2 1966 Soviet Yak 28 crashes into Stößensee
Title is wrong, it was in fact a YAK 28(
had to laugh at 1:15)
A Soviet plane crashes into Stößensee. Apart from the pilots, no one is
hurt and a disaster is narrowly avoided on West Berlin's densely
populated Heerstrasse. A plaque on Stößensee bridge commemorates the
fighter jet crash:
"On 6 April 1966, Soviet pilots Captain Boris
Vladimirovich Kapustin and Lieutenant Yuri Nikolayevich Yanov steered
their faulty aircraft into Stößensee, losing their lives in the crash.
Thanks to their selfless act, they avoided an unforeseeable disaster in
the nearby residential area. This plaque honours the sacrifice made by
the Soviet soldiers as a symbol of humanity in the midst of the Cold
Another point of view:
On April 6th 1966 a couple of soviet Jak-28P departed at Finowfurt Airfield. They were heading for another airfield in the GDR. West-Berlin was to be crossed during that flight.
At about 3:30pm one of the pilots made an emergency call through the
radio. One of the engines failed and he was losing control over the
He was told to make an emergeny landing in the soviet sector but failed
as his plane was already crashing into the Stößensee located in the British Sector.
Both the pilot and his navigator did not eject from the crashing aircraft.
American and British signal intelligence were listening to the russian
radio call at the Teufelsberg which is actually located very close to
The British immediately sent BRIXMIX personell to the crash site in order to prevent the Russians from entering it.
The crash site was sealed off.
A soviet bus carrying the replacement guards for the russian memorial
appeared on the site which created tensions between them and the British
guarding the site.
British pontons were officially trying to lift the wreckage while divers were trying to gain information from it below.
They soon discovered that the plane was a Jak-28P. It was a soviet state
of the art interceptor carrying revolutionary radar systems.
BRIXMIS officials were negotiating with the Soviets trying to gain time.
The bodies of the crew were lifted on April 7th and handed over to the
Russians. Both engines were secretly lifted. This was achieved by tying
them underneath a boat which took them to a concealed spot where they
were boxed an flown to Britain (Royal Aircraft Establishment in
Farnborough) via Gatow airport.
Besides the engines the radar system was studied by British Surveillance Experts.
Within 48 hours the engines and the main radar unit were flown back from
Britain and secretly returned to the crash site to be officially lifted
and handed over to the soviets with most of the wreckage.
Only the top secret radar dish was missing. The British officially
turned over everything they lifted from the bottom of the lake and the
soviets could not admin they were missing that important part. Instead
they were hoping that it was the truth and the dish was remaining on the
It took the British a while to get the dish off the ground but they finally lifted it.
The crew made up by Cpt. Boris Kapustin and Lt. Col. Juri Janow was
celebrated as heros by the soviets. They gave their lifes in order to
save thousands of lifes which would have been lost had the plane crashed
into the city.
This view however is not shared by everybody and the crash still remains
a mystery. In 2005 a former British Intelligence Specialist who worked
at the Teufelsberg tol german television that the ejection seats had no
charges and that the pilot was shot in the head with a pistol.
Until today this is not proven but there is specualation wether the crew or at least one of them tried to escape to the West.
Just another story:
Details of the salvage of a plane that formed a crucial
anti-Soviet intelligence operation are to be revealed, reports Michael
The Cold War was at its peak when on April 6,
1966, a top secret Soviet fighter aircraft crashed into the Havelsee, a
lake straddling the British and Russian sectors of Berlin.The
British immediately mounted a salvage operation, promising to return
the aircraft and the bodies of its two pilots to the Russians.But
as a barge and a crane were set up on the lake's surface to recover the
aircraft, beneath the surface a very different operation was in train -
to take its top-secret technology back to Britain where it could be
examined.Now details of one of the
most important intelligence operations of the Cold War are to be
revealed in a television programme about the British Military Mission to
the Soviet Zone of Germany, Brixmis.The
first the British knew of the Havelsee incident was when radio
operators at Berlin's RAF Gatow picked up a message from the aircraft's
controllers ordering the pilot to try to land in the lake, but inside
the Soviet sector.Despite a valiant
attempt, he failed, his aircraft falling short and inside the British
zone. Brig David Wilson, then head of Brixmis, was playing squash when
the aircraft came down.A quarter of an hour later, still in his
shorts, he was already co-ordinating one of the most astonishing
espionage coups of the Cold War.British military police cordoned
off the scene and a Brixmis interpreter was sent to the lakeside, where
Russian troops commanded by Gen Vladimir Bulanov were trying to force
their way through.They watched as Sqd Ldr Maurice Taylor, who
unknown to them was the Brixmis operations officer, rowed to the
wreckage to take photographs.The top-secret fighter was later
identified as a Yak-28, Nato codename Firebar, with what was already
clearly a unique radar capability. Britain and America were desperate to
know what made it so good. Now they had their chance. It was 10.09pm on
day one, nearly seven hours after the crash. The Brixmis interpreters
were ordered to do everything they could to buy time, trying to mollify
the by now clearly concerned Bulanov.At the same time, technical
experts were flown out from the Royal Aircraft Establishment at
Farnborough to examine the aircraft's Skipspin radar, which unlike the
then western systems could look up and down as well as straight ahead.Down
below the water, one British serviceman was trying to get the pilots
out of the aircraft so they could be examined by the intelligence
experts.By 1.45pm on the second day the bodies had been bagged up
and, below the water, work was going on to remove the radar. Meanwhile,
Major Geoffrey Stephenson, one of the British interpreters, persuaded
Bulanov that they were still trying to recover the bodies of the crew.But
the Russians were suspicious the British might spirit something out
under cover of night. Bulanov accused the British of having troops ready
to shoot any Russian who got near the site. Major Johnathan Backhouse,
the Brixmis interpreter on duty, denied this.Bulanov's response
was to order up a platoon of Soviet guardsmen and to march them down a
track towards the lakeside. "We hadn't gone a dozen yards when suddenly
two riflemen jumped out of the dark," Major Backhouse recalled. Both
sides clicked off their safety catches and there was a long pause as the
British officer frantically thought of a way to defuse the situation.Hoping
the British infantryman would back up his claim that there was no
attempt to stop the Russians finding out what was going on, he asked:
"Are you authorised to let this Soviet officer pass?" "Not on your f***ing life, sir," the British soldier replied.
Bulanov roared with laughter and ordered his men back before turning to
Major Backhouse and saying: "I think, major, Russian intelligence is
superior to yours."At 4.07 that morning the bodies were slipped
back on to the raft. As dawn broke, the Russians were informed they had
been recovered and would be handed over that evening.The cockpit
radar unit was already on its way back to Britain to be examined but
they needed more time to get the radar dish out of the nose cone, which
was buried in the mud.At 2.40pm that day, the Russians noted a
launch arriving at the raft to offload a couple of apparently
unimportant passengers before departing towards the shoreline of the
British sector.What they did not see was the divers attaching the
jet engines by line to the launch which dragged them along behind it
taking them to a jetty a mile from the wreck where they were loaded into
crates and flown back to Farnborough for examination. Meanwhile the
pilots' bodies were handed over to Bulanov. Within 48 hours, the engines
and the cockpit radar unit had been carefully returned to the Firebar's
wreckage.It was at midnight on April 13, that the raft sailed to
the Soviet sector where piece by piece the wreckage was handed over to
the Russians.As the engines were handed over, Bulanov looked at
them and could clearly see that the tips of some of the rotor blades had
been sawn off."He didn't say a word," Stephenson said. "He
simply looked at me and shrugged, as if to say: 'I've been screwed', and
of course he had."Then the Russians discovered that something
was missing. The British insisted that everything had been handed over.
If anything was missing it must still be down on the floor of the
Havelsee.What was missing? The Russians were unable to reply.
They could hardly say it was a top secret radar dish. They just had to
hope the British were right and it was on the bottom of the lake.It had taken a long time to get the radar dish out. But Brixmis had managed it.
hadn't had time to put it back but they had pulled it out and the
resultant changes to RAF aircraft to deceive the Skipspin radar restored
parity in the Cold War.
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