Aviation Historian 40
L.Hellstrom - Waiting in the wings
The Saab B 17Cs of The Danish Brigade’s Flyverstyrkerne (Aviation Forces) have their Piaggio P.XI engines run up at Satenas during the morning of May 5, 1945, when the unit was hoping to return to its home country. The crews’ flight equipment sits on the tarmac beside the aircraft, as the crews await the launch order. Just visible in the background is one of the many USAAF Consolidated B-24s interned at the base during the war.
The Flygvapnet Fieseler S 14 (S for Spaning - reconnaissance) Storch in fake Luftwaffe markings used to test the security arrangements at F 3 Wing at Malmslatt in April 1944. Its occupants on that occasion were Danish Brigade aircrew members Capt Holm and 1st Lt Danielsen, who were tasked with posing as German intruders.
The Danish pilots in Sweden initially received training on Douglas B 5B bombers built under licence in Sweden. The type was based on a design by Northrop, the latter company becoming part of Douglas in 1937. Aircraft “61” was used as a training and liaison aircraft at F 4 Wing in 1944 and was probably flown by the Danes.
Saab B 17A serial 17320 at the Helsingor Technical Museum, painted to represent a B 17C of the Danish Brigade. The code letter is doubtful and the wing roundels are too far inboard but it still conveys a reasonable impression of the originals. Since this photo was taken in 1999, the aircraft has been suspended from the ceiling.
Frantic activity at Satenas just after daybreak on May 5, 1945, with the Danish aircrews checking their equipment and luggage, while the mechanics roll out the unit’s B 17Cs from the hangar. The aircraft in the background still has masking tape around the splitflag on the fin, and the large wing roundels are yet to be applied.
This head-on view of one of the Danish B 17Cs shows the position of the giant wing roundels. The distinctive twin air intakes on top of the P.XI engine’s cowling was an identifying feature of the B 17C variant; the B 17A had one central intake and the B 17B one intake offset to starboard.
The eight two-man crews of The Danish Brigade Aviation Forces’ first scheduled mission posing in front of their aircraft on the morning of May 5, 1945, expecting a start order at any moment. Much to the aircrews’ disappointment, this order was not ultimately forthcoming. The formation leader, Lt-Capt E.B. Meincke, is standing sixth from left.
The nine SAAB B 17Cs in Danish markings - note the Danish military flag on the fins - lined up at the F 7 Wing base in Satenas in May 1945, awaiting orders to proceed to Denmark. Nearest the camera on the furthest right is "Red A”, one of the few B 17s of F 7’s 1st Sqn to retain its Swedish markings.
Two Danish naval NCOs in Swedish flying gear and an army private, all mechanics/air gunners, pose beside Saab B 17C serial 17032. The overpainted “S” on the fuselage is the former Flygvapnet code. The rear canopy is open, showing the Kulspruta m/22-37R machine-gun, a Swedish 8mm version of the Browning 0-303in.
Saab B 17C serial 17221, with a mechanic in the cockpit preparing to run up the Piaggio engine. The position of the painted-out Swedish national insignia is just about discernible as a lighter patch on the fuselage beneath the aftmost corner of the rear canopy. Again, note the outsize roundels on the upper wing surfaces.