On the night of 7–8 June 1940, the capital of the Third Reich had its first air warning. The Siemens plants, located in the northern suburbs of the city, have just been bombed by an aircraft belonging to French naval aeronautics, a Farman 223.4 commanded by the captain of corvette Henri Daillière and belonging to the E5 squadron stationed in Lanvéoc-Poulmic.

The Farman 223.4 were built in 3 copies. They were intended for the transatlantic postal links of Air-France. Released assembly chains in 1939, they were quickly mobilized. Aimed at the air force, she did not hold them to serve as bombers because they were too slow to operate on the front. As the Navy needed maritime patrols to spot the German battleships Graf Von Spee and Admiral Scheer who attacked commercial convoys in the Atlantic, all three aircraft were assigned to them. These are the Farman 223.4 baptized: Camille Flammarion, Le Verrier and Jules Verne. Once the threat of German battleships in the Atlantic has been eliminated, it is envisaged that these aircraft will be used to anchor mines or carry out bombings in the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden and through which the mineral workers responsible for supplying Germany with iron pass. The German offensive began on 10 May 1940 disrupted this project. The Farman 223.4 were made available to the Great Headquarters (GQG) of the Air Force to carry out bombings on the enemy’s rear.

First shelling

In order to carry out mines or mine anchoring missions, the aircraft have been modified. The tanks increased from 14,000 to 18,000 litres. Since the aircraft had no bombs, bombs were fixed under the belly of the aircraft. They can carry under their wings two 450 kg or 8 200 kg bombs, in addition to 80 10 kg incendiary or explosive bombs to be dropped manually from the door. For self-defens e, a 7.5 mm machine gun is finally installed. Given these modifications, the aircraft can only rarely exceed 200 km/h, it will be difficult for them to escape the German hunt, which is why they are covered with dark paint because they will carry out their night missions. On May 10, only the Jules Verne was ready. On 13 May 1940, at 7.30 p.m., the aircraft took off from Lanvéoc for its first bombing mission, an objective: the Aachen marshalling yard. In order to escape the AMD and German hunting There is no question of making a direct approach to the target.


After flying over Brest, heading north of the hill, then the Channel and the Pas-de-Calais. The aircraft crossed the coast between Ostend and Nieuport. It crosses all of Belgium diagonally to reach its target around midnight. The return is carried out according to the same route. At 0400 he landed at Lanvéoc after a flight of 1700 km. In September, the Jules Verne resumed during the month of May, repeated these operations on Aachen, Antwerp, the Walcheren dyke and the Flessinge airfield. On 3 June 1940 Luftwaffe shelled Paris for the first time. The French headquarters sought to reciprocate the Germans, not to change the course of operations but to try to raise the morale of the country.

Heading in Berlin.

On 6 June the crew of the Jules Verne was ordered to reach Mérignac airport near Bordeaux. The track, which is longer than that of Lanvéoc, must allow it to take off at full load. On the 7 p.m. at 3.30 p.m., the aircraft, was hard to take off. On board, the captain of corvette Daillière commanded the mission. The Comet ship’s sign is a navigator, the first master Yonnet pilot, the master Corneillet is the on-board mechanic, the master Scour, radio and the second master Deschamps sub-trailer and bomber. Joined the crew, Lieutenant of the Menviellen from the Admiralty, it was he who prepared the mission. The aircraft is headed north, passes over Ouistreham, goes up the sleeve, the calais step, the North Sea. He then flew over Denmark, the Baltic and entered Germany over Rostock. Berlin is only 40 minutes away. Constructed by the fact that the ministers Nazis Goering and Goebbels had promised that Berlin would never be bombed, the German surveillance was not alarmed and took the Jules Verne for one of its patrol boats. The French plane arrives in front of the military airport of Tempelhof, all whose lights are on. To penetrate the city’s airspace, the pilot simulates a breakdown and then a failed landing. The aircraft is now 100 metres above the illuminated city without triggering the alarm. He floats several times over the same area by desynchronizing his engines to give the impression that it is a complete squadron and then rushes towards its target: the Siemens factories located in the suburb of the capital of the Third èmeReich. Five large bombs and all incendiary hand bombs are dropped on the first pass. A second is needed to deliver the last 3 bombs under the belly of the aircraft. The air defense has woken up, the city is dying out and the fight against air searches for the Jules Verne. The pilot manoeuvres in all directions, stitched, tight turns, random maneuvers and thus escaped the firing of anti-aircraft guns and machine guns. The crew now had to travel more than 800 km over enemy-controlled territory as it had only enough fuel to reach the Orly airfield south of Paris where it landed at 6.45 a.m. on 8 June 1940. After a short stop to fill up, the Jules Verne takes off again to join Lanvéoc. On the same day, an official statement from the French admiralty said: “A formation of naval aeronautics has bombed military objectives in Berlin”. Before the signing of the armistice, Jules Verne carried out a few more shellings: on the Henchkel factories, at Rostock, oil depots near Venice and the Italian naval base of Livorno. The aircraft, which was returned to Air France after the end of the fighting, will never receive a German permit for commercial flights. He died in a fire at the Marignane airfield.