Warfare in News

Posted on Thursday 10th November

The investigation of the site where a Spitfire crash landed in 1941 found a remarkably preserved fuselage and 6 Browning machine guns.

The Spitfire was being flown by an American pilot named Roland 'Bud' Wolfe over the Republic of Ireland when it experienced engine failure. Wolfe parachuted safely to the ground and his plane smashed into the boggy Donegal hillside.

An excavation took place earlier this year as part of the forthcoming Dig WWII television series by 360 Production.

The soft peat soil and a layer of clay – and the inaccessibility of the site – created perfect conditions for preservation, and even the Rolls Royce Merlin engine was recovered, along with surviving artefacts such as the paper service manual and first aid kit.

A specialist team of Irish soldiers were present who later cleaned the weapons and straightened up sections which were damaged by the impact. They selected the best preserved body and assembled a gun to fire made up of parts from all of the Spitfire's 6, which had been underground for 70 years.

Historian Dan Snow, Dig WWII presenter, test fired the re-built machine gun remotely and using modern bullets to prevent jamming. More details and video footage of this can be seen on the BBC News website.

The machine guns will be made safe and added to a permanent display in Derry, where Wolfe was stationed, with the rest of the Spitfire.

Further Reading

Battle of Britain

Only £6.99

Battle of Britain

(Commemorative magazine)
by Roni Wilkinson

The Battle of Britain took place between July and October 1940.

The Germans needed to control the English Channel to launch their invasion of Britain. To control the Channel the Germans needed control of the air. This meant that they had to take on Fighter Command, led by Sir Hugh Dowding, of the Royal Air Force.

At the start of the war, Germany had 4,000 aircraft compared to… Read more...


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