Blockade running flights to Sweden

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by fastmongrel, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in the blockade running flights to Sweden during the war. I cant find much in the way of information apart from specialised bearings were brought back for Bristol engines. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good source for the blockade running ie what aeroplanes were used (I presume Mossies) what loads were carried and what squadrons were involved. Unless that is BOAC ran things.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Was blockade running necessary?

    Sweden was neutral. Swedish cargo flights should have been free to fly to Britain.
     
  3. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Germany would have been within their rights to force down and search any Swedish flight and remove any war materials they found, the rules are the same as for shipping. I think bearings for aero engines would be considered war materials.
     
  4. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    IIRC BOAC ran the flights with specially marked Mossies with cammo and civil registration letters.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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  6. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know if the aircrews were regular BOAC pilots or if they were seconded RAF crew.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Apart from the German blockade,hence blockade running.

    I think the Gay Viking class were motor gun boats rather than MTBs.

    Steve
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    not sure if Dr. Boiten will cover these raids further in his "new" NJG volumes but many evening operations were done by the RAF in securing agents and materials to Sweden to be pushed into Norway and the mainland. The two NJG's that I know of that intercepted these low level air missions were NJG 5 and I./NJG 3.
     
  9. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, weren't some Mosquitoes modified to carry a person in a sealed bomb bay?
     
  10. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    #10 herman1rg, Jan 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    Example

    Ron and crew at RAF Leuchars,1943 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    http:[email protected]/3749924026/in/photostream/

    Passengers on BOAC's Mosquitos were carried in an improvised cabin in the bomb bay. The flight almost ended in tragedy as Bohr did not don his oxygen equipment as instructed, and passed out at high altitude. He would have died had not the pilot, surmising from Bohr's lack of response to intercom communication that he had lost consciousness, descended to a lower altitude for the remainder of the flight. Bohr's comment was that he had slept like a baby for the entire flight.

    The book "BOAC An Illustrated History" by Charles Woodley (Tempus Publishing, 2004, and well worthwhile getting if this area is of generally interest to you) has a page on the Mosquito ops to Stockholm, obliquely termed "Courier runs" ! Key points :

    First trial run with an RAF aircraft (105 Sqn) 5 August 1942.
    First BOAC Mosquito G-AGFV delivered 15 December 1942.
    First BOAC run 4 February 1943.
    Six Mosquitos delivered to BOAC April/May 1943. Others came later to replace losses.
    Bomb bay lined with felt, fitted with reading lamp, air controls, oxygen supply, intercom, flask of coffee (doubtless a wartime luxury), reading material. No mention of sandwiches !
    Outward trip took air mail, UK newspapers and magazines (to counter German ones).
    Leuchars-Stockholm 800 miles, took typically 3 hours.
    Originally daylight flights, switched to night after attacks.
    Conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent was once a passenger, so were other VIPs.
    Last operation 30 November 1944.


    boacmosq.jpg
     
  11. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Neils Bohr was taken from Sweden in a BOAC Mosquito.

    Niels Bohr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/uu98/viscount700/boacmosq.jpg

    US OSS agents were also carried in the bomb bays of Mosquitoes with equipment in order to communicate with agents in occupied Europe.


    BOAC crew flew in BOAC uniforms, but I am not sure if they were RAF staff.
     
  12. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    BOAC also tried to use Locheed 18s and IIRC LW hit/shot down at least 2 Swedish planes on the route forcing Swedes to end their flights.
     
  13. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    BOAC flights between Sweden and the UK were flown as early as 1941; prior to the Mosquitos, the airline used four Lockheed 14s and two Lodestars (Lockheed 18 ) throughout 1942. Crews were BOAC, not RAF. The first Mosquito converted for the purpose was a B.IV, serial DZ411/G-AGVF, which was forced down over Sweden on 23 April 1943 after attack by an Fw 190, but was repaired. Following Mk.IV G-AGVF, BOAC operated a further nine Mossies, Mk.VIs and the RAF lent BOAC three Mk.III trainers.

    During the war Britain received a substantial amount of precision engineering items from the Swedes, bearings in particular, as were the Germans. After the Schweinfurt raid, the Germans found themselves short and two Mosquitos were sent with a passenger in their bomb bays to negotiate the purchase of Sweden's entire ball bearing output to stop the Germans getting them. The British were successful!

    The service eventually ended on 17 May 1945 after inital suspension on 30 November 1944, but further flights were made between then and 17 May '45, one in February then a resumption of flights on 12 April until 17 May. Between 3 February 1943 and 17 May 1945, Mossies made 520 round trips, averaging nine single trips a week for two and a quarter years. Out of 1,040 flights, four Mosquitos were lost along with eight crew and two passengers. Between April 1943 and April 1945, Mosquitos flew 783,680 miles, higher than any other BOAC aircraft during that time, including Dakotas (512,752 miles), Hudson, Lodestar, Liberator and York in total flew 67,648 miles.
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good stuff. The Mossie flights also brought back two Lent survey analysis machines, which helped tremendously in the 'scaleing' process to provide 3D models of the (then) newly discovered V-weapon structures at Peenemunde, and later, on the Channel coast.
     
  15. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I was just watching the BBC documentary Operation Crossbow from 2011. In it they mention the Wild photogrammetry machines used to analyse aerial photographs.

    The PIU determined that they needed 2 more of these machines to help in their analysis.

    The machines were built in Switzerland making acquiring them difficult. Squadron Leader Ramsay Matthews came up with a plan. He convinced a Swede to purchase the machines, which were shipped to Sweden via Germany.

    Matthews was flying in the bomb bay of a BOAC Mosquito with one of the machines when the aircraft was bounced by a German night-fighter. The pilot opted to quickly reduce his speed, which he did by lowering everything, including the bomb bay doors. After they had evaded the night-fighter, the pilot forgot to raise the bomb bay doors again. Must have been a very nerve racking trip for Matthews!

    I would have thought the usual tactic for a Mosquito would be to speed up and leave the night-fighter behind. Maybe a different response from a civilian pilot than a service pilot?
     
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