The use of Jonsvatnet as an temporary Airfield during april 1940.

Based on a manuscript from Major Roar Glenne (ret.), FMU and the book "Ni dager i april"  

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The theatre of Operations around Trondheim and Jonsvatnet. Section taken from a Luftwaffe Flugkarte.

During the German invasion of Trondheim and Vaernes airfield on April 9th, the Airfield's soil was found too soft to handle heavy Transport Planes  and Bombers as Ju52's and Ju88's. The near lying Lake Jonsvatnet was chosen as a ad hoc solution until the Tarmac on Vaernes was improved. During the only 12-13 days it was operational, Jonsvatnet was used a staging point for German bombing and supply sorties to hotspots as Namsos and Narvik.  

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Jonsvatnet sometime around april 1940. Copyright: Guttorm Fjeldstad. 

The first flights began on April 11th. Eighteen Ju52's from KGr. Z.b.V 105 landed on the Ice with muntion and Spare parts. A Flak perimeter around the Lake was also established. Sections from KG 26 and KG 30 arrived on Jonsvatnet with He111 and Ju88. Operational sorties from Jonsvatnet began on April 15th with an attack on Namsos with some Ju88's from KG 30. U4+TK was one of the Planes participating in this attack. By April 15th, RAF began to take interest of the Airfield and conducted armed Reconnaissance with Withleys from the 77. Bomber Command Sqdr. over the area.

Copyright: "Ni dager i april, Luftkampene over Norge 1940", Knut Męsel. Ex Libris forlag, 1990

During the next days He111H from KGr. 100 and five Ju87 "Stuka" from St.G 1 also operates from Jonsvatnet against targets around Narvik and Namsos. Allied landings around Namsos and Harstad put a heavy pressure on German units operating from Jonsvatnet and Vaernes, and this increased the sorites flown from the 14th. On the 17th a damaged Ju88 from KG30 crash landed on the Ice and was scavenged for reserve parts by the Mechanics. Two Ju52's crashed in the same period, but their fate is not known. 

Copyright: "Ni dager i april, Luftkampene over Norge 1940", Knut Męsel. Ex Libris forlag, 1990. 

By now the increasingly warmer weather made takeoffs and landings only possible during the early mornings and late evenings. During the most hectically periods there were about 36 Planes on the Ice, constantly being refuelled and rearmed for new sorties. Allied War ships were high priority targets; on April 19th He111's and Stukas from both KGr. 100 and St.G 1 attacked the French Cruiser "Emil Bertin", the Cruiser was damaged, but managed to limp back to Scapa Flow. On Adolf Hitler's birthday, the 20th, a larger bomber offensive was staged against Namsos and Steinkjaer. Eighteen Bombers from KG 30 and KGr. 100 participated in the attack. Later that same day fourteen Bombers from KG 26, three from KG 30 and nine from KGr. 100 joined in on the attacks. Namsos was almost completely levelled after these attacks. The British Destroyer "Rutlandshire" got hit and sank on the same day. Additional attacks on the Cruisers "Carlisle" and "Curacao" was fought off in the Romsdalsfjord.

Copyright: "Ni dager i april, Luftkampene over Norge 1940", Knut Męsel. Ex Libris forlag, 1990. 

 

 

Sometime after 21th of april: Von Casimir's plane is slowly sinking beneath the ice. 

 

 

 

Ju87B-2/R-2 crashlanded on Jonsvatnet. Copyright FMU.

The next day, the Destroyers "Penn" and "Hercules II" got hit and sank outside Molde by an attack from six Ju88's from KG 30. Early on the morning of April 22nd a Wellington Bomber from the 625. Sqdr. flew over Jonsvatnet. The Wellington Crew could count 16 Planes along with a Me109 tipped over on the Ice. During the next days the Ice detoriated so much that Air Operations no longer could be maintained from the Lake. Combined with an improved wooden Runway on Vaernes the makeshift Airfield was finally abandoned around 24th April.

Allied War ship under attack by Ju88's during the Norwegian Campaign. 

Copyright: "The Life and death of the Luftwaffe", Werner Baumbach. Coward-McCann Inc, 1960.

 

KG 30 on a frozen Lake in 1940, most probably Jonsvatnet. Copyright: www2images.com

Picture no. A00196GR.

 

An unidentified Ju88 drawn over to shore before it became a victim of the melting ice along with U4+TK. Notice the spot; almost the same place as where U4+TK was placed on dry land some 60 years later!

On the 25th, two Skuas from the Carrier "Glorious" flew over the then deserted Airfield. The RAF airmen only observed a He111 and a Ju88 half submerged through the Ice. The German Planes were fired upon putting one of the wings of the Ju88 on fire. This attack marked the end of Jonsvatnet as an Airfield to Land based aircraft, but later in the war a Seeflughafen was established for Seaplanes. Some of the structures from this Seeflughafen are still there. 

 

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This Ju52 was another of the Planes the Germans had to leave behind on Jonsvatnet, sadly the wreck of the Ju52 was destroyed during 1980's by rocks from a newly constructed water intake. Copyright: FMU. 

 

 

Remains from a bomb dropped on Namsos in 1940.

 

 

 

Some of the personal Pictures taken by Artur Von Casimir, one of the Pilots from KGr. 100 that used Jonsvatnet in april 1940, for the complete story to Artur check out the DVD "Vinger under vann"  

                              

  Von Casimir's original Flugzeugfuhrerabzeichen. Casimir left this badge behind in 1940 before participating in Weserübung.         

 

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