Alcides Segovia

Hijacked Lufthansa 737 comes back to Germany

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30 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

It will make a great display when they finish with it

Display?? I was thinking "Man now there is a great start on a home flight simulator. Anyone with a big back yard??

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Nice idea shivers, but seeing as the word not alloweds executed the Captain in the 1st class cabin, it would be better served as a monument in this case.

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2 hours ago, shivers9 said:

Display?? I was thinking "Man now there is a great start on a home flight simulator. Anyone with a big back yard??

Lots of surplus 737's out there that could be used for that purpose, this one has a unique story to tell and will serve as a memorial as well :cool:

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I've got a book somewhere which is about various special forces around the world, can't recall the title as I think I lent it to someone and never got it back lol, but it had a very detailed account of the assault  made on the aircraft. It was very cleverly done, especially the bit where they lit the fire in a skip a 65 yards in front of the aeroplane at night so that the terrorists would be curious about what that was and go to the cockpit whilst the GSG 9/SAS troops approached the aeroplane from the rear. As a result of some very precise timing of the lighting of the fire, the assault rescue team troops knew where in the aeroplane most of the terrorists (two men and two women) would be and were able to engage them without a lot of stray fire going down the cabin.

What is not often noted is that another part of the plan was that the operation had included a fake flight from Cairo pretending to fly the prisoners which the hijackers had demanded the release of to an exchange, and negotiators made much use of this, talking with the hijackers about the exact details of how the exchange would take place, which was another way of ensuring they would be in the cockpit on the radio. They didn't tell anyone they were doing this as a fake of course, so they knew it would get back to the hijackers via the control tower at Mogadishu that a plane was on the way, which indeed it did and helped to sell the idea to the hijackers that the German Government were happily acceding to the hijackers demands as a bogus flight flew into Cairo to refuel, supposedly with the exchange terrorist prisoners ready to board, thus the hijackers thought they were on the way and let their guard drop a little. It's also interesting to note that the airliner which flew the assault troops into the airport landed at night and taxied in with no lights on at all so the hijackers would not see it arriving, the delay in eventually assaulting the aircraft and making the assault at 2am also meaning the hijackers were deprived of sleep and feeling tired.

Another thing which is also not widely known is that whilst three of the crew members of Lufthansa flight 181 were awarded decorations by the German government after the situation was resolved (both pilots and one of the cabin crew stewardesses), but the co-pilot, Jürgen Vietor, eventually returned his medal in protest at the release of a Red Army Faction terrorist who had been responsible for the death of Hanns Martin Schleyer, who was kidnapped in a combined operation with the hijacking of the aeroplane and executed before the hostage situation was resolved, as determined by a post mortem examination when his body was found, thus they never intended to release him, and thus by association, his kidnappers were partly responsible for the death of the pilot of flight 181, Jürgen Schumann.

Not only that, the media, and the then-minister of defence for Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is now the leader of the UAR, were a bit to blame too, because they reported pilot Jürgen Schumann had communicated details about the hijackers whilst he was outside the 737 doing a walkaround check of it, which indeed he did in a very brave move, but Sheikh Mohammed mentioned the number and disposition of the hijackers in an interview, which the hijackers heard on a radio and then knew the pilot had done that, which is why they shot Jürgen Schumann.

But, in the end it was one of the most successful anti-terrorist operations ever, one of the assault troops and some of the passengers were wounded in the assault, yet apart from the hijackers and the pilot, there were no deaths as a result of the assault, which is remarkable and it is no wonder that, like the SAS assault on the Iranian embassy, the assault on Flight 181 by a combined GSG 9 and SAS team are often held up as examples of how that kind of thing should be done.

I've met a couple of SAS guys in the past when I've been down to Sterling Lines since my friend in the Royal Air Force at the time was an armourer for them occasionally because the Regiment shared armourers with the adjacent RAF base, and so that doesn't surprise me at all; they were a nice bunch, but you really don't wanna f*** with those guys lol, They were the toughest people I've ever met, and you could tell because they had absolutely no need to show it in any way at all, you just knew it from their disposition.

 

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This is a great story and it is well deserving to save this 737-200 as a memorial. I love it when the good guys win, but I am very sorry that the great captain was killed. The tip of his finger was worth more than all of those hijacker's lives put together.

Alan, thank you for all of the additional information.  That was a very good read.

 

Thank you, 

Bob

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Since I mentioned that the assault on flight 181 is, like the assault on the Iranian embassy in London, one of those where the planners did some intelligent stuff relating to aircraft, there was a similarly smart thing done on that embassy assault with aircraft which you might find interesting:

Whilst they were planning that London embassy assault, the SAS were aware they might have to use helicopters to land troops on the rooftops, which they indeed did in the actual assault, so what they did in the days prior to the assault, was ask all the pilots of the many news helicopters which were flying over London filming the event, to fly very much lower, they got permission from ATC to allow that to happen, and of course the pilots of those choppers loved that, as did the news crews since it meant they got great footage of the embassy. The terrorists in the embassy were therefore used to helicopters passing overhead and sounding very loud, because they were watching that footage themselves on TV and knew it was news helicopters making the noise, in this way they never thought anything of it when the noise of the assault helicopters inserting troops onto the rooftops was heard.

I love stuff like that, it's really very clever.

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