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Operation Frantic Paper Blood Chit for US Shuttle Mission aircrew over Russian Territory

Operation Frantic Paper Blood Chit for US Shuttle Mission aircrew over Russian Territory

Product Information

WWII PAPER 48 Star US Flag Blood Chit for US Aircrew on missions over communist Russian Soviet Union (USSR) for sale

VERSION: PAPER WWII 48 Star US Flag Blood Chit for US Aircrew on missions over communist Russian Soviet Union (USSR)
CONSTRUCTION: Folded paper (1-piece)
SIZE: 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
These are to be worn in a pouch around the neck or carried in a pocket of the AAF leather flight jacket or uniform.
USAGE: As carried the Leather A2, A-2, B3, B-3, or any other AN (Army Navy) Flight Jacket. Canvas Flight Jackets & Flight Suits as well!  
YEARS: 1944, 1945 
CONDITION: Used, take off.  Flexible paper.  Very Good overall condition, with minimal staining - see photos.
PRICE: $200
Box: B.C.Binder #142

The Rare PAPER Blood Chit for missions flown over Russian Territory

Here is a rare example of the paper Russian Blood chit. These usually did not survive the war.
Here's one that sold for $210 at auction, in much worse condition...

Information on American Russian Blood Chits:
The noticeable exception to the use of Cloth or Leather as the material which blood chits were made from were the the paper chits prepared for use by the crews shuttling lend-lease planes to Russia. These paper blood chits were printed in Russian with the following statement:

"I am an American. Please communicate my particulars to the American Military Mission in Moscow."
The paper chits were designed to be folded in half a few times where the American flag was exposed. It would then be put in a pocket or placed into a plastic pouch which could be worn around the neck, or buttoned to a pocket flap.

I've seen two uses for this type of blood chit:
1) Lend Lease plane deliveries - Each member of the crew on these potentially dangerous one-way missions would receive their own blood chit. Since they were usually dropping off the planes they flew into Russia (making it a one-way flight) and the flight crews could be broken up when returning to the US, the paper chits were seen as a one-way disposable item as well, which is why they were made out of paper.

2) Issued for Operation Frantic - where Allied aircraft would "shuttle bomb" targets in central and eastern Germany and Poland taking off from bases in England and Italy. The aircraft would bomb their targets, and then fly on to Soviet territory to be refueled and rearmed, and then bomb a second target on the way back to their original bases.

Freed from pre-invasion tactical missions, the 8th Air Force flew its first Frantic mission on 21-22 June 1944. Flying from England, 114 B-17s and 71 P-51 fighter escorts bombed a German synthetic oil plant south of Berlin and flew eastward to bases at Mirgorod and Piryatin which were in the Soviet Ukraine near Kiev.

OPERATION FRANTIC 1944 printed Russian language "SHUTTLE BLOOD CHITS" were produced from early June 1944 to the end of the war. Operation Frantic was a series of seven shuttle bombing operations during World War II conducted by American aircraft based in Great Britain and Southern Italy which then landed at three Soviet airfields in Ukraine. The operation began in June, 1944 and ended in September.
from Wkipedia:
At the Tehran Conference in November 1943, the Allied leaders devised an audacious new form of bombing strategy against Nazi Germany. American heavy bombers stationed in Britain and Italy would fly strike missions deep into the heart of Nazi territory or occupied Eastern Europe. Afterwards, they would land on secret American air bases (to be defended by the Soviets) actually located inside Soviet Russia, re-arm and re-fuel - and then attack a second target on the way home.

Operation Frantic was to permanently establish three heavy bomber groups in Soviet territory, but only a small contingent of U.S. troops were based on the Eastern Front.

During the four months of the operation, 24 targets in Nazi Germany and in German-held territory, some never before in effective range of the American strategic bomber forces, were attacked.

This shuttle bombing technique complicated the defense of German targets. The operations were discontinued due to logistical difficulties in supporting the USAAF forces in the Soviet Union, and differences between the United States and the Soviet Union at political as well as military levels. The main difficulty encountered by the U.S. forces was inadequate air base protection by the Soviets. The Soviet high command (Stalin) refused U.S. requests for adequate artillery and night fighter support, etc., that the U.S. Military offered to provide to make the Soviet defense of the bases more effective.

In February 1944, the USAAF received access to six air bases in Ukraine, but it turned out only three were set up for the effort. In haste, the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe established a headquarters detachment at Poltava Airfield, near Kiev in the Soviet Union in late April, 1944. Poltava was designated as USAAF Station 559 for security purposes and was referred to as Station 559 in all messages and written correspondence. Poltava was one of three Ukraine installations operated by Headquarters, Eastern Command USSAF. The others were Piryatin Airfield (AAF-560) and Mirgorod Airfield (AAF-561). Poltava and Mirgorod were to be used for heavy bombers (B-24 Liberators, B-17 Flying Fortresses), while Piryatin would be used for long-range escort fighters (P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings).

The bases were farther from the eastern front than the USAAF liked, and they were also in a poor state of repair. All this could be chalked up to the strains of war, as everything in the regions the Germans had retreated from was in a poor state of repair, if it hadn't been totally demolished. However, the American officers trying to direct the effort found themselves dealing with an unfriendly and suspicious Soviet bureaucracy that raised every obstacle. Allies or not, the Americans were foreigners, and Stalin did not like having foreigners around at all. Winston Churchill had not been very enthusiastic about Frantic, believing that it was placing a lot more trust on Stalin than was wise, and events were bearing him out.

Heavy equipment and bulky supplies went by sea to the port of Archangel, north of Leningrad, and then by freight train to the airfields in the Ukraine. Additional supplies and key personnel would fly in on Air Transport Command transports from the ATC base at Mehrabad Airport, Iran. Delicate negotiations finally fixed a total of forty-two round-trip ATC missions to make the bases operational for the AAF, and allowed an additional rate of two weekly support missions to sustain the U.S. contingent. The issue of flight communications eventually ended with a compromise, allowing U.S. crews to carry out navigation and radio duties with a Soviet observer resident at all related communications centers. Eventually, the ATC in support of FRANTIC delivered some 450 personnel and thirty-six thousand pounds of cargo by June 1944.

First Shuttle Mission (Fifteenth Air Force)
After much preparation at the three Ukrainian airfields by advance elements of Headquarters, Eastern Command USSAF and Air Transport Command, the first shuttle mission was for Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and their P-51 Mustang fighter escorts taking off from airfields around Foggia, Italy, raiding the railroad marshalling yards at Debrecen, Hungary, and then flying on to the Ukraine.

Second Shuttle Mission (Eighth Air Force)
After the first shuttle mission, the consensus reached by USSTAF that all seemed to go well enough. The second shuttle raid planned was for Eighth Air Force B-17s to attack synthetic oil facilities in Eastern Germany and proceed on to the USSR.

  21 June 1944
145 of 163 B-17s begin shuttle bombing missions between the United Kingdom and bases in the USSR. 72 P-38 Lightnings, 38 P-47 Thunderbolts and 57 P-51 Mustangs escort the B-17s to the target ( synthetic oil plant 51°29?00?N 013°53?36?E at Ruhland, Germany ); 123 B-17s bomb the primary target, 21 bomb the marshaling yard 51°27?32?N 013°30?57?E at Elsterwerda and a lone B-17 bombs the marshaling yard 51°18?34?N 013°16?46?E at Riesa, Germany due to a bomb rack malfunction. 4th Fighter Group P-51s accompany the B-17s to the USSR (including 486 Squadron "borrowed" from the 352nd FG). 20 to 30 Luftwaffe fighters attack the force; in the resulting battle a P-51B (43-6784, 4th FG, 335th FS) and six German fighters are destroyed; an F model B-17 42-3490, 385th Bombardment Group, 549th Bomb Squadron piloted by Matthew Totter is damaged by flack and loses three engines on the flight and flies to Sweden where it is interned and later converted to SE-BAN, a Swedish airliner. 144 B-17s land in the USSR, 73 at Poltava, and the rest at Mirgorod; the 64 remaining P-51s land at Piryatin.

What was unknown at the time was that after the raid on Ruhland, the attacking B-17s were being shadowed from a distance by a Luftwaffe Heinkel He-111 bomber, which identified the Ukrainian airfields where they landed.[9] On the night of 21 June the Combat Wing of B-17s which earlier landed at Poltava sustained severe losses as the result of an enemy air attack on the airfield. Personnel were alerted at approximately 2330 hours when it was announced that German bombers had crossed the front lines in the general direction of Poltava. At 0030 hours Pathfinder aircraft released flares directly above the airfield and 10 minutes later the first bombs were dropped. For almost two hours an estimated 75 Luftwaffe bombers attacked the base, exhibiting a very high degree of accuracy. A very large majority of the bombs were dropped in the dispersal area of the landing ground where only B-17s were parked, indicating without question that the B-17s constituted the specific objective of the raiders. Of the 73 B-17s which had landed at Poltava, 47 were destroyed and most of the remainder severely damaged. One American combat crew member was killed and one other was severely wounded; several others suffered minor injuries. In addition to the aircraft suffering heavy damage, the stores of fuel and ammunition were also attacked and a large amount destroyed. Three days after the attack, only nine of the 73 aircraft at Poltava were operational. Joseph Stalin's plan to defend the shuttle bombing operation airfields entirely with Soviet defenses failed entirely. The truck mounted 50 caliber machine guns that the Soviet high command insisted would be adequate had no effect on the Luftwaffe, as no aircraft were shot down or disabled. Also, Russian and American piloted fighter aircraft were not allowed to take off (by Soviet high-command) to engage the Luftwaffe during this attact at Poltava. Why is a good question.

Upon their return to England, the American crews reported that the Soviets failed to put up any effective resistance to the raid. In hindsight, given the occasional gross blunderings of the Soviet war machine, and the fact that in the Soviet military few dared take initiative without approval from the leadership, that impression might have been incorrect. In the aftermath of the Poltava disaster, the USAAF wanted to move the P-61 Black Widow-equipped 427th Night Fighter Squadron from Italy to Poltava to provide night air defense over the fields. However, the Soviets refused to allow USAAF night fighters to defend the bomber bases, insisting that air defense was their responsibility. The shuttle bombing missions were not abandoned for the moment, but they were suspended until the mess on the ground could be cleaned up and the defenses of the airbases improved. Realizing that the Soviets could not adequately protect the heavy bombers from night raids, the Americans abandoned plans to permanently station three heavy bomber groups on Soviet airfields.

Third, fourth Shuttle Mission (Fifteenth Air Force)
To keep the project alive, Fifteenth Air Force next shuttled P-38 and P-51 fighters to the Soviet Union in late July. After balancing losses and battle damage against the value of the targets, U.S. military leaders at the Soviet bases discontinued the fighter-bomber operations.

Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Shuttle Mission (Eighth Air Force)
read more at:

The bombing raid on the railroad marshalling yards at Szolnok would be the end of FRANTIC as the original targets had been taken by the rapidly advancing Soviet offensives. The USAAF, citing logistical problems and becoming weary of growing Soviet intransigence announced a suspension of Frantic shuttle missions. A reluctant Stalin agreed to the winter intermission of operations, however the operation was not to resume. The U.S. and Soviet advances by the spring of 1945 ended the need for shuttle missions and the ATC flew out the last U.S. contingent of personnel from its headquarters at Poltava in June 1945.

Operation Frantic demonstrated the flexibility of airlift equipment and personnel. It also demonstrated the political role of airlift logistics in terms of operational support that would have been impossible by conventional ground-based means. However it had not been a good use of Allied resources. The Germans judged it to be a propaganda exercise to impress the Soviets, but all it really accomplished was to make the strains in the Allied alliance more obvious.

I am thinning out my Blood Chit collection and hope the Blood Chit you are looking for is one of the several vintage WWII Blood Chits for sale. If this isn't the one you are looking for, please see the others I have for sale.

Reference Book on type & varieties of Blood Chits used in W.W.II (via google books)

Price: $200.00 $165.00

Product Code: B.C.Binder #142
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