Untouched crashed Focke-Wolfe 190 WW2 fighter found in forest

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Untouched crashed Focke-Wolfe 190 WW2 fighter found in forest

Imagine being out in the forest and finding an intact and untouched WW2 Focke-Wolfe where it crashed 45 years earlier.

This Focke-Wolfe came from Russia, where it had lain for decades, upright and relatively undamaged, in a remote forest east of Leningrad (St. Petersburg today). The yellow markings on fuselage and bottom rudder indicates this plane was located on the Russian Front.

What was an airplane doing deep in a forest? The answer, deduced from the damage to the leading edges of the wings, was that it had crashed among poplar saplings only a few feet tall. The forest had grown up around it.

Flash back to July 19, 1943. Two Fw 190s were attacking a Russian supply train bound for Leningrad when the engine of one quit. The pilot, Sergeant Paul Rätz, glided to a safe landing. He left his flying cap on the seat but took the airplane's panel clock with him.

Trying to make his way back to German lines, he was captured a few miles away and remained imprisoned in Russia for 16 years before finally returning to Germany.

In 1988, a collector found the Focke-Wulf where Rätz had left it, his helmet still resting on the seat. Rätz died in 1989, never having learned that his airplane had been recovered. But his family did—and, it turns out, they still have the clock.

A Vintage Wings technician dismantling the 190's BMW 801 engine found a clod of dirt in an oil line downstream from the oil filter. As forced labor was used at some repair plants speculation is an unhappy worker did it. This had evidently been the reason for the forced landing: Lack of lubrication had caused the crash.



focke-wolfe-190-crash.jpg - 22.17kb
By netchicken: posted on 10-3-2009








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