By Pierre Kosmidis
Photos by www.aviationarchaeology.gr
An unknown page of the Battle of Crete came literally back to the surface, as underwater explorers of www.aviationarchaeology.gr checked on the remains of a WW2 aircraft in the Bay of Suda, Crete.
The divers, made all necessary measurements of the aircraft and after consulting the official accounts of the Battle, concluded that the downed aircraft was a German Messerschmitt Bf 109-Ε7, Werk Νο 4173 (12/39) piloted by Berthold Jung.
According to the details that emerged from the seabed, 75 years after the Battle of Crete, the Bf109 piloted by Jung took off from Molai airport in the Peloponnese, mainland Greece on May 20, in order to attack Allied shipping and land targets in the area of Suda Bay, Crete.
Dense antiaircraft fire caused several casualties among the attacking aircraft and Jung’s Bf109 got a direct hit and had to be ditched at sea.
The aircraft remains are at a depth of 40 metres. Jung’s story is quite interesting too: Having survived the crash, he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Allies, eventually finding himself in Australia, where he remained at a PoW Camp up until 1947. After his return to Germany, Jung worked as an interpreter. He then joined the newly established postwar German Navy, reaching the rank of Rear Admiral and after his retirement (1973) he became President of the German Red Cross in Kiel. He died in 1992.