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Old 5th June 2023, 12:26
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Disorient Luftwaffe pilot over Paris landing in Switzerland

Sport Friends !

I have been for away for as a long time, just various professional
reasons other than that I am A OK and still dealing with 1943 and
1944 Ploesti campaigns .

Please read the story first then see if you can me help with more details ,
the story was translate by me and is credit Warbird Switzerland, some
facts about OSS he's not aware about because appeared on
Allen Dulles memoires

- 6./NJG 4 Coulommiers East of Paris equipped with Do 217N- howmany
operational they had by early May 1944 ?

- Is there any history book available on this unit ?

- Any details about pilot's fate in post WWII ?

Here the story goes :

During the night of May 1-2, 1944, massive Royal Air Force bomber formations attacked train stations and marshalling yards in and around Paris in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Normandy that would begin five weeks later.

RAF formations were already detected by the Luftwaffe "Freya" Radar devices over the Channel. The "Freya" had a range of about 150km and were used to supplement the more accurate "Würzburg" Radars with a range of 70km.

The "Würzburg" device aquired and tracked the enemy bombers, while another component was used to scramble night fighters .

This so-called "sky bed" procedure was introduced in the summer of 1941 and remained unchanged until the end of the war. The 4th night fighter squadron stationed at Luftwaffe airfield Tavaux near Dole in France also was assigned to intercept 15th & 8th AF bombers over France.

From the autumn of 1943, the remaining serviceable Do 217Ns were assigned to the 6th squadron of this Group. Alongside the NJG 100 operating in the East, the NJG 4 was the only unit within the Luftwaffe still using the heavy Dornier night fighter at that time.

Other parts of the NJG 4 were equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4, much more popular with crews.

The 6th squadron of NJG 4 was under the command of Captain Hans Authenrieth, who was only 22 yo . The II. Gruppe of the night fighter squadron 4 was stationed in St. Dizier at the beginning of 1944.

The sixth squadron under Hauptmann Hans Authenrieth was in Tavaux near Dole. In order to repel the RAF attacks on the Paris marshalling yards, the 6th squadron was transferred to Coulommiers, East of Paris. On the evening of May 1, 1944, the Do 217N with the identification 3C+IP took off for such purpose .

The extremely bad weather on May 1944 over France made night navigation and the interception of the enemy bomber groups as well as the return back to base difficult.

A victim of the meteorological conditions was the Do 217N-2 S/N1570, piloted by 24 yo Feldwebel Günther Konzack. The crew consisted of the radio operator NCO Arhur Rupprecht and the Radar Operator FW Alfred Elstner.

On the return flight from the mission the crew got disoriented over Paris in addition to radio device failure cutting them from approach guidance to own base . Konzack first attempted a landing in Strassburg though at 01.16 a.m. the Do 217N-2 which was seriously off course, flew as far as Basel, Switzerland circling over the city, fired white and red flares, which were immediately acknowledged with green signal flares by Swiss AA at Basel-Birsfelden airfield ( this airfield was decomissed in powt WWII era)

Shortly thereafter, the night fighter disappeared again in a northerly direction, reappearing over Basel a good half hour later and again firing red and white flares. By this time the crew had completely lost their bearings and started destroying the classified material and preparing for bailout. The fuel gauges already indicated critical level.

In the last moment, the pilot spotted a guidance flare from Basel and immediately prepared to land at the unknown place. When touching down with the dive brake fully they hit damaged dome of their antennas

After landing at 01.55 a.m. at Basel-Birsfelden there were only 80 gallons of fuel left in the tanks. Shortly after the Dornier had rolled out, Swiss soldiers surrounded the night fighter and took the stunned crew to an adjoining room of the airport restaurant for interrogation.

The pilot repeatedly urged his subordinates not to put anything on record. The crew, visibly dismayed by their involuntary trip to a neutral country, did not give the Swiss intelligence officers any information about their mission, but the unit, the departure airport and details which could be determined on the basis of the documents found in the aircraft.

However, radio operator Arthur Rupprecht managed to go unnoticed to a toilet and tear up some of his confidential files,codes, radio frequencies and lists of aliases then flush them .

On May 1996 he stated on a German Aviatian magazine as follows: On May 1, 1944, Horchfunker on the canal determined that an attack on Paris was to take place. There was a supply depot for the Luftwaffe. And I assume that they wanted to bomb this warehouse or Paris train stations.

So the order to sit down and finally the deployment order came. We had orders to fly to Tavaux if we ran out of fuel. When we were up there wasn't much to see about Paris: maybe a screen or two and a few fires. The radar showed nothing, and neither did the ground station.

So we flew to Tavaux as agreed. Suddenly my pilot saw some flares. As a rule, these were machines that supplied the French resistance fighters with material from North Africa. Konzack said: "Man, we still have enough fuel! That's where we're going now!” I had set my radio to shortwave and could already hear the comrades landing in Tavaux.

There was already a bit of a fuss going on. and apparently the comrades flew over Switzerland from the other side, because in the pursuit we more or less touched the Swiss border. In any case, we flew until my pilot said to me: "Dude, we don't have that much fuel anymore either. It's time for you to get in touch with the airport of operations again.” I thought I just had to switch. I shouted like crazy - nothing.

No sound. Then I let out the trailing antenna and radioed SOS. I called Stuttgart and Munich with my call sign. In three or four places I even gave SOS. Nothing. We flew about 3000 meters high. Meanwhile, around 1:30 a.m., the moon was wonderful to see. Since it was very bright, we could see a river below us. We thought it was the Rhone. If we had flown along the Rhone, we should have come to Lyon.

But it wasn't the Rhone, it was the Rhine. So we lost our way by a good 300 kilometers. So we came to Strassbourg, where we shot the distress signal.
According to the order of the then Reich Marshal Göring, the Germans should have switched on the airfield lighting as soon as a German aircraft fired the distress signal. Nevertheless, there was no reaction on the German side. The solo aircraft was only discovered in Basel-Birsfelden.

A cyclist battalion happened to be stationed at the airfield. So the cyclists rode around the airfield and all turned on their lights at a command. Arthur Rupprecht goes on to report: Suddenly we saw a lighted airfield below us and were flown back to Switzerland, although we were still on German territory. We were lucky that the airfield was planted with beans at the time. We touched down and at that moment I thought we'd be machine-gunned when we'd just mowed down all those beanstalks.

That slowed us down a lot. My pilot was on the brakes like a madman. The machine then stopped a few meters in front of a large hall. I could see a big clock in the hall. Suddenly it occurred to me that there were no more clocks on German airfields.

Outside I heard: "Hand's up!". The machine then stopped a few meters in front of a large hall. I could see a big clock in the hall. Suddenly it occurred to me that there were no more clocks on German airfields. At that moment I suspected we were in Switzerland.

So I took my codes and all the secret documents. In the meantime they had already pulled the pilot and the other crew out of the plane.
We were treated very politely and ended up in the officers' mess, where there were cigarettes.The crew was brought to Biglen via Bern, where they were interned in the Bären restaurant.

The Do 217N-2 that made an emergency landing in Basel-Birsfelden belonged to a late batch produced in Friedrichshafen.
The night fighter had two improved Daimler Benz DB 603A2 12-cylinder in-line engines and four MG 151/20 cannons in the rear fuselage. Upon landing, the entire ammunition supply of 2500 rounds for the eight MG 151/20 cannons and the four MG 17 machine guns was still on board.

The on-board equipment consisted of the FuG 202 Lichtenstein B/C search device and the FuG 227 passive device, the FuG X radio systems with TZG 10 and FuG 16 ZE.
The "horns", as the antenna system for the FuG 202 on the bow was called by the night fighter crews, cost around 30 to 40 km/h in speed, gave the Do 217 a search range of around four kilometers.

The aircraft bore some signs of use. The fender of the left main landing gear was defective, as was the left rear wheel fairing. The Do 217 wore the standard livery, consisting of two shades of gray on the upper sides with white-grey undersides.
The aircraft had the squadron identification 3C+IP, which was stenciled in black on both sides of the fuselage. In addition to the four upward-firing MG 151/20 cannons – known in night-hunting jargon as “Schräge Musik” – the four-blade propeller de-icing system, which works with liquid, and the cabin and wing leading edge heating, which is fed by warm exhaust gases, which attracted special experts attention.

Shortly after landing in Basel-Birsfelden, the aircraft was towed into a wooden hangar. Since a German commando action to destroy or recover the Do 217 and its radar system could not be ruled out, the night fighter was soon transferred to Emmen Lucerne for testing. Of particular interest was the FuG 202 Lichtenstein B/C radar system and the FuG 227 passive device for night hunting.

However, the Lichtenstein device was not really a novelty for the Swiss experts, since on March 15, 1944 a Bf 110G-4/B4 piloted by Oberfeldwebel Treynogga with an identical radar system had made an emergency landing in Dübendorf, Switzerland - A few days before the Do 217 landed, Oberleutnant Wilhelm Johnen flew to Dübendorf in a brand new Bf 110G. Johnen's Messerschmitt was equipped with the top-secret FuG 220 SN-2b radar. These circumstance ultimately led to the destruction of the machine and radar system in Switzerland at the insistence of Berlin.

The news that within just five days two German night fighters with secret radar systems had made an emergency landing in neutral Switzerland, understandably caused a stir at the Reichs_Luftfahrts-Ministry (RLM) in Berlin. Since the reasons for the landing were not yet known at that time and desertion could not be completely ruled out in both cases, a so-called fact report was made against all crews involved. In most cases, this meant that the Gestapo conducted house searches and endless interrogations of members of the crew.

Hans Authenrieth, commander of the 6th squadron of NJG 4 and superior of Sergeant Günther Konzack, remembers: The accidental landing in Basel not only caused some excitement for us, even the RLM got involved. I can still well remember how Konzack and his crew returned to us in Tavaux after the delivery in civilian clothes and suitcases with cigarettes, chocolate and Swiss watches.

What Berlin did not know is that Allen Dulles OSS Chief at that time who was stationed in Bern , Switzerland visited already the classified fighter and passed further the collected material to OSS Bari towards the improvements of 15th AF PFF Radar Bombings and Luftwaffe night interception techniques.

I live just 10 minutes drive from the landing place , thought today there is only a residential area and from there to main Basel Airport is about 15 minutes by car . Ultimately though looking at the aircraft instruments especially designed by Dornier for night fighters I must say, there's no wonder they got disoriented and lost track ending up in Switzerland mainly and foremost surprized about the poor location of the primary instruments layout essential for IMC condition and night navigation - I will post later on a link where you can view some photos other than these of warbid Switzerland

Alex K

Last edited by researcher111; 5th June 2023 at 12:58.
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