Γερμανικός δωδεκακύλινδρος κινητήρας αεροσκάφους τύπου «V»

German twelve-cylinder engine for V-type aircraft

On Saturday, February 26, 2022, Antonis Grafas and his team, in a collaborative effort with Nikos Vardakas, dived in the area of the island “Patroklos” in order to confirm a GPS location given to him by Vassilis Stasinos. Reaching a depth of 45 meters, the team located a German twelve-cylinder aircraft engine, type “V” (12-Zylinder-V-Motor), heavily covered by benthos and trawl net debris. The field search did not reveal the identity of the engine manufacturer but only its nationality. This was possible on the one hand due to the technical characteristics of the engine and on the other hand due to a fuel coupling, which bore the construction features “NW32 ARGUS”. This is the German company ARGUS, which during World War II manufactured spare parts for the German aircraft Junkers Ju 87 (Stuka) and Messerschmitt Bf 109. The engines of Junkers Ju 87 (Junkers Jumo) and Bf 109 (Junkers Jumo for Bf 109 B, Bf 109 C, Bf 109 D and Daimler-Benz DB 601 for Bf 109 E, Bf 109 T, Bf 109 F, Bf 109 G6) had common characteristics, with the result that it is not yet known regarding the type of aircraft to which the engine belonged. We hope that in the future the components of the engine, which is heavily covered with marine organisms, will be precisely identified. The fact that the engine was found near land and that there were trawl net debris on it, leads to the conclusion that most likely the engine was fished by a fishing boat in deeper waters and its crew approached the shore to untangle it from the net and leave it where it lies today. Archival research has shown that in the sea area from Patroklos to Kythnos, three Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft and one Junkers Ju 87 (Stuka) were lost during World War II. Probably the engine in Patroklos belongs to one of them.

The German aircraft that were lost in this area are:

May 22, 1941

The Junkers Ju 87 (Stuka) with construction number 5920 and their crew Oblt. Heinz Rutkowsky and Fw. Otto Schupp, fell in the northwest of Kythnos. The aircraft belonged to the 1st Squadron of the 2nd Vertical Assault Wing (I./St.G.2).

July 31, 1943

Two Messerschmitt Bf 109 G6 aircraft (engine Daimler-Benz 12-Zylinder-V-Motor), with construction numbers 18466 and 15213, collided with each other, in flight, near the island of Kythnos and crashed. The pilot of the first aircraft was saved, while the pilot of the second (Uffz. Jürgen Klotz) was killed. These two aircraft belonged to the 4th Squadron of the 27th Pursuit Wing (IV./JG.27).

September 17, 1943

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 G6 aircraft (Daimler-Benz 12-Zylinder-V-Motor engine), with construction number 15321 and pilot Uffz. Kurt Nern, fell in the northwest of Kythnos. The pilot was lost. The aircraft belonged to the 11th Squadron of the 27th Pursuit Wing (11./JG.27).

(Historical research and editing: Dimitris Galon)