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Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:10 PM

Flights from Europe to Japan and Japanese held territory
From 12 O'Clock High!:

Ed West
Italian flight to Japan
Wed May 5, 2004 03:37

For some time, there has been discussion and speculation about a possible German flight to Japan during the war. It turns out, according to a book by Peter Herde, that the Germans did not do it but the Italians did. The title of this book is Der Japanflug: Planung und Verwirklichung einer Flugverbindung zwischen den Achsenmaeten und Japan, 1942-1945.

Of course, the book is in German but I've been able to locate a review of it in English but for the final paragraph. Nevertheless, it appears (I could be wrong) that the main substance of the book is described. Here's how to get there:

Go to
Type- "der japanflug" buch -into the search box.
A number of matches will appear.
Look at the second one which begins with NOAG. At the end of that first sentence or line if you will, there will be this: [Translate this page]
Click on it and enjoy the somewhat difficult to read text.

Best regards,

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:11 PM

From TOCH!:

Antonio M
[email protected]
Rome-Tokyo-Rome raid
Thu May 6, 2004 18:15

Here are some information about the Italian flight to Japan.

A special version of the SM.75 transport aircraft was
purposely adapted for this long range flight. It had a
deicing device on the propeller blades, particularly set
carburetors, auto-pilot and devices for astronomical

The first prototype was lost for an accident on May 11,
1942. A second aircraft was adapted, and the raid was fixed
to begin on June 29, 1942.

It was clearly a propaganda flight, though the official
purpose was to carry new secret communication codes for the
Italian embassy in Tokio. The commander of the aircraft
was Ten. Col. Antonio Moscatelli, the other crewmembers
were cap. Mario Curto (co-pilot), Cap. Publio Magini
(navigator), S.Ten. Ernesto Mazzotti (radioman), Mar.
Ernesto Leone (engine technician).

The take off took place from the airport of Guidonia (Rome)
at 5:50 GMT of June 29. The first stop was at the Zaporoskie
airfield, Ukraina (a territory controlled by the Axis).

Next day, at 18:00 GMT, the aircraft took off for a long
flight over Soviet-controlled territory (Stalino, Caspian
Sea, Aral lake, mounts Tarbagatai, desert of Gobi). Finally,
at 15:30 G.M.T (about 22:00 local time) of June 1 st, in
spite of bad weather and imprecise flight maps, the
aircraft arrived at Pao Tow Chen, Mongolia, an area
controlled by the Japanese, after 21 hours and half of
flight over enemy territory.

The aircraft was repainted with Japanese markings, and took
off again at 10:35 a.m. of June 3 to Tokio, where it arrived
at 20:00 GMT.

The return flight started on July 16 at dawn. The aircraft
stopped again at Pao Tow Chen, where the Japanese markings
were removed. On July 18, at 21:45 GMT the aircraft took
off again, followed the same route of the outward flight
and landed at Odessa at 2:10 GMT of July 20, after a more
than 29 hours-long flight in bad weather!

The last part of the flight started at 11:00 GMT of the
same day and ended at Guidonia at 17:50 GMT.

There are many pictures about this flight including some
showing the aircraft with Japanese markings.

Source: Storia Militare, n. 45, Giugno 1997, ed. Albertelli


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:12 PM

From TOCH!:

Ed West
Your response
Thu May 6, 2004 19:55

Dear Antonio,

Thank you for your detailed response. The item about repainting the aircraft was very enlightening. I have decided to make an inquiry into the subject of German flights to Japan elsewhere. Based on responses here, it is likely to turn up nothing, but not trying is guaranteed to turn up nothing.

Best regards,

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:13 PM

From TOCH!:

Chris Going
'der Japanflug'
Wed May 5, 2004 19:07

It might be possible to tease out some more information on the vexed question of whether or not the GAF made a 'Japanflug' from, of all places, the 'GX files'. Ages ago I came across an entry in the 1946 catalogue of the Dick Tracy material which gives, variously, Mongolia, or the Russia/China border region for some GX imagery. There are dates -December 1943 I think- but I cannot remember right now. I will have a look at my notes and see. There must be some indication on the imagery that here is something unusual as I think bits of Eastern Siberia must look like bits of, say Karelia, or the Soviet Arctic. Copies of the Catalogue are in the USNA RG 242 I think, or 373.


Chris Going

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:14 PM

From TOCH!:

Ed West
Re; der Japanflug
Wed May 5, 2004 20:46

Thank you for the information. Yours is the first mention here of the Dick Tracy material. Where is it located? On another point, I think it entirely possible that a flight or flights were made to Japan or nearby.

I think this question is worth pusuing for the following reasons: The destruction of most Luftwaffe records and the general difficulty in getting good information about the December 1943 through to the entire 1945 period. There are a number of Germans that disappeared or were unaccounted for after the war. There are aircraft that were unaccounted for. One might add that the Russians may explain some of this, but access to their archives seems to have become more difficult lately. It also seems to me that certain persons in the Reich would have made plans to leave Europe in the event things did not work out with the war (even though the war with Japan would not be concluded until August).

I think imagination and speculation are valuable tools for those who want to pursue the answer to this question. Is it possible that the Germans used Italian aircraft, especially since the above mentioned book showed it could be done?

And may I politely point out to those who might think that all of this is a waste of time for those who wish to pursue it: it's their time and they may waste it if they wish. I have read of archaeologists who would spend up to a decade digging for the lost city of so and so, only to not find it. And then there are the occasional spectacular discoveries. (I can certainly think of less healthy ways to use one's time but I would never recommend them.)

Carry on,

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:15 PM

From TOCH!:

Steve W.
To Pursue or Not to Pursue
Wed May 5, 2004 23:08

This subject has been pretty thoroughly hashed over before, both here and on the Board, Ed. A lot of good researchers have investigated this and the planned flight(s) by Ju 290s formerly belonging to Fernaufklärungsgruppe 5 in early 1945 were postponed several times until it was too late and the war ended. There were also some madcap plans in late April 1945 to fly a BV 222 to Greenland, refuel from a U-boat, and then take off again for Japan across the Arctic or to South America, I can't recall which. Many of the principal players in these delusional schemes survived the war and later told all to the Allies or to German historians. As exciting as it would be to find some evidence of a successful German flight to Japan, I'm afraid this is well-worn ground and the search would prove fruitless.

Steve W.

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:16 PM

From TOCH!:

Rabe Anton
German Long-Distance Flights
Thu May 6, 2004 15:04

To be specific, Ken Werrell has thoroughly explored the matter of German long-distance flights to Japan. See Kenneth Werrell, "World War II German Distance Flights: Fraud or Record?," in Aerospace Historian, XXXV, No. 2 (Summar/June 1988), pp. 111-16. Werrell had exceptionally good credentials to write such a piece, since he is both a former B-50 navigator and a highly respected long-time academic historian with numerous substantial and serious military aviation works to his credit.


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:16 PM

From TOCH!:

Ed West
Thank you Rabe (nm)
Thu May 6, 2004 17:11

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:17 PM

From TOCH!:

Richard T. Eger
Fri May 7, 2004 01:24

Dear Rabe,

For the record, would you please summarize Ken's findings regarding any flights by German aircraft to Japan or Japanese controlled territory during WW II?


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:27 PM

From TOCH!:

Rabe Anton
German Long-Distance Flights
Fri May 7, 2004 16:19

Yes. Bottom line from Werrell: German long-distance nonstop flights to Japan didn't happen, they have become an urban legend originating out of a wartime POW interrogation report either from a member of FAGr. 5 or one containing comments on the unit. I believe Werrell identifies the report. Had I the article to hand, I could be more precise. Another reminder that while interrogation reports such as the A.D.I.(K) series are quite useful, they are also filled with deliberate falsehoods, inflated claims, wrong information, misunderstandings, and similar pitfalls that are swallowed hook, line, and sinker by the uncritical.


(I believe the report Rabe is referring to is:

F.A.G. 5 Planes over Manchuria
Air P/W Interrogation Unit
Ninth Air Force (Advanced)
A.P.W.I.U. (Ninth Air Force) 44/1945
Det. B, P/W & X Detachment
29 March 1945

This covers the interrogation of Uffz. Wolf Baumgart.

A cautionary note on the reliability of the information obtained from this PoW states:

"The following information was obtained from interrogation of an intelligent, observing and talkative P/W. Although violently anti-Nazi and anxious to offer services for the Allies, some of his statements should be accepted with reservation as they reflect confidant exuberance."


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:28 PM

From TOCH!:

Richard T. Eger
Long distance flight claim
Sun May 9, 2004 16:53

Dear Rabe,

Thank you for your reply.

A new LWAG member has made the following claims:

'In James P O'Donnell's book "The Berlin Bunker" pub 1979, he directly quotes former Reichsminister Albert Speer whom he interviewed (p.251) saying

"a Luftwaffe test pilot had flown a Ju-390 non-stop from Germany to Japan over the polar route. [Hans] Baur would have known of this secret flight..."

I also read in the same book but cannot recall which page that Japan wished to place the Ju-390 aircraft into production, but plans (tools?) for the aircraft arrived by U-boat too late. The last such U-boats to arrive were U-219 and U-195 in November 1944 at Djakarta.

If as Speer said the Ju-390 made a flight late in the war then I am surprised why it would not have carried plans. The Japanese wanted a bomber to reach mainland USA to deliver an atomic bomb being developed by Japan's 8th Imperial Army laboratory in Hungnam Korea.'

I would appreciate your and anyone else's comments on these claims.


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:29 PM

From TOCH!:

Graham Boak
Japan's capabilities?
Tue May 11, 2004 16:28

At this stage of the war, Japan was totally incapable of manufacturing an aircraft of the size and complexity if the Ju.390. This alone should be sufficient to discard any of the more imaginative stories that appeared at the end of the Third Reich.

Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:29 PM

From TOCH!:

Richard T. Eger
Japan's late war manufacturing capability
Wed May 12, 2004 12:45

Dear Graham,

Wasn't a Renzan bomber discovered by the Allies after capitulation? Also, there was an astounding claim, IIRC, in one video that the Japanese had some 12,000 aircraft hidden in caves at the end of the war ready to take on the Allies. I think, again IIRC, it may have been Walter Boyne who made this claim, someone with a bit of stature in the historical community. I found myself in disbelief, as this seems so completely unlikely.



Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:30 PM

From TOCH!:

Alan Marshall
Japanese aircraft capability
Wed May 12, 2004 13:09

Were the Japanese also planning to build the Nakajima G10N Fugakku six engined heavy bomber. I don't believe it got beyond the drawing board stage but they must have thought they could do it. Also the Renzan [Allied code RITA] did get to the prototype stage by the end of the war.


Richard T Eger 05-18-2004 06:31 PM

From TOCH!:

Graham Boak
Wed May 12, 2004 13:54

They managed to get a four-engined bomber of B-17 capability to prototype stage by the end, that's end, of the war. How many years did it take them to do that, from the start? Look at their overall productive capabilities, the size of their industry. See just how many (few) large aircraft they actually managed to build. Look at the reports of poor workmanship and low standards, how skilled personnel were taken off the shop floor and sent to war as infantrymen. Look at their problems with the DB601 and improved versions of that.

Designers could dream of greater things, but the capability was not there to realise their dreams. I don't believe that there was ever any real plans to move the Fugakku off paper - if indeed it ever got beyond the configuration layout stage. There's no evidence that they thought they could do it - just that this is what it would have looked like if.

Simon Gunson 02-20-2008 01:11 AM

Graene Boak said:

"At this stage of the war, Japan was totally incapable of manufacturing an aircraft of the size and complexity if the Ju.390."

This site is worth reading:

The Nakajima G10N1 Fugaku ( Mount Fuji ), in particular stands out.

There was a prototype which had not yet flown bombed in it's production factory three months before the end of the War with Japan.

Simon Gunson 02-20-2008 01:30 AM

Rabe in relation to Dr.Kenneth Warrell, of course he has not commented on thre interesting sources...

First the comments by Hans Pancherz, one of the Ju-390 pilots who flew long distance missions.

Second the interviews with Dr Wilhem Voss about a Ju-390 flight to Tokyo from Bodo Norway via the polar route on 28 March 1945, as interviewed by British journalist Tom Agoston.

Third previous corroboration of Voss by Reichs Armaments Minister Albert Speer in his autobiography "Inside the Third Reich"

Corroboration of Voss and Speer by the U-234's radioman Wolfgang Hirschfeld in his book, "Atlantik Farewell: Das Letzte U-boot" about the intention to fly some of U-234's more urgent cargo for Japan (by FW200).

Further corroboration from Junkers historian Horst Zoller in correspondence with me about Ju-290 flights that a newspaper article in Germany from 1950s identified flights to Manchuria by Ju-290s in Deutsch Luft Hansa markings and at least one BV222 mission to Sakhalin Island.

The three aicraft withdrawn from Luftwaffe service and converted for long range flights to Manchuria appear to have been:

Werke nr J900183, Ju290-A7 markings KR+LP
Werke nr J900182, Ju290-A9, markings KR+LM
Werke nr J900185, Ju290-A7 markings KR+LN

They were then recoded:

KR+LP as T9+WK (lost over Russia)
KR+LM as T9+UK
KR+LN as T9+VK

T9+VK became A3+BB
T9+UK became A3+AB (lost over Russia)

T9+VK/A3+BB was the last survivor. It was damaged in a hanger at Finsterwalde by Allied fighters whilst in civil markings sometime around Feb 1944. It was later scrapped in April 1944 at Travemunde.

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