Beyond The Sprues

Current and Finished Projects => Stories => Topic started by: upnorth on June 11, 2012, 04:56:00 PM

Title: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 11, 2012, 04:56:00 PM
Hello all:

Some of you will be familiar with my "Stuka Musings" thread: (

One of my long term build plans is to build an alternate Stuka that keeps the look of the original but includes all the refinements that the real machine didn't have.

As my building speed is quite slow, I've decided to put together a back story for it to keep myself interested in the idea.


Stealing the Stuka

Prologue: 1925-1935

By the mid 1920s, Hugo Junkers had lost substantial control of many of his businesses as a result of being unable to pay back government loans on failed attempts to build aircraft for the Soviet Union.

Political views in interwar Germany were quite varied and diverse. That Hugo Junkers himself was notably Socialist and Pacifist in his leanings created some tension with regards to the internal politics of his own company. Junkers was no stranger to confronting and locking horns with government powers; he only reluctantly built combat aircraft for imperial Germany in WWI and was forced into working with Antony Fokker to meet production quotas.

With Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the Nazi party moved quickly to take over Junkers’ remaining business intrests as well as the pattents that he held. He was placed under house arrest and died in 1935. The remainder of his interests and pattends were ceded to the state in 1936. Despite state takeover, Junkers’ name was retained on aircraft and engines originating from those factories he had once owned.

The Stuka in Secrecy

In 1933, almost as soon as the Nazis had seized control of Junkers’ holdings, a requisition for a dive bomber was issued. Hermann Pohlmann set to work on what would become that dive bomber.

The design was simple to the point of being crude, but that was in fitting with Pohlmann’s own design philosophy of what a dive bomber should be.

Construction of components for the new aircraft prototype was carried out in secrecy by AB Flygindustri in Sweden, a company formerly held by Junkers, with the intent to ship the completed components to Germany for assembly and maiden flight there.

The Stuka Stammers

The Stuka did not immediately impress the powers that be. The primary problem was noted before the machine ever took to the air; a British engine, the Rolls Royce Kestrel had been chosen for it. Surely, such a clearly military design should not be allowed to rely on a foreign engine if suitable domestic alternatives exist.

That in early 1936 a Kestrel powered Stuka prototype crashed, killing both crew members, did little to bolster support for continuing development of the aircraft.
Following the crash, several changes were made to the design including the DB600 engine as an interim powerplant while waiting for the Jumo 210, which would eventually be fitted to the second prototype.

Laying Low

A few workers who had been loyal to Hugo Junkers and his personal politics had managed to convincingly hide their true leanings under a veneer of false loyalty to Nazism. They went through the motions, but knew they were always at risk of being found out.

Knowing full well what the new aircraft was intended for and that Hugo Junkers would turn in his grave at the thoguht of having anything of the sort bear his name, they decided to make their move in late April.

They had managed to secure a set of older blueprints for the aircraft with the DB600 installed and passage for themselves to France, with the intent of arranging transport to South America from there.

The priority was to get the blueprints out of Germany as quickly as they could. Though slightly outdated, those blueprints would be noticed if they went missing and a very unwelcome investigation would most certainly ensue.

In early May, two of the workers quietly made their way to France with the blueprints. The plan was for the remaining members of the group to join them there after the rest of the plan had been carried out.

Approximately a week after the blueprints were safely in France, a hangar near Dresden where the Stuka prototype with the Jumo engine installed was being kept erupted in flames in the middle of the night. The flames were of such an intensity that firefighters could only stand by helplessly and let the fire burn itself out.

The next morning, there was nothing left to salvage. The Stuka prototype was a ruin. Shortly after the fire, the Stuka was formally cancelled and resources put towards Heinkel designs to fulfil the dive bomber requirement.


The Junkers workers had agreed to meet in the port city of Lorient; the two that travelled ahead had arrived there without incident. 

The remaining members of the group chose to travel separtately to increase their chances of survival. The investigation had begun nearly as soon as the flames of the fire that had killed the Stuka had burned themselves out.  Accusations and insinuations were flying everywhere; names were mentioned and photographs were posted at all police offices, train stations and border crossings.

Of the four who had remained in Germany, only two made it to France. The other two were captured and executed.

By late may, the four former Junkers workers and Stuka blueprints were on board a French ship destined to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on June 12, 2012, 02:05:27 AM
Ok, you have piqued my interest...
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on June 13, 2012, 06:55:20 AM
I like where this is going 'north  ;)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 13, 2012, 01:07:54 PM
Thanks guys. Hopefully I'll have time for at least one more installment before I go on holidays next week.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 14, 2012, 03:50:36 PM
Preparing the Presentation

Argentina, like so many other countries, had been hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Foreign investment was down as was productivity in most inustrial sectors. This in turn created high unemployment, general unrest among the populace and a migration of people from the countryside to the cities in search of work.

The former Junkers employees sat in their Buenos Aries hotel room, looking at the blueprints again and again, knowing full well that an economically suffering nation that wasn’t really at war with anyone was not the nation to be trying to sell a dive bomber design to. This, however, they did not see as a tremendous obstacle. They already had in mind a plan to refine the design to give it smoother lines, retractable landing gear and so forth; they simply needed to give it a new application from the original dive bomber specification.

Ideas flowed between the men for several days about not only how to refine the design itself, but also what other applications it could be tailored to. True to Hugo Junkers’ ideals of pacifism and socialism; ideas of how to make the design attractive to the civil sector were persued most strongly.

The Results

After several weeks  and many sleepless nights, the men had a series of sketches and myriad notes outlining refinements and alterations to the design.

The most basic of the concepts was of an agricultural aircraft with the forward cockpit given to a hopper for the spray gear with the rear cockpit section fitted out for a single pilot. Fixed landing gear was retained, but much lightened in design and without spats.

The second concept was for a two place sport aircraft with a revised canopy of much reduced framing and a much more refined wing that made the control surfaces integral with the trailing edge of the wing rather than crudely bolted onto it. The wings were also somewhat shortened and given wider chord towards the tips on the premise that it would give the aircraft greater manuverability and a possible aerobatic aspect.  The new wing retained the gull planform, but had a much smoother bend in it than the original. Retractable main landing gear was also part of the design.

Not to completely ignore the military option, the sport variant was slightly reworked to be presented as a military trainer. The primary external difference was a slightly raised rear cockpit section to give the instructor a better view of what the student was doing.

All three concepts saw all the armor and combat gear stripped from the design and a tremendous weight savings as a result.

With the French Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine proposed as the powerplant for all three variants; the men prepared to present it to various Argentine government deparments in the hopes that it would garner enough interest to at least get a prototype of one of the proposals approved, not to mention access to the FMA facilities in Cordoba where a proper set of blueprints could be drawn up from the sketches and a protoype could be built.

A Hard Sell

The former Junkers men approached the government formally with their proposals a few months after arriving in Argentina. The response was rather lukewarm to begin with.

The agriculture ministry was completely uninterested in the cropduster proposal. With as many people moving from the countryside to the cities as there were, there were a lot of abandoned farms that didn’t require spraying anymore.

The military was also not immediately interested as a domestically produced trainer had been introduced to service only two years prior and was meeting the training needs of the military quite well.

The ministry of transport was somewhat more supportive of the sport aircraft concept. They agreed to give the project a grant for a protoytpe on the condition that it could also be used successfully as a tug for sailplanes.

Unexpectedly, the natural resources ministry expressed interest in the aircraft and questioned the men extensively on the potential of the aircraft as a survey and photographic platform primarily for monitoring the forestry and fishing industries.

The men, rather taken by surprise by the unexpected interest in the aircraft in such an application, said they didn’t see how it wouldn’t work and that they would prepare a reworked concept to present.

After three sleepless nights, the men had come up with a concept of an aircraft that had a wingspan a bit longer than the original Stuka design, but incorporated all the wing refinements they had since made. The reduced frame two place canopy was retained and the rear cockpit could be adapted for aerial photography missions that needed only the pilot or more advanced survey missons that required an extra crew member to monitor equipment.

The Big Pitch

Approximately a week after their initial presentations to the government, the men returned with their revised concept for the aerial survey platform.

After another week of nervous waiting while the government made a decision on it, the men were informed that the concept was successful in getting a grant for a single prototype and permission was granted to use FMA’s facilities to blueprint and build it.

The grant, however, left little room for any extras in the prototype and little room for any errors in it. It granted them exactly six months of access to FMA’s facilities to get the design finalised and a flyable prototype built and prepared for official presentation.

The men were on their way to Cordoba and to a very mixed welcome when they arrived.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 16, 2012, 03:43:06 PM
Setting Up

The initial welcome of the former Junkers men to FMA was a genuinely warm one. The executive levels of the company were happy at the prospect of a potentially new aircraft to keep the factory going and people employed.

They were given generous access to drafting facilities and all other personel and machinery required to produce the prototype.

They were, however, also given a supervisor. The supervisor was a fellow German and a former engineer of Dornier; He was also very cold to the idea of having anything to do with the aircraft as soon as he was presented with the old Stuka blueprints and the sketches for refinements the other men had made.

The man was philosophically in complete disagreement with Hitler but still loved his homeland; he chose to leave Germany rather than be associated with the one Hitler was creating.

He had been emensely happy at the news of the Stuka prototype being destroyed and the whole program cancelled. One less tool for Hitler to use to bring others to their knees could only be a good thing. Seeing evidence that the aircraft had survived in any form made his heart sink.

Knowing full well what the original design was for, he was not in any way comforted by civilian adaptations to the design; it would always be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing in his eyes. “It’s killer, plain and simple! You can’t civilize a killer!” was his frequent refrain.

Initially refusing to supervise the project, the man relucatntly accepted when faced with being terminated from FMA entirely. He was no Nazi, but he was also no Socialist; in the bigger picture he knew the company needed to keep producing, people needed to be kept working and profits had to be made.

At a more personal level, he knew that he was as much a disident as the Stuka was a killer. He was in Argentina as a guest and couldn’t risk doing anything to wear out his welcome. While his engineering expertise was quite valuable, it in no way made him indispensible. He’d be a dead man if he was ever deported to Hitler’s Germany; of that he was all too aware.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on June 17, 2012, 04:47:42 AM
Keep it coming...I hope there are also some pictures soon to illustrate this story!!!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 17, 2012, 03:00:24 PM
After my holidays I might sit down with my sketchbook and draw a few out and post them here. My computer can't handle the drawing gear that Apophenia and some of the other profilers have .
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 17, 2012, 08:01:34 PM
Stuka Solution

As July 1936 drew to a close and the five men began their work on the refined civilian Stuka, which had tentatively been given the project name “Garza”; the Spanish term for heron; Germany was busy continuing it’s pursuit of a dive bomber.

What funding had been earmarked for the Junkers machine had been reassigned to the Heinkel He-118 dive bomber project. The Heinkel machine was left wanting in various aspects, not the least of which was its relatively shallow maximum dive angle for the dive bombing mission.

While the RLM were nonplussed by the He-118 in test flights, a japanese trade envoy who was on hand to witness them did see a great deal of potential in the aircraft as a means to build the strength of the imperial Japanese army and naval air arms. After brief negotiations the purchase of two He-118 airframes for further evaluation in Japan was completed.

With respect to the company’s existing cooperation with Heinkel, responsibility for the assembly and flying of the He-118 in Japan was placed in the hands of Aichi.

Yes and No

Aichi test pilots were generaly pleased with the He-118’s handling; army and naval pilots felt much the same way. The Admiralty and high brass of the army were more or less impressed with all but one thing, the inline engine. Japanese maintenance crews were much better versed on radial engines than inline and the Japanese maintenance infrastructure network for aero engines was build with radial engines primarily in mind.

Aichi was ordered to modify the He-118 to fly with an existing Japanese radial engine and prepare to display the type again. In October 1936, Aichi unveiled a modified He-118 married to a Mitsubishi Kinsei 44 radial engine. The display went well until the aircraft bounched on landing and went off the side of the runway and was heavily damaged.

While the aircraft was being modified to take the radial engne, German military attaches had told the higher echelons of the Japanese military of the aircraft’s intended purpose as a dive bomber. The Admiralty were not the least bit impressed that Aichi had not mentioned that aspect of the aircraft to them. That, combined with the landing incident, was enough for Aichi to be relieved of the project. Before October was over, anything to do with the aircraft was the responsibility of Yoksuka.

Yokosuka was ordered to keep the Mitsubishi engine, but modify the rest of the aircraft as required to make it fit the dive bomber mission. They were given until January of 1937 to produce a flyable prototype.

The list of alterations Yokosuka had planned for the He-118 design rivaled, and in ways exceded, the refinements planned for the Stuka’s Argentine progeny.

A Cut of the Pie

Germany and Heinkel were taken aback by what had transpired with the He-118 in Japan. It was still a Heinkel aircraft and they did not wish to lose complete control over it.

Germany was impressed at the marriage of the aircraft to a radial engine and Heinkel engineers found several of Yokosuka’s ideas for modifications to the design intriguing and worthy of merit.

With nothing better on the near horizon for a dive bomber in Germany; the RLM and Heinkel proposed a full joint project with Yokosuka which would give Japanese engineers full access to Heinkel advisors and design specifications. In turn, the cooperation would give Germany it’s much wanted dive bomber.

The German/Japanese team began working furiously on the project. January 1937 was not far off.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on June 18, 2012, 11:49:25 AM
Great stuff 'north. Keep 'er coming!

I've spun off from your description of the early work - I love unbuilt projects  ;) (
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 18, 2012, 12:12:35 PM
Those are fantastic as always, Apohpenia! :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 20, 2012, 02:58:13 AM
OK folks, I'm going on a couple of weeks of holidays so won't be updating this for a bit. Stay tuned though, I did at least get a start on the next section.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 20, 2012, 04:54:27 PM
Working in the Shadows

The German team working on the Garza project was, as much as possible, working under a veil of secrecy. Not so much because their aircraft was worthy of great secrecy, but more because 1930s Argentina was a very unpredicable place to be Socially and politically.

The 1930s in Argentina were marked by rampant political corruption scandals, including electoral fraud, and questionable political decisions and policies. Historically, this period became known as the “Infamous Decade”. The only certainty seemed to be that the successive governments were maintaining diplomatic ties to Germany, though this created other risks at the social level.

Since the late 1800s, Argentina had seen several waves of European immigrants which included many Germans. While the good diplomatic ties between Argentina and Germany had made it relatively easy for the former Junkers men and their former Dornier supervisor to enter and settle in Argentina, those same ties also made it quite easy for Germans loyal to Hitler and his ideals to enter the country and quietly keep watch over activities of German people in the country.

That Hitler, Goring and several others directly connected to the rebuilding of Germany’s military might were still publicly fuming over the loss of the Stuka in spite of the recently established cooperation with Japan in developing a new dive bomber was a constant point of concern for the Garza team and enough of a reason to keep a low profile about their work and a tight lip when associating with other Germans they encountered in Argentina.

In October 1936, with the official formation of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis; the Garza team’s concern turned to outright alarm. They pleaded for, and received the highest level of secrecy for their project that FMA could provide. Additionally, it was requested than no new workers be brought into the Garza project, particularly Germans, and that those currently involved be held to the highest levels of confidentiality.

Taking Shape

Early November saw the joining of the revised Stuka fuselage and wing at FMA. The engine had yet to be installed, but the aircraft was ready for testing of the new control surfaces and retracting landing gear.

While many fuselage refinements had been made to the cockpit area, the tail of the aircraft remained mostly unchanged from the original Stuka blueprints. The only revision to the tail unit at the prototype stage was the removal of the external braces for the horizontal stabilizers in favour of some crude but effective internal bracing. Much more extensive revisions to the tail unit had been planned, but the tight deadline for a flyable prototype and higher priority on the new wing design and engine instalation meant that certain refinements would have to wait until after the first prototype had flown.

The full canopy revisions would also have to wait until after the initial flight. A canopy with reduced framing had been designed and made, but it still had more framing than the engineers wanted. It would have to do for the prototype.

By the end of November, testing of the new wing control surfaces and internal tail bracing had been completed with satisfactory results. However, the retracting landing gear was proving rather problematic. The gears themselves retracted with no problems, but the larger gear doors were quite unpredicatable in both opening and closing completely if at all.

With the deadline clearly in mind, it was quickly decided to remove the larger gear doors and leave the wheels exposed when retracted. Further work on the gear doors was clearly one more thing that would have to wait until after the first flight.

A note in the journal of one of the former Junkers workers is rather telling of the general attitude towards the Garza:

“Frankly, we had hoped for something a bit more graceful even at the prototype stage. We’re very optimistic that we will have a flyable prototype for January; though it is quite clear that, like it’s progenitor, the Garza will not escape a certain degree of crudeness at least at the prototype stage.”

December saw the Engine mounted and successfully run. Taxi trials at early dawn, away from prying eyes, were very satisfactory. The first flight, albeit short, was also at early dawn away from urban areas. In the words of the test pilot:

“Overall, it was a good flight. It’s a solid and stable machine and should be even better when they make the revisions to the tail unit, which I know they’re planning.”

All looked well for the Garza as the prototype went to the paint shop for a smart looking overall red paint scheme with some white trim.

The Pride of the Axis?

The Heinkel/Yokosuka team, working to a near identical deadline as the Garza team was. However, while their efforts were as secretive as the Garza team’s, they were much better funded as the Axis insured money from both Germany and Japan would feed their project well.

Very early on, it was determined that the aircraft would carry it’s bombload completely internally and would have a radial engine. From there, much else would change.

Germany took a “Pride of the Axis” point of view to the project and envisioned it being used in large numbers as a projection of power. Japan, on the other hand, saw it more as “Pride of the Fleet” being as how the primary user, as far as Japan was concerned, would be the Imperial Japanese Navy. At this, Yokosuka’s determination that the entire design be reduced in size enough to ensure it would fit on a carrier was the driving force behind many of the other changes in the aircraft. With the Japanese government standing in support of Yokosuka, the Germans did not argue the reduction in the aircraft’s size.

Germany also did not argue the demand that the prototype must incorporate operable folding wings and tailhook despite the fact they would have no need of such things in their own versions of the type. With both Germany and Japan demanding their dive bomber in short order, there was no time to argue over such things.

The eliptical planform of the wing and tail surfaces that was so typical of the Heinkel design philosophy was retained in the new aircraft the only difference being that the gull wing of the He-118 was changed to a straight wing. This change was made to accommodate a simpler but stronger landing gear unit design more suitable to carrier operations.

The aft fuselage was deepened to accommodate a somewhat larger weapons bay and the structural strengthening to support carrier launch and recovery related gear.

The work on the new aircraft was relentless at the Yokosuka factory. They had received responsibility for the aircraft in October of 1936 with a flyable prototype demanded for January of 1937; such constraints of time required a shift system to cover all 24 hours of the day to ensure work would not stop on the project until the prototype was ready to fly. Many years later, a former Yokosuka factory worker said this of the system:

“It was complete maddness in the minds of most of us, but we didn’t dare object or protest; you simply didn’t say no to those in power in imperial Japan.

My first child had been born shortly before Yokosuka was assigned that aircraft as a project; I was there to see her born in late September and then I rarely saw her or my wife again until after the prototype had flown in mid January. I missed the first few months of my daughter’s life because the empire decided that an unproven military aircraft being developed when we were not officially at war with anyone was more important.

As I said, you simply didn’t say no to the empire. Even the highest men in our company didn’t dare to say no.”

The Heinkel/Yokosuka aircraft took to the air for the first time in mid December and was quite ready for the official January presentation.

The aircraft was, for Japanese purposes, given the name D4Y “Suisei”. The prototype so impressed German officials who were on hand for the official first flight that Heinkel was immediately ordered to make a land based prototype with the naval equipment stripped and a German engine installed.

By July of 1937, the He-130 “Komet” took to the air over Heinkel headquarters at Rostock under the power of a Jumo 211 inline engine. The Heinkel variation impressed the RLM and was ordered into production.

While externally very similar, the removal of the naval equipment allowed Heinkel to give the He-130 a decided advantage over it’s Yokosuka sister internally. Where Yokosuka had eschewed armor in order to accommodate the weight of carrier gear and still maintain performance, Heinkel put the weight savings towards armour and self sealing fuel tanks.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 21, 2012, 03:55:13 AM
Here's a sketch I did tonight showing the Garza as it appeared on it's December 1936 maiden flight, prior to receiving the red and white scheme for the official unveiling and presentation flight.


The canopy was provisional for the prototype with only the front section sliding. As there was no need of a second crew member in the initial prototype flights, the rear section was fixed and the rear cockpit was occupied by flight monitoring gear or a counterweight.

The prototype Garza also had a chin radiator in place as the wing radiators planned for production variants were still in development. For appearances, the prototype did have mock ups of the wing radiators built into the prototype.

Also visible is the lack of external bracing for the horizontal tail surfaces and the somewhat extended wingspan of the Garza.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 26, 2012, 06:37:51 PM
Garza Aloft

The prototype Garza stood ready for presentation on the runway of a remote airfield. Highly polished and resplendent in it’s red and white scheme with the Argentine flag proudly diplayed on it’s tailfin. It was the second week of January 1937, the morning sun was shining and the same pilot who had taken the Garza on her maiden flight in December was more than ready to show the machine off.

The first week of January had been spent dismantling the Garza and moving it by rail from the FMA factory in Cordoba to this isolated airfield in the neighboring state of La Pampa, reassembling it and taking the subsequent shakedown flights.

It was a minimally staffed airfield that could be secured with relative ease, that it also took some effort to reach by any other means than air transport would keep prying eyes to a minimum. Hardly the place one would envision for the presentation of a prototype aircraft, but certainly it served the purpose.

As the last of the official guests to the event took their seats, the Garza’s engine roared to life. The pilot opened the throttle and began the takeoff roll. The aircraft’s extended wings gracefully lifted it from the ground in a distance that was remarkably short for an aircraft of the Garza’s size.

The Garza showed itself to have very impressive climbing abilities and to be able to hold very stable in the air despite some turbulance and updrafts. As the aircraft was intended as an observation platform, the rear cockpit had a camera installed for the flight and a series of photos were taken of various geographic features in the area.

As the aircraft touched down and was presented for closer inspection, the film from the camera was quickly taken away for processing. The resultant photos were of a very high standard for the day and showed great clarity. The Garza had definitely proved itself to have potential as an aerial photography platform.

The day ended with everyone in good spirits. A few days later, a generous grant was officially provided to further develop the garza into more refined pre production versions to further explore it’s potential in observation and photography roles.

A second, smaller grant had come from the Ministry of Transport to finance the development of a sport plane/glider tug variation of the Garza. This was a surprise as the transport ministry had fallen silent on the subject of the Garza shortly after the initial presentations of concept drawings had taken place.

With the interests of two government ministries behind them, the Garza team set to work on refining the design with a new vigor in spite of the high secrecy that surrounded them and their project.

The Garza Continues

Refining the Garza started exactly where the prototype work had stopped. The fuselage and wings required no further work; all efforts focused on reworking the tail unit, the new canopy and making the landing gear doors work relaibly.

Work went on at an even but efficient pace with a variety of small scale wind tunnel models being built, tested, reworked and retested or discarded outright.

While the fuselage did not require much refinement aerodynamically, it was not built for speed after all, the rear cockpit was restructured to accommodate camera ports and mountings in the fuselage. The photos taken during the prototype flight had been taken directly through the canopy glass. As good as those photos were, better could be achieved.

By late April, two new fuselages were nearing completion and being prepared for connection to their completed wing sections. Both fuselages had the camera modifications to the rear cockpits, but each had slightly different tail units. The team had come down to two tail units that seemed to work particularly well in wind tunnel tests and the time had come to build them at full scale and test them in the air.

Both new wings had fully retractable landing gear with landing gear doors that did finally work reliably in tests.

The canopy, however, was creating problems as the Garza team wanted a very refined shape that seemed all but impossible to achieve without more framing than they were willing to accept to stabilise it.

While the new tail and landing gear arrangements were near ready for testing, it appeared as though the prototype canopy design would have to be kept a while longer.


While the refinements to take the Garza from prototype to pre production machines were clear and straight forward; modifyng it from the observation and photography roles to a sport plane with glider tug abilities, would takea good deal more work.

The new variant was given the name Tapaculo, after a small bird quite common in South and Central America.

The first consideration was in regards to who would be using the aircraft. While the Garza operations would be overseen directly by the government and be serviced by an infrastucture befitting that; the Tapaculo would be operated by a wide array of civilians with quite possibly much more limited resources to service and maintain the aircraft. The Tapaculo would have to be a simpler machine than the Garza.

With the list of simplifications becoming longer, the Tapaculo’s development was markedly slower than that of the refined Garza. However, that slowness worked to the Tapaculo’s advantage as it was able to benefit from work being done on the Garza.

The most notable feature of the Tapaculo was it’s shorter wings with constant chord. The wings were designed to get maximum lift from a relatively short span. The wings also included fixed landing gear, partly for ease of maintenance and partly as a safeguard against lesser experienced pilots making accidental wheels up landings.

The Tapaculo benefited mostly from the Garza around the tail unit. Several of the tail units that were tried on wind tunnel models of the Graza were retried on models of the Tapaculo, some with positive results. The most promising was ultimately chosen for the Tapaculo prototype.

The biggest hurdle in developing the Tapaculo was chosing an engine. It was decided quite early on to explore radial engine options for simplicity and durability in a wider range of operating situations.

Eventually, an Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah VI was located and chosen for the prototype.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 27, 2012, 07:08:23 AM
Great stuff 'north! Keep 'er coming  :)

Love the Garza sketch too. I'm not sure about not needing a second crew member on the first flight though. In 1937, the "flight monitoring gear" was probably an engineer -- no comments on the "counterweight" though   ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 27, 2012, 01:13:26 PM
Glad you're still following along and enjoying.

Your right, of course. I forgot 1937 was before black boxes and other automated flight monitoring and recording gear.

As for the counterweight, that was just something that hit me as a feature to push home the point that the development had been a bit rushed and the prototype wasn't quite perfect in all ways. ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 04, 2012, 03:19:56 PM
Here's the second pre-production Garza aircraft during camera placement testing. you can see one of the camera ports just aft of the cockpit and wing trailing edge:


The first and second pre-production machines flew with different tail designs so the designs could be tested concurrently. Subsequently, both machines were fitted with the preferred tail design and testing for camera placements and supporting structures commenced.

The pre-production Garza models had smoother nose profiles than the prototype as the wing radiators were fully functional by the time they flew so the boxy nose radiator could be done away with.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on August 07, 2012, 11:52:45 AM
That's shaping up nicely ... I especially like the new tail  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 07, 2012, 09:42:27 PM
Bird Spotting

Spring and Summer of 1937 passed uneventfully for the Garza team. Their time taken up by testing of tail arrangements and camera placements on the pre production aircraft. Towards the end of August, they felt they had the best mix of features in the second pre production machine and sought approval for an initial production batch. The approval was painfully slow in coming.

In early August, a photograph of the first pre production Garza in full flight had found it’s way to the German Embassy in Buenos Aires. Initially, nobody took much notice of the photo. It was simply an aircraft to most who looked at it; a hastily scrawled note on the back of the photo made it to the attention of the military attache.

When the attache returned to his office to find the photo on his desk, he initially put it to one side without so much as a glance and proceded with his other paperwork of the day. Later, as his work day was coming to an end, he took the time to look at the photo. There was something familiar about the aircraft, but he couldn’t put his finger on it; deciding the matter could wait, he set the photo down and went home.

As he was finishing dinner at home, he realised that the aircraft in the picture was very much like the Stuka design which had been lost in the hangar fire. While the hangar fire had been proven an arson attack, the matter had officially been closed when the Stuka was cancelled.

Consumed to the point of sleeplessness by the ramifications of the Stuka design not simply being destroyed, but rather stolen and used for the basis of another design; the attache raced to his office in the middle of the night. People would just be arriving at work in Germany; he picked up the reciever of his telephone and placed a call to Berlin.

Approximatly an hour later, the German Ambassador arrived at the office disheveled and clearly stressed; Berlin hadn’t waited until he was in his office to call him. He told the attache to keep the photo under lock and key and to find out everything he could about the aircraft in the photo.

An envoy from the RLM had been dispached and would be in Argentina within the next 48 hours.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 11, 2012, 07:05:05 AM
The Wait

As the dawn light trickled into the German Embassy and the work day began, preparations were being made to provide the RLM team with office space during their visit. Many phone calls were also being made to the Argentine government, particularly the Ministry of Transport and aviation authority offices.

Almost as soon as calls from the embassy to the government were completed, calls were made from the government to FMA headquarters in Cordoba with news that the RLM team would most certainly want to pay them a visit in the course of the investigation.

Initially, FMA executives insisted that they were under no obligation to allow the RLM team onto company property or give them access to anything regarding company projects. The RLM had no jurisdiction in Argentina, why should they be bowed down to all?

As FMA was a state owned company, the executive were over ruled by the government. It was decided, in the interest of maintaining diplomatic ties and giving reasons for the RLM team to keep their impending visit as brief as possible, to not pretend that the aircraft didn’t exist. However, it was also decided to create the image that the aircraft was a relatively new development of Argentine origins.

It was decided to present the first pre production machine as the prototype to the RLM and keep only documents and toolings specific to that aircraft at the Cordoba site; everything else Garza or Tapaculo related would be quickly and quietly moved by rail to the La Pampa airfield where the Garza prototype and second pre production machine were already hangared.

Fortunately, due to the insistence of the former Dornier and Junkers men that no other Germans but themselves were to work on the Garza, there were enough Argentine personnel high enough up in the project capable of explaining it to the RLM that the German members of the team could go to La Pampa with everything else until the RLM left.

Opening Doors and Putting up Walls

The RLM contingient arrived at the German Embassy from Buenos Aries airport armed with blueprints and photographs of the Ju-87 Stuka prototypes for comparison to the Garza and were eager to talk to Argentine government officials as soon as they had settled into their temporary office.

The representatives of the Ministry of Transport were very cordial to their RLM guests in spite of the latter’s thinly veiled accusations that the Garza design was taken from the Stuka and thus it could be construed as an unauthorised development which the RLM felt it was well within its rights to demand be halted.

The ministry provided the RLM representatives with a much abridged version of the Garza project documentation that outlined nothing more than the request for and approval of a single prototype machine.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and their involvement and interest in the aircraft were never mentioned to the RLM. Betting that the RLM would never suspect that ministry to be involved, any documentation that could have tipped them off to more than just a prototype machine existing had been temporarily transferred there from the transport department.

On to Cordoba

At the invitation of the Transport Minister, the RLM men were taken to the FMA factory in Cordoba for a viewing of the “prototype” Garza. After a short briefing, they were taken to the section of the factory floor allocated to the project to inspect the aircraft, it’s blueprints and related toolings and jigs.

They stayed in Cordoba for two days and exhaustively compared the Garza blueprints to those of the Stuka in minute detail. On balance, they found enough similarities to be suspicious but enough differences that the similarities could almost be dismissed as coincidental.

As they prepared to conclude their business at Cordoba, one of the investigators suggested that the aircraft they had just finished inspecting looked particularly well refined for what was ostensibly a “prototype” and that the team should dig deeper. The note on the back of the Garza photograph  stated that the aircraft had been flying over La Pampa when the photo was taken; the photo, however, showed the aircraft against a solidly sky background. It contained no landmarks to betray the aircraft’s exact wherabouts at the time.

Questions were asked in regards to which airfields in La Pampa the Garza could reach from Cordoba. The small field where the bulk of the Garza was being hidden was mentioned; however, it was described by FMA people and the transport ministry as a private airstrip where the owner was quite unwelcoming to outsiders.

With other pressing matters back in Germany and a looming deadline for completion of the investigation, the RLM team decided to close their investigation with an unsatisfying result of “inconclusive” and not bother looking into La Pampa airfields any further.

A retired RLM official who had been involved in the investigation said this of it years later:

“Broadly speaking, the whole thing was a waste of time. The Ju-87 was dead and, in the He-130, we had an aircraft that could fill the Stuka’s void and more. Our time would have been better spend staying in Germany and preparing the first production run of He-130s for the training unit and preparing more for use by the Condor Legion in Spain.

From the very beginning of the investigation, we felt as though we were simply going through the motions. We were given a ridiculously short time to conduct the investigation, which indicated to me that even those further up in the RLM were sceptical of it’s actual usefulness.

Hitler and Goring never really warmed up to the He-130, perhaps because it wasn’t wholly German in design. They were still sore about the loss of the Stuka and when the Garza photo came to light, it was like picking at their wounds.

I suppose, ultimately, the investigation was simply ordered to quell their anger somewhat and give the appearance that something was being done. It was a nice holiday in Argentina if nothing else.”

Garza Go Ahead

Almost as soon as the RLM’s plane to Germany departed Argentina in late August, production for the first batch of Garzas was approved.

Soon after the production line opened, FMA was visited by representatives of the Ministry of Transport as well as the military. A prototype for a third variant was ordered.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 17, 2012, 06:56:48 PM
Full Circle

“It’s a killer, plain and simple! You can’t civilize a killer!”

The well known words of the former Dornier man turned supervisor to the Garza program hung in the air of FMA boardrooms through early September as the military representatives who had ordered a prototype for a third variation on the aircraft briefed the FMA executive and the Garza team on exactly what they wanted in the new version.

As the list of clearly military requirements was given, the hearts of the former Dornier and Jukers men sank. Along with machine guns, higher speed and armor; there was also the requirement that the new variant be capapble of carrying a variety of bombs and possibly a torpedo.

A flyable prototype was deemed as urgent by the military, and the Argentine government in general. A deadline of December 31, 1937 was put on the new prototype and any further development on the Tapaculo variant was to be completely suspended until further notice.

The urgency of the armed version was explained partly by the military and partly the security ministry. There was a growing number of complaints from citizens of German descent, primarily in the Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Entre Rios provinces, of being approached and offered quite substantial rewards for reporting anything they heard or otherwise witnessed that could lead to conclusive proof of the Garza, or any other industrial development currently going on in Argentina, being stolen from German plans.

A former Security Ministry official explained the situation:

“We had learned, from several local and provincial police forces, that several Argentine citizens of German heritage had reported offers of bribes to be informants to the German Embassy regarding technological and industrial developments in the country.

Fortunately, ethics seemed to be winning out in the case of most people. Some of the bribes offered were very handsome sums that would have been very difficult to refuse. While many of them were certainly proud of their German roots, just as many were a generation or more departed from Germany itself and had only known Argentina as home and weren’t keen to betray it.

It became a much more convoluted matter when those same people started giving names of people they claimed to know had taken bribes. The whole situation created a great deal of divisiveness in German-Argentine communities and street fights and other altercations were becoming more common as more accusations of bribe taking were made. Local and provincial police forces had their hands full investigating constant vandalism, arson, fights and so forth. The military was brought in to assist when it was felt that full scale rioting was becoming a very real future possibility.

While the help of the army on the ground was quite a useful deterent to any serious escalations of such activities, it was felt by the military that the extra dimension of an armed aerial presence over those areas would be prudent.

As my ministry would soon be very busy investigating the German Embassy regarding the origins of those offering bribes, we couldn’t disagree with the military that anything extra that could be done to keep tensions in those communities from increasing further should be done.”

It was the beginning of a rapid degradation of the good relations that Argentina and Germany had held for so long.


With the first batch of Garzas under construction and the Tapaculo suspended, the German members of the project dedicated their time to planning the armed variation. They had accepted that their aircraft would inherit a certain crudeness in its lines regardless of how they tried to refine it; now they had to resign themselves to letting the aircraft inherit its legacy of an attack aircraft.

The Yarara, as the new variation would become known, took it’s name from a species of pit viper found in the north of the country.

In the interest of expediency, they decided to use the Garza’s fuselage with as few modifications as possible. They had already treated the wing as a modular aspect to the design so that the wing attachment area was common between the Garza and Tapaculo. In this fashion, the Yarara’s wing would also be treated as modular to negate any redesign in the wing root area.

The Yarara, at its heart, was a hybrid of the Garza and Tapaculo. While the fuselage would clearly be from the Garza, the wing would owe much more to the Tapaculo with its short span and wider chord. The only aspects of the Garza that were evident in the wing were the retracting landing gear and wing radiators, both had been designed out of the Tapaculo wing, but were incorporated into the finalised Yarara wing with little difficulty.

In the end, the Yarara’s wing span was something between the Tapaculo’s and Garza’s and while the Tapaculo had constant chord wings, the Yarara wing had a modest forward taper to the trailing edge.

As the Yarara would be expected to have an observational capability, the two place cockpit was retained as was the accomodation aft of the wing root for camera placements. In missions where the second crew member wasn’t required, the rear cockpit could be quickly converted to hold an additional fuel tank.

The Yarara wing had a weapons station on either side of the fuselage roughly midway between the fuselage and the landing gear. Outboard of the landing gear were the gun bays which were designed to house three Browning .50 calibre machine guns or two Hispano-Suiza HS.7 20mm guns per wing.

In the spirit of Stuka crudeness, the centreline torpedo mounting brackets and associated gear were simple bolt on affairs that could be installed or removed with relative ease depending on the mission.

The Yarara prototype was fitted with a new version of the 12Y engine, which was now being built domestically by Hispano-Argentina, which introduced a locally developed supercharger that was a marked improvement over the original Hispano-Suiza unit.

The Yarara prototype made its impressive first flight on time and was approved for production very quickly without any request for pre production machines. For the military and security ministry, the presence of the aircraft was initially of much more importance than anything else.

Heir to Darkness, Bringer of Light

“We were proud of the Garza and had great hopes for the Tapaculo, but the Yarara was no point of pride for us. The risks we had taken to remove the original design from Germany, the efforts we had gone to in order to see something more honorable in the design than a tool of oppression and invasion seemed to have been for nothing everytime we looked at the Yarara with its guns and weapons pylons sticking out of it. The predator that the Stuka had been was coming to the surface again.

It was also a symbol to us personally of how trapped we had become in it all. We should have liked to walk away from the whole matter when the Yarara was ordered, but throught the Garza and Tapaculo, we were too deeply in by then. We were still foreigners in the country and we were wanted men in Germany, we couldn’t risk doing anything that would see us deported.

Worse yet, was the news that was coming from Spain in Autumn of 1937. The Heinkel He-130 had started being used to bomb several cities and towns in the civil war that was happening there. We knew that Germany would find something to fill the gap of the Stuka, we didn’t think they’d have it so quickly though.”

Those words of one of the former Junkers men were published in a retrospective book of the Garza family of aircraft, its development and service which was published some years after the last aircraft type descended from that line had been retired from service.

While perhaps they coud not stop their project from returning to its combat aircraft roots, what they could not deny in all their pessimism was that the project was a very positive thing for Argentina.

The project had created several jobs, not only at FMA but also at Hispano-Argentina; where, with the exception of the engines used for the Garza prototype and pre production machines, all the 12Y engines used in production Garzas and Yararas had been built.

Hispano-Argentina also produced the HS.7 cannons for the Yarara.

In Argentina, 1937 ended with the sound of people working and the roar of the fruits of their labours overhead.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 23, 2012, 04:44:33 PM
A day in the life of a Garza

Early one  morning in the first week of January 1938, a Garza was wheeled out of it’s hangar at the airport in Mar del Plata. The ground crew methodically went about preparing the aircraft for the daily observation flight between Mar del Plata and Rawson

By mid morning, the two man crew were strapping into the aircraft and completing the pre flight check. The pilot taxied the aircraft from the shadow of the hangar into the full sun. The aircraft, respendent in the bright white and blue trimmed scheme of governmental operated aircraft, sat at the end of the runway awaiting take off clearance.

Once clearance had been granted, the Garza roared down the runway and took to the air in what was a remarkably short distance for an aircraft of its size at that period of time. It climbed aloft gracefully and the sun reflecting off of its white paint kept it visible for a long time after it had taken to the air.

Once fully aloft, the pilot put the aircraft on a south west flight path along the coastline. At the same time, a second Garza flying from Rio Gallegos was on a north east path conducting an identical fisheries observation. The two aircraft would meet at Rawson before turning onto the return leg to their home bases.

Along with a two man crew, both aircraft were equiped with cameras for photographing the various river mouths and fishery related activity along the coast.

Under the jusidiction of the natural resources ministry, such activities were routine for the Garzas and their crews. Such things were exactly what the aircraft were meant to do.

Further inland, Garzas flying from Tucuman and Santa Rosa airfields carried out similar observation flights in the intrests of forestry and mining.

Peripheral Vision

As expected, the two Garzas stopped for fuel at Rawson before beginning their respective journeys home. Also, as usual, the crews got together over coffee while their aircraft were being refueled.

On this particular day, the subject of a large military ship just outside Argentine territory was brought up by the crew of the Mar del Plata crew. The observer had caught sight of it not long after their aircraft had taken off. The observer from the other Garza, who had been on the previous day’s observation flight, commented that he had seen a similar large military ship on a northern heading the day before.
Brought up as more a point of intrest and banter than anything else, the crews speculated about the ship and what it might be doing. Once finished their coffees, they returned to their respective aircraft and began making their ways home.

On the way home, the observer of the north bound Garza occaisionally looked to the ocean side of the aircraft to possibly catch sight of the ship again. He did spot the ship and attempted to train the camera on it to take a photo.

Once the film had been processed and the various photos of rivers and coastline had been catalogued and filed, the crew of the aircraft were summoned to their supervisor’s office.

The three men sat at the supervisor’s desk. There was a photo on the desk; blurry as it was, it was clearly a photo of a military ship. The observer immediately thought they were going to receive a reprimand for wasting film.

Contrary to the observer’s expectations, their supervisor quite calmly enquired if they knew what the subject of the photograph was. Beyond being able to say it was a naval vessel of some sort, the crew didn’t really know what it was.

The supervisor, a recently retired navy man, told them that it very much reminded him of a German heavy cuiser, likely Deutschland class, which he had seen once at a distance while on cruise.

While a German ship in or near Argentine waters was not a cause for alarm, relations between the two countries had slid from cordial to strained as the result of attempts made to bribe German-Argentine citizens to spy upon Argentine companies and their products.

The ship in question had been spotted on two consectutive days just outside Argentine waters and had not announced itself in any way or made any move to cross into Argentine territory. While not immediately worrisome, it was indeed curious behaviour if the ship was indeed German in origin. Why would it not make contact? Why would it not enter Argentine territory as it was free to do so?

The navy was contacted and a P2Y flying boat was dispatched to locate the ship and make contact with it. The aircraft found the ship with relative ease and was able to take much clearer photos of it than the Garza did. However, the ship did not respond to repeated hails from the aircraft.

The aircraft relayed the position of the ship and a pair of Argentine naval vessels were sent to investigate it more closely.

Upon analysis, the photos from the P2Y confirmed the ship to be Deutschland class; most likely the Amiral Scheer based on the finer points of its deck configuration.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 03, 2012, 05:52:11 PM
The Fuse Alight

Approximately 48 hours after the German ship, now confirmed to be the Admiral Scheer, had been spotted just outside Agrentine waters; three men sat silently in the office of FMA Cordoba’s site security services.

The men were caught by security in the early hours of the morning walking along the outside of the facility fenceline. Security had become extremely tight at FMA for fear of espionage related activities. The men had put up no resistance to being captured by FMA security, but carried no identification and had not spoken a single word since being captured. Later that morning, the three men were handed over to the Cordoba city police along with a small notepad with some indecipherable scribblings that had been confiscated from one of the men.

The men were no more talkative to the police then they had been to FMA security. After they had been photographed and fingerprinted, they were placed in separate cells to await more intense questioning.

Reports of bribe offers to spy on local businesses were still common and the Cordoba police typically fielded several such reports per week. As usual, they would take down information about where the bribe was offered and ask for a description of the person who offered it. Most of the time, investigations of the bribes came to nothing.

Early in the evening of the same day, a young man entered the police station to report that he’d been offered a bribe to spy on a local company. When the man started describing the person who had tried to bribe him, the officer taking the information felt the description was quite close to one of the three men that had been captured at FMA that morning. On a hunch, the officer decided to show the young man the photos of the three men; without hesitation, the young man’s finger landed solidly on on of the photos: “That’s him! Without a doubt!”

In the course of a more detailed interview about the bribery attempt, the young man said that the person offering never identified himself, but was clearly not Argentine. The man had spoken to him in fluent Spanish that had a light, but still discernable, European accent to it. The accent had been too light for him to make a concrete guess about exactly where the other man was from in Europe, but strong enough for him to know he wasn’t dealing with one of his countrymen.

With that information, though the man in question still had not spoken a word, the police were reasonably sure that he was German national. As the interogation room was being prepared, copies of the three mens’ photos were checked against the country’s registry of foreigners in hopes of positive identification.

Babble from the Beach

Two Argentine navy ships had been vainly attempting to contact the Admiral Scheer while holding a matching course with it just inside Argentine waters. While the German ship had made no attempt to reply to repeated hails, it had also made no attempt to enter Argentine territory.

Through binoculars, the Argentine crews could see a good deal of activity on the deck and in the windows of the Admiral Scheer, so there was no obvious evidence of distress aboard it

On a secured channel, the Captains of the Argentine ships were contacted  by another Argentine ship further inside territorial waters and instructed to tune recievers to a particular frequency. The requested frequency seemed initially to be carrying nothing but disorganised chatter interspersed with static; however, as the static was cleared, the chatter was clearly some sort of coded message and it was originating from the mainland.

As crews aboard the Argentine ships and code specialists ashore worked to discern some meaning from the signals and who they might be intended for, the mood toward the Admiral Scheer’s presence and continued silence shifted from that of piqued curiosity to deep suspicion.

At the request of the military, a few Garzas at Mar del Plata and Rio Gallegos were to be fitted with more powerful camera packages and photograph the entire coastline in detail, particular attention was to be paid to any known areas of minimal human activity.

To avoid tipping off whoever might be sending the signal, the Garzas with more powerful cameras were used for the standard scheduled patrols so as not to show any increase in such activities.

Exhaustive analyisis of the resultant photographs revealed two areas along the coastline that were felt to warrant a closer look.

As army teams arrived at the two locations specified by the photos, they found remnants of recent human habitation, very spartan and mobile habitation. Fresh vehicle tracks were clearly visible in the soil as were imprints on the ground from a large tent or similarly collapsible structure. Both loctations had cearly been abandoned quite recently but quite thoroughly cleaned up in the abandonment process.

A closer inspection of one of the sites did yield the broken remnants of a vacuum tube. For the Argentine government, it was enough to press the Germans for more. Two of the three men captured by FMA security in Cordoba, including the one the young man identified, had since been confirmed as German nationals though the German embassy denied any knowledge of them.

Yarara’s First Blood

With evidence of mobile and illegal radio transmiters on the coast broadcasting a still indecipherable message and the still stony silent Admiral Scheer holding station just outside national waters as the possible recipient of that message; The Argentines decided to give the Garza’s predatory offspring a chance to show its abilities in earnest.

On an early February morning, the usual Garzas were up doing their daily coastal surveys. However, they had been keeping a careful eye out for structures that could indicate the location of a mobile transmission site. At a discrete distance, a pair of Yararas armed with six .50 calibre machine guns each awaited their signal to attack.

The southbound Garza from Mar del Plata spotted a structure typical to what had come to be recognised as the usual configuration for the suspected transmission sites. The Garza gave the coordinates to the waiting Yarraras which swiftly found and straffed the location.

The army quickly moved in on the site to find the smoking remains of a radio setup and a dead man nearby it. A short distance away, a wounded but concious man was found. After the man’s injuries had been tended to, he confirmed that both he and his dead colleague were Argentine citizens.

The man was interviewed while remains of the destroyed equipment were analysed.

The man maintained that his role was to keep the generator, which powered the radio, in operable condition while the other man had been responsible for the radio itself. He claimed to know nothing about the radio related gear. He was there to keep the generator and truck, which had been damaged in the attack, running and to drive the truck.

He told the interviewers that to call him and the dead man colleagues was a bit strong as they barely had known each other. The other man had always told him to keep the generator and truck going and to let him worry about the radio.

When asked how he had gotten involved in the activity, the man mentioned that he was desperate for money after losing his farm a few years before and, after working a series of poorly paying jobs, he had recently been offered an irresistable amount of money in return for his mechanical aptitude.

The man was clearly not of particularly high education and it bacame clear, mainly by how baffled he still was over the straffing attack, that he really had no idea he might be involved in anything sinister or harmful to the state. When he was informed of what he might have been involved with, a genuine wave of shame came over him.

Cutting the Lines

Late in February, the analysis of the destroyed radio equipment was complete. The components were of largely German origin and many parts were inconsistant with a standard radio set of the day, including one portion that was suspected to have a coding function.

With those findings, the continued reports of citizens being offered bribes and the Admiral Scheer quickly setting a course away from Argentine waters almost as soon as the transmission site had been destroyed gave the Argentine government the needed resolve to expel the indifferent German ambasador and cut diplomatic ties to Germany completely in early April.

Hitler made public threats against Argentina and swore he would not soon forget the country’s “Betrayal” of Germany. As Hitler would find out in the not distant future, that feeling was very mutual.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 12, 2012, 06:12:45 PM
Echos to the North

The cutting of diplomatic ties by Argentina from Germany  immediately caught the attention of Uruguay and Brazil.

The three countries were major trading partners and all had very high immigrant populations that included significant Germanic components. Like the rest of the world, all three were witnessing Hitler set up his attempt to take over his neighboring European countries. The annexation of Austria had occurred just weeks before Argentina formally cut all diplomatic ties with Germany and May had seen Hitler publicly declare his intent to destroy Czechoslovakia by military force.

Brazil had been experiencing similar reports of bribery attempts on German descended citizens as had occurred in Argentina, Uruguay had also been dealing wit hthe problem but to a somewhat lesser extent than the other two countries. While Brazil and Uruguay still had diplomatic connection to Germany, those connections were growing strained as they had in Argentina.

That Hitler was making open threats against Argentina created great concern for the leaders of Uruguay and Brazil as Argentina was a major trading partner for both and they were very aware that none of them were out of Hitler’s reach if he decided to make good on his threats.

Through a series of meetings between the leaders of the three nations, it was decided to create a military alliance for the mutual protection of all three. Part of the deal included the sale of Garza and Yarara aircraft to Uruguay and Brazil.

Meeting the Needs

As the numbers of Garza and Yarara aircraft had increased in Argentine service, the more visible presence of the two was having an increasingly positive effect on bringing order and calm to areas that had seen higher tensions from bribery and spying activities. People who simply wanted to get on with their lives saw the regular air patrols as a very welcome thing.

In the hopes of quelling similar problems, Uruguay and Brazil negotiated the purchase of fleets of both types for their own militaries. This sent FMA into a scrammble as they had not forseen either aircraft as an export product; with all the protection they had given the designs from prying German eyes, they hadn’t even considered the possibility of being able to sell them.

With a large portion of the Garza and Yarara production taking place at the La Pampa location, it was decided to continue in that way and purchase more space at that airport for expansion of the production line. More space at La Pampa meant that FMA could satisfy both domestic and Uruguayan orders for the aircraft. The Brazilian machines would be produced under license by CNNA (Cia Nacional de Navegacao Costeira).

By early summer of 1938, expansion of FMA’s La Pampa location was complete as were preparations at CNNA to begin production. Early Autumn saw the first aircraft enter Uruguayan and Brazilian service with crews  freshly returned from intensive training on both types in Argentina.

I the short term, the export of both types gave two distinct advantages to the three countries. First, as in Argentina, the presence of the aircraft brought noticable calm and order to the other two countries. Second, a locally produced combat type precluded the need for the three nations to purchase  American types of the day, many of which were designed around outdated philosophies.

Some might argue that the Garza and Yarara were also designed around obsolete ideas due to their Stuka lineage; However, the two aircraft had been so reworked and refined as to bear nothing incommon with their ancestor barring a family resemblance. The Curtiss Hawk 75, which the Yarara outperformed in all aspects, failed to find any sort of market in the three countries as did subsequent developments of the aircraft.

Neutral, for Now

Through the remainder of 1938, it became increasingly obvious that Hitler was in no way losing any sincerity in his demands for the lands adjacent European nations and exterminating any people he felt to be “inferior”.

In October, Winston Churchill addressed the United States in a broadcast condemning the Munich Agreement and emploring America and Western Europe to prepare for armed resistance to Hitler.

The three nations considered their options. Argentina had already made an enemy of Hitler by severing ties while the connection between Germany, Uruguay and Brazil were growing more strained by the day.

Toward the end of the year, the three countries had formalised  their agreement for the mutual protection of their respective territories which would create an uninterupted line of defence along the majority of South America’s eastern flank.

The three nations also took an official stand of neutrality to the increasing tensions in Europe. Despite the neutrality, Yararas practicing straffing of surface ships and torpedo runs were an increasingly common sight.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 13, 2012, 09:31:54 PM
This is getting really interesting.

I await the next installment.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 15, 2012, 09:02:21 PM
Sharpening the Yarara

At the beginning of 1939, the Yarara was starting to get noticed by the aviation world in general. This was due primarily to it now being used by more than just its nation of origin and by it’s complete outperformance of the Curtiss Hawk 75 in the recent and quite unsuccessful attempt to gain a market for the type among the three Yarara using nations.

Examples of the Yarara were given places of  prominence by Argentine delegations at San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition and the New York World’s Fair, both of which opened in Spring of that year and performed several attention getting overflights of the grounds of both events. As more military and aviation industry experts got a close look at the machine, the overall feeling was that the Yarara was a high quality and competitive design worthy of further attention.

With a top speed of about 420 kmh and a range of around 1950 km, the Yarara was seen as comparitive performance wise to the Kawasaki Ki-32 which had been introduced in 1938 and generally superior to most other aircraft  in the attack and close support class, which the Yarara had been categorised as, of the day.

As good as things seemed for the Yarara, export had shown that there were ways of making it better:

The Argentine built machines retained some of the Garza’s ability to carry camera gear behind the rear crew position. While Uruguayan and Brazilian crews had trained on aircraft of Argentine standard, most of them didn’t see the logic of the camera placement when the space could be used for more fuel or perhaps better radio equipment. Uruguayan aircraft had been ordered built without cameras while the Brazilian aircraft had them removed from the design before production even started. Later production batches for Argentina eventually had the cameras deleted as well.

Weapons delivery accuracy had been increased tremendously since the first Yararas had entered Argentine service; however, torpedo delivery was a nagging shortcoming for the aircraft. A series of accidents in torpedo dropping practices showed that the aircraft was in serious need of more power at the lower altitudes required for successful torpedo attacks.

For the summer of 1939, torpedo operations with the aircraft were suspended until a solution could be found. Hispano-Suiza Argentina was put to work on finding a way to get more power from the 12Y engine or, failing that, develop a new engine.

The ability for German shipping to reach ports in all three countries, the growing certainty of war and the severely degraded relations between the three nations and Germany made the torpedo mission seen as essential in the Yarara’s capabilities, it couldn’t be suspended forever.

With a good deal of experimenting and adjustments, the needed power was found and the Yarara was back to torpedo dropping just in time for the outbreak of WWII in September.

The Rio de la Plata Incident

The German ship, Admiral Graf Spee, had been stalking shipping lanes in the Indian and Atlantic oceans for targets of opportunity since the very outbreak of the war. The Royal Navy had been persuing the ship for most of the autumn and had moved to intercept it at it’s next predicted point of attack; the Rio del la Plata estuary that formed the border of Argentina and Uruguay.

As Argentina and Uruguay were still officially neutral in December of 1939, the German ship could enter their waters with relative ease. Chilled relations between them and Germany left them disinclined to let that happen without keeping a very close eye on the ship and any communications it might make to the mainland.

On December 13, British naval ships engaged the Graf Spee off the Uruguayan coast and inflicted heavy damage upon it. The Graf Spee set a course for the port of Montevideo to put in for repairs.

No sooner had it altered it’s course for the port when it was over flown by a flight of six torpedo armed Argentine Yararas. Shortly after, a burst of 20mm cannon fire from the lead aircraft of a formation of four Uruguayan Yararas armed with four 20mm cannons and a pair of 500 pound bombs each flew over the Graff Spee’s bow at bridge height.

A sailor manning one of  the German ship’s lighter gun stations opened fire on the second Yarara formation. He was quickly relieved of his post as he had opened fire without permission, but the damage had been done. One of the Yararas from the second formation had been hit and spun into the ocean, killing both crew members in the process.

Neutral No Longer

The radio room of the Graf Spee was a frenzy of activity, the capatin had ordered communication to be established with the mainland in spite of the considerable damage the equipment had suffered in battle with the British ships.

The captain watched the second formation of Yararas turn for a second run at his ship. Through his ship’s damaged radio equipment, he had received no warning of the initial targeting of his boat by the Yararas, nor explanation of why he was being denied access to a neutral harbour. Worse, he could not send a message to explain that the lost aircraft had been shot at and destroyed without permission and to request the remaining aircraft hold their fire.

As a rain of 20mm ammunition sheared into the bridge and surrounding superstructure, it was all too clear that the downing of the Yarara had been taken as an act of war by Uruguay. As the frantic crew scrammbled to either escape or extinguish flames, the six Argentine aircraft began their torpedo run.

Four of the six torpedoes had found their marks and the Graff Spee’s port side was layed open to the ocean leaving the remaining crew nothing to do but abandon their rapidly descending ship.

Argentine naval ships moved in to rescue the Graf Spee sailors and transport them to Montevideo. As the incident had occurred in Uruguayan territory, the crew would be handed into the custody of that country’s authorities.

Into the Fray

Later that same day, Germany formally declared war on Argentina and Uruguay. In response,  The Uruguayan government declared the remaining Graff Spee crew and the entire staff of the German embassy to be prisoners of war.

At the same time, in accordance to the treaty the three nations had, Brazil declared war on Germany and took all German diplomatic staff on Brazilian soil at the time as prisoners.

At the time, the Brazilian and Uruguayan naval fleets were largely obsolete so the bulk of naval presence in the region was split between Argentina, which had the eighth most powerful navy in the world at the time, and Great Britain.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 16, 2012, 07:13:44 AM
And away we go.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 16, 2012, 02:52:39 PM
Glad you're enjoying. I hope to have the next bit up on Monday sometime.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on September 16, 2012, 05:33:29 PM
Very well written.  I'd be curious to see some images to support the story.

I am also tempted to do a He-130T for the Admiral Graf Zeppelin.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 16, 2012, 06:19:39 PM
Very well written.  I'd be curious to see some images to support the story.

I am also tempted to do a He-130T for the Admiral Graf Zeppelin.

Seeing and He-130 would be cool.

I might opt for my sketchbook a bit on Monday and try to draw up a Yarara.

I don't know where Apophenia has gone off to, he was doing some great profiles, but I haven't seen evidence of him on the forums for a while now.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on September 19, 2012, 04:57:08 AM
I don't know where Apophenia has gone off to, he was doing some great profiles, but I haven't seen evidence of him on the forums for a while now.

Cheers 'north. For yours truly, the RW has been generating some serious time suckage of late... Looking forward to seeing your Yarara drawing!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 19, 2012, 10:16:02 PM

Cheers 'north. For yours truly, the RW has been generating some serious time suckage of late... Looking forward to seeing your Yarara drawing!

Good to know you're still checking in. I understand completely how RW can get.

I decided to take a break from the writing and pick up the sketchbook. I've been telling you all about the Yarara for long enough, I figured it was time to give you a look at one:


501 was from the first batch of Uruguayan Yararas and was assigned to the defense of the western part of the country along the border with Argentina. It's home base was near Mercedes, the main city in the Soriano region.

Here, it represents a standard Uruguayan air force machine of the 1939-1940 period. Most Uruguayan Yararas had 20mm cannons installed and relatively few were seen with .50 calibre machine guns fitted; machine gun fitted machines were limited to gunnery training aircraft at first but then ceased to be seen at all on Uruguayan Yararas after mid 1942.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on September 20, 2012, 01:02:50 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 20, 2012, 07:59:40 PM
Honing the Blade

1939 came to an end with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay formally joining Great Britain and the Commonwealth nations in war against Germany and the Axis; It was good news, but much work had to be done.

The Brazilian Yarara lines were at a point of exceding Argentine production figures in early 1940 and had recently allocated part of their floorspace to Garza production. The last FMA built Garza left La Pampa in late January of 1940 after which production of the type was fully put in Brazilian hands so that FMA could concentrate fully on further developing Yarara design.

The first improvement that the Yarara needed was in regards to the engine. The alterations that Hispano Argentina had made to the HS 12Y engine to give the Yarara the added power for torpedo runs were a stop gap measure at best. It was largely felt that the 12Y had gone as far as it could go and that an entirely new engine would be a better use of time and resources than another alteration. Hispano Argentina was largely on it’s own for designing such a new engine; Germany was sweeping across the Low Countries and into France. Clearly, whatever develoments might be made at the European locations of Hispano-Suiza would be specifically for European uses and Argentina would likely not benefit from them.

Accounts of the Yarara attack on the Graf Spee had found their way back to Britain. The crews of the British ships which had been persuing the German ship had been left very impressed by the speed and efficiency with which the Yararas had sunk the ship. By early February, a delegation of British and Commonwealth naval aviation officers arrived in Argentina for a formal briefing on the type and subsequent demonstrations of both flying characteristics and weapons abilities.

While very impressed with the aircraft, the delegation had similar misgivings about the engine as the three South American countries did; everyone agreed that the HS 12Y had done its job and had to be replaced soon.

A request was granted for five Yarara airframes to be transported to Britain for further evaluation, including feasability studies for navalising the airframe and adapting it for the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. With those airframes also went an advisory and support group from FMA to assist in the upkeep of the machines.

The evaluation of  the Yarara and Merlin III engine was very favorable indeed and gave the aircraft a boost in speed and performance that no further tinkering with the HS 12Y likely could have provided.

The prospects of making the aircraft suitable for operations from the Royal Navy’s new Illustrious Class carriers was rather more problematic. Due to the gull wing design, existing ways of folding the aircraft’s wings in line with the aircraft fuselage would create a good deal more redesign of the wing than would a vertically swinging hinge. However, the ceilings of the Illustrious Class hangar decks were quite low and risked damaging both the aircraft and ship structures if the aircraft wings were folded vertically.

Initially, FMA advisors were hesitant at a British suggestion to add a second hinge further out on each wing so the wing tips could be folded down to a safer height. However, upon seeing the Fairy Albacore design as the British idea for a suitable replacement for the Swordfish, the FMA representatives decided that whatever risks folding the wings twice might bring those risks could not be any greater than the notion of flying a biplane into battle in what had clearly become the age of monoplanes and set to work, alongside designers from Fairey, designing hinges into the wings and carrier launch and recovery equipment into the Yarara.

In June, just as France was falling, a fully navalised Yarara was concluding carrier trials on the newly commissioned HMS Illustrious. The Fairey Albacore was cancelled and the company ordered to set up production of the new navalised, Merlin powered Yarara variant.

Share and Share Alike

Sending the Graff Spee to the bottom and putting the Fleet Air Arm in posession of an aircraft of much better abilities and more fitting to a battle of the day than the Albcore ever could have been put Winston Churchill, then newly installed in the Prime Minister’s role, in the position of declaring that a great debt was owed to “Our far off friends”.

The first act of Britain’s reciprocity was to provide Hispano Argentina a license to produce versions of the Merlin III, and subsequent models of the engine. This not only solved the issue of the Yarara’s new powerplant, but also gave reasonable assurance that there was at least one location where Merlins could be made with a relatively low chance of facilities coming under attack.

Though the Argentine naval fleet was the eighth most powerful in the world at the time, one thing it lacked was an aircraft carrier. Prior to the Yarara’s carrier compatibility being established, not much thought had been given to the idea of a carrier in the Argentine navy. The fact that Fleet Air Arm crews were warming up quickly to the Fairey Seawolf, as the Yarara had been named in Royal Navy service, the idea of Argentina having one for itself had gained greater appeal among the Argentine admiralty; it would certainly allow the striking power of the Yarara to be brought upon more German ships.

Though the Argentines were more than capable of building their own ships, building an aircraft carrier would be a new and steep learning curve for their ship building industry; a learning curve they felt they didn’t have time for.

The HMS Victorious had been launched the previous year but was still awaiting commissioning as escort ships were seen to be a higher priority at the time by the British. Asking for the ship to be transferred to the Argentine navy along with the training for its crews was asking no small favour. Much careful consideration was put into the proposal for such a transfer.

The Bargain of the Atlantic

With the Battle of Britain underway, allied hands were full and any help that could be offered was welcome help indeed.

A delegation of Argentine military officials arrived in London in mid July to present their proposal for the transfer of the HMS Victorious. They were extremely surprised that the British were even open to the idea; they waited nervously to present their proposal.

The Argentine proposal primarily hinged upon the fact that work on the German carrier, Graf Zeppelin, had been suspended since May of that year and that transfering the Victorious to Argentina would ensure the presence of at least two modern allied carriers in the Atlantic before Germany was likely to complete work on theirs. It would also ensure a carrier presence in the south Atlantic.

Additionally, it would put more German ships in range of the Yarara and thus safeguard Atlantic shipping lanes that much more.

In return, Argentina offered willing pilots for the ongoing Battle of Britain as well as infantry and other army units to join the fight in North Africa; they presented official letters from the Brazilian and Uruguayan governments promising pilots and soldiers from those two nations as well.

A particular point was made of the demanding training regime that had been instituted for the armies of all three nations. Using the varied geography and climatic conditions available in Argentina, soldiers of all three countries were becoming very adaptable to fighting effectively in a range of environments. As a result, they would likely not have much trouble adapting to desert operations in the North African Campaign.

The proposal was thus concluded and a decision was awaited.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on September 21, 2012, 02:20:19 AM
Ok, there's a twist I wasn't expecting...RN FAA 'Stukas' :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on September 27, 2012, 02:40:06 AM
Nor I but I like it!  :)  What sort of cowling do you envision for the Seawolf 'north?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 27, 2012, 11:35:55 AM
Nor I but I like it!  :)  What sort of cowling do you envision for the Seawolf 'north?

Something Fulmar-ish?

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 27, 2012, 01:14:38 PM
Glad you like it.

As for the cowling, I was mainly thinking a late Firefly nose might do the job. The Seawolf already had radiators in the wings, just as the Firefly did. Going that way would also give latitude to delete the boxy chin radiator from the early Firefly design as the wing radiators of the Seawolf could influence the Firefly design from the start so that type would have wing radiators through it's whole production run.

I had also thought about something like the Mosquito nacelle shape for the Seawolf nose, the mosquito being another plane with radiators tucked away in the wings.

Basically, I think any Merlin powered aircraft that had the radiator in a place where it wouldn't clutter up the nose lines could be a potential donor.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on September 29, 2012, 12:48:25 PM
The Mosquito cowling would look great. If I'm not mistook, the Mossie had a larger diameter spinner than the other types -- not sure if that's a good thing but it sure looks cool  ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 29, 2012, 04:17:31 PM
The Mosquito spinner was also blunter than the other two and I'm not sure that's the look I want. I'd like to keep the nose a bit sleek and sharp.

I think a big part of why I'm leaning to a late Firefly nose is pictures like this:

net photo

It has the big wing radiators and cannon fairings in place that the Yarara/Seawolf have, so it's not at all difficult for me to visualise that nose on an updated version. The four blade prop is also a logical progression.

Seeing the rockets on it also helps refine the vision as the Yarara/Seawolf design was categorised as an attack type first and formost.

Also, with Fairey being the ones building the Seawolf, there is the aforementioned latitude to have the Seawolf as an influence to the Firefly design which would come along later,
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on October 04, 2012, 06:50:31 PM
Operation Porpoise

Approval for the transfer of the HMS Victorious to the Argentine navy was granted shortly after the Argentine proposal was made. However, preparations had already been informally in place for the possibility of the ship being successfully transferred.

Almost from the moment the Graff Spee was sunk, the Argentine navy took an interest in the Yarara as an anti shipping platform; prior to that point, the navy had simply seen the aircraft as an air force machine.

In the weeks that followed the Graff Spee sinking, a formal arrangement was made for naval pilots to be familiarised and trained on the Yarara by the air force and the training was going very well. With the creation of the Seawolf derivative, blueprints of the new aircraft were provided to both Argentine and Brazilian production centres and fleets were odered for the Argentine, Brazilian and Uruguayan navies. All three nations had the navalised machine in squadron service by the time the transfer of the Victorious was approved.

The transfer of the ship and carrier training of Argentine and Uruguayan naval pilots and crews became collectively and officially known as “Operation Porpoise” in late August of 1940.

The ship, under heavy escort, began its voyage across the Atlantic to its new home port at Mar del Plata while it’s air wing was being assembled at the naval air station at La Plata. The ship was travelling with minimal crew and no aircraft and the carrier qualifed Argentine pilots had been sent home ahead of the ship in order to begin training other pilots on carrier operations. Through an agreement with the U.S. Navy, Argentine and Uruguayan navies were given access to the U.S.S Ranger for the final phases of carrier training and qualification.

In mid September, with the ship fully crewed and its air wing aboard, she was commissioned as ARA Tierra del Fuego. While officially sailing under the Argentine flag, it was crewed by a mixed group of sailors and officers of the three firmly allied South American nations.

Operation Porpoise came to a close in late September, with the Tierra del Fuego leaving port on her first fully operational cruise.

A Boatload of Yararas

Unlike the aircraft carriers of the U.S. and Britain, which had a variety of aircraft, the deck of the Tierra del Fuego was a distinctly unvaried place. With the exception of a very few aircraft, the air wing was composed of navalised Yarara variants in both fighter and attack roles.

“We were extremely lucky with the Yarara” stated a former Argentine navy pilot when speaking of the type. “It was a very flexible aircraft for the time it served. While the American and British navies had completely different aircraft for the fighter and attack roles, we were able to adapt the Yarara to both with only a few internal changes. The best part, from a servicing point of view, was that it created a tremendous amount of part commonality between the types as the base design was nearly identical between them. We maintaned a very high number of servicable airframes on our cruises because we carried so many parts that could be used on both types; this in turn gave the Yarara an enviable reputation for reliability.”

The primary difference between the two Yarara types was in the engine. While both were Merlin powered, the attack version did away with the supercharger.

Other differences could be seen in the somewhat heavier armor of the attack variant. While the fighter had some cockpit armor, the attack version had armor extenting forward or the firewall to protect the engine as well.

While both types retained the same two seat cockpit canopy, the fighter version replaced the back seat with an additional fuel cell so as to reserve wing pylons for weapons instead of drop tanks.

Both types had four Hispano HS.404 20mm cannons in the wings as standard equipment.

A Yarara by Any Other Name

In the spirit of inter service rivalry, the naval air services sought to have their own name for the aircraft rather than use the air force terminology for it.

“They initially wanted to call it  ‘Fragata’, the Spanish term for the frigate bird.” Recalls a former airframe technician. “Of course the frigate bird looks great in flight and it’s aggressive, but it’s also a thief! It gets its food from stealing! Did they really want to name our aicraft after a creature like that? It was nonsense to most of us.

They tried to get a few other names more sea related attached to the aircraft, but none of them stuck. Everyone directly involved with it simply called it the Yarara. Most of us had been trained on it by the air force and their name for it simply became embeded in our minds and why not? The name fit the machine very well; it was deadly, moved very smoothly and many people have a tremendous fear of snakes anyway.”

Guardians of the South

Through Autumn and winter of 1940, the Tierra del Fuego along with her escort group and air wing were studiously minding the Atlantic south of the Equator.

Whether by torpedo, cannons or increasingly common armor piercing rockets; no Axis ship was safe if it was within reach of the Yarara air wing. To this day the exact amount of German shipping at the bottom of the south Atlantic that can be credited to the Yararas is a matter of some conjecture; what is not debatable is the effectiveness with which the aircraft were used, particularly against smaller surface ships.

In conjunction with the HMS Illustrious and her Seawolf squadrons, both north and south Atlantic were becoming  increasingly grim places for German surface shipping as 1940 gave way to 1941.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on October 04, 2012, 10:58:42 PM
Good update.


Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on November 01, 2012, 06:59:04 PM
The Reich’s Response

At the end of 1940, German shipping in the Atlantic had become highly regulated and primarily U-Boat based. Any civilian surface vessel approved for transiting the Atlantic had to prove it had a clear means of defending itself and was built robustly enough to survive some degree of attack until military ships could come to its aid. This meant that the smaller surface ships that proved such easy meat for the Sea Wolves and Yararas were very rare by the beginning of 1941.

January of 1941 also saw Hitler personally sign approval for resuming work on the Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier and ordering prototypes of navalised variants of the He-130, Bf-109 and Bf-110.

Not surprisingly, the He-130 navalised prototype was the first to be presented. Technically it was barely a prototype as the naval gear was taken directly from the blueprints of it’s Japanese counterpart, the Yokosuka D4Y “Suisei”. The IJN had been successsfully employing the D4Y to terrorise the various countries and people that lived under the Japanese imperial bootheel at the time. Yokosuka had also developed improved versions of the aircraft since it had entered service and it was proving to be a very potent machine.

The Messerschmitt designs were of mixed value; while the Bf-110 did seem to hold some promise for a naval type, the Bf-109 was encountering a variety of problems. The Bf-110 received the go ahead for further development while the Bf-109T project was halted in favour of ordering a navalised variant prototype of Focke-Wulf’s yet to be introduced to service Fw-190 fighter.

In anticipation of the Graf Zeppelin’s completion, German naval fighter and bomber units were formed and their personnel send to Luftwaffe training units to learn the fundamentals of the types they’d be flying. Once trained, the were sent to Luftwaffe units in the Mediterranian ,the Baltic or the English Channel to develop their skills in overwater operations.

As the navalised He-130 and Bf-110 entered service, the naval units were split from their Luftwaffe host units and given their own bases of operation until the Graf Zeppelin could be completed.

Some questioned the logic of having two relatively large aircraft types, such as the He-130 and Bf-110 were, on the limited deck space of one carrier. The explanation for it was that the Bf-110 was ordered as a heavy fighter and interceptor to contend with larger aircraft such as the Short Sunderland which was often seen working alongside the Sea Wolf and Yarara attack formations and vectoring them towards surface ships while the Sunderland itself tended to U-Boats. The Sunderland was a notoriously hard target for aircraft to successfully attack and a specialized machine was considered a must.

Even from an early stage, the navalised He-130 and Bf-110 were proving effective in their intended rolls. The navy ripped into allied ports and harbours with the He-130 with the same ferocity and near impunity with which the Luftwaffe was using it to terrorise targets inland. It was fast, could take a considerable amount of damage and placed its weapons with a very high degree of accuracy.

In the navalised Bf-110, the Germans had an aircraft which could hit Sunderlands with a good deal more force using smaller numbers than the Luftwaffe could. Being separate from the Luftwaffe, the navy could set its own specifications for weapons and tactics; as such, they used the Bf-110’s high degree of flexibility in accepting a variety of guns to the full. Typically, navy Bf-110s were more heavily armed than their Luftwaffe counterparts and their crews had developed more successful tactics against Sunderlands.

For the first six months of their service, the navy Bf-110s excercised a level of control over the Sunderland which had not been predicted. A Sunderland could still hold its own and the Geman navy did take its share of losses against the flying boat; however, Sunderlands were returning home with a good deal more damage than they had before and required much more repair time before returning to service. Many Sunderlands that returned home simply couldn’t be put back in service and eneded up being canibalised for spare parts to keep the servicable ones going.

The battles between Sunderlands and German navy Bf-110s became something of legend in history books; a Bf-110 pilot recalls:

“Although we could hit the Sunderland with a force and in ways that the Luftwaffe couldn’t, we still never engaged one on the assumption that we would win; that aircraft was still “Porcupine” to us, there weren’t too many relaible angles we could approach one from where its gunners couldn’t hit us or it’s armour couldn’t withstand our fire. Our tactics were constantly under scrutiny and subject to radical change.

Probably the most radical change in our tactics against the flying boats came in late summer of 1941 when we started experimenting with off bore guns, which the Luftwaffe later adopted for their night fighter Bf-110 variants. To that point we had been limited to forward firing attacks; once we found that we could put a pair of upward firing guns into the rear cockpit space, it opened many doors for new tactics and increased our chances of survival.

The disadvantage of an aircraft like the Sunderland was in its size, that’s a lot of aircraft to shoot at and once we figured out a few good angles to come at it from where we could hit something with both the forward and off bore guns firing nearly simultaneously, we could made relativle short work of one of them with only a couple of aircraft if we found it alone.”

A former Sunderland crew member reclls a Bf-110 attack:

“Until the Germans gave the Bf-110 to their navy, we lived in the faith that a Sunderland could get us home. We could carry a lot of rounds for our gun positions and keep up a fight for a good amount of time.

That changed a lot when the Luftwaffe handed us over to the navy to deal with, we knew what to expect from the Luftwaffe, but the navy put us on a very new and steep learning curve. In early September of 1941, a Sunderland I was crewing was jumped by a pair of Bf-110s off the northwest coast of France.

They’d caught us alone. Our aircraft was a newly refitted Sunderland Mk.Ia which was a very hastily modified Mk.I which had the two fuselage gun positions faired over and replaced with a fully rotating turret. The Bf-110s typically attacked us from above at high angles and the turret was seen as a way to better cover those angles. It worked to a degree, but they still liked to come at us from above when they found us alone.

The pair of them used a tactic called the Condor. They got up over top of us and went into a near inverted flight attitude and hammered on us with their off bore guns. They usually targeted as close to the wing spars as they could. It was a double worry for us; not only was there the matter of the spar integrity, but that was also where or bomb racks and weapons were. If a fire started up there, we’d have to get the weapons jettisoned before they exploded from the heat.

The attack on our aircraft was typical; our dorsal gunner was dead almost before we knew we’d been jumped. With our dorsal gunner dead and our attackers outside the nose and tail fields of fire, it came down to our pilot to get us out of danger or to get us other gunners into a spot where they might have chance to get a good shot off.

The pilot gave the order to dump or bombs and other weapons in order to lighten the load and began a series of evasive moves. The Germans broke off their Condor attack and one of them set up to attack us from below and behind.

They came in at an angle just outside the tail gunner’s field of fire and let lose with all their guns. While their 4 20mm forward cannons chewed into our planing hull, their off bore guns killed our tail gunner and cut one of our horizontal stabilizers clean off at the root. I’d been manning the forward turret and never had a chance to defend the plane, the Germans had studiously avoided going anywhere near where I could have touched them.

The Germans regrouped and left us to our own devices. We were too low by that point to abandon the aircraft by parachute. The pilot was able to bring  the aircraft down on some calm water. Full of 20mm holes, the planing hull largely disintegrated upon touch down. We had put down not far from the French coast and were picked up by German naval ships and taken prisoner.”
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on November 02, 2012, 11:30:45 AM
The great backstory continues 'north. Well done. Can we hope that the Sunderland turrets eventually get .50 cals to out-range those German MG-FFs?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on November 02, 2012, 02:13:51 PM
The great backstory continues 'north. Well done. Can we hope that the Sunderland turrets eventually get .50 cals to out-range those German MG-FFs?

Don't worry, you'll be seeing plenty of the Sunderland in this story. Exactly what I'll do to her in WHIFF terms I'm not sure, but she'll be much more than a bit player.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on November 03, 2012, 05:10:38 AM

Through late 1940 and early 1941, the Yararas and land forces sent by Argentina, Brasil and Uruguay to participate in Operation Compass in northern Africa were proving themselves very valuable additions to the Allied campaign against Italian forces.

Armed with their standard 4 20mm cannons and underwing rockets, the Yararas developed a fearsome reputation among Italian ground forces who nicknamed it “Vipera”, or viper. It was a fitting name, not only because it mirrored the actual Argentine name for it, but also for the tactics Yarara units used to attack Italian ground targets.

“We’ve learned to recognise them by sound because we hear them much earlier than we see them. It’s a horrifying sound for us on the ground, our anti aircraft gunners have to be so watchful. They can hit us from a long distance away with their cannons and rockets, almost before our gunners can draw a reliable line of sight on them.

They fly so low on approach that they can hide behind dunes and pop up over them or bank around them at the last moment. We have very little time once we actually catch sight of them. With as well armed and armored as they are, there is very little in the way of ground vehicles and equipment that we’ve deployed here that they can’t turn into utter wreckage.

The Argentine pilots also recieved a high degree of training in desert warfare before they arrived in Africa. Argentina has it’s own deserts, so they’ve had plenty of opportunity to develop effective camoflage and sand filters for their aircraft. The Argentines are willing to fly and that damned aircraft of theirs is able to be flown in conditions that often keep other Allied aircraft grounded.”

So went a personal journal entry of  an Italian officer killed in a Yarara attack near Bengazi in Libya in late Spring of 1941.

The Eyes of Ra

Along with the Yarara, the Garza had been refitted to take the Merlin engine. While the Garza had not initially interested the Argentine military as a recconaissance platform, developments in northern Africa had changed their stance on the aircraft.

Operation Compass was going distincly in favour of the Allies and the Argentine military was looking for ways to increase their contribution to the effort. The Garza had proven itself a very effective and stable camera platform in civil hands and it seemed there was no reason to think it would not provide equally good service in military operations.

A trio of Garzas were modified with the Yarara’s sand filtering apparatus and taken to Patagonia  for desert testing. After a brief and successful testing phase, the Garza received approval for military service and arrangements were made to begin shipping modified aircraft to Africa.

The first Argentine Garza squadrons were established in Egypt in Summer of 1941.

Further Afield

With German surface shipping in the south Atlantic slowed to a trickle, the Tierra del Fuego received orders to take up station in the Indian Ocean in order to attack Italian ports and shipping along the African east coast.

After putting in for replenishment and rest at Cape Town, the ship and it’s battle group were enroute to their next battle arena.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 05, 2012, 12:07:54 AM
Just wondering if there will be an update sometime. This is a good story.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 05, 2012, 03:57:27 AM
I'm hoping to get an update done in the next week or so.

I think I almost have enough inspiration hitting me again to get it back up and running.

I was deciding how long I want to keep the Tierra del Fuego in the Indian Ocean and I'm also toying with sending it toward Australia.

I'm also working out what the Graf Zeppelin air wing will look like when the ship launches.

A few other things fermenting in barrels too.

Hopefully it all comes together well soon.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on December 05, 2012, 04:16:38 PM

I'm also working out what the Graf Zeppelin air wing will look like when the ship launches.

Maybe He-112Ts or He-100Ts?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 05, 2012, 05:30:28 PM

I'm also working out what the Graf Zeppelin air wing will look like when the ship launches.

Maybe He-112Ts or He-100Ts?

That's sort of where I'm leaning right now.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 05, 2012, 05:38:09 PM
Here's a small bit more to keep you going until I can work some other details of the story out:

Italy in the Vice

Through The late summer and early Autumn of 1941, the Tierra del Fuego battle group launched several successful attacks against Italian operations in eastern Africa from both the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

In the air, the Italian fighters could not match the Yarara; the unsuitably light calibre guns the Italian aircraft were armed with meant that no Yararas were destroyed by them. The more lightly armored fighter Yararas were able to take quite a bit of damage, usually more than a single Italian fighter could inflict upon them, and still fly on to a safe landing place.

Overall, the battle group took no significant or lasting losses for their part in the East African Campaign.

Ever Eastward

The battle group put in for repairs and replensihment in India while awaiting further orders.

In October of 1941, the fourth ship of the Illustrious Class, HMS Indomitable was commissioned. This meant that the Atlantic was still a very dangerous place for German shipping and not getting safer.

The Japanese Empire was a growing concern for the Allies. As a result, the Tierra del Fuego battle group was ordered to set a course for Australia to help protect interests there and deter the Japanese from attempting deep attacks either there or on New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the HMS Formidable and her respective convoy were heading to the same destination.

While the Formidable was making its way across the Indian Ocean, the Tierra del Fuego had arrived in the vicinity in time to successfully fend off an attempted attack on the northern city of Darwin in late October. The Ship was ordered to keep position in the area and defend against attacks along the north coast.

The Formidable took up port in New Zealand as part of the Tasman Sea defenses upon arriving in the area.

The Carpentaria Confrontation

On a morning in early November of 1941, The Tierra del Fuego was conducting its patrol of the western end of its assigned region and preparing to make a turn for another eastbound patrol.

Communications from the ship’s radar room and land based radar reached the bridge nearly at the same time; a large formation of fast moving aircraft were heading directly for the Argentine carrier. Two squdrons of fighters from the air group were scrammbled to intercept the incoming formation.

The formation had originated from the newly commissioned IJN carrier, Zuikaku, which was holding station just inside Japanese territorial waters but within striking distance for its wing of Yokosuka D4Y dive bombers to effectively reach the Tierra del Fuego.
The first Yarara squadron engaged the Yokosuka bombers before they reached torpedo range and were able to inflict a significant loss against that wave. The second Yarara squadron had moved to intercept a second wave of bombers, but instead were roundly dominated when they were set upon by a unit of Mitsubishi Zero fighters also from the Zuikaku.

One of the few survivors of the second Yarara squadron recalls:

“We keenly learned the limitations of the Yarara as a fighter that day. The Zeros ate us alive that day. The only advantages we had over them were heavier armament and we were better armored than they were.

However, every other advantage was theirs. They had speed and manouverability that we didn’t expect and couldn’t match; this made it very difficult to get one into our gunsights and get an effective shot off at them.

In the end, only three aircraft from my squadron made it out of that fight. They were heavily damaged and we weren’t able to make it back to our carrier, we turned toward Australia and managed to successfully ditch our aircraft close enough to an Australian ship that they could easily rescue us. Our planes were a complete loss.

We could only listen helplessly as news came over the radio that the Japanese had launched a second group of Zeros and the group of bombers we had failed to intercept had successfully launched their torpedos at our ship and others in the group.”

As it was, the Tierra del Fuego did survive the attacks upon it that day. The Zuikaku moved further into Japanese territory before Australian and Argentine ships which had laid in a pursuit couse could reach it.

The battered Argentine battle group, minus two smaller ships which had been lost in the attack, slowly returned to Darwin under Australian protection.

The Japanese sent a clear message that day that was heard in Buenos Aires. Decisions had to be made; not only about the future of Argentine carrier operations, but also about the Yarara’s future as a fighter.

As an attack platform, the Yarara was still as fearsome as ever. As a dogfighter, it’s limitations were showing.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 06, 2012, 01:21:59 AM
Awesome! Thanks.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on December 11, 2012, 05:50:35 AM
Good stuff  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 11, 2012, 02:57:27 PM
Thanks, I'm glad it's still being followed.

It might come in fits and spurts for the next while as I'm researching a few aspects of real world events that I want to incorporate and making sure the WHIFF end works well with them.

I think I set the story telling bar pretty high for myself with the alternate Austria I came up with, so I want to make sure this one at least measures up to that.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 11, 2012, 08:44:31 PM
The Way from Here

On the heels of the beating the Japanese gave to the Tierra del Fuego’s battle group, The Argentine Navy was left with more than a few issues to resolve.

The Illustrious class carrier, such as the Tierra del Fuego was, was not a design without it’s shortcomings. There were ceiling hight issues regarding hangar decks to name but one problem; the size of the Japaense carrier that attacked the Argentine battle group and the larger air wing it was able to deploy for the purpose revealed that size, if Argentina was to continue fielding aircraft carriers, was a definite consideration.

Argentina had the Illustrious class blueprints to hand and had been giving serious consideration to building a modified version with increased vertical space in the hangar decks. The attack from the Zuikaku led them to taking a hard second look at the plans for a modified version. The modifications were planned before the attack and had not included increases to overall size.

With the American Essex class about to take over from the Yorktown class and the British set to bring the Implacable class into being, there was a very clear question of the worth of continuing to try to modify the Illustrious design. The three countries put forth a proposal to Britain to produce and Implacable class carrier in their own shipyards and labour forces.

Initially, the clearance to build an Implacable class carrier in South America was denied. Britian felt South American ship yards would be a better place to build the smaller and lighter Colossus class carriers and free up British shipyards to build the Implacable class ships.

Undetered and still determined to have a carrier larger than the Illustrious, which the Colossus certainly was not, a revised proposal was put forth emphasising that if an Implacable were cleared for production in South America, it could mean that a British shipyard could possibly be freed up to complete an example of the more advanced Audacious class.

Brazil would agree to producing Colossus class ships on the condition that Argentina was cleared to produce at least one Implacable class ship.

Britain still did not want to let an Implacable class ship be built by a non British shipyard, but could not deny the advantages of getting an Audacious class ship laid down sooner than would otherwise be possible.

The British proposed to give clearance for one Implacable class ship to be built in Argentina on the condition that at least five Colossus class carriers could be built between three countries.

The deal was finalised in early December of 1941.

On December 8, 1941 at Argentina’s Tandanor shipyards, the laying down of what would become ANA Resistencia began quietly.

In Brazilian shipyards, on the same day, the keels of the first two yet to be named Coloussus class ships were laid down in equally quiet circumstances.

What Japan had done to the Tierra del Fuego battle group in November seemed so small in relation to their actions of the day before this one.

The Good News

The Tierra del Fuego had been determined to be repairable after an initial inpsection in Darwin and was subsequently able to be moved under her own power to Williamstown Naval Dockyard near Melbourne for needed repairs.

The New Fighter

FMA, after much discussion and analysis, decided that any further attempt to get a dog fighter out of the Yarara was futile. Size would also be an issue when creating a fighter that could go up against the likes of the Zero and stand a fighting chance.

Whatever they came up with, it would have to be small enough to operate from a Colossus class carrier and use the Merlin engine.

The Yarara was still in good stead as an attack aircraft, but had seen its last air to air fight.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 12, 2012, 12:16:28 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 22, 2012, 05:45:41 AM
Darwin Defenders

The world was still absorbing the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and America had officially brought itself into the fray that was the Second World War. At the same time, the Tierra del Fuego was docked in Melbourne in the midst of repairs.

Prior to the ship leaving Darwin for Melbourne, the Tiera del Fuego’s air wing was disembarked along with their ordnance and support. The Yararas and their air and ground crews were given lodgings and base facilities just outside of the municipality.

As soon as the Argentines had settled in, they began flying regular patrols along the coast and further out. Darwin, despite its strategic position, was lightly defended and the RAAF was ill equipped to put up an effective air defense of the town and its port at the time. While the Yarara fighters had not fared well against the Japanese Zero, they were still better than the Brewster Buffalo which the RAAF had as its principal fighter at the time.

Beyond the Yararas, several ships of the Tierra del Fuego battle group remained in the Darwin area and battle ready.

The hope was, if the Japanese tried to attack Darwin, that the Argentine ships could put up an effective enough anti-aircraft defence that the fighter Yararas might have a chance to intercept incoming bombers with the chance of getting jumped by a Zero minimized.

The attack Yararas were constantly practicing torpedo and dive bombing runs along with rocket and gun attacks.

A Mutual Dilemma

The Australians were well aware that it was only a matter of time before Japan made a serious attempt on their soil; they were also aware that they didn't have the equipment, in either quality or number, to effectively counter and attack.

In Argentina, FMA were feverishly designing and testing a replacement for the fighter Yarara that would meet the requirements set out with regards to engine, size and performance. Sleepless nights at the design tables and on the factory floor at La Pampa had become the norm.

Both countries were desperate for a fighter that could hold its own against the Zero and whatever else the Japanese might be able to throw at them in the way of fighters.

Australian military brass were already impressed with the attack variant of the Yarara and were pushing the government to purchase a fleet of them or obtain a manufacturing license for the type to be produced in Australia.

A delegation was sent to Argentina to discuss the purchase of Yararas or a license to build them. While taking a tour of the FMA facilities and hearing word of a new fighter under development, the delegation asked if Australia could participate in that project.

It was a surprising request that was met with some skepticism. Australia had no history of  designing and building fighter aircraft, what could they possibly bring to the table?

The proposal was really very simple, not to mention quite desperate. In exchange for the experience that Australian aviation workers would gain from participating in the project, they would gladly open an assembly line for the resulting aircraft in Australia in return.

It was a bold, some would say foolhardy move, but the deal was on and Australia was in on the new fighter. The new fighter’s prototype, incidentally, was only half completed at the time.

In the meantime, a contingent of RAAF and RAN pilots were sent to Argentina to commence training on the attack Yarara. If the Australians got nothing else from the deal, they would at least get that.

Frozen and Frantic

In the early morning hours of December 30, 1941; a Brazilian cargo ship outbound from Fortaleza encountered a field of wreckage and an oil slick near the equator. Seeing several dead bodies and presuming no survivors, two crew members were shocked to hear a voice coming from the midst of it.

Quickly locating the lone survivor, the ship’s crew pulled him on board; quickly realizing that he was a German sailor, they put him in safe holding and contacted the Brazilian navy to send the closest ship so that they could transfer their new guest into military hands.

While they were waiting, the German babbled incomprehensibly; even members of the crew who had some command of German couldn't make sense of what he was saying.

“It was some nonsense about flashing lights and fire in the sky that attacked his ship in the middle of the night. Initially we thought it was just exposure to the cold that had made him delirious, but even after he had warmed up he still was clearly terrified of whatever it was that destroyed his ship.

Whatever it was, it caught them completely unaware and made short work of them.”

So went the report of one of the cargo ship’s crew who kept watch over the German until the Brazilian navy frigate took custody of the man.

The German was taken to port immediately and prepared for questioning after his medical condition had been declared suitable for it.

He didn't say much to the interrogators, but he didn't have to. They knew exactly which ship he’d been assigned to and exactly what happened to it.

The man’s ship had been U-131, a Type IXC submarine that had been detected a few days prior and allowed to get inside Brazilian territory for a test.

The ship was caught out at the surface under the cover of darkness and torn apart before the crew could figure out what was attacking them.

The attack was part psychological, part firepower and a full success.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on January 10, 2013, 11:59:19 PM
Sao Paulo

As dusk set in on a mid January 1942 evening, a large aircraft in dark blue and grey camoflage took up station at the edge of Brazilian airspace. It was the same aircraft which destroyed the U-131 the previous month.

The aircraft was a CNNA Sao Paulo. With a pair of 20 mm Hispano guns in remote controlled turrets at either end and twin 40mm Bofors cannons firing from a waist position, this Brazilian adaptation of the Shorts Sunderland was intended as a short term measure to keep Germany from taking advantage of the absence of the Tiera del Fuego and her air wing from south Atlantic waters. The Sao Paulo would be anything but short term in reality.

The Sao Paulo used a combination of radar and infrared to detect and attack targets while using darkness of night as its primary protection.

Some of the portholes along the firing side of the aircraft were used to house target sighting systems while others housed powerful strobe lights to disorient and “dazzle” the defensive gunners of the ships they attacked.

On this particular evening, this particular Sao Paulo and her crew would not only find quarry, but also perfect what would become a text book tactic for the type.

Raiding the Raider

At approximately 18:30 that evening, a ship was detected a short distance outside Brazilian waters by the aircraft’s radar system. Surface ship activity had been on the increase of late in the south Atlantic and the aircraft was cleared to investigate the radar contact. As confirmation came from the mainland that no allied ships were in the vicinity, the crew aboard the Sao Paulo prepared to attack it.

Though the ship was running with minimal lighting, the aircraft’s infrared sighting systems found it and the Sao Paulo’s guns were put in position for the first pass.

A former gunner assigned to that aircraft recalls the night:

“As we were setting up to make our first run at the ship, they activated their searchlight and located us. Fortunately, by the time they did so, we were opening fire on them. Our first pass was with the 20mm cannons in the nose and tail as they had incindiary rounds to start fires on the deck. Not only did that give us an illuminated target to train the 40mm guns on, but it also threw the ship’s crew into a panic putting out fires.

Our first run had been from stern to bow; as we turned to start our second run, we activated the strobe lights as we fully expected to encounter some anti aircraft fire from this point on. We flew diagonally over the ship and opened fire with the 40mm once we were over the superstructure. After only two passes, we could see some crew abandoning the ship.

We had a few holes in the aircraft after the second pass, but it was very light damage for the amount of fire that we saw coming from the ship, it seems the strobe lights had worked very well to keep the ship’s gunners from drawing an accurate line of sight on us.

As we prepared for a third pass, we received a message that two Brazilian ships were enroute to collect survivors and that the hull of the ship was wanted intact. We were permitted one final pass and ordered home.
As we left the scene, what wasn’t burning on the ship’s deck was already well burnt. We passed over our naval ships on our way home. We didn’t envy them the job of having to clean up after us.”

Preparing the Return Shot

As with so many people in the days following  the attack; Grand Admiral Erich Raeder had seen pictures in the news of the burnt, gutted hull of the commerce raider “Orion” docked in a Brazilian port.

Some solace could be taken that the Graf Zeppellin, a year after orders had been given to recommence work on it, was all but complete and ready to go into service.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on January 14, 2013, 09:18:19 AM
Revenge of the 'Porcupine'!  Love it  :D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on January 14, 2013, 07:19:35 PM
I always did wonder why they didn't do more with the Sunderland.

A huge, cavernous interior with tremendous range and loiter time. That's just begging to be a gunship!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on January 16, 2013, 06:40:59 AM
I does indeed. Amazing really that the Vickers S gun was never considered for the Sunderland. After all, Coastal Command did use 'em -- in ASW Fortress Mk.IIs. Those aircraft had Bristol B.16 nose turrets. Twin fixed guns in the Sunderland's nose and aimed by the pilot would seem simpler.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 21, 2013, 07:00:07 PM
Operation Outback

The process of setting up Australia  with Yararas and the imminent new fighter officially was dubbed Operation Outback in mid February of 1942.

The first two RAAF Yarara squadrons had already returned to Australia and DAP had begun rolling their first lisence built examples of the machine off their line in Melbourne by the end of January 1942.

Outback also included the refinement of defense strategies for Australia’s northern reaches. Beyond Darwin, which was established as the command centre for Yarara strike operations along the northern coastline, three other bases for the aircraft were established; Cape Talbot to the west of Darwin and Nhulunbuy and Weipa to the east.

Very quickly, concentrations of the aircraft built up on the northern coast. If the Japanese tried to attack, they would have a much larger number of Yararas to contend with than any carrier could launch.

Another aspect of Outback was the loan of the repaired Tierra del Fuego to the RAN to keep Australian pilots current on carrier procedures. This was seen as essential not only because the RAN had taken navalised Yararas, but also because priority was being put on the navalised version of the new fighter.

Progress on the Resistencia had been better than hoped and she was fully expected to be launched and operational before 1942 was out. The two Colosus class carriers under construction in Brasil were experiencing similar rapid progress. In light of such developments, the Tierra del Fuego was considered an open ended loan to Australia and was provisionally christened HMAS Carpenteria.

Additionally, Outback saw the equipping of New Zealand with Yararas and the new fighter. RNZAF pilots were already in Australia getting their Yarara training before the first examples of the type crossed the Tasman Sea to take up station in New Zealand.

The New Predator Arrives

The first week of March saw the first production variant of the swift and sleek new fighter that was the fruition of the Argentine and Australian joint efforts take to the air from La Pampa. The fighter was approximately the same size as the Supermarine Spitfire and considered roughly comparable in abilities and performance to the British fighter.

The Argentines named the new machine the Culpeo, after a type of fox native to the western part of the country. After a bit of debate, the Australian variants collectively became known as the Goshawk.

The aircraft featured a four blade propeller, two .303 machine guns in each wing and a pair of 20mm Hispano cannons mounted in the nose and excellent all round visibility via a bubble canopy.

Just as DAP had been chosen to build the Australian Yararas, Commonwealth Aircraft was selected to build the Goshawk. In so being selected, Commonwealth was told to discontinue work on their own fighter design that they’d been working on since late 1941, the Boomerang.

The “Hindenberg” Cruise

The Graf Zeppelin had left the shipyards and was at sea off the coast of France by early March waiting for its air wing to assemble. The full complement of He-130s and Bf-110s was aboard and the He-100 squadrons  were beginning to arrive. By the middle of the month, the carrier along with its air wing and battle group were out in the open waters of the Atlantic.

The primary mission of the Graf Zeppelin’s first cruise was to hold station on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar and patrol the Morrocan coast. Large parts of Northern Africa were under Allied control at the time, but north western Africa still had large contingents of Vichy French activity within them and Germany hoped to blockade Allied approaches and retake a foothold in Africa.

En route to Africa, The Zeppelin battle group was engaged by the HMS Illustrious and her respective battle group. With the Zeppelin being the larger of the two carriers and with a technically better equipped air wing; the act of engaging it was taken with no small amount of trepidation.

The Illustrious air group consisted of Sea Wolf units with their aircraft in either heavy fighter or surface strike configurations and Grumman Martlets as the fighter force.

Based on the Carpenteria Incident, the Royal Navy was confident that the heavy fighter Sea Wolf could handle any incoming He-130 so long as the Martlets could keep He-100s busy. The He-100 was largely an unknown quantity, the Luftwaffe had never fielded the type so there was no frame of reference for what it was like to face them in combat. It was know to be faster than the Martlet but, like the Martlet, it was also known to be a pre war design.

As ships gunners manned their stations and air wings began launching, the events of this engagement would be a surprise for most involved.

Most of The He-130s that were lost in the battle were taken by ship based anti aircraft guns as the heavy fighter Sea Wolf units had their hands tied by their Bf-110 counterparts

He-130 losses were heavy largely because the Bf-110 and Sea Wolf turned out to be quite evenly matched and kept each other very busy. Typically, one to one combat between the two types ended in stalemate; most victories of one over the other required at least a two on one scenario.

The biggest surprise for both sides was in how the He-100 had fared in combat against the Martlet.

“We knew very little about the Heinkel fighter; had we been going up against a navalised Bf-109, we could at least have the RAF’s experience of fighting them to guide us. We knew our own aircraft’s limitations and presumed, quite rightly as it turned out, that we would have to employ tactics such as the Thatch Weave to get the better of it.

They were faster and more manouverable than we were, but if we could get one into our sights and get a shot in at just the right spot, they would go down quite easily. We were shocked and didn’t know what to make of it at the time.

We were simply happy that many more of us than expected made it back to the carrier that day.”

The recollections of a former He-100 pilot largely fill in the blanks of the situation the FAA Martlet pilots found themselves in:

“We were very sure of ourselves and our aircraft up till then. Before embarking on the cruise, we had some mock battles against Luftwaffe Bf-109 units and even one or two against captured Hurricanes and Spitfires and the He-100 proved itself more than a match for any of them.

The Heinkel fighter was quite complex in many respects, the cooling system was based on evaporative cooling. Such cooling systems were rather new and still being experimented with, but they did allow for a very clean aircraft design.

That cooling system almost proved our undoing as it turned out to be an area of great vulnerability to us. A hit almost anywhere in the nose of the aircraft or one of the wing coolant tanks was enough to take an He-100 out of battle.

The complexities of The He-100 also caused maintenance issues aboard ship that did not make themselves apparent when ground based. It was a very high maintenance machine; too high maintenance for the limited resources of carrier operations.

It was a fine aircraft, but only if you had the resources to keep it going.”

The outcome of the battle is often called the “Hindenberg Event” in German historical references; though many historians of the event consider that to be rather a case of overstatement that is focussed to much on the He-100’s own technologies working against it. In reality, the battle was largely a stalemate.

Changes Ahead

The Graf Zeppelin returned to port after the engagement against the Illustrious. The carrier itself had not been damaged in the conflict, but all of the combat aircraft types were put under close scrutiny by the Kriegsmarine top brass.

The He-100 simply had to go, as good as it was in performance, maintaining it on a carrier was clearly too risky and labour intensive.

The losses of the He-130 were not strictly the result of the Sea Wolves tying up the Bf-110s that could have protected them. The aircraft was a solid performer, and it was concluded that better tactics had to be developed for it.

The Bf-110 simply needed an edge over its Sea Wolf counterpart.

The replacement of the He-100 was dictated by the simple fact that the Bf-109 could not be reliably navalised and the only other fighter with potential to replace it was the now operational Focke-Wulf Fw-190.

Studies into an improved Bf-110 largely circled around weight savings and improved manouverability. The first step was to see if the aircraft could be reasonably handled by a pilot alone. As it turned out, it could be done and the large greenhouse canopy and second crew station were replaced with revised upper decking that incorporated a much smaller bubble canopy over a slightly raised cockpit with much improved pilot visibility.

Experiments with the BMW 801 radial engine and the additional power it provided over the inline engines standard on the Bf-110 did create a more agile machine when married to the revised single seat airframe. A futher modification of giving the aircraft a more conventional tail unit provided further weight savings at no cost of manouverability.

The Kriegsmarine test pilots very much liked the new prototype and its handling and were certain it could give the needed advantage over the Sea Wolf; however, there was the large issue of freeing up BMW 801 engines for a fleet of the type and the Luftwaffe had some say over that.

After testing the aircraft and being very impressed with the handling, Luftwaffe test pilots recommended a prototype optimised to their own requirements. The Kriegsmarine’s new Bf-110 variant’s life depended on the Luftwaffe being able to make some use of it as well.

The Luftwaffe prototype stripped out all naval gear for an even lighter machine that they nicknamed “Fliegenklatsche”, or “Flyswatter” in English. It was a particularly appropriate moniker as the Luftwaffe was looking for anything to counter the DeHavilland Mosquito which had entered service in late 1941.

The Kriegsmarine waited nervously for the results of Luftwaffe testing.

The FAA’s New Gear

The confrontation between the Illustrious and Zeppelin also led to the Royal Navy examining its flying resources.

Replacement of the Martlet was already being worked on before the battle. The Supermarine Seafire had flown for the first time in January of 1942; as such, the writing was largely on the wall for the Martlet before the incident.

The surface attack Sea Wolf did better than the He-130 in hitting targets and surviving the battle. This was partly due to tactical flexibility; while a portion of the Sea Wolf attack force was armed with torpedoes, another portion was armed with unguided rockets of armour piercing or incindiary varieties. The Sea Wolf also had something of a speed and manouverability advantage over its German counterpart.

Like the Yarara, the Sea Wolf was still very sound in the strike arena, the only change proposed for it was more engine power in the form of the Rolls Royce Griffon engine.

Like the fighter version of the Yarara, the Sea Wolf fighter was showing some limitations and Fairey had been working on addressing them since december of 1941. Ultimately, the final product was a quite different beast from the Sea Wolf; different enough to be designated its own name, the Firefy.

Like the German efforts on the Bf-110, Fairey centred their work on reducing the Sea Wolf’s weight and more powerful engine options. For commonality with the Sea Wolf, the Firefly was given the Griffon engine but most everything was different beyond that.

The Firefly kept large sections of the Sea Wolf fuselage but, like developments in the Bf-110, the cockpit went to a single seat and slightly elevated arrangement under a bubble canopy. With the exception of the four 20 mm Hispano cannons and radiators, the wing was entirely different to that of the Sea Wolf.

Fairey had designed a simplified and lighter unbent wing for the Firefly. As the primary purpose of the bent wing was for outsized weapon clearance and the Firefly was not going to be carrying any torpedoes so long as the Sea Wolf was around, there was really no need to maintain that feature.

Unlike the Kriegsmarine’s Bf-110 reworking, the Firefly’s acceptance into FAA service was not hindered by interservice politics.

Developments in the Sea Wolf did not go unseen by Argentina, who promptly set about pursuing a lisence for Griffon production. Australia pursued a production for the Griffon as well, though independantly of the Argentines.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on February 22, 2013, 07:51:21 PM
Thanks for the update.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 22, 2013, 07:54:33 PM
Glad you like it.

It took a while to get that update done as RW issues have been plenty lately. Yesterday I had an unexpected free day, so I got the chance to get it done and posted.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on February 23, 2013, 03:07:03 AM
Would really like to see some images of the Bf-110s.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 23, 2013, 04:16:24 AM
Would really like to see some images of the Bf-110s.

I'm thinking about hitting the sketchbook a bit this weekend, so might have something to show in the near future that way.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 04, 2013, 05:50:48 PM
The Push Westward

By spring of 1942, the Allies controlled much of Egypt and were holding Tobruk and the north east corner of Lybia. The Axis had retaken Benghazi and other points further west along the Lybian coast; photographs taken from a recent Garza mission showed the Germans and Italians to be building up larger forces for another drive eastward.

From February of 1942, the Allies had been able to hold the Axis advance at Gazala. The Allies had been building their own forces, both land and air, along the Gazala Line with the intent of mounting an offensive to retake the Lybian coast.

Figuring prominently in the Allied plan were several squadrons of Yarara fitted for anti-armor and other forms of surface strike. By this point in time, it was not only the Argentine, Brazilian and Uruguayan forces who were operating the aircraft, South Africa had taken on three squadrons worth of them and were using them with notable success.

Using photography from numerous Argentine and RAF Garza missions flown high over Axis held Lybia, the Allies decided to take the offensive and mount the first strikes of the Battle of Gazala in early May.

With fighter cover above and land forces beneath, two large formations of Yararas made their way into Axis territory in the early morning hours of  May 5, 1942. One formation had Tmimi as its primary target while the other formation made its way to the coastal city of Bomba.

A third group of Yararas had been sent to support the Free French forces at Bir Hacheim, on the southern end of the Gazala Line.

Detected, but Undetered

Well before the formations reached their targets, the Luftwaffe had scrammbled all available fighters from their base at Martuba and the Allied fighters were preparing to engage them.

The Yarara formations reorganised themselves and the faster, lighter armed units flew ahead to attack anti aircraft positions and clear the way for the ones carrying heavier strike loads.

“As we moved out ahead of the heavy strikers, we dropped altitiude to near dune top levels. We knew roughly where the anti-aircraft emplacements were and made lines straight for them.

It was an older, but still quite dependable tactic and the Yarara’s speed and armaments had been improved significantly since we entered the African campaign. Our improved speed had largely offset the improvements the Axis had made to their guns and training of their gunners.

We still had the four 20mm wing cannons, but additional wing pylons on newer versions allowed us to carry additional cannons in pods. This made our standard armament for a mission of this sort consist of six 20mm cannons plus six to eight unguided rockets.

With improvements in radios, we were much less dependant on a second crew member in later versions of the aircraft. This allowed us to remove much of the rear cockpit equipment to make room for additional fuel cells and thus free up all external stations for weapons.

Speed was becoming increasingly important to us. We had reduced the weight of the aircraft as much as we could without sacrificing any of the existing armor, we still needed it as the Axis were slowly but surely getting higher calibre guns into our theatre of the war.”

As the first Yararas swept in to hunt out their targets, high flying Garzas vectored the heavy strike units very precisely to their intended targets around Tmimi and Bomba.

In and Out

“At a distance, we could see the surviving aircraft of the first wave engaging a few Bf-110s which had managed to get into the air from the local base as we approached Tmimi. The sand was full of scorch marks and fires; either the remnants of our enemies or our friends. At a glance, I could count the wreckage of at least six or eight Yararas on our way into the target area.

They had taken care of the heavier guns, but we were still getting a bit of fire from smaller calibre weapons, mostly erratic and nothing our armor couldn’t protect us from.

It was our mission to help capture the airbase, not destroy it outright, so we had to be very careful where we placed our bombs. Our primary targets were the runway and aircraft hardstands, these could be repaired with relative ease.

We each went in with two 500 pound bombs and six high explosive rockets with time delayed fuses. We delivered the weapons successfully, but we still had to fight our way out to get home.

There were more Bf-110s inbound to intercept us as we cleared the base. While we had succeeded in bombing the base without a loss of aircraft, every one of our machines had some degree or other of small arms fire damage. We knew, as heavy fighters went, that the Yarara and Bf-110 were fairly evenly matched; knowing that we had to fight them in a damaged state was sobering to say the least.”

The ensuing air battle was brutal, but it was the most decisive combat between the two aircraft types to that point in the war. A Bf-110 pilot recalls:

“We would never take a Yarara lightly in any circumstances; they had a great combination of armor, firepower and endurance. Some pilots I knew who regularly went up against them and survived, had their wills painted on the sides of their aircraft as a dark joke.

Over Tmimi, we didn’t let the fact that we were catching them with less than full fuel and some damage boost our confidence or let us think our odds were in any way better. With four 20mm cannons, they didn’t have to have you in their sights for long at all to take you out of battle permanently.

They didn’t take any chances with us on that day; we were already taking hits as we entered the maximum range of their cannons and had to break formation far earlier than I would have liked. It was a classic case of  ‘divide and conquer’ and they’d divided us.

At the end of it; of twelve aircraft we took up against them, nine were in flames on the ground by the time they broke off the attack and headed back east. Only one of the men from those nine aircraft survived.”

The story was similar at Bomba, Allied ground forces had successfully siezed it in the wake of a similar Yarara strike. However, the Yararas which struck Bomba encountered significantly less aerial resistance than the Tmimi group had.

Catch a Falling Star

By the beginning of June, the bulk of the fighting in the battle was centred around Bir Hacheim. Early capture of Tmimi and Bomba by the Allies had resulted in the Axis diverting its divisions to the south.

In the second week of June, a push further west to capture the Luftwaffe base at Martuba was launched. A wing of cannon and rocket armed Yararas flew a low altitude, high speed slashing attack on the field in the early evening hours of June 10.

As Bf-109 pilots and crews frantically scrammbled to get their machines airborne, a second and third straffing run were delivered.

As the Yararas moved off , Allied ground units moved in to secure the base, take prisoners and attend to the wounded.

Of the wounded was the young rising star of the Luftwaffe in Africa; Han-Joachim Marseille. His wounds were relatively light and he was put in a prison unit as soon as he had healed and would remain a prisoner for the balance of the war.

Said a South African Hurricane pilot upon hearing the news of Marseille’s capture:

“That was the best news any Allied pilot in the theatre could have heard. We celebrated it heartily! I’d never been so drunk before, nor have I been so drunk since!”
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on April 05, 2013, 02:46:18 AM
Nice update. Thanks.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on April 07, 2013, 06:37:28 AM
Given the BMW801s in the Fw190 and now the Bf110, I wonder if the He-130 will also go that way (ala the D4Y3 - see below)?

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 07, 2013, 02:50:24 PM
Given the BMW801s in the Fw190 and now the Bf110, I wonder if the He-130 will also go that way (ala the D4Y3 - see below)?


I hadn't thought about it actually, it would make sense though. I'll have to look into it.

Thanks for continuing to follow. Real life has made keeping it updated a bit of a challenge lately.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on April 09, 2013, 07:18:01 AM
Great update! I'm still trying to picture the impact on a Bf 110 if that Yarara could bring it six 20mm cannon to bear  :o
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 09, 2013, 12:21:29 PM
Great update! I'm still trying to picture the impact on a Bf 110 if that Yarara could bring it six 20mm cannon to bear  :o

Don't blink  ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 11, 2013, 06:14:04 PM
Night Snakes and the Black Dragon

In the early dawn hours of a mid September 1942 morning, a Royal New Zealand Navy ship carrying a handful of survivors from the HMAS Carpentaria and many more recovered bodies of their shipmates pulled into its home port.

The Carpentaria and her small escort fleet had been hit hard and quickly from the air near midnight of the day before while traversing the Coral Sea enroute to the Tasman Sea.

The description given of the attacking aircraft confirmed them to be the same large, four engine bomber type that the Japanese had begun terrorising Australia and Allied positions in the South Pacific with in July.

The aircraft, which colloquially became known as “Black Dragon” among the Allies, came as a shock. It was known that the Japanese planned to develop a large bomber, but it was not suspected that such an aircraft had been built as a prototype, much less been put into production and service.

To counter the new threat, the Yarara was hastily fitted with radar and tasked with night interception duties. The first “Night Snake” units were operational by the second week of August. Beyond the radar and exhaust dampening equipment, the Yararas remained largely unchanged for the night mission; their standard quartet of 20mm Hispano cannons would be their primary weapon against the new threat.

The new Japanese bomber had turned the latter half of 1942 into a particularly dark time for Australia. Several strikes against the mainland had been carried out with near impunity until the modifications to the Yararas had been made. Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and  Townsville had all been attacked multiple times under the cover of darkness. The Japanese tactic of flying the aircraft low over the water until the very last moment ensured that both shore and ship based air defenses had very little chance of effectively countering them.

Analysis of attacked sites, along with witness accounts, suggested the bomber was of comparable size and bomb load to the Avro Lancaster. While the Yararas did expose a degree of vulnerability in the bomber, it was by any account a very challenging aircraft to engage and damage much less destroy outright.

“It was always a terrifying prospect to launch an attack against one of those beasts. It didn’t matter how many times you’d done it before and survived. I think most of us who lived through enough mission developed a permanent lump in our throats, the chances of coming back truly were so slim.

They were completely black and sinister from every angle and their defensive guns were increadibly accurate. As a target, they were a much harder kill than we had come to expect of Japanese aircraft; most of their aircraft were lightly armored if at all and didn’t stay up for long once you got a shot or two into them. These ones had armor and could take a pounding.

A handsome reward and promotion was put on offer to any pilot who could force one down in one piece. For a long time it looked like that reward might go completely unclaimed. What few we had actually destroyed through the remainder of 1942 had gone down in areas they couldn't easily be recovered from.”

At the time of the Carpentaria’s sinking, there was still much more speculation about the Black Dragon than concrete knowledge. What the sinking did prove was that the aircraft’s suspected flexibility to a maritime strike platform was very real and frightengly effective.

Resistencia Resplendent

ARA Resistencia, Implacable class carrier and the Argentine navy’s new flagship, was launched to much fanfare in August of 1942. The ship with it’s full complement of the latest Yarara and Garza variants sharing the deck with the still new Culpeo fighter was a fearsome sight to behold.

The two Brazilian Colosus class escort carriers had been completed and launched slightly earlier than the Resistencia and were making themselves a welcome and respected addition to Allied efforts in the Atlantic.

On the European side of the Atlantic, the first of the Royal Navy’s Audacious class carriers was in the final stages of construction.

The Graf Zeppelin had returned to sea, though its air wing was rather different than expected. The Focke Wulf Fw-190 had bee successfully navalized and the He-130 dive bomber had been successfully refitted with the BMW radial engine. However, there was no representation of the Bf-110 aboard the ship at all.

As it turned out, the Luftwaffe found the navy’s proposed changes to the aircraft resulted in a very effective counter to the DeHavilland Mosquito and were able to have the new variant allocated exclusively to them with no allowance made in factories for the naval variation.

The Graf Zeppelin was given more Fw-190s and He-130s to fill the void left by the Bf-110s absence. With that, the ship left port with a sombre crew to resume its patrols of northern Africa’s Atlantic coastline.

The Perth Gambit

Developments in Australia had led to Argentina committing their new carrier to assisting in the defense of that country.

Ordered to proceed to the unlikely, though relatively safe port of Perth in Western Australia, the Resistencia and her battle group set their course to that destination with the understanding they would be briefed on their exact role in the region upon arrival there.

With a fresh ship and fresh aircraft, the Resistencia’s crew were optimistic. While they had no flown the Culpeo in true combat, the aircraft’s Australian counterpart had been used with notable success against Japanese day fighters.

After an uneventful cruise and safe arrival at their destination in early October, the senior staff of the ship were briefed by a panel of Australian, American and British Admiralty on their role in the region. The role would not simply be support; the Resistencia and her crew would be spearheading a direct northward push into Japanese territory.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on July 12, 2013, 05:40:17 AM
Nice update. Thanks.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 12, 2013, 08:34:31 AM
Good stuff  :)  Looking forward to finding out more about this Black Dragon too!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 12, 2013, 01:17:29 PM
Thanks for still following!

Hopefully with my reduced summer schedule and my main holidays done with, i will have more time on my hands to sit down with this and get it going again.

There is also an unfinished West Austrian Spitfire staring at me from the shelf too..... ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 13, 2013, 03:03:30 AM
Good stuff  :)  Looking forward to finding out more about this Black Dragon too!

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 14, 2013, 03:16:19 AM
Maybe the Bf110s will be eventually replaced by a Me210 or Me410 derivative?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 14, 2013, 02:34:11 PM
Maybe the Bf110s will be eventually replaced by a Me210 or Me410 derivative?

I'm thinking about alternatives, I have to take a look at what else was around at the time. The 410 is tempting though.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 16, 2013, 10:32:07 AM
A single-seat Me 410 would be a very cool carrier aircraft. Maybe retain the Bf 110's twin tails?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 16, 2013, 01:18:16 PM
A single-seat Me 410 would be a very cool carrier aircraft. Maybe retain the Bf 110's twin tails?

Possibly, but a few quick sketches I did indicated that a single seat arrangement with a more conventional tail could lead to a rather cool looking radial engine DH Hornet look alike machine if done with some care and forethought; so whatever else I do with the idea, I'll probably try to keep it on that track.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 21, 2013, 05:48:03 AM
That sounds good. Maybe something similar to the Me 262A canopy?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 21, 2013, 05:50:00 AM
Or this:

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 21, 2013, 06:06:30 AM
Of course maybe the '410s could have a different power plant...hint, hint:

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 21, 2013, 01:29:17 PM
Or this:


That's not too far off of what some of my sketches are forming into already.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 22, 2013, 11:07:18 AM
Sorta like this one, then ...
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 22, 2013, 01:20:49 PM
Yes, sorta like that.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 26, 2013, 04:32:02 PM
So here's a sketch of the Messeschmitt Bf-510 "Fliegenklatsche"

It's more for shape and general idea, so I didn't do any shading and the perspective is a bit fishy in places:


I'll probably do a bit more with the canopy as it looks to British to me as it is. The rest looks pretty decent to me.

All comments welcomed.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: Empty Handed on July 27, 2013, 04:52:47 AM
That's a really cool sketch!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 27, 2013, 05:19:03 AM
That's a really cool sketch!

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 27, 2013, 01:43:58 PM
Thanks a lot, guys.

I've got a couple of other rough sketches of it that I'm thinking of working up at least to the level of that one.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 22, 2013, 12:13:17 AM
Nothing new?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 22, 2013, 04:52:13 AM
I have an update in the works, but work just got crazy busy. Hopefully it will calm down soon and I'll get the update done.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 22, 2013, 02:36:20 PM
Take your time. A good story can't be rushed.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on October 03, 2013, 06:25:14 PM
The Luftwaffe’s Darling…

“The Me-510 was a delight to fly in every respect; it was responsive and powerful and very much a pilot’s plane. The DeHavilland Mosquito had demoralised us tremendously, but in the 510 we finally had an aircraft that could keep up with the Mosquito in both speed and maneuverability; it took a very experienced and wary Mosquito pilot to evade a 510 and its cannons.

When my unit was transferred to Africa, we found the 510 was every bit as adept at handling the Yarara as it had been with the Mosquito in Europe. We had a maneuverability advantage over the Yarara and with four 20mm cannons as standard armament, we were certainly on equal footing with them in that regard. Within half a year of deploying the 510 to Africa, we were starting to take some territory back.

The 510 units were an elite of sorts in the Luftwaffe. Every fighter pilot wanted to get into a 510, but only a hand picked few got to do so. As good as it was, the 510 was a limited commodity that was not risked on inexperienced pilots.

The 510 was an enormous stroke of luck for the Luftwaffe that came at just the right time. The downside of the 510 was that the navy, the very people who had devised the 510, were robbed of it for Luftwaffe benefit. Under peacetime inter-service rivalry this would have seemed comedic, but in earnest wartime it was simply tragic and shortsighted.

The Luftwaffe made a legend of the 510, but the navy had designed it and the navy needed it. It was stolen from them and a lot of sailors lost their lives for Luftwaffe benefit.”

…The Shroud of Sailors

The Graf Zeppellin, with its complement of He-130 torpedo bombers and Fw-190 fighters, was maintaining an uneventful watch over the Atlantic coast of northern Africa. Accompanied by and escort fleet and regularly overflown by longer ranged shore based  aircraft.

The arrival of the Luftwaffe’s Me-510 in Africa and the subsequent reclamation of territory it had allowed the Axis to perform placed fresh priority on the Allies to take control of the Atlantic coast away from Germany.

In October of 1942, The HMS Victorious and her escorts were dispatched and ordered to join with a Brazilian group led by the carrier, Amazonas, and proceed to Africa and engage the Graf Zeppellin and its fleet.

The Allied battle group had been spotted by a shore based patrol aircraft and the Graf Zeppellin was ordered to prepare for engagement.

“When the order came, I think everyone on every ship in the Graf Zeppellin battle group likely felt physically ill at the prospect. We knew we were headed for certain defeat.

It wasn't simply that we were outnumbered and outgunned; we had also been put to sea with a gap in our air defenses. We were completely without a heavy fighter.

The damned Luftwaffe had undermined us by stealing the Me-510 and now they were undermining us a second time by bringing it to Africa and being so successful with it that it became a high enough priority for Britian to confront us on it at sea.

When the Yararas and Fireflies came at us and our Fw-190s were too busy tangling with Seafires and Culpeos to protect us or the He-130s, we could do next to nothing. For every aircraft our guns shot down, it seemed two others would get through to successfully attack our ships.

As I ran across the deck of the Zeppellin, I could see the landing area was shredded and burning; we wouldn't be able to recover a single one of our aircraft even if any of them, or ourselves, survived. The ship was helpless and certain to be sunk; I grabbed a life vest and after a final look back at the splintered deck littered with bodies and stained with blood, I abandoned the ship.

After floating for the better part of an hour, surrounded by wreckage and bodies, I was picked up by a British ship and taken prisoner.

What I wouldn't have given to see the Yararas and Fireflies have to contend with Me-510s that day.”

The defeat of the Graf Zeppellin and its battle group went down in history as one of the most one sided battles of the Second World War.

The Zeppellin and its entire air group were destroyed. Ninety percent of the men assigned to the Zeppelin’s battle group were killed or unaccounted for, most of those who survived were very seriously injured.

Germany did not attempt to field another aircraft carrier during the war.

Shortly after their victory, the Allies established a sea blockade of the north African coast and began attacking German coastal positions from the sea.

Operation Sarcophagus

Sarcophagus was the code name given to the German efforts to take back their formerly held African territories. By October of 1942, they had successfully retaken the air base at Martuba and were staging to retake Tmimi and Bomba. Martuba quickly became home to an entire wing of Me-510s.

“We knew we had a bigger problem on our hands with the Me-510 than we had at first anticipated when the Garzas started coming home with holes in them or not coming home at all.

Bad enough that we had to divert fighter resources to escort Yararas, lest the 510 cut them to ribbons, but it was now also painfully clear that there was a high altitude variation on the 510 that could catch the Garza, an aircraft we’d been able to fly with near complete impunity until then.

We had underestimated the Me-510 when it first arrived in Africa. We felt the Yarara was fast enough, flew low enough and had enough armor to take a decent amount of punishment and still come home.

An entire squadron of South African Yararas, every man and every plane, was lost on a mission for our arrogance. An arrogance we never practiced again in the face of the Me-510.”
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on October 04, 2013, 07:48:40 AM
Nice update. Thanks.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on October 05, 2013, 02:52:58 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on March 10, 2014, 01:45:37 AM
So has this finished? The end of the tale?

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 10, 2014, 10:39:31 PM
So has this finished? The end of the tale?


Not at all, I've just been super busy with work and not had a lot of time to really sit down and get a lot done writing wise.

I've got a few ideas roughed out but they need a bit of organising before they are fit to post.

My girlfriend will be on a business trip later this month so hopefully that will free up some extra time in the evenings that I can get another instalment of the story up.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 21, 2014, 05:47:40 PM
The Snake Sheds Skin

The arrival of the Me-510 in the African theatre and the dominance it had over the Yarara in combat served, in part, to change Allied air strategy in the theatre. It also served to highlight the sortcomings of the Yarara. It was still popular wit hpilots and crews, but nobody could deny it was outclassed and no longer the tool of choice when the Me-510 was present.

By early 1943, Yararas had largely been replaced by other types in Africa and were being reassigned to points eastward for use in Asia.

Fortunately, FMA had been keeping abreast of the Yarara and Garza in service and had extensively reworked versions of both prepared for a push into Asia.

The reworked Yarara, who’s prototype had first flown in September of 1942, was approved for production in November of the same year. While it bore the outward family resemblance to older marks of Yarara, it was a very different aircraft structurally and internally with little parts commonality to its forbear.

The reworked Yarara had an entirley new fuselage which was designed as a single seat aircraft with a fully blown bubble canopy. The capacity for having a second crew member was done away with as a weight savings measure and to improve the aerodynamics overall.

Internally, particularly in the rear fuselage, everything possible was done to reduce weight in the structure. The forward fuselage was less changed though there was some reduction in the amount of armor owing to only one instead of two crew members to be protected.

The Rolls Royce Griffon engine stayed while the propeller went from three blades to four.

The Wings were less radically changed. The quartet of 20mm Hispano guns stayed standard but the wing structure was lightened wherever possible.

The end goal of all the changes was that the Yarara would remain an effective surface attack aircraft but trade armour and some structural weight for speed as its main defence.

As part of the changes, the aircraft lost its ability to carry torpedoes. This was seen as an acceptable trade off as the Grumman Avenger was superior to the Yarara in the torpedo bomber role and Argentina, Brasil and Uruguay all had fleets of the Avenger on their carriers by late 1942.

The RAAF prefered the DAP built Beaufort to the Yarara for most maritime strike work, so the loss of the torpedo ability was also not seen as an issue in the Pacific and Asian theatres.

The Garza was not so radically reworked as the Yarara, though the cockpit section of the fuselage on military variants was redsigned for a single crew member and an improved camera package was installed in the place once taken by the second crew member.

Passing Muster

Said a retired RAAF Yarara pilot of the redesigned variant:

“The new variant of the Yarara was a huge step up in performance, particularly in speed and turning radius. The early ones were good and a pleasure to fly, but the new ones were just that much better. We lost significantly fewer aircraft to ground fire once the new variants became standard. The boost in speed and tighter turning simply made it that much more difficult for the gunners to get a good line of sight on us.

We weren’t invincible, of course; but we certainly felt our chances of survival were much improved at the controls of the newer variant.

FMA improved the performance of our morale as much as they did the performance of the aircraft!”

With production of the new variant quickly put in place in Argentina, Australia and Brasil; the tired older two seat versions of the aircraft were swiftly withdrawn from front line service and found work as gunnery and weapons delivery trainers.

Seeing the new Yararas sitting alongside braces of Goshawk fighters and fleets of Australian built Lancaster bombers was a much needed morale boost in late 1942.

Similar increases to morale came when Argentina’s new carrier airwing arrived at nearly the same time. New Yararas and Garzas, fresh Culpeo fighters and the very new Grumman Avengers taking their places on the Resistencia’s deck was a sight to behold.

For events which were about to unfold, the highest possible amount of morale would be required.

The Melbourne Mauler

George Konidas, a young RAAF officer from Melbourne’s Greek community, was the top scoring Australian Yarara pilot of the war. With a confirmed victory count well into the 20s, he was very respected by most who served alongside him.

His most significant victory came just after Christmas in 1942, when he and another Yarara teamed up against Japan’s still elusive Black Dragon bomber.

The solitary bomber was moving in pitch blackness towards Darwin when they intercepted it. Konidas recalled the night several years after the war:

“It took a couple of passes before we could confirm that we’d actually put a round into the bomber. After we knew out tracers had found their mark, we managed to set the plane to burning. It was so dark we still couldn’t see exactly what was burning.

As we set up for another pass, the bomber managed to shoot down the other Yarara, the crew had no chance of survival. The Black Dragon’s guns had a lot of hitting power, I knew of nobody who had taken fire from one and survived.

I pressed my attack and enough of the aircraft was burning that I could at least discern a shape. I trained my guns on the cockpit and unleashed a last blast of ammunition before I broke off the pursuit and went home.

As I learned later, the aircraft had been found, largely intact, in shallow water not far from Darwin.”

Even upon initial observations, the Black Dragon was very surprising in it’s form. It was slightly larger than a Lancaster and clearly influenced by the Heinkel He-177 aft of the cockpit.

More surprises would be revealed when the two surviving crew members were well enough to be interogated.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: Volkodav on March 21, 2014, 11:24:29 PM

Very cool, at some point I am going to have to lift all of the posts into a single document and read it start to finish to get the whole thing in context.  I must admit I had no idea this was going to end up with Australian aces flying stolen Stukas when you started this. 

Really enjoying it, keep up the great work!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 22, 2014, 02:10:21 AM
Thanks for the good comments. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Work related duties were really getting in the way of any sort of opportunity to sit down and do any sustained writing beyond bits I do for my blogs.

With my girlfriend out on a business trip this past week, I had enough quiet time to myself to pull some accumulated notes together for the above entry to this story.

The Black Dragon is actually rather a challenge to imagine as I actually didn't have anything more in mind when I first thought of it than something roughly Lancaster size with four engines. I've made some sketches on paper and come up with more details to describe it. Hopefully, I'll have those ready to show for whenever I get the next installment done.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on March 22, 2014, 11:20:28 PM
Thank you.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on March 23, 2014, 04:17:38 AM

The Black Dragon is actually rather a challenge to imagine as I actually didn't have anything more in mind when I first thought of it than something roughly Lancaster size with four engines. I've made some sketches on paper and come up with more details to describe it. Hopefully, I'll have those ready to show for whenever I get the next installment done.

Maybe make it as described: i.e. a Japanese He-177 but with four seperate engines.  Kind of a Japanese He-274/He-277?  Put different engines on it and maybe some slightly different gun mounts...
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 23, 2014, 05:46:43 PM
Maybe make it as described: i.e. a Japanese He-177 but with four seperate engines.  Kind of a Japanese He-274/He-277?  Put different engines on it and maybe some slightly different gun mounts...

That's where my current sketches are moving in the direction of.

I'm leaning toward four Nakajima Homare engines as the power source.

I'm also seriously entertaining the idea of remote control turrets. The turret operators could use a radar targeting system from a compartment just behind the cockpit.

The real challenge is deciding what the forward fuselage will look like. I'm trying to get something that will not be too Germanic looking considering how much He-177 is already involved. I'm also not sure if I want to go with a tricycle or tail dragger landing gear arrangement.

The tricycle arrangement would be a nice nod to the Nakajima G8N Renzan though.

With any luck. I'll have more time to hit my sketchbook soon and get this all out of my head and onto paper.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on March 23, 2014, 05:52:38 PM
I would stick to a tail dragger.  I would also avoid remote turrets as too complicated.  Maybe give it a more conventional nose - perhaps identical to that in the Nakajima G8N Renzan ?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 23, 2014, 07:03:21 PM
I would stick to a tail dragger.  I would also avoid remote turrets as too complicated.  Maybe give it a more conventional nose - perhaps identical to that in the Nakajima G8N Renzan ?

It definitely will have a more conventional nose but I'll have to figure out if the Renzan could be grafted straight to the He-177, which I rather doubt on initial appearances, or if I'd have to do something a bit more customized for it.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 29, 2014, 10:30:29 PM
I just finished this rough sketch of the Black Dragon:


Like the drawing of the Me-510, this is just to give you the general look of the machine. It certainly may be subject to refinements and revisions later on.

I've started on the next section of the story which will focus primarily on the Black Dragon and its origins. Hopefully I'll have it ready to post in the next week or two.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on March 30, 2014, 03:55:33 AM
Hmmm…looks a bi like an enlarged B-25 to me.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 30, 2014, 04:33:38 AM
Hmmm…looks a bi like an enlarged B-25 to me.

The nose end still looks a bit too Liberator/Privateer for my liking, so it will likely get tweaked sooner or later. I might also bring the dorsal turret further forward.

It's a start anyway.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on March 30, 2014, 04:38:34 AM
Hmmm…looks a bi like an enlarged B-25 to me.

The nose end still looks a bit too Liberator/Privateer for my liking, so it will likely get tweaked sooner or later. I might also bring the dorsal turret further forward.

It's a start anyway.

Definitely a start as you say.  I would lose the nose turret and possibly go with something more Japanese evoking for the upper turret - perhaps even simply a blister with a hand held gun?  The engines may also need changing - perhaps more like those on the Betty?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 30, 2014, 03:39:45 PM
I may lose the nose turret or at least rework it a bit.  I did it that way to make it slightly less Japanese looking with the idea that the nose and dorsal turret had been reverse engineered from captured Allied designs.

I'll take another look at the Renzan and other Japanese designs in the process of reworking the drawing a bit.

At least I got something out of my head and onto paper finally, that's been a challenge in itself lately.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 26, 2014, 07:29:14 AM
The Dragon in Daylight

A large contingent of RAAF investigators and salvage crews converged upon the downed Japanese bomber as dawn broke on the coast; security crews were already on the site by the time they arrived.

The aircraft was large, with a dark grey and black camoflage pattern, Hinomarus of much subdued colur intensity and no specific unit markings.

In contrast to the events of the previous night, it was a calm morning; beyond the low buzz of conversations between investigators and the water lapping against the side of the aircraft’s fuselage, there wasn’t much noise to be heard.

These first impressions of the wreckage were noted by one of the investigators at the time:

“The aircraft had come to rest in shallow water on a beach and had broken into three large sections: The forward fuselage was together with the left wing left wing while the rear fuselage and the right wing lay separately some distance away

The bulk of the damage appears to be located on the inner section of the right wing and cockpit area. The right wing may have broken off on impact due to the damage. The fuselage breakage is very clean, indicating a designed breakage point.

The aircraft is clearly somewhat larger than a Lancaster, which we were using as a size comparison.

Some aspects of the general design are visibly consistant with what we’ve come to expect in Japanese bomber design, while others are markedly different.”

Once the aircraft had been removed from the water and taken to a secured hangar for deeper analysis, more divergences from typical Japanese design were noted.

Recalls an investigator several years after the conflict and much of the information declassified:

“The first thing that struck me was the amount of armor the aircraft had, we really were not accustomed to seeing Japanese aircraft with much shielding at all. The entire upper fuselage from just aft of the cockpit to the wing spar area was armored. It was in that area where the radio operator’s station was, little surprise that one of the only two survivors just happened to be the radio man.

The wing fuel tanks were self sealing, another atypical feature in Japanese aircraft. That and the armor did go a long way to answering why it took so long for us to shoot one of these machines down when others seemed to go ablaze with a single hit.

The cockpit area and nose were largely what we had come to expect of Japanese design; however, the fuselage from just behind the cockpit to the tail differed quite a bit as did certain aspects of the wing design.

As we discovered, upon talking to the surviving crewmen, the Black Dragon actually had the Heinkel He-177 bomber as the main influence and starting point of the design.

We knew that Heinkel had been involved in the development of the “Judy” torpedo bomber, but it was a shock to know they were also involved in something as big as a long range four engine bomber.

It was very provacative considering that Germany were known to be having no end of problems with the original He-177 and were fielding two engined bombers in the main.

We could only assume that with the success the aircraft allowed Japan to hit targets in Australia and New Zealand with, it was only a matter of time before it went full circle and found its way back to Germany. We couldn’t let that happen.”

The Other Side of the Night

Similarly, the radio man spoke of the events publicly only many years later:

“The night is still clear in my mind so many years later:

We had a light industrial area near Darwin as a target that evening and were flying a single aircraft, unescorted mission profile. It wasn’t an unusual mission type for us and we found it was relatively effective when attacking smaller targets. A large formation of bombers is not difficult to detect and engage, a single bomber out in the night sky using some of the tactics that we did was another matter.

We were about to drop to a lower altitude and run towards the target at near sea level when we were jumped by the fighters. I could hear their rounds punching through the unarmored rear fuselage and hammering on the other side of the plating above my head and knowing it couldn’t hold for very long.

Our flight engineer was busy manning the dorsal turret while I was frantically sending out a distress call to any Japanese ships in the area. I was only faintly aware of the sound of our bomb doors opening to jettison our bombs into the sea as we aborted the mission to try to save ourselves and get the aircraft into a position where it couldn’t be recovered if it was shot down.

The engineer’s last words to me were that he’d shot down one of the fighters. The next moment, I found myself showered in his blood and fragments of the turret. I can’t explain how, but somehow I managed to pull myself back to my radio duties after that.

Our right wing around the inboard engine was burning uncontrolably and I could hear the pilot struggling with the aircraft. I could feel the aircraft descending rapidly, but he was keeping it relatively stable.

Moments later, I could hear the shattering of glass in the cockpit. I was sure we were done for, there was no way the pilot could have survived that. He did survive, but only just long enough to make sure we belly landed.

Myself and the navigator were the only survivors. Save for some cuts from the shattered turret, I wasn’t seriously injured. The navigator’s upper right arm and shoulder were very badly broken, badly enough to require surgery to repair.

Landing in the sea had extinguished the fire. I found what medical kit that I could in the wreckage, tended to my crewmate’s injuries as best I could and then we decided to remain in the aircraft until military personnel arrived.
We both felt our chances would be better in the hands of the military than in those of, quite understandably, angry civilians should they find us first.

As soon as the investigators arrived, we found ourselves being taken under heavy guard to a military hospital complex.”

From One Cage to Another

The navigator of the flight died in an automobile accident in the late 1950s, but his recollections survive through his own personal journal entries which have been carefully maintained by his family through the years. While the entries say very little about the evening he was shot down, they do give some intriguing insights into other aspects of his life at the time:

“Imperial Japan was a difficult place to be if you had any significant exposure to the larger world. The rhetoric of ethnic superiority the state advocated wasn’t so easily sold to those who had spent time with people of other cultures or taken part of their education abroad.

For myself, I took some of my university education in France during the interwar period. I learned to speak French to a very high level and developed too much respect for the different people from different cultures I met along the way to continue letting myself think my own cultural background made me in any way better than them.

I cherished my time outside of Japan, especially after I returned there from France in the mid 1930s.

I planned to return to France, but that became impossible once Germany invaded in 1940. I found myself still in Japan at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour; I was in shock, not only by the sudden attack but also the gravity of knowing that Japan had joined the war and I was stuck there.

Soon enough, not by my own chosing, I found myself in a uniform. My university education saw me as worthy of a junior officer commision and I was sent to ground school to learn how to be a navigator.

I found myself able to go through the motions and keep up the appearance of fanaticism the Japanese army became notorious for during the war, but I nearly made myself sick in doing so.

I learned very quickly who were the people I could let my guard down around as far as maintaining such appearances were concerned. The radio operator on the bomber I was serving on when I was shot down was one such man.

Like myself, he had a university education that included studies abroad. He spoke English nearly as well as I spoke French. He was a sombre man who didn’t speak much, but what he did say was always well considered.

Also like myself, he found himself trapped in Japan in the wake of Pearl Harbour and put on a similar road of being a junior officer but learning radio operations rather than navigation.

As we gained each others’ confidence, I learned that his sombre demeanour came from the fact that he had family in Canada and knew they had lost everything and been put in internment camps almost as soon as war had been declared on Japan.

Neither of us were fanatics by any measure and thankfully his abilities with English were enough to vouch for both of us and generally satisfy our captors that we would be untroublesome as prisoners.

After we were released at the end of hostilities, I was able to make my way to France and start a new life there. At that point I lost contact with my former crewmate entirely.”

The Mauler in Mumbai

The downing of that particular Black Dragon would turn out to be one of the last night fighter missions George Konidas flew. Soon after, he received a promotion and a rather unexpected assignment:

“I was in a state of disbelief at first and thought someone was playing a joke on me when they told me that I was being given command of a Squadron whose task it was to deploy to India and train the first squadron of Indian Air Force pilots to operate the Yarara.

As it was, the Black Dragon threat was given new urgency when the Heinkel connection was confirmed and it was felt that a presence of the Yarara in India would be a prudent measure not only in insuring Japan made no further military advances in that direction, but also as a ready and powerful strike force should an attempt to ferry Black Dragons to Germany be made via air, staging through the Middle East, or sea through the Indian Ocean.

I had no lack of faith in the ability of the Indians to fight or their will to; they had certainly made no small contributions to the war effort to that point. I did, however wonder where their Yararas were going to come from. I knew well enough that Australia couldn’t spare any.

As it was, FMA had supplied India with several Yarara kits which were quickly and competently assembled by Hindustan Aircraft. They had ordered and assembled enough Yararas that we were ordered to India without our own aircraft and told to use the ones already there.

Shortly after New Year of 1943, we shipped out to India and acquainted ourselves with the newly formed 7 Squadron. The unit had been set up in early December of 1942 with the intent of being trained on and equiped with Vultee Vengeance aircraft.

With Yararas being offered in kit form and capable local hands to assemble them, India very quickly cancelled its order for the Vultee aircraft.

To call the pilots of 7 Squadron trainees would be doing them a tremendous disservice; most of them were well experienced pilots with at least one tour of combat duty in Europe or Africa with the RAF to their credit. They had experienced Hurricane and Spitfire pilots in the mix and the training went quite smoothly due in large part to their already accumulated experience.

By May of 1943, 7 Squadron was fully active and my own unit was preparing to be transitioned from training duties back to active duty.
It would be coming full circle for me personally; I had flown Yararas in the strike mission in Africa before returning home to take up night fighter duties.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on May 03, 2014, 09:43:43 AM
Nice update.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on May 04, 2014, 03:39:37 PM

I've got a few days of holidays coming up this week, so I'm really hoping that a few days out of town and away from work will freshen up my mind and get the creative juices flowing a bit faster and more freely.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 13, 2014, 07:54:25 PM
Running to Rangoon

1943 began on a generally positive note for Allied efforts in various theatres of the war:

Japanese forces began their withdrwal from Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, the Battle of Stalingrad had ended in German defeat and by May the Allies had taken victory in North Africa.

In the border territories between India and Japanese occupied Burma; a growing fleet of Yararas and other Allied aircraft were not only successfully deflecting any attempt the Japanese made to move further west, but also making daily incursions across the border to disrupt Japanese forces and take back Burma.

They were meeting with a good level of success and, by early June of 1943, had overtaken and begun using Japanese military instalations inside Burma. The plan was to move steadily southward to the capital city, securing the coast in the process and then make moves further inland.

The campaign to retake Burma helped to put some shine back on the Yarara. The aircraft had been receiving an increasing amount of criticism from certain quarters through 1942; much of the criticism came from the decision to remove the aircraft and its Garza cousin from the North African Theatre after the Me-510 was introduced and shown to be quite superior in combat to the Yarara.

Further criticism came from the recent reworking of the Yarara which resulted in enough changes that some were left wondering if it might have been better to simply develop a new aircraft altogether.

Under the leadership of George Konidas, the combined force of Indian Air Force and RAAF Yararas demonstrated quite handily that the aircraft was still a very capable and potent air to ground striker and a threat taken very seriously by the Japanese.

In the mountian and hill country of Burma, Konidas called upon his previous experience with the aircraft over Africa and employed many of the same low level, ground hugging tactics against the Japanese that had won the aircraft such a fearsome reputation among the Germans and Italians until the advent of the Me-510.

The Yarara was also easily adaptable to tropical conditions much thanks to the varied climate of Argentina and the forethought of its designers to create a range of easily exchangable filter systems tailored to various climactic conditions.

While, inevitably, many Yararas were lost to ground fire over Burma; their work in supporting ground forces was invaluable to securing land to use as bases for bombers in northern Burma. Before summer of 1943 had arrived, a base with a full wing of RAAF Avro Lancasters had been established on the Arakan Penninsula within easy striking distance of many key targets inside Burma.

Two squadrons of Brazilian Navy Shorts Sao Paulo aircraft were also taking up station in the area, including one unit based on the Arakan, at the same time and the Bay of Bengal became an extremely dangerous place for Japanese ships of any description almost at once.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 02, 2014, 10:22:49 PM
Advancing From Arakan

While command of the Allied air assets operating from bases on the Arakan was given to the RAAF; the ground forces were firmly under Brazilian authority in light of the jungle environments present in both Burma and Brasil, this situation made the Brazilian army and marine units among the very best land forces that the Allies could field in the Burma Campaign.

“The South American fellows were godsend to us in Burma, we couldn’t have kept that first tenuous toehold in the country without their jungle combat and survival expertise. They learned jungle tactics as part of their basic training in their homelands and we couldn’t have asked for a more qualified bunch to control the ground war in Burma.”

Such high praise of the South American land forces in Burma as the above statement by a British foot soldier was neither uncommon nor misplaced.

An ability to read the jungle from above as well as from ground level lead to a major role in aerial recconaissance and photo interpretation in the campaign being filled by South American personnel.

Recalls a retired RAAF photographic technician:

“I’d worked alongside an Argentine photo unit while I was stationed in both Africa and Burma. I was very imressed by them and their Garza aircraft while serving with them in Egypt; they did an excellent job over the Saharan desert but phenomenal work over the jungle in Burma. If they told us to put bombs on a particular spot in a photograph, we’d do it. We didn’t dare doubt their judgement.”

Through the remainder of 1943, Allied forced made steady progress and inroads through Arakan province and the bulk of Japanese forces had fallen back to neighboring provinces.

The Yarara force had extended its role from that of ground support to also encompass pathfinder missions for bombers. In pathfinder configuration, the Yarara had two of its four 20mm cannon removed, was fitted with underwing flare racks and could carry an additional internal fuel cell to extend its range.

Taking Timor

The Brazilian land forces were not only shining in Burma; they were also playing a critical role in the Battle of Timor, most specifically through close interactions with the Portuguese speaking population of the eastern part of the island.

In early April of 1943, a little over a year since the Japanese moved to occupy Timor, the battle came to a close with an Allied victory.

The Resistencia and her battle group, which included the escort carrier Amazonas, were holding position of the east coast of Timor when they were engaged by the Japanese carrier Shokaku on the morning of March 30.

The ships launched their air wings and their battle groups engaged in fierce ship to ship combat.

The Culpeo fighters were able to keep the Zeros away from the Yararas and Avengers with relative ease. The two fighters were very evenly matched so victory was very much down to pilot experience and skill.

The Yararas were primarily tasked with intercepting the “Judy” torpedo bombers. Both aircraft types had seen improvements made to their performance, both were faster than previous variants; however, the Yarara had the edge on that particular day.

A surviving Judy pilot recalls:

“For all of the extra speed that had been put into the newest versions of our planes, we couldn’t touch the new Yararas. They had much tighter turning than earlier versions and it enabled their pilots to make more attack passes at us and evade our gunners’ sights more easily.”

While the Resistencia’s Yarara’s were causing havoc to the torpedo bombers, the Amazonas’ Yararas, carrying incendiary rockets and fragmentation bombs under their wings, had the Shokaku’s deck and other vulnerable structures targeted.

At full speed and under cover of a group of Culpeos, the Amazonas’ Yararas unleashed their rockets on the Shokaku’s deck on their first pass, setting it alight. As the deck crew scrambled to extinguish the blaze, the bombs were dropped in a second pass.

While the surviving Yararas quickly returned to the Amazonas to rearm for another attack run on the Japanese carrier, the torpedos from two Avengers found their marks on the crippled carrier. While she was not immediately sunk, she was dead in the water. With her deck and superstructure engulfed in flames, Shokaku was clearly not going to recover whatever aircraft of her air wing survived the battle.

Later in the evening, the flames burnt out, Shokaku was sent to the bottom by a torpedo from an Australian submarine.

Resistencia, with relatively light damage from the battle, stayed on station off the coast of Timor. Its Avenger units, loaded with conventional bombs, flew multiple missions a day against known Japanese positions on the island while her Yarara units flew low level strike missions in support of Australian and Brazilian ground forces.

Japan surrendered Timor on April 10, 1943.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on July 05, 2014, 07:10:16 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 05, 2014, 05:17:08 PM
Thanks for staying with it and following along. The last few installments have been a real bear.

The next stage will go back to Argentina, but I have to figure out how to make the real world details work well with the What If aspects.

I also need to do more research into Japan's oil supply in WWII before I can go too much further into Pacific Theatre and SEAC storylines.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on July 05, 2014, 09:37:37 PM
Take your time. A tale as good as this one needs plenty of thought and time to do right and your doing it.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 05, 2014, 10:40:08 PM
Thanks, I'm hoping a reduced summer schedule will let me direct more of my energies to it.

Another thing I'm thinking about  is when to place the retirement of the Yarara and in what circumstances. I'm thinking about taking it to the early 70s and having the FMA Pucara as its successor, at least in South America.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 24, 2014, 09:56:59 PM
Changes at Home

1943 was a year of political upheaval in Argentina. While the government in place had seen the country enter the war on the Allied side, it was still a very corrupt body which had a history of electoral fraud and other ills tracing back to 1930. Historically, this period would become known as the “Infamous Decade”.

On June 4, 1943, the skies over Buenos Aries and several other cities in the country were filled with the sound of fully armed Yararas and Culpeos on constant patrol while the army took down the corupt government in a coup. The nation would be left with a provisional government until the end of the war.

While the provisional government kept Argentina commited to the war effort and the Allied cause, there was an understandable degree of unease among the other allied nations with regards to the country’s ability to remain a stable and reliable partner to the end of the conflict.

With a strong home guard, the provisional government did remain in place for the balance of the war and Argentina’s contributions to the Allies were largely uninterupted by the coup.

Making the Snake Faster

Both the former Junkers men were still employed by FMA and spent the bulk of their time at the La Pampa factory overseeing the development of both Yarara and Culpeo aircraft. The former Dornier man had left Argentina and FMA for Brasil to oversee production of the Shorts Sunderland there.

At FMA, the former Junkers men had their hands full making sure that the Yarara remained useful:

“Keeping the Yarara sharp was a constant struggle. As much as we had taken it so far from its Stuka roots, we did encounter certain problems left over from the Stuka design that were more difficult to address than others.

As much as we had refined the airframe, reduced drag and weight, the dive bomber role that the Stuka was designed for would always ensure that the Yarara was never the most maneuverable of aircraft. It was solid as a rock for ground attack and we had mannaged to give it more agility through the refined wing design and fuselage weight reductions, but there were still plenty of aircraft that could out turn it and it was increasingly in need of  protection from more agile fighter types.

With increased involvement in Asia and the Japanese sending more powerful fighters into the air, the Yarara needed something more than it had. It still carried a fearsome armament and was able to take a respectable amount of abuse and get the pilot home.

If we couldn’t give it more maneuverability, we had to give it more speed. It had to be able to out run what it couldn’t out turn. The question was where the extra power was going to come from. The Yarara was already using the powerful Griffon engine, where would we get more power from?

Initially, we decided to see what else we could get out of the Griffon. We fit a 60 series Griffon with a five blade prop to a company test bed aircraft and did get a speed increase. The speed increase was not as much as we had hoped, but certainly enough that the military approved production of a new variant with this engine and propellor arrangement.

We at FMA were still not satisfied and explored other options for keeping the Yarara competitive.”

FMA’s experiments included running the test bed aircraft with various engines including members of the Allison V-1710 series and a rather radical attempt at marrying a Bristol Centaurus radial engine to the Yarara.

As it was, with Griffon production well established in Argentina, the Yarara would see itself staying with that engine series until the end of the conflict. Towards the end of the war, some Yararas were seen equiped with 80 series Griffon engines and contraprops though only a modest number were built as such.

By Autumn of 1943, the first Griffon 60 series equiped Yararas were being warmly accepted on the front lines of the Pacific and South-East Asian theatres of battle by their pilots and ground crews.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on July 25, 2014, 01:37:12 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 26, 2014, 02:11:06 AM
Flying the Goshawk

Until the Yarara got its much needed boost in speed, the job of giving it cover typically fell to the FMA Culpeo or its Australian built offshoot, the Commonweatlth Goshawk.

While an effective fighter, broadly comparable to the Spitfire family in performance, opinions on the Goshawk were often quite divided. While it did show a good deal of inovation in some aspects of its design, it had some other aspects which betrayed a lack of fighter design experience on the part of its designers.

In its favour, the aircraft had quite concentrated firepower with four machine guns in the fuselage and two 20mm cannons in the wings. It could make short work of a Zero and quickly inflict serious damage on fighters larger and more powerful than itself.

It was also relatively small in overall dimensions and very agile, making it a very challenging target to hit for all but the best of air or surface based gunners. In spite of the small overall size, the cockpit was appreciated by many pilots for being roomier than outside appearnces indicated.

Against it was a fabric on frame aft fuselage section and poor rearward visibility in earlier variants. It wasn’t until spring of 1943 when a cut down rear fuselage of stressed metal construction, blown cockpit canopy and Griffon engine were introduced to the design that the problem started to be aleviated.

The main landing gear design was also considered a drawback by some. Many said it was overbuilt and too heavy for an aircraft of the Goshawk’s size and weight; however, many praised the robust nature of the main gear units

Pros and cons aside, the aircraft went down in the history books favourably with a reputation as a pilot’s plane which was fast and responsive and reasonably free of vices.

Bartholomew Richard “Rich” Simpson RAAF (1924-)

In the context of the Royal Australian Air Force, Rich Simpson of Perth was one of the most successful Goshawk pilots. He survived the war with a tally of 26 confirmed aerial victories and 10 probable victories.

At the time of writing, Simpson is a lively and spirited 90 year old living semi-independently in a suburb of Perth.

“I enjoyed flying the Goshawk very much, it was light on the controls but never got out of hand on you; it also needed very little runway to take off and land. It was perfect for operating from all those tiny islands in the South Pacific.

For myself, the cockpit of the Goshawk was a real selling point. I wasn’t tall, but I was stocky and had my family’s wide shoulders. The spitfire cockpit was horribly cramped for me and my shoulders ached for hours after being stuck in one of those; the Goshawk cockpit was just that extra bit wider that it made all the difference in the world to me.

From a purely cosmetic standpoint, I much prefered the Goshawk to the Spitfires that the RAAF had. Our Spitfires had that awful, bulky Vokes filter unit on them that made an otherwise beautiful aircraft look hideous!

On the other hand, the Goshawk had a much more streamlined filter of Argentine design that didn’t foul the lines of the aircraft.

In combat, the Goshawk could put firepower into a small area like few others could. With only the 20mm cannons in the wings and the four machine guns in the fuselage, the Goshawk could put a gaping hole in just about anything the Japanese could send up in very short order. That concentrated firepower was a godsend when aircraft like the Kawasaki Ki-61 and Nakajima Ki-84 put in appearances. It was always best to avoid them, but when you couldn’t, you certainly wanted to hurt them badly enough that they couldn’t come back at you. They were bigger, more powerful and had bigger teeth than the Goshawk; we knew we would get no second chances against one if we didn’t hit them right the first time. Bagging Zeros was a walk in the park by comparison.

Attrition was high in the Goshawk squadrons. The new variants which appeared in 1943 with the reworked cut down rear fuselage decking and blown canopy reduced the losses to a good degree. Losses fell sharply with the introduction of the Griffon engine to the Goshawk in 1943; It was a much needed shot of speed.

With regards the landing gear; I liked it. Some said it was overbuilt and excessive; but I’d rather have a good solid set of gear legs under my plane on landing than that squirrely, narrow track set up the Spitfire had.

One of my more senior unit mates told me the Goshawk’s main gear reminded him of some of the Italian fighters he saw captured in Africa. I’d never seen an Italian fighter, I was still in training when he was in Africa, so I had to take his word for it. After the war, I had the chance to see an Italian fighter in a museum and I have to say his comparison was pretty much spot on. You’d swear the Argentines had Italian help designing that much of the plane.

As for any difference between the Goshawk and Culpeo; it was all academic. Beyond the manufacturers’ plate, they were the same beast. More than once, I thought I was climbing into a Goshawk until I saw the FMA plate in the cockpit.

I was proud to be associated with the Goshawk. It was a damn good plane even though other fighters got more glory.”

In the background, Rich’s great grandchildren and their parents are enjoying reruns of “The Simpsons” television series. Rich reflects on how some people have taken to calling him “Bart” since the advent of  the series:

“At first I hated it! I never took “Bart” as a name in my life. In fact, I hated anything to do with my first name, I always like “Richard” or “Rich” better.

With some reluctance, at my grandchildrens’ insistance, I sat with them and watched the show when it was new. At first, I couldn’t stand the Bart character; he was cheeky and disrespectful and basically everything I had been when I was 18 or 19 in the RAAF!

Needless to say, Bart grew on me and I enjoyed the show with my grandkids.”

Pausing for a moment with a twinkle in his eye and a mischevious smirk:

“If ‘Eat my shorts’ had been around in my flying days, you can bet I’d have painted it on my plane!”

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on July 26, 2014, 04:38:11 AM
Loving it! Any more description of the Culpeo/Goshawk airframe?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 26, 2014, 03:58:28 PM
Thanks for checking in!

I'm actually getting together the components to build a pre 1943 Goshawk/Culpeo in 1/72 at the moment.

I've got an old Revell Macchi C.200 which will donate the wing centre section with the landing gear.

The fuselage will be a combination of a Spitfire Mk.9 and an Avia B-534 series 4. The Spitfire will mostly be for the forward fuselage and Merlin engine.

I chose the Avia as it has the fabric on frame rear fuselage section and the four machine guns in the fuselage that I wanted.

The wing will be a bash of the Spitfire and Macchi wings, but in what ratio I'm not certain yet.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on August 04, 2014, 10:52:24 AM
Ooo, intriguing combo. I'm looking forward to seeing this Goshawk/Culpeo bash!
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 04, 2014, 09:44:12 PM
I'm hoping to be able to start it soon. I'm doing some sketches right  now and when I hit something that really works, I'll get to cutting and gluing.

I'm not sure yet if I'll do a WIP thread or just build it and show it when done.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 26, 2014, 10:39:31 PM
Return to Yenangyaung

Late Autumn of 1943 saw the bulk of Burma’s Arakan state firmly under Allied control. Of particular importance was the border region between Arakan and Magwe states. Magwe was directly to the east of Arakan and was where the rich Yenangyaung oil field was located.

Prior to Japan’s conquest of Burma in 1942, the oil field was held by British interests. With the swiftness of the Japanese advance through the country, the plan was to destroy the oil wells and refining facilities with explosives to deny the invaders use of them. As it was, the Japanese moved too quickly and captured the oil fields before they could be destroyed.

The determination of the Allies to return and destroy the Yenangyaung facilities was equally matched by Japan’s determination to keep them operational and the precious oil they produced flowing.

The Magwe Campaign began with an Allied air and land offensive across the border from Arakan in December of 1943. It would be a drawn out ordeal with some of the bloodiest ground battles on Burmese soil.

Magwe presented vary different fighting conditions; whereas Arakan had been coastal and mountainous, Magwe was part of Burma’s central plains region. Through the Arakan Campaign; Brazilian ground forces had come to the fore, Argentine ground forces would be taking the lead across Magwe.

Back to Basics

For the balance of the Magwe Campaign, Yarara units were occupied with close support of infantry and armored divisions. The aircraft was truly back in its element down low and the increased speed of the latest variants made them one of the most valued air assets of the campaign.

A Japanese veteran recalls facing the Yarara as an anti aircraft gunner:

“I was manning an anti aircraft gun when a group of Yararas came at us really low over a grove of trees. They flew low enough that their propellers stirred up a big green cloud of leaves and I couldn’t make out their outlines or even tell how many there were.

We fired into the cloud and hoped for the best, but abandoned our gun as the cloud got closer.

We’d found cover and watched our gun shattered effortlessly by the aircraft. As they climbed out and prepared for another run at us, we could see they had been a group of three.

This, we would come to learn, was a standard tactic for the Yarara. They would come in formations of three or four, two in front with the third in a slot position behind or two pairs in a square formation. The front two would stir up enough of a cloud to obscure the group and they’d be travelling so fast that you might only get time for one shot at them.”

Some Yarara tactics took advantage of the aircraft’s dive bomber pedigree to truly devastating results. One such incident is recalled by a British army veteran:

“We were doing reccon somewhere south of Padam when we spotted some Japanese light armored infantry in the distance. We reported them, but they had already been seen and reported by another reccon unit shortly before.

No sooner had we reported them than  four or five Yararas broke through the cloud cover in near vertical dives at terrific speed and put a pair of bombs each on the Japanese. After pulling out of their dives, they engaged in a series of slashing cannon attacks. The whole attack took little more than five minutes and the aircraft were on their way out.

We were ordered to advance to the site of the attack. The aftermath was beyond words; not a prisoner to take, not a piece of gear to recover, not a single man or machine left intact.

We recorded the results and started our trip back to our base. Nobody talked, what was there to say?”

To the River

Through spring and early summer of 1944, the Yarara squadrons continued their close support work for the ground units. Yarara pilots were also free to take targets of opportunity during regular patrols. Such targets became much more prevalent as the Allies approached the Irrawaddy River in late July.

Yenangyaung sat directly on the Irrawaddy and was heavily defended by the Japanese. The hope was that ground forces could recapture the oil field; however, nearly a month of steady fighting through August with little progress made the solution obvious.

Late in the afternoon of August 28, 1944; Ground forces were ordered to fall back from Yenangyaung.

As night fell, a group of Yararas equiped with flares marked the oil fields and were followed by a large formation of Arakan based RAAF Lancasters to put an end to the campaign.

What Japanese survivors that were surrendered without resistance to Allied ground forces.

Fuel for the Fire

The Allied victory in Magwe was a huge boost to the morale of forces further south who, in the same time frame, were fighting their way up the Sunda Islands towards the Sumatran oil fields.

At the time the Yenangaung oil fields were destroyed, Allied ground forces were still heavily engaged in combat on the island of Java.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 27, 2014, 02:51:23 AM
Nice update.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 24, 2014, 03:14:56 AM
Ships in Passing

Mid November of 1944 saw the arrival of the newly commissioned aircraft carrier ARA Rio Negro and it's battle group arrive in New Zealand waters in preparation to relieve ARA Resistencia and her respective group in the defense of Timor and the continuing fight for the Sunda Islands and Sumatran oilfields.

The Rio Negro was of purely South American design and much larger than the Resistencia; it was the pride of three nations and inspired awe from onlookers as it passed Aukland and other points along the north of the country on its way to Timor.

It's deck was busy with the latest models of Yarara, Garza, Culpeo and Avenger aircraft. Additionally, the Rio Negro air wing contained Vought Corsair fighters to take some of the work load off of the Culpeos and Yararas.

After a brief ceremony, Rio Negro took over Resistencia's duties and the older ship and  her group made way for Perth before the long cruise homeward.

Post war interviews with veterans of the Resistencia group at the time reflect the mood that was:

Jorge Argente (Culpeo pilot, Argentine Navy)

"Rumors had been swirling for months beforehand that Resistencia would be going home before 1944 was out, but we were all very skeptical until the day actually came. The first thing I did when we arrived in Perth was to send a telegram to my wife; not that it was necessary though, news of us coming home was well known before I had a chance to tell her.

I was happy, but a bit apprehensive at going home. There had been the coup and my wife had told me how it had changed the mood on the streets and in life in general. There was great speculation but little certainty of where Argentina would be headed politically and socially in the near future.

If I had the certainty of nothing else, I had the knowledge that I would spend the rest of the war at home in an instructor role. Someone felt I had accumulated enough experience in combat that I had become too risky to lose and my skills were best used in training new Culpeo pilots at home. I had that assurance in writing and I guarded that letter with my life!

Resistencia had the speed and the seas were willing. My wife and I had each other for Christmas in 1944 and every year after until she passed away in the early 1980s."

Emanuel Velloso (engine technician, Brazilian Navy) 

"I was stationed on a frigate for the time of the Resistencia's cruise in the area around Timor. I thought the Resistencia was the largest ship our three nations would ever field in the conflict until I saw the Rio Negro; it was easily half again as big as Resistencia. I couldn't believe, or help feeling tremendous pride, that our nations could make such a contribution as that. Rio Negro was a South American design from the keel up and our allies looked at us with even more respect than they had before after she entered service.

For myself, going home was a bittersweet thing. I knew very well that my life wouldn't be the same as I'd left it and it wasn't simply my experiences in war that would make it so.

About a year before we got out orders to go home, I had received one of those horrible "Dear John" letters from my girlfriend at the time. The sadness didn't last too long though; about four months after getting that letter, I got the wonderful news that my sister had given birth to a healthy baby boy. With the few days we had in Perth before heading home, I managed to find a small gift of Australia for him.

The Christmas of 1944 stands tallest in my memories of Christmases past. I was home, safe with my family. I was adjusting to my new duties as an uncle with great happiness and I had received a promotion and shore based post from the navy. I was one of the lucky ones to spend the rest of the war at home."

Armando de la Cruz (aircraft technician, Uruguayan Navy)

"It was great relief more than anything. I wanted to feel total elation, but my mind wouldn't let me until our ship was in Argentine waters again. Even in the relative safety of Australia, I couldn't let go of enough reserve to go out partying and carousing as some of the other guys did. To me, it didn't seem appropriate to be celebrating there anyway. Perth was full of allied sailors heading north into the thick of things; I couldn't party in front of them knowing full well what they were in for.

I found a quiet pier at the far end of the port and enjoyed the first peaceful sunset on the ocean I'd seen in ages. I had a small flask of rum and enjoyed it in the solitude.

I knew well enough that I would be discharged from the navy shortly after getting home, but I had also received a letter from FMA in Cordoba, Argentina inviting me to go there for an interview and possible employment.

I didn't have much of a family to celebrate Christmas with, but the future in civilian life was looking positive."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on March 04, 2015, 10:22:29 PM
Battle of the Salween River

The Magwe Campaign, which culminated in the destruction of the Yenangyaung oilfields in late August of 1944, marked a rapid withdrawal of remaining Japanese military forces in Burma through Autumn.

By the begining of 1945, Allied forces had taken control of most of Burma west of the Salween river. The Japanese had retreated to Thailand and Indochina to regroup, keeping only the areas of Burmese soil east of the Salween under their control.

While the ARA Rio Negro had taken up station in the waters south of Java and Sumatra, the HMS Audacious had recently arrived in the Andaman Sea. The air wing of the Audacious was primarily tasked with launching air strikes into the deep southern part of Burma which led to the Malayan Peninsula and was still under Japanese control.

The Battle of the Salween happened in the same time frame as the Battle of Manila in the Philippines.

The Salween conflict was characterised by a series of low key skirmishes throughout the river basin that largely involved Allied ground forces seeking out remaining units of the Japanese military.

While Japanese forces were still a threat on the ground and on the river itself during the battle, the Allies had solid control of the air over the river basin and the Yarara crews were let loose to fly low and hunt freely for targets of oportunity.

Primarily armed with their standard quartet of 20mm cannons along with underwing rockets, the Yararas did regualar and deadly patrols of the river and made short work of any Japanese patrol boat afloat or docked on the Salween’s waters.

Such attacking tactics which involved flying low and following river courses came naturally to the South American Yarara pilots as being able to do so was part of their flight training regime from a very early stage. Not only did it give them a deadly proficiency against targets on the river itself, but also excellent abilities to identify and attack Japanese ground activity further up the banks of the river.

As with the Battle of Manila, the Battle of the Salween was an Allied victory.

As American forces were concentrating on the Philippines and points east, Commonwealth and South American forces prepared for a decisive drive to Malaya and northern Sumatra.

Japanese resistance through the region had notably diminished since they lost Yenangyaung and the precious oil it provided to them.

The Sun Sets on Sumatra

The Allied push to take the rich oilfields of Sumatra was largely a ground campaign; orders were very strict to capture the oilfields with minimal damage to them. The air elements involved in that conflict were primarily tasked with giving cover to ground forces rather than bombing.

In the early morning hours of Febrary 10, a group of Yararas with Corsairs to provide air cover launched from the Rio Negro and flew inland to scout ahead of the day’s first push against the Japaneses‘ last line of oilfield defenses.

The Yararas struck Japanese gunnery positions with deadly efficiency while the Corsairs tended to the Japanese fighters that went aloft to counter them.

After a day and a half of intense ground fighting, Allied forces were victorious in taking control of the Sumatran oilfields.
Though the Japanese still had the oil on Borneo under their control and defended it jealously, the loss of the Sumatran fields truly marked the begining of the end for any sustainable military resistance the nation could muster. Despite this, they continued to fight.

The Siege of Singapore

The air wing of the HMS Audacious provided excellent support for Allied ground forces advancing toward Malaya and the RAAF had begun a heavy bombing campaign into Thailand to put further pressure on Japanese forces in that country.

The Allies met relatively little Japanese resistance until they reached Malaya itself, where the Japanese had chosen to amass forces and make a larger stand.

Once the Sumatran oilfields had been taken, the Rio Negro moved to the northern tip of the island to keep the Japanese from trying to retake it and to aid in the expected fighting which would take place in Malaya and Singapore.

By late February, ground and air forces were clashing fiercely over Malaya. While the Audacious and Rio Negro carrier wings got the upper hand in matters overhead, the ground war was a much more difficult matter and the japanese were putting up some of the harshest fighting the Allies had seen out of them in weeks.

“We had learned well that the Japanese were not the sort to go down without a fight. They made us fight across Sumatra for months before we touched the oilfields and they would keep swinging until their last man couldn’t swing another punch. And they had a hell of a last punch lined up for us in Singapore.”

Thus recalled an Australian veteran several years after the war.

Slowly, but steadily, the Allies pushed the Japanese back across Malaya in the direction of Singapore through the early spring. It was just beyond the outskirts of the city state that the Japanese were joined by reinforcements who had been kept back.

Though refreshed, the Japanese were still outnumbered in the battle to hold Singapore.

As the battle raged into the evening on the land side of the city, heavily laden aircraft lifted from the ground on the Thai coast.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on March 07, 2015, 03:44:41 AM
Oooh! What's happening now?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on May 06, 2015, 08:41:01 PM
While working out some of the details for the next chapter of the story, I decided to take a break and hit the sketchbook.

I give you a rough and ready sketch of an early/mid production FMA Culpeo:


This one is a mix of early and mid features including mid production four blade prop and sand filter in combination with the flame dampening exhaust shroud which was seen exclusively on early production Culpeos. Goshawks were never fitted with flame dampeners at all.

Such configuration was typical of the aircraft just before the design was reworked to take a Griffon engine, cut down rear fuselage of metal construction and a bubble canopy.

Wing design and gun placement stayed largely unchanged throughout the aircraft's development.

As always, all comments are welcomed

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on May 07, 2015, 08:24:37 AM
From the windscreen back, the FMA Culpeo looks very much Morane-Saulnier MS.406 inspired. Looks good, too.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on May 08, 2015, 11:09:09 PM
From the windscreen back, the FMA Culpeo looks very much Morane-Saulnier MS.406 inspired. Looks good, too.


Thanks. I didn't see the MS.406 similarity until you pointed it out.

My eyes were seeing a Rogozarski IK-3 resemblance in a lot of places.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on May 09, 2015, 05:09:48 AM
From the windscreen back, the FMA Culpeo looks very much Morane-Saulnier MS.406 inspired. Looks good, too.


I thought the same.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on May 09, 2015, 09:34:15 AM
Somehow I'm seeing a low monoplane version of the Avia B-534. I like it  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on May 09, 2015, 05:08:55 PM
Somehow I'm seeing a low monoplane version of the Avia B-534. I like it  :)

Thanks, that's more or less what I was aiming for. Basically a parallel to the Fury to Hurricane transition.

Some of my earlier sketches kept the B-534's fuselage machine gun placement unchanged from the real world; however, in reality, the Avia's guns were pretty weak by the time WWII rolled around. I though that keeping two in the original spots and moving the other two up top between the engine and cockpit that it would allow for bigger calibres to be fitted more easily while still keeping the concentration of fire afforded by fuselage mounted guns.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on June 24, 2015, 07:22:06 PM
Reflection in the Fire

“I prayed. I prayed and I cried as I switched between looking at the canopy of my parachute and the sea below me. I could see other parachutes; some on fire, some with lifeless bodies hanging from them, some of them ours and others theirs. Though it was night, there was enough light from seachlights and fire for me to see much more than I wished to.

Bombers and fighters smashing each other to pieces between Borneo and Singapore; Bombers with nowhere to go but down even if they did make it to their target. They would not have the fuel to return to Japanese held territory and were under orders to find and crash the aircraft into any enemy ship they could find.

One would think that aircraft such as bombers were to valuable for such practices, but the truth was we could barely support them anymore. We were running on hastily and poorly refined fuel that was drastically shortening engine life. We knew from experience, that flying the aircraft from Thailand to Singapore on such poor fuel would render the engines almost unuseable after.

It had been decided that this was likely the last massive bombing raid we could stage and the aircraft were better destroyed than captured.

I remember the pre mission breifing, when we were told that our mission was simply to deny Singapore to our enemy by flattening it outright. In spite of the fact that we had so certainly lost the war, the fanaticism of our leaders was still strong.

As the wind pushed my parachute in the direction of Sumatra, I prayed as I had never done so in my life.

I prayed that someone, someday, could find a way to forgive me for being part of this particular mission.”

So went a passage from a partially finished book manuscript found by the family of a former Japanese bomber crewman shortly after he passed away in the early 1970s in his home in a remote area of the island of Hokaido.

A book left unpublished, bearing a recollection of an event that very few of the handfull of known Japanese survivors of the raid over Singapore were ever willing to speak of.

The Dragon’s Last Breath

The mission to crush Singapore was unorthodox not only because it was known to be one of no return, but also because it employed a tactic of using the infamous Black Dragon bomber in a very conventional, en masse, fashion.

Typically, the bombers were used individually or in small formations against very specific and well defined targets. Forming up in large groups was not something their crews were accustomed to. It was the aircrafts’ range and payload that was the deciding factor in using them.

The bombers were joined by fighters from Borneo over the island and made the turn for Singapore there. Enroute to Singapore, the bombers broke into two formations, one targeting Singapore’s harbour and port areas while the other targeted inland sections of the city.

The bombers were joined by carrier based IJN fighters partway to Singapore. This was fortuitous for them as they still had the Borneo based fighters with them as well when they were jumped by Allied fighters.

The particular variant of the bomber was much changed from earlier versions. It was able to fly higher and had the dorsal turret removed in favour of more armor over the crew area. The hope was that between a higher operating hieght and more armour that attacks from above would be difficult and unappealing to attackers and that escort fighters could concentrate on protecting the undersides of the formation.

To a degree, this thinking worked. Corsairs, armed only with machine guns, were some of the first Allied fighters to attack the bombers and found that they needed to take very precise aim at either the cockpit and bombardier sections or the engines if they wanted to have the greatest effect on the bombers from above. Any time spent firing at the upper fuselage aft of the cockpit to just aft of the wing trailing edge was a waste of ammunition.

When news of this reached Allied fighter units, several squadrons of Yararas were diverted from the surface attack missions they’d been tasked with and were refitted to a bomber killer role. Fitted with the standard four Hispano 20mm cannons plus two extra 20mm cannons in pods under the wings; the first Yararas equiped as such launched from the Brazilian carrier Amazonas under an escort of Culpeos and Corsairs.

Similarly armed Yararas launched from the Rio Negro shortly after to head off the bombers before they reached Singapore.

The Yararas successfully got above the bombers and bore down on them, breaking the bombers’ dorsal armor with relative ease compared to the corsairs’ machine guns.

While the Yararas sent several bombers down, several of their own were lost to Japanese heavy fighters in the process.

The Dragon’s Ashes

“We had stemmed the tide, but we had not turned it” One Amazonas based Yarara pilot recalled shortly after the war.

“The remaining bombers were still heading to Singapore when we had to break off our attacks on them, we’d done what we could on the fuel and weapons we had and could only hope that the Rio Negro squadrons could finish the rest.”

The attack as recalled by a Black Dragon pilot:

“We could see Singapore straight ahead as well as Yararas and Corsairs coming straight for us from the Argentine and British carriers on the other side of the peninsula as well as land based fighters coming at us from Sumatra. The Corsairs flew out ahead of the Yararas as our own fighters flew out ahead of us to clash with them.

Our bomb bay doors were open and the order was given to drop the bombs. My plane was assigned to the formations attacking the port and harbour; our bomb load was primarily heavy fragmentation bombs set for aerial detonation to puncture ship hulls and any large tanks of fuel or flamable liquids. Bombers hauling loads of incendiaries were following close behind us.

As our bomb doors closed and I put the aircraft on a heading to the sea further ahead of us, I spared a glance to the city side of the cockpit and saw vast sections of the city consumed in the flames.

I heard a horrible punching noise from further back in the aircraft and the whole of the machine shuddered. We were hit, but not fatally; one of our fighters had quickly taken care of the attacker.

My crew were all still alive, but we were too low for bailing out with parachutes. I spotted a relatively open patch of sea and belly landed the plane. We quickly escaped the plane and waited in a life raft for whoever it might be who came to claim us.

As it turned out, ours was one of only two bombers to make it over the peninsula. The rest had either not made it to Singapore at all or had been destroyed during or shortly after their attacks.”

Cold Dawn

The first rays of the next day’s sun revealed a smoldering, shattered Singapore. The port and harbour were completely underwater and the sea was threatening to take some of the fragile adjoining areas out with the tide.

Twisted in with the remnants of the city were countless broken aircraft of both Japanese and Allied origin. What few survivors remained were found in the remnants of the city’s most far flung outskirts, the only parts of the city left standing.

All Black Dragon bombers involved in the mission were destroyed and more than 90% of their crewmen confirmed dead or presumed so.

Entire squadrons of fighters, both Japanese and Allied were lost in the battle; very few of those aircrafts’ crews survived the night.

Some of the most telling testimony of the aftermath came from those on the ground; both the Allied and Japanese soldiers who dared to venture into what was left.

A retired New Zealand army officer, and one of the first to enter Singapore after the bombing, recalled some years after the war:

“We couldn’t get close to the heart of the city for nearly 48 hours as the flames kept burning so intensely.

We could tell from the looks on the Japanese soldiers’ faces that they were as shocked and dumbfounded as we were. They truly didn’t know that this was coming and whatever fight they had the night before was gone from most of them. Most laid their weapons down and surrendered to us willingly.

We did what we could for the few survivors of the city we could find, and they were very few.

The bombing of Singapore is forever in my memory the most complete state of destruction in one place that I personally saw during the war.”

These words from a retired Japanese officer:

“The bombing of Singapore was one of the very few things our superiors ordered during the war that came close to surprizing me. By that point in the war, I thought very little could shock me.

The level of destruction was staggering to take in. It was an attack of pure spite and denial; our commanders had decided to clear it off the map with the last little bit of might they had left to display to our adversaries.

We knew we were expendable to those above us, but few of us that day had the will to die defending wreckage.

We surrendered. There was nothing else for us to do that day.”

Singapore remained in a forsaken state through the remainder of the war. In the late 1940s, the land the city had stood on was razed and allowed to be overgrown.

No attempt was ever made to rebuild Singapore and a permanent monument was erected off the coast in the mid 1980s.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 14, 2015, 02:36:50 PM
It looks like this story just got its 10,000th viewing! I never expected that!

Thanks for following along, all of you who do.  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on July 15, 2015, 02:59:10 AM
It looks like this story just got its 10,000th viewing!

Damn stats function playing up again... ;)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on July 16, 2015, 02:22:11 AM

With well practiced precision and workmanlike efficiency, eight Argentine navy Yararas were launched from their carrier deck into a near cloudless blue sky and headed inland. Just off the coast, they were joined by an equal number of air force Yararas and formed into four groups of four abreast.

As the first group adjusted course to the target, the next group prepared to break from the circuit they had been holding and follow suit. In turn, the last two groups made their passes over the target and faded into the distance.

One of the Yarara pilots later recalled of the event:

"We flew low enough to hear the people below screaming. It was fantastic!"

The date was May 8, 1945 and news of Germany's surrender swept world headlines.

As the last group of Yararas disappeared beyond the dome of Argentina's Congressional Palace after flying the length of Avenida de Mayo, a group of twelve Culpeos followed swiftly in their wake; much to the delight of the jubilant crowds below.

The times were unstable in Argentina, the uncertainty that came with living under a provisional government hung over everyone's head.

This brief respite was most welcome and the people made the most of it.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 08, 2015, 04:30:45 AM
Snake Eyes

Through the bulk of May and June, the skies above the Malay Peninsula buzzed withthe sound of Allied aircraft.  The Yarara S.III TR, a dedicated tactical reconnaissance variant of the Griffon powered branch of the Yarara family was a very common denizen of the region at the time.

Some of the Japanese military units on the peninsula refused to surrender after the destruction of Singapore and began moving northward towards Thailand, where Japan still held territory. A wing of Yarara reconnaissance variants had been transferred to a rudimentary though functional base at Lamut, west of Kuala Lumpur, as soon as the northward movements of the Japanese were confirmed.

“The Japanese who were moving toward Thailand stood a chance of getting there. The section of the peninsula which belonged to Thailand and Burma was not wholly secured by the Allies and it was becoming notorious for unrest and skirmishes among local people. The regional power was unstable and the Malayan Communist Party was taking advantage of it. With such internal unrest , there were plenty of opportunities for the Japanese to slip through if they got the chance. 

It was a very busy time for us, it seemed we were constantly flying or briefing and de-briefing; we took it on faith that we were sleeping and eating though few of us clearly remember doing either in those two months.

The Japanese had made themselves very difficult to detect; not only were their survival skills sharp, they also refrained from firing on us at all when we were in their vicinity. Clearly survival to Thailand was their priority and they were exercising a great deal of discipline in achieving that goal.

Ultimately, we had some success in locating some of the fleeing groups and putting the armed Yarara units or infantry units onto their locations. However, in the years after the war, we learned that a surprising number had successfully made it to their goal.

In spite of the Japanese refraining to shoot at us, we did lose a few aircraft to hostile fire in those two months. As it transpired, those responsible were local people whose agenda for the region would come to the fore in the years immediately following the war.”

The Yarara S.III TR was a remarkably clean flying machine given its Stuka lineage. While the baseline Yarara always had a capacity for minor recconnaisance work, the S.III TR stripped all weapons away and brought the aircraft's potential as a dedicated camera platform to the forefront.

The airframes which became S.III TR models were diverted from the standard attack verision assembly lines at an early construction stage and their construction was finished to the reconnaissance standard.

Great care was taken in making the S.III TR as smooth as possible. The majority of panel lines were filled and sanded smooth and a new, more streamlined cockpit canopy was fitted to it.

Production of this variant was split between FMA's La Pampa facility and Hindustan Aircraft in Bangalore, India. Primary wartime operators of the type were Argentina and India.

While never the most numerous member of the Yarara family, the S.III TR was the swiftest and longest serving of the piston powered Yarara lines.  The last examples of this variant active in military service were retired from the Mexican air force in the mid to late 1960s after being replaced by Lockheed RT-33 aircraft from America.


The end of June and most of July showed a distinct slow down in Japanese military action as well as key victories for the Allies. American forces had taken the Island of Okinawa before June was out and liberated the Philippines by early July. The end of July saw the American bombing of Aomori.


Early August of 1945 saw the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed by Japan's announcement of surrender on the 15th of that month.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 08, 2015, 05:21:13 AM
The Yarara to the End of WWII

This would be a good time to take a look at the Yarara evolution thus far in the story before moving into the post war period.

Piston powered Yararas are broadly divided into three branches or series, using the engine as the primary differentiator between them.

All three series were built in both ground based versions and carrier capable naval versions.

Series I

The initial versions of the Yarara, those powered by the  Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine, were collectively known as Series I. This naming was retroactive as more variants of the Yarara came into being through the course of the war.

By the outbreak of the Second World War, all Yarara S.I variants had been relegated to training and second line duties.

Early S.I aircraft were armed with six .50 calibre machine guns. However, most aircraft had been converted to take four 20mm cannons or had been stripped of guns entirely by the time the last S.I aircraft had been retired.

Series II

Introduced in 1940, the Rolls Royce Merlin powered variants were known generally as Series II in Yarara nomenclature.

The Yarara S.II is often seen as the true workhorse of the piston engined branch of the Yarara family; they were built in greater numbers than other piston series and accounted for the highest percentage of Axis ground equipment destroyed or damaged by Yararas. This is, no doubt, due to its heavy usage against German and Italian forces in North Africa.

It was through the Series II that the Yarara developed and built its reputation as an adaptable and solid air to groud platform that was bothered little by adverse weather conditions.

Series III

Late 1942 saw the Yarara S.III debut. A significantly refined and reworked variant of the aircraft family that took its power from a Rolls Royce Griffon engine, the Series III were faster and lighter than the S.II and had been stripped of the ability to carry torpedoes as the S.I and S.II had been able to do.

Removing the weighty hardware and structures associated with carrying a torpedo gave the S.III versions appreciable handling advantages over its forebears.

The greater overall speed and better responsiveness on the controls on the S.III did, to a limited degree, put the Yarara back in the air to air combat arena. While it would not be used in dogfighting, it could be used very effectively as a bomber interceptor as evidenced by its actions during the Siege of Singapore.

While both S.I and S.II versions had minor reconnaissance abilities, The S.III was the only variant of the Yarara to give rise to a dedicated tactical reconnaissance version, the S.III TR.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 12, 2015, 02:27:20 AM
Silent Duties

On a brilliant spring afternoon in 1947, a pair of RAAF Yararas sat on the ground in the Australian sun. The air surrounding them was still and silent. The pair had seen better days; they were faded and missing some parts. Their engines had be silent for over year.

In a hail of machine gun fire and engine noise issued from a pair RAAF Mustangs careening over the weapons range moments later, the two Yararas became an even sorrier sight than they had already been.

The Mustang pair circled over the range once after their firing pass and then disappeared into the distance.

In one of the Mustangs that day was former Goshawk pilot, Richard Simpson:

“I remember those days very well. A lot of the Yararas and Goshawks had been put out on the ranges when the Mustangs came in and it was an odd feeling training guns and rockets on them.

In fact, the Yararas and Goshawks were pretty much gone from RAAF service within a year of the war ending to make room for the Mustang that was replacing both of them. Both types stayed in navy service a bit longer, until the Sea Fury arrived.

I loved the Mustang and was proud to fly it, but I'm not afraid to say I choked up a bit that first time I laid my guns into a Goshawk on the range. It was a bittersweet moment for certain as I learned a little later that I had several hours of stick time on that particular Goshawk.”

It was a similar story through the immediate post war years in other nations that had been primary users of the Yarara. While the aircraft had been built in substantial numbers, many were converted to range targets for a new generation of fliers to hone their skills upon.

However, a good number of aircraft were granted a pardon from execution.

Yarara Diaspora

At the end of the Second World War a number of fully and near fully assembled Yararas were left unclaimed at production facilities across Argentina and Brazil as well as a large number in similar states in India. These aircraft as well as many low time airframes that did reach service were offered up for sale with particular emphasis being put on smaller nations and those with newly emergent independent air forces. They encountered a surprisingly high degree of interest in the aircraft.

While Argentina and Brasil sold off fresh airframes, Hindustan Aircraft offered both fresh and refurbished low time airframes.

The Yarara was going head to head against American and British WWII era machines for sales and, it could be said, did respectably well for itself in the face of the competition.

As Latin America was concerned, Mexico took a large number of fresh aircraft; many of these later found their way to El Salvador.

Paraguay took a mix of low time Uruguayan machines along with some fresh ones. This allowed Uruguay to take on more fresh aircraft.

Chile showed interest in the aircraft, but difficult relations between that country and Argentina made the deal virtually impossible. Chile had approached Brasil for the machines; However, Brasil was not willing to compromise relations with Argentina by selling the aircraft to Chile.

Outside of the Americas, interest was shown in the aircraft by Portugal. However, American aircraft won favour there in competition over the Yarara.

The aircraft that had been reserved for a possible Portuguese order, were offered to Israel instead and accepted there.

Through India, the Yarara kept a degree of presence in Asia. Many of the low time aircraft that were refurbished had come from points in Asia and were subsequently returned there; finding service in Burmese, Indonesian and Thai militaries.

The number of airframes available for refurbishment was high enough that the bulk of fresh aircraft available in India could go to new customers in the Middle East and Africa.

The major taker in the Middle East was Iraq, with a smaller number going to Iran.

Ethiopia and Kenya were the main buyers in Africa.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 12, 2015, 09:49:25 AM

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 12, 2015, 06:29:52 PM
Thanks for continuing to follow.

I spent quite a bit of time researching immediate post war foreign relations of the Yarara producing countries to figure out who likely post war users of it could be.

I decided to take it out of Australia and New Zealand fairly quick and reduce the presence of it in Asia.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to weave the Yarara fiction in with real aspects of Peronist Argentina and develop a plausible reason to make a turboprop version of it.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: elmayerle on December 13, 2015, 02:15:16 AM
I'm glad you're continuing this story and I think your distribution of airframes quite plausible.  As for Peronist Argentina, perhaps the data and/or prototypes of a late-war German turboprop design makes it's way there and they first need a testbed to fly it, Yarawas being quite suitable for that and then the demonstrated performance, coupled with the unavailability of engines from countries that did not care for Peron, led to production of a turboprop version, particularly if it gave near-turbojet performance without some of the takeoff drawbacks of early turbojets.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 13, 2015, 04:36:57 AM
I'm thinking of closer relations with Britain coming from the fictional end of things. Argentina giving Britian early access to the Yarara and developing carrier technology from a British base.

Peron was a bit of a wildcard in foreign relations and Argentina did get some British gear early on in the post war period, such as the Gloster Meteor.

I'm keeping a carrier in the Argentine arsenal post war and toying with the idea of taking Fairey Gannets to replace the Avengers. A single Mamba was one idea I had for the Yarara turboprop.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 13, 2015, 11:40:14 AM
Thanks for continuing to follow.

I spent quite a bit of time researching immediate post war foreign relations of the Yarara producing countries to figure out who likely post war users of it could be.

I decided to take it out of Australia and New Zealand fairly quick and reduce the presence of it in Asia.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to weave the Yarara fiction in with real aspects of Peronist Argentina and develop a plausible reason to make a turboprop version of it.

War with Chile? Brazil?

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 13, 2015, 08:11:49 PM
Thanks for continuing to follow.

I spent quite a bit of time researching immediate post war foreign relations of the Yarara producing countries to figure out who likely post war users of it could be.

I decided to take it out of Australia and New Zealand fairly quick and reduce the presence of it in Asia.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to weave the Yarara fiction in with real aspects of Peronist Argentina and develop a plausible reason to make a turboprop version of it.

War with Chile? Brazil?


I'm not sure of outright war, but definitely border tensions between Argentina and Chile. The two countries have a history of border disputes.

Within Argentina itself, there will be the 1955 junta which overthrew Peron.

There was also the Malayan Emergency, in which Thailand and Indonesia both participated in but on opposite sides.

Use by Thai forces also opens the door to use in Korea and early stages of Vietnam.

The Middle East has no shortage of conflicts I could put the Yarara into

In Kenya, the Yarara could be put into action in the Mau Mau Uprising.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on December 13, 2015, 09:00:08 PM
South Africa pushing north.

Allied use during the early part of the Korean conflict.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on December 14, 2015, 03:54:54 AM
South Africa pushing north.

Allied use during the early part of the Korean conflict.


Definite possibilities I'm considering.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on January 31, 2016, 12:54:06 AM
We'll Meet Again

"The immediate post war years in Germany were depressive ones to say the least. Wreckage was everywhere and it was difficult to see any reason to stay.

I'd spent most of the war as a POW and really had no idea what to do with myself when I got home to a shattered Berlin. Through the course of the war, I had lost both my father and my sister as well as learning that my fianceé had not waited for my return and had moved on romantically.

Getting back into flying as solace was near impossible given the restrictions of flying activities in Germany at the time. I was beside myself and an emotional wreck.

In this period of time, I was approached by Johannes Steinhoff and invited to be part of the rebuilding of the Luftwaffe. It was an ironic offer from and ironic source given that he had been a commanding officer of mine in 1940 and was disappointed enough in my off duty antics that he had me transfered to Africa as a punishment.

I'd say that by transfering me to Africa, he did save my life in a way. I was very Bohemian in my lifestyle and had I stayed in Europe I doubt I could have successfully hid the fact that I was nobody's Nazi. I'd have been found out and punished in far worse ways for that, I'm sure.

It looked like he was about to save my life a second time. He certainly didn't owe me such a thing.

Steinhoff had the herculean task of rebuilding the Luftwaffe and he needed experienced pilots to fill out the officer ranks. He came to me in the hopes that not only my piloting skills were intact, but that time spent as a POW had forced the immaturity out of me. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to prove myself on both counts and reported for a medical examination and selection.

I accompanied Steinhoff and a selection of veteran Luftwaffe pilots to America for training on a variety of modern aircraft that would equip the new Luftwaffe.

It all went generally well. I quite liked the F-86 Sabre, though the F-84 Thunderjet left me cold. I very much enjoyed comparing the various machines to each other and kept a lot of notes on each.

One evening, Steinhoff took me aside and told me how pleased he was to see me take the training so seriously and keeping the self control to keep myself out of pubs and the excessive partying I had been known for under his command.

Had that compliment come from any other man, it would ceratinly not have meant so much. He remembered the old me and took a chance on letting me be part of the new Luftwaffe. I had something to prove to him."

Some Sunny Day

"For a brief time, after training in America, myself and a few other pilots were invited to Argentina to do some training with Argentine pilots while waiting for the Luftwaffe to be officially reformed. It was there that I finally got a chance to get up close to the beast that had made me a POW; I finally got my hands on a Yarara.

Of course, the Series III Yarara was a very different machine to the Series II that we faced in Africa. However, it was an eye opening experience to be around one; the more I learned about it, the more I was impressed with it and the story behind it. To learn that it had its origin in a German design smuggled out of the Reich was quite exciting. Seeing how far it had been developed from the old Ju-87 drawings was nothing short of astounding.

I couldn't call the Yarara beautiful, but it was certainly more attractive and refined than the hideous Ju-87 it came from.

Flying the Series III was a great experience as long as you kept in mind what the plane was made to do. Its diving and recovery abilities were amazing and it was rock solid at low altitudes; about as perfect a platform for ground attack as could be. While I cetainly could have flown circles around one in a Bf-109, it was a very responsive aircraft for its size and role.

Watching a veteran Yarara pilot throw one around the sky was a treat to be savoured indeed.

I did get the chance to examine a Series II Yarara at the FMA facilities at La Pampa. While it wasn't in flying condition, its armor was intact and it wasn't hard to see why they told us 109 guys to stay clear of it and let the 110 and 510 pilots take them on. I suspect a Yarara could have exhausted a 109 of ammunition and stood a chance of carrying on.

I enjoyed my time in Argentina very much. As we were preparing to return to Germany, I had no way of knowing that I would be coming back to South America much sooner than I expected."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on January 31, 2016, 03:57:05 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on January 31, 2016, 07:08:54 AM
Thanks for continuing the story.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on January 31, 2016, 06:56:01 PM
Glad you're still following and enjoying.

Hans-Joachim Marseille is one of those people that I've always thought would be great for the "What if they had survived the war" scenarios.

He definitely had a ton of growing up to do, but I always though that if he got the chance to mature a bit as a person that he'd be a very good guy to have in the post war Luftwaffe.

I figured having him taken prisoner fairly early on in the conflict and kept as such through the duration of hostilities would be just the thing to get the "Devil may care" lad out of him and get him to be more responsible.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 01, 2016, 02:50:09 AM
A Man Distilled

"Jochen Marseille had changed much since he was under my command in 1940. He had the requisite confidence and aggressiveness for a fighter pilot, but lacked the equally requisite discipline to make them work to best advantage.

Africa took a lot of Europe's temptations away from him and he was, from all accounts, starting to show the potential of a great pilot when he was taken prisoner.

When I first saw him in Berlin after the war had ended, I saw a humbled man; not broken by any means, but certainly one who had learned that he wasn't invincible. The value of him learning that lesson became quickly evident when I offered him a chance to be part of the new Luftwaffe. His eagerness was clear, but temprered by a maturity I had not seen in him back in 1940.

Gone was the rakish lad I had sent packing to Africa. In his place was a young but wiser man looking for direction and purpose. I certainly had a purpose for him and was ready to take the chance that he was now more prepared to take direction than to defy it as he used to.

When we went to America, he was surprisingly assiduous in his training and evaluation of the American aircraft types that the reformed Luftwaffe would be using.

He had never been much of a team player in my memory, but he now flew in formations with no issues. Jochen had been transformed, I could not deny it.

His flying skills were sharp as ever. It also seemed his social skills were still very finely honed and he'd made good use of them in Argentina. He'd made many friends there, some very influential ones as it turned out.

Less than a year after he returned to Germany from Argentina, a letter crossed my desk from the Argentine Embassy requesting that Marseille be appointed as a military attaché to the newly re-established German Embassy in Buenos Aires. After cutting through the associated bureaucracy, he was on his way back across the Atlantic.

It didn't take long for him to show he was the very right man to be put in such a job. He got regular flying time in a variety of machines and was very adept at making deals for aeronautical technology exchange between Argentina and Germany."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on February 01, 2016, 06:40:05 AM
The forum needs a " LIKE " button.


Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 01, 2016, 01:10:04 PM
Thanks  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 04, 2016, 04:22:13 AM
False Starts in a Fertile Field

„Argentina was an exciting place to be from an aeronautical standpoint in the immediate post-war period. Several skilled aircraft designers and tradesmen came from Germany and other continental European countries to restart their careers. Among them was Kurt Tank and a group of other former Focke-Wulf employees who came with him.

There was also a push for an indigenously design jet fighter aircraft in Argentina. The first attempt, the Pulqui I, had been designed and flown prior to my attaché posting. It was a false start by all accounts. I arrived in summer of 1950, just after the Pulqui II first flew.

I had to say that the Pulqui II definitely looked like a better thought out machine than the Pulqui I. However, I had a few misgivings about it based on the fact that Tank had used his Ta-183 Huckebein design as an influence. I just could not see the sense in developing what was, at heart, an emergency fighter design to create a new fighter that there was time to develop from a clean sheet.

As it was, my scepticism of the aircraft was not of much consequence. The design was cemented and the aircraft built before I arrived. Just as its forbear, the Pulqui II eventually came to nothing. While poor performance had put an end to the Pulqui I, it was the fall of Peron's government in large part that spelled the end of the Pulqui II. Much governmental support for an indigenous jet fighter was lost after Peron fell.

At the same time, Reimar Horten was also in the country and pushing his ideas of flying wings and delta wing designs forward. He had much more revolutionary designs than Tank, but they ultimately were lost after Peron fell as well.

However, all was not lost. I had made acquaintance with Gyorgy Jendrassik, a Hungarian physicist and mechanical engineer who came to Argentina to escape political persecution in his homeland.”

In the Crucible of Thrust

Jochen Marseille met Gyorgy Jendrassik at an aeronautical industry conference hosted by FMA in Cordoba in September of 1950. Jendrassik very much wished to return to the development of gas turbine engines he had been working on prior to the war.

He had first published the idea of the turboprop engine in the 1920s and by 1937 had successfully bench run a gas turbine engine of 100 horsepower. From there, he developed the prototype of his Cs-1 turboprop engine. The Cs-1 generated a great deal of interest in the Hungarian aeronautical community and plans were to create heavy fighter to be powered by a pair of the engines.

The Cs-1 was bench run for the first time in 1940, but cumbustion associated problems led to work being discontinued on it in 1941.

Jendrassik brought the Cs-1 plans with him to Argentina and was very eager to drum up support that would allow him to return to working on the project and institute some modifications he had thought of in the interim.

He found an ardent supporter in Marseille:

“Jendrassik was very passionate about about his Cs-1 engine; while a lot of what he explained to me about it in technical terms went over my head, he clearly was a man who knew what he was talking about and had put in over a decade of work on gas turbine technology already to back up his position.

While the race to create a jet fighter would not be Argentina's to win, there was equal competition at the same time for turboprop engine technology. The country's aviation industry still had a chance there.

I started making calls and pulling strings.”

With Jendrassik guiding him through the technical challenges that lay in the path of solving the Cs-1's problem areas. Marseille gained a better understanding of the engine's potential and how sound a design it already was. It seemed it would not take much to make a flyable prototype based on Jendrassik's existing design and the amendments he proposed to it.

Marseille had some room given to Jendrassik at FMA in Cordoba to begin serious design work on the proposed modifications to the Cs-1. Part of that deal was that Jendrassik would also provide lectures about turboprop technology to Aerotechnical Institute faculty and students. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Marseille spent a good deal of time in Cordoba in meetings between representatives of FMA and Jendrassik himself to make sure the support of the Cs-1 stayed strong there.

He also assembled support for the Cs-1 in Buenos Aires. Various governmental ministries had taken interest; most notable were the ministries of industry, natural resources and trade.

Appropriate metallurgy would be required for the various components; between Argentina and Brasil, there was a more than adequate selection of natural mineral wealth to supply the metal demands of the engine's construction.

Also in Buenos Aires were the facilities of Hispano-Argentina, a company which was financially suffering in the post war years. They were a company in much need of a new project.

After a great deal of negotiating, which resulted in a generous development grant from the government to outfit Hispano-Argentina for production of the Cs-1, all the pieces seemed in place for the Cs-1 development to go ahead.

A Horse for the Power

The Yarara Series III was an easy choice of aircraft to take the Cs-1 for its first flight in. There was more than enough room in the nose with minimal modification and adjusting the aircraft's centre of gravity to compensate for the weight difference between the Griffon and the Cs-1 was relatively unproblematic.

The new Cs-1 prototype had been bench run in Autumn of 1951 and fitted and ground run in the Yarara through winter of that year.

All was set for the Cs-1's first flight in spring of 1952.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on February 05, 2016, 01:04:31 AM
" Like " button firmly pushed!

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: apophenia on February 05, 2016, 08:41:40 AM
Nice twist with Jendrassik and the Cs-1! Watching with interest  :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 05, 2016, 01:18:24 PM
Thanks, guys. Glad you're still following.

I decided to put the Cs-1 into the mix as I was getting a bit tired of trying to figure out what existing post war foreign turboprop to try to make fit.

Also the Cs-1 was a sound design that very likely would have stayed viable and had development potential into the post war period. That Jendrassik did actually spend time in Argentina after the war, and that the country did have the industrial base and resources to create the engine, opened the door for a domestic product rather than something imported.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 12, 2016, 09:26:29 PM
Something Old, Something New

On an early May morning in 1952, a set of hangar doors opened at FMA's Cordoba facilities and a pair of graceful aircraft were rolled out into the Argentine sun. Both aircraft were painted in an immaculate coat of silver paint trimmed with the Argentine colours.

A veteran FMA man recalls the scene:

"It was like looking at the Garza prototype on the day of it's first flight; The aircraft reflected the sun stunningly in their high polished silver paint.

I watched the hub of activity around the two aircraft as they were being prepared for first flight. There were some briefings going on behind closed doors that I wasn't privy to, so I just took the opportunity to be a spectator.

As midday approached, a group of people came onto the tarmac from the hangar and assembled in front of the two machines. It was a mix of  military and civilian people, all very smartly dressed. Some speeches were given, many hands were shaken and several glasses of champagne were brought together. The optimism was contagious.

Once the crowd had receded to a safe distance, the aircraft were started and taxied toward the end of the runway. It was so strange to hear something other than Rolls Royce piston engine sounds coming from a Yarara. The high pitched whine the turboprop engines started with soon gave way to a more pulsating tone as they sat ready to take off.

As they began the take off, they accelerated faster than I'd have thought possible for a propeller driven aircraft; it seemed impossible to me!

They lifted off, took up their landing gear and entered a climb so steep I swore they would stall; instead, they kept climbing. I'd only ever seen a jet take off like that.

The pilots performed a series of very high speed passes as well as many of the ground attack moves the Yarara was famous for. It was all very impressive and the pilots were met with huge applause as they parked the aircraft and opened the cockpits.

They had smiles on their faces, but they seemed a bit unsteady on their legs and their flight suits were almost completely soaked with sweat. I felt it a bit odd as they were both very experienced test pilots with many hours between them."

The day was also recalled by Jochen Marseille:

"It was an amazing performance of the new variant on the surface, but my pilot's eye told me something was amiss in the air. Some of the maneuvers seemed to take much longer than they should have to execute and the aircraft appeared to become a bit shaky towards the higher end of the speed range from where I stood.

The nervous state of the pilots upon getting out of the aircraft confirmed for me that they needed to be debriefed while the flight was still fresh in their minds and they could report most fully upon it."

How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth...

The pilots were shuttled away quickly to a debriefing room. As they calmed a bit, they both stated that the aircraft and engine were sound. However, they also both stated that the handling was a great deal different than they had anticipated and previous variants of the Yarara would not be a good indication of the learning curve that the turboprop version would present.

"Everything in the turboprop Yarara happened so much faster than expected and there was poor sensitivity and reaction time on the controls in relation to the new higher speeds.

It felt like the engine and outside of the aircraft was designed by a jet team, but the cockpit and controls by someone with their heads still in the piston era. It could be flown, but there was still much work to be done on it.

What was clear to me was that the aircraft was of high enough performance that a standard advanced piston trainer was likely to be insufficient in preparing pilots for the new Yarara.

Of the many recommendations I made in my reports on the turboprop Yarara, I stressed the importance of a dedicated two seat model for training purposes."

Upon the pilots' urging, work on designing a second seat into the new version was given particularly high priority.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on April 13, 2016, 04:05:54 AM
This forum needs a "like " button, because I really like this.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: elmayerle on April 13, 2016, 09:27:38 AM
This forum needs a "like " button, because I really like this.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 14, 2016, 06:02:15 PM Have an Ungrateful Child

The troublesome flight characteristics of the turboprop Yarara prototypes proved a puzzle for the FMA engineers to solve. Many sleepless nights were spent on pinpointing the problems and developing solutions that would result in a revised prototype in the most expedient manner.

The troubles experienced by the pilots on the first flight had, thus far, been kept low key and known only to a few; the intent was to keep it that way. In the interim,  Jochen Marseille confered extensively with the test pilots and fimiliarised himself with the plane's controls and operations in preparation for a test flight of his own.

“It wasn't an easy task to convince the powers that be at FMA to allow me to take one of the turboprop prototypes up for a test flight, but I felt the need to see for myself what the pilots had experienced and make a report of my own.

Persuading them that an extra opinion couldn't hurt was easy enough. However, they didn't want the prototype to be too visible to the public until revisions had been made lest an accident occur and expose the problems to a wider audience.

They finally relented to me flying the aircraft, though it came on the condition that I had to fly the aircraft in gear down configuration at moderate speed to the La Pampa facilities and do the test flying there.

La Pampa was in a rural setting with very few people near it. The isolated nature of it meant that prying eyes were at a minimum. It was an understandable compromise that I accepted.”

Preceded to La Pampa by transport aircraft carrying the two test pilots plus testing personnel and their equipment;  Marseille settled into the cockpit of one of the Yararas and took off from Cordoba on a totally uneventful flight to La Pampa.

“As I made my way south, I took my time to examine the cockpit layout and accessibility of the various knobs, levers and switches. I could certainly see what the test pilots meant when they said the cockpit felt dated. As I thought about some of the more modern jet cockpits I had experienced in America, I made some notes on my knee board for changes that could be made.

Upon arriving at La Pampa, I met again with the pilots and discussed the observations I'd made about cockpit layout. Generally, all three of us were thinking in a similar way about how to make the cockpit a more modern place.

Keeping in mind the Yarara's mission of low level ground attack, my mind returned to the cockpit of the Republic F-84 Thunderjet that I had spent time flying in America.

While I didn't really enjoy flying the Thunderjet, I felt that it had a cockpit layout that could serve as a good model for revisions to the Yarara's. Both test pilots had seen the F-84 cockpit and agreed that my idea had merit and should be looked into.

We also unanimously agreed that an ejection seat should seriously be considered for the new variant.”

One of the FMA test pilots also recalls:

“There were lots of notes being compared between ourselves and Jochen during our time in La Pampa and lots of new ideas coming up just from his flight to La Pampa. In a way, we had already begun writing a report before he took his test flight.

I didn't like the idea of anyone flying the prototype until modifications had been made on it, but I couldn't deny the usefulness of extra input from another experienced pilot could provide.

Two days after arriving in La Pampa, everything was ready for Jochen's test flight. We were all very nervous as he taxied out and opened the throttle. It might have been better had we not known what to expect.

He went through all of the moves that we had in Cordoba, plus a few others before taking the speed up towards the maximum end. The aircraft was definitely looking shaky as he took it into a shallow dive. Fortunately, he had given himself a good amount of space between himself and the ground as it seemed to take forever for him to fully recover from the dive.

He was clearly experiencing the same sluggishness on the controls that I had. Much to everyone's relief, he landed the plane shortly after that last manouver.”

Getting the Ghost out of the Machine

After a thorough post flight inspection showed the aircraft to be unharmed from the most recent of test flights; pilots, crew and aircraft returned to Cordoba.

The consensus of many meetings between pilots, engineers and executives confined what most had already suspected; the airframe and engine were not the problem. It was the cockpit and flight control system that needed a complete reworking.

A former FMA engineer:

“The teams tasked with designing the cockpit and flight control systems clearly had been struggling. During the most recent meetings, there had been a clear undercurrent of friction within them resulting from relatively young people being supervised by decidedly old school thinkers who had a propensity for forcing things to be done the old way and intimidating their younger charges into keeping quiet.

It became clear that before we removed a single component from the inside of the aircraft, there were certain components that had to be removed from those teams.

What was also clear was that we would need outside advisors to help us design a cockpit and flight controls appropriate to a modern, jet powered aircraft. Representatives from both American and British aviation companies were very helpful to us in these regards.”

After much frenzied work and many overtime hours, a revised single seat prototype was cleared for flight testing. Wisely, the revised aircraft was taken to La Pampa for testing.

Jochen Marseille relates his experience flying the revised version:

“The new cockpit was an entirely different place and we all felt a lot safer sitting on a Martin Baker Mk.2 ejection seat!

All of the flight instruments were easily visible and in sensible arrangement; the sight was no longer a war relic, but a very modern one.

Once in the air, feedback on the controls was much improved. The new flight control system had assisting mechanisms built in that made responsivemess much quicker and eliminated any need for the pilot to expend energy wrestling the aircraft into or out of position.

The aircraft still got shaky at higher speeds, but these speeds were also around the 550 km/h mark. It was a very respectable speed and we decided to use it as reference for setting the aircraft's “never exceed” speed.

We were all very happy with the revised prototype, as were the air force. Production was approved shortly after.”
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on April 15, 2016, 02:54:16 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 11, 2016, 04:31:48 PM
Halfmast in the Evening

The wheels of a Yarara IV touched the runway surface at La Pampa almost exactly at 20:30 on July 26 of 1952. The aircraft was from the first production batch and Jochen Marseille was at the controls.

"I was visiting La Pampa for the week. My duties after the Yarara IV had been approved for production saw me splitting most of my time between Buenos Aires and Cordoba. I was happy to be back at La Pampa and to have the chance to see how the production standard of the new Yarara handled. Both myself and the FMA test pilots were very pleased with it.

It was a bit different in form from the pre-production machines. Beyond the revised nose profile dictated by the turboprop engine, a decision had been made to build all Series IV machines with the capacity to be fitted with a second seat. The wing was also refined, while the general shape stayed the same, the cannons and radiators had been removed and the internal structures revised for greater strength. It had been decided to remove the cannons in favour of more external weapon stations. Cannon pods were available if a need was seen to fit the Yarara IV with them.

I had taken off from La Pampa at around 19:30 on July  26, 1952. It was a lovely, clear evening with enough remaining daylight to get one more flight in. I put the aircraft through numerous loops, rolls and other moves both at high and low altitudes and never had to fight to get the machine to do anything. Despite the early problems, the Yarara IV had become the proverbial 'Pilot's airplane'.

I was in quite an optimistic mood as I felt the wheels touch down an hour after I had lifited off. I entered the taxiway and busied myself with shutdown procedures. As I climbed from the plane, I couldn't help but notice a changed mood in the air around the airport. Nobody was talking much and faces were largely sombre.

As I walked towards the hangar offices to file a post flight report, I noticed the national flag was at halfmast; it had not been so when I took off.

After a moment's thinking, I realised that could only be for one person. Eva Perón was gone. She had lost her battle with cancer."

While Marseille was filling out his post flight report in a strangely silent office, a secretary quietly entered and presented him with a telegram from the German Embassy ordering him to return to Buenos Aires immediately. He was expected to attend Perón's funeral the next day alongside the other diplomatic staff.

"A quick check of the weather reports showed that the chances of me being able to get to the capital that evening were next to zero. A weather system moving in between La Pampa and Buenos Aires that night would make flying impossible. There was no express rail service from La Pampa to the capital. Driving was a bad idea as well, the bulk of the roads around La Pampa became impassable in heavy rain.

In a rush of telegrams and phone calls, I managed to secure myself a place in part of a formation flypast that was being organised for the funeral. It wasn't how the embassy people wanted me to attend, but they accepted it as better than my complete absence.

As the first Yarara IV squadron was still in training, it was decided that myself and two company test pilots would take a trio of the aircraft instead of the military."

Mourning in the Morning

The morning of July 27 broke clear over La Pampa; Marseille and his two colleagues completed their pre-flight checks and took off toward the capital. Along the way, they joined formation with two other groups of aircraft.

"We formed up line astern behind a group of three Gloster Meteors and a trio of Yarara III aircraft followed us. I allowed myself a moment of selfish thought as I looked at the formation ahead of us; if there was one aircraft I disliked more than the F-84 Thunderjet, the Gloster Meteor was that aircraft. Argentina had the Mk.IV Meteor and I couldn't find a single thing to like about the 'Meatbox', as the RAF pilots had taken to calling it.

I was tempted, though only for a moment, to place my gunsight over one of those Meteors. I thought better of it, that would be an amusement for another day.

As we flew over the procession, I couldn't help but think how surreal it was to see so many people lining the streets for just one person. Could she mean that much to so many?

As I continued to alternate my gaze between the crowds below and the Meteors leading us, I felt a tear or two trickle down my cheek and a terrible knot in my stomach. The tears weren't for "Evita" but rather for my beloved Germany.

The last time I had seen so many people gathering for a singular purpose and for one person, nothing good came of it and my homeland paid a terrible price for it and my countrymen were left with a great sense of shame.

I had to shake myself from that line of thinking, this was a very different time and place; the people were gathering for very different reasons. I decided to stop looking at the crowds and focus on the formation.

We kept formation until we had cleared Buenos Aires completely. The Yarara III formation was the first to break off and then we parted ways with the Meteors about halfway to La Pampa."

The rest of the flight to La Pampa was uneventful though one of the FMA test pilots noticed that Marseille was not his usual talkative self after they landed. He recalled several years after the events of the day:

"I could tell as soon as we were out of our aircraft and on our way to the company offices that Jochen was in a difficult state. I could see he was nervous and I decided perhaps we should go to the nearby pub and talk; by that time we were friends as well as colleagues.

He ordered a double of the strongest whiskey they had and his hand was shaking like crazy as he lifted it to his lips for the first time. After a couple of sips, he opened up.

I had learned very early on in our friendship that Jochen hated large crowds, but he would never really say why. Up to then, I thought it ironic that such a normally outgoing man with such good social skills would have problems in crowds.

After he finished explaining, I was speechless. However, I could understand much better why he always had an excuse not to attend a live football match at a stadium despite his love of listening the sport on the radio."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on August 11, 2016, 09:26:28 PM

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 23, 2016, 09:08:37 PM
I've done up a sketch of the Yarara IV that I'm reasonably happy with. It's quick and dirty, so don't mind the screwy perspective in places:

( (

The engine is a front intake type with a single exhaust port on the left side of the fuselage just ahead of the cockpit.

The two place cockpit is equiped with ejection seats, raised slightly from previous versions and covered by a blown canopy similar to the Lockheed T-33's

The vertical tail is a bit taller and the wings are a bit thinner in cross section.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on August 24, 2016, 01:18:54 AM

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: The Big Gimper on August 24, 2016, 04:15:23 AM
Awesome. I'd like to build this at some point in the future.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 24, 2016, 04:34:10 AM
Thanks guys :)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: The Big Gimper on August 24, 2016, 04:52:53 AM
Could you draw a top and side profile?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: elmayerle on August 24, 2016, 10:03:22 AM
Very nice!  Perhaps, instead of a T-33 canopy, it has the elevated rear seat, and associated canopy, of the T2V-1 Seastar?  That would look nice here.  A fully surrounding nose intake like that fitted to the Dart, or something more of an underslung one?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 24, 2016, 01:45:01 PM
Could you draw a top and side profile?

There's definitely a plan for that when time permits; It will be hand done drawing, so no digital speed. I would like to build a couple of Yararas myself, but drawings are more likely at this stage.

I have tried to get a start building one a couple of times, but it clearly will take more planning than I gave it credit for, so drawings will help in that regard the next time I can make space and time to build.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 24, 2016, 01:57:46 PM
Very nice!  Perhaps, instead of a T-33 canopy, it has the elevated rear seat, and associated canopy, of the T2V-1 Seastar?  That would look nice here.  A fully surrounding nose intake like that fitted to the Dart, or something more of an underslung one?

I was thinking about the Seastar canopy and an underslung intake, but after doing a couple of sketches in that direction, I had something that I felt looked a bit to modern and Tucano like for the 1952 timeframe.

As for the intake, I played around with both the Dart style and the underslung you mentioned. The intake arrangement I put on it came from playing around with what the Fairey Gannet intake area might look like with only one engine, but still keeping the existing design aesthetic.

It grew on me quickly and I think it looks good for the early 1950s period as well as a company's first step into turboprop design.

As I have tentatively planned for the Yarara story to end in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the FMA Pucara replaced it. So there certainly is scope for another variant of the aircraft to be developed with the raised back seat and more refined engine intake area before the story ends.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on November 13, 2016, 12:38:48 AM
Rounding up the Old Horses

In early September of 1952, Johannes Steinhoff paid an official visit to Argentina. Accompanied by Jochen Marseille, he saw the sights of Buenos Aires, was given a tour of the Hispano-Argentina motorworks to see the turboprop production line as well as the FMA facilities at Cordoba and La Pampa.

At La Pampa, Marseille fully briefed Steinhoff on the latest development of the Yarara and took him on a flight in the machine. It was a flight that left Steinhoff quite impressed, both in the machine and Marseille's involvement in it.

"The Yarara flight was very enjoyable and it was also very heartening for me to see that Jochen's piloting skills were razor sharp and he had such a good teamworking relationship with the other test pilots and Yarara personnel. One of the main reasons I had come was to see if such qualities had developed in him more fully.

What I also saw in Jochen was a man who had fully taken to his surroundings and fallen in love with Argentina and it's culture. As I watched him interacting with all manner of people in near fluent Spanish and saw how many friendships he had cultivated, I felt a sense of guilt that I had also come to tell him that he was to be reassigned and would be returning to Europe shortly.

The official reformation of the luftwaffe was only a few years off and I had to be sure that a fit group of officers was in place and ready to command it's various units well ahead of time. As I still kept contact with several well experienced and enthusiastic pilots from the war time Luftwaffe, finding the right people wasn't a problem. I just had to make sure they would be sharp when the time came to put military wings back onto them.

I had found  them spots on command courses in the U.S Air Force. This would not only get them familiar with command standards within NATO, but also get them more flying time on many of the aircraft the Luftwaffe was expected to receive to operate with.

The political instabilities of Argentina were clear enough to see and I knew that I wanted Jochen for the new Luftwaffe, leaving such a potentially valuable man in an increasingly unstable place wasn't acceptable to me."

A Last Look at La Pampa

"Steinhoff had given me two weeks to attend to any last affairs I had in Argentina and return to Germany. My FMA colleagues and friends gave me a great party at La Pampa. It was bittersweet as not only was I leaving Argentina, but word had come of the impending closure of FMA activity at La Pampa. It had become surplus to the needs of the company in the post war period and there was space at Cordoba to support the lower levels of Yarara production at the time. By the start of 1953, FMA was completely gone from La Pampa.

I did the last of my paperwork, packed my suitcases and said my goodbyes around the capital before being taken to the airport for the flight back to Europe.

I hated to leave, but the prospect of getting back into the business of proper, full-time military flying that Steinhoff put in front of me was too tempting to pass up.

I fully expected that he would send me to America to be prepared for a command position. As it turned out, he had rather other plans for me in the new Luftwaffe.

In late October, I found myself in Great Britain at RAE Farnborough enrolled in the Empire Test Pilots' School.

As diffcult as the course was, I very much enjoyed my time learning to be a qualified test pilot and did not learn until shortly after I graduated just exactly who beyond Steinhoff I had to thank for having been enrolled there.

Shortly after the Yarara IV prototype flew with a development of his pre-war turboprop engine in it, Gyorgy Jendrassik left Argentina to continue his work in Great Britian. He had spoken much of the Yarara IV after arriving there and mentioned me several times in the process. Both myself and the Yarara IV had piqued serious interest with some very influential people in the British aviation industry before I had even arrived at Farnborough to start my course.

One of those influential people was Ernest Hives, then chairman of Rolls-Royce and a strong proponent of the gas turbine engine since the early 1940s. He was keen to promote the turboprop and to gather knowledgable people to perfect it as a viable means of propulsion. It seems Jendrassik had said enough about me that Hives was interested in getting accquainted with me.

As for Johannes Steinhoff, he wanted test pilots as much as he wanted commanding officers for the new Luftwaffe and decided that I was the right person to be testing any new aircraft that Germany might use to defend itself."

Taming the Turboprop

While the turboprop had been an idea in existence prior to the Second World War, it was not until after the war that serious development took place on the concept. The marriage of jet to propellor was a rocky one to say the least in it's early years.

News of the developments that Hispano-Argentina had made to Gyorgy Jendrassik's original pre-war engine and the subsequent success of the Yarara IV, which was in full squadron service in Argentina by Autumn of 1952, had reached ears on the other side of the Atlantic and many in the British aero engine business, including Ernest Hives wanted a closer look at it.

Strings were pulled and deals were made that resulted in Argentina loaning a pair of Yarara IV and several engines to Great Britain for examination and evaluation.

Marseille remained in Britain after completing the test pilot course and was hired by Rolls-Royce as an advisor on matters of turboprop development and as a test pilot for turboprop powered aircraft.

Marseille ceased work with Rolls-Royce and, on the orders of Steinhoff, returned to Germany in late 1955 in preparation for the official reactivation of the Luftwaffe in early 1956.

"It was the end of my association with Rolls-Royce, but the Yarara and I would cross paths again before long.

After getting my new Luftwaffe uniform and wings, I spent the bulk of 1956 building up fast jet experience on exchange with the RAF in Hawker Hunters. I loved flying the Hunter and always felt it was unfortunate that Germany did not take the type into service.

By Autumn of 1957, I was back in Germany and assigned to the newly established Testing Centre for Military Aerial Equipment at  Oberpfaffenhofen.

The Yarara followed me there not long after."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on November 13, 2016, 04:04:18 AM

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: elmayerle on November 14, 2016, 10:21:00 AM
Very nice addition.  I'm quite looking forward to seeing where things go next.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on November 14, 2016, 05:28:41 PM
Thanks. I've got a couple of ideas brewing for where to take it, but I have to do a bit of research to see how I can make them jive with real world happenings.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on February 26, 2017, 02:57:35 AM
Heady Days

"I was very much enjoying my time at Oberpfaffenhofen. The 1950s and 1960s were a very exciting time to be in Bavaria if you were involved in aviation; Oberpfaffenhofen itself was home to the Dornier company and Ludwig Bolkow's company was also in the vicinity of Munich. A bit further away, in Allach, BMW has restarted their aero engine manufacturing activities.

Despite the fact that Germany had no intentions of taking the Yarara into military service, the testing centre kept the aircraft on hand for research into turboprop power and to use as testbeds for developments in that technology. Jendrassik's engine had been developed as far as it could be and work was running apace in many places around the world to develop a new turboprop.

The Yarara always got attention when we flew it and the French had taken a particular interest in it while I was still flying it for Rolls-Royce. Representatives from Turbomeca were frequent visitors to Oberpfaffenhofen and were keen to study the combination of Yarara to Jendrassik engine. Turbomeca were in the process of developing their Bastan and Aztazou turboprop engines in the late 1950s and felt the Yarara to be a good choice as a testing platform owing to it's proven success operationally under turbine power.

Through my connections at FMA, I had been able to secure fresh batches of low time Yarara IV aircraft for the testing centre as well as our counterpart in France. Once France had Yararas of their own, we saw less of the Turbomeca people and news reached us that both the Bastan and Aztazou had been placed at very high priority and their development had been ordered to be accelerated. By 1957, both engines had been run for the first time and were ready for flight testing.

I was in attendance for the 1958 Paris Air Show to see a Yarara demonstrated under the power of the Bastan and it was an astounding performance to say the least.

I took a look at a second Bastan equiped Yarara in the static park of the event and found that a license for the production of the aircraft by Sud-Aviation in France had been secured. It seemed the Yarara had more life in it yet."

Jet Fever

The jet age had truly arrived in the 1950s. Despite France's particular zeal to have a new propeller driven combat aircraft in their inventory, the rest of NATO had their eyes firmly fixed on all jet fleets for combat related work.

Jochen Marseille spent a good portion of his non-flying hours promoting the turboprop as a practical and viable power source for aircraft in the ground attack and infantry support roles. While he was able to pique some interest, it was never enough for the aircraft to get a toe hold with any NATO member beyond France.

Johannes Steinhoff expanded on the matter some years later:

"There were two main things going against the Yarara at the time Jochen was championing the turboprop:

First, the aircraft was not a fresh design. In spite of the fact that the Yarara IV had not a single component in common with earlier variants, it was still limited by the original design in many ways. I had little argument against that reasoning.

Second, the pedigree of the Yarara had become common knowledge in the years following the war. Despite the fact the design had been stolen before Germany had a chance to use it and that the victorious side of the war had used it with great success, nobody was willing to see past the fact that it was designed by Germany under Hitler's regime. I felt I could find some base of argument against that logic; however, the wounds of war were still fresh and I thought better of it at the time.

Based on the latter reason, my own superiors were particularly adamant that the aircraft would find no place in the German military. They would tolerate it in a flight testing context, but no other."

A Fox in Snake's Clothing

Towards the end of 1958, the first batch of production standard Bastan powered aircraft left the Sud-Aviation factory for assignment to operational units. While the aircraft were being constructed, their pilots had spent time in Argentina being trained on the Yarara IV to familiarise them with flying Turboprop aircraft. After a short working up period on the Sud built version, officially named Fennec, the aircraft and crews were deployed to Algeria to be used against insurgents there.

A former Fennec pilot:

"The Fennec was not at all difficult to fly after spending time in the Yarara IV. The cockpit arrangement between the two was nearly identical, though the Fennec had a bit newer weapons sight and the Bastan engine gave it more power.

I generally enjoyed flying the aircraft, it was a very stable gun and bomb platform and could take a lot of abuse and keep flying. It was certainly a big improvement over the Texans we had been using for the job.

The Bastan proved itself a very dependable engine in the arid, desert environment. A very good sand filter had been developed for it and I don't remember too many times when it was particularly temperamental.

Operationally, the Fennec was a delight. Politically, it was a nightmare that strained France's relationships with both Argentina and Germany substantially."

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on February 27, 2017, 05:22:26 AM
( (
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on April 23, 2017, 06:05:53 PM
Rise of the Fifth Republic

French politics were in a state of chaos through most of the 1950s. A governmental period known as the "Fourth Republic" was instituted just after the Second World War and lasted until 1958; it was marked by relinquishment of many of the nation's colonial holdings in both Africa and Asia. The Forth Republic was an unstable and precarious period for France politically and the Algiers Crisis of 1958, a critical turning point in the Algerian War which had begun in 1954, was the primary catalyst for it's collapse in 1958.

Charles de Gaul held the offices of France's Prime Minister and Minister of Defense during the time that the Sud built Fennec variation of the Yarara began to be deployed in Algeria in late 1958. The increase in airborne killing power the Fennec gave against insurgents in the area of battle was almost instantly visible and did nothing to increase the already low support the majority of France's citizens had for holding onto Algeria as a colony.

When de Gaul took the presidential office in early 1959, he founded the "Fifth Republic" and immediately began work on solving the Algerian problem though it was not clear to many exactly what he had in mind for a solution. Additionally, he had to fix soured relations France had with Argentina and Germany over the use of a Yarara variant in a war that neither country supported.

Johannes Steinhoff recalls:

"It was a tense time to say the very least. I think that in our rush to prove we could be trusted by the rest of the world again, Germany had been rather naive in helping France get such access to the Yarara. Jochen felt a great deal of guilt over it for many years as he had, through his many connections in Argentina,  been instrumental in securing the aircraft for the French testing facility to use as testbeds for the turboprop engine. He refused to talk about the subject for a very long time though he really should not have felt as he did; he certainly could never rightly be held responsible for France securing the production license, he had nothing to do with that part at all.

The world knew about France's war in Algeria and it should have been a forgone conclusion to anyone that any ground attack or close support capable aircraft France could get their hands on with no strings attached would find its way into the battle.

Germany, both politically and in population, largely supported Algeria's independence."

A former FMA executive:

"Argentina and France had good relations dating back to the early 1800s and Argentina had seen a considerable influx of French immigrants over the years; as such, there was an established French flavour to Argentine society well in place by the late 1950s.

In May of 1958, national elections had seen Arturo Frondizi become the country's president. Frondizi focused on fostering stronger relations between the USA and Argentina.

While Argentina made no official statement with regards to the Algerian War, the bulk of the populace seemed either against it or ambivalent to it. I do remember movements in the areas of high French influence in the country set up to bring awareness to the matter and to encourage the Argentine public and government to make a more visible stand for Algerian independence. While these groups did have an effect on rallying some of the public and media, the government remained quiet on the matter.

I clearly remember a series of visits made to our Cordoba facilities by trade delegations and aviation industry representatives from France in the late 1950s. They were extremely interested in the Yarara, every aspect of it, particularly the turboprop engine. It was very clear to me that they were shopping for an aircraft even if they had not said as much at the time.

I wasn't surprised when we sent a shipment of low time Yarara to France for testing purposes and development of their own turboprops. I was surprised when I found that FMA was to grant a production license for the aircraft to a French company and it didn't sit well with me or many others on the FMA executive. We tried to protest it, but to no avail.

The Yarara would have been a perfect aircraft for France's war in Algeria and we knew it. After our dissent over being forced to grant a production license was ignored, we asked that restrictions be written into the license stating very clearly that France could not use the aircraft in their colonial conflicts; this was also ignored.

We sat there, helpless, as France took their version of the aircraft to Algeria and made Argentina look like a willing party in the process. Needless to say, it generated a great deal of anger at us at an international level. The USA was openly against Algeria remaining as a colony and it was a worry for a while if relations between Argentina and America might be compromised by the Yarara being in Algeria.

It was, however, a situation the Argentine government had largely itself to blame for in pushing the production license through at all."

Taking the Reins

With tremendous pressure at home to give Algeria independence as well as tremendous diplomatic pressure from Argentina and Germany to make clear to the world that neither country had condoned the use of the Yarara in Algeria or the war there in general, Charles de Gaul had much on his plate as soon as he took the title of president in early 1959.

In the face of attempts on his life and a lack of clarity in what his motives in Algeria really were much of the time, de Gaul was successful in bringing an end to the war by 1962.

Through the remainder of 1962, de Gaul made great efforts to smooth relations with both Argentina and Germany. In the case of Germany, the Élysée Treaty for Franco-German cooperation signed in January of 1963 went a long way to fixing diplomatic ties between those two countries.

France surrendered all surviving Fennecs to Argentina as part of reparations. All the Fennecs were scrapped after being stripped of usable spare parts for the Argetine air force's Yarara fleet. A number of air force Yararas had been damaged or destroyed during the Argentine Navy Revolt between 1962 and 1963.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on April 24, 2017, 05:18:28 AM

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 09, 2017, 06:39:49 PM
Trapped by the Turboprop

Early 1960 saw the end to military Yarara flying in the skies over West Germany, the Luftwaffe had ordered the aircraft disposed of by sale or scrapping in September of 1959.

The aircraft were purchased by BMW for testing a turboprop engine they had designed as a private venture and Jochen Marseille was seconded to the company to train their test pilots on the aircraft and act as an advisor on the development of the engine.

"I spent most of 1960 between the BMW facilities at Allach, in northern Munich, and facilities they had rented at Oberpfaffenhofen to flight test their engine.

I was happy to help them, but part of me had wanted to move on from turboprop types when I was preparing to fly the Yarara for the last time. I had logged a significant amount of flying time in turboprops, but my logs were rather thin on jets beyond my regular flights to keep current in the Sabre, F-84 family members and the Hawker Hunter and I wished to rectify that.

I had been quite eager to get involved in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter that was entering Luftwaffe service at the time and had been watching the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 VTOL fighter project in Great Britain quite intently.

As life would have it, I was to have little involvement in Starfighters beyond a bit of stick time gained from some back seat rides. By the time the P.1127 had been developed into the Kestrel and West Germany became briefly involved in testing it, I had been quite deeply involved in other projects with turboprops solidly at the heart of them and would end up being overlooked when the German team to test the Kestrel was assembled.

After my secondment at BMW finished in late 1960, I was sent to Canada to train on the new de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft. The Luftwaffe was more interested in me building up twin engine time and gaining experience in STOL aircraft than in fast jets.

After successfully completing my training on the Caribou and being certified for STOL operations, I was sent to Rolls -Royce in Great Britain to be familiarised with their Tyne turboprop engine.

Upon my return to Germany, I was assigned to work as an advisor and eventually test pilot for the German companies involved in the new Transall C-160 transport aircraft that was being developed jointly with France.

It was hard to be bitter in retrospect. The twin engine time I built up in that period of time would come to benefit me greatly before the decade was out and testing the STOL performance of the C-160 was as exhilarating an experience as any jet I'd flown had ever been."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on August 10, 2017, 02:40:53 AM

Upon my return to Germany, I was assigned to work as an advisor and eventually test pilot for the German companies involved in the new Transall C-160 transport aircraft that was being developed jointly with France.

It was hard to be bitter in retrospect. The twin engine time I built up in that period of time would come to benefit me greatly before the decade was out and testing the STOL performance of the C-160 was as exhilarating an experience as any jet I'd flown had ever been."

So, might there be a chance of a VTOL C-160 popping up?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 10, 2017, 03:53:16 AM
It hadn't crossed my mind to do, but those are some pretty wild looking proposals.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on August 12, 2017, 12:47:40 AM
Thanks for the newest update.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 12, 2017, 05:00:20 PM
Thanks for appreciating and following.

Right now, I'm trying to decide how to tie things all together as the end of the 1960s will be the end of the story.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on August 31, 2017, 05:22:33 AM
Closing the Circle

By the early 1960s, the Yarara was all but gone from South American and Latin American skies. Save for a wing of reconnaissance variants in the Mexican air force and a small fleet of test and development aircraft retained by FMA in Cordoba, Most Yararas in the regions had been scrapped, put on gunnery ranges or kept intact for museum purposes.

It was a similar story in the Middle East, as most of the former Yarara operators there had modernised their air forces.

However, the story was rather different in Africa. There, the Yarara was still finding work in combat zones as a close support and light strike aircraft.

South Africa still had a good number of Yararas in service and used them to support Portugal in the early stages of the Angolan War of Independence.

Yararas were also seen in the colours of the Katangese air force during the opening three years of the Congo Crisis.

All Yararas used in those conflicts were piston powered models of the series III line. Despite their age, the Yararas served well in the CAS and light strike roles. Many of the pilots and maintainers were seasoned veterans of the aircraft and knew it better than anyone else. They put the aircraft's low flying qualities to good use staging surprise attacks that resulted in much chaos on the ground and the destruction of many idle vehicles, parked aircraft and associated equipment.

The aircraft was seeing its last taste of combat on the same continent where it built its fearsome reputation during the Second World War. It was no less feared by those it was used against in the early 1960s than it had been by the Afrika Korps and Italian forces in the northern reaches of the continent in the early 1940s.

As most pilots on the opposing sides of the conflicts weren't keen to bring their aircraft down to the Yarara's level to intecept it, the bulk of Yarara losses in those wars was attributed to ground fire or accidents.

The stories told by surviviors of a Yarara attacks in these battles were not appreciably different from those told by Veterans who had survived Yarara attacks in World War Two, the Korean War and the Suez Crisis.

Jochen Gets a Jet

"Nearly as soon as I had completed my work in the C.160 Transall testing, I found myself tasked with learning the ins and outs of the new HFB-320 Hansa Jet.

It took some getting used to with the types's forward swept wings, but I learned to like it and it meant I finally was getting a much needed boost in jet time into my logbook. A business jet was not the sort of aircraft I had envisioned doing such in, but I wasn't complaining.

By 1966, I was back at Oberpfaffenhoffen with two pre-production Hansa Jets and evaluating them for Luftwaffe use as VIP transports.

Little did I suspect at the time that testing the Hansa Jet would be my last assignment for the Luftwaffe or that the Hansa Jet would see me back to Argentina."
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: elmayerle on August 31, 2017, 09:23:20 AM
Very nice installment as matters come full circle.  I wonder if Argentina will use the Hansa Jet for military purposes (ECM, recce, etc.)?
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 03, 2017, 07:00:25 AM
A fine ending to a great tale!

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 04, 2017, 12:15:22 AM
Southern Salvation

Johannes Steinhoff recalls:

"It was sad to see Jochen leave the Luftwaffe at the end of the Hansa Jet testing, but I couldn't blame him. There wasn't a lot of new aircraft to test at the time in Germany and HFB, the maker of the Hansa Jet, had offered Jochen a very generous and lucrative contract to be part of the aircraft's sales tour in the Americas in 1968. The military couldn't hope to pay him what HFB was offering.

In the time he served in the post war Luftwaffe, he had redeemed himself of his reckless youth many times over, I never regretted giving him another chance and was happy to shake his hand and wish him well on his departure from the service."

After a whirlwind of briefings at the HFB offices in Hamburg, Jochen and the rest of the Hansa Jet sales tour team embarked on their journey.

"Thankfully, the HFB management agreed with me when I pushed to start the sales tour in South America. South America was my comfort zone, but I honestly felt that trying to sell the Hansa Jet in North America should be a second priority as the early members of the Learjet family had a firm hold on the market there. While the Learjets had made their way to South America, they were not as prevalent and I felt we had a better chance to sell the Hansa Jet there.

Corporate aircraft were a big thing at the time and we had some stiff competition while trying to promote our aircraft. The aforementioned Learjets as well as the Hawker Siddeley HS-125 from Great Britain, the Dassault Falcon 20 from France and the very new Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante turboprop from Brasil were all vying for sales in the Americas.

The Hansa Jet not only had its work cut out for it against the competition, but a rash of accidents with the type in Germany occured while we were on tour and the news made its way across the Atlantic. People seemed more interested in the accidents than asking about the aircraft. Beyond telling them that flying an aircraft with forward swept wings took some getting used to, I couldn't tell them much as HFB wasn't telling me much.

Fortunately, Argentina was the first stop and it was easy to generate interest there as they were very eager to divest themselves of their remaining fleet of Beech C-45 aircraft with something modern. Thankfully, I still had many influential connections in both the Argentine government and at FMA and was successfully able to allay their fears about the Hansa Jet's safety.

The Chilean leg of the tour also went quite well as did our stops in Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay. We didn't expect much in Brasil as the EMB 110 Bandeirante was essentially a state run project that we felt we had little chance of winning against in fair competition.

We came away from the South American leg of the tour with a respectable number of firm orders and strong interest on FMA's part to secure a production license for the type.

Central America and the Carribean resulted in no orders. North America, as expected, also resulted in no orders; our American, British and French competitors had effectively locked us out of the North American market.

As we headed back south towards Argentina, we stopped for fuel at a Mexican air force base in Oaxaca state. On approach, I noted a large lot to the side of the base with a number of closely parked Yarara fuselages in it and their wings piled up a short distance away. As it turned out, they had been the last Yararas in military service anywhere and had been retired only a few months before. As we waited for our aircraft to be fuelled, a pair of Lockheed RT-33 aircraft taxied past on their way to the runway. The reconnaissance version of the Lockheed aircraft was Mexico's replacement for their last Yararas.

I was not allowed to get close to the Yararas, but was told that the bulk of them would be scrapped save for one or two earmarked for museums and one to be used as a gate guard at the base.

Fully fuelled, we continued to Argentina and set down in Cordoba to discuss a Hansa Jet production license for FMA in more detail.

By the time we arrived back in Argentina, much had changed with regards to HFB in a business sense. A merger with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm was looming large and the Hansa Jet was not garnering much interest in Europe due to the percieved safety issues following the accidents.

Shortly after we returned to Germany, an Argentine delegation visited the Hansa Jet production line and did the final paperwork to secure a production license.

New Horizons

I didn't stay in Germany long after my contract with HFB was concluded. FMA had offered me a test pilot job on a new project while I was there and I was only too happy to pack my bags and return to what had become my second homeland.

After settling in in my new residence, I went to work at the FMA facilities in Cordoba. As I was entering the building, a Yarara flew overhead faster than I'd ever seen one go before. I couldn't identify the engine by sound, but it was clearly a turboprop and a quite powerful one at that.

I was shown the general arrangement drawings for FMA's new project, called the Pucará, at a briefing shortly after I arrived. It was a twin turboprop attack aircraft built around four 20mm cannons. It was ultimately intended to take the equally new Hispano Argentina Caiman engine, which had powered the Yarara I'd seen upon my arrival, as its power source.

On the factory floor, the prototype aircraft was equiped with Turbomeca Astazou engines for flight testing while the Caimans were going through testing on the Yarara.

The Pucará was an imposing machine just to walk around and I was both eager and honoured to be involved with it. As several of my old Yarara testing program friends were still employed at FMA and in the Pucará project, it was easy enough to get settled into the bigger team and get to business.

The Pucará went into the air for the first time in August of 1969 and flew very well under the power of the Aztazou engines. While I did not take the aircraft on its maiden flight, I got many hours on it and liked it very much. It would fill the gap left by the Yarara very well, I was sure.

By December of 1969, the Pucará and the Caiman were ready for their first flight together and what a flight it was!

I had worked myself up on Caiman operations in the Yararas and was selected to take the Pucará up on its first Caiman powered flight. The extra power the Caiman had over the Aztazou became immediately apparent and the aircraft responded beautifully to the increase. I think they could not have hit upon a better combination of aircraft and engine considering what the Pucará was intended to do.

After a few more flights to make sure the aircraft and engine really worked well, we were cleared for more aerobatic flying. I put it through rolls, loops and climbs without a hitch and it recovered from steep dives easily.

The aircraft did just as well in weapons tests. It was, in fact, during the weapons testing that I got the chance to do something I had been wanting to do for a very long time.

As I rolled the aircraft into position for a cannon firing run on the range, I chose a tired looking Gloster Meteor as my target. I could have chosen one of the two Yararas also set out on the range, but I'd been wanting to put holes into a Meteor for too long.

As my gunsight encroached on the nose of the Meteor, I pressed the firing button and unleashed a blast of 20mm along the full length of its fuselage.

Later, we went out to the range to inspect the damage and I have to say I was very satisfied with what the Pucará's guns had done."

The Snake's Last Hiss

With the Caiman approved for production, the two elderly Yararas the FMA had kept on hand for testing had flown their last. Jochen recalls:

"It was a gorgeous day when delegates from the Argentine air force and navy as well as many Yarara veterans assembled at the airport in Cordoba.

The military delegation were there to see the future of Argentine ground attack while many others were there to see their old mount fly for what seemed like the very last time.

Despite my optimism and liking for the Pucará, I chose to fly a Yarara that day out of nostalgia.

I was part of a pair of Yararas that took off just ahead of a Pucará. We all formed up and flew down the length of the Cordoba runway with the Pucará in the lead and a Yarara on either side. We did a series of flypasts, much to the delight of the crowd.

For the final flypast, the Yararas broke formation in opposite directions, leaving the Pucará to do a solo knife edge pass in front of the assembled crowd.

All three aircraft returned to the ground and were parked in front of the crowd. Chamagne was opened, hands were shaken, a few tears rolled down nostalgic cheeks and the Yarara was done."


That's the end of the story. Thanks so much to those who stayed with it.

I'll set to work on something of an epilogue soonish.

Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 20, 2017, 10:46:57 PM

In the main, the Yarara is most remembered at the international level for its roles in North Africa, Burma and South East Asia during WWII. The bulk of preserved examples attests to this as all but a few of them are presented in markings other than for those campaigns.

As one might expect, the largest proportion of preserved Yararas is to be found in Argentina.

A number of partial and complete examples are known to exist in South Africa. From time to time, news has been heard from that country of attempts to restore one to flying status though it has never occured.

Other countries known to have at least one complete Yarara on public display include:

New Zealand

While most of those nations took aircraft from their own fleets at retirement, the preserved examples in Australia and New Zealand never served those countries. Both Australia and New Zealand were very quick to dispose of their Yarara fleets after they retired them and didn't save any for museums. As a result of that haste, they were forced to purchase Yararas from other former users in order to represent the type in their museums.

Attempts and plans have been made to return Yararas to the air, but none have succeded thus far.

Battle Standard

The official post WWII battle record of the Yarara stands as such:

First Indochina War (used by Cambodia, Kingdom of Laos and State of Vietnam)

First Kashmir War (used by India)

Arab-Israeli War of 1948 (used by Iraq and Israel)

Korean War (used by Philippines, South Africa and Thailand)

Laotian Civil War (used by Kingdom of Laos, Thailand and South Vietnam)

Algerian War of Independence (used by France)

Vietnam War (used by Kingdom of Laos, Thailand and South Vietnam)

Suez Crisis (used by Israel)

Congo Crisis (used by Katanga and South Africa)

Angolan War of Independence (used by Portugal and South Africa)

Hans-Joachim Marseille

Jochen Marseille settled in Cordoba and had a productive and distinguished post military career with FMA.

After finishing the test flying phases of the Pucara and seeing it into service, Jochen was instrumental in facilitating the purchase and transfer of the type certificate for the Hansa Jet in the early 1970s from MBB in Germany. Subsequently, Jochen was tasked with overseeing the development and production of the type in Cordoba.

Marseille married and started a family about a year after he started work at FMA. He joined the local flying club and worked as an instructor in his free time there.

He eventually left FMA to establish his own small charter air service, which he ran until his son and daughter were old enough to take over when he retired fully in 1988. Though his daughter was barely 20 years old and his son only 18 when he handed the company reins fully over to them, they had both been well immersed in the company runnings from very early ages.

With aviation in their blood and their father personally having made sure that both his children were able and competent pilots, Sofia and Franco Marseille ran the company in a way that made their father proud. They expanded beyond the small carter service their father founded to become a fully fledged regional airline.

Jochen continued to fly for a few more years after retirement until the rigors of old age forced him to stop. He remained a regular sight at the Cordoba airport, often with his grandchildren, and was a frequent visitor to the flying club for coffee and chat.

Jochen Marseille died peacfully in his sleep, in relatively good health, at the age of 90 in 2009.

FMA Alondra

Under FMA ownership, the Hansa Jet was renamed the Alondra (Lark). While the aircraft was not a success in Europe, less than 50 were made before HFB became part of MBB and production stopped, it enjoyed popularity with civil and military operators throughout Latin and South America as well as becoming surprisingly popular with similar clientelle in the Middle East.

The Alondra enjoyed a 20 year production run and was modernised many times. More efficient turbofans found their way onto the machine and modern flight control computers made flying with the forward swept wings a much easier affair for new pilots of the type to come to grips with.

Many of the type still fly today and FMA still supports them.


And that is the end of the Yarara story.

Thanks to all who stayed with it and followed along through all 14 pages and the many fits and spurts they were created in.


Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: GTX_Admin on September 21, 2017, 01:22:46 AM
Well done. :smiley:

And here is an actual photo of Hans-Joachim Marseille in a lighter moment during the war:

( (

and if you click on the image, you will get an amusing story about him... ;)
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on September 21, 2017, 01:57:08 AM
 :smiley: ;D
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on September 22, 2017, 07:45:52 AM
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: CiTrus90 on October 05, 2017, 03:47:44 PM
What an awsome thread with a captivating story!!

The only complaint I have is the lack of pics (damn photobucket >:()

If you ever feel like reuploading them again, I'd like to give it a try at modeling some of these projects in 3d :smiley:
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on October 08, 2017, 12:02:02 PM
What an awsome thread with a captivating story!!

The only complaint I have is the lack of pics (damn photobucket >:()

If you ever feel like reuploading them again, I'd like to give it a try at modeling some of these projects in 3d :smiley:

Thanks for the kind comments.

Once I get a bit of time, kind of busy with work now, I'll get the images back up via different hosting site.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: upnorth on January 10, 2020, 01:10:42 AM
I'm bringing this one up from the depths not because there's anything new in it, but because I finally got the images I had in it restored to the thread.

I finally got the images uploaded to something other than photobucket, so they can be seen again in the spots where they previously were in the story.

I had meant to do it sooner, but life's been a bit crazy the past couple of years.
Title: Re: Stealing the Stuka
Post by: dogsbody on January 18, 2020, 07:55:01 AM