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Sweden was prepared to fight Soviet Union

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12:01 CEST+02:00
Historians have long known that the Swedish DC3 shot down by a Soviet fighter plane in 1952 was being used to spy on military facilities on the other side of the Baltic Sea. But only now have the true aims of the covert operation been revealed.

Documents recently declassified show that Sweden was prepared at the beginning of the Cold War to launch retaliatory military strikes in the event of a Soviet attack.

But not all files have yet been released. According to Ingvar Åkesson, head of Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt - FRA), "there are structures from that time that are still very much current."

FRA has been the agency responsibly for intercepting military signals since 1942. It was particularly active during the Cold War years.

Åkesson revealed the nature of the DC3's mission in connection with Friday's presentation of the results of an army investigation into the incident.

"The mission was to find out what sort of facilities they had on the other side of the Baltic Sea, in the vicinity of marine ports and airfields, that could be used in a war against Sweden.

"The intention was, and this is clearly stated, to launch strikes against such facilities in a Swedish aerial attack. That was why it was necessary to carry out these reconnaissance flights," said Åkesson.

The documents also show that Sweden was prepared to launch retaliatory attacks on Soviet industry, communications and population centres. The potential targets included locations in the Baltic States.

The Swedish DC3 was shot down by the Soviet Union 65 kilometres east of the Baltic island of Gotska Sandön on June 13th 1952. It is however only four years since the wreck was found.

According to the new accident report, the blast was so powerful that all eight crew members most likely died on impact, although it is possible that one of the men managed to parachute out of the DC3.

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