An important discovery came to light by a group of Greek amateur divers, that of a Junkers airplane, during an exploration mission from May 27th to June 2nd 2009 off the St. Niccolo Bay in Kea island, Cyclades, Greece.
This three engined Junkers 52 was a WW II German Luftwaffe transport aircraft, also affectionately known as “Tante Ju”, which has been resting intact since September 6th 1943 (i.e. for 66 year’s) at a depth of about -67 meters, in the clear blue Aegean waters.
The aircraft lays upright on sandy bottom with a south-west axis while the deepest point is at -68 meters; her condition is impeccable. There is no break at any point, nor missing of any part. She was powered by three BMW Type 132 (nine cylindered) engines of 660 HP each, propelling the 1930’s designed aeroplane to a maximum (quite slow) speed of 160 knots/290 kilometers per hour. Her autonomy was about 650 miles/1,200 km and could climb to a maximum flight altitude of about 20,600 Feet/6,300 meters. Her nasal (centrally positioned) engine is tilting downwards toward the seabed but still remains attached to the fuselage.
This version of Ju 52 (possibly a 3m/g7e model) with Werk Nr. 6590 belonging to S 1/TG 4, (Squadron 1/Transport Group 4, based in Kalamaki, i.e. the old Hellenikon airfield later Athens airport) was armored, carrying an MG 15, 7,92 mm caliber machine gun positioned at the upper part of the fuselage where also there is a big size cargo hatch opening, its lid fallen by the port side to the bottom. Probably the passengers escaped through this hatch after ditching the airplane into the sea, due to fuel starvation problems, as reported by a rescuing Dornier Do-24.
It is interesting to note that in February 2009 the 150 years anniversary from the birth of Prof. Hugo Junkers, was celebrated. He was designer, inventor and founder of the Junkers Flugzeug-und Motorenwerke, AG, which was a major German aircraft manufacturer. The company produced some of the world’s most innovative and best-known airplanes over the course of its fifty-plus year history in Dessau, Germany. It was founded there in 1895 by Hugo Junkers, initially manufacturing boilers and radiators. After World War I the company switched to manufacturing airplanes. During World War II the company produced some of the most successful Luftwaffe planes, as well as piston and jet aircraft engines, albeit in the absence of its founder, who by then had been removed by the Nazis.
For further readings on the Junkers aircrafts and the famous Ju 52 three engined multi purpose aircraft model, click this Link’s assortment page: http://hugojunkers.pytalhost.com/ju_tenth_a41.htm
See also a short video from the discovering dive expedition of late May 2009:
For a full account of the dive mission in the form of a daily log including more photographs, click here: www.keadive.gr