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FW190 found in forest clearing - Outside of Leningrad

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Uploaded on Aug 23, 2008

Information from researchers involved with the restoration confirms that the pilot of the Fw190, Paul Rätz, was a POW and repatriated to Germany in 1949. He passed away in 1989 and his son aided in the research for the restoration.

Paul Rätz was a ground crew member before becoming a pilot with 1./JG54 in 1942 and 1943. He had several air victories and survived three crash landings. He was best known as a ground attack pilot and transferred to to 4./JG54 on July 9, 1943. Ten days later on July 19 he crashed with this plane during a mission to attack a train.

"Fw190 A5 White A of 4./JG54
This Focke-wulf 190 was manufactured in April 1943, originally as an A-5 variant and supplied with the full work number 0151227 by the parent factory of Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH at Bremen.

THE LOSS OF FW190 A5 W.Nr 1227.
On Monday 19th July 1943 Fw190 A-5 W.Nr 1227 'White A' went on a mission carrying a SC250 (550Ib) bomb. Taking off from Siwerskaja, on what was probably a hot summer day, 'White A' headed for the Front line which was only fifteen or so minutes flight time away. Crossing the front line over the Dvina River, the Fw190, flying with another crossed it and headed East. Whilst behind enemy lines, in an area called Voibakala, the 'Rotte' attacked an armoured train and reportedly suffered damage from flak. The loss report indicates the Fw190 crash landed due to this damage, although none was located on the airframe. It Fw190 suffered a catastrophic failure of the BMW801, caused by a rag -sabotage is suspected as it was a new engine was fitted a few days before. The Fw190 was recorded as being 100% lost in the map reference co-ordinates of Pl.Qu.20124. This grid system based on 1:200,000 maps was used to identify crash sites, possibly for salvage, recovery of missing pilots or as the best way of identifying an area consisting of unpronounceable Russian towns, villages and large areas of forests and lakes. The more numbers the Pl.Qu. reference gives, the smaller the area of the location. A key to this 'code', would help identify literally dozens of possible recoveries within Russia!!
The pilot Feldwebel Paul Rätz survived the crash landed behind enemy lines. He removed his leather flying helmet and retrieved the first air kit from the rear fuselage and is thought to have headed West back to the front line only a dozen or so miles from the crash site. He was undoubtedly captured by the Russians and interned although the Luftwaffe loss report still class him as 'Vermißt' (missing) in action.

Found in silver birch forest 1989.
Recovered in 1991

Owners = Doug/David Arnold and now Paul Allen.

The restoration revealed that this Fw190 most likely crashed from engine sabotage. The engine was newly installed and the oil lines were found to be blocked. The engine factories often used prisoner labor, so sabotage sometimes happened. The restoration is nearly complete, including a new wing spar to replace the cracked original.

A partial restoration was started in the early 90s, then it was sold to the Flying Heritage Collection. Much of the restoration was competed in the UK and the aircraft is now in the US for final work and paint. It's expected to be completed soon.

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