21 Photographs of WWII Plane Wrecks & Crashes

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A U.S. Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat after crashing on a U.S. Essex-class carrier off Peleliu in 1944. The plane had been shot up over Peleliu, taking out the hydraulics. With the shot up ailerons and a large hole in the right wing, the pilot managed a landing. However, he struck a gun turret and the plane disintegrated. He survived with minor injuries. Note: Although the Naval Aviation News describes this as an accident happened off Peleliu, this scene appears in the movie "The Fighting Lady" in an earlier context. Also, the US insignia is the mid-1943 one, with red borders. The crash therefore probably happened during Yorktown´s working-up period in 1943.

A U.S. Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat after crashing on a U.S. Essex-class carrier off Peleliu in 1944. The plane had been shot up over Peleliu, taking out the hydraulics. With the shot up ailerons and a large hole in the right wing, the pilot managed a landing. However, he struck a gun turret and the plane disintegrated. He survived with minor injuries.
Note: Although the Naval Aviation News describes this as an accident happened off Peleliu, this scene appears in the movie “The Fighting Lady” in an earlier context. Also, the US insignia is the mid-1943 one, with red borders. The crash therefore probably happened during Yorktown´s working-up period in 1943.

 

Crash landing of F6F-3, Number 30 of Fighting Squadron Two (VF-2), USS Enterprise, into the carrier's port side 20mm gun gallery, 10 November 1943. Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., USNR, the Catapult Officer, is climbing up the plane's side to assist the pilot from the burning aircraft. The pilot, Ensign Byron M. Johnson, escaped without significant injury. Enterprise was then en route to support the Gilberts Operation. Note the plane's ruptured belly fuel tank.

Crash landing of F6F-3, Number 30 of Fighting Squadron Two (VF-2), USS Enterprise, into the carrier’s port side 20mm gun gallery, 10 November 1943. Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., USNR, the Catapult Officer, is climbing up the plane’s side to assist the pilot from the burning aircraft. The pilot, Ensign Byron M. Johnson, escaped without significant injury. Enterprise was then en route to support the Gilberts Operation. Note the plane’s ruptured belly fuel tank.

 

Wreckage of Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero plane shot down by USAAF fighters near the Civil Construction Coprs camp in Wahiawa, T.H., during the Japanese attack on Wheeler Field.

Wreckage of Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero plane shot down by USAAF fighters near the Civil Construction Coprs camp in Wahiawa, T.H., during the Japanese attack on Wheeler Field.

 

Largely intact floating wreckage of a Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack plane (a type later code named Betty), which crashed during the aerial torpedo attack on the Allied invasion force off Tulagi Island on 8 August 1942. Photographed from USS Ellet (DD-398).

Largely intact floating wreckage of a Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack plane (a type later code named Betty), which crashed during the aerial torpedo attack on the Allied invasion force off Tulagi Island on 8 August 1942. Photographed from USS Ellet (DD-398).

 

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 of Oberleutnant Paul Temme, Gruppe Adjutant of I/ JG 2 'Richtofen', which crashed near Shoreham aerodrome in Sussex on 13 August 1940

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 of Oberleutnant Paul Temme, Gruppe Adjutant of I/ JG 2 ‘Richtofen’, which crashed near Shoreham aerodrome in Sussex on 13 August 1940.

 

Men of the RAF Regiment assist an RAF intelligence officer to salvage important parts from a Messerschmitt Me 410 photographic reconnaissance aircraft, shot down on the banks of the Sangro River, Italy. The Me 410 A-3 from 2(F)./122 (Wk.Nr. 10253, F6+QK) was shot down by fighters and belly landed in the Sangro River while on a recconnaisance mission over the front lines in the Foggia-Bari-Termoli area on 26 November 1943. The crew, Ofw. Arthur Kammberger and Uffz. Vitus Mirlbach was captured.

Men of the RAF Regiment assist an RAF intelligence officer to salvage important parts from a Messerschmitt Me 410 photographic reconnaissance aircraft, shot down on the banks of the Sangro River, Italy. The Me 410 A-3 from 2(F)./122 (Wk.Nr. 10253, F6+QK) was shot down by fighters and belly landed in the Sangro River while on a recconnaisance mission over the front lines in the Foggia-Bari-Termoli area on 26 November 1943. The crew, Ofw. Arthur Kammberger and Uffz. Vitus Mirlbach was captured.

 

Salerno, 9 September 1943 (Operation Avalanche): Supermarine Spitfires manned by American pilots lined up ready for action on an airfield near Salerno littered with the wreckage of enemy aircraft and aircraft parts. The enemy aircraft were destroyed in Allied bombing attacks on the airfield.

Salerno, 9 September 1943 (Operation Avalanche): Supermarine Spitfires manned by American pilots lined up ready for action on an airfield near Salerno littered with the wreckage of enemy aircraft and aircraft parts. The enemy aircraft were destroyed in Allied bombing attacks on the airfield.

 

Sherman tanks move up past a crash-landed Spitfire, for an attack on Tilly-sur-Seulles, 17 June 1944. The Spitfire's squadron code – 'VZ' – indicates it belongs to RCAF 412 Squadron, which operated the Spitfire IXb during this period

Sherman tanks move up past a crash-landed Spitfire, for an attack on Tilly-sur-Seulles, 17 June 1944. The Spitfire’s squadron code – ‘VZ’ – indicates it belongs to RCAF 412 Squadron, which operated the Spitfire IXb during this period

 

A Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb from No. 92 Squadron (QJ-E), Royal Air Force, which made a forced landing near El Alamein, just off the main Alexandria-Mersa Matruh road.

A Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb from No. 92 Squadron (QJ-E), Royal Air Force, which made a forced landing near El Alamein, just off the main Alexandria-Mersa Matruh road.

 

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, ME590 'SR-C', of No. 101 Squadron RAF, lies on the FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) pipework at Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire, after a successful crash-landing on returning from a raid to Augsburg on the night of 25/26 February 1944.

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, ME590 ‘SR-C’, of No. 101 Squadron RAF, lies on the FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) pipework at Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire, after a successful crash-landing on returning from a raid to Augsburg on the night of 25/26 February 1944.

 

Soldiers pose with Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 (W.Nr. 5587) 'Yellow 10' of 6./JG 51 'Molders', which crash-landed at East Langdon in Kent, 24 August 1940. The pilot, Oberfeldwebel Beeck, was captured unhurt.

Soldiers pose with Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 (W.Nr. 5587) ‘Yellow 10’ of 6./JG 51 ‘Molders’, which crash-landed at East Langdon in Kent, 24 August 1940. The pilot, Oberfeldwebel Beeck, was captured unhurt.

 

Army officers inspect the wreckage of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 (W.Nr. 3367) "Red 14" of 2./JG52, which crash-landed in a wheatfield at Mays Farm, Selmeston, near Lewes in Sussex, 12 August 1940. Its pilot, Unteroffizier Leo Zaunbrecher, was captured.

Army officers inspect the wreckage of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 (W.Nr. 3367) “Red 14” of 2./JG52, which crash-landed in a wheatfield at Mays Farm, Selmeston, near Lewes in Sussex, 12 August 1940. Its pilot, Unteroffizier Leo Zaunbrecher, was captured.

 

The wreckage of a Ju-88 purported to have been shot down by the Canadian Spitfires of Johnny Johnson's Wing lies not far from airstrip B-7 at Matragny, Normandy. The two French farmers are plaiting straw to bind clover bundles.

The wreckage of a Ju-88 purported to have been shot down by the Canadian Spitfires of Johnny Johnson’s Wing lies not far from airstrip B-7 at Matragny, Normandy. The two French farmers are plaiting straw to bind clover bundles.

 

A U.S. Army Air Forces Martin B-26G-11-MA Marauder (s/n 43-34565) from the 497th Bombardment Squadron, 344th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, enveloped in flames and hurtling earthward after enemy flak scored a direct hit on left engine while aircraft was attacking front line enemy communications center at Erkelenz, Germany

A U.S. Army Air Forces Martin B-26G-11-MA Marauder (s/n 43-34565) from the 497th Bombardment Squadron, 344th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, enveloped in flames and hurtling earthward after enemy flak scored a direct hit on left engine while aircraft was attacking front line enemy communications center at Erkelenz, Germany.

 

Wrecks of about eight German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters in North Africa (Tobruk?), circa 1942. The first fuselage wears the markings of III. Gruppe (3rd Group) of a fighter wing, probably III./JG 27. An abandoned Messerschmitt Bf 110 also seems to be visible in the center background.

Wrecks of about eight German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters in North Africa (Tobruk?), circa 1942. The first fuselage wears the markings of III. Gruppe (3rd Group) of a fighter wing, probably III./JG 27. An abandoned Messerschmitt Bf 110 also seems to be visible in the center background.

 

Flying Officer Lee Turner RAAF (navigator, left) and Flying Officer Steve Sykes RAAF (pilot, right) of No. 455 Squadron RAAF, inspect the top of an armed trawler's mast which became embedded in the nose of their Bristol Beaufighter TF Mark X during a low-level attack on enemy shipping in the harbour of Marsdiep, Holland, by the combined Langham and North Coates Strike Wings on 12 September 1944. Sykes brought the damaged aircraft back to Langham and made a successful crash-landing, in which Turner was slightly injured.

Flying Officer Lee Turner RAAF (navigator, left) and Flying Officer Steve Sykes RAAF (pilot, right) of No. 455 Squadron RAAF, inspect the top of an armed trawler’s mast which became embedded in the nose of their Bristol Beaufighter TF Mark X during a low-level attack on enemy shipping in the harbour of Marsdiep, Holland, by the combined Langham and North Coates Strike Wings on 12 September 1944. Sykes brought the damaged aircraft back to Langham and made a successful crash-landing, in which Turner was slightly injured.

 

On 2 August 1943, Hampden torpedo bombers of No 455 Squadron RAAF attacked a convoy off the Norwegian coast. This aircraft (L4105/D) suffered massive flak damage to its tail - half the elevator was blown away, the starboard fin twisted and the port rudder fouled by debris. The crew were forced to lash a rope around the rudder bar and took turns helping the pilot, Flying Officer Iain Masson, hold the aircraft straight as they limped back to Leuchars for a crash-landing.

On 2 August 1943, Hampden torpedo bombers of No 455 Squadron RAAF attacked a convoy off the Norwegian coast. This aircraft (L4105/D) suffered massive flak damage to its tail – half the elevator was blown away, the starboard fin twisted and the port rudder fouled by debris. The crew were forced to lash a rope around the rudder bar and took turns helping the pilot, Flying Officer Iain Masson, hold the aircraft straight as they limped back to Leuchars for a crash-landing.

 

An Advanced Servicing Unit dismantles Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX, EN459 'ZX-1', of the Polish Fighting Team, attached to No 145 Squadron, RAF in Tunisia. The aircraft was damaged on 6 April 1943 when, after shooting down a Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was attacked by another Bf 109 and hit in the engine. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, was able to glide in to Gabes for a forced landing.

An Advanced Servicing Unit dismantles Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX, EN459 ‘ZX-1’, of the Polish Fighting Team, attached to No 145 Squadron, RAF in Tunisia. The aircraft was damaged on 6 April 1943 when, after shooting down a Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was attacked by another Bf 109 and hit in the engine. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, was able to glide in to Gabes for a forced landing.

 

 An USAAF C-47 aircraft, hit by flak returning from the Market-Garden drop, burns after crash-landing into a knocked-out German Jagdpanther in a field near Geel in Belgium.

An USAAF C-47 aircraft, hit by flak returning from the Market-Garden drop, burns after crash-landing into a knocked-out German Jagdpanther in a field near Geel in Belgium.

 

A shot-down Hawker Typhoon IB of 245 squadron RAF. The fuselage shows extensive flak damage and some blackening from fire. The aircraft still bears its invasion stripes from the D-Day landings and in the foreground is a 3 and a quarter inch (60 pound) rocket

A shot-down Hawker Typhoon IB of 245 squadron RAF. The fuselage shows extensive flak damage and some blackening from fire. The aircraft still bears its invasion stripes from the D-Day landings and in the foreground is a 3 and a quarter inch (60 pound) rocket

 

A German soldier near a crashed Curtiss Kittyhawk I fighter from No. 260 Squadron, Royal Air Force (squadron code A-HS), in North Africa.

A German soldier near a crashed Curtiss Kittyhawk I fighter from No. 260 Squadron, Royal Air Force (squadron code A-HS), in North Africa.

 

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