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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

Old 4th Sep 2020, 08:50
  #21 (permalink)  
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Used to occasionally see camouflaged C-140s about which as I recall were used for checking navaids and so on, did they go to Berlin and were they used for anything else... ?
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 09:06
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Originally Posted by taxydual View Post
. The only aircraft I've ever seen taxy into an empty hangar under it's own power.
Not seen very often these days,the last one I was involved with (although it was not an empty hangar) was after an evening display - we waved a low back seafire into our hangar with the exhausts twinkling in the twilight - absolutely lovely .
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 09:56
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In 1988 I had the good fortune to have MoD/NATS HQ Staff responsibility for the RAF Element of the Berlin Air Safety Centre and a Staff visit was essential. What a strange World it was back then! Kindly accommodated in the palatial residence of the RAF element CO (a lucky wg cdr) and chauffeured around in his luxury limo, we parked at BASC next to the Soviet CO's tatty old Opel with missing hub caps etc.

It was interesting to see the good relationships between the 4 Powers at 'shop floor' level, despite the on-going Cold War, and to hear of the intense competition over the quality of F&B at social functions ... ISTR the French were usually on top!

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Old 4th Sep 2020, 09:57
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Impressive how this system even worked in the frostiest days of the cold war.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 11:39
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
RAF Pembrokes were used between 1956 and 1990 to Berlin. Three from Wildenrath and later Rheindalen were PR equipped with five F.96 cameras (9 inch) each. That's what Luftwaffenmuseum at Gatow says. They display a german Pembroke. The local Chipmunks were used for BRIXMIS support.
As Rheindalen has no runways no Pembrokes ever flew from there! The F96 cameras were not 9 inch, no such camera exists, but 3 X 12 inch and 2 X 48 inch.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 11:44
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Took it from the Luftwaffenmuseum's website. Rheindalen might be meant to be just their legal unit's base.
http://mhm-gatow.de/luftfahrzeuge
Die britische Royal Airforce setzte Pembrokes von 1956 bis 1990 für den regelmäßigen Flugverkehr durch den Berliner Korridor ein. Drei dieser zunächst in Wildenrath, dann in Rheindalen stationierten Maschinen waren mit jeweils 5 Kameras des Typs F.96 (9 inch) ausgerüstet und lieferten wichtige Ergebnisse für die britische Militäraufklärung in der DDR.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 14:24
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Originally Posted by taxydual View Post
WJ916 (a VERY secret squirrel Varsity) used to flog the lanes. The only aircraft I've ever seen taxy into an empty hangar under it's own power.
Dave Forster & Chris Gidson's history of RAF Electronic Intelligence mentions WJ916 being used as a trials aircraft in 1974 for "testing and proving systems in an airborne environment".
The Varsity was replaced by an Andover (XS 644) in 1977.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 15:46
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Impressive how this system even worked in the frostiest days of the cold war.
Same as how BRIXMIS operated and according to some historians, they at times may have been the only form of communication between the two sides, that did not involve politicians.

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British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany | BRIXMIS

it would appear it was an interesting posting. Remember Recognition Journal and their somewhat hazy photographs.
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 21:02
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[QUOTE=Less Hair;10878355]Took it from the Luftwaffenmuseum's website. Rheindalen might be meant to be just their legal unit's base.
QUOTE]

"9 inch" refers to the size of the image, 9x9, on the 10 inch film used in the F96 camera
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 06:38
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
In 1988 I had the good fortune to have MoD/NATS HQ Staff responsibility for the RAF Element of the Berlin Air Safety Centre and a Staff visit was essential. What a strange World it was back then! Kindly accommodated in the palatial residence of the RAF element CO (a lucky wg cdr) and chauffeured around in his luxury limo, we parked at BASC next to the Soviet CO's tatty old Opel with missing hub caps etc.

It was interesting to see the good relationships between the 4 Powers at 'shop floor' level, despite the on-going Cold War, and to hear of the intense competition over the quality of F&B at social functions ... ISTR the French were usually on top!
We Dan-Air 1-11 and 727 crews were encouraged to visit the BASC at least once to understand its operation and particularly the difficulties involved in getting extensions if delayed en-route for a return to Tegel. The work was done at an over-sized dining table, with each corner inhabited by a commissioned officer of the Soviet, French, UK, and USA air forces. The Soviet and RAF ones were amending their respective publications, the French one was reading Le Figaro and wreathed in smoke from his Gauloise cigarette, and USAF was watching a ball game on a small portable TV. The work involved reacting to alerts from the Berlin Air Traffic Centre of a departing/arriving allied aircraft approaching a corridor entry point. The alert would go to the French, UK, or USA reps for the North, Centre, and South Air Corridors respectively. The flight info would already be sitting in their pigeon-holes on a post-card type form. The post-card would be handed across the table to the Soviet Officer, which counted as formal notification of the movement. Having recorded it he would stamp it with an outsized imprint with Cyrillic script stating that the USSR could not guarantee its safety but acknowledging the movement.

Our conducting S/Ldr explained that you started off UI to make sure that you were fully practiced in the routine before going solo. His turn came, BARTCC rang to say that Flt No XXXXX was a/b TXL and heading for the Centre Corridor. He carefully extracted the appropriate card, time stamped it, and handed it over to the Soviet officer who recorded the movement and handed it back. Having placed it in the approved rack our man relaxed, first one done at least. A few moments later the Soviet Officer suddenly asks for the card back. This isn't in the script! Card duly returned to Soviet corner with trembling hands. "Ah", says the Russian, "I forget to stamp it! I will do it now for you!" Russia 10 points, and new boy thus welcomed into the fold.

Off duty they were teaching the Russians the game of darts, much to the cost of the walls of the BASC building. It had been the Prussian equivalent of the Old Bailey and was used by the NAZI People's Court for the trial of those involved in the 20 July Bomb Plot. Once convicted they were to be hung (by piano wire, "like cattle!") within two hours on Hitler's express orders. Executions were to be carried out across town at Moabit. With round the clock bombing this created a logistical problem and was partially overcome it is suspected within the Court building itself, for in the basement there was still a crudely made braced beam high up on the wall. Our guide explained that in the top of the beam were grooves as though worn into it by wires under tension...
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 11:19
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Can anyone confirm this story that I became aware of in my Argosy days? I believe it is from 1965, when the Bundestag held a meeting in West Berlin, something to which the Soviet Union took great objection, claiming that the city was not part of the Federal Republic. All manner of hindrances to Berlin access were initiated and, amongst other things, special probe flights using the Argosy were tasked. These would often see a MIG on the wingtip at some point. On one occasion, it was said, a captain slowed to airdrop speed and opened the rear doors, at which point the accompanying MIG had to give up as an incipient stall threatened. I'd like to think it was true.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 12:24
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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[QUOTE=Spyglass;10879198]
Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Took it from the Luftwaffenmuseum's website. Rheindalen might be meant to be just their legal unit's base.
QUOTE]

"9 inch" refers to the size of the image, 9x9, on the 10 inch film used in the F96 camera
The film was in fact 9.5" wide. It was delivered to PRU (HQRAFG) at Rheindahlen for processing, then upstairs to the PI's of 6(Int) Coy, BAOR.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 13:11
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Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 13:31
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I would just like to add to Chualug2 post. The Dan-air Hs748 and the Bae146 also frequented the Corridors when i was on the 748 we operated from Saarbrucken to Txl via the southern corridor which was 200 nauticle miles long entry was Mansbach NDB and not far from the Fulda VoR if i remember correctly. There was a localizer but these aids were frequently jammed . We had quite a few Migs come and have a look and on one occasion i was Pf the commandant for Txl was on board when one of the Migs got a bit to close The commandant saw what was going on and when we arrived at Txl He asked to use the phone in our Ops building. Anyway i have never seen a French man so angry in all my life he was jumping up and down and the phone with it i have not got a clue what he said but by the time we headed back to Saarbrucken everyone knew. This incident ended up on Maggie Thatchers Desk.Regarding the entry into the corridor in the BASC the paperwork for a schedule Flight was stamped ( Safety assured) And for a Charter flight it was ( Safety not Assured ) as my coleague said the BASC was well worth a visit because of the History I would not have missed it for the world. Happy Days


Last edited by t211; 7th Sep 2020 at 18:17.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 16:04
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"The film was in fact 9.5" wide. It was delivered to PRU (HQRAFG) at Rheindahlen for processing, then upstairs to the PI's of 6(Int) Coy,"

IIRC in my time RAF PID did the airflelds stuff, 6(Int) the ground equipment . (Although there was close co-operation)

Last edited by Haraka; 7th Sep 2020 at 07:18.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 16:28
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Haraka,

You are absolutely right The RAF's PID looked at air related targets such as airfields, radar sites etc and 6 Int dealt with ground force targets. The only duplication was AAA and SAM associated targets where 6 Int looked at ORBAT ant TO&E and the RAF looked at the technical parameters to ascertain the threat to aircraft and helos.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 16:56
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ICM: In 1965 the Mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt, announced that he was going to hold a Bundestag meeting in Berlin. Since Berlin was not part of the FDR (West Germany), this incensed the Russians. They put out a NOTAM stating that they intended to have a major exercise with the forces of the DDR (East Germany) and for flight safety reasons they were going to close the bottom 5,000 ft of the corridors for their ground attack aircraft. The Brits, the French and the Americans asked for 5,000 ft to be added to the top of the corridors (10,000 ft upper limit was laid down in the Potsdam agreement in 1945). "Niet" said the Russians so it was decided to ignore the NOTAM and to exercise our rights by flying up and down the corridors at the minimum possible level (2,500 ft on one of the corridors). 2 RAF Argosys, 2 USAF C-130s and 2 French Noratlas's would be involved. (In the end, the French stayed on the ground).
06.04.65. Got called out from standby. XR136 with Stan Brecken to Gutersloh. Briefed on arrival. Set out down the centre corridor at about 3,000 ft. Crossed the border at HLZ in cloud. Berlin Centre advised "fast moving, height unknown" which eventually was "6 o'clock, 100 yards". Popped out of cloud and their on my (right) wingtip was a Russian MIG-19 with large red star and the number 30 on the nose. I got Stan's attention. He put full power on and that got us about another 11 knots!!!! Our friend went through the intercept procedure. We declined to follow him and he broke off at the Berlin CTZ boundary. Landed Gatow, debriefed back to Gutersloh
07.04.65 We got to Gatow without being intercepted but when we got there a large flying display was in progress. MIG-19s, MIG-21s, SU-7s and YAK-28s planting sonic booms on Willy's Bundestag meeting which broke up in some disorder. When we were starting engines at Gatow, a SU-7 came across the airfield very, very low and flew past below our cockpit windows. He then pulled up and twinkle-rolled into East Germany. He was obviously having a wonderful day!
08.04.65 XR139 with Dennis Burles. Crossed at HLZ and got intercepted by MIG-19 number 10. This time he had a white missile on each side which was a bit of a worry for a time. He followed us right down a PAR approach into Gatow and eventually broke off into the East at 700 ft.
10.04.65. XR133. No intercepts. Russians had proved their point and we all went home next day.
Their were several flippant conversations about what defensive measures we could take. One idea was to load a couple of tons of gravel chippings in the freight bay. Next time Chummy was at 6 o'clock in cloud, open clam shell doors and start shovelling gravel down his intake. Another idea was to mount a 105 mm howitzer on an MSP and show him what a gun really looked like. No such attempts were made! Incidentally, we were all also Viscount trained.

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Old 6th Sep 2020, 22:01
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Jock, Many thanks - that confirms the timeframe and general context. It looks as if I 'misheard' that story all those years ago, perhaps in some mash-up of the possibilities you say were discussed as 'countermeasures.' Hoping you're well, Ian.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 22:36
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t211, apologies for not mentioning Dan-Air's 748's and 146's. Berlin was a gold mine for Dan-Air and other non-German airlines (West German airlines, including Lufthansa, were forbidden from entering the Berlin corridors); income in DM's and most costs in £'s. Though as the pound continued to sink each visit meant the beer cost more in £'s, though its DM price stayed exactly the same.

JW411, the events that you describe were no doubt in the forefront of BARTCC and BASF minds when, unannounced and off frequency, a Soviet transport a/c entered the Berlin Zone from the East. Continuous avoiding action for Tegel and Tempelhof traffic was necessary as it meandered erratically through the zone. Was this yet another Soviet provocation? Was there still more to come? Just as suddenly as it had appeared it exited the zone and disappeared into East German airspace. While the turmoil it had created subsided and normal routine was re-established, a phone call came into BASF. It was from the Soviet Airforce HQ in East Germany. Far from being threatening and bombastic, the tone was apologetic and reassuring. Their ATC had lost R/T contact with this nomad and they hoped it had not created too much trouble. They promised that severe disciplinary action would be taken against all those that had failed in their duty at their end. It was one thing to beat up the Reichstag when so ordered, quite another to make waves of one's own accord!
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 04:29
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Argosy aircraft from 114 and 267 Sqns flew the corridor over the period 1966-68 or possibly longer
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