Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Visitors - The German Connection

Perhaps you noticed the phrase regarding a "Condor" visit to Japan in our previous post. Here's the story with some info from the net and extras from Japanese sources. All photos are from Japanese vintage publications.

Three months after the remarkable for the time non-stop flight from Berlin to New York, Fw200 registered D-ACON and carrying the name "Brandenburg" decided this time to to visit Japan.  On November 28, 1938 Flugkapitane Alfred Henke, Capt. Rudolf von Moreau (2nd pilot), Paul Dierberg (wireless operator-engineer) and Walter Kober (radio operator) together with crew chief Georg Kohne (Focke Wulf) and Consul Heinz Young (Director of Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH Berlin) took-off from Berlin's Tempellhof airport and after stops in Basra, Karachi and Hanoi finally landed in Tachikawa, Tokyo (Haneda was undergoing repairs). The time was 46 hours, 15 minutes and 52 seconds corresponding to an average speed of 192 km/h, including ground time at the stops. 
The Condor arriving at Tachikawa airport, November 30, at exactly 22:34:24.

Crew and passengers are getting off.

An enthusiastic crowd had gathered, eagerly waiting their arrival.

A welcome ceremony was held at a nearby hangar.
After that they were all driven to the Imperial Hotel
where they stayed for the rest of their visit.

A map showing the route and the distance covered.

The next day was really hectic. The schedule included visits to Meiji and Yasukuni shrines, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of the Navy, Army Aviation Headquarters, Army Ministry and Foreign Ministry followed by a tea party at the house of Transportation Minister at 16:00. The photo above was taken somewhere along this route. The "X" indicates the German Ambassador to Japan Eugen Ott.  

On December 2 (or 4) the schedule included a party at Kabuki-za (HERE) sponsored by Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun. In the above photo Captain Henke is shaking hands with one of the most famous Kabuki actors of all time Onoe Kikugoro the 6th.

On November 5 at 6:00am Prince Chichibu-no-miya visited Tachikawa airfield and was given a tour by Capt. Henke. 

Unfortunately the return flight of the next day, Nov. 6 did not have a happy ending. The aircraft took-off at 5:37 from Tachikawa, flew over Okinawa without any problem at 11:00 but had to make an emergency landing at 16:40 (Japan time) in Rosario beach, Cavite, Manila Bay due to a malfuction of the fuel pomp that resulted in three engines shutting down.

As always we would be very happy to hear from our readers if they have more information to add or any corrections to make.

3 comments:

Harold K said...

I have often wondered if the remains of this Condor still lie on the floor of Manila Bay.
Salt water is not kind to aircraft structures, of course; but any relics from this particular a/c would have great historical value.

Arawasi said...

Check this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/johntewell/5007618198/

Harold K said...

George, thank you VERY much for the link.
The photo in your blog post shows clearly that the ditching was in shallow water; I had not known that.
So it is not a complete surprise to see other photos of the wreck being salvaged.
Shipped back to Germany? Now I wonder if it was rebuilt, or ???