The summary of Mr Jim Harwood’s lecture on Cassinga, presented on 18 January 2018, is unfortunately not ready for inclusion and will have to stand over until the next newsletter. It will therefore be published together with the March 2018 newsletter.
The summary of Mr Marius van der Merwe’s lecture on the Evolution of Submarines, presented on 8 February 2018, is unfortunately not ready for inclusion and will have to stand over until the next newsletter. It will therefore be published – hopefully -together with the April 2018 newsletter.
We are sad to announce that one of our regular attendees at the monthly meetings, Mr John Ridgway, resident of Rosedale, passed away recently. Our heartfelt condolences also to loved ones, family and close friends.
Life Member and longtime vice chairman of the Cape Town Branch, Mr John Mahncke, is asking for assistance and/or information with regard to a new research project he has launched recently. Please refer to the attached document (Annexure A).
THURSDAY, 8 MARCH 2018: THE TRAFALGAR CAMPAIGN by Ian van Oordt
The Battle of Trafalgar needs no introduction, but the events leading up to this battle and the reasons why it was fought are, perhaps, not as widely known. The campaign starts in March 1805 and culminates on the day of the battle on 21 October 1805. We will examine some of the ships and the impact of the battle on the proposed French invasion of Britain.
The campaign will be illustrated with maps, and where possible, copies of some of the original orders. The speaker will explain the thoughts behind the French strategy and the application of Britain’s “Blue Water War Policy” to counter this strategy.
The presentation will end with a short discussion, on the question of, should the Battle of Trafalgar not have being fought, would the planned French invasion threat have been feasible, or not……?
THURSDAY, 12 APRIL 2018: LECTURE TO BE ANNOUNCED CLOSER TO THE DATE
& ALSO A REMINDER OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AT THE START OF PROCEEDINGS.
Dear members and friends.
I would be extremely grateful if you could help me in solving a 74 year old mystery which I only read about very recently. It concerns a report by military historians and the Daily Telegraph from 1968. These experts interviewed the former Chief Test Pilot of the Junkers aircraft factory in Dessau, Germany. They wanted details of the biggest aircraft at the time, the Junkers Ju 390, which was also called the Amerika-Bomber. The pilot was Hans-Herbert Pencharz who, during the discussions, talked about one flight by the bomber from an airfield in France to a point close to Long Island, with photographs showing the coast about 20 km away, as well as one or perhaps even two flights from an airfield in Sweden or Norway to an airfield in North Japan.
Pencharz gave detailed information and even stated that he had flown the Ju 390 V1 from Dessau in Germany to Cape Town in early 1944, (with inflight refuelling) non-stop. Although these documents confirming the flight to New York and Japan exist, there are apparently none about the non-stop flight to Cape Town. But I believe that an expert like Pencharz would not have merely thrown this sentence into the discussion without any reason.
A lot of research has been done in Europe on the aircraft and its operations, but I have never read anything about the flight from Dessau to Cape Town. The distance covered was almost 20 000 km, about 40 hours flying time for the crew of 10 airmen. They would have left Dessau in the afternoon in order to cross safely in the dark over Italy, the Mediterranean and North Africa, and then would have flown straight across Rhodesia and South Africa, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. They would have flown low because there were no enemy aircraft or antiaircraft guns on the way. This trip confirmed that the aircraft could fly extremely long distances, an outstanding feat.
People on the ground would have heard the roar of the six powerful engines (1 700 hp each), and take special notice, even comment in newspapers about it. And I hope that there are still people alive who were children in 1943/44 and remember the occasion.
I would like to follow the story up and find out if there are members who can assist me, even with second-hand or third-hand information or rumours, I would be glad if they could contact me.
Below are a few technical details about the aircraft (and more information on the Internet).
Non-stop flight from Dessau to Cape Town and back in early 1944. Junkers Ju 390V1, six BMW prop engines, wingspan 50 m, body length 35 m, crew of 10, no armament. Altitude 6 200 m, top speed 500 km/h, In-flight-refuelling. Start and landing in Dessau at Junkers aircraft factory. About 9 500 km one way, about 19 000 km both ways, i.e. 38 hours in the air.
Thank you very much for any help.
Jochen Mahncke (Member of S.A. Military History Society)
Cell: 079-124-4897 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
403 Helderberg Manor, Asrin Drive, Heritage Park, Somerset West 7130
BOB BUSER: Treasurer/Asst. Scribe
Phone: 021-689-1639 (Home)
RAY HATTINGH: Secretary
Phone: 021-592-1279 (Office)