Researchers say Baltic wreck not a Stuka
It now appears that the aircraft German researchers have been working to recover from the floor of the Baltic Sea over the past week is not a Stuka dive bomber, as originally thought, but a Junkers Ju88 bomber (see example above).
Researchers say that in addition to reclassifying the German aircraft, they’ve also found human remains in the wreckage.
Enough of the plane has now been recovered to make clear it is not a single-engine Stuka, but a twin-engine Junkers Ju88, according to German Military Historical Museum spokesman Capt. Sebastian Bangert.
The two Junkers-manufactured planes shared several parts – including the engines on many models – and from the way the aircraft in question sat on the seabed, it appeared to have been a Stuka, according to an Associated Press report.
However, now that a wing section has been recovered, it’s clearly part of a larger Ju88, Bangert said.
“It looked just like the Stuka in the underwater pictures – everything that we had brought up had been pieces that were used in the Ju87 – so there was no reason to doubt it,” he said. “But this find is perhaps historically even more important.”
Among the remains found by divers is a partial skull, which researchers hope to be able to identify, according to the wire service.
“Right now there is someone who just knows that their grandfather or great-grandfather went missing in the war, to give that person closure is our goal,” Bangert said. “And for us as a history museum, the aircraft is the only way to convey the information … the history behind it, the personnel, how did they live, what did they experience, that is what we want to tell.”
While the Ju87 Stuka, with its piercing sirens and notoriety in the early days of the war for its role in the invasion of Poland, is better known today than the Ju88, far more of the latter were produced.
The twin-engine Ju88 served not only as a bomber, but also as a dive bomber and a night fighter.
There are only a few intact or virtually intact Ju88s still in existence – including one at the RAF Museum in London, which coincidentally has one of two complete Ju87 Stukas on display.
Plans are for the Ju88 to eventually be displayed at the German Historical Museum’s Air Force Museum at the former Gatow airport in Berlin.
(HT: A Blog About History)