Bornholm Air Force History
Based on fictions and real history


Bornholm, a small island at the middle of Baltic Sea, lives hard times. Forced to be the Kriegsmarine supply base in its duty to support the war against the Soviets, the Bornholm governement must carry out with the covenant with III Reich if don't want to be invaded like his neighbors Denmark & Norway.

 Now, Bornholm face the most challenge in his history. Defeated the German armies at Stalingrad, Bornholm was converted into a strategic point at Baltic sea for the German counteroffensive. But the Soviets, strong for their victory, do not will allow that this small island  been used for the strikes back.

 The Bornholm people knows that lives uncertainly times. The Soviets don't forget their help to Fidland in the "Winter war" & “Continuation war”, and if the Germans dudes about Bornholm self defence capacity, the invasion will be a fact.

 Only a small Air Force got the key of their destiny... The BHAF.

 A turbulent history:
Bornholm’s present tranquillity belies its turbulent past. Hampered by a strategically important position, Bornholm has constantly struggled to defend itself from invasion, plundering pirates and the medieval struggle between royal and religious forces. In 1658, after a short period of Swedish occupation, a group of revolutionaries shot their dictator the Swedish Commendant
Printzensköld and freed Bornholm.

Printzensköld killed by Villum Clausøn with a silver button.

The island managed to stay out of the First World War.

Despite finding itself under German influance in the Second World War, and fighting along with the Finnish Forces in Finland and German Forces in Soviet Union and later Russian occupation and the following war in 1946 between the free BHAF (supported by USA) and Soviet Union, Bornholm has been an indenpendt state ever since.



 Traditionally, the BHAF equipment trajectory was similar to other Baltic countries. In 1938 begun the modernisation of the Air Force. The FIAT G.50 was the first BHAF monoplane fighter and in the same time there was a contract to purchase de Fokker XXI, plane that was choosen in some countries in the area. Unfortunatly, the Nederlands invasion by the Germans stoped the deliveries (otherwise, BHAF pilots fly some units of this plane in Finland against the Soviets in the Winter War).

 At the end of 1939, the British governement aproved the sell of 20 Hurricanes Mk.I to the BHAF. Only 9 units arrived at Bornholm before the “colaboration” pact with the Germans. The planes never arrived was assigned to the RAF.

 In the middle of 1940 Bornholm was at “the other side”, and was forced to search the necessary equipment in the Axis area of influence.

 The planes offered by the Germans always was outclassed and in low quantities (This was common practice with all the Germans allies at war) and the Bornholm governement that never trust them, afraid a German equipment dependency.

  In summer 1941 the BHAF arrives to the East front to help the Finns. The force was formed for the remaining G.50, veterans from “Winter war” and Bornholm defenders. The BHAF air command realize soon about two points; first: there was a lack of attack planes, and second: the Fiats was outclased quickly by the new Sovites fighter types. BHAF purchased to Romania the IAR80b for attack duties and was destinated at fronline inmeditally. In January 1942 arrives the Hurricanes modified from Bornholm. This two types of plane gives to the BHAF a chance against the new Lagg’s & Yak’s.

 Meanwhile, in the island, The BHAF still searching desesperatelly the definitive fighter.

 II-The “definitive fighter” quest.

 In 1941, Bornholm homeland didn’t needed other type of aircraft for his strategic position at the entire conflict. There wasn’t targets to bomb so didn’t need bombers. The reconnaissance & patrol duties was covered by various types of plane: a few MBR-2 captured at “Winter War”, 6 exFrench-Navy Martin Maryland and two Short Sunderland Mk.I borrowed from the British in 1939. As transport duties BHAF trust in the JU-52.

 But the attack menace from URSS was always present, the BHAF knew that they needed a first class figther to defend their land and the German ships and facilities under their “protection”. Otherwise the “traditional” markets that supplied in the past to them was closed for this “trade” with III Reich.

 There was a complicate problem that was a inesperade solution.

 1- Grif J-1. The secret fighter.

 With the fall of France in 1940, the Germans proposed to BHAF the purchase of 19 new Bloch MB.155 reminded at the factory and never delivered to French air force. As Gnome et Rhône factory was ordered to stop the construction of its own designs and start to produce the BMW 801 under license, the contract includes 35 finish units of 14N-50/51 (which delivered 1,210 hp-890 kW for takeoff) direct from the abandoned production line. Unfortunatelly, the Germans decide at last to give the new MB.155 to the Vichy governement. Finally, the engine shipment arrives to the island at the begining 1941, Bornholm was paid for 19 new planes that never arrive. This fact did that the Bornholm governement never trust in German help again.

 At the end of 1941, the BHAF staff finded a possible solution to the problem. Under absolutely secret, firm an accord with FFVS bureau at Sweden for the footprints and documentation about their late design: the future Swedish fighter J-22.

 There some considerations about this fact:

 The basic structure of the aircraft was a Chrome molybdenum steel tube truss, welded together and then covered with load carrying laminated wooden panels. Some of the panels were removable for inspection and for replacement.

The single primary wing spar was also a welded truss assembly. The inner part stretched from one half of the wing to the other half of the wing. Outboard of this was a sheet metal structure that was bolted on the inner spar structure. The spar caps were tapered steel tubes and due to the machines that produced the tubes, the wing spars could not be made in one piece. Aluminum will be used for the engine cowling and fillets etc.

 Due to the shortage of aircraft material, such as 2024 T3 Aluminum and other crucial components, and the lack of aeronatic industries, the structural design of the aircraft came to be rather unconventional but appropiate to Bornholm needs.

 Despite other air forces, the BHAF always respect the wooden & resin builded planes that fight against them in the East front, some captured LaGG’s was integrated in the BHAF and was used in combat. For this reason the BHAF trust in this kind of plane.

 Developement works started immediately in secret, the major challenge was the adaption of the Gnome-Rhône engine to the cell, the BHAF staff mades changes about the armament too. The general lines of the aircraft changes in many ways. The wing design was changed to a acomodate the new guns and a new undercarriage, that comes from Macchi factory (in fact was the same than last series of MC.200), the nose was totally new for acomodate the engine and the armament, the tail section and the wingtips was enlonged a bit acording to the more powerfull engine. Bornholm obtain from the Germans license to transport spares and parts from Macchi factory in Italy under the pretext to modernize their old Fiats with the french engines “sold” by the Germans ( It’s a mistery that the Germans don’t suspect that Macchi “modernize” Fiat’s, but they was very busy with the East front and Afrika first looses).

  Many components and parts for the prototipe comes completly finished from Italy, like the guns, the prop, oil coolers, the radio equipment, many fligth instruments and of course the entire undercarriage.

 The first prototype take off at November 1942 (only four months after than the Swedish F-22). The impression of the aircraft was that it was a nice flying aircraft and did not have any bad characteristics despite the relatively high wing loading. Was fast and agile, and well armed too. The aircraft was easy to take off and land and the relation between stability and stick forces seemed appropriate for this type of aircraft. Visibility during take off and landing was good.

 The start of production was ordered immediately. Unfortunally, the production was slow for the BHAF demands. The first five units delivered to duty was at November 1943. The total units deployed between November 1943 to the war’s end was unknown, but in all probability no less than 25 and no more than 30.

General characteristics:

Length: 8.82 m (28 ft 11 in)
10.48 m (34 ft 4 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 20 m² (215 ft²)
Empty weight: 2.125 kg
Loaded weight: 2.925 kg
Powerplant: Gnome et Rhône 14N-50/51, which delivered 1,210 hp (890 kW)


Maximum speed: 580 km/h (360 mph)
Range: 2,200 km (1,367 mi)
Service ceiling: 36,090 feet (11,000 m)
Rate of climb: 16.8 m/s (3,300 ft/min)
Maximum dive speed: 850 km/h (528 mph)


2x 20 mm wing-mounted Hispano cannons (94 rounds/gun)
12.7 mm fuselage-mounted Breda-Safat machine guns (250 rounds/gun).

 *Aditional notes:

  Despite the relative slow production, the developement of the ????? was a total success. Is notorious that a small territory, wihtout aircraft industries and a lack of aeronautical alluminium, was capable to carry on this project. There are clues about Italian and Sweden engineering help, but both countries denied this point.

 The Grif J-1 was a bit underpowered compared with other planes at the moment, but the low weight and the good mass/power ratio, mades a balanced fighter. The Grif J-1 did the work, and did well.


-BHAF chronology at WW2.

-       2nd June 1939: First combat action by The BHAF. A brief conflict between Poland and Bornholm breaks out over fishing rights in the Baltic Sea. Both countries accuse each other for firing at the other parts fishing boats.
It comes to Arial fighting between the BHAF and PAF (Polish Air Force). Conflict is solved a week later with diplomatic help from Germany and Sweden.

-       30th November 1939: Start the “Winter war”.

-          25th January 1940: BHAF Expeditionary Force arrives at Finland formed for fighters Fiat G.50.

-          12th March 1940: Finish the “Winter war”.

-          14th March 1940: First Soviet raid over military targets in Bornholm. Almost all planes remaining at the island was destroyed.

-          21th March 1940: The first BHAF Expeditionary Force units arrives at homeland from Finland and take the defense against Soviets raids .

-          9th April 1940: The German armies invades Denmark.

-          30th April 1940: Under invasion menace, The Bornholm governement firm a covenant with the III Reich. The island will be the German supply & repair base at Baltic sea under his protection. In compensation, Bornholm still independent. The Soviets stops the hostilities over Baltic zone.

-          22th June 1941: The Germans starts the “Barbarossa” operation. The USSR is invaded. The germans gives the Bornholm protection duty to the BHAF.

-          25th June 1941: After Soviet bombers had attacked various targets in Finland on 25th June 1941, the Finns officially entered into military cooperation with Germany, marking the beginning of the Continuation War.

-          15th August 1941: The 2nd. BHAF Expeditionary Force arrives at the East front to help the Finns against the Soviet forces. Meanwhile BHAF starts their air fleet modernize plans.

-          The Siege of Leningrad
September 8, 1941 - January 27, 1944

For centuries the cultural heart of Russia and the second largest city in the Soviet Union, Leningrad was a prime target of the advancing German Army Group North in June 1941.

-          One of the stated reasons for the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-1940 was to protect the former Czarist capital, St. Petersburg, later called Leningrad, from Finnish attack. When the Germans invaded, they called on the Finns and the Bornholmish to attack Leningrad from the north.
But the Finnish and Bornholm forces stopped at the old Finnish border. Even the Finnish Air Force refused to take part in any bombing of Leningrad. So it was only the BHAF which helped the Luftwaffe in their attack on the city.

-          On the shore of Lake Ladoga, Leningrad had political significance as the city named for the founder of the Russian Revolution, but it also had military significance as it prevented the Germans from sweeping around the north of Russia and attacking Moscow from behind.

-          The population of Leningrad turned out shortly after the invasion and dug antitank ditches around the city. Two hundred thousand Red Army defenders protected 3,000,000 inhabitants.

-          Within weeks of crossing the border, the Germans cut the Leningrad-Moscow railway and the Germans advanced on the city. The attack failed and the Nazi Generals appealed to Hitler to start a siege, so panzer units badly needed elsewhere could be released.

-          Hitler readily agreed on September 29, 1941. Furthermore, he ordered that the city be reduced so that the Germans would not have to feed its population.  Relentless shelling and air raids began and lasted for the next 872 days.


-          2th February 1943: The german armies at Stalingrad surrenders to the Soviet forces.

-          15th July 1943: First Soviet bomber attack against German ships & facilities at Bornholm. The German governement adverts that Bornholm must be capable to defend the island or will be invaded.

-          After summer of 1943: The BHAF fights over Baltic zone and in Finland front trying to stop the Soviets...

-          In May 1945 the Soviet Union bombs Bornholms 2 major cities to force the island to surrender. It finally surrenders on the 9th May 1945 as Russian troops lands.

-          October 1945. BHAF is being rebuild by the Americans in Germany.

-          January 1946. First air battles between Soviet Air Force and the BHAF over the Baltic Sea.

-          In february ’46 it has turned into a full scale war between the Air Forces’ and navy’s.

-          April 1946: Russian forces leaves Bornholm.


2- The Bornholm “Greyhound”.

 At 15th July 1943, Soviet bombers attack German ships & facilities at Bornholm. The German governement adverts that Bornholm must be capable to defend the island or will be invaded. Due the lack of defensive planes, The Bornholm armies command decides the inmediate come back from East front of the 2nd.BHAF Expeditionary Force. The Hurricanes and the IAR80 mades a good work at the East front, but the BHAF knew that need new and more powerfull fighters to comply this duty. Like the new Grif J-1 fighter wasn’t ready at the time, and the negative from Germany to the petition for Bf.109G’s, the BHAF was forced to start a desesperade search of capable fighters avalaibles at the world.

 Between the last week of August and the first week of september 1943 arrived various shipment from German coast that contained an unknown number of brand news Macchi MC.205V “Veltro”. The circumstancies of this fact still a mistery until today, but there are some theories about:

 In 1942 Bornholm obtain from the Germans license to transport spares and parts from Macchi factory in Italy under the pretext to modernize their old Fiats (in fact was part of the creation of their new secret fighter...) so the “Veltros” probabily was passed under the German eyes in secret.

 At other side, Macchi staff, despised for the Italian governement when loosed the new “reggia” fighter contract in favor of Fiat, decided to sell their last design to Bornholm. Of course was a coincidence, because the Italian governement soon ordered to Macchi new Veltros for a desesperade defence against the Allies. But the shipment was gone yet...

 The “Veltros” was immediately deployed at intercept duties in homeland.


 III- BHAF Aircraft list:

 - Figthers.

 FIAT G.50: (1939) The principal BHAF fighter at the “Winter war”

 HURRICANE MkI: 30 Units purchased to the RAF in 1940, only arrives 19 before the pact with the Germans. Don’t took part at the “Winter war”

IAR-80b: Due the lack of attack-fighter planes the BHAF purchased 20 units to Romania. Destinated at East front in 1941 fall.  For impediments in the factory lines the last 4 planes never was delivered.

 HURRICANE MkII BHAFmod: At the end of April 1940 the Finns donate 2 MkI to BHAF in grattitude for the efforts at the “winter war”. Between August 1940 until January 1941, the BHAF purchase some Hurricanes in different places: 2 planes in Romania, 6 in Yugoslavia. In May 1941 an indeterminate number of captured Hurricanes (no less than 4 & no more than 8) come  from the Germans.

This planes and the 19 MK.I units buyed to British in 1940 was unified to BHAF standard mod. Modified with a 12,7mm Breda machine-gun and a 20mm Hispano MkI. canon in each wing for improve the skills against enemies bombers. Others minor changes was a new spinner and new radio equipment. At the start of 1942 between 33 & 37 units was delivered in the East front for sustitude the outclased Fiat G.50.

 MACCHI MC.205V “Veltro”: Purchased under unkonwn circumstancies was assigned to defend duties at Bornholm since September 1943. In spring of 1944, few planes was sended to help the Finns against the Soviet offensive.

 GRIF J-1: First deliveries (since November of 1943) was assigned to Bornholm defence. At May of 1944, small numbers of this plane taked part in the final phase of the Battle of the Gulf of Finland. In Summer of 1944, almost all disposable planes was took part of the Finland defence against the Soviet offensive.

 CAPTURED AIRCRAFT: Between 1942 to mid 1943 due the lack of reinforcement planes at East front, the BHAF employed several captured Soviets fighters by the Finns. The types used was LaGG’s fighters in their different variants.

 - Recon & Patrol.

MBR-2: (Seaplane) Some units captured at “Winter War” by the Finns and donated to BHAF. Used for sea-patrol and pilot rescue duties.

 MARTIN M-167 “Maryland”: 6 units ex Aereonavale (French navy) purchased to the germans after the Vichi fall. This planes comes overhauled and unarmed. Never was caplable to fly more than 2 units at once. Used for recon and sea-patrol duties.

 SHORT SUNDERLAND Mk.I: (Seaplane) borrowed from the British in 1939 arrives to Bornholm at the beginning of 1940. Used for sea-patrol and pilot rescue duties first, was equiped for anti-submarine duty at mid. 1941

 - Transport.

 JU-52: That was the only plane-type that stayed in all places that BHAF was. Used for personal & spares transport to the East front. The “Junkers” was painted in civil (BornAir) and military (BHAF) colours.

 - Bombers.

Bf-110G2 and Ju-88’s (last ones on lend lease basis) arrived at the BHAF frontline units in 1942 mainly to help the Luftwaffe in the Leningrad area. These planes was BHAF’s only real ground attack and bomber planes through out the war.

 Final overview:

Fiat Cr.42 1939 - 1941

Fiat G.50 1939 - 1942

Hawker Hurricane Mk.IImod 1942 - 1943

Junkers Ju-52 1939 - 1945

IAR80b 1941 - 1944

Grif J.1 1943 - 1945

MC.205V 1943 - 1945

Lagg 1942 - 1944

Messerschmitt Bf-110G2 1942 - 1945

 Post War - 1946 war:

Spitfire Mk.VIII 1946 - 1953

P-51D 1946 - 1955

A-20 1946 - 1953


Written by BUBOTA and Loke
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