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German Luftwaffe Aircraft Shot Down In 1943 Recovered In Leros

by Pierre Kosmidis – 


A Stuka dive bomber, shot down in 1943, salvaged from the sea between Leros and Rodos Islands
A Stuka dive bomber, shot down in 1943, salvaged from the sea between Leros and Rodos Islands

Back in the autumn of 1943, a fierce battle was fought in and around Leros Island, between the British and the Germans, for the control of the Dodecanese Islands, after the capitulation of the fascist Italian regime in September 1943, which occupied the islands since 1912.

The Germans managed to take control of the island of Leros, after a battle that lasted for several days, involving naval forces, parachutists, Brandenburg troopers, aircraft and land forces.

In 2003, a Ju 52, which was shot down over Alinda Bay in Leros on 13/14 November 1943, was salvaged after a difficult operation and was transported back to the Hellenic Air Force Museum in Tatoi, Athens, to be maintained and exhibited.

Junkers Ju 52
ju2
Bullet holes on a Ju 52 salvaged from Leros
Another view of the salvaged Ju 52, after its restoration
Another view of the salvaged Ju 52, after its restoration
An MP-40, an Iron Cross and other items salvaged from the Ju-52 shot down in Leros
An MP-40, an Iron Cross and other items salvaged from the Ju-52 shot down in Leros

Among the debris, the remains of a German soldier were found and with the assistance of authorities, they were identified and returned back to his relatives. Other items salvaged include guns, ammunition, personal effects and are now on display at the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens.

Following a painstaking restoration process, the Ju 52 is now on permanent display at the HAF Museum. Bullet holes from anti aircraft guns are still evident of the ill-fated aircraft that was shot down in November of 1943.

Inside view of the downed Ju-52
Inside view of the downed Ju-52
The Ju-52 at the exterior of the Hellenic Air Force Museum
The Ju-52 at the exterior of the Hellenic Air Force Museum
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

Another treasure of the seas was found and salvaged, a Stuka dive bomber, which was shot down during the same period. The Stuka bomber took off from Rodos island, which was controlled by the nazis and flew sorties over Leros.

Despite the fact that the Ju-87 has not yet been positively identified, it must be one of the eight aircraft of its type that were lost due to enemy action during the battle of Leros.

The German Cross is still visible on the side of the fuselage, after 70+ years at sea
The German Cross is still visible on the side of the fuselage, after 70+ years at sea
The tire of the Ju-87 still intact after 70 years at sea
The tire of the Ju-87 still intact after 70 years at sea
View of the Stuka dive bomber at the maintenance hangar of the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens. Right in front of it, part of the Arado Ar-196 salvaged from a depth of 500 metres in the Aegean Sea, Greece
View of the Stuka dive bomber at the maintenance hangar of the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens. Right in front of it, part of the Arado Ar-196 salvaged from a depth of 500 metres in the Aegean Sea, Greece
An interesting and rather unique feature of the downed and salvaged Stuka: A steel plate armour, on the side of the pilot's seat, to further enhance survival
An interesting and rather unique feature of the downed and salvaged Stuka: A steel plate armour, on the side of the pilot’s seat, to further enhance survival
Video

By Pierre Kosmidis / pierrekosmidis.blogspot.gr
Reprinted on War History Online with permission.

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