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A Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter was just found in Europe – and its story dates back to April 1942.
That year, the Siege of Malta was underway as the two factions fight for control of the small island in Italy. During the unending battle, the aircraft most flown by the Luftwaffe pilots were the Bf-109F model – and inside one of these was a young man by the name of Hans Pilz.
On April 1, 1942, Pilz would become part of a standard raid. While on the mission, he spotted a lone Hawker Hurricane which he quickly pursued. Unbeknownst to Pilz, he was becoming a prime target for groundfire.
As such, Pilz’s Bf 109F got hit and the young pilot somehow survived the crash landing near a village. He was taken captive by the local police and survived the remainder of the war as a British POW.
So what happened to his wreckage?
Malta prioritized rebuilding infrastructure when the war ended. As a result, the wreckages found on the island were all covered up by landfills – often from the bomb craters nearby. This “tactic” would prove to be successful until February 2023.
The town of Paola, Malta was in the middle of constructing a building when a giant German cross suddenly appeared in the dirt below. Several quick calls and a few hours later, the Malta Aviation Museum staff members successfully located an ID number that confirmed it was the Bf 109 flown by Hans Pilz.
The museum now plans to clean up the wreckage and display it as is without restoration so it can be preserved and enjoyed by everyone.