Like the leaders of today, Germany’s political and military leaders during WWII also had special aircraft reserved for their personal use. These aircraft were all of one type – usually the luxury version of the famous Junkers Ju52/3m – a tri-motor transport plane equivalent to the Douglas DC-3.
Creating The FDF
In 1934, Hitler created a government squadron of eight Ju 52s to transport him, his generals, and ministers. Five years later, the squadron would be renamed to “Fliegerstaffel des Führers”, effectively becoming Hitler’s private squadron.
Hitler’s personal squadron now had a special insignia that was painted on the nose of all planes: a black eagle head on a white background, surrounded by a narrow red ring.
By 1942, a series of armored Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condors were incorporated into the unit.
Special Fw 200 Version
Interestingly, Hitler’s Fw 200 C-4/U1 is a one-of-a-kind variant with a shortened Bola gondola and a removed bomb bay. In exchange, the main cabin was fitted with wooden paneling and upholstered seating that included Hitler’s special parachute seat.
Still, the high-speed transport plane’s walls, floors, and ceilings were heavily armored with 12mm armor plates and 50mm thick bulletproof glass for windows.
There’s More Where That Came From
His second Condor, a C-3/U9, was used to ferry his large personal staff when visiting the frontlines. Hitler’s third Condor, a C-4/U2, was also operated to transport guests, bodyguards, and sometimes even himself.
Most German leaders at that time were issued their very own Condors from the same squadron. However, when the tides of war turned against Germany in 1943, these aircraft would be taken from them and pressed into frontline service.
Their Ultimate Fate
The planes used by the Fliegerstaffel des Führers were typically destroyed or captured by the Allies as the war came to an end. Some of the planes were destroyed in bombing raids, others were captured intact by Allied forces, while others (like Hitler’s extra Condor) were cannibalized for spare parts.
Today, only one Fw 200 Condor exists after it was painstakingly restored from a wreck in Germany. It is currently on public display in Hangar 7.