Swiss Air Force

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The history of the Swiss Air Force began in 1914 with the establishment of an ad hoc force consisting of a handful of men in outdated and largely civilian aircraft. It was only in the 1930s that an effective air force was established at great cost, capable of inflicting several embarrassing defeats on the Nazi Luftwaffe in the course of an initially vigorous defence of neutral Swiss airspace. The Swiss Air Force as an autonomous military service was created in October 1936. After World War II it was renamed the Swiss Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Command (Schweizerische Flugwaffe Kommando der Flieger und Fliegerabwehrtruppen) and in 1996 became a separate service independent from the Army, under its present name Schweizer Luftwaffe. The mission of the Swiss Air Force historically has been to support ground troops (erdkampf) in repelling invasions of neutral Swiss territory, with a secondary mission of defending the sovereignty of Swiss airspace. During World War II this doctrine was severely tested when Switzerland was literally caught in the middle of an air war and subjected to both attacks and intrusions by aircraft of all combatants. Its inability to prevent such violations of its neutrality led for a period to a complete cessation of air intercepts, followed by a practice of coercing small numbers of intruders to submit to internment.

    The Swiss Air Force mobilized on 28 August 1939, three days before Germany attacked Poland and initiated World War II, with 96 fighter and 121 observation aircraft; by some accounts the country possessed only eight antiaircraft searchlights. Of the 21 units of the Swiss Air Force, only three were judged combat-ready and five were not yet equipped with aircraft. The Air Force relied on 40 single-seat interceptors for first-line air defense.This deficiency was addressed by procuring further German Bf 109, Italian Macchi MC.202, and French Morane D-3800 fighters. In 1942, the Swiss-built F+W C-36 multipurpose aircraft was introduced into service, and in 1943, Switzerland opened its own aircraft factory, Flugzeugwerk Emmen. Caverns were built in which to shelter aircraft and maintenance personnel from air attack, for example in Alpnach, Meiringen and Turtmann. In 1942-43, an air gunnery range at Ebenfluh-Axalp was opened for training. The Surveillance Squadron (Überwachungsgeschwader) was formed in 1941 and made combat-ready in 1943. A night fighter squadron was formed for evaluation purposes in 1944 and disbanded in 1950.

    During the first months of the war, airmen and anti-aircraft soldiers saw only sporadic combat; it was on 10 May 1940, when Germany commenced the drive into the west, that the Swiss army as a whole was mobilized a second time. At the onset of the campaign, German military aircraft first violated Swiss airspace. The first serious combat involving the Swiss Air Force began in June 1940. In six days of aerial battles, eleven German aircraft were downed, with a loss of two Swiss aircraft and three airmen killed. Following these incidents, on 6 June, the chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring, protested the attacks, claiming that most of the German planes had been in French airspace and that the Luftwaffe had entered Swiss airspace only by mistake. Germany demanded financial compensation and an apology by the Swiss government. In a second, more pointed demand on 19 June, Germany stated that they viewed the air battles as a flagrant act of aggression, and if these interceptions continued, Switzerland would face sanctions and retaliation. The next day, General Henri Guisan ordered all Swiss units to stop engaging foreign aircraft, and on 1 July 1940, the Federal Council apologized for possible border violations by Swiss pilots, without admitting any had occurred. On 16 July, the German government declared that the events were settled. Engaging aircraft of the combatant nations was prohibited until October 1943, when strategic bombing of Bavaria and Austria by the Allies became an increasing likelihood.

    In September 1944, the last Swiss airman died in combat, shot down by an American P-51 Mustang while escorting a crippled U.S. B-17 Flying Fortress to the Dübendorf airfiel During the entire war, 6,501 Allied and Axis aircraft violated Swiss airspace, 198 of which aircraft landed on Swiss soil and were interned, and 56 of which crashed. Swiss aircraft also intercepted U.S. aircraft who were off-course, or whose crews preferred asylum in Swiss internment camps over German or Italian POW camps; they were then forced to land on Swiss airstrips. When the bombers did not cooperate or even fired at the Swiss (who were using Axis-type interceptors), they were shot down.
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In 1944 a Luftwaffe Bf 110G-4 night fighter pursued a British Lancaster heavy bomber into Swiss airspace on the night of April 28–29. Engine trouble forced the German pilot, Wilhelm Johnen, to land at Dübendorf airfield where the pilot was interned. By international law, the Swiss had a right to put the fighter into service, and the Germans were concerned that Allied intelligence would examine its FuG 220 Lichtenstein radar and "schräge Musik" gun installation. The Nazi government quickly negotiated a deal in which the Swiss burned the Bf 110 under the supervision of German observers in return for a sale to the Swiss of 12 new Bf 109G-6 Gustav to replace combat losses. The new fighters were delivered in batches of six on 20 and 22 May. The new planes had serious manufacturing defects from the poor workmanship and production disruptions caused by Allied bombings, and after complaints the Germans refunded half of the six million Swiss franc purchase price.

    Swiss cities and railway lines were repeatedly bombed by Allied aircraft during the war, beginning with minor attacks by the Royal Air Force on Geneva, Basel, and Zürich in 1940. Possibly the most egregious occurred 1 April 1944 when 50 B-24 Liberators of the U.S. 14th Combat Bomb Wing bombed Schaffhausen, killing and injuring more than 100, and damaging a large portion of the city. In reaction to comments by Swiss Foreign Minister Marcel Pilet-Golaz that the incident "apparently was a deliberate attack", American apologies were undermined by ill-advised statements made by Air Force commanders in London which blamed weather and minimized the size and accuracy of the attack. Although an in-depth investigation showed that weather in France, particularly winds that nearly doubled the ground speed of the U.S. bombers, did in fact cause the wing to mistake Schaffhausen for its target at Ludwigshafen am Rhein, the Swiss were not mollified. Incidents escalated, resulting in 13 separate attacks on Swiss territory on 22 February 1945—the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt's special assistant, Lauchlin Currie, went to Schaffhausen to lay a wreath on the graves of those killed a year earlier—and simultaneous attacks 4 March that dropped 29 tons of high explosives and 17 tons of incendiaries on Basel and Zürich.

    Swiss air defenses were incapable of counteracting large formations of aircraft, but did intercept and, on occasion attack, small groups. Since these were often aircraft crippled by battle damage and seeking asylum, resentment among Allied aircrew was considerable. The causes of the misdirected bombing attacks were bad weather, faulty equipment, incompetence, or excess pilot zeal, rather than malice or purposeful planning, but the lack of intent did not allay the sufferings and suspicions of the Swiss, and the embarrassment to the United States was considerable. A pattern of violation, diplomatic apology, reparation, and new violation ensued through much of the war, and grew in scope as Allied tactical forces neared Germany. It is still a matter of debate if these bombings occurred by accident, since U.S. strategic air forces had a standing order requiring visual identification before bombing any target within 50 miles (80 km) of the Swiss frontier, or if some members of the Allies wanted to punish Switzerland for their economic and industrial cooperation with Nazi Germany. In particular, Switzerland permitted train transportation through its territory carrying matériel between Germany and Italy, which was readily visible from the air by Allied pilots.

    The incidents drew to a close only after a USAAF delegation appointed by U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall met with the Swiss in Geneva on 9 March 1945. The Swiss enumerated every violation since Schaffhausen and demanded full indemnity. The Americans advised that the area requiring positive target identification was henceforth expanded to 150 miles (240 km) from Swiss borders, that no targets within 50 miles (80 km) would be attacked even in clear weather except by personal authorization from American commander General Carl Spaatz, and then only by hand-picked crews, and that tactical air was forbidden to attack any target within ten miles (16 km) of the Swiss border. Even though these restrictions provided the Germans significant protection from air attack over a large part of southern Germany for the final two months of the war, they were effective in ending the violations and did not seriously hamper Allied prosecution of the war.
     
  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #3 gekho, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
    Switzerland took delivery of the first of its 115 Bf 109s in 1938 when ten Bf 109Ds were delivered. After this, 80 109E-3s were purchased which arrived from April 1939 until just before the German invasion of France in summer 1940. During the war, a further four 109s (two Fs and two Gs) were acquired by the Swiss Air Force through internment. The 109Es were supplemented by eight aircraft licence manufactured from spare parts by Doflug at Altenrhein, delivered in 1944.

    In April 1944, 12 further G-6s were acquired in exchange for the destruction of a highly secret Messerschmitt Bf 110G night fighter which made an emergency landing in Switzerland. The new 109Gs suffered from numerous manufacturing defects and after problematic service were withdrawn from use by May 1948. The 109Es continued in service until December 1949. With the start of the Battle of France, Swiss fighters began intercepting and occasionally fighting German aircraft intruding Swiss airspace. On 10 May, 1940, several Swiss Bf 109s engaged a German Dornier Do 17 near the border at Bütschwil; in the ensuing exchange of fire, the Dornier was hit and eventually forced to land near Altenrhein.
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    On 1 June, the Flugwaffe dispatched 12 Bf 109 E-1s to engage 36 unescorted German Heinkel He 111s of Kampfgeschwader 53 that were crossing Swiss airspace to attack the Lyon - Marseilles railway system. The Swiss Air force sustained its first casualty in the engagement when Sub Lieutenant Rudolf Rickenbacher was killed when the fuel tank of his Bf 109 exploded after being hit by the Heinkel's return fire. However, the Swiss "Emils" shot down six He 111s.

    On 8 June, a C-35 observation aircraft, an antiquated biplane, was attacked over the Jura Mountains by two German Bf 110s; the pilot and observer were killed. Later on the same day, Swiss Captain Lindecker led about 15 Swiss Emils to intercept a formation of German He 111s escorted by II./Zerstörergeschwader 1's Bf 110s. The engagement resulted in five Bf 110s being shot down (including the Staffelkapitän Gerhard Kadow) for the loss of one Swiss Bf 109. In the latter stages of the war, Swiss Messerschmitts were painted with red and white striped "neutrality markings" around the fuselage and main wings to avoid confusion with German 109s.
     

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  5. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Bf.108 was a development of the M35 competition aircraft. It was a low wing all metal 4 seater. Although the original M35 was eclipsed by lighter aircraft, the first production Bf.108A’s started setting endurance records. The type went on to win quite a few competitions as well. The improved B model was considered the epitome of luxury private travel of the late 30’s. The Taifun already incorporated many design features that would also be present in the Bf.109. It was a pleasure to fly, and was quite popular. With the onset of war most Taifuns ended up in military service. Predictably most were used by the Luftwaffe and other axis airforces, but quite a few also flew with allied markings. During the war production moved from Augsburg to France. At the end of the war almost 900 machines had left the factories. Post war production continued as the Nord Pingouin and Ramier/Noralpha (Me-208). Because of its similarities with the Me 109 the Taifun also became a movie star by portraying the bad guys in several productions.
     

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  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  8. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  9. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #9 gekho, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
    In 1938, Switzerland licensed the M.S.406 for local production as the D-3800. Two of the pre-production M.S.405 samples were completed as M.S.406H and sent to them as pattern aircraft in late 1938 and early 1939. These examples had the earlier wing design of the 405, but were powered by the newer 12Y-31 engines as used by the MS.406. Pre-production started with a run of eight aircraft from EKW with engines built by Adolph Saurer AG driving a new Escher-Wyss EW-V3 fully-adjustable propeller. Instruments were replaced with Swiss versions and the drum-fed MAC machine guns with locally-designed and built belt-fed guns, so eliminating the wing-bulges of the French version, and avoiding the freezing problems encountered by French guns. The first of these aircraft was completed in November 1939. The pre-production models were then followed with an order for a further 74 examples, which were all delivered by 29 August 1940. In 1942, a further two were assembled with spares originally set aside for the original production run.

    During 1944, surviving aircraft were modified with new cooling and hydraulic installations, and were fitted with ejector exhausts. These modifications were the same standard as the D-3801 series, making them identical with the exception of the engine installation. At the end of the war the remaining aircraft were used as trainers, until the last one was scrapped in 1954.

    The Swiss continued development of the MS.412 when French involvement stopped following the June 1940 Armistice. The Dornier-Altenrhein factory completed a prototype powered with a licenced-produced HS-51 12Y engine, generating 1,060 hp (791 kW) together with the fixed radiator and revised exhausts as tested on the MS.411, in October 1940. The new type retained the armament changes and other improvements introduced on the D.3800. This series was put into production in 1941 as the D-3801 with continued deliveries until 1945 with 207 completed. Another 17 were built from spares between 1947 and 1948. Reliabity of the new engine was at first extremely poor, with problems with crankshaft bearings causing several accidents. The engine problems slowed deliveries, with only 16 aircraft produced in 1942 and a single aircraft delivered in 1943. The engine problems were eventually resolved in 1944.[8] With 1,060 hp from the HS-51 12Y, the speed was boosted to 535 km/h (332 mph), roughly equivalent to the D.520 or the Hurricane. Weights were between 2,124-2,725 kg. After being retired from operational use as a fighter when the North American P-51 Mustang was acquired in 1948, the type remained in service as a trainer and target tug until 1959. The D.3802 was based on the MS.540, with a new engine, the Sauer YS-2 (1,250 hp). The prototype flew in the autumn of 1944. This aircraft had several shortcomings, but it was capable of 630 km/h. 12 were produced and saw limited use with Fliegerstaffel 17 and some other units.

    The last development of this aircraft was the D.3803, with Sauer YS-3 (1,500 hp), and modified dorsal fuselage (with an all-round visibility canopy). The D.3803 was armed with three HS-404 20 mm cannons (one in the nose, two in the wings), plus up to 200 kg bombs and rockets. Despite not having a powerful engine, the type reached 680 km/h at 7,000 m. The performance was impressive, but the last development of this 1935 fighter design had several shortcomings and was not entirely successful. Its development was halted as P-51D Mustangs became available.
     

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  10. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    After serving in the Kaiserliche Marine in World War I, Carl Bücker moved to Sweden where he became managing director of Svenska Aero AB (SAAB). He later returned to Germany with Anders Anderson, a young designer from SAAB. Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH was founded in Berlin-Johannistahl, in 1932, with the first aircraft to see production being the Bü 131 Jungmann. Bücker Flugzeugbau's first production type, the Bü 131A was the last biplane built in Germany. It had two open cockpits in tandem and fixed landing gear. The fuselage was steel tube, covered in fabric and metal, the wings wood and fabric. It first flew on the 80 hp (60 kW) Hirth HM60R. In 1936, it was followed by the Bü 131B, with a 105 hp (78 kW) Hirth 504A-2. Most wartime production for the Luftwaffe was by Aero in Prague. Swiss Air Force operated this type from 1936 to 1971.
     

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  11. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. Many DC-3s are still used in all parts of the world.
     

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  12. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The C-3603 is a multi-purpose fighter-bomber designed in 1939 by the Swiss Federal Constructions Works (EKW) and is comparable to the Ilyushin IL-2. However, the C.3603 has a twin fin layout, allowing the rear gunner to have better visibility. Around 160 were built and were used during WW2 to defend Swiss neutrality. The aircraft were then relegated to training and target-towing duties. In 1973 24 examples were converted to Lycoming T53 Turbo -prop power and re-designated C-3605. These aircraft had a dsitinctive long nose and additional fins to compensate.
     

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  13. Wayne Little

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  14. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  15. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The prototype (K2915) flew on 12 September 1934. One year later, on 4 September 1935, the first production aircraft flew (K4636), and during 1936 the type entered squadron service by the Royal Air Force. The Hind differed from the Hart in having a tailwheel in place of the skid, a more developed exhaust system and a cutaway rear cockpit to provide a better field of view for the gunner. The Hind, converted to a trainer variant, remained in service until World War Two. The Swiss Air Force acquired one single two-seat unarmed communications aircraft.
     

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    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  17. planb

    planb Member

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    how effective would this plane actually have been in combat? can't seem to find much if any info about it
     
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