View Full Version : German Documents & Equipment Shipped to Japan

Richard T Eger
06-28-2000, 01:19 PM
From 12 O'clock High!:

Bob Rinder
Missing Archives
Thu Jun 1 14:25:26 2000

Don't over look the possibility that German technical data survives in Japan. It may sound implausible, but surviving U-Boat manifests from the last three months of the
war show considerable tech data successfully tranfered to the Japanese. This documentation, if it did indeed exist, would have been considerably less valuable to the
allies in the autumn of 1945 than it would have been the previous spring. It could have simply been ignored and, consequently remain intact today, or possibly used by
the Japanese to re-establish their industrial base.

Ed Dyer
07-17-2000, 04:57 AM
<font color="blue[/IMG]Don't over look the possibility that German technical data survives in Japan. It may sound implausible, but surviving U-Boat manifests from the last three months of the
war show considerable tech data successfully tranfered to the Japanese. This documentation, if it did indeed exist, would have been considerably less valuable to the
allies in the autumn of 1945 than it would have been the previous spring. It could have simply been ignored and, consequently remain intact today, or possibly used by
the Japanese to re-establish their industrial base. </font>


This has been something I've been seeking information on. In the research I've undertaken for my Hikoki:1946 (http://members.aol.com/pelzig) website, and in discussions with some folks, it seems that none of the fantastic experimental aircraft there, with a few exceptions, were 100% Japanese. Not the R2Y ( which seems to be based on the "Me 509" ), the obvious ones like the Shusui, Karyu, and Baika, and even the Kyushu J7W apparently had a german engineer work on its design. Texts I've read say that the Germans passed along data on the He 162, the Ta 152, the Ju 390, the Ju 488, the Ba 349, and other aircraft, seemingly all in April of 1945 when attempting to verify such records is a Herculian task indeed.

What I would be interested in learning is just what the Germans gave/sold to the Japanese via the Technical Exchange program they had. But was this all a one-way street? What did the Japanese have to give to the Germans? Let us be honest...their armor, artillery, and small arms were nothing fantastic..and certainly the Germans outclassed the Japanese in all these venues. This is not to discredit the Japanese who had very servicable artillery and adequate small arms ( though many had serious faults ). In armor, well, the Japanese learned way too late the value in such development. In terms of aircraft...the Japanese turned down the Me 109 and the Fw 190 after they bought an example of each to test against their own fighters so what did that leave? If all of their X-craft were based on or influenced by German technology...what was going back to Berlin?

I look forward to some discussion on this topic since I rarely find any definitive data on the exchanges.



Richard T Eger
09-15-2000, 03:50 AM
From 12 O'clock High!:

Dénes Bernád
Hurricane in Japanese service?
Mon Aug 21 19:55:33 2000

There are almost no posts regarding Japan. Here's one: I saw a photo that shows a Hurricane on its (her?) nose. It sports roundels on fuselage and wings that look
like Japanese red roundels, along with some oriental-style writing. Did the Japanese ever capture airworthy Hurricanes? If yes, from whom? Admittedly I definitely have
no experience with the Japanese air force, so this question could be obvious to some Experten (BTW, what's the Japanese word for it?).


Richard T Eger
09-15-2000, 03:51 AM
From TOH!:

Alex Marian
others as well
Mon Aug 21 22:07:07 2000

Besides Hurricanes, there are also reports of Spitfires been captured and at least one being used in comparison with japanese models. Also a P-47 was probably
captured and flown during 1944, the japanese being much impressed by the huge engine/power output/handling of such huge aircraft, but i don't recall any report son
the German Me-210?/410? and Ju 87 delivered to japan as well as for the Fw 190 shipped by u-boote to japann during 1943.

Richard T Eger
09-15-2000, 03:52 AM
From TOH!:

Re: others as well
Tue Aug 22 21:12:59 2000

FW 190 in Japanese marking existed. Pictures are accesible.

Richard T Eger
09-15-2000, 04:02 AM
Jerry Boucher on 12 O'clock High! provided the URL for Dave Pluth's site j-aircraft.com, Japanese Aircraft & Ship Modeling:


On this site can be found a listing of foreign aircraft in Japanese service, including a number of German aircraft.


Simon Gunson
04-20-2004, 03:38 AM
In James P O'Donnell's book "The Berlin Bunker" pub 1979, he directly quotes former Reichsminister Albert Speer whom he interviewed (p.251) saying

"a Luftwaffe test pilot had flown a Ju-390 non-stop from Germany to Japan over the polar route. [Hans] Baur would have known of this secret flight..."

I also read in the same book but cannot recall which page that Japan wished to place the Ju-390 aircraft into production, but plans (tools?) for the aircraft arrived by U-boat too late. The last such U-boats to arrive were U-219 and U-195 in November 1944 at Djakarta.

If as Speer said the Ju-390 made a flight late in the war then I am surprised why it would not have carried plans. The Japanese wanted a bomber to reach mainland USA to deliver an atomic bomb being developed by Japan's 8th Imperial Army laboratory in Hungnam Korea.

Simon Gunson
04-20-2004, 05:12 AM
After posting my bit about U-234 I noticed the question from Denes Bernad about Hurricanes, Spitfires and P-47 Thunderbolts being captured by the Japanese.

The P-47 comment makes sense because the Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki looked so similar.

The Australians operated Spitfires around Darwin sometime after the fall of Singapore. You would need to read up on RAAF records to identify how and where one was captured however.

Hurricanes Mark I were diverted from the middle-east to the campaign in Burma where again you might need to identify the unit histories there.

Simon Gunson
04-21-2004, 08:53 AM
Forgive me for posting so many replies, but I have read extensively about the Yanagi scheme and U-boat exchanges and each time I read this thread I find more to say...

"Axis Blockade Runners of World War II" by Martin Brice pub 1981 by B T Batsford, ISBN 0-71342686-1 is an important source book for surface and submarine blockade runners.

Eberhard Rossler published "The U-boat, The evolution and technical history of German submarines" by Arms and Armour press 1981, ISBN 0-85368-115-5

Rossler and Brice delt with the topic of transport submarines and fighting U-boats carrying bulk cargoes under the Yanagi scheme. The main types of fighting U-boats were IXC, or IX-D2 of U-flotte 33 based at Penang until Oct 1944, when allied air raids forced a shift to Djakarta, Singapore and Surabaya. U-180 and U-195 were large IX-D boats with torpedo tubes removed. The torpedo rooms fore and aft were turned into large bulk holds. The XB minelayer type (eg U-234, U-219) was converted so that cargo was carried in mine shafts. Italian Aquila boats were also highly prized transport submarines and three ended up in the Far East (one Ammeraglio Cagni surrendered at Durban 1943 and was used with her crew by America's OSS in the Mediterranean)

Often free flooding compartments in the keel of all types were used to carry ingots and steel or zinc flasks. Mercury, Uranium, optics etc were carried to the East, in addition to which depending on the type and capacity of the U-boat were carried radar, flak gun prototypes, enigma machines (for the joint IJN/KM Sumatra cypher), blueprints, accoustic torpedoes, broken down V-2 & V-1 rockets, glide bombs, jet engines, rocket engines, aircraft etc.

Ed Dyer asked what did the Germans get back?
Often payment in Burmese gold bullion from Japan (5 tons on I-52 alone); rubber (from Malaya); tin (from Thailand); Molybdenum and Tungsten (aka wolfram for anti-tank shells) in concentrates; lubricating oils, quinine, opiates (medicinal) mica (for electronics) and shellac (for pyrotechnics).

All of these were vital raw materials, especially the rubber. Whilst they were not high tech return cargoes, without these strategic materials Germany would not have been able to produce important machinery.

Richard T Eger
04-22-2004, 01:44 PM
Dear Simon,

The subject of a possible Ju 290 flight to Japan has been discussed ad nauseum and discounted on the 12 O'Clock High! website. The issue becomes, again, one of actual documented evidence. Primary sources far outweigh the claims of authors either confabulating information or using heresay information. My rule of thumb is that the more outlandish the claim, the more I want to see primary documentation before accepting the claim as fact. There are far too many books out there now with fanciful claims.


Simon Gunson
05-01-2004, 11:00 AM
Dear Richard

I feel your reply was a little below the belt. My replies were a reasonable attempt to answer a reasonable question from Bob Rinder.

If you did not wish to stimulate debate why post the question for Bob Rinder ?

I trawled through 12 O'Clock high at your suggestion and could not find the Ju-390 topic there. I did however find advice given to you by Ed West in reply to your lament about the ever dwindling supply of original sources... Ed West said to you:

Of course, I will have to spend thousands of hours collecting, sorting and actually writing. Criticism is certainly valid if someone does not have their facts straight (or ignores making sure the proper caption goes with the proper photograph). Having done research for fiction books that are based on the real world, I've been given assignments to track down information on this or that subject. And, in the beginning, it was difficult because I had to ignore a little voice that said, "This is impossible. You won't find what you're looking for." That voice is a lot quieter now but it's still there. However, I will take the approach that I think it's there-- more information, leads, etc. I think one approach new writers might use is to pose a few questions on this board.

You yourself Richard posted under German archives an explanation from one of your friends Larry deZeng about the reason why nobody can give definitive answers or hard facts.... As you well know the Luftwaffe burned all it's records in Austria in March 1945.

For those who are reading and don't know what I refer to check this:


In response to the points which you made Richard. I was not talking about flights by Ju-290 aircraft. I was talking about the Ju-390.

I think Albert Speer is a perfectly plausible source for the claim that Japan wanted to built the Ju-390 under licence. As for claims that Japan had a project to build the atomic bomb that is well researched and a proven fact. US Army records at Suitland document the fact and I can if you like give you record group numbers and file boxes to check for yourself. It is also well docu8mented that the japanese had three bomber projects under development to bomb mainland USA.

I also feel your reply was below the belt because if Reichminister Albert Speer (Hitler's Minister for Armaments) is not a primary source then I don't know what will satisfy you ?

Albert Speer most definitely was privy to requests from Japan for technology transfers. Who else Richard could be more authoritative ?

I apologise if you are sick of hearing about the topic but I have trawled 12 O'Clock High and found no such reference. Please could you be a little more accomodating of people who come seeking answers to questions ?
If a research forum designates certain topics off bounds because nobody has a definitive answer then that hardly serves the quest for knowledge.

As Ed West said new writers will increasingly have to trawl through these forums looking for answers and it is hardly fair to bite their heads off for asking questions.

Richard T Eger
05-01-2004, 01:18 PM
Dear Simon,

The question of a long range flight to Japan has been discussed repeatedly on 12 O'Clock High!, but not recently. The server owners only permit 2000 entries per forum, so, in about 6-7 weeks, whatever has been written dumps off into the ether, which is one reason why LWAG was created. I would suggest that you pose your question there. There are folks far more knowledgeable on this topic than I that can answer it on TOCH!.

It would have been a bit odd for Karl Baur, chief test pilot for Messerschmitt, to be flying the Ju 390. There is no mention of it in the book on his life by his wife, Isolde. He was, however, involved with the test flight program of the Me 264.

The following quotes come from the "Status Report of Exploitation Division", 17 July 1945:

Materiel and plans that are known to have been delivered to the Japanese by the Germans

2 sets of original drawings of TL 004

Drawings of Me 262, 263, and 163; Ar 234; Turbines; and Walter rockets

Materiel and information that would appear to have been sent to Japan, but with respect to which the evidence is not sufficiently clear to permit a categorical statement (dates given are date of release):

Construction copyrights of Me 163 and 262, 6 April 1944

Construction copyrights for TL engine BMW 003 for Me 163 (sic), 12 June 1944

Copyrights for the manufacture of Me 163 with Jumo 004 engine (sic) and Me 262 A-1 with BMW TL 003 (numerous sub-assemblies and parts for both aircraft planes and engines were included in this release.)

2 sets construction descriptions for 8-163, 8-262, 109-509A, TL-003, TL 004, 22 Jan. 1945

Accessories for Me 163 and Me 262, 18 Sept. 1944

Accessories for TL engine 004, 18 Sept. 1944

Accessories for TL engine 003, 18 Sept. 1944

Accessories for Walter Engines, 18 Sept. 1944

Acessories for T.B. and C. Stoff, 18 Sept. 1944


Simon Gunson
05-02-2004, 11:01 AM

I suggest you read this primary source. A crewmember of the
U-234 claims there were two disassembled Me-262 aboard the U-boat.
The US Navy also completed a manifest which unfortunately clashes with the Kreigsmarine's manifest. The US Navy manifest will be held by NARA.


Wolfgang Hirschfeld was radioman on U-109 under Korvettenkapitän Hans-Georg Fischer and then under Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt when they hunted in American waters during the late phases of Operation Paukenschlag, or Drumbeat. At the end of the war, he was Oberfunkmeister (Master Chief - Radio) aboard U-234, the converted Type X-B mine-layer on her way to Tokyo, and in her belly was a vast array of highly secret people and materiel.

Personnel aboard included a General der Luftwaffe (General Ulrich Kessler), who was to take over the Luftwaffe liaison duties in Tokyo, a Naval Fleet Judge Advocate to try cases of German traitors in Japan, Dr. Heinz Schlicke (renowned German scientist later grabbed up by the USA in Operation Paperclip) and two Japanese technical officers, who committed suicide during the voyage.

Technical material on board included the newest torpedoes, two Me-262 jet fighters (crated) and all the technological data necessary for the Japanese to begin building these very fast fighters - and there were 560 kilos of uranium oxide consigned to the Imperial Japanese Army for use in the Japanese atomic bomb. Unknown to most, Japan test fired their first nuclear device a week before the Americans test fired theirs. Japan merely lacked the fissionable material to make the bomb - and U-234 was bringing it to the Empire.

Wolfgang Hirschfeld was the Master Chief Radioman on this submarine.

On U-boatarchive.net the US Navy's debrief of U-234's crew has been reproduced. I trust that is a primary reference ?

As for Reichsminister Albert Speer's claim that an unidentified test pilot flew a Ju-390 to Japan, the community of test pilots in germany was relatively small. I have compiled a list. Some may still be alive. For others thay may have confided in their offspring or family before they died. I don't agree with your suggestion at 12 O'Clock High that all the original sources are drying up. Until you've chased down the following primary sources you can't with authority deny the flight happened:

Hauptmann Behrens, Rechlin E2
Stabs-Ing. Thoenes, Rechlin E2
Stabs-Ing. H. Böttcher, Rechlin E2
Stabs-Ing. Neidthard, Rechlin E2
Dipl.-Ing. Th. Goedicke, Rechlin E2
Flugzeugführer Rautenhaus, Blohm & Voss
Flugzeugführer Hilleke, Blohm & Voss
Stabs-Ing. Bader, Rechlin E2
Flugkapitän Rodig, Blohm & Voss
Flugzeugbaumeister Malz, RLM-GL/C-E2
Stab-Ing. Czolbe, RLM-GL/C-E2
Lt. Scheidhauer, Sonderkommando Horten
Flugbaumeister Mehlhorn, Focke-WuIf
Flugzeugführer Bartsch, Focke-WuIf
Prof. Kurt Tank, Focke-WuIf
Dr. Ing. Doetsch, DVL
Ing. H. Schuhmacher, DVL
Dr. med. H. Wiesehöfer, DVL
Dipl.-lng. E. G. Friedrichs, FFG Berlin und DVL (Flugerprobung)
Ing. L. Schmidt, FFG Berlin (Flugerprobung)
Eingeflogen durch Haupt-Ing. H.W. Lerche, Rechlin
Flugkapitän Karl Bauer, Messerschmitt
Flugkapitän Heini Dittmar, Messerschmitt
Flugkapitän Wendel, Messerschmitt
Dipl.-Ing. Kracht, DFS-Ainring
cand. Ing. Model, DFS-Ainring
Dipl.-Ing. Zacher, DFS-Ainring
Dipl.-lng. G. Ziegler, DFS-Hörsching
Stabs-Ing. Beauvais, Rechlin E2
Haupt-Ing. Strobl, Rechlin E2
Oblt. Brüning, Rechlin E2
Dipl. Ing Melhorn
Flugkapitän Hans Sander
Flight Capt. Wendel
Flugkapitän Gerhard Caroli (Tyrolean Italian ?)
FBM Böttcher
FBM Scheibe
Lt. Colonel Knemeyer
Flugkapitän Nebel
Colonel Barsewich
Karl Patin
Oberstleutnant Knemeyer
General Jeschonnek (administrative director)
Flugkapitän Matthias (killed test flying aircraft for Soviets in captivity April 1946)
Flugkapitän Erich Warsitz
Flugkapitän Quenzler (Dornier test pilot)

Richard T Eger
05-02-2004, 02:09 PM
Dear Simon,

Please provide the site address for U-boatarchive.net. If possible, also provide directions to the debrief on that site.


Simon Gunson
05-04-2004, 02:52 AM
Sorry Richard I thought I had posted the website's address previously.


Then click on "Report on the Interrogation of Crew of U-234"
The reference (not the only one available) to a differing cargo weight of 240 tons appears in the text about pre-voyage preparations. You may need to track down other references such as "Japan's Secret War", by Robert K Wilcox for more comments on the US Navy manifest of only 162.8 tons


It also makes interesting reading to check out the U-873 story. her captain was basically beaten to death by interrogators after VE-day in US captivity (maybe they thought he was an Iraqi ?)
U-873 had been tasked to carry uranium cargo to Japan aswell but her mission was changed without time to unload the cargo in her keel. Fritz Steinhoff had also been the captain of U-511 off Peenemunde. He was associated with underwater rocket firing trials and operation Prufstand to tow V-2 rockets in submersible barges close to New York. His brother was a key V-2 engineer. U-511 was gifted to Japan.

Alleged flights to Manchuria:

You seem to have misunderstood my comment on Albert Speer's reference to Baur and the alleged Ju-390 flight to Japan. I am partly responsible for this. Flugkapitan Karl baur was a Messerscmitt test pilot on the Me-264 and not likely to have flown the Ju-390. I perhaps muddied the water by asking aloud if there was some connection between Karl Baur and Hans Baur ? I have edited the post to remove this unnecessary confusion.

Albert Speer's comment was about Hitler's pilot Hans Baur who took great interest in the Ju-390's development and wanted to fly Hitler from the Bunker as late as 29 April 1945. Speer spoke in the context of Hans Baur's immense interest in the J-390's long range capability and it's potential to help top Nazis escape Berlin. Speer also commented that Baur had plans to fly Hitler out on 23,24, 28 and 29 April 1945, but was thwarted only by Hitler's determination to stay and die.

Speer said HANS Baur would have known about the Ju-390 flight to Japan.

The flight by Italian aircraft in 1942 to Manchukuo (Manchuria) is mentioned briefly in the volume 59 of Senshi-Sosho, a semi-official war history of Japanese WWII.

Non-fiction writer Akira YOSHIMURA gave more detailed overview on this topic in his book 'Shinkai-no-Sisha (deepsea missions). According to Hiashi NAMIKAWA, another researcher whose name Hiashi does not recall who specializes in Europe-Japan relationship during WWII provides some additional informations in Japanese.


This website tells the story of one Italian flight to Manchuria. Japanese sources say there were more than just one.

Hiashi's sources say that in 1942 these flights followed a route from German held Crimea to a secret refuelling stop established by the Germans at Kabul and then continued on to Manchuria. Anybody who has read the exploits of Subhas Chandra Bose an Indian nationalist who made his way overland via Kabul to Germany to solicit Hitler's support for the overthrow of the British in India will immediately realise the credibility of Kabul as a refueling stop. It also stand to reason that if an Italian trimotor could use Kabul as a refueling stop then so to could Junkers Ju-290 aircraft.

Later after the Germans were pushed back from Stalingrad and Odessa, the route for Italian flights were through Rhodes. Japanese sources say that Fw200 aircraft also used this route and rumours persist that an Fw200 was often seen in Manchuria with Japanese Hinomaru markings (symbols of the sun goddess).

The reason for such great secrecy by the Germans about these missions may have been Japanese concern throughout the war not to offend Stalin. Whilst true that Hitler wanted Japan to go to war with Russia in 1941, he also did not want Japan to strike a separate peace with USA by 1944. Hitler may well have ordered the destruction and concealment of all wartime records about these flights.


A captured Luftwaffe serviceman Unteroffizer Wolf Baumgart, reported flights to Manchuria in his interrogations by the Ninth Air Force A.P.W.I.U. Report 44/1945. These records and perhaps other similar ones may be available through NARA. AFHRA at Maxwell AFB may have others. The Japan Kommando was formed at Travenmunde with three Ju-290 aircraft, which were removed from FAG.5 service and fitted with long range fuel tanks. These aircraft had werk no. 10182, 10183 & 10184. At the Hugo Junkers webpage there is reference to three Ju-290 A-5 being transferred to Lufthansa during the war. After conversion these aircraft became designated Ju-290 A-9. Some writers refer to Hitler's secret air force at Lufthansa. It may well be that researchers combing the unit histories of FAG.5 are looking in the wrong place. Many Luftwaffe and I/KG200 pilots appear to have been interchangable as Lufthansa pilots.

Perhaps someone who speaks German can tell us about a book mentioned on the book publisher's website www.christian-schmidt.com called "Herde: Der Japanflug: Planung und Verwirklichung einer Flugverbindung zwischen den Achsenmaeten und Japan 1942-1945" The title translated reads: "The Flight to Japan: planning and realization of an air link between the axis powers and Japan 1942-45"

Richard T Eger
05-04-2004, 01:33 PM
Dear Simon,

Thank you for that further information. I was able to reach the document in question, but was disappointed that it did not contain any details on the U-234's cargo, other than the estimate of 240 tons of cargo and where the cargo would have been stored.

Thank you also for clarifying and correcting previous commentary. I still strongly urge you to take your information on supposed flights to Japan to 12 O'Clock High! for peer review.

I have a document that says at least part of U-234's documents went to Freeman Field. Dated 29 Aug. 1945 and signed by J. M. Hayward, Colonel Air Corps, Chief, Technical Data Laboratory, Aircraft & Physical Requirements Subdivision, Engineering Division, with the notation TSEAL-6D, it states:

"1. Your attention is invited to the inclosed lists of German documents removed from submarine U-234 and forwarded to ATSC by Office of Chief of Naval operations, Washington, D.C. This material was shipped via freight to Freeman Field during the week of 6 August 1945.

2. Arrangements were completed with the Navy by representatives of Engineering Division, Headquarters ATSC, whereby the AAF would retain possession of the documents but would identify, list and index the material, and furnish copies of the list to the Technical Intelligence Center (Op-16-PT) for their file. Document identification should be sufficiently detailed to permit selection of specific items by interested agencies on the basis of the list alone."

Unfortunately, the list was not included with this cover sheet.