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.
The Stuka dive bomber gained notoriety in the opening hours of World War II when the German aircraft, with sirens wailing, dropped bombs on the Polish town of Wielun, killing some 1,200 civilians in what is considered one of the first terror bombings in history.
Stukas produced a distinctive wail as they dove nearly vertical to release their payload or strafe civilians or military targets with their machine guns. The piercing siren is still a mainstay of World War II videos shown today.
This week, German military divers are working to hoist the wreck of a Stuka dive bomber from the floor of the Baltic Sea, one of the few known Stukas still in existence in any condition, according to The Associated Press.
Divers have been working over the past week to prepare the bomber to be hoisted to the surface, using fire hoses to carefully free it from the sand. They have already brought up smaller pieces and also hauled up its motor over the weekend, the wire service reported.
They are now working to free the main 30-foot fuselage piece and expect to bring it up on today if weather permits, said Capt. Sebastian Bangert, a spokesman from the German Military Historical Museum in Dresden, which is running the recovery operation.
Initial reports are that the fuselage is in good condition despite having spent the last seven decades at the bottom of the sea, he said.
Champagne lost in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea two centuries ago — recently recovered and uncorked in Finland — was described by an expert who tasted the vintage bubbly as “lyrical, detecting hints of chanterelles and linden blossom.”
Clearly, Cold Duck this was not.
Billed as the world’s oldest champagne, the bubbly — of the brands Veuve Clicquot and the now defunct Juglar — was recovered from a shipwreck discovered in July near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. A total of 168 bottles were raised in the salvage operation, according to The Associated Press.
“All bottles are not intact but the majority are in good condition,” said Britt Lundeberg, cultural minister of the Aland’s Islands, a semiautonomous Finnish archipelago.