Biplane fighter pilots


Kaptein Dag Krohn

24 March 1912 – 15 June 1989

Dag Krohn was born in Oslo on 24 March 1912.

He went through Hærens flyskole (Army Air School) at Kjeller in 1933-34.

He was promoted to fenrik (Second Lieutenant) in 1936 and løytnant (First Lieutenant) in 1939.

He was part of the Reserve and took part in repletion courses during the summers of 1935, 1936, 1938 and 1939.

At dawn on 9 April 1940, the Norwegian Jagevingen at Fornebu, Oslo, had seven of the ten available Gladiators serviceable, while the unit had ten officers and sergeants available to fly them, three of them under training. The serviceable Gladiators were 413, 419, 423, 425, 427, 429 and 433.

Just before 06:00 on 9 April 1940 Lieutenant Dag Krohn (Gladiator 423), Sergeant Kristian Fredrik Schye (427) and Sergeant Per Waaler (429) were sent off on patrol, but found nothing and returned about 50 minutes later.
At 07:00 they got reports of large formations of enemy aircraft were approaching and he scrambled together with four other Gladiators. He attacked an estimated 150 aircraft of several types - identified as He 111s, Do 17s, Bf 110s and Ju 52s. He claimed a Heinkel shot down south-west of Fornebu, and then a ‘Do 17’, which went down steeply over Nesodden after he had obtained hits on the cockpit area. Two Bf 110s then attacked him, but he escaped these in clouds, subsequently attacking another ‘bomber’ and believing that he had put the rear gunner out of action. Returning to Fornebu, he strafed some Ju 52/3ms on the ground here, landed on the north-eastern bay of Tyrisfjord, where he found Rolf Tradin and his Gladiator.
In 1978 members of the Norwegian Aviation Historical Society dug up the remains of the aircraft that Krohn had shot down at Nesodden, establishing beyond doubt that it had been a Bf 110; the crew had been killed. There is little doubt that this was the Bf 110 of 1./ZG 76 flown by Leutnant Erhard Kort and with air gunner Unteroffizier Heinrich Bockheimer.

The Gladiators of Lieutenant Krohn (in 421) and Lieutenant Tradin (in 429) taxiing on Tyrisfjord.

Later in the morning Lieutenant Krohn and Lieutenant Tradin took of from Tyrisfjord and flew to Hamar, landing here on Lake Mjösa. Unfortunately the wheels of Tradin’s aircraft went through the ice, and like the one flown by Braathen at Lake Bogstad, it was trapped immovably. It had to be abandoned, and was later captured by the Germans. In the afternoon Krohn took off again alone, flying to Brumunddal, where the remains of the Bomber Wing had arrived from Sola. Here however he was ordered to drain the oil from his aircraft as this was needed for the surviving Caproni, and the Gladiator had to be left behind. It was collected later in the month and flown to Vangsmjösa to join what had become Group ‘R’; it was the sole surviving Norwegian fighter.

Lieutenant Krohn (to the right) photographed at Hamar on 9 April 1940. This was at the time the only operational Norwegian Gladiator left.

In the autumn of 1940, he fled from Norway via Sweden, Finland, Soviet Union and Japan before arriving in Canada.

He served as a Kaptein (Captain) and instructor in Canada before joining the British Ferry Command.
While serving with the Ferry Command he flew to North Africa, India and Burma.

In connection with the Yalta Conference in February 1945, he flew Winston Churchill to Teheran.

Krohn survived the war with 2 victories, both of them claimed while flying the Gloster Gladiator.

In 1946, Krohn joined the SAS as a Captain and flew with this company until his retirement in 1972.

After retirement, Krohn moved to Spain.

Dag Krohn passed away in Madrid on 15 June 1989.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 09/04/40 07:00- 1 He 111 (a) Destroyed Gladiator 423 SW Oslo/Fornebu Jagevingen
2 09/04/40 07:00- 1 Do 17 (b) Destroyed Gladiator 423 Nesodden Jagevingen
  09/04/40 07:00- 1 enemy bomber Damaged Gladiator 423   Jagevingen

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed, 1 damaged.
TOTAL: 2 destroyed, 1 damaged.
(a) Not confirmed with German sources.
(b) Bf 110C 'M8+?H' of 1./ZG76 flown by Leutnant Erhard Kort and with air gunner Unteroffizier Heinrich Bockheimer, both killed. Perhaps shared with Sergeant Waaler. Totally Norwegian units claimed 19 aircraft during the day of which fighters (the rest was claimed by ground gunners) claimed six. Luftwaffe lost two Bf 110s and a Ju 52/3m in combat, six Ju 52/3ms, one Bf 110 and one He 111 being brought down by ground fire.

Fledgling Eagles - Christopher Shores with John Foreman, Christian-Jaques Ehrengardt, Heinrich Weiss and Bjørn Olsen, 1991 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-42-9
Fornebu 9. April – Cato Guhnfeldt, 1990 Wings Forlag A/S, Oslo, ISBN 82-992194-1-8
Gloster Gladiator - Alex Crawford, 2002 Mushroom Model Publications, Redbourn, ISBN 83-916327-0-9
Gloster Gladiator Home Page - Alexander Crawford.

Last modified 18 March 2014