Thursday, May 14, 2015


Bf.109G-6 Unit: 7 Fligerkompanie Serial: J-703
A aircraft were delivered with standard Luftwaffe camouflage scheme of RLM74/75/76 and RLM02. // Switzerland board 1944 the first 6 Bf.109G-6 (Cost 6 Million USD, 1 Million per plane). The planes were made in Regensburg and delivered from German Pilots without uniform (in civil) on the 20 of May 1944. Handover was in Dubendorf Airfield (Switzerland). The planes were serialled by the numbers J-701 to J-706.

At the outbreak of World War II, Switzerland was a democratic country of 4.2 million with a long tradition of absolute neutrality. Its population spoke German, Italian, or French and it was located geographically and culturally among Italy, Germany, and France; these factors made the maintenance of neutrality difficult. Switzerland’s mountainous topography presented a formidable objective for any potential invader, and the Swiss army was large—450,000 men—and well trained, although not mechanized. The Swiss air force was very small, with 150 obsolescent Swiss fighters and just 50 state-of-the-art German Messerschmidt Me-109s. Swiss military planners resolved to adopt a wholly defensive strategy, which called for French aid in the event of a German invasion. After the Battle of France, Swiss planners decided that, in the event of invasion by Italy or Germany, the Swiss army would abandon most of Switzerland and concentrate its defense in the southern Alps as a “National Redoubt.” 

While the war on the western front raged in May 1940, the Swiss believed invasion to be imminent. French and German aircraft regularly fought within Swiss air space—and were sometimes shot down by Swiss antiaircraft artillery. Later, British aircraft flew over Switzerland en route to Germany and Italy. The Germans demanded that the Swiss black out their cities at night because the lights were being used by British airmen as navigational aids. Reluctantly, the Swiss government complied— and on several occasions Swiss cities were accidentally bombed by Allied aircraft.

Despite its neutrality, Switzerland was obliged by treaty to permit the transit of nonwar materials between Italy and Germany. This function, including the maintenance of the Simplon and Gotthard tunnels and the Brenner Pass, gave the Swiss a valuable negotiating chip in dealing with Germany. The landlocked Swiss, for their part, needed Germany, which was a source of much fuel and food.
Switzerland served as a haven for escaped prisoners of war, French Resistance agents, and Italian partisans. For refugees, Switzerland was a most unreliable destination. The country admitted some refugees and turned others away—most notoriously some 170,000 Jews who had fled France after the Vichy government declared them undesirable. By the end of the war, about 400,000 refugees had been received by or had traveled through Switzerland, many under the auspices of the International Red Cross, which was headquartered in Geneva. 

Like many other neutral countries, Switzerland unwillingly functioned as a center of espionage operations, most notably those of Allen Dulles, head of the Office of Strategic Services facility in Berne. 

The celebrated Swiss banks prospered during World War II as repositories of money, securities, bullion, and other valuables of both the Allies and the Axis, governments as well as individuals. Despite protestations of ethical neutrality, a number of Swiss banking firms accepted funds and other loot stolen by the Nazis—including much that had been stolen from Jews—and thereby became defendants in a number of postwar lawsuits brought by survivors of the Holocaust, their families, and others.

Further reading: Braillard, Philippe. Switzerland and the Crisis of Dormant Assets and Nazi Gold. London: Kegan Paul, 2000; Codevilla, Angelo M. Between the Alps and a Hard Place: Switzerland in World War II. Chicago: Regnery, 2000; Gautsch, Willi. General Henri Guisan: Commander-in-Chief of the Swiss Army in World War II. Asheville, N.C.: Front Street Press, 2003; Tanner, Stephen. Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland during World War II. New York: Perseus, 2000; Wylie, Neville. Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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