Ju 52 and Stuka lifted from sea around Leros are exhibited

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Back in the autumn of 1943, a fierce battle was fought in and around Leros Island, between the British and the Germans, for the control of the Dodecanese Islands, after the capitulation of the Fascist Italian regime in September 1943, which occupied the islands since 1912.

The Germans managed to take control of the island of Leros, after a battle that lasted for several days, involving naval forces, parachutists, Brandenburg troopers, aircraft and land forces.

Junkers Ju 52 & Stuka lifted from sea

In 2003, a Junkers Ju 52, which was shot down over Alinda Bay in Leros on 13-14 November 1943, was salvaged after a difficult operation and was transported back to the Hellenic Air Force Museum in Tatoi, Athens to be maintained and exhibited.

Among the debris, the remains of a German soldier were found and with the assistance of authorities, they were identified and returned back to his relatives. Other items salvaged include guns, ammunition, personal effects and are now on display at the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens.

Junkers Ju 52 is lifted from the sea around Leros.

Junkers Ju 52 is lifted from the sea around Leros.

Following a painstaking restoration process, the Ju 52 is now on permanent display at the HAF Museum. Bullet holes from anti-aircraft guns are still evident of the ill-fated aircraft that was shot down in November of 1943.

The Ju-52 at the exterior of the Hellenic Air Force Museum

The Ju-52 at the exterior of the Hellenic Air Force Museum

Bullet holes on the Junkers Ju 52 salvaged from Leros.

Bullet holes on the Junkers Ju 52 salvaged from Leros.

An MP-40, an Iron Cross and other items salvaged from the Ju-52 shot down in Leros.

An MP-40, an Iron Cross and other items salvaged from the Ju-52 shot down in Leros.

Another treasure of the seas was found and salvaged, a Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’ (Sturzkampfflugzeug) dive bomber, which was shot down during the same period. The Stuka bomber took off from Rodos island, which was controlled by the Germans and flew sorties over Leros. According to various sources the aircraft is most probably S7+GM (100375), crewed by Lt. Rudolf ‘Rolf’ Metzger & Uffz. Hans Sopnemann), which was shot down on 9 October 1943.

Junkers Ju 87 'Stuka' lifted from the sea around Leros.

Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’ lifted from the sea around Leros.

Junkers Ju 87 'Stuka' lifted from the sea around Leros.

Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’ lifted from the sea around Leros.

On that very day the II/St.G. 3 lost a total of nine Ju 87D-3/Trop when they were intercepted during their mission against Royal Navy and Hellenic Navy ships in the Aegean. Of these nine, seven crashed into the sea and two made emergency landings on Rodos. A week before, German troops had landed on the island of Kos, which fell the next day. On 9 October 1943, HMS cruiser “Carlisle” and other destroyers, returning from a sweep west of Kos, were dive-bombed SW of Rodos Island by a formation of Ju-87 Stukas. “Carlisle” was seriously damaged and HMS destroyer “Panther” was sunk. Most of her crew were saved by the RHN destroyer “Miaoulis”, which has also claimed firing against the Ju-87 formation and probably hit a couple of them.
– (Source: Hellenic Air Force)

View of the Stuka dive bomber at the maintenance hangar of the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens. Right in front of it, part of the Arado Ar-196 salvaged from a depth of 500 metres in the Aegean Sea, GreeceView of the Stuka dive bomber at the maintenance hangar of the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens. Right in front of it, part of the Arado Ar-196 salvaged from a depth of 500 metres in the Aegean Sea, Greece

View of the Stuka dive bomber at the maintenance hangar of the HAF Museum in Tatoi, Athens. Right in front of it, part of the Arado Ar-196 salvaged from a depth of 500 metres in the Aegean Sea, Greece

The Balkenkreuz is still visible on the side of the fuselage after more than 70 years at sea.

The Balkenkreuz is still visible on the side of the fuselage after more than 70 years at sea.

The tire of the Ju-87 still intact after 70 years at seaThe tire of the Ju-87 still intact after 70 years at sea

The tire of the Ju-87 still intact after 70 years at sea

An interesting and rather unique feature of the downed and salvaged Stuka: A steel plate armour, on the side of the pilot's seat, to further enhance survival

An interesting and rather unique feature of the downed and salvaged Stuka: A steel plate armour, on the side of the pilot’s seat, to further enhance survival.

The wreckage of the Stuka dive bomber at the Greek Air Force Museum. (Credits: Jerry Gunner)

The wreckage of the Stuka dive bomber at the Greek Air Force Museum. (Credits: Jerry Gunner)

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About Author

Pierre is a journalist, fully certified scuba diver, Media Relations and Media Operations specialist, based in Athens, Greece, with a keen interest in World War 2 History, with a focus on the events as they unfolded in Greece. He is the author of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles related to WW2 and is currently in the process of preparing his websites.

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