Plan to Capture
MOST SECRET AND URGENT
To: Officer Commanding No. 12 Commando
From: Captain Pinckney, E Troop, No. 12 Commando
I understand that as a matter of great urgency and importance a specimen Focke Wulf 190 is required in this country. I attach a proposal for procuring one of these aircraft. I have the honour to request that this, my application to be allowed to undertake the operation described, may be forwarded as rapidly as possible through the correct channels to the Chief of Combined Operations. I further propose that the pilot to accompany me should be Mr. Jeffrey Quill who is a close friend of mine, and as a well-known test pilot of fighter aircraft is well qualified to bring back the plane. He is also young, active, a yachtsman, and a man in every way suitable to carry out the preliminary approach by land and sea.
If Mr Quill cannot be allowed to undertake this operation, perhaps a substitute could be made available from the Free French Forces. I am most anxious to be allowed to volunteer for this operation. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant
(signed) P.H. Pinckney
June 6, 1942
To bring back to this country undamaged a Focke Wulf 190.
2. Forces Required
One MGB [motor gunboat] equipped with DF [direction-finding radio] apparatus, to carry a folbot [collapsible canoe] to within two miles of the coast of France. One folbot equipped with wireless transmitter. One officer of a Commando. One specially selected pilot.
3. (Day 1)
a. On the night of Dl the MGB, carrying the officers and folbot, will leave England after dark and proceed at best speed to within one or two miles of the French coast off a
selected beach, b. On reaching the beach the folbot will be carried inland and hidden in a wood or buried in the dunes. The officers will lie up during the following day.
4. (Day 2)
After laying up all day the officers will move inland at nightfall until they are within observation range of a fighter aerodrome.
5. (Day 3)
a. On D3 the officers will keep the aerodrome under observation and plan the attack for the start of nautical twilight [i.e., just before sunrise] on D4. b. During the night of D3 the officers will penetrate the aerodrome defences by stealth and will conceal themselves as near as possible to a selected Focke Wulf aircraft.
6. (Day 4)
a. At the start of nautical twilight on D4, when the aircraft are warmed up by the ground mechanics, the two officers will take the first opportunity to shoot the ground mechanics of the selected plane as soon as it has been started up. The pilot officer will take off in the machine and return to England. The commando officer will first ensure the safe departure of the aircraft, and will then withdraw to a previously reconnoitred hideup. Should no opportunity to seize the aircraft have presented itself, the officers will withdraw to a hideup and make another attempt next morning, b. During the night of D4 the conmando officer will return to the concealed folbot.
7. (Day 5)
a. After nautical twilight on D5 or during the succeeding night, this officer will launch the folbot and be picked up by an MGB.
b. The MGB should be off the coast for two hours before nautical twilight on D5, D6 or D7 providing the weather is calm. If the weather is unsuitable, the MGB should come on the first suitable morning. The officer, after launching the folbot, will paddle to a prearranged bearing. The MGB, making due allowance for the day and consequent set of the tide, will proceed on a course to intercept the folbot. In addition the officer will make wireless signals, which will be picked up by the MGB using DF gear.
8. Selected aerodrome
a. The selection of an aerodrome will be dependent on intelligence not at present available to me. The requirements are:
1. Within 20 miles of landing beach which is not too strongly defended, and which has a hinterland of dunes or woods offering a hiding place for the folbot.
2. Within observation range or a few miles of a covered approach or a wood or place of concealment.
b. It is thought that possibly Abbeville aerodrome might be suitable with a landing made on the Somme estuary. The Cherbourg Peninsula, entailing a cliff-climbing on landing, might give a good chance of making an undiscovered landing, providing a suitable aerodrome is nearby.
9. Return of the plane
Arrangements must be made with Fighter Command to ensure that the pilot officer is not shot down by our fighters on returning with the captured aircraft. It is suggested that these arrangements should not be dependent upon wireless or on the officers taking distinctive markings or signalling apparatus with them. Possibly Fighter Command could be instructed not to shoot down any enemy Focke Wulf 190 appearing over the coast during specified times on selected days. In addition the undercarriage could be lowered for identification. If a Focke Wulf 190 after all is unprocurable on the aerodrome, a Messerschmitt 109F could be brought back instead. I understand that its acquisition would also be valuable.
The landing should be made on a rising tide to cover footprints and also on a dark night to achieve surprise.
11. Alternative return of Commando officer
If it is considered an unacceptable naval risk to bring back an MC.B to pick up the Commando officer, this officer could either paddle on a course pre-arranged by Fighter Command and eventually be picked up by an RAF rescue launch or, as a third alternative method of withdrawal, he could be instructed to make his way back through occupied France.
12. Other considerations
a. F(K)d. The officers will be equipped with ten days' compressed rations.
b. Preparation. The officers should have ample time to train together for a period which need not exceed ten days. Training should also be carried out on the MGB.
c. Security. The officers suggested in the covering letter accompanying this proposal are both at present stationed at Bursledon, where they frequently go sailing together; the
Commando officer owns a double folbot which is used daily; there are MGBs stationed at Bursledon; training could therefore be started without delay without arousing any suspicions that an operation was under rehearsal.
END OF REPORT