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Flight To Disaster

Discussion in 'War44 General Forums' started by Jim, Nov 24, 2007.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    On January 10, 1940 Major Hoenmans, a Luftwaffe Reserve officer flying a liaison aircraft from Berlin to Cologne, had lost his way in thick fog, run out of fuel and assuming he was in Germany made a forced landing at 11.30 at Mechelen in Belgium. His passenger, Major Reinberger, a recently married Active List Luftwaffe staff officer from Cologne, was carrying highly classified papers - General Order of Operations: Luftflotte II - and in the interests of security had been ordered to take the train from Berlin to Cologne. However the chance to spend a few extra hours with his wife made the offer of a flight irresistible. Now he desperately attempted to burn them. He was arrested by a Belgian patrol and some of the papers recovered.
    At the patrol HQ Reinberger burned his hands as he again tried to thrust the papers into a stove. They were recovered following a struggle. They revealed the operational plans for the attacks by land and air against Holland, Belgium and France.
    According to Keitel, when Hitler learned of this breach of security ''The Fuhrer was possessed, foaming at the mouth, pounding the wall with his fists and hurling the lowest insults at the 'incompetent traitors of the General Staff." General Hellmuth Felmy commanding Luftflotte II was held responsible and sacked - his replacement was the highly competent Albert Kesselring.
    Now it became essential to shift the Schwerpunkt away from Maastricht and central Belgium south to Sedan as von Manstein had proposed. However the Dutch and Belgians had been alerted and some of the losses suffered by airborne forces in Holland can only have been the result of this huge breach of security.
     

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