Lost Nazi plane found in lake 80 years after being shot down when fanatical pilot charged at wave of 1,000 US aircraft | The Sun

A LONG-LOST Nazi fighter jet that was shot down when a fanatical pilot charged at 1,000 US warplanes has been found 80 years later.

The well-preserved Messerschmitt – the backbone of the Hitler's renowned Luftwaffe's fighter force – crashed into a lake in Hungary after a fierce air battle during World War II.

After being submerged in mud for the good part of a century, the fighter plane was finally recovered this month in Veszprem County, western Hungary.

It was shot down on July 2, 1944 when the Americans launched their largest-ever air attack against Hungarian targets.

The Royal Hungarian Air Force was able to send just 18 fighters into battle against an incredible 620 four-engine bombers and 300 fighters of the United States 15th Air Force.

Most of the Hungarian fighters were downed, but only three were killed, including the pilot of the crashed plane, platoon leader Sandor Beregszaszi.

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His body was recovered from Hungary's Lake Balaton, but the location of the plane was then lost for decades.

That was until a military historian, Ensign Karoly Mago, underwent the pain-staking research to locate it.

Together with a team of divers, they found the fighter plane lying under almost a metre of mud that appears to have helped preserve it in September, 2020.

However, only a few pieces of the wreckage were able to be brought to the surface.

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The researchers were amazed by the quality of the plane's remains and made the decision to recover the rest.

On October 10, Beregszaszi's plane was pulled from the lake encased in mud and silt.

Incredible footage of the recovery shows the plane's twisted propeller and cowl being winched from the water with what appears to be the engine crankshaft – mostly intact.

Other parts, like exhaust pipes and the plane's battery, are seen being cleaned up by experts from the modern Hungarian Air Force and military historians.

A spokesperson for the Hungarian Ministry Of Defence said that the wreckage "represents an inestimable value not only from the point of view of military history but also from the point of view of industrial history".

Five expert units worked to bring the aircraft and a large number of its weapons to the surface.

Research leader Mago said: "This find is special because, apart from the one that has now been found after nearly 80 years, there is no other surviving Hungarian Messerschmitt fighter aircraft known in the world."

Speaking of the recovery, he said: "Cleaning is the first and most important part of the procedure so that everything is in the right condition by the end of the excavation.

"We also continued to clean the riverbed.

"It turned out that much more sediment had been deposited on the wreckage than we expected.

"Our primary task now is to clean up the area around the wreck and, of course, the wreck itself.

"We need to be able to measure exactly how big the piece of wreckage is."

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was attached to the Hungarian Air Force, which fought alongside the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

The 18 pilots were praised for their incredible bravery on what was for several of them a suicide mission as they tackled the much larger American force.

Hungary's wartime pilots flew alongside the Nazi Luftwaffe after the country declared itself an Axis power in 1941.

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The country first joined Hitler in his war with the Soviet Union in June 1941 by December had declared war against the US.

The Messerschmitt 109 was key to the success of the Luftwaffe and was famous for its speed and manoeuvrability but it was eventually beaten in the air by the British Spitfire.

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