Saturday, 20 July 2013

Cologne Airport, 1937, Part 4







Selected images of the newly rebuilt Cologne airport, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXVI, issue no. 6, June 1937, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: parked aircraft inside the grosse Flugzeughalle [large aircraft hangar]. The aircraft in the centre is De Havilland D.H.86A (later D.H.86B), G-ADUG, operated by Imperial Airways.

The hangar was surrounded on the outside by an extension along three of its walls. This extension housed a variety of rooms used by Deutsche Lufthansa, such as workshops and storage facilities. Further rooms were used by the air traffic control.

Centre and bottom: enlargements of the main photo, showing Focke-Wulf A 47 D, D-IJTE, and, partially hidden behind a Lufthansa Heinkel He 70 and the Imperial Airways D.H.86 G-ADUG, an unidentified Junkers Ju 86.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cologne Airport, 1937, Part 3





Selected images of the newly rebuilt Cologne airport, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXVI, issue no. 6, June 1937, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: air traffic control tower and grosse Flugzeughalle [large aircraft hangar]. Enlargement of bottom right portion of image shows, once again, Junkers Ju 52/3m D-ANEN, Werknummer 5072, Fritz Puetter. The aircraft is in the process of being serviced, as evidenced by the open cowling of the starboard engine.





Top: front view of the large aircraft hangar and control tower. The building was shielded from the wind by the forward position of airport's main building. Subsurface refuelling stations were located in front of the hangar, underneath the apron.

Bottom: Enlargement of the bottom right corner of the above image reveals Junkers W 33 f D-OTAQ (originally D-2009), Werknummer 2580, Bosporus, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa. (Additional aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cologne Airport, 1937, Part 2







Selected images of the newly rebuilt Cologne airport, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXVI, issue no. 6, June 1937, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: according to the original photo caption, these are "festive" passenger facilities in the main building. The two towers of the Kölner Dom [Cologne cathedral] were visible through the glass doors.

Centre: apron with air traffic control tower, grosse Flugzeughalle [large aircraft hangar], operations building, main building, and observation area. The entire assembly stretched across a distance of 400 m.

Bottom: enlargement of bottom left portion of the same image reveals Junkers Ju 52/3m D-ANEN, Werknummer 5072, Fritz Puetter, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa. Aircraft features aerodynamic fairings around its landing gear. (Additional aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Cologne Airport, 1937, Part 1







Selected images of the newly rebuilt Cologne-Butzweilerhof airport in 1937. The complete transformation of the old, obsolete airport was the first construction project of the new National Socialist government in Cologne upon attaining power in 1933. The project was realized in close cooperation between the city of Cologne and Deutsche Lufthansa. The requirements of the Luftwaffe (then still in its clandestine formation stage) were taken into consideration as well.

After two years of research and planning, Professor H. Merten's design for the airport was ready for construction in early summer of 1935. The new airport was opened for operations on August 1, 1936, just before the commencement of the Games of the XI Olympad in Berlin.

These photos were originally part of an 8-page feature titled Der neue Kölner Verkehrsflughafen [Cologne's New Civil Aviation Airport], published in the architectural trade journal Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXVI, issue no. 6, June 1937, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top photo shows the magazine's cover, featuring the main portal of the new airport. The massive eagle sculpture was designed by local Cologne artist Willi Meller and made from basaltic lava.

Centre photo shows the airport's main building as seen from the direction of the city. The building contained all passenger facilities as well as the airport's administration.

Lower photo shows the observation area and the patio of the airport restaurant on the south-western airside of the main building. This area was designed specifically to host a large amount of spectators during aviation events.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Flughafen Tempelhof - Chronik des Berliner Werkes der "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH, Bremen

 photo Wenz_FlughafenTempelhof.jpg

[Full title: Flughafen Tempelhof - Chronik des Berliner Werkes der "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH, Bremen - Einrichtung eines Flugzeugwerkes - Umbau von Flugzeugen und Produktion der Kriegsflugzeuge Ju 87-Stuka und Focke-Wulf Fw 190, 1939-1945] F.-Herbert Wenz, Stedinger Verlag, Lemwerder, Germany, 2000, ISBN 3-927697-24-9. Illustrated, hardcover, published in German.

Cover image © by Stedinger Verlag, 2000.


Although destined to perpetually remain in the shadows of other, more widely recognized companies such as Messerschmitt, Junkers, or Focke-Wulf, Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH was one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Germany during the Second World War. While Weser’s own aircraft designs remained obscure or unbuilt, the company was contracted to convert, repair, and mass-produce aircraft of other manufacturers, such as the Junkers Ju 86 and Ju 87, Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Junkers Ju 388, or Focke Achgelis Fa 223. At its plant at Tempelhof airport in Berlin, for example, Weser eventually conducted two thirds of the entire Ju 87 production.

Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH’s Tempelhof facilities are the focus of F.-Herbert Wenz’ somewhat cumbersomely titled Flughafen Tempelhof - Chronik des Berliner Werkes der "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH, Bremen - Einrichtung eines Flugzeugwerkes - Umbau von Flugzeugen und Produktion der Kriegsflugzeuge Ju 87-Stuka und Focke-Wulf Fw 190, 1939-1945 [Tempelhof Airport - History Of The Berlin Plant Of The "Weser" Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, Bremen - Establishment Of An Aircraft Manufacturing Plant - Aircraft Conversion And Production Of Ju 87 Stuka And Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Warplanes, 1939-1945]. The book is something of a companion volume to the same author’s indispensable Chronik des Lemwerder Flugzeugwerkes 1935-1963: Band 1 - "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH [History Of The Lemwerder Aircraft Manufacturing Plant 1935-1963: Volume 1 - "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH], released by the same publishing house in 1995.

Though only slightly more than half as extensive at 160 printed pages (versus the earlier publication's 256 pages), Flughafen Tempelhof is designed in a similar layout and style, and it serves to further complete the examination of Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH's various undertakings. It is actually rather unfortunate that Wenz' follow-up is a thinner book, as one might be drawn to imagine that the past existence of the massive manufacturing facilities at Tempelhof airport, including all related issues, would have warranted the inclusion of far more material and images (the book features 130 photos). Moreover, the book's design could be a bit more modern.

In spite of such desires, Wenz' Flughafen Tempelhof truly is a captivating compendium of information on the operations of a wartime German aircraft factory and the various special interests affecting it. Following brief descriptions of the establishment of Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH and the construction of the completely redesigned Tempelhof airport (see also Der Flughafen Tempelhof in Entwurfszeichnungen und Modellen), Wenz describes the actual repair, conversion, and production of aircraft at the airport. The switch to this new location was implemented because Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH's earlier facility at Lemwerder was utterly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work it was allocated. This is evidenced, for example, by two striking photos on pages 25 and 26 of the book, one of them showing an aerial view of the access road to Lemwerder. The road itself is barely visible due to the fact that it was used as an improvised parking area for numerous Junkers Ju 86 aircraft.

Flughafen Tempelhof contains countless interesting photos depicting the activities at the Tempelhof facility, from conversion work on Heinkel He 111s and Ju 86s to the series production of the Ju 87 and the repair of the Fw 190. Some of the photos show the damage caused by bombing attacks as well as the measures taken to limit such damage in the future. In addition to the narrative, floor plans and images depicting aircraft components and various manufacturing and assembly areas help the reader to gain a visual understanding of operations in a fairly typical German aircraft plant of the period. Unfortunately, the text is at times a bit generic. An example is the description of the intention to commence production of the Fa 223 helicopter; this is basically a brief summary on the aircraft and provides hardly any details regarding the intended production.

Wenz further portrays the individuals managing operations at the Tempelhof manufacturing facility and then, on nine pages, touches upon the omnipresent topic of forced labour. It is this latter point which has led certain circles to express criticism regarding the book. Wenz' account was blamed for being too cursory and too apologetic on behalf of the plant. The issue of forced labour at Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH is indeed of tremendous significance. To say that Wenz is trivializing this subject matter would be too strong, but it is certainly true that the brevity of the chapter in question means that many thoroughly drastic aspects of the topic are merely hinted at or even outright excluded. The utter arrogance and ignorance exhibited by the German leadership (from the highest to the lowest level) with regard to employing forced labour defies description, and this is exactly why attempts must be made to describe it.

Flughafen Tempelhof concludes with an account of the collapse of plant operations at the end of the war, and the occupation by American troops. Perhaps it is futile to expect a book with such a limited page count to provide a highly detailed study, regardless of whether this concerns aircraft manufacturing or forced labour issues. This is why it is somewhat frustrating that this book isn't a more extensive work and why the text actually included is at times slightly sketchy.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Heinkel He 177 Wrecks





The photos in this post show two unidentified Heinkel He 177 A bomber wrecks after their discovery by Allied troops. The location of these aircraft and the exact date currently remain unknown to me.

Top photo shows a He 177 A with its entire forward fuselage section missing. The tips of the spinners are painted in a different, lighter colour. An enhanced enlargement of the extreme right of the image (see photo above) reveals what is possibly exactly this missing forward fuselage and cockpit section, resting on its side in the background.





Top photo shows a still somewhat intact He 177 A at the same airfield. The aircraft's DB 610 engines are missing, and the bomb bay doors are open. The main undercarriage doors remain closed, unlike those of the aircraft heading this post.

Bottom photo shows another view of what appears to be the same He 177. Due to the inferior quality of these photos, it is difficult to determine the aircraft's code. Note removable portion of canopy of rear gunner's position lying on the ground, to the left of the horizontal stabilizer. The MK 151 tail gun has been removed.

Also apparent in these photos are the fir trees previously used in an attempt to camouflage the aircraft. (Fischer collection)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dornier Delphin III





The BMW VI-engined Dornier Delphin III (Do L Bas) flying boat D-UBIF, Konstanz, Werknummer 152. The boarding pier for crew and passengers can be seen behind the fuselage. This aircraft was built at Dornier's facilities in Altenrhein, on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, and at one point in its existence also displayed the Swiss registration CH-178.

According to the inscriptions on the back of these photos, they were taken at the Lake Constance shore promenade in Konstanz, Germany, in 1935 or 1936. (Fischer collection)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Zeppelins Flieger: Das Flugzeug im Zeppelin-Konzern und in seinen Nachfolgebetrieben

 photo Meighoumlrner-ZeppelinsFliegersm.jpg

Edited by Wolfgang Meighörner, Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Thübingen & Berlin/Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany, 2006, ISBN 3-8030-3316-0. Illustrated, hardcover, published in German.

Cover image © by Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, 2006.


Published to complement an exhibition at the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Zeppelins Flieger: Das Flugzeug im Zeppelin-Konzern und in seinen Nachfolgebetrieben [Zeppelin's Aviators: Aircraft In The Zeppelin Group And In Its Successor Firms] is a compendium of highly intriguing essays by a variety of authors. Traditionally, the word "Zeppelin" has become a metaphor for large, silver airships and, inevitably, the image of airship LZ 129 Hindenburg as it perishes near its mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in May 1937. Somewhat less immediate, perhaps, might be the association of Zeppelin with the airship bombing raids over England during the First World War.

Far more unknown, however, is the fact that Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin and the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin [Zeppelin Airship Manufacturing] plant were also involved in numerous aircraft-related undertakings, following humble beginnings as early as 1899. Among the most notable were, perhaps, Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin's role in establishing Claudius Dornier's Dornier Metallbau [Dornier Metal Construction], later to be renamed Dornier Flugzeugwerke [Dornier Aircraft Manufacturing Plant], or Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's license production of aircraft and rocket components during the Second World War. The extent of the subject matter is astonishingly substantial.

In spite of the fact that a truly comprehensive study of all of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's aviation activities would undoubtedly merit far more than just one book, Zeppelins Flieger is a truly formidable and wide-ranging study. At 320 tightly printed pages, and with 255 often striking images, Zeppelins Flieger is quite literally a heavy tome. The narrative is subdivided into 16 individual essays, which together form a fairly cohesive record of Zeppelin's non-airship ventures. Among the authors are a number of distinguished German aviation history specialists, such as Karl Kössler, Lutz Budrass, Günter Frost, or Hans-Peter Dabrowski. Each essay is completed by a list of explanatory notes and sources. By far the major part of Zeppelins Flieger covers the years up to 1945, with only comparatively few pages addressing events following the Second World War and up to today.

The content of some of the essays is stunning. Jürgen Bleiber's examination of the revolutionary E.4/20 airliner, for example, is riveting, not least due to the photo content. Equally captivating are Günter Frost's look at Dornier's aircraft of the 1920s, or Hans-Peter Dabrowski's descriptions of Zeppelin's affiliation with the Messerschmitt Me 323 and Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's later projects, such as the ZSO 523 transport, the Fliegende Panzerfaust, the Zeppelin Rammer, and the Zeppelin airliner. Further examples are Peter M. Grosz and Michael Schmeelke's Die Riesenflugzeuge des Zeppelin-Konzerns im Ersten Weltkrieg [Giant Aircraft Of The Zeppelin Group In The First World War], Lutz Budrass' look at Rohrbach and Dornier, or Karl Kössler's brief exploration of the evolution of Dornier's Do 17 design.

Among the most noteworthy essays is Christa Tholander's Ausländische Arbeitskräfte in der Zeit des Zweiten Weltkriegs bei den Dornier-Werken 1939–1945 [Foreign Labour At Dornier's Plants During The Second World War 1939-1945]. Tholander's contribution is based on a doctoral thesis, and it is exemplary that this drastic and all too often quietly excluded topic is an integral part Zeppelins Flieger. One of Tholander's most unexpected revelations is that Dornier explored all legal means at its disposal to improve the living conditions of the Ostarbeiter [eastern workers] in its service.

Zeppelins Flieger can be recommended without hesitation. It is a detailed and expertly researched publication with very high production standards. Its appeal may conceivably be limited only by the fact that it has been published in German. Nonetheless, the fact that Peter Schmoll's various German language works on certain aspects of Messerschmitt's aircraft production have been translated and compiled into the English-language Nest Of Eagles (Classic Publications/Ian Allan Publishing Ltd., England, 2010) leaves room for hope that Zeppelins Flieger, too, might one day be granted a competent English translation.