Operation Vengeance over Finland

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Admiral Beez

Captain
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Oct 21, 2019
Toronto, Canada
Operation Vengeance was the April 1943 American military operation to kill Admiral Yamamoto. The Americans intercepted and decoded the message announcing Yamamoto's trip on April 14th. Four days later on April 18th the USAAF shot him down. Can the British do the same job to Hitler, but earlier? They've cracked Engima so let's assume Bletchley Park has decoded Hitler's plans and the British have the same four days notice.


"June 1942, Finland's Fieldmarshal Mannerheim celebrated his 75th birthday. To honor this event, Adolf Hitler decided he would fly to Finland to personally congratulate Fieldmarshal Mannerheim and give Mannerheim a Mercedes-Benz as a birthday present. Hitler and Wilhelm Keitel departed from Rastenburg in Hitler's FW-200. An escort of 30 fighters now also headed towards Tallinn, Estonia. All along the route, German, Estonian auxiliary, Latvian auxiliary, and Lithuanian auxiliary FLAK units had been ordered not to fire at anything except 100% identifiable Soviet targets. This order was also passed along to all of the Estonian manned auxiliary FLAK units stationed on the Estonian islands and in and around Tallinn; though no one was told of the reason for this order. The Germans did not want to have happened to Hitler what had happened to Italy's Marshal Italo Balboga on 28 July 1940 where Italian FLAK units shot down their own commander.

On the morning of 03 June 1942, Finnish and German patrol boats were stationed every 2.5km covering the distance between Helsinki and Tallinn. The Germans wanted to take no chances. Once Hitler and Keitel arrived in Tallinn, his Luftwaffe escort was replaced with four Finnish Air Force airplanes. The Luftwaffe escort remained in Tallinn. The Finnish escort commander was Finland's fighter ace Ilmari Juutilainen. Hitler and Keitel spent the day with Mannerheim and his Finnish hosts before returning to Germany via the same route he had taken to get there."
 
This would be a huge flight distance, not all of it was over open water but also over enemy and neutral land and I'm sure over some radar stations as well.
Any report of anemy a/c movement would likely cause alerting even more fighters or cancelling the flight altogether
 
This would be a huge flight distance, not all of it was over open water but also over enemy and neutral land and I'm sure over some radar stations as well.
That's where the Mosquito may help, in having a dedicated navigator and long range. The ideal place to to intercept is on Hitler's flight between Estonia (where the German fighters remained behind) and Helsinki. Flying over neutral Sweden may be necessary, and overcoming the few Finnish fighters should be doable (Britain declared war on Finland on 5 Dec 1941). The Germans are unlikely to have radar stations in their occupied Baltic territories, though the RAF would need to avoid any German radar stations in Norway. After the strike I'd have the Mosquitos fly home rather than land in Russia, where Barbarossa is still underway.

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Early AM, 3 June 1942, eighteen Mosquito Mk IIF depart RAF Skeabrae on this route, flying at max altitude over Norway and Sweden Distance Skeabrae, Orkney, Scotland, GBR > Bodo, Nordland, NOR - Air line, driving route, midpoint, Total about 3,000 miles.

I wonder if it would have more chances of success if the intercept was launched from Russia? Either by the RAF or VVS.
 
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If there is 4 days warning, it's probably better for the Mosquito force to fly to USSR and to start their mission from there.
Let's consider Murmansk, Arkhangelsk or Leningrad.
According to this site, there was a German radar in June 1942 (the date is not clear) in Rovaniemi.
So, flight from Murmansk can be seen by that radar. Both Murmansk and Leningrad are under German air recon surveillance.
Arkhangelsk is far from the front line and most probably not so often visited by LW recon aircraft.
Climb over the White Sea, cross Finland at the highest altitude east to west, to the Gulf of Bothnia and to the south, approach the Gulf of Finland from the west. Probably, they can be observed by Finns from Hanko where the airbase is located. But warning time will be short.
 
If the RAF can pull this off on June 03, 1942 what's the impact to the war?

Two major German offensives are about to begin. Case Blue in the USSR is scheduled to launch later this month, and the First Battle of El Alamein in July. I think the former would be postponed while the German high command fought amongst themselves to settle the succession issue.

If the German 6th Army isn't encircled and destroyed at (or even sent to) Stalingrad the war may be different.
 
If the RAF can pull this off on June 03, 1942 what's the impact to the war?

Two major German offensives are about to begin. Case Blue in the USSR is scheduled to launch later this month, and the First Battle of El Alamein in July. I think the former would be postponed while the German high command fought amongst themselves to settle the succession issue.

If the German 6th Army isn't encircled and destroyed at (or even sent to) Stalingrad the war may be different.
Or Tresckow and others from his circle will seize the opportunity to proceed with the coup. As I understood they were inclined to peace negotiations with the West as soon as possible. Tehran Conference did not happen yet, so separate peace is still possible.
 
If VVS is involved.
LaGG-3 with 2x100L drop tanks has the range but requires assistance in navigation. Probably, a mixed group of LaGG-3 and Pe-3(Pe-3bis) is the best choice. They will not be able to run away from Bf-109s if intercepted.
 
If VVS is involved.
LaGG-3 with 2x100L drop tanks has the range but requires assistance in navigation. Probably, a mixed group of LaGG-3 and Pe-3(Pe-3bis) is the best choice. They will not be able to run away from Bf-109s if intercepted.
However I can't imagine Britain sharing that they've broken the Enigma codes with the Soviets, at least not yet. the VVS will wonder how Britain knew.
 
An escort of 30 fighters now also headed towards Tallinn, Estonia.

Any chance we can dress up the Mosquitos as Germans, take a more direct route and come in from behind the escort, mingle and wave, then shoot the bastard down?
Of course our escape speed will outpace the pursuers.

Make a great movie.

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Killing Hitler wouldn't necessarily shorten the war, he might be replaced by a more effective leader.
Agreed.

There was a whole cabal of dangerous people in the wings:
Himmler
Goebbels
Heydrich

I doubt Goering or any of the military would have been able to wrest control unless they pulled an Imperial Roman manouver and marched on Berlin with their armies.

Add to that, the Generals were now free to conduct war as they knew how, which would bode ill for the Soviet Union if Von Manstein were unleashed.

It might have ended up being a much uglier situation.
 
Ever read the novel "The Wooden Wolf"? That is what it is about, using a Mossie. The interesting thing is that it has a forward by one of the people depicted in the novel, saying it was speculation about what may have happened. I do not know how much is true and how much is fiction, but it is a good book.

And a friend of mine told me that a very high ranking individual told him that the strafing attack on Gen Rommel was another Operation Vengeance by the USAAF. And a man who was part of the US Army occupation forces for the area that included Rommel's home said the general's son told him that the airplanes that attacked Rommel's car were not RAF as reported but actually American.
 
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Agreed.

There was a whole cabal of dangerous people in the wings:
Himmler
Goebbels
Heydrich

….Goering….
My guess is the Generals immediately arrest and/or top all the top Nazis. With no military experience, Himmler and Goebbels will be dead men within moments, a necessary step to keep the Gestapo and SS under control.

In June 1942 the Germans have the appearance of a position of strength, with strong holdings in North Africa and thr USSR, and with Mussolini, Romania and Finland still on side. The US has just won at Midway and much of their focus will be in the Pacific, and Germany should realize that Japan is going to lose. So, the German general staff quickly kills the top Nazis and assumes power. Here's what I would do…

Call up Churchill and FDR and tell them Hitler and the Nazis are toast and that the Generals have taken over and wish to end the war. Simultaneously, declare and execute an immediate and unilateral withdrawal from France, Norway and the Low Countries. Signing neutrality agreements with each on the way out. Bring home all the U-Boats, arrest Donitz if he resists. Leave the forces in North Africa (there's no way to bring them home anyway) but have them take no further offensive action. In Europe, move all forces to the USSR but take no offensive action. Then, from a position of strength, suggest terms with Stalin. If played well, FDR will be pushing both Churchill and Stalin to accept, at the threat of ending lend lease and financing. The big winner is Mussolini, who can escape his execution.
 
On the possible involvement of the VVS, there is a theory that Stalin wasn't in favour of assassinating Hitler either because he feared it might give the Western Allies an excuse to make peace or because he believed it was or ought to be against the rules of the Society of Dictators, Despots, Tyrants and Allied Trades. According to "Killing Hitler: The Plots, The Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death" by Roger Moorhouse there was a plot using an actress called Olga Chekhova to gain access to Hitler in February 1942 which was cancelled on orders from Beria. Some details on Olga Chekhova can be found in this article Review: The Mystery of Olga Chekhova by Antony Beevor.
 
On the possible involvement of the VVS, there is a theory that Stalin wasn't in favour of assassinating Hitler either because he feared it might give the Western Allies an excuse to make peace
I think Stalin was right. For starters, Churchill was as much an anti-Bolshevik as Hitler. We could see the Wallies use the German army to keep the Soviets out of eastern Europe.
 
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