Uncovering a P-47 Thunderbolt Crashed in Germany During WWII

A piece of the skin of the P-47 surprisly in decent shape considering the force of the impact and the years underground. ( Image credit

STARS and STRIPES reported that on Saturday January18th, 2014 a group of 22 volunteers and WWII hobbyists excavated the wreck of  an american P-47 Thunderbolt. Alexander Schneider, an amateur historian and metal detecting enthusiast, said he stumbled on the site by accident in the summer of 2009.At press time not much is know n of the crashed fighter.Matthew Millham of  Star and Stripes reports that the crash site is less than 10 miles southwest of Darmstadt, a city all but destroyed by Allied bombing during the war. Other cities in the area were targeted in the bombing campaign as well, and numerous Allied and German aircraft were shot down or crashed in the fighting.

“Soon after the planes crashed locals usually scavenged them for scrap. If the remains of aviators were found, they were typically buried. Often, there’s not much left.Benkel ,the researcher who organized the excavation, said. Surprisingly several parts of the aircraft were found in very good condition. In particular a section of the left fuselage clearly showing the unmistakable American roundel and Its star. Other pieces include the huge propellers which pulled the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, miscellaneous parts of the  Thunderbolt’s engine and scores of pieces of mangled aluminum.

A piece of the skin of the P-47 surprisly in decent shape considering the force of the impact and the years underground. ( Image credit
A piece of the skin of the P-47 surprisly in decent shape considering the force of the impact and the years underground. ( Image credit Matthew Millham)

Matthew Millham writes that the aircraft was actually accidentally found by a local metal detector hobbyist, Alexander Schneider .He found pieces of aluminum and plexiglass from the plane’s canopy first, then bigger parts, including a piece of one of the plane’s machine guns and a pair of metal propeller blades nearly as tall as he is.Schneider said he was scared off the site after police came to his house to question him about his finds and tell him he’d been trespassing on private property.About a month ago, though, he contacted Benkel, whose recent unearthing of a German World War II fighter plane made local headlines.With permission this time, Schneider was back at the site of his discovery, working alongside volunteers as they brought hundreds of twisted and broken pieces of the past back into the light of day.

Click HERE for the full article on Stars and Stripes

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