Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hitler's Condors


Adolf Hitler used a modified prototype, the Fw 200 V3 as his personal transport. His “seat” in the cabin was equipped with back-armor plating and an automatic parachute with downward ejection. The interior photos are dated November 1939 and were classified ("Geheim, Veröffentlichung in der Tagespresse verboten"). They show the Fw 200 V3.

The Führersessel parachute was not used in the V3 however.
3 Machines were specific Führermachines:
1) Fw 200 V3, D-2600, later WL+2600 and finally 26+00. Nicknamed "Immelmann III".
2) Fw 200 C-4/U1, W.Nr. 137, CE+IB, 11 seats.
3) Fw 200 C-4/U2, W.Nr. 138, CE+IC, 14 seats. Hitler himself did NOT use to fly in this machine. It was used to transport his staff and guests only.
Fw 200 C-3, KE+IX, was not used as Führermachine, but occasionally used by Flugkapitän Baur to fly to one of the Führermachines to pick one up.

The Staffel’s orgin dates back to February 1933 when Adolf Hitler directed Lufthansa Flugkapitän Hans Baur, who was already the Führer’s personal pilot, to establish a Regierungsflugdienst (Government Flight Service) at Berlin-Tempelhof with 2 Ju 52/3m ce transports. In 1934, and now with 4 Ju 52s on hand, it was officially designated Flugbereitschaft RLM but informally referred to as Regierungsstaffel. By 31 December 1936 the Regierungsstaffel had grown to 13 Ju 52s, two of which were reserved for Hitler’s use, 3 for General Göring’s use and 7 of the remainder assigned to Hess, Himmler, Rippentrop and several other high officials. The first Fw 200 Condor was delivered to the Staffel in July 1939 and a specially outfitted Condor (D-2600 “Immelmann III”) for Hitler’s use was delivered on 19 October 1939. Through its existence from 1933 to 1945 the Staffel’s sole function was to operate as a private passenger airline for Hitler and the highest ranking personages of the National Socialist regime and foreign heads of state on official visits to the Führer. At no time during its existence did the Staffel belong to the Luftwaffe. Instead, it came directly under the Reichskanzlei and the Führer’s personal military staff. The aircrew personnel and other senior officials were former Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH) employees who held honorary rank in the SS and wore high-ranking SS uniforms. The remaining personnel were a mixture of DLH civilians and after the war began a smattering of carefully selected Luftwaffe personnel. During the early war years Hans Baur created a Staffel emblem that consisted of an eagle’s head with a surrounding oak wreath or crown and the inscription “F.d.F.” The Regierungsstaffel was renamed Fliegerstaffel des Führers on or about 1 September 1939.

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