When Jules Verne bombed Berlin

Berlin_Le-Jules-Verne-va-pa

No this is not a long lost book written by Jules Verne, it is however a forgotten event which happened on June 7 1940, a few days after Germany  bombed Paris.

PARIS

The Jules Verne was the name of a Farman 223.4 airplane of the French Navy. Determined to revenge the bombing of the French capital,The French Air Ministry sent orders to Captain Daillière,capt dalliere who was then at an airfield in Bordeaux with the Farmans.

most of the aircraft in the French air force were obsolete and had already been destroyed by the Luftwaffe.

The operation really was noting short of  a suicide mission,  but undeterred Daillière quickly developed a plan for a surprise attack that would take advantage of Jules Verne’s, a rather ungainly four-engine aircraft, only real strength: its exceptional range. He oversaw a number  of modifications to the aircraft at the Toussus-le-Noble airfield,  including the installment of a 7.5 mm Darne machine gun in the right rear access door, eight Alkan bomb shackles under the aircraft, a bomb sight, extra fuel tanks as well as an autopilot. Tricolores were also added.

On June 7, the Farman was fueled to capacity and loaded with eight 551-pound bombs and a case of 22-pound incendiaries. Daillière and his crew consisting of  flight engineer Corneillet, navigator Comet (who had crossed the Atlantic before the war), pilot Yonnet, radioman Scour and bombardier Deschamps. took off at 15:30 hours, heading north along the Atlantic coast.

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The crew turned east, flying along the English Channel and slightly off the Belgian and Dutch coast and Northern Germany where, over the Schleswig island of Sylt, they encountered their first heavy AA fire. Jules Verne, flew low to avoid detection, then flew over a stretch of the North Sea and crossed southern Denmark,  wich had been occupied by Germany since April 1940. The bomber cruised over the Baltic Sea and turned south across a lonely stretch of the German coast.

As they headed south, they notice a glow on the horizon: Berlin. Daillière and his crew had expected the German capital would  have a wartime blackout in force, but  to their pleasant surprise it was as brightly lit . The Germans clearly did not  expect an air raid, and certainly not one coming from the direction of the Baltic sea. Approaching  the eastern suburbs around midnight, Jules Verne simulated a landing approach at Tempelhof Airport in the southern suburbs, then headed north to the Tegel area. They reached the Siemens-Werke within minutes, and while Yonnet dropped the bombload on the factory, Corneillet and Des champs pushed a dozen incendiary bombs out the passenger door.

Flying a straighter path back to France than the Jules Verne’s outbound route to Berlin, Dailliere made for Paris by crossing the very heart of Germany, and landed at Orly Airfield at 13:30 on June 8. .They had met no resistance on the return trip, and when the aircraft touched down, it had covered nearly 3,000 miles in 13.5 hours.

The French exaggerated the raid somewhat. They described it as having been accomplished by a “formation” of bombers, and reported – truthfully – that no bombers had been lost.

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