Landing at the wrong airfield

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Chris C, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Came across this in Stuttivart's The Swordfish Story. Anyone else read of incidents involving landing at the wrong side's airfield?

    (In reference to Manston airfield, where many different airplanes made emergency landings, late in June 1944 I think. This is told by Tom Mogfield of No 819 Squadron)

    "In the small hours of the morning, two aircraft, both burning navigation lights, joined the circuit, and despite a lack of R/T contact, the control tower staff rather naively illuminated the duty runway. The unknown aircraft promptly landed, then... silence! For a long time nothing happened, so the crash-crew was alerted and despatched to ascertain the whereabouts of the new arrivals. After a search they found two brand new Me 109s of the very latest type and factory fresh, complete with the German pilots. Once over the shock, the duty corporal contacted the tower and the authorities swung into action, carting the pilots off to the guard room for interrogation and hauling the 109s away from the runway to a position near the tower.

    "Peace and quiet then prevailed, until, at first glimmer of dawn in the east, a Stringbag came trundling around the perimeter track, back from patrol, the weary crew looking forward to their bacon and eggs, the standard RAF breakfast after a night operation. As it approached the tower the Swordfish came to an abrupt stop. The pilot, well up on his aircraft recognition, had spotted the outline of the 109s. An earnest and rather heated discussion then took place between the by now thoroughly alarmed pilot and navigator. Both were convinced that they had mistaken the North Foreland for Cape Gris Nez and landed in occupied France. How else could you account for the Me 109s lying about? Even the TAG was by this time wide awake, sitting up and taking notice. At the very point of turning around and legging it back to the runway to attempt a take-off, the panic was allayed by the familiar sight of a Hillman utility truck arriving at the tower."
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Oberleutnant Armin Faber was a German Luftwaffe pilot in World War II who mistook the Bristol Channel for the English Channel and landed his Focke-Wulf 190 (Fw 190) intact at RAF Pembrey in South Wales. His plane was the first Fw 190 to be captured by the Allies and was tested to reveal any weaknesses that could be exploited.[1]

    Armin Faber - Wikipedia

    The German World War II fighter pilot who accidentally landed his plane in West Wales... and helped the Allies win the war

    Faber's Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 pictured at RAF Pembrey, June 1942

    Oberleutnant Armin Faber anxiously scanned the ground below, his eyes constantly drawn to the fuel gauge of his Focke-Wulf 190 fighter, hoping desperately to spot an airfield. It was the evening of 23 June 1942 and the Luftwaffe pilot, running perilously low on fuel after an intense dogfight over southern England, was searching for somewhere to put his aircraft down.

    Minutes later a feeling of relief washed over him. There in the distance was an aerodrome. He rapidly descended, gently bumped the Fw 190 down onto the grass airstrip, cut his engine and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

    No sooner had he done so, however, than a man in blue uniform came running towards his plane, holding what looked like a pistol. Strange, the German pilot thought. Then, as the figure came nearer, he recognised the man’s uniform and his heart instantly sank - it was that of an RAF officer!

    Before Faber could restart his engine the man reached the cockpit and shoved a Very pistol in his face. Faber realised that he wasn’t in France at all. In fact, the Luftwaffe pilot had landed at RAF Pembrey in South Wales, home to the RAF’s Air Gunnery School.

    Faber's Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 pictured at RAF Pembrey, June 1942
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  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Held up with a Very pistol no less!
  4. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

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  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    There was another German bomber touched down on a Welsh airfield but the pilot recognised his mistake, gunned the engines and managed to get airborne again before anyone could react. The ultimate in this occurs in WW1 when an American major led a flight of American bombers in a perfect formation landing on a German occupied airfield in France. The Germans later dropped a message thanking Pershing for the French made bombers and asking what he wanted done with the major. The general feeling was that the major was safer with the Germans than in Black Jack's reach!
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  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    There was an Me 110 night fighter managed to land intact at a Swiss airfield - so worried were the Germans that British scientific intelligence might gain the details of its radar that they did a deal to supply a squadron's worth of Me 109Es and spares in return for the destruction of the aircraft. As the Swiss airforce was already using 109s this was a welcome boost and British scientific intelligence under Dr. Jones already knew all about the Me 110's radar and found the whole thing a hoot.
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  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Is there any more information available about this?
  9. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  11. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Taken from HQ 34 Armoured Brigade WAR DIARY

    5 May 45 – A German fighter aircraft, an FW.190, landed north of GRONAU – the pilot was taken captive by a DR of 267 Fwd Delivery Sqn. The pilot had been ordered to fly from his sta in DENMARK to NORWAY, but had flown South in contravention of orders to give himself up.
  12. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Any idea what happened to Faber as a POW and after the war?

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  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Said to have settled in GB after war under an identity's said that his daughter went to see his FW 190 aircraft on display at RAF St Athan museum.

    The Luftwaffe depended a great deal on their navigation beacons,there were a number in Brittany.British TRE countermeasures corrupted these navigation beacons by retransmitting them under the Meacon system which resulted in false navigation data being received by the Luftwaffe navigational aid equipment.

    It is thought that Faber's aircraft was "Meaconed"

    Lancashire Air Raids
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  14. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Thanks Harry. What a wise decision. Herman G. would have not kept him alive for long. false data, or not.
  15. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Given that HG managed to commit suicide just before he was due to be hanged at Nuremberg he could have had no influence on Faber's fate post war wherever he chose to settle or whatever identity he adopted
  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    In WW1 a pre production FE2 two seat fighter was sent to France for evaluation by RFC squadrons. It landed on a German held airfield thus allowing the German air service to evaluate it first.
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