Minesweeping Aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GrauGeist, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I've come across some interesting aircraft from both the Allies and the Axis that were modified for maritime Minesweeping/Degaussing duties.

    I found it interesting to see that the aircraft were field modified to perform these duties and in many cases, weren't a dedicated production version from the manufacturer.

    So I started digging around to see just how many types there were, and I'll be posting what I've found so far.

    The one with the most information, is the Ju52 version, so I'll start with that :)

    Ju52/3M MS
    A standard production Ju52 was given the designation MS (minesweeper) and fitted with a loop (coil) and electric generator. They were operated from land based airfields. I haven't found how many were made, but they were operated from 1943 onward.

    Ju52-3m[750]2.jpg
    Ju52-3m[750]3.jpg
    Ju52-3m[750]4.jpg
    Ju52-3m[750]1.jpg
    Ju52-3m[750]5.jpg

    This last photo shows Ju52/3M MS (W.Nr. 3400) of 1./MSGr 1 caught by Typhoons of 266 Squadron off Ile de Croiz, 30 December 1943. Uffz Johann Stampfer and his crew were all killed.
    Ju52-3m[750]6.jpg
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Bv138C-1/MS
    This was an unarmed flying boat that carried a full degaussing loop and generating equipment onboard.

    The "MS" version was based on the C-1 and operated from 1941 onward. I haven't found out how many were made or what thier length of operations were, but since none of the Bv138 aircraft survived the war, it couldn't have been many.

    Bv138C[750]1.jpg
    Bv138C[750]2.jpg
    Bv138C[750]3.jpg
    Bv138C[750]4.jpg
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Ha139B/MS
    The Blohm Voss Ha139B/MS was a single unit that was converted from a recon aircraft. It was originally Ha139V3 with a slightly longer wingspan produced about 1938.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any images of it with the minesweeping gear intalled.

    Ha139B-MS-3view[750].jpg
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    LeO 451
    The LeO451 is a French medium bomber produced between 1938 and 1940. After the armistice, an agreement was made between the Germans and the Vichy French goverment in 1942 to restart production for a number of variants.

    One of the types was the LeO451 359. It was fitted with a degauissing coil and generating equipment, though I haven't found out how many units were made.

    leo451-359[750].jpg
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Vickers Wellington

    The British converted a number of Vickers Wellington bombers into a minesweeper by fitting it with a coil and generating equipment. 4 of these were based on the Mark Ia frame and designated the DWI Mark I and later about 11 more were outfitted and upgraded, carrying the designation DWI Mark II.

    From what I've found, it was used in the Mediterranean theater as well as at home in England under Coastal Command from about 1940 to the close of the war.

    Vickers Wellington-DWI[750].jpg
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I also find it interesting that I haven't found any significant airborn minesweeping/degaussing effort from either the United States or Japan.
     
  7. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Interesting material Dave. Did you notice the BV138, both outer engines wore three blade props and the center engine has a four blade. I had not seen that before. How effective were these aircraft. I have not ever seen a photo of one actually detonating a mine. Just curious.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I did notice the props...and the Bv138 was a fairly reliable aircraft and was powered by 3 Jumo205 diesel engines.

    These aircraft configurations were only effective on floating mines, or mines laid in shallow water, bays and harbors.

    I'll see if I can dig up a photo I saw of a mine being detonated by a Ju52 MS as it passed overhead.
     
  9. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Excellent thread!
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff! Does anyone know what squadrons were equipped with these Wellingtons?
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    So far as I've seen, a number of them were attached to Coastal Command.

    Not sure if that helps any, perhaps a little more digging around is needed :)
     
  13. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    March 1944, No.162 Squadron were operating Wellington Minesweepers of No.1 GRU. Squadron was disbanded September 24th, 1944 and its duties were taken over by No.26 AACU
     
  14. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    refer to Dirks modeling link of the Ju 52 Mausi page, we discussed some references in regards to the most successful LW unit doing the de-bug of ocean mines. the Bv 138 was not used in this role much but more for low level recon duties and rescue of LW and German navy personell in northern waters.
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Erich, I noticed that MinenSuchGruppen 1 was outfitted with Ju52 MS aircraft, but I never did see a reference as to who operated the few Bv138/MS or Ha139B/MS aircraft. Were these more for more specialized Operations with the aircraft being attached to a specific naval unit, perhaps?
     
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