Author Topic: Stealing the Stuka  (Read 34452 times)

Offline apophenia

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #15 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
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #16 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
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #17 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.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 03:28:04 PM by upnorth »
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2012, 11:52:45 AM »
That's shaping up nicely ... I especially like the new tail  :)
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #19 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.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #20 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.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #21 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.

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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #22 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.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #23 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.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #24 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.
Pickled Wings, A Blog for Preserved Aircraft:

Beyond Prague, Traveling the Rest of the Czech Republic:

Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2012, 09:31:54 PM »
This is getting really interesting.

I await the next installment.

"What young man could possibly be bored
with a uniform to wear,
a fast aeroplane to fly,
and something to shoot at?"

Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #26 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.

Pickled Wings, A Blog for Preserved Aircraft:

Beyond Prague, Traveling the Rest of the Czech Republic:

Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2012, 07:13:44 AM »
And away we go.

"What young man could possibly be bored
with a uniform to wear,
a fast aeroplane to fly,
and something to shoot at?"

Offline upnorth

  • Distorting a reality near you.
  • Reinvented Austria and the Stuka....Now what?
Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2012, 02:52:39 PM »
Glad you're enjoying. I hope to have the next bit up on Monday sometime.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #29 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.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!