The Hellenic Air Force is going to undertake to retrieve a WWII-era German fighter discovered at the bottom of the sea, off Hania on Crete.
An underwater salvage unit has arrived in the city of Hania to examine the plane’s wreckage, amongst the many WWII remnants discovered in the wider Maleme district, which hosted an important airstrip during the Nazi airborne invasion of Crete in May 1941.
The submerged aircraft, identified as a Messerschmitt Bf 109, is one of the 1,280 warplanes dispatched by the Luftwaffe to fight in the “Battle of Crete”, and one of the 210 shot down by the Allies or disabled during the operation. A total of 4,465 German paratroopers were also killed during the invasion.
The specific aircraft was found lying upside down at the bottom of the sea, with a large part of it covered by sand. Its propeller blade and wings are intact and despite the passing of 68 years, its fuselage is in good condition. The plane’s wheels are folded under its wings with its manufacturer’s insignia still clearly visible. Most impressive is the fact that the engine’s rubber collars remain unaffected, while certain aluminium parts of the fuselage are still shiny.
The goal is to have the plane exhibited with other WWII artifacts at an Air Force Museum in Maleme.