Switzerland during the Second World War, took a very interesting position of armed neutrality - Switzerland crossing the border, the army got lost almost every plane of the warring parties. Learn more about the policy Switzerland "Against all", you can under the cut.
May 10, 1940 German bomber "Dornier» Do.17 was intercepted by the Swiss Air Force fighters and placed on airport Altenrhein.
June 1, 1940 the formation of 36 bombers He.111, emitted on a mission to the area of Marseille, decided to "cut corners" through the airspace of a neutral country. On the interception was raised 12 Swiss "Messerschmitts" - the perpetrators have tried to resist. As a result, two German aircraft were destroyed. The Swiss suffered no losses.
June 4, 1940 was held "retaliation" - the lone He.111 lured 12 Swiss Bf.109E the territory of France, where they came under attack 28 Luftwaffe fighters. As a result, a brief struggle the intruder bomber and two German Me.110 were shot down. Own losses were 1 Swiss aircraft.
The case took a serious turn - a tiny country and its "toy" Air Force desperately did not want to miss the Luftwaffe and severely punish any violation of its border.
June 8, 1940 was taken outdoor raid on Swiss territory - a group of bombers He.111 (KG 1) escorted 32 Bf.110C (from II / ZG 76) tried to attack airfields Swiss Air Force. Plans Nazis prevented the case - in the way the group has appeared patrol EKW C-35. "Kukuruznik" was immediately shot down, but before his death he managed to raise the alarm. On the interception immediately flew twelve Bf.109. In the ensuing dogfight Swiss pilots managed to shoot down three "Messerschmitt" in exchange for the loss of one of its aircraft.
Having failed in aerial combat, the Germans are no longer dared to tempt fate. The new plan for the neutralization of the Swiss Air Force provided the old reliable way - sabotage on the ground, produced by caring hands of German saboteurs.
June 16th, 1940 the German commando group of 10 people had been captured in full by the Swiss military. Since then, the events unfolded rapidly ...
France surrendered on June 17, the units of the Wehrmacht reached the Swiss border in the area with the intention Doo go on the offensive in the territory of the latter an "island of stability" in the center of Europe. Swiss leadership made a desperate attempt to save the world. In order to avoid escalation of the conflict the pilots were forbidden to attack the single intruder.
June 19 has received another note from Berlin, which contained a direct threat:
Reich government does not intend to spend more words, but would protect German interests in other ways, if such events occur in the future.
Germany seriously preparing for "Operation Tannenbaum" - armed invasion and occupation of Switzerland by the 12th Army of the Wehrmacht.
Chief of the Armed Forces of Switzerland hastily issued an order forbidding the interception of any aircraft over its territory.
Fortunately for the Swiss, the war did not happen. Switzerland was useful to the Reich as a partner, rather than as an enemy. Despite its small size (area of Switzerland roughly equal to the area of the Crimea), the armed invasion of the hill country, dotted with tunnels, fortifications and carved into the rocks gun emplacements, at 100% the mobilization of its population (well-trained and well-equipped militia) made the capture of Switzerland is extremely long and costly exercise. It took 2-3 days would not, as planned German leadership.
40-day confrontation between the Luftwaffe and "Schweizer Luftwaffe" cost the Germans 11 aircraft. Loss of Swiss were much lower - only 2 fighter Bf.109E patrol and one C-35.
Since mid-1940 on the German-Swiss border was restored a fragile truce. The two sides did not take any hostile action against each other. Only occasionally off course German planes were intercepted by Swiss fighters and forced to land at the aerodrome in Switzerland. Interned aircraft equipment are included in the Swiss Air Force, but most of it was unsuitable to fly because of the lack of necessary spare parts.
The most publicized incident happened April 28, 1944 at the Swiss airbase Dübendorf made an emergency landing night fighter Bf.110G-4 / R7, equipped with the latest radar FuG220 «Liechtenstein" and setting fire "Wrong Music" (with the placement of cannons at an angle to the horizon, to shooting "bottom-up" - from this perspective it was easier to notice the British bombers on the background of a bright sky). Worse, on board the "Messerschmitt" was a secret tablet with a list of radio commands of the German air defense system.
German task force led by Otto Skorzeny immediately started to prepare a raid on an airbase Dübendorf to destroy fighter and documents before they fall into the hands of British intelligence. However, military intervention is not required - the two sides reached consensus on peacefully. The Swiss authorities have destroyed the aircraft and its sensitive equipment, in return they were given the opportunity to purchase the newest 12 "Messers" modification 109G-6. As it turned out, the Swiss Nazis fooled - received the fighters appeared worn out junk. Engines of all 12 "Messerschmitts" were on the verge of writing off developing their mind moto. Switzerland has not forgotten grudges - in 1951 in the Swiss court made the payment of compensation.
Surrounded by Nazi countries, Switzerland formally continued to pursue an independent policy, maintaining the status of a neutral state. Privacy deposits in Swiss banks remained unshakable secrecy and security guarantees of a small country.
Meanwhile, the air war erupted with renewed force. From the middle of the war the main opponent of the Swiss Air Force planes have become allies regularly interferes in the country's airspace. Padded and off course the car forcibly put on aerodromes in Switzerland. During the war there were more than a hundred such incidents. As expected, the aircraft and pilots are interned in the territory of a neutral state until the end of the war. British and American pilots placed at ski resorts, cut off from the rest of the world war, mountains and snow.
Since the beginning of the Allied landings in Normandy, about 940 pilots of allied countries voluntarily left the place of his imprisonment and attempted to cross the border into France. 183 fugitives were arrested by the Swiss police and placed in a POW camp in the district of Lucerne with a much harsher regime than before. They were released only in November 1944
However, not everyone gets a chance to settle in the chalet - April 13, 1944 damaged American plane was shot down mercilessly in the airspace of Switzerland, despite the fact that demonstratively released chassis (which according to international rules meant "follow your specified airfield") . Killed seven Americans.
But the real "action" associated with raids strategic bombers - during the entire war, the Swiss territory was regularly bombed. The best known are the following episodes:
- April 1, 1944 The formation of the 50 "Liberators" unleashed their deadly cargo on Schaffhausen (instead of the designated target in Germany, 235 km to the north). The victims of the bombing began 40 Swiss;
- December 25, 1944 Powerful bombed Thayngen;
- February 22, 1945 Yankees bombed 13 towns in Switzerland;
- March 4, 1945 American bombers bombed both Basel and Zurich. It is noteworthy that the real target was located 290 km north of Frankfurt;
The bombings occurred in the past. During 1940 the largest city of Switzerland (Geneva, Basel, Zurich) periodically subjected bombed by the RAF.
Themselves unlucky pilots also suffered losses: at the beginning of March 1944 by Swiss fighters managed to bring down the "flying fortress"; second bomber of the same type was forced to land in Switzerland.
Accidentally or deliberately they had all these "mistakes"? History does not give a precise answer. We only know that the bombing of Switzerland met with approval from the American pilots among the Swiss population were distributed strong pro-Nazi sentiment, and many of the affected businesses were directly related to the defense industry of the Third Reich. The commander of the US Air Force, General Arnold held version that most episodes of bombardment Swiss cities - provocation of the Nazis, using airplanes trophy. However, after the war, the Swiss have paid good compensation.
July 1, 1945 in London, held a show trial of pilots and navigators of strategic bombers involved in attacks on Switzerland. Pilots just shrugged their shoulders and referred to a strong tail wind and nasty weather over the target. All were acquitted.
In general, the situation is clear: despite the complexity of relations between Switzerland and the Third Reich, "dark" banking transactions and outright flirting leadership of the country to the Nazis, to the Air Force no claims. Actions Swiss Air Force entirely coincided with the doctrine of neutrality - any provocations and violations of the airspace thwarted most decisive methods. At the same time the Swiss tried not to go beyond the international law. None of the warring parties did not have priority in the event of a meeting with fighters from the red and white crosses on the wings. Violators shall be transmitted airfields, dared to resist mercilessly shot down. Swiss pilots acted competently and professionally, sometimes dethroning from heaven to earth is much stronger and more numerous enemy.
It should be added that during the war the Air Force small mountainous country is more than a hundred fighter "Messerschmitt" (including obsolete 109D, interned machines and purchased 12 fighters modification 109G-6).
February 17, 2014. Europe awakened notification of hijacking a passenger "Boeing 767" airline Ethiopian Airline, en route from Addis Ababa - Rome. As it turned out, the culprit of the incident was the second pilot, an Ethiopian national, who seized control of the plane and arbitrarily changed the course of Geneva in order to obtain political asylum in Switzerland.
The air fighters were immediately raised the Italian Air Force and the French, who took on the hijacked plane support - from the time of its discovery before landing.
Fortunately, everything worked out - airliner in the last drops of fuel lasted up to Switzerland and at 6:00 am local time, made a soft landing in the airport of Geneva. None of the 200 on board passengers and crew members was injured. The pilot-hijacker soon get their legal 20 years in prison.
But why to escort the hijacked aircraft required the assistance of the Italian Air Force and the French? Where at that moment were valiant Swiss pilots, whose grandparents bravely knocked the German, British and American planes?
Swiss "captains of heaven" at this time drinking my morning coffee, watching on television for the fabulous adventures of the Ethiopian "Boeing" in the airspace of the country. None of the 26 multi-role F / A-18C «Hornet" fighters and 42 F-5E «Tiger II» Swiss Air Force on the morning got off the ground.
The gates are locked at air bases all night flight and technical staff went home - Swiss Air Combat runs smoothly from 8 am to 17 pm, with the obligatory hour and a half lunch break. The reason for this decision - a banal savings in peacetime.
From dusk till dawn sky Swiss Air Force guard of neighboring countries - Germany, Italy and France, which have signed the relevant agreements.