Italians. The Albacore was repaired and flown by 9th Gruppo/4th Stormo. The aircraft was eventually abandoned in Tripoli unusable, 23 September 1942.

Fairey BARRACUDA

Barracuda LS547 of 831 squadron on HMS Victorious, failed to find ship after special recce during ops, force-landed on the beach at Stave, Andoya, Norway, 16 May 1944. Crew all taken POW by the Germans. Fate of the aircraft unknown. This was the first intact Barracuda landing in enemy territory. 

Bristol BLENHEIM Mk IV

Blenheims had been captured by the German forces. None were from the Fleet Air Arm.

Brewster BUFFALO

Buffalo saw service especially in the Finnish airforce. Eighteen B-339Bs were assigned to the Fleet Air Arm for service in the Middle East. 855 Squadron conducted brief deck trials aboard HMS Eagle during March of 1941. Some B-339Bs were sent to Crete for service with 805 Squadron. All flyable aircraft were evacuated to Egypt the day before the German invasion of Crete on 20 May, 1941. However, at least one unserviceable B-339B was left behind on Crete and was captured by the Germans. No other Fleet Air Arm Buffalo are known to have been  captured by axis forces.

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Buffalo Finnish markings wartime colour photograph

Vought CORSAIR

Artists impression of captured Corsair in German markings - What if scheme for Corsair by chaser one (ref)

Corsair JT404 of 1841 squadron. Involved in anti-submarine patrol from HMS Formidable enroute to Scapa after Operation Mascot against the German Battleship Tirpitz, in company with Barracuda of Wing Leader Lt Cdr RS Baker-Falkner. Emergency landing in a field at Sorvag, Hameroy, near Bodo, Norway on 18 July 1944. The pilot Lt Mattholie taken POW and the aircraft captured intact with no damage. The german authorities made attempts to get the pilot to explain how to fold the wings so as to transport the aircraft to Narvik. Aircraft was ferried by boat for further investigation. It is not known if the Corsair was taken to Germany.  This was probably the first Corsair captured by the Germans.  Aircraft is listed at Rechlin for 1944 under repair. 

Also see ezboard Luftwaffe Experten Message Board about captured aircraft 

Douglas DAKOTA

Captured Dakota saw service in the Luftwaffe. None of the Fleet Air Arm Dakota were captured by Axis forces.


Captured Douglas DC-2, NA+LA, used by the German General Christiansen as his personal Transport in 1940. This DC-2 was at Schiphol, Amstrerdam airport, previously flying with KLM with the civil codes PH-AKT.

Fairey FULMAR

Fulmar X8700 of 807 squadron of HMS Argus force landed near Cluminzata, south Portugal. Crew interned, November 1941. Fate of aircraft not known.

Gloster GLADIATOR

Captured Gladiators saw service in the German, Italian and the Finnish air forces. It is not known if any of the Fleet Air Arm Gladiators serving in the campaigns of Norway or the Western Desert were captured by Axis forces.

Gladiator NJ+BO Wr Nr 45829 Nazi captured by ErgGr(S)1

Within the US National Archives in Washington is a captured document listing the war materiel captured by the Luftwaffe by 1 September 1941 amongst which was listed 13 (other sources however claims that it was 15) Gladiators. Eleven of these were recorded as 'condition I/II' (airworthy or minimal damage) and two in 'condition III' (repairable at unit level). It is probable that spares such as Mercury engines were also captured. On available evidence, including known delivery dates, it is therefore now almost certain that some, if not all, of the Luftwaffe's Gladiators came from the ex-Latvian contract. 

The Gladiators were used by Erganzungsgruppe (S) 1, (Erg. Gr. (S) 1), and Erg. Gr. (S) 2. Erg. Gr. (S) 1 was formed from the Fliegerschule der Luftwaffe (S) 1 (Fl. Sch. D. Lw) in April 1942. This unit was in turn formed from the Segelflugschule der Luftwaffe in September 1940. Erg. Gr. (S) 1 consisted of a Stab and five Gruppen, the unit was disbanded in September 1944. The unit used an assortment of German and captured aircraft, and was equipped with the following; Arado Ar 65, Avia B534, DFS 230, Fw44, Fe58, Gladiator MkI, Grunau Baby, He45, He46, He111, Hs126, Ju87, Kranich, Letov Smolink S328, Mu13 and Me321.

Erg. Gr (S) 2 was formed from the Schleppschule der Luftwaffe in April 1942. The Schleppschule der Luftwaffe was in turn formed in March 1941 in Stuttgart-Echterdingen. The unit was based in Leipheim and in Obertraubling. The unit had one Stab and four Gruppen. And were disbanded around September 1944. Aircraft consisted of; Arado Ar65, Avia B534, DFS 230, Gladiator MkI,
Grunau Baby, He45, He46, He111, Hs126, Kranich and Letov Smilink S328.

Also during the Norwegian campaign, of April 1940, some of the FAA, RAF and Norwegian Air Force Gladiators made force-landings on several frozen lakes. This was due to either combat damage or running out of fuel. Some of these may have been transported back to Germany as war booty. 

The Luftwaffe's Gladiators were apparently Mk Is with fixed pitch wooden airscrews and were
employed by Erganszungsgruppe (S) 1 from Langendiebach near Hanau during 1942-3. Erg.Gr. (S)
1 ('S' for Schlepp - towed) was a training Gruppe giving primary and operational training for assault glider pilots. Training was mainly conducted on the DFS230 glider. For glider towing duties however the unit used a wide variety of types, including German Arado Ar65s and Heinkel He46s, Czech Avia B-534s and the larger Letov S-328 and at least 10 Gladiators, usually described as 'Glosters'. 

Four (the ones with known Werke Nr.) of the Gladiators are known to have been destroyed or
significantly damaged in service with Erg.Gr. (S) 1 during 1942-3. The survivors were all authorised for deletion from the Luftwaffe inventory on 16 March 1943

Source: 
Die deutschen Gladiatoren - Karl Kössler, 1980 Modell Magazin 7/80 kindly provided by Lars
Larsson 
Gloster Gladiator Home Page - Alexander Crawford. 
Iron Cross Gladiators: The Story of the Gloster's Luftwaffe Service - Andrew Thomas & Peter
Green kindly provided by Andrew Thomas. 
Luftwaffe use of the Gloster Gladiator during the Second World War (Håkans aviation page)

Douglas A-20 HAVOC

Some of the Dutch aircraft were captured by the Japanese and appropriated into service. No FAA aircraft are believed to have been captured. 

Hawker HURRICANE

Captured Hurricanes saw service in the Luftwaffe. At least one FAA Hurricane was left behind by retreating forces in the Western Desert.


Hurricane I/tropical W9359 of 806 squadron at Haneish, was involved in a sweep over El Adem on 23 November 1941 and was involved in a dogfight with Bf109s. The Hurricane force-landed in the desert, and the pilot was rescued by retreating troops. The fate of the Hurricane in occupied territory is not known. 

Grumman MARTLET/WILDCAT

Martlet AM975 of HMS Illustrious forced landed half mile south of Carrigans, Co Donegal, Eire on 21 December 1941. Pilot of 881 squadron interned. Fate of Martlet aircraft not known.

Blackburn SKUA

L2987 of 800 squadron of HMS Ark Royal. Ran out of fuel escorting hurricanes to Malta, shot down by ack ack, crash landed on the beach at Punta Palo, Siracusa, Sicily 17 November 1940. With Stabilimento Costruzioni Aeronautiche (Aircraft Construction Establishment), Guidonia on June 1942

Supermarine SPITFIRE

Captured Spitfires saw service especially in the Luftwaffe. It is believed that none of the Fleet Air Arm Spitfires were captured by axis forces.

Fairey SWORDFISH

Swordfish 4A captured after the raid on Taranto 11-12 November 1940. It was salvaged from the sea. Captured damaged but essentially complete. The fabric covering on the fuselage is completely missing following removal by the Italians, and the wing tips of the lower wing and the upper wing in poor condition. Possibly salvaged from the sea as a danger for navigation (photo in the French Aero Journal No:9)


Swordfish 4A in Italian hands following the Taranto raid November 1940 (ref REGIA AERONAUTICA. Il settore mediterraneo, I fronti africani, Balcani e fronte orientale, Colori e insegne, Periodo prebellico e fronti occidentali, La guerra in Italia, L'aviazione legionaria. 1973/76. Emiliani, Ghergo, Vigna/Intergest/Albertelli. Information also courtesy of  Jan van den Heuvel).

Swordfish 5B of 825 squadron under command of Lt Cdr JB Buckley RN captured in either Belgium or northern France probably after the raid over France 29 May 1940 whilst providing cover during the Dunkirk evacuations when five of the squadron aircraft were lost including with the CO.


Captured Swordfish 5b of 825 squadron in May 1940 near Dunkirk in France or Belgium (Ref: Jet & Prop Flugzeugzeitschriften, issue 4/00. Karl Kossler. Reader's forum. 

Swordfish K8403 (E4M with the "Savoy's Cross" on the tail) of 813 squadron from HMS Eagle shot down in raid on Maritza airfield, Rhodes, 4 September 1940. The aircraft force-landed on Scarpanto island. Crew all taken POW. The captured Swordfish was at Guidonia in December 1940. It was kept serviceable till the middle of 1941 using spare parts coming from captured Swordfish K8422 ("4H").


Captured Swordfish K8403 photographed at Guidonia in December 1940.

Swordfish of 813 squadron shot by Fiat CR 42 in bombing raid on Maritza aerodrome, Rhodes. The aircraft was recovered from the sea by the Italians. Crew all taken POW.

Swordfish K8422 of HMS Eagle lost on raid on Maritza airfield, Rhodes, 4 September 1940. Crew all taken POW by Italians. Aircraft captured and made serviceable. Flown by 68th squadriglia/34th Gruppo Bombardamento for liaison duties until June 1941. Spare parts coming from captured Swordfish K8422 ("4H") were used to keep Swordfish K8403 serviceable till mid 1941.

Swordfish L2860 of 825 squadron involved in night attack from HMS Furious on Trondheim, 22 September 1940. Force landed and overturned Gesunden (Stugen?) in Jamtland on the shore of Lake Krycktjarn, Sweden. Crew interned. Fate of aircraft not known.

Swordfish L7689 (coded B) hit by gunfire after torpedoing Motor Vessel, and crashed onto the beach at Hammamet, Tunisia and captured, 12-13 April 1941. Crew PO CH Wines and LA LM Edwards both interned as POW. (photo in the french Aero Journal No:9)

Swordfish L9724 (coded "G3L" on the tail) of 812 squadron on operation from North Coates, tail hit by flak in bombing raid on Barley airfield, near Dunkirk. Lt TG Bentley and Sub Lt ARJ Davis were captured. Aircraft crashed and overturned Dunkirk, 15 November 1940. Crew taken POW. Fate of aircraft not known. Photograph of crashed swordfish on coast in German papers about that time.


Captured Swordfish L9724 of 812 squadron near Dunkirk, 15 November 1940 (Photo Ref: Ries, Karl. Dora Kurfurst Und Rote 13, Band 2: Bildband: Flugzeuge Der Luftwaffe 1933-1935. : Verlag Dieter Hoffmann, 1964. First edition. Hardcover).


Captured Swordfish L9724\3L of 812 squadron near Dunkirk (ref: Luftwaffe Colours, Volume One, Section 4: Jagdwaffe Attack in the West, May 1940 Crowborough, England: Classic Publications, 2000

Swordfish P4073 of 700 squadron of HMS Malaya ran out of fuel whilst shadowing the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst, 8 March 1942. Aircraft and crew interned in Spain. The Swordfish was put on the strenth of the Spanish airforce as HR6-1 in 6 December 1943 with 54 Escuadrille, Puerto de le Cruz, Teneriffe, Canary Islands. Retired March 1945 at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. 

Swordfish P4127 (coded 4F) of 820 squadron on HMS Ark Royal, involved in bombing raid on Cagliari, Sardinia. It was hit by ack ack. The aircraft force-landed on the enemy airfield at Elmas, Sardinia, 2 August 1940. The crew were taken POW and the aircraft captured intact. Caproni repaired at Elmas and fitted with an Alfa Romeo 125 engine. It was then taken to the Stabilimento Construzioni Aeronautiche, Guidonia 27 February 1941. It was still listed as being there 6 April 1942 (see photo below. Others photos exist of its wings being unfolded).


Swordfish P4127 of 820 squadron captured at Bacu Abis, Sardinia, 2 August 1940

Swordfish W5843 of 813 squadron at North Front, Gibraltar, anti-submarine sweep lost bearings force landed between Ras el Farea and Pota Pescadores, Spanish Morocco. 30 April 1942. Crew all interned. Fate of aircraft not known.

Hawker TYPHOON Mk IB

Captured Typhoons saw service in the Luftwaffe. None of the Fleet Air Arm Typhoon were captured by axis forces.

Supermarine WALRUS

Walrus captured at Fuka (Fuka-Matrouh, Egypt) and used by Italian Regia Aeronautica's frontline Units.(ref: Dimensione Cielo, Italian fighters of WWII).

Vickers WELLINGTON Mk IC

Captured Wellingtons saw service in the Luftwaffe. None of the Fleet Air Arm Wellingtons were captured by axis forces.

LUFTWAFFE

KG 200 took part in many covert missions against the Allies and became the subject of much postwar speculation. Kampfgeschwader (Battle Wing) 200, or KG
200

Within the US National Archives in Washington is a captured document listing the war materiel captured by the Luftwaffe by 1 September 1941 and the aircraft condition recorded as:
'condition I/II' (airworthy or minimal damage)
'condition III' (repairable at unit level). 
 

RECHLIN 

Rechlin Airfield, German experimental aircraft test site, Germany experimental trials at Rechlin  the plane was transferred to the main Luftwaffe research and development facility at Rechlin.  During tests conducted in Rechlin, advantages and disadvantages of the new plane were discovered.  Firing tests were conducted on the firing ground of the Rechlin test facility in Tarnewitz. The first training was conducted under the supervision of specialists from the Rechlin establishment on these planes. Flights were made from Rechlin-Roggenthin airfield.

ITALY

Stabilimento Construzioni Aeronautiche, Guidonia

List of captured Allied aircraft flown by the Italian Regia Aeronautica during WW II

Amiot 351
     ANF les Mureaux 113/117
     Bloch 152
     Bloch 210
     Breguet Bre 521 Bizerte
     Breguet Bre 693
     Bristol Type 142M Blenheim
     Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter
     Bucker Bu 131 [ex-Jugoslav]
     Fairey Swordfish
     Farman F.222
     Gloster Gladiator
     Hawker Fury
     Hawker Hurricane
     Liore-et- Olivier LeO 451
     Lockheed P-38 Lightning
     Loire-Nieuport LN 410
     Morane- Saulnier M.S.230
     Morane- Saulnier M.S.406
     North American NA-57
     Potez 63.11 
     Rogozarski PVT
     Rogozarski SIM-XIV-H
     Zmaj Fizir FN

Ref: Chris Dunning's Courage Alone
and Letecki + Kosmonaut 11/95

Centro Sperimentale di Guidonia that in 1941 made the first list of  Yugoslav planes, list published by D.E. May
 

REFERENCE WEBSITES & PUBLICATIONS

Aero Journal No:9 (in French). Includes photos of captured Swordfish.

"Beuteflugzeuge der Luftwaffe 1933-45" website - This resource sets out to list and illustrate every captured aircraft flown in service or tested by the Luftwaffe between 1933-45. This includes detailed listings of the types tested and pressed into service.

Caged Eagles: Captured Allied Aircraft Markings- focuses entirely on US types

Captured Planes of the World by the International Captured Group

Dimensione Cielo, Italian fighters of WWII.

Ezboard Luftwaffe Experten Message Board about captured aircraft 

Italian Air Force Discussion Group
Allied planes captured in WWII
http://209.61.188.48/discussion.cgi?id=63687&article=1548

Kampfgeschwader (Battle Wing) 200, or KG 200

Luftwaffe Colours, Volume One, Section 4: Jagdwaffe Attack in the West, May 1940 Crowborough, England: Classic Publications, 2000

Ries, Karl. Dora Kurfurst Und Rote 13, Band 2: Bildband: Flugzeuge Der Luftwaffe
1933-1935. : Verlag Dieter Hoffmann, 1964. First edition. Hardcover.

Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 

Unsere Luftwaffe - Deutsche Flz. im Dienst der Allierten/Beuteflugzeuge
Text in German
 



Created: 3-04-2001, Last Modified 02-06-2005


 

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