German BPP Ithaca (photo Tilemachos Beriatos 2017 IMG_1682 ++)

It is known that the sea in its vastness hides many monuments of history, but some of them are more unexpected than others. Forgotten in the depths of the sea … and of history, aircraft ending up at the bottom are visitors of a foreign world in these worlds, and are strongly marked by this contrast, while a ship sinking at sea is considered to be no more normal. That’s why aircraft wrecks have always exerted and have a particular charm to those who visit them.

According to the current reports and surveys that have been carried out, there are probably more than 20 military aircraft from the period of the Second World War in the sea waters around Kefalonia and Ithaca. Some of these have been identified and researched, some have been identified as targets of a sonic bottom survey system, and others have just been recorded and confirmed as losses (through official crew reports) and their location is still not well known. To date, only three aircraft shipwrecks have been investigated by divers, while at least 18 other reports have been identified.

Aircraft of the Italian Royal Air Force (” Regia Aeronautica Italiana “)

These are the most rare, as Italian aviation, especially in the Ionian Sea, was anemic. You mostly used seaplanes with refueling bases in Corfu and some persecution, while due to the protection provided by the natural port of Argostoli, the seaplanes often transported to Kefalonia during operations. Details are given by a British-based mission report based in Malta, which was patrolling the area and spotted the Italian aircraft by destroying it.

(a) One (1) tripod seabed identification and search / rescue (probably Cant Z.506B “Airone”) in the Gulf of Argostoli hit by a British aircraft during a waterfall in June 1940.

Link to more info:http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=858

German Air Force (“Luftwaffe”)

Due to the strong Italian anti-aircraft defense around Argostoli in the resistance of the 33º Divisione fanteria “Acqui” and the strong presence of allied aircraft during the last period of occupation in Greece, Kefalonia and Ithaca, a a fairly large number of German aircraft (11 reference-based aircraft). Data is provided by German Air Force War Records and other sources.

(a) Six (6) Slight single jet bombers (Junkers Ju 87D “Stuka”) which were either shot down by Italian anti-aircraft fire or mechanical damage while at least one of them landed in the sea in September 1943.

b) One (1) double bomber (probably Junkers Ju 88A-4) off the southern coast of Ithaca, which was probably dropped in March 1943. The shipwreck is accessible and explored by divers.

Link to more information: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=521

c) One (1) double bomber (Junkers Ju88) off the coast of Cephalonia that fell down in July 1944. The shipwreck has not been identified.

(d) One (1) single-pilot waterplane identification (Arado Ar 196) in the wider area of ​​the Gulf of Argostoli hit in September 1943. The shipwreck has not been identified.

e) Two (2) three-wheelers (Junkers Ju 52) in the wider area of ​​the Gulf of Argostoli hit in September 1943. The shipwrecks have not been identified.

British Royal Air Force RAF )

British aircraft at the beginning of the war attempted exclusively from Malta, the main and important base of the British in the central Mediterranean, and later the allies gained access to airports in Crete. The need to stop the Axis convoy that, after 1941, to protect itself, moved off the west coast of Greece away from Malta, demanded many regular patrol patrols around the Ionian Islands. The natural port of Argostoli and the Italian cover of the fortified places in the hills around the Gulf attracted Italian-German ships, which in turn attracted the British Air Force aggressive formations. Details are given from the British Airways mission reports.

a) One (2) lightweight double bomber (Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X, No.603 Squadron RAF) on the shores of northern Kefalonia that fell down in July 1944. The wreck has been destroyed for the most part not only by the initial impact on the surface , but also from the post-war efforts of lifting the precious metal (aluminum) using explosives by the inhabitants. The wreck is accessible and explored by divers.

Link to more info: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=847

b) One (1) lightweight double bomber (Bristol Beaufighter MkVI, No.19 Squadron SAAF) off the northern coast of Ithaca, landed in September 1944. The wreck is in deep water making it inaccessible for diving recreation but has been researched and identified by divers.

c) Two (2) light twin bombers (Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV, No.107 Squadron RAF) in the Gulf of Argostoli landed in December 1941 during a raid on a convoy. The two aircraft remain unconcerned, while one of them disintegrated in flight from anti-aircraft fire according to available reports.

Link to more info: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=1502

d) Three (3) light twin bombers / torpedolas (Bristol Beaufort Mk.II, No.86 Squadron RAF) off the southwestern tip of Kefalonia, which fell in July 1942 during a raid on a convoy. Aircraft remain indistinct.

Link to more info: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=2249

e) Two (2) light twin bombers (Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X, No.252 Squadron RAF) off the eastern coast of Kefalonia, which landed in August 1944 during a patrol. Aircraft remain indistinct.

Link to more info: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=2949

The determination of the position of an aircraft in flight with the available marine equipment of the time (before the arrival of terrestrial and satellite position reference stations) had many limitations on accuracy and was difficult to handle. This was a problem exacerbated by the existing threats in combat operations (in the presence of enemy aircraft, surface ships with anti-aircraft equipment, or anti-aircraft firearms in patrol zones). As a result, the dithering or crashing spots of the aircraft included in the airlines’ reports are either of low precision or significant error and large deviation. In addition, aircraft due to their light construction, their size and their possible collision with the surface,

Identified or not, shipwrecks are a chapter of human history, a sample of the local cultural heritage of the Mediterranean and a national attraction for divers – visitors to the seabed. They need the study, protection and emblem, respectively, of the land monuments, otherwise their existence on the seabed of our seas is not effectively exploited. But there are also those that are not historical monuments, but they are used to create artificial reefs that act as habitat for a number of marine organisms (for the upgrading of poor seabed and the enrichment of fishing grounds) but also as submarine poles of attraction.

It is characteristic that many countries are looking for the creation of artificial reefs with the main purpose of developing diving tourism, namely by selecting aircraft that have been withdrawn, for example: Bulgaria in 2011 was the former Tupolev Tu-154 Government Civil Aircraft, Turkey in 2016 in the eastern Aegean civil aircraft “Airbus A300”, while Jordan in 2017 in the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea former military aircraft “Lockheed C-130 Hercules”. Another important advantage of artificially caused wrecks is that they are prepared (by cleaning them from environmentally toxic substances and opening additional openings to enhance the safety of divers) and placed (in shallow and sheltered waters) after careful planning to optimize their contribution to environment,

 

Italian hydroplane (Cant Z.506B) in Argostoli 30-4-1941

Raid Beaufighter No. 603 Sqn RAF in Fiskardo 19-7-1944

Tilemachos Beriatos

3 star CMAS scuba divers

 

reproduced from http://kefalonianews.gr

2 thoughts on “Marine aircraft wrecked in Kefalonia and Ithaca

  • September 11, 2019 at 9:11 pm
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    The name of the author in the following publication is mispelled. The correct is “Tilemachos Beriatos”

    https://kefaloniapulse.homeinkefalonia.properties/marine-aircraft-wrecked-in-kefalonia-and-ithaca

    Also the name of the photographer that was originally on the underwater photograph (at the start of the article) has been removed. The name in the legend (T.Meritas) is incorrect. The correct is “Tilemachos Beriatos”

    Please retain correct details of the creator when republicing articles.

    Reply
    • September 12, 2019 at 5:56 am
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      Thanks for the feedback , we have updated the article accordingly.

      Reply

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