WW2 Me-109 fighter plane to be dug up in Italy

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
This is most interesting. I wonder why the pilots name is being kept confidential? Maybe untill after recovery?

2007-07-02 19:22
WW2 fighter plane to be dug up
Recently found Messerschmitt contains remains of pilot
(ANSA) - Modena, July 2 - A German World World II fighter plane containing the remains of its pilot is to be dug up later this week from the field near Modena where it crashed 63 years ago.

The plane, a Messerschmitt BF109, plunged into the ground after being shot down near the village of Mirandola on 5 September 1944 during a dogfight with Allied bombers. A group of volunteers using metal detectors recently found the fighter plane lying at a depth of between three and five metres.

On Friday the remains of the pilot will be recovered and prepared for burial. A ceremony with a bugle call has been scheduled to pay last respects to the pilot, who has been identified but whose name is being kept secret.

The following day the aircraft will be dug out of the ground in the presence of officials from the German and Italian air forces.

ANSA.it - News in English - WW2 fighter plane to be dug up
"I wonder why the pilots name is being kept confidential? Maybe untill after recovery? "

Probably because of privacy: people over here is very sensitive and laws are strict.
Likely it will be disclosed if the relatives gives permission
I saw this today:

WWII flying ace's remains found in Italian field

A group of Italian volunteers say they have located the plane of a German ace shot down during World War II, as well as the pilot's remains. The remains of Flight Sergeant Maximilian Volke were identified from the dogtag and good luck charms he carried into combat. The Munich-born pilot, credited with shooting down 37 enemy planes, and his Messerschmitt Bf 109 were found near where witnesses said he was shot down in September 1944, by a gunner in an American B25 bomber. The pilot's remains are to be buried at the German war cemetery of Passo della Futa, between Bologna and Florence.
Translation from the websight.

September five th 1944 - You fall of the last eagles
The death of the marshal Maximilian Volke and the select airman Burgstaller had a prologue in the events of August 1944, when the unhappy attempt of forced annexation of the ANR to the Luftwaffe (operation Phoenix) already deprived the scarce strengths of the Luftwaffe in italia of the help of the I° and II° Hunting group of the Anr. To the first of September, only two groups (Stab JG77 and II./JG77 for general around 60 airplanes) they represented everything the "patrimony" of the German cacccia aviation in italia, also them on the point to be retired in Germany. The general situation of the Italian front was, in that period, such to make to presage the imminent abandonment of the whole south territory of the Po in front of the imminent allied offensive that would be instigated of them to few (the uncertainty on the real estate of the front will persist at least thin to October), and that in the intentions of the allies you/he/she would have had to cause the staving in of the Gothic line and the to spread some allied armies in the lowland padana. The staving in, with the two battles of Rimini and the Mugello, it will be verified, but the German resistance from a part and a series of political myopias and errors aside allied it will prevent the overcoming of the German defenses postponing the end of the war to April 1945.

In the preparation of the offensive, the allied aviation had a preponderant part: besides directly striking the hostile positions on the battleground, fighter-bombers and middle bombardiers they looked for, as far as possible, to isolate the battleground incessantly beating the streets of communication, to prevent the influx and the move of troops and restocking and to hinder a possible retreat. The middle bombardiers, had particularly the assignment to cut the lines of communication in the sensitive points, what the railway knots and the important bridges on the Po. To this impressive aerial (690 get the day September 1 st 44 only from the Desert Air Force, that "it covers" the advance of the 8va British army on the adriatic one) army they don't oppose him that the 60 airplanes of the Stab JG77 and II./JG77.

Corsica, morning of September 5 th 1944
The sun is not be lift yet that already, from the various fields of the east coast of the island it gets up the noise of the big motor Wright of the B-25s. Today the whole 57th Bomb Wing will be in flight, imitated in near Sardinia by the American Marauder and French of Decimomannu. The same is happening on the adriatic one, in the fields of the Desert Air Force, where the airplanes of the Desert Air Force he is preparing to strike the objectives assigned on the front of the octave Army.
On the airport drawn among the dunes of the beach of Solenzara, also the 446th Squadron of the 321st Bombardment Group will literally divide today him in two: 6 airplanes will go to strike a bridge to Pavia, and 9 will go once more on the Po, to Polesella. The bridge of the railroad is still passable, and the German try to make to flow the greatest possible quantity of restocking to their troops that try to contend
the possession in Rimini and the door of the lowland padana, to the soldiers of the Commonwealth. More or less a hour of flight divides them from their objective.

Ghedi, same day.
They have the awareness to be in few, to be alone, and to be the last. We don't know if there is, from the old pilots of the 6 Staffeln of the II Gruppe of the Jagdgeschwader 77, a particular apprehension to go to flight today. They know that to days you/they will have repatriated, because the situation doesn't allow to glimpse nothing of good person, in italia, and in every case there is need of them in country, to try to stop the allied raids on the cities. The operation Phoenix of August, the attempt everything political to absorb the ANR arranged between the General Richtofen and some exponents filotedeschi of the ANR, is bankrupt in miserable and self-defeating way: the Italian, in the large majority, the blackmail they are not folded up to, of their airplanes have been deprived, and the German pilots have allowed alone to face the allied aerial supremacy. To few more kilometers to east, to Villafranca, there are their colleagues of the Stab, the Command of Group and null'altro. They have good cars, even if a pò exploited: 40 Messerschmitts Bf109G6, good to encounter with the omnipresent allied fighters and 19 Bf109G6/U4s, a pò less manageable but armed with a powerful gun from 30 millimeters. Few hits are sufficenti to demolish a quadrimotore, to condition to arrive nearby enough there...
And' the human material to worry: close to the new pilots arrived from Germany, to which has been forbidden to participate in operational missions once ascertained the superficiality of their training for everything July and August, there are the Expertens, people survived to Russia and Africa, with a lot of experience on the shoulders. Ossi lasts that have learned all the makeups of the work, and that they know how to throw out the best from their machines, but tired people, disheartened also. In their future there is not, as for the American colleagues, the 50ma mission, later which the right is had to the alternation, but there is another mission, and then another still, to the endless one, up to that a wound, a crash or the end of the war put elegant to the game.
The Marshal Pilots Maximilian Volke you/he/she is one of them: it has on the shoulders 37 victories, you conquer in Russia and in Africa. And' survived then to Sicily and the slow retreat along the boot. It is 29 years old, and perhaps that day, while the parachute inserts him on the shirt color it sand-blasts, it feels him particularly tired. In the preceding days you/he/she has flown a lot probably and concluded few, must serve as brooding to the new pilots and looking for at the same time not to make to be killed. As you/he/she has made thousand of times it climbs in the box of his/her airplane, a G6/U4, and he/she doesn't know yet that it will go down from there not more.
Of a line the eroporto becomes animated, the order to take off has arrived. The mechanics are troubled to turn the crank of the starter, when the big badminton has reached an enough number of turns the pilot it gears the starting. The little gasoline that reaches the department is not of good quality and the motors they set out coughing and sputtering, while clouds of black smoke go out of the unloadings. It needs immediately to take off, allied formations are quickly arriving, it needs to avoid to burn the motors that to earth, they quickly overheat him, and it needs to make quota, more quota than the upcoming bombardiers and even more quota of the fighters that I/you/they am anywhere on the lowland. From Ghedi and from Villafranca the last German hunting pilots get up in italia.

From the historical diary of the 446th Bombardment Squadron:
"Mission nr. 382, objective railway Bridge of Polesella, Italy, armament, bombs from 1000 pounds, formation, 9 airplanes of the 446th Squadron.

The Lieutenant Russel drives the formation, The airplane guide of the six airplanes of head immediately doesn't unhook for a malfunction. Nine airplanes immediately unhook but they stay with the capoformazione that effects another passage in the attempt to unhook the load. Good concentration to the center of the bridge and on the side north. Observed different direct hits. Anti-aircraft heavy, moderate and not too much accurate. Four I-109 they attach the formation with different aggressive passages. An I-109 surely damaged you/he/she has been seen to fall smoking."

Area of Contemplating her/it in the same moment
Veber Gulinelli is 14 years old, it is a boy that, as so many others, have followed the family, dispersed in the country to escape the bombardments. In the sky of the low modenese he/she sees, every day, to pass the allied formations. The middle bombardiers go and they come not to quota too much tall, and in formations not too much numerous. When they strike the bridges on the Po the hits they are felt, when they go to strike the Brennero they disappear in distance, crossing again to the return. The big formations of quadrimotori, that give to go to Germany from Puglia, pass very taller, and they are so as that at times their passage has been lasting for morning to evening, riempiendo the air of their noise and white wakes. They also pass the fighters, above all the thunderbolts. To those it needs to be careful, because they often lower to mitragliare anything stirs on the roads.
That day Veber sees nine airplanes, they are two-engined, in formation and south badminton north west east. A common sight, was not that to the sudden one, another noise as cars to be sewn, it overlaps to the dark rhombus of the bombardiers. From behind and from the tall one, three small airplanes are hurled fast shooting on the two-engined ones, that answer to the fire. And' an aerial battle! The gusts follow him, they become an only indistinct din when formation opens the fire on one of the small fighters that, you/he/she has drawn near too much perhaps to the vespiary represented by the 27 machine guns caliber 12.7, that they protect the tail of the nine airplanes. All very quickly happens, no more than four minutes in the memory of Veber and all in curiously calm way, or at least not with the apocalyptic explosions to which have accustomed us the films of war. A puff of smoke, the small fighter that continues I pour earth accellerando in the beaten one, a stroke and the noise of the airplanes that it falls through in distance. Ended. In the field of by Imperial, few to south of Contemplating her/it, a hole in the ground and few wrecks in superfice they mark the grave, provisional, of the Marshal Maximilian Volke.
It seeks historical of Michael Becchi

60 years later...
As in so many other cases, the rests of a war airplane have become tools of peace. The few wrecks in superfice, brought away by the people of the place to risk of serious sanctions from the German, they have become pots, saucepans, covers and dishes, they have served for repairing objects or agricultural machine. You/they have tried, the German, to recover the airplane and the rests of the pilot, but you/he/she was ended too much in depth and the water of stratum that he/she filled the hole you/he/she has put the elegant word to the first attempts of recovery, up to that in 2005, a group of impassioned they put on on the traces of this dejected airplane.
By now the group is called " the RAF" abbrevviativo of Romagna Air Finders. But spiegamo now as we have begun the searches up to the recovery.

The first testimony
In a warm spring day of 2005, Spinozzi Marcello, partner of the R.A.Fs. it comes to knowledge dall' amicoTassinari Ugo of Contemplating (Modena) her/it some demolition of an aircraft, during the 2GM and fallen in the local countries. Warned the researchers, Spinozzi puts us in contact with the Sig. Tassinari that is entrusted to retrieve other useful testimonies to begin the search and to know other details.
We know so the Sig.Cavicchioli Attiglio that it confirms us the fall of an airplane and it accompanies us in proximity of the point d' impact. We find us so in By Imperial to around 1 Km from Contemplating her/it the Sig. Attilio starts to tell his/her memoirs:
"I was child. one day they told me that an airplane was fallen next to my house... You know his/her children they are curious and incoscienti.Io I immediately went me to see what you/he/she was happened. Really here, where we are now, there were some German that the zone garrisoned, I saw some wrecks in surface pieces of scattered wings and you roll up everywhere some, the soldiers were trying to recover what he was able, they also made an excavation to try to recover the body of the pilot, but they abdicated, it was also too much depth for the means of the epoch. They found only little rests of the unlucky aviator, then the hole was closed, the German planted on the eyelash of the road, that 60 years ago was few more than a cart, a wood stake, there was not some name written above, but only a date, what time I don't remember, and the indication of the fall of the airplane, this stake was removed then after the end of the war, when they asphalted the road"

We remain always fascinated by the stories of the people that that moments have lived... And' as to make back a jump in the time.
Now, the first thing to be done is to contact the ownership of the agricultural fund, to introduce us and to ask the authorization to perform the first surveys with our tools.
We know so the holder, the kind Armanda in Molinari, which shows him very interested to this story, authorizes us to proceed with the surveys and confides us that also her husband knew d iquel you/he/she chases dejected, confirming the testimony of the Cavicchioli and adding other particular profits:

" My husband knew of this fallen airplane on our earth, rather I remember me that you/he/she told me that a few years after the end of the conflict came from Germany an elderly gentleman with a child... This gentleman engaged here some people some place to try to recover the corpse of the pilot, but he didn't succeed in concluding nothing, I dig him/it he was continually filled with water and you/he/she was suspended... "

January 2006, the first surveys
To Contemplating her/it, a team brings him of technical R.A.F. To begin to sieve the whole zone signalled by the witnesses. The staff of the technicians is composed from about ten people all you provide of metaldetectors, that starts sounding the ground in formation. The signal they don't delay to arrive, after 10 minutes the tools begin to play, quite a lot fragments of allumino are recovered avio, the area comes so for not influencing the search more deepened with the metaldetector for the tall depth. This tool is able to notice metallic masses to notable (8-10 meters) depth The surveys they are positive, a metallic mass is individualized to around 3 meters deep, the euphoria that pervades the group is evident! We arrange with the owner of the ground the possibility to perform other surveys for then to begin the recovery. In the meantime, we start the long bureaucratic practice to get the permissions from the authorities and consulted Corporate body as Commune, Policemen, Prefecture, military authority of competence.

May 2007, new testimonies
Between a survey and a permission, we look for other testimonies to have further information, we also turn us to the Curia of competence, that is near that of Medolla small commune of Contemplating her/it in this case. The priest is Don Davide Sighinolfi that you/he/she collaborates to our searches, unfortunately you/he/she doesn't possess some official document that certifies a death of a German pilot in that zone in war period. But, by now involved with enthusiasm in the searches, Don Sighinolfi, communicates us that among his/her more elderly parishioners, there are two witnesses of the fact able to give us some other news and to confirm what happened.
May 9 th 2007 we know Casali Anselmo that it tells:

" Toward midday I saw in sky a formation of aerial plurimotori prepared to arrow, will have been an about ten around and he was directing from East toward West, one of the last airplanes of the group broke away from the formation, and it are really at that time that another smaller and very faster aircraft of the others appears, I clearly saw as of the puffs of smoke on this airplane, and later I immediately saw him/it fall to the ground, the place where the aircraft fell it was an agricultural ground of ownership of the Sigs MOLINARI near By Imperial near to Contemplating her/it.
After the disaster the German realized which with the few means it has disposition for the epoch they picked up few things, apart the wings remained in surface the rest of the airplane with his/her pilot he was hammered quite a lot in depth in the earth, an excavation was tried, it was picked up little of the unlucky aviator, then he abandoned everything. Subsequently the place of the fall of the airplane was signalled by a kind of wood cippo put in proximity of the road, this cippo didn't bring some name that I remember and you/he/she was removed in the postwar period, when they referred the road"
On May 22 we return to Medolla to make the knowledge of the Sig. Comini Gianfranco:
" It was a morning, I don't remember well the month, there was not cold, perhaps April or September... We were me with other friends... Three or four... To play behind the elementary schools of Contemplating her/it, when we see the sky cover from allied bombardiers to groups of 3.
All of a sudden we see three airplanes smaller than they draw near to a bombardier, and they engage a battle; we feel some gusts of machine guns and then we see to fall in beaten one of the smallest airplanes, with the motor accelerated at the most.
We race with great curiosity on the place of the impact, in By Imperial, and we see that a crater and shed smoking wrecks you/he/she is created anywhere.
After us they arrived some German soldiers, they tried to recover the wreckage digging 4... 5 meters, but without succeeding in bringing in surface any rest of the pilot, therefore they picked up what you/they found shed on the ground, unfortunately they also found a machine gun of the airplane that my friends and I had hidden in a bush, then they closed the hole and they went away."
and the rest

We return toward our houses with a precious baggage full of information. L' help of Tassinari is fundamental in this operation, helping us, cause the distance from the place of the searches, to organize meetings and moves in the Commune of Contemplating her and neighboring place.

Books and files, to the search of the pilot.
We have assimilated as information, the moment has now come to give a name to the pilot, to know who is there still under. Between a survey and a testimony, we also investigate in internet, powerful source of information and we consult the books devoted to the history of the aviation in Italy during the second world war. We find the name of Maximilian Volke, fallen to Contemplating her/it, in the book "Air War Italy 1944-45" of Nick Bea happy her - Ferdinando Di I befriend - Gabriele Valentini" L' demolition of Volke is also quoted in the volumes
"Geschichte des Jagdgerschwaders 77 " of Jochen Prien, where we also find a photo of the pilot. But not being the only one to that day to be dejected, in that mission, we maintain the maximum reserve. We are not sure yet of whom or thing there is there under.

June 28 th 2007, the prescavo
Point of meeting for our postamentis is it Silvers, destination Contemplating her/it.
Purpose of the consignment to perform a prescavo, extremely useful thing in to individualize the exact position of the wreckage of the airplane. The column of the RAF is also composed from personal of the Civil Protection of Lugo of Romagna. You introduce to the prescavo we have Ignazio Bologna, Simonetta Bologna, Marani Andrea, Bachelors Daniel, Watertight Gianluca, Spinozzi Marcello, Spinozzi Donato, Vergimigli Bruno, Biavati Moreno, Ferrari Mazzanti Alberto, Venturini Paolo and from our president Leo Venieri. At 9 o'clock we put in march there.
We arrive to Contemplating her/it toward the hours 11.00, we immediately organize there for a further survey with the metaldetectors and we proceed with a prescavo on the point memorized with the GPS during the preceding surveys.
We imagine how many times the plow has passed in that piece of earth, and how many times mixed has been with the ground the fragments remained in surface.
The Bob-Cat it sinks the small layers bucket, thin to 1 meter and a half of depth, permettondoci to bring consistent pieces to the light of the aircraft more and more, parts of plates rolled up with still the original color, parts of the tail and other important signs.
The recovered material is cleaned and examined on the place, color and details they bring us to the identification of German aircraft, but until we won't dig, we will never have the certainty of thing and who will find the under
We have esteemed the mass to a depth of 3... 4 meters and after the mass, to not less than 8 meters, a second mass, perhaps the motor. The ground is surely rather sandy we will find strata acquifere.
The recovery is organized for July 7 th 2007.
The entrusted firm to intervene with 2 bulldozers is the General Beton S.R.L of Contemplating her/it
The civil and military organs are allertati and ready to intervene.
Chronology of Alberto Ferrari Mazzanti and Fabio Raimondi

The relationship will be adjourned with new documentations, we thank who has sent us material photographic of the phases of the recovery.

Sources Storiografiche and Bibliography:
"Air War Italy 1944-45" of Nick Bea happy her - Ferdinando Di I befriend - Gabriele Valentini - Airlife Publishing Ltd

"Air War over Italy" of Andrew Brookes - Ian Allan Publishing

"446th Bombardment Squadron History - September 1944" Air Force Historical Researches Agency - Maxwell AFB - Alabama, USA

"Deutsche Dienstelle (WAST)" Eichborndamm 179, 13403 Berlin - Deutschland
"Geschichte des Jagdgerschwaders 77" of the Dott. Jochen Prien - Volume IV, 1944-45
"Jagdgeschwader 77 Herz As" site web: The Luftwaffe, 1933-45

From Military.com:
ROME - Italian volunteers located the plane German of ace shot down during World War II as well as the pilot's remains, including the dog tag and good luck charms he carried into combat, they said Tuesday.

The volunteers found the plane flown by Flight Sgt. Maximilian Volke - to Munich-born pilot credited with shooting down 37 enemies planes - near the site of the German defensive line that witnessed months of bloody battles as the Allies fought freed to northern Italy.

The amateur researchers narrowed down their search area based on information from archives and accounts of those who witnessed the ace's final air battle in 1944, said Leo Venieri, the president of Romagna Air Finders, to group that scours the countryside for missing World War II pilots around the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna.

Volke's Messerschmitt Bf 109 wases dug out of to farmer's field just north of Modena in July. The pilot's remains, which had sunk to depth of 11 meterses (36 feets) in the soft terrain, were well preserved, Venieri said.

The dig yielded artifacts including the plane's engine and the pilot's I remove microphone, as well as to wallet with money, documents and images of the Virgin Mary and an African elephant.

"He probably carried the images for good luck, " Venieri told The Associated Press in to telephone interview. "Positive The identification came from the dog tag we found in his pocket."

Volke, to veteran of campaigns in Russia and Africa, was 29 when he took off from to northern Italian basic air on Sept. 5, 1944, with three other fighters to intercept to group of nine American B-25 bombers. He was shot down by gunners in one of the U.S. planes, Venieri said, citing witness accounts and the bomber squadron's logs.

The pilot's remains have been sent to the University of Modena for an autopsy and Venieri's group plans to bury him in September at the German war cemetery of I Pass of the Futa, between Bologna and Florence.

Venieri said he has been in contact with one of Volke's cousins in Munich and plans to ask the family to attend the funeral.

Gerhard Bletschacher, whose wife is Volke's cousin, told the AP the family was surprised to hear of the find earlier this year - particularly since they had been informed in 1944 that Volke's body had been found and properly buried.

"It is naturally to surprise - on one hand we have this notice that he was buried and now on the other this that he's been found after 60 yearses - we don't know what is right, " Bletschacher said from his home in Munich.

He said the original letter could have been just an attempt to make the family feel better, however, and that maybe modern techniques like Dna matching could help put the matter to rest.

"It's great what they macaws doing there, " he said of the Air Finders group.

World War II finds remain common in areas of Europe that saw fierce fighting, including the Italian regions of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, where Nazi troops held the "Gothic Line" in 1944 and 1945 to try to stop allied forces from breaking through to northern Italy.

Dictator Benito Mussolini had set up to puppet been in the north after Italy ousted the fascist regime and sided with the Allies against its former German allies. Nazi troops committed atrocities, killing thousands of civilians, as they retreated across central and northern Italy.

The 60 volunteerses of Romagna Air Finders have located the remains of 19 planeses as well as four German pilots, two Britons, two Italians and one Brazilian since the group was founded in 2000. The pilots macaws usually given to funeral and their personal effect and planes macaws put on display at to museum set up by the group in the town of Fusignano, east of Bologna.

"There is to humanitarian value to giving to burial to missing soldiers and there is to message of peace that we send when young people as to our museum and see the effect of war, " Venieri said.

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