Facts O'Pleanty Charles Winchester may be in error there, or you could have misquoted because I doubt Odessa was in German hands much after 1942.
On the other hands the original claims of flights to "Manchuria" specifically mentioned flights from Odessa and later from Milec (Poland)
If you take these dates as a guideline then the flights occurred during 1942.
Oberst von Rowehl was first to operate deep into Soviet airspace in February 1940, when using Heinkel He-70 aircraft in Hungarian markings he overflew and photographed much of Byelorussia and the Caucases oil fields.
For a time Theodor von Rowhel's photo reconnaissance unit as Aufklarungsgruppe 100 O.b.d.L., operated from Vichy Syria.
In March 1942 the unit became absorbed into a new unit called Zirkus Rosarius after Flugkapitan Rosarius. Zirkus Rosarius was also under the control of Abwher 5th branch (Air Intelligence) and thus not under the normal Luftwaffe chain of command.
In February 1942 three Ju290 A5 aircraft with BMW801D engines were withdrawn from Atlantic reconnaissance service. These aircraft were then coded T9+WK, T9+UK and T9+VK
T9+VK/A3+BB was the only survivor. It was damaged in a hanger at Finsterwalde by Allied fighters whilst in civil Lufthansa markings sometime around Feb 1944. It was later scrapped in April 1944 at Travemunde.
These three were also re-engined to A-7 standard with BMW801G engines. It is interesting to speculate whether these were also the three Ju-290 A7 aircraft proposed for sale to Japan as strategic bombers ?
Manchuria Flights flown by Zirkus Rosarius ?
The Ju-290 aircraft which flew to Nighsia in China appear to have belonged to Zirkus Rosarius (Versuckverband OBdL). Junkers historian Horst Zoller advises me of a German newspaper article in the 1950s which asserted that these manchurian flights were conducted by aircraft in Deutsch Luft Hansa markings. It was not uncommon for Zirkus Rosarius to fly allied aircraft in all sorts of markings on espionage missions so it is not really a stretch to imagine Ju-290s in Lufthansa liveries.
KG200 was not formed until 20 February 1944. KG200's leader, Werner Baumberg came from flying bombers and not from Zirkus Rosarius, therefore if the Manchuria flights happened in 1942 or 1943, he would have no first hand knowledge of those missions. Unfortunately he is often quoted as an authority on flights to Manchuria, when quite likely he was not.
Compounding the difficulty of establishing the facts, 80% of all the Luftwaffe's records were taken from mines in Silesia in 1945 to Linz Austria where they were all burned in a month long orgy.
People who suggest the flights did not happen because Luftwaffe records do not say so are ignoring the total lack of Luftwaffe records and especially from more secret units.
After WW2 the CIA took over all the photographic records of von Rowehl's Aufklarungsgruppe 100, Zirkus Rosario and KG200 after the war. These archives remain classified today.
Thus the CIA for reasons of cold war secrecy maintained the secrets of long range operations over Russia in WW2 for it's own purposes.
Last edited by Simon_G
on Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.