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.
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
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.
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
managed to stay out of the First World War.
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.
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
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” 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
& 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.
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.
Grif J-1. The secret fighter.
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.
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
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
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.
Length: 8.82 m (28 ft 11 in)
(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
Rate of climb: 16.8 m/s (3,300
Maximum dive speed: 850 km/h (528
2x 20 mm wing-mounted Hispano
cannons (94 rounds/gun)
fuselage-mounted Breda-Safat machine guns (250 rounds/gun).
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.
chronology at WW2.
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
November 1939: Start the “Winter war”.
25th January 1940: BHAF
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Used for sea-patrol and pilot rescue duties first, was equiped for
anti-submarine duty at mid. 1941
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.
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.
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