Interned aircraft

What happened when Aircraft landed in Switzerland? I know they and the crews were interned for the wars duration. Did the Swiss keep the aircraft and put their insignia on it, basically increasing the size of their Air force?

Wouldn’t that be piracy? :thinking:

I think a lot of the a/c that diverted to Switzerland were badly damaged so they were just parked. From what I have read even flyable planes were parked and the crews interned.
The Swiss had a few Bf-109’s in service that they bought from Germany and two that were interned during the war. They incorporated these two into the Swiss AF after hostilities ended and stopped using the 109 in late 1947 as lack of replacement parts made it too difficult to maintain them.
I haven’t seen any war time photos of any allied A/C wearing Swiss markings but that’s not to say they may not exist.


Cointrin airport, summer 1945 :


More (sorry no sound) :


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I stand corrected!


The caption says July 1945, after VE day, so not technically “during the war”!

Agree…But we don’t know when the white crosses were painted :roll_eyes:


Not quiet. During WW2, an aircraft that violated a sovereign country’s airspace and was forced to land could be legally put into service in full accordance with the international law given the national markings replaced.

A few more wartime examples :

“A B-17 Flying Fortress (QJ-D, serial number 42-32073) formerly of the 337th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, in service with the Swiss Air Force. Handwritten caption on reverse: '42-32073, Dübendorf, 13-4-44.’”

Another one :

B-24’s :


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There’s a well documented P-51B (s/n 2106438, formerly of USAAF, 4th FG, 335th FS) that was put into service and extensively tested both by the Swiss Air Force and the Swiss Aircraft Industry in 1944.
AFAIK, only this plane and two ex-RAF Mosquitoes were the only allied planes that were put into actual service with the Swiss Air Force during WW2.

Swiss P51

Some B-17s and B-24s also received Swiss markings to be flown for evaluation and familiarization purposes, others for transfer flights to DĂĽbendorf Airfield were interned aircraft were gathered. These two types, however, were never officially put into service with the Swiss Air Force.

No. they were used for evaluation, familiarization and transfer flights only.

The above mentioned B-17G (s/n 42-38204, formerly of USAAF, 303rd BG) landed in Switzerland on 24 April 1944 and received Swiss markings shortly after.

Out of around 120 allied B-17s and B-24s gathered at DĂĽbendorf Airfield, 60 were flown back to England after the end of the hostilities; the rest were scrapped.

Try getting hold of these: