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opsep.gif (33916 bytes)This Me109G is on display at the United States Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. TIGHAR photo by P. Thrasher.

 

Like Chariots In A Pharoah’s Tomb

At the close of World War Two, so the story goes, underground bombproof hangars were sealed by retreating German forces, or by advancing Allied units fearful of boobytraps, thereby entombing intact Luftwaffe aircraft. Should such a treasure trove be discovered it would present an unparalleled aviation historic preservation opportunity. But is there any truth to the dozens of tales? For twenty years TIGHAR’s ongoing investigation subjected the most promising rumors of underground hangars to thorough archival research and, where warranted, on-site inspection. That such facilities were planned by OKW (the German High Command) and the RLM (the Air Ministry) is beyond question. That at least some were actually constructed is equally well documented. However, allegations of surviving sealed and undisturbed sites have, so far, proved to be as false as they are fascinating.

The opening of eastern Europe provided unprecedented access to many areas which were once deep within the Third Reich. In recent years the wrecks of several World War Two types once thought to be extinct have emerged from forests and lakes, so the possibility that intact aircraft still existed undiscovered and underground was thought to be worthy of rational inquiry.

This project was deactivated at the end of 2008. Many, many stories were investigated, some exhaustively, with field work, and no trace of any underground hangar or stored aircraft was ever found.

For more information on Operation Sepulchre:


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