There is ample skepticism that any such flights took place at
all, and with the exception of the US prisoner interrogation of
Unterofficer Wolfgang Baumgart in August 1944 who claimed to have
participated in the February 1944 flight, the only sources of
information are undocumented or anecdotal.
Not in 1945. The original claim from interrogation of a German
POW was for a Ju-390 flight to New York in early February 1944.
Since then, someone in US calling himself Jim Newsom (who
declines to identify himself or establish his credentials) has been
responsible for generating many claims about a woman by the name
Anna Kreisling. The Kreisling claim has become a lightning rod for
many nutcase claims both for and against such a flight. This
Kreisling person, whether she really exists, or not, has since
attracted a worldwide online following.
The person claiming to be Kreisling claims to be an elderly
former Nazi era female test pilot. She claims to have co-piloted
the aircraft from Norway to Wisconsin and then to have flown back
to a military airfield in France near Paris, via the New York
This differs with the Baumgart interrogation which implies an
outbound flight from Mont de Marsan near Bordeaux in Feb 1944.
Kreisling, or perhaps Newsom writing as the Kreisling persona,
originally made a claim at the Aviastar website in 2007 insisting
that Kreisling flew a Ju-390 over Michigan and New York in August
Critics claim this claim was implausible. In October 1943
however the Japanese embassy in Berlin sent an encrypted signal to
tokyo giving Ju-390 performance details furnished by the Germans.
In that signal which was intercepted by the Allies the maximum fuel
range of the Ju-390 (without extra fuel tanks) was given as 29
hours worth at 186 knots plus a two hour reserve. The average fuel
consumption of a BMW 801D engine at 1700 rpm and altitudes of
6,000-12,000 feet was 50 US gals per hour. The main impediment for
the Ju-390 was excessive fule consumption over 21,000 feet.
Typically Ju-290 aircraft operating maratime patrols over the
atlantic operated at 6,000 feet. Given such statistics a long range
flight would not be impossible.
German wartime records identify the Ju-390 prototype first flew
on 20 October 1943, which if correct make the Kreisling claim
impossible. It is fair to say the New York flight was hotly debated
before Newsom introduced a claim about Kreisling. Now it attracts
nothing but ridicule to an issue of genuine historical interest. It
is not unlikely that the whole Newsom/Kreisling claim has been
invented to discredit genuine debate over the Ju-390.
Quite independent of this debate, in 1998 a man from Burlington
VT, Ruben P. Whittemore (then 44) made some enquiries online if
anyone knew much about the wreckage of a six engined German
aircraft in the sea 2.5 miles SW of Owl's Head, Maine, USA. Another
person "PLouise" responded that she had dived the wreck and
recovered artifacts including an RMZ constructors plate with the
word "Junkers" on it, suggesting possibly a Junkers Ju-390
attempted the flight and failed. Whittemore, who appears not have
had any agenda said in 1998 that he had relatives who witnessed the
bodies of three German aviators recovered from the sea on 28
September 1944 following the crash of this aircraft on or about 18
John Newsom published his interview with former German test
pilot and wartime Luftwaffe transport pilot Anna Kreisling, known
as the White Wolf of the Luftwaffe. It is claimed that she flew
supply missions into the beleaguered German garrison at
Unfortunately Newsom has not provided any contact details with
himself or Kreisling therefore it is extremely hard to verify the
claim to the standards demanded by most historians. This is such a
vital part of WW2 history that it is almost criminal if her
information goes to the grave when she dies. We can only hope she
will leave us something for posterity which can be verified
According to Newsom, Anna Kreisling claims she was the co-Pilot
of a six engined Junkers JU-390 reconnaissance bomber that took off
from Norway on 27 August 1943 and flew first to Lake Michigan and
then passed close by New York heading out to the Atlantic for a
military airfield near Paris (Le Bourget?)
This aircraft certainly had the endurance for such a flight. It
could operate up to 12,000 ft with fuel consumptions between 250
liters/hr (230kts)- 275 litres/hr (270kts). Fuels capacity is
thought to have been 52,800 lb, though this was increased in April
1944 when it's weights were re-certified.
Newson claims the Ju-390 overflew Canada and then photographed
defence plants in Michigan which were vital to the United States.
At noon on August 28 the Junkers passed right over New York above
the Empire State Building at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Many
important pictures of New York were taken.
The difficulty Historians would have with this claim is that
officially the Ju-390's maiden flight was 20 October 1943 flown by
Capt Hans Joachim Pancherz. There are claims however that an even
earlier flight was made by Hans Werner Lerche of another prototype
on an unspecified date in August 1943 at Bernberg. The claim of
this earlier flight arises from Russian historical sources.
Still this suggests a flight to USA before the aircraft could
not have been properly tested if we are to accept the maiden flight
occured in October 1944.
Some evidence however suggests the Ju-390 aircraft flew as early
as November 1942 from a photo taken of the JU-390 with registration
markings RC+DA. This aircraft had a white band around it's fuselage
ahead of the tail. This marking was known as the Afrika band, only
used by Axis aircraft during the north Africa campaign. In
the case of the Ju-390 if it was in use in north Africa it would
likely have been attached to LTS.290 operating to Tunisia.
The photo of "RC+DA" was taken from a ship attacked during
Operation Torch landings and the original is from an album owned by
a veteran living near Sydney Australia. Ju-390 test pilot Hans
Werner Lerche refers to the same photo from the collection of the
Deutsches Museum, Munich in his autobiography.
If the JU-390 aircraft attacking the Operation Torch convoy in
1942 was "RC+DA" then this implies that RC+DA was in fact the V1
prototype and not the V2 as often claimed. On 29 July 1944 Junkers
was paid by RLM for completing seven Ju-290 aircraft. There is no
detailed Quartermaster record of these seven aircraft being taken
on Luftwaffe strength, however 80 percent of Luftwaffe records were
destroyed or lost at the end of the War (most likely confiscated by
US forces at Linz and their existence denied ever since) and no
records remain of RLM which may not have had aircraft listed by the
Quartermaster General at all.
It would be useful if Newsom, or Ana Kreisling who should know
might shed further light on this point?
In 1955 correspondence began between William Green, then editor
of the RAF Review and an unnamed person writing from New York who
claimed personal knowledge of wartime Ju-390 flights to New York.
It is interesting to speculate whether this was correspondence with
In November 1955 an article by Dr Kenneth P Werrell appeared in
the RAF Review on the subject. Werrell however referred to a
Luftwaffe photographer Unteroffizer Wolf Baumgart who was attached
to the long range reconnaissance unit FAGr.5 at Mont de Marsan.
As a prisoner of war, Baumgart was interrogated in August 1944
by the US Ninth Air Force, cited in A.P.W.I.U. Report 44/1945.
Baumgart's interrogation was one of two POW interrogation reports
cited in British Intelligence reports dated from August 1945
entitled "General Report on Aircraft Engines and Aircraft
Green later published details of the in his two books
Warplanes of the Second World War (1968) and Warplanes of
the Third Reich (1970). Green asserted the Allies learned of
the mission in June 1944, whilst Werrell claimed they originated
with interrogations of two German POWs in August 1944.
Baumgart's claim appears to differ from Ana Kreislings'.
According to Kenneth Werrell Baumgart talked of a New York flight
about early February 1944. Ju-390 pilot Hans Pancherz himself
claimed to have performed an astonishing Ju-390 flight to Cape
Town, South Africa in January 1944
Baumgart asserts In February 1944 another Junkers Ju-390 checked
out the air defenses of New York by flying within 12 miles of the
city. Photographs were taken of the New York skyline, but these
have never come to light.
The third Ju-390 prototype was a bomber intended to deploy tiny
Me 328 parasite fighters against New York, but tests revealed the
wings were not strong enough to support the laden weight of a New
York mission and these miniature aircraft. The Mission was intended
to deploy nuclear weapons.
When the Ju-390 proved inadequate for this bombing mission focus
shifted to developing the Heinkel He-274 at Tolouse in France to
become the trans Atlantic nuclear bomber. The prototype He-274 was
captured intact in 1944 and later used by the French Air Force.
This aircraft was mentioned by a captured Luftwaffe general as the
intended New York bomber.