Messerschmitt 323 found....

September 15th, 2012  

Topic: Messerschmitt 323 found....

Divers discover wreckage of 'Giant' German Luftwaffe transport plane shot down by British fighter while flying from base in Sardinia .

Wartime transport plane found 200ft underwater off Sardinian coast 69 years after it was shot from the skies.

Divers and experts herald discovery of 'great historical importance'
Messerschmitt 323 was used by Germans to transport tanks and artillery to battlefields during Second World War
Small team of Italian divers found wreckage while searching for different plane in Sardinia
PUBLISHED: 12:08 GMT, 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 14:54 GMT, 14 September 2012
Comments (17)

It was the 'Giant' German aircraft shot from the skies while delivering tanks and weaponry to the battlefield during the Second World War.
Now nearly 70 years after being shot down by a British fighter, experts have found the only surviving example of the Messerschmitt 323 'Gigant' transport plane, 200ft underwater off the coast of Sardinia.
The Me-323 - the largest land-based transport aircraft from the War - was on its way to the Tuscan city of Pistoia from its German base in Sardinia when it was hit by a Bristol Beaufighter fighter plane in July 1943.

After being taken down by the long-range fighter plane, it plunged into waters off the Maddalena islands, an idyllic getaway island now popular with holidaymakers.

But a small team of divers and amateur historians have since 'stumbled upon' the wreckage hundreds of feet underwater, claiming the rusting Messerschmitt is amazingly still intact.

CAPACITY: 130 troops/10-12 tonnes of equipment
LENGTH: 28.2m (92ft 4in)
WINGSPAN: 55.2m (181ft)
HEIGHT: 10.15m (33ft 4in)
MAXIMUM SPEED: 285km/h (177mph)
CRUISE SPEED: 218km/h (136mph)
CLIMBING RATE: 3.6m/s (710ft/min)

Remarkably, divers found the wreckage while they were searching for another sunken plane.
Aldo Ferruci, a diving instructor and photographer who took pictures of the wreck, told The Daily Telegraph: 'It was just by chance that we found it because we were actually looking for a different plane wreck.
'We had understood that the Me-323 was in a totally different location so we were lucky to stumble on it.
'It is in good condition – it is almost intact, with the six engines still all in line.'
Other experts described the find as one of 'great historical importance'.
Second World War historians say they are aware of 'no other complete surviving Messerschmitt-323 Giant in existence.'
There were an estimated 213 Messerschmitt 323s made, with the transport plane's first flight in 1942, before it was retired in 1944.
It could take a load of up to 12 tonnes, or 120 fully-equipped men, and could reach speeds of around 210km/h (130mph), though variants like the D-6 could reach up to 285km/h (177mph).
Only around 200 of the giant planes were ever produced, with the Messerschmitt's seeing action between 1942 and 1944.
The Messerschmitt came into use due to the Germans' demand for airlifting vehicles and weaponry overseas as part of the Nazis' plan to invade Great Britain.

Freight was loaded on to the enormous planes through double doors that formed the curved nose of the plane.
The wartime discovery is the second in the space of three months, after divers found the wreckage of an Italian navy battleship, also off the Sardinian coast.
Experts found the Roma 69 years after it was sunk by the Germans, in an incident which claimed 1,400 lives.
September 15th, 2012  
I often wonder how many more treasures like this are hidden under the sea.
September 15th, 2012  
A Wellington Bomber found in a Scottish Loch a couple of years ago is being restored and getting near completion
September 15th, 2012  
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
A Wellington Bomber found in a Scottish Loch a couple of years ago is being restored and getting near completion
I watched her recovery on TV in the UK, someone connected up a battery and the nav lights still worked. She's only being restored to static display which is a pity as there are no airworthy Wellington's as far as I am aware
September 15th, 2012  
They are also restoring a Do-17z found at Goodwin Sands.

German Bomber located on Goodwin Sands:

This is the world's only surviving Do-17, a German aircraft type that played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. Research by the Air Historical Branch and the RAF Museum indicate that the wreck is Do-17-Z2 Ser No 1160 of 7/III/KG3 (5K + AR) lost on 26 August 1940, the height of the Battle of Britain.

Since the Dornier emerged from the sands two years ago, the RAF Museum has worked with Wessex Archaeology to complete a full survey of the wreck site in preparation for the aircraft's recovery and eventual exhibition at Hendon. 'Plans to raise the aircraft have made significant progress and in September 2011 the Museum appointed the consortium which will undertake the lift. We aim to raise the aircraft intact and to avoid causing structural damage. A methodology has been proposed and an engineering survey dive will take place in October 2011. As a result it is likely that the recovery will take place late summer 2012.'

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