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The Defection of Oblt. Herbert Schmid

With Radar-Equipped Ju 88 to the United Kingdom

Churchill once described Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, and that expression might well apply to the story of a defection to the United Kingdom of an advanced radar-equipped night fighter just at the time when Germany was beginning to inflict potentially devastating damage on the strategic bombing campaign being mounted by the Allies.

The story has been known at least from the 1970s but details differ among accounts and as soon as a grasp is made on a particular fact, it has a tendency to slip away in the face of a contradiction. Even the name of the main protagonist and his birthplace have differed depending on which story you read. Why is this? That is one of the intriguing questions that surround this story!

What is indisputable is that someone flew Germany's latest Ju 88 night fighter, equipped with its most advanced radars, to the United Kingdom, giving the British unprecedented access to its enemy's most secret equipment.

That someone was Oberleutnant Herbert Schmid. It is noteworthy that different accounts of this story employ at least 2 alternative spellings of the family name: Schmidt and Schmitt, and there's also one variant of the given name, Heinrich, to add to the potential for confusion. Most accounts, in fact, call him Heinrich but we have positive proof it was, in fact, Herbert.

It may well be that Schmid began life as Herbert but preferred the name Heinrich later on, because all accounts we have seen use Heinrich. Andy Saunders, for example, in his meticulous book 'Arrival of Eagles' refers to him exclusively as Heinrich Schmitt.

He was said to be the son of the secretary to the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gustav Stresemann, but no evidence to this effect has surfaced thus far.

It was alleged in 1974, by the newspaper Bild am Montag, that Schmid had been recruited by British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) as an enemy agent in 1940, and had regularly supplied secret information to Britain through his father, who sent it from his home in Thüringen via a circuitous route to intermediate relay stations in neutral Switzerland and Portugal. Again, no evidence is to hand for these claims so far as we have been able to tell.

Amazingly, it is claimed that Schmid had flown at least twice previously to the UK in a Dornier 217 bomber in order to deliver sealed packages to the British Government, once on the night of May 20 1941 when he is said to have landed at an airfield in Lincolnshire according to an elaborate prearranged plan for runway lights to be switched on as guidance. The way these flights had been arranged under the noses of the German security services is a matter yet to be disclosed, but apparently all went to plan as Schmid landed successfully, handed the packages to a waiting British officer and then immediately took-off to return to Germany. We have some evidence of these flights having occurred, but none thus far that Schmid himself was involved.

Exhaustive efforts are underway to uncover the full story of the Do 217 flights, but even after 75 years the veil of secrecy over some events seemingly remains intact. Various reports say these flights never occurred at all and queries to the British authorities in the past have yielded no information on this point.

Schmid's flight route

What is not in dispute is that on the afternoon of Sunday, May 9, 1943 Schmid was heading for Great Britain, flying a Ju 88 R-1 (serving with 10./NJG3, code D5+EV) and eventually landing at RAF Dyce in Aberdeenshire. With this act Schmid delivered the first radar-equipped Ju 88 to fall into Allied hands. It proved to be a most valuable gift.

This aircraft had taken off from Aalborg, Westerland, Denmark at 1503 hours and landed at Kristiansand, Norway for refuelling at 1603. It took off again at 1650 supposedly for a mission over the Skageraak.

Kristiansand 1940 (courtesy Willi Weiss)

Kristiansand 1940, view out to sea: next stop: Scotland! (courtesy Willi Weiss)

The Ju 88's crew of three were: Oberleutnant Herbert Schmid (Pilot) (Service No. 69038/10 born 1914-04-01 in Bernburg/Saale), Oberfeldwebel Erich Kantwill (Flight Engineer) (Service No. 60032/9 born 1915-05-26 in Dortmund) and Oberfeldwebel Paul Rosenberger (Wireless Operator/Gunner) (Service No. 71038 / - / a born 1913-10-16 in Brünn). Kantwill is said in various accounts to have not been involved in the defection plot but was forced to participate at gunpoint. (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

Left: L - R: At Gilze-Rijen: Kantwill - Schmid - Rosenberger - Unknown. Right: Kantwill

Aviation historian Ken West records that these were a 'peacetime' crew of some repute, though Schmid and Rosenberger were said to be loners who did not mix with other fliers. Schmid, despite his length of service, had never shot down an Allied aircraft. It is alleged that he had pro-British sympathies, and, as has already been mentioned, whilst serving with 2/NJG2 the claim is he had landed in the UK at Debden (14-15 Feb 41) and in Lincolnshire (20 May 41) on clandestine intelligence missions connected with British intelligence. Some authors claim that both Schmid and Rosenberger had worked for British Intelligence for some time, having flown together since 1940.

P. Paus in his book 'The Hell of Hamburg' wrote (in German) that with this act of defection, Schmid wanted to shorten the war and help to build a new Germany together with other emigrants in Britain and the USA - a socialist Germany.

According to Robert Hill in 'The Great Coup' both Schmid and Rosenberger were motivated by experiences in the Spanish Civil War and abhorrence of Nazi genocide. Schmid was certainly from an anti- Nazi background and had apparently been passing information to the Allies on a regular basis, though the precise details of his methods are unknown. We have, however, seen no evidence that Schmid ever served in Spain.

A letter from Helmut Fiedler, former ground crew on this aircraft, written July 1998, adds some interesting details; '...on the squadron one often thought why such a long serving crew with the customary awards had made no interceptions and shot nothing down.....Oberleutnant Schmid and Oberfeldwebel Kantwill were friendly with us ground crew. Oberfeldwebel Rosenberger was not liked by the air or ground crew... He was a lone wolf...'

Professor R V Jones in his book 'Most Secret War' records that the crew had been ordered to intercept and shoot down an unarmed civilian BOAC Mosquito courier flight from Leuchars, Scotland to Stockholm in neutral Sweden and this caused Schmid and Rosenberger to decide ' was time for them to get out of the war'. Whilst this is a possibility, it seems less likely than having undertaken a long period in the service of MI6 under the noses of the Gestapo they had decided that now was the time to leave Germany and head to the safety of Britain. Robert Hill makes extensive mention of the fact that to date the Schmid crew had recorded not a single hit on an Allied bomber and that the pressure was on them to rectify this in order to prove their commitment. He proposes that this particular flight to attack an unarmed plane was, in fact, the final test for Schmid, and that his knowledge of this was the deciding factor in his decision to defect.

Again there is the possibility this defection was a carefully prearranged plan because this time his landfall north of Aberdeen was not faced with attacking British fighters, but was, in fact, met by Spitfires which escorted him all the way into RAF Dyce. However, an account by the RAF pilots involved give a different interpretation. It is, of course, possible the plan was indeed prearranged by British Intelligence but that RAF operational staff at Dyce was kept in ignorance to ensure the arrival of the Ju 88 would not appear to be something other than a lucky event for the British. Many more devious plans by the British were, in fact, brought about, so this possibility cannot be excluded on the evidence to hand.

The plan unfolded in earnest by Rosenberger at 1710 hours sending a bogus message to Night Fighter HQ at Grove, Denmark, saying the aircraft's starboard engine was on fire. Schmid then took the aircraft down to sea level to get below German radar and dropped three life rafts to make the Germans think the plane and crew were lost at sea. This was in the German-designated square Planquadrat 8841 (see explanation of the German grid reference system). He then set a course for Scotland.

The radio station assumed that the aircraft had gone into the sea when no further message was received, and began a search and rescue operation in the area it had triangulated as the crash site.

Luftwaffe Search Report for Schmid's Ju88

Nothing being found, the aircraft was presumed lost. Expanding on this, we are grateful to Phil Irwin who wrote to us in September 2021 to tell us the following:

Left: Rudolf Kratz

'Many years ago I bought a Flugbuch that had belonged to an Oblt Kratz. It contained a few operational flights with KG30 in 1940 and then a long gap followed by flights with a night fighter unit.

I managed to track down Rudolf Kratz and met him in Germany I'm guessing 1988? I took with me a photocopy of the Flugbuch and he went through it with me explaining some of the entries.

One said Seenot and Oblt Schmid vermisst. Kratz had not said much about it when we met and it was not until I returned home that I discovered the connection to Dyce.

I visited him a few months later and showed him a photo of Schmid's Ju88. He said that he knew about and told me the following. They had received a message that Schmid's aircraft was ditching and Kratz was one of the pilots that went to the reported area to try to find them. He said they found and empty dinghy and presumed they were all dead.

From this personal recollection, we can conclude Schmid's plan to deceive his colleagues back at base was entirely successful.

Schmid's Ju 88 R-1 on display at RAF Museum, Hendon

Schmid by this time was near the coast of Scotland.

One account has Schmid circling continually once it passed over Peterhead, knowing that he would eventually be picked up by the radar station at Hillhead and Spitfires would be sent to investigate. Two Spitfire VBs of No.165 (Ceylon) Squadron were indeed scrambled from RAF Dyce with orders to intercept Schmid's Ju 88.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur Ford 'Art' Roscoe DFC MiD (Left: an American. Later Sqd Ldr, passed away 12 March 2006) was flying as 'Blue 1' in BM515 and Sergeant Ben Scaman MiD (from Canada) was 'Blue 2' in AB921. The Spitfire pilots made contact with the Ju 88 at about 1805 hours 13 miles north west of Aberdeen.

165 Squadron Diary (DoRIS Ref.AC91/8/23) recorded the following about what happened next:

'Arthur Roscoe and Ben Scaman (Right) were scrambled today to investigate a raider plotted due east of Peterhead. The raider turned south and eventually started to orbit as though lost. The section identified the raider as a Ju88 and when Arthur approached, the Hun dropped his undercart shot off Very lights and waggled his wings. Blue 1 waggled his wings in turn and positioned himself in front of the enemy aircraft - Ben Scamen flew above and behind and the procession moved off to Dyce aerodrome where all landed safely causing a major sensation'. (see Paradie Archive Database and Allied Losses Database for information on Scaman and the interview conducted by Canadian journalist Elinor Florence.)

Roscoe's report of the incident records contact made at 1805 hours 13 miles NNW of Aberdeen: 'I was flying Blue 1 when we were scrambled to intercept an 'X' raid said to be 15 miles east of Peterhead traveling west at 0 feet. We were vectored 030 and I flew at very high speed in order to intercept before bandit reached coast. When about half way to Peterhead, we were told the bandit was flying south about 5 miles out to sea. We turned east and flew out to sea for a few minutes and then orbited as bandit was reported due north of us going south. We were then told to come closer in shore and orbit. We were then told bandit was west of us and orbiting so I flew slightly NNW so I could see to port.

I then saw bandit about 1 mile inland on my port bow at about 300-400 feet. I approached from his starboard beam and noticed his wheels were down and he fired numerous red Very lights. I identified it as Ju88. He waggled his wings and I answered him back so I presumed he wished to be led to an Aerodrome. I positioned myself about 400 yards ahead of him and told Blue 2 to fly above and behind and to one side of bandit. The 88 raised his wheels and followed me back to Dyce. Upon reaching the aerodrome he lowered his wheels, fired more red lights, did a short circuit and landed. I followed him around during his complete run-in just out of range. We then pancaked.

The Ju88 landed safely, despite being hit by the airfield's AA guns according to some reports, at 1820.

No.165 Squadron's ORB (PRO Ref.Air 27/1087) records: 'Blue section were ordered to investigate a raid under Peterhead section control (Flt Lt Crimp). The raider was plotted due east of Peterhead but turned south down the coast eventually orbiting a few miles NNW of Dyce. The fighters were vectored on to him and the aircraft was identified as a Ju88.

The E/A lowered its undercarriage, fired off Very lights and waggled its wings violently on Flt Lt Roscoe's approach. He replied in a similar manner and flew ahead to lead the E/A into Dyce. Blue 1 ordered Blue 2 to fly behind and above the Junkers and the whole party proceeded to Dyce and all landed safely. The pilots are to be congratulated for not opening fire, and so bringing home valuable information for the technical branch, and the Controller for his quick appreciation of the possibilities in handling the situation.'

The Dyce composite combat report of 9 May 1943 repeats the praise for the controller and Spitfire pilots and records that the Dyce airfield AA guns opened up whilst the Ju88 was in the circuit and scored one or two strikes.

Schmid presented Roscoe with his life jacket as a thank-you for not shooting them down, with Roscoe continuing to wear it in preference to the bulky RAF 'Mae West' and in 2012 it was still in excellent condition in the United States with the collection of the WWII Aviation Society Inc, which was then up for sale.

Some evidence of planning was further provided by the unusual presence of military police who surrounded the Ju 88 after landing and kept away all people not party to the plan. The crew surrendered to Group Captain Colquhoun, Commanding Officer RAF Dyce, and was kept under armed guard overnight in the base sick-bay.

At the time Dyce was home to a Photo Reconnaissance Unit Operational Training Unit, one of whose attendees was Flt. Lt. Charles Sharp (at that time a Flt Sgt) (on right) and he provided a commentary on this event in a Wings Over New Zealand podcast recorded in 2012 and first aired in October 2017. According to Sharp he was on the flight line when a call came over the station Tannoy system to the effect that an enemy aircraft was approaching, that ground crews should man all guns but they were NOT to open fire, an instruction that was repeated. Sharp saw a Ju 88 duly appear in the circuit with one Spitfire on its wing and the other stationed behind. He makes no mention of the station's AA guns firing on the 88. After the plane landed he saw the 3 crew emerge and says they were subsequently housed in the Officers' Mess for a week. Sharp said he heard the crew had defected from Norway. He says 2 test pilots were despatched from RAE Farnborough in a Beaufighter to take charge of the 88, but they hit a hill en route and were killed. Later another pilot from Farnborough appeared and flew the 88 out of Dyce.

Schmid's father is said to have been informed of the successful defection by his son in a coded message broadcast by the British secret radio station Gustav Siegfried Eins. The announcement of the code phrase 'May has come' ('Der Mai ist gekommen') was the prearranged signal. We discovered the transcripts of Gustav Siegfried Eins in the archives of the FBI, but could find no evidence such a message was ever broadcast. It may be, of course, that these transcripts only included the scripted propaganda prepared by Sefton Delmer (left), the British Intelligence propaganda genius responsible for the station, and this is why personal messages were excluded, but this seems unlikely as the FBI files appear to be records of the transmissions as received by American listening stations: why would they leave out anything they heard?

All pretense of secrecy was, however, abandoned the following month when both Schmid and his crew-member Rosenberger were said to have broadcast via a British radio station. One is left to speculate whether this broadcast had repercussions for their families remaining in Germany. (We did not find these transcripts in the FBI Archives either, but, as of December 2017, we have not yet seen every possible transcript, and it may well be these broadcasts were made over the BBC or another British radio station operated by the Political Warfare Executive.) ADDED JUNE 2019: we now know the crew had been equipped with fake identities. Any broadcasts they made, therefore, would not have been made using their real names. The secrecy of the defection was maintained throughout the war and indeed into the post-War period.

Schmid's Ju 88 was soon flown from Dyce to RAE Farnborough by Squadron Leader Roland Antoni Kalpas (a well-known and highly decorated Polish test pilot), escorted by Beaufighters. (See Andrew Mielnik Memorial Archiwum on this site).

Once at Farnborough the aircraft was given RAF markings and the serial number PJ876. (see plane with RAF roundels to left) It was thoroughly tested making 83 flights, totalling 66 hours 55 minutes with the RAE, mostly from Farnborough.

As was to happen with the Ju 88 that landed by mistake in 1944 (see Captured Ju 88 Radar Nightfighter on this site) this Ju 88 R-1 was exhaustively studied by British technical and flying personnel and yielded up much vital information on German technologies. It had been fitted with the FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC radar, and was used extensively for radio and radar investigation flights from Farnborough and Hartford Bridge. Schmid had brought along extensive documentation of the systems on the aircraft.

RAF officers inspect the Ju 88

Ju 88 being refuelled by RAF

The British were surprised at the capability of the German radios and radar, thinking up to this time that the British held a significant technical advantage over the Germans. One thing which impressed the British was that the radar array transmitted a narrower beam than the British, the finer resolution thereby produced enabling smaller target movements to be followed. In effect, this significantly increased the effective range of the aircraft provided the target could be located in the first place.

There are claims that Schmid and Rosenberger co-operated fully with the British though it is said that Kantwill did not and was therefore incarcerated as a PoW. Schmid returned to Germany post-war, flew as a civil pilot for the Triumph lingerie company and then emigrated and disappeared. Rosenberger assumed a new identify and by 1979 ran a hotel and restaurant in Marlborough, Wiltshire in the west of England. Kantwill emigrated to Canada after release since his marriage had broken up during the war, later moving to the US. We've seen no evidence for any of these claims.

Ju 88 in RAF markings undergoing flight tests

The story was covered in detail in German newspapers in the 1970s.

One German assessment of the consequences of this defection is as follows.

(1) The British gained the most modern radar and gun equipment of the Germans with this fully equipped night hunter.

(2) They were able to perfect their 'corkscrew' procedure (with which a Lancaster could attempt to shake off a following Ju 88) by flying the Ju 88 against Lancaster formations in simulated battle conditions.

Description of Corkscrew Manoeuvre

(3) Under Professor RV Jones the British were immediately able to discover the optimal length for the metal foil dropped by British bombers to blind German radars (the so-called Window), a process that effectively made Gerrman radars more or less useless.

(4) The British were able to quickly build the 'Serrate' receiver with which the radar devices of German night hunters were located by British night fighters. The first reconfigured night hunt by 141 Wing (Wing Commander J.R. Braham) using Serrate shot down 23 German night hunters as of June 1943 within a short time as a consequence.

(5) The hitherto high losses of British bomber attacks fell to about 5 to 6 percent per deployment. Air Marshal Harris was now able to effectively undertake massive blows against Hamburg and other cities without unacceptable losses to his Bomber Command squadrons.

(6) Several German sources referenced the massive civilian loss of life that followed Allied bombing of major cities and asked if Schmid and Rosenberger ever had these on their consciences.


UPDATE 30 OCTOBER 2018: As part of a research team involving the UK, Germany and the USA, over the past year we have uncovered the definitive story, or as much of it as may ever be known. Much of what we have learned is at odds with key elements of the story presented above. When the team has agreed on terms for the release of our findings, these will be published by us.

(1) We know the true motivations of the entire crew. We have definitive documentary evidence for this.

(2) We know the circumstances of this defection and whether or not it was coordinated beforehand with the British

(3) We know the roles played by the crew upon arrival in Great Britain and its involvement with British propaganda and PoW de-briefing activities. We have extensive documentary proof of these activities including photographs of all 3 individuals.

(4) We know something of their activities post-war and their eventual fates, and where they are buried and under what names.

(5) We know the likelihood that an Intelligence network ever existed involving Schmid's father

(6) We believe we know what Schmid's father did prior to the war and whether or not he was ever involved in any way with Stresemann.

(7) We believe we know whether or not Schmid ever landed in Britain on earlier missions prior to his defection.

(8) We know the story that Schmid served in Spain prior to WWll is a complete fabrication.

(9) We know that almost all of Robert Hill's book is invented and fanciful, produced either to deflect attention from the truth or to sell copy, possibly both. There's no evidence we have found to substantiate much of the material.

UPDATE 26 July 2019

The following is a partial report of the findings of the research team into the Schmid Defection. The team consists of Laura Elliott (Researcher), David Flanagan (London Academic Services Researcher), Willi 'Barnaby' Weiss (Researcher), Tom Kracker (Kracker Luftwaffe Archive), Franek Grabowski (Researcher and Author), Stefan Pietrzak Youngs (Aircrew Remembered), Kate Tame (Aircrew Remembered Researcher), Georg Winter (Aircrew Remembered Researcher).

(1) MOTIVATIONS The motivations for this crew to defect were uncomplicated. From the debriefing notes written by their British interrogators there was a general feeling that the crew believed Germany had been misled by a gang of thugs and they wanted no further part in the horrors inflicted on Germany by the Nazis. There remains uncertainty on the precise nature of their individual motivations because of the absence of information in the files and, of course, the fact is, they could have defected to Sweden and been incarcerated in a neutral state whereas they took the positive step of defecting to the 'enemy' with the inference they wanted to help in the defeat of Germany. There is little further light that can be gleaned from the interrogation and subsequent personnel reports. If we can judge on the basis of what the trio DID after defection then the intent must have been to positively help the British defeat the Nazis, as we shall see. Far from going simply entering into the PoW system run by the British, they actively and enthusiastically worked with the British, as we shall show in due course.

(2) PRIOR COLLUSION There is no evidence thus far discovered that the defection was pre-planned with the British. Nothing in the files speaks to any such plan. There are no notes thus far discovered that mention any contact prior to their arrival at Dyce. Dyce was chosen for one simple reason: it is the nearest British base for a plane leaving Kristiansand. There is some unusual activity by British personnel at Dyce prior to their arrival that may indicate they were expected, but nothing substantial enough not to have an innocent explanation. We read the extensive reports by British security on measures taken to suppress gossip after the arrival of the German crew, and nothing in there speaks of a pre-arranged cover story about the arrival, which one would expect if the event had been planned. All intercepted gossip from locals and station personnel (we read the letters and phone transcripts) were to the effect a strange German plane had landed and the crew had surrendered. One might expect a cover-story to have been arranged to the effect the plane had been damaged prior to its arrival, with radios shot out etc. to give the impression its secret equipment was rendered useless but there is nothing of this nature.

(3) KANTWILL We discovered nothing to indicate Kantwill was anything other than a willing participant. His interrogations revealed nothing unusual in this regard. He participated fully in the activities of the crew after they were cleared by British Intelligence to work with the British against the Germans. There is nothing in his debriefing or that of his colleagues to indicate any reticence on his part or suspicions about his reliability.

(4) FIRST STEPS The trio was provided by British Intelligence with a carefully constructed and documented fake cover story to account for their presence. This was that they first arrived in Gibraltar and were subsequently brought to Britain. This completely severed any ties to the Ju88 defection. They were given fake identities which so far as we can tell, they kept for the rest of their lives. Indeed we have evidence they kept these new identities until their deaths. We have pictures of two of their graves and documentary Proof of Death of the third, all using their fake identities.

Here for example is a Registration Certificate prepared for Herbert Schmid in the name Georg Steiner, the name by which he will be known henceforward, up to and including his death in the USA.

Note that his Date of Birth and his place of birth are identical to those for his real persona, presumably to make it easier for him to remember these details when asked as Georg Steiner. He is shown as arriving in London 3 June 1943 from Gibraltar.

Similar constructions were prepared for Paul Rosenberger, henceforward Helmut Paulsen, and Erich Kantwill, henceforward Alfred Hansen.

ID Cards Prepared Using Fake Names and Details

The 3 were recorded for all future British purposes (other than for MI5) as arriving in London from Gibraltar. Nobody without a strict need-to-know was ever made aware of the trio's real identities.

Here are documents relating to Paulsen/Rosenberger's marriage in 1954 and his Probate for his death in Spain in 1993, showing he continued with his fake identity post-war.

And here are the final resting places of Georg Steiner (or as he became known, George Steiner) and Alfred Hansen, both in the USA, again demonstrating the continuation of their fake identities until their deaths. (courtesy Willi Weiss)

WHAT DID THEY DO? All 3 were fully debriefed by British Intelligence and cleared to be placed in refugee status, which provided a measure of personal freedom - for example, they were not locked in secure premises - and they were assigned to work among at least 100 other foreign nationals in the Political Warfare Executive at Apsley Guise. Their primary tasks were as 'Camp Visitors' which involved them in the interrogations of German PoWs to evince what information they could about conditions inside Germany and specifically inside the German armed forces, with a view to providing information useful both tactically and strategically to the Allies.

Paulsen/Rosenberger and Hansen/Kantwill worked predominantly within the Richard Crossman organisation (Crossman became a post-war leading Labour politician) on his propaganda activities particularly those using 'white' fake radio stations. They also seemed to have something of a broad brief because they also worked on Sefton Delmer's 'black' Soldatensender Calais radio station.

Steiner/Schmid worked for Sefton Delmer on his 'black' radio propaganda station Gustav Siegfried Eins which was an inspired creation requiring a deep and subtle knowledge of how the German mind operates.

Steiner, Paulsen and Hansen were all highly thought of and received positive reports from their British superiors.

Gustav Siegfried Eins represented itself as a renegade German radio station broadcasting from a secret mobile radio station inside Germany, headed by a figure called The Chief who provided a slashing commentary on current German affairs with particular emphasis on the incompetence and corruption of the German leaders, from the point of view of a proud ordinary German man-in-the-street who was dying by the truckload to fuel the leadership's ego.

There is no doubting that Gustav Siegfried Eins (GS1) was a highwater mark for Sefton Delmer's genius and became his most famous 'black' radio station. By its use of vulgar language and pornography, the risqué stories it carried so effectively had the intended effect of generating a large audience in Germany almost instantly. It first began broadcasting on 23rd May 1941 and ended, in an illusory crescendo of Gestapo machine-gun fire complete with the melodramatic cry of 'We have caught you at last!', on 18th November 1943.

The following Political Warfare Executive report is an appraisal of the object, method and effect of Gustav Siegfried Eins as far as could be ascertained from wartime Britain. Undoubtedly Steiner provided immense value to this effort as he was an intelligent, well-read individual with up-to-date experience of life in Germany.

To undermine the morale both of the German armed forces and of the Home Front. This is done both by spreading subversive rumours and by exposing Nazi corruption and mismanagement. As one of the main means of achieving its general end the station also aims at widening the rift between the Army and the Party in Germany.
The station purports to be motivated by purely nationalistic and anti-Bolshevist sentiments, its stated object being among other things to purge Germany of the enemy within. It has taken the line that the war in North Africa and in the Mediterranean is nothing but an ill-conceived Nazi Party adventure, which has been sapping the German armed forces of their power to overcome the Russians in the East, and latterly it has begun to advance the view that Germany's only salvation now is peace with the Western powers, as opposed to the compromise with Bolshevism towards which Himmler and his clique are alleged to be working. Other important lines are that Party bosses are the chief offenders in the graft and black market activity that goes on in Germany, that it is they who are ratting in the face of present difficulties, and that it is the incompetence of the Führer's entourage and even of the Führer himself that is in a large degree responsible for current set-backs.
Broadcasts are directed equally to Germans in armed forces and at home. Yet, although the station's objective is the entire population, it is the traditionally conservative and nationally-minded groups that are probably most susceptible to its appeal.
Transmissions, on an average, last about twelve minutes and always go out at twelve minutes to the hour - so that one German listener has described it as the "twelve minutes to the hour station". The first transmission is at 01.48 and the last at 00.48 the following morning. GS1 is not, however, tied to a routine timetable. Its output varies from one completely new broadcast per day to two or three per week. Broadcasts are repeated every hour during the evening and throughout the night and then again on two and even three successive days according to the subversive value of the material which they contain and the degree of enemy interference with which they have to contend.
The broadcasts are given by a person whom his announcer refers to as "Der Chef", ["The Chief"], and are addressed by inference to key-men of a clandestine organisation of a military character, although they are, of course, plainly intended to be listened-in to by the general public. (The pretence of a clandestine organisation is kept up by the announcer addressing code messages to various members at the end of certain transmissions). The broadcasts are from recorded material and the "Chef" has never attempted to disguise the fact that he is not speaking "live". While the place of transmission is never stated, G.S1 has always maintained a firm pretence of being a purely German station. In fact the "Chef" has frequently left the impression that he is somewhere on the German side of the Eastern Front and he has occasionally complained of jamming both by the enemy without and by the enemy within.
Two voices are used, the voice of the announcer introducing the "Chef" and the voice of the "Chef" himself. The announcer's introduction serves, inter alia, the purpose of building up the "Chef" as the speaker. The scripts are written by the speaker himself.
The manner of the "Chef" is that of a hard-hitting and judicious spokesman on national affairs, who is trenchant, fearless, determined and completely sure of the ground on which he stands. In both his manner of speaking and his phraseology he has very much a style of his own, with a strong leaning towards the language used and appreciated by the Front line soldier. He is well-informed and drives home his arguments with facts that are hard to refute.
There is a considerable degree of coordination between the output of G.S1. and that of other Black stations. "Atlantik" in particular, has been able in its news items to provide a steady obligate to some of the "Chef's" main lines. Some of the "Chef's" speeches have been issued as leaflets.
Reception seems to vary considerably. Jamming has at times been particularly heavy in Berlin and Leipzig and probably in Central Germany generally. Reception has been good in the Mediterranean, Southern Italy and Greece. Naval men who had listened in at sea or at bases in France found that programmes could not be got in the Baltic ports. On the other hand a German communications officer had heard the station in Russia last February. Reports from Sweden indicate that jamming there has lately decreased. Conditions in Switzerland vary.
Interrogations of prisoners of war continue to reveal that ever-widening audience that the station has gained among members of the German armed forces. It is reported that young German officers regularly listened with some gusto to G.S.1 in Vienna. German troops in North Africa appear to have listened regularly - one POW, a Bavarian landowner, not only listened himself but was told by his housekeeper at home that the broadcasts were popular with local peasants. Several officers and men of U-boat crews taken prisoner in the Atlantic admit having heard it. An Obergefreiter captured in a U-boat in July, said he often listened both at sea and at home in Upper Silesia. A Pole who had been in Vienna and Berlin early this year did not think the BBC had a large audience, but said that everybody was interested in the station which opened with the words: "Hier spricht der Chef".
Striking tribute to the size of G.S.1's German audience has been paid by no less a person than Hans Fritzsche himself, who in two of his regular broadcasts over the Reich Radio last July found it necessary to denounce G.S.1 as of British origin and to refute one of the Chef's stories at some length.
Nevertheless it seems to be widely believed that G.S.1 is a station operating inside Germany or German-occupied Europe. Even a man who was employed by the Reich Radio believed that G.S.1 was a mobile station operating from a German army vehicle. A recent theory was that it was run by members of the Stahlhelm organisation from Sweden.

Here is an example of an actual Gustav Siegfried Eins broadcast, as captured and translated by an FBI listening post. Until the British told the USA about their long-running deception, Americans up to and including President Roosevelt believed the broadcasts to be genuine evidence of discontent among the German leadership.

Can you imagine the effect such broadcasts would have on a population which had been blasted for a decade or more by formulaic Goebbels propaganda? It must have seemed like a gale of fresh air. (As an interesting side note, a small number of senior British political figures strongly disagreed with the use of such propaganda, one even going so far as to say that if they be the price of victory, he would prefer defeat. Fortunately these old-fashioned views held no sway with Churchill who relished all sorts of cloak-and-dagger schemes and was under no illusions about what it would take to defeat the Nazis.)


But Gustav Siegfried Eins was just one of the schemes emanating from Delmer's fertile mind. Another was Soldatensender Calais, broadcasting a combination of popular music and 'dirt' - items inserted to demoralize German forces. Delmer's propaganda stories included spreading rumours that foreign workers were sleeping with the wives of German soldiers serving overseas. The station, broadcast by the British broadcasting infrastructure Aspidistra, was popular on the German home front also. One of the key elements was detailed instructions for Luftwaffe crews on how to successfully defect along with their secret equipment. Delmer states in his book Black Boomerang that Steiner was instrumental in all phases of this defection operation and he may well have been its inspiration.

Delmer did not expect many - or any - crews to actually defect but correctly judged the broadcasts would create paranoia among German security services who would then impose draconian security measures on Luftwaffe crews, further undermining morale.

Another devilish technique developed by Sefton Delmer in which Steiner would play an active role by helping with ideas the Germans would be inclined to believe, as well as by using the correct contemporary local language mannerisms, was the fake relative commiseration letter:

Delmer writes: (One technique) consisted of posting letters to the relatives of German soldiers who had recently died in German military hospitals in Italy. Fortunately for us the German hospital directors made a practice of sending radio telegrams en clair to the local party authorities in Germany asking them to break the news to the relatives. These telegrams were intercepted and passed on to me. And they gave us all the information we needed – the soldier’s name, the address of his relatives and the name of the hospital.

We now concocted a moving letter, written out in German longhand script on notepaper bearing the letter heading of the German hospital. Ostensibly the letter came either from a nurse or from a comrade of the dead man who had entrusted it for posting to someone going to Germany on leave. Whoever was the writer, he or she had been with the dead man during his last hours, and was now writing to comfort his relatives…

On other occasions we used the same technique to tell the relatives that their soldier had not died of wounds, but had been given a lethal injection. The Nazi doctor at the hospital, we explained through our nurse, had considered the man had no chance of becoming fighting fit again before the war was finished. The doctor had required the man’s bed for soldiers with a better chance of rapid recovery.

POST WAR ACTIVITIES Steiner, Paulsen and Hansen continued their work in the Political Warfare Executive, acting as 'Segregators'. Their job was to interview returning PoWs to discover their political leanings, possibly to identify those who might be useful to the British in post-war Germany. (

Subsequently Hansen obtained work as a waiter in London and at some stage requested permission to relocate to Jamaica where he had a job offer, again as a waiter. Steiner obtained permission to return to Germany to visit his elderly father and for this to occur the British liaised with the Americans to organize his papers since his father lived in the then-American sector.

WAS SCHMID'S FATHER ASSOCIATED WITH STRESEMANN? No. His father was some sort of a shopkeeper or small factory owner according to local phone books unearthed in Bernburg.


History of the Aircraft

JUNKERS Ju88 R-1 W/NR.360043/PJ876/8475M A/C

Mid 42: Possible original construction date as a Ju88 A-1 bomber, license built by Heinkel at Rostock or Oranienburg with the manufacturers radio code CH+MB

Early 43: Likely conversion date to R-1 standard. The Ju88 R-1 entered service early 1943 and was an interim development of the C-6 fighter variant and most were radar fitted for the night fighter role. W/Nr 360043 served with IV/NJG.3, coded D5 + EV.

9 May 43: Took off from Aalborg, Westerland, Denmark at 1503 hours, landing at Kristiansand, Norway for refueling at 1603. Took off again at 1650 for a mission over the Skaageraak. The crew of three were: Flugzeugführer (Pilot) Oberleutnant Heinrich (or Herbert) Schmid (age 29) - son of the one-time secretary to the Weimer Republic's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gustav Streseman [sic]. Bordmechaniker (Flight Engineer) Oberfeldwebel (Sgt) Erich Kantwill; Bordfunker (Wireless Op/Gunner) Oberfeldwebel Paul Rosenberger.

This was a valuable coup for the British - the Ju88 was fitted with the latest FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar. It was the first of its type to fall into British hands, complete with associated signals documents.

There had been no apparent pre-warning of the detection for the airfield or Spitfire pilots. Roscoe and Scamen were mentioned in dispatches for the capture, although Professor R V Jones attempted, unsuccessfully to have them given the DFC for taking a calculated risk in not shooting down the Ju88.

11 May 43: Professor R V Jones (Assistant Directorate of Scientific Intelligence and an expert on German radar systems) arrived at Dyce to take charge of evaluation of the aircraft and its equipment and asked for it to be hangared to hide it from Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft.

14 May 43: Flown from Dyce to RAE Farnborough by Sqn Ldr R A Kalpas, escorted by Beaufighters. Given temporary markings `B63' Schmid had offered to ferry the aircraft himself but this was refused.

17 May 43: British serial number PJ876 allocated.

18 May 43: Photographed at Farnborough with RAF roundels applied and radar removed [for inspection and analysis?] - (Forever Farnborough: Cooper).

25 May 43: After application of British markings, commenced test programme with the RAE Wireless and Electrical Flight [after radars re-installed]. Made 83 flights totaling 66 hours 55 minutes with the RAE, mostly from Farnborough but on 7 occasions flew to Hartford Bridge and made long flights from there to night to test the radar. These tests were in conjunction with the Fighter Interception Unit and resulted in the issue of Enemy Aircraft Report EA 35/9 in December 1943.

June 43: Flown on various radio trials and radar investigation flights using both Farnborough and Hartford Bridge Flats (Blackbushe).

20 Jun - 13 ~Jul 43: Made 7 night flights during which combat trials were carried out against a Halifax and the results reported in Fighter Interception Unit report no.211, 23 Jul 43 (PRO Ref.Air 40/184) to test radar and aircraft effectiveness. The report commented favorably on the Ju88s handling qualities but criticized poor pilot visibility; Flown by several RAE pilots including Sqn Ldr R J Falk and Sqn Ldr Martindale. Other pilots included Sqn Ldr Christopher Hartley, and Wg Cdr Derek Jackson, the two pilots most closely connected with the tests, Hartley being author of FIU unit report No.211 23 Jul 43, on the aircraft.

Jul 43: Trials ended when aircraft grounded by a blown cylinder head.

8 Sep 43: Flying again after repairs; A&AEE carrying out flame damping exhaust tests at Hartford Bridge.

Mar - Apr 44: Final series of RAE tests conducted to evaluate the effect of `window' (chaff) of varying lengths on the performance of the FuG202 radar. Photo at RAE in Luftwaffe c/s (black-green upper surfaces and light blue under surfaces) and minus radar antennae: Captive Luftwaffe (009336) p.75.

6 May 44: Flown to RAF Collyweston by Flt Lt H J King to join No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight, remaining with that unit until its disbandment. radar removed by this time and flying with dark earth/dark green upper surfaces, yellow underside and yellow `prototype' `P' on the fuselage sides.

26 May 44: Joined No.1426 Flights' 'Circus' at RAF Thorney Island to fly over various Allied units during the build-up to D-Day to provide instruction in aircraft recognition, and flew until the invasion of 6 June on these duties.

14 Jun 44: Flown Thorney Island – Holmsley South by Flt Lt Doug Gough (25 minutes, Logbook in DoRIS, X003-8805/002)

15 Jun 44: 35 minute air-air photography flight by Doug Gough.

4 Jul 44: 45 minute air test by Doug Gough.

25 Jul 44: Bombing test for 'Realist'-20 minutes-Gough logbook.

26 Jul 44: First of ten flights by Gough for a film company, mostly with two passengers, continuing until 27 July, including 'Bombing and Photography' on 27 July.

5 Sep 44: A&E test by Gough (45 minutes) with Sgt Dowie as passenger.

24 Sep 44: 25 minute demonstration flight by Gough.

21 Jan 45: No.1426 Flight disbanded at Collyweston.

4 May 45: To Enemy Aircraft Flight of Central Fighter Establishment at Tangmere, receiving their code EA-11. Pilot Gough – 45 minutes.

1 Oct 45: Nominal transfer to No.47 MU Sealand, but probably selected for preservation by the Air Historical Branch at Tangmere in July 1946.

Mar - Apr 46: Probable transfer by road to No.47 MU Sealand - recorded in their records May 1946. Stored alongside other AHB aircraft.

circa 48: To GAFEC Stanmore Park, Middx with other AHB aircraft.

Sep 54: Displayed on Horseguards Parade for Battle of Britain Week with several other AHB aircraft. Repainted in German colours but minus radar antennae. British oxygen gear still fitted. See also Die Ju88 (Nowerra - 021395)

Sep 55: Again displayed on Horse Guards

Late 55: Moved from Stanmore Park to No.125 MU Wroughton, Wilts with rest of AHB collection.

1958: With other AHB aircraft to RAF Fulbeck, Lincs.

Jun 60: Noted at RAF Colerne, Wilts 'being restored'

1960: To RAF Biggin Hill, Kent with other AHB aircraft.

Jun 67: To RAF Biggin Hill by road to RAF Henlow, Beds for possible use in Battle of Britain Film, but not used and probably never assembled. Photo on arrival, with serial PJ876 reapplied to rear fuselage

Aug 73: To RAF St. Athan, South Wales ex-Henlow.

Apr 74: Decision taken to restore the aircraft. For account and photos of restoration see Control Column Nov 75 p.147. Initially stripped down to bare metal - photo Control Column Nov 74 p.170. paint stripping found CFE EAF codes EA-11 but German paint had been removed c.1944 from upper surfaces but survived on the underside beneath RAF yellow and the 1950s spurious German scheme of olive green above and pale green below.

Paint stripping, patch repairs and filling were completed and reproduction nose radar antennae fitted. For technical details and list of instruments supplied by RAFM see DoRIS Ref.B2704. Restoration team led by Sgt (later Warrant Officer) K McKenzie, Propulsion Instructor at No.4 SoTT.

9 Jul 75: Roll-out of restored aircraft. Given RAF Maintenance serial 8475M around this time. Also Aircraft Illustrated Jan 78 p.41.

13 Feb 76: Allotted RAF Maintenance Serial 8475M.

14 Aug 78: By road to RAF Museum Hendon for the new Battle of Britain Hall opened that November.

Museum opened 22 Nov 1978. Still on display there.

It currently (2017) is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon.

Sources: Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site, 'The Great Coup' by Robert Hill, IWM, UK National Archives, RAF Museum Hendon Acquisition Records, Bundesarchiv, Gregor Winter, the indefatigable Willi Weiss, AS Baumgartner, Franek Grabowski, Wikipedia, 'Most Secret War' by Professor RV Jones, 'Hell of Hamburg' by P. Paus (in German), Archives of the FBI, private sources. We did not ourselves refer to Andy Saunder's book 'Arrival of Eagles' during the time this report was prepared, but the reader is pointed to this excellent account of many Luftwaffe aircraft and crews arrivals in Britain.

For such a pivotal event as the capture of a vital piece of German technology, it is surprising that variants still exist for several of the constituent parts of this story. In many cases we still do not know which of the 'facts' are provably true, and which are wrong. And as to motivation, in the absence of a written account by Schmid himself, it is extremely unlikely we will ever know the entirety of his motivations, which were doubtless complex and multi-faceted.

Therefore, the above account can do no more than attempt to draw together as much of the information as we can find. If you can contribute to clarification, we would be grateful to hear from you.

Over the past year, a team from Aircrew Remembered has been undertaking further research into this story in association with professional researchers in the UK, USA, Poland, Switzerland and Germany and has discovered significantly more information than has been published here or elsewhere.

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SY 2017-05-17 Minor Corrections 2017-05-31 Photos added 2017-08-02 Birthplace and name corrected 2017-08-18 Charles Sharp commentary added 2017-11-23 Delmer photo added 2017-11-29. Rewritten 2018-02-23. Addition from Poland added 2018-02-22. Extensive extracts from Research Notes added 2019-07-26. Further notes added 2019-08-04

KTY 2013-01-03 Kratz image added

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