On V-E Day, 8 May 1945, in Unter Biberg, Germany (a suburb of Munich, also known as Neubiberg), elements of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion first arrived at the former Luftwaffe Airdrome designated R-85 by the Allies. What they found that day was a veritable graveyard of Luftwaffe aircraft, some completely wrecked, and others merely abandoned on runways, in hangars, and even in the surrounding fields since there was no fuel to fly them. Unknown to the Skylighters, Me109s of Group II of Jagdgeschwader 52, one of the most famous Luftwaffe squadrons on the Eastern Front, had been landing at Unter Biberg regularly during the first week of May to surrender their planes to the Americans. [JG 52, at one time or another, boasted three of World War II's highest scoring fighter aces: Major Erich Hartmann, 352 kills (the highest scoring fighter ace of all time); Major Gerhard Barkhorn, 302 kills; and Major Guenther Rall, 275 kills.]|
On May 8, JG 52 staged a mass fly-in to surrender all of their remaining aircraft. Several of the Me109s that landed that day are currently in aviation museums around the world. Messerschmitt Bf109G-10/U4 (No. 611943), for example, was one of II/JG52's craft it's currently on static display at the Planes of Fame Museum in Arizona.)
As the 225th began exploring what was to become their new home for several months, they quickly stumbled across many flyable aircraft, including Me109s and Fw190s, as well as piles of wrecks representing all types, including He111s and Stukas, and even a serviceable version of the experimental Do335 (aka the "Pfeil," or "Arrow"). There's even a story of the intrepid 225th man who gassed up an Fw190 and taxied around the runways for a little while.
The photos below (many reprinted courtesy of the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, who moved to the airfield in July) depict what the men of the 225th saw on that momentous day in the ETO. For them there was no greater symbol of the defeat of Nazi Germany. A once powerful air force reduced to piles of useless junk.
A Heinkel He111 bomber parked at the edge of the field.
Assorted wreckage, with a Stuka dive-bomber at center.
A Focke-Wulf Fw190 (Model F-8) dubbed "Yellow 14" gone "ass over tit."
GIs surveying a damaged hangar pose with the severed tail of a Nazi plane.
A Messerschmitt Me262 jet fighter. The Fw190 dubbed "Yellow 14" appears in the left background.
More wreckage, with the Luftwaffe barracks occupied by the 225th in May in the background.
Goering's vaunted air legions lay smashed! A Stuka and some Me110s left to rot.
A Ju87 Stuka dive-bomber stripped of souvenirs, with the Bavarian countryside beyond.
A wrecked Me109 lifted atop an Me262 (click here for an enlargement). The Messerschmitt,
is a Bf109G10/U2 model, WerkNummer 6?2169. Wondering why the cross insignia is a little
unusual? It's because it's the Hungarian cross and this particular plane [known to historians as
"Black 12" (the number on the fuselage)] was actually flown by the Hungarian Air Force.
Another view of the "graveyard" (click here for an enlargement).
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