Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Axis Warplane Survivors, German Aircraft: Bachem, Blohm + Voss, Bücker

Axis Warplane Survivors, German Aircraft: Bachem, Blohm + Voss, Bücker

Axis Warplane Survivors, deutsche Flugzeuge: Bachem, Blohm + Voss, Bücker

Data current to 16 Dec 2020.

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War that have been preserved.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these aircraft to provide and update the data on this website.  Photos are as credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Warplane Survivors of the Second World War would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at

Ziel dieser Website ist es, erhaltene Kampfflugzeuge aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg zu lokalisieren, zu identifizieren und zu dokumentieren. Viele Mitwirkende haben bei der Suche nach diesen Flugzeugen mitgewirkt, um die Daten auf dieser Website.bereitzustellen und zu aktualisieren. Fotos gelten als gutgeschrieben. Alle hier gefundenen Fehler sind vom Autor und Ergänzungen, Korrekturen oder Ergänzungen zu dieser Liste der Überlebenden des Zweiten Weltkriegs sind sehr willkommen und können per E-Mail an den Autor unter gesendet werden.

Bachem Ba 349 Natter


  (Luftwaffe Photos)

Bachem Ba 349A-1 Natter in the vertical launch position in Germany, 1945.

The Bachem Ba 349A Natter is a single-seat part-expendable target-defence interceptor powered by one 3,748-lb thrust Walter HWK 109-509A-2 bi-propellant rocket motor and four 2,640-lb thrust Schmidding 109-533 booster rockets.  It was launched vertically, and had a maximum speed of 497-mph, a climb-rate of 36,415 ft per minute and a service ceiling of 45,920’.  It had a radius of action at 39,360’ of 25 miles.  The Natter weighed 4,840 lbs at takeoff.  It had a wing span of 12 feet, and a length of 20 feet.

(US Army Photos)

Bachem Ba 349A-1 Natter recovered in Germany by American troops at St. Leonhard im Pitztal, Austria in May 1945. 

 (Aconcagua Photo)

Bachem Ba 349A-1 Natter replica on display in the Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany. This Natter is said to have been reconstructed partly from sub-assemblies that survived the end of the war. This machine is of the experimental type as launched from the steel tower and is painted to look like an M17. 

 (USAAF Photos)

Bachem Ba 349 Natter in the USA, being prepared for storage with the NASM. This Natter was recovered in Germany by American troops at St. Leonhard im Pitztal, Austria in May 1945. 

 (USAAF Photos)

Bachem Ba 349 Natter on display in the USA, prior to being stored with the NASM.  This Natter was recovered in Germany by American troops at St. Leonhard im Pitztal, Austria in May 1945. 

 (SDASM Photo)

Bachem Ba 349 Natter on display in the USA, prior to being stored with the NASM. 

 (Edgar Diegan Photo)

Bachem Ba 349 Natter on display in the USA. 

 (Creanium Photo)

Bachem Ba 349A-1, T2-1 in the Smithsonian Institute National Air and Space Museum’s Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility. This Natter was recovered in Germany by American troops at St. Leonhard im Pitztal, Austria in May 1945. 

The Natter’s weapon systems were simple and potentially devastating. They comprised either a honeycomb loaded with 24 electrically fired 73-mm Föhn spin-stabilized unguided air-to-air rockets, or 33 R4M 55-mm spin-stabilized rockets, or (projected) two 30-mm MK 108 cannon each with 30 rpg .or 32 R40 air-to-air missiles located behind a jettisonable cover in nose section. The alternative, the Rheinmetall SG 119 consisted of six clusters, each cluster containing seven MK108 barrels grouped together in a cylinder with the clusters arranged about the Viper’s nose as in a revolver.

In April 1945, French armour advanced into Waldsee near Berlin, where the Natter’s were being assembled, and captured a great number of spare parts. Only a few days before the French arrived, fifteen rocket engines destined for Vipers had been thrown into Lake Waldsee to prevent their capture. The secret was not well kept however and all were later recovered.

Plans for mass production of the Ba 349 A-1 were authorized on 1 March 1945, but only a few Natters were actually completed. These were followed by the improved Ba 349 B-1 (Entwurf 2) interceptors which were to be produced at Waldsee, but few were actually completed.

One of the models was powered by a solid-fuel rocket to evaluate takeoff characteristics. Practical tests were carried out at Peenemünde, where a first test conducted during February 1945, proved unsuccessful. Willy A. Fiedler, a testing engineer working for the RLM, was sent to the Heuberg Hills to oversee the program. Erich Bachem is quoted after the war as having said that about twenty Vipers had been used for practical tests. Fifteen were of the A-series, and four B-series aircraft. All were constructed at Waldsee. Still others were assembled by the Wolf Hirth glider factory. Four additional Ba 349s, possibly of the B-series, were captured at the end of the war by Allied forces near St. Leonhard, Austria.

Only two Bachem Natters are known to exist.   The NASM has an original Ba 349A-1 Natter. It appears that this machine was captured at St. Leonhard in the Pitztal, Austria in May 1945 by US troops. It was then shipped to Freeman Field, Indiana, for analysis. Captured equipment number T2-1 was assigned to the Natter and the USAF transferred it to the National Air Museum (now the NASM) on 1 May 1949.

The Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany, displays a Ba 349A-1 which is a partial replica, and is restored in the colours and markings of one of the unmanned test aircraft. This machine is of the experimental type as launched from the steel tower and is painted to look like M17. The Natter displayed at the Deutsches Museum is said to have been reconstructed partly from sub-assemblies that survived the end of the war.

There are several static reproductions of Natters around the world, for example at the “Planes of Fame“, Chino, California and “Fantasy of Flight“, Polk City, Florida, USA.

 (Author Photos)

Bachem Ba 349A-1, Fantasy of Flight Museum, Polk City, Florida. 

Blohm + Voss BV 138

 (Karl Marth Photo)

Blohm + Voss BV 138C, Hemnesfjorden, Norway, being serviced by its Luftwaffe crews. 

 (RAF Photo)

Blohm + Voss BV 138C-1 reconnaissance seaplane, abandoned at Tromsø in Norway, 1945.  Possibly (Wk. Nr. 0310081), captured at Kastrup-See.  If so, this aircraft was designated RAF AM70, scrapped at Felixstowe, England in 1948. 

 (USN Photo, NH 45564, Naval History and Heritage Command)

Blohm + Voss BV 138C seaplane being pulled from the water at at Kirkenes, Norway, during the Second World War.  In the left background is a Heinkel He 115 float plane from Küstenfliegergruppe 406 coded K6+EH.  

The Blohm + Voss BV138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon), but nicknamed Der Fliegende Holzschuh ("flying clog", from the side-view shape of its fuselage) was trimotor flying boat that served as the Luftwaffe's main seaborne long-range maritime patrol and naval reconnaissance aircraft. A total of 297 BV 138s were built between 1938 and 1943. The aircraft was unusually powered by three engines, with one mounted high above the centerline driving a four-blade propeller, and one on each wing driving three-blade propellers.

The first of the 227 standard service variant, BV 138 C-1, began service in March 1941. Although various versions of the aircraft carried a variety of armament, the standard included two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, one in a power-operated bow turret and one in a power-operated stern turret, up to three 7.92 mm MG 15 machine guns, and a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun in the aft center engine nacelle. It could carry up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs or depth charges (under the starboard wing root only) or, in place of these, up to 10 passengers. Several were later fitted with FuG 200 Hohentwiel low-UHF band search radar for anti-shipping duties. Some were converted for the minesweeper role, as the BV 138 MS variant, with the "MS" suffix signifying Minensuch (German for mine-clearing, literally mine-search), carried a circular ring-shape degaussing device, a hoop with the same diameter as the length of the fuselage (encircling the entire hull), and field-generating equipment, instead of weapons.

Blohm + Voss BV 138, flying-boat, (Wk. Nr. unknown), captured at Kastrup-See.  Designated AM69, this aircraft was scrapped at Felixstowe.

Blöhm & Voss BV 138, flying-boat, (Wk. Nr. unknown), captured at Kastrup-See.  Designated AM71, this aircraft was scrapped at Felixstowe.

 (Uffe R.B. Anderson Photo)

Blohm + Voss BV 138 wreckage on display in the National Museum of Science and Technology (Danmarks Tekniske Museum) in Elsinore, Denmark. The wing spar is poised over the aircraft in the same position as it was, when the wreck was discovered in The Sound, off of Copenhagen. 

No complete Bv 138s remain in existence. However, the wreck of one aircraft, sunk after the war in a British air show, was raised from the seabed of the Øresund Sound in 2000, and is on display at the Danish Technical Museum in Helsingør. In June 2013, a vessel from the Norwegian Geological Survey filmed a Blohm + Voss BV 138 at a depth of 35 m in Porsangerfjorden, Norway, not far from the Second World War German seaplane harbour in Indre Billefjord.

Blohm + Voss Bv 155B V-2

 (Luftwaffe Photos)

Blohm + Voss BV 155B V-2.  

The BV 155 was designed to be a single-engine high performance fighter aircraft capable of capable of intercepting bombers at high altitudes and conducting reconnaissance as a secondary mission. One variant was also intended to operate from aircraft carriers with a tailhook system. The Bv 155 was powered by one Daimler-Benz DB 603 U engine and the Heinkel-Hirth TKL 15 turbo supercharger. It was armed with one MK 108 30-mm cannon in the nose and two 20-mm MG 151 cannons in the wing.

The BV 155 featured an armoured, pressurized cabin with an ejection seat, high aspect ratio laminar-flow wings, wide-track landing gear, and a very advanced, though troublesome and complex, propulsion system. An air scoop located on the underside of the fuselage at the trailing edge of the wing fed outside air to the TKL 15 turbo-supercharger. The supercharger compressed the air and fed it to an intercooler mounted above. A pipe semi-recessed into the left fuselage (visible below the cockpit and above the long exhaust pipe) fed the cooled, high-pressure air from the intercooler forward to the engine-driven supercharger.  Blohm + Voss designed the BV 155 to reach speeds of about 430-mph at over 50,000’.

 (RAF Photos)

Blohm + Voss BV 155B V-2, Farnborough, England. before being transferred to the USAAF, where it was designated USA FE-505. 

Blohm + Voss completed the BV 155B V1 (V for Versuch, German for experiment) and the first of three prototypes flew on 8 February 1945 out of newly armoured hangars at Finkenwerder, near Hamburg. On 8 February the V1 took to the air but the right radiator leaked badly and chief test pilot Helmut “Wasa” Rodig terminated the flight. Following repairs, the aircraft flew twice more on 10 and 26 February. Repairs followed each flight but it is doubtful that the airplane flew again after the 26th.

All work had stopped on the third prototype, BV 155 V3, as Blohm + Voss concentrated on finishing the V2, but the war ended first. The British Army occupied Hamburg on 3 May 1945 and found the three prototypes at the factory. British officials examined the V1 and decided it was airworthy then directed an RAF pilot to fly it to England. The airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from the factory and was destroyed.  The British gathered up V2 and V3 and shipped them to the test establishment at Farnborough, England, for evaluation. They seriously considered completing the V2 for flight test but in the end, simply displayed the aircraft in October-November 1945 and then stored it.

 (NASM Photo)

Blohm + Voss Bv 155B V2, USA FE-505, in storage at the Garber Facility, Paul E. Garber Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland. 

For years, the identification of the National Air & Space Museum's Bv 155B was mysterious. Historians knew the British shipped a Bv 155B to the US after the war and that the US Army Air Forces evaluated it at Wright Field, Ohio. They eventually transferred it (bearing Foreign Equipment Number FE-505) to the National Air & Space Museum. Most sources claimed this was the unfinished V3 prototype. In 1998, two restoration specialists reassembling the parts stored at the Paul E. Garber Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland, were amazed to discover nearly the entire V2 airframe. Except for wiring harnesses the factory never hooked up and other small parts, the aircraft appears to be 90-95% complete, including most of the propulsion system. German documents verify that the V3 was only half-finished at war’s end and the discovery of “V2” stamped into both sides of the windshield frame seemed to prove conclusively that the NASM aircraft is in fact the second prototype. The BV 155B V-2, (Wk. Nr. 360052) in the NASM is also the last surviving aircraft built by Blöhm und Voss during the company’s 12-year foray into aviation.

 (Luftwaffe Photo)

Blohm + Voss Bv 222 Wiking in flight. 

Blohm + Voss Bv 222 Wiking

Three Blohm + Voss BV 222 Wikings were captured and subsequently operated by Allied forces: C-011, C-012, and C-013. C-012, captured at Sørreisa in Norway after the war along with V2, was flown by Captain (N) Eric Brown from Norway to the RAF station at Calshot in 1946, with RAF serial number VP501.  After testing at Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe it was assigned to No. 201 Squadron RAF, who operated it up to 1947, when it was scrapped.

(RAF Photos)

Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking, RAF C-012, (Wk. Nr. 330052), RAF VP501, R. 

Blohm + Voss BV 222 Wiking, transport flying-boats.  Several were flown by the RAF.  The white aircraft marked R is Bv 222C-012 (Wk. Nr. 330052), RAF VP501, captured at Sorreisa in northern Norway.  None of these aircraft have survived.  (RAF Photos)

 (USN Photo)

Blohm + Voss BV 222 Wiking, transport flying-boat with American flag, designated USA C-011 or C-113, Trondheim Fjord, 27 Aug 1945.

 (USN Photos)

Blohm + Voss BV 222 seaplane at Trondheim, Norway, undergoing tests by the U.S. Navy, ca 1945-46.  This aircraft is one of two flown by the USN, designated USA C-011 and C-113. 

BV 222, USA C-011 and C-013 were captured by US forces at the end of the Second World War. On 15 August and again on 20 August 1945, LCdr Richard Schreder of the US Navy performed test flights along with the Luftwaffe crew of one of the Bv 222 Wiking aircraft that had been acquired by the US. In two flights resulting in a total flight time of 38 minutes they experienced 4 engine fires. While many spare engines were available they were of substandard quality due to the lack of quality alloys near the end of the war, and caught fire easily. Since the aircraft was unairworthy with these engines, the aircraft was supposedly taken out to open water and sunk by a Navy Destroyer.

Other reports indicate the US captured aircraft were flown or shipped to the US. Convair acquired one for evaluation at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the intensive studies leading to the hull design of their Model 117 which in turn led to the R3Y Tradewind. Their subsequent fate is unknown. The V2 aircraft briefly wore US markings in 1946. Strangely the V2 aircraft had identification markings given to her from the original V5 aircraft for Operation Schatzgräber.

V2 was later scuttled by the British who filled her with Bv 222 Wiking spare parts from the base at Ilsvika to weigh her down. V2 was towed to a position between Fagervika and Monk’s island where it is thought she now rests perfectly preserved on the seabed, owing to low oxygen levels in the water.  There are plans to raise and restore this aircraft.

Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann

 (Author Photos)

Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann, biplane trainer on display in the Fantasy of Flight Museum, Polk City, Florida. 

Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann, biplane trainer (Wk. Nr. 4477), GD+EG of Luftdienst, RAF DR626, seerved with the RAF Telecommunications Flying Unit (TFU) until it was struck off charge in Nov 1941.

 (Author Photo)

Bücker Bü 133C Jungmeister, aerobatic biplane trainer, on display in the Fantasy of Flight Museum, Polk City, Florida. 

 (Andreas Fränzel Photo)

Bücker Bü 133C Jungmeister, aerobatic biplane trainer, on display in the Deutsches Museum, Flugwerft Schleißheim, Germany. 

Bücker Bü 180 Student, trainer.

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, trainer and light transport (Wk. Nr. unknown), captured at Husum.  Designated RAF AM121, this aircraft was likley scrapped at Woodley, England.

Bücker Bü 181C-3 Bestmann, trainer and light transport (Wk. Nr. 120417), captured at Husum.  Designated RAF AM121, this aircraft held Reg No. G-AKAX until it was scrapped at Denham, England in 1950.

(Author Photo)

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, trainer and light transport on display in the Fantasy of Flight Museum, Polk City, Florida.

(Luftwaffe Photo)

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, armed for the "tank busting" role carrying four Panzerfaust anti-tank grenade launchers from wing-mounted launchers (C-3 subtype). 

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann

 (Valder137 Photo)

 (Simmon Boddy Photo)

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, trainer and light transport on display in the Deutsches Museum, Flugwerft Schleißheim, Germany.

The Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann was a two-seater, single-engine aerobatic monoplane aircraft built by Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH in Rangsdorf, near Berlin and extensively used by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War.  Over 4,000 Bü 181s were built. Only about 10 examples remain, none in flying condition.

The Bücker Bü 181 was named Bestmann after a German maritime term designating a member of the deck crew on coastal or fishing vessels. The prototype Bü 181 (D-ERBV) made its maiden flight in February 1939 with Chief Pilot Arthur Benitz at the controls. After official flight testing by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) the Bü 181 was nominated to be the standard primary trainer for the Luftwaffe. Series production of the Bü 181 commenced in 1940. The production types were designated B to C with only slight variations between each, and could be powered by the Hirth HM 500 A or B.

Although built primarily as a trainer for the Luftwaffe, the type also performed other duties such as courier & liaison. From March 1945 an order was issued to concentrate all the available Bü 181s to be converted either to the "tank busting" role carrying four Panzerfaust anti-tank grenade launchers from wing-mounted launchers (C-3 subtype), or to the night harassment role carrying three 50 kg bombs (B-3 subtype), most likely inspired by the Soviet female nocturnal Nochnye Vedmy units' campaigns from 1942 to V-E Day. These units saw very limited use in the final days of the war due to the war situation. However, some missions were carried out, achieving moderate success but at the price of severe losses. One restored Bestmann in the tank buster configuration is on display at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin. Test pilot, and sister-in-law of Claus von Stauffenberg, Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg was flying a Bücker Bü 181 when she was shot down and fatally wounded in 1945.

The RAF flew two, Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, (Wk. Nr. unknown), RAF AM121, captured at Husum and believed to have been scrapped at Woodley in England, and Bücker Bü 181C-3, (Wk. Nr. 120417), RAF AM122, also captured at Husum, Reg. No. G-AKAX, scrapped at Denham, England in 1950.

 (USAAF photos)

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, trainer and light transport, possibly USAF FE-4611, later T2-4611, or FE-4612, Freeman Field, Indiana, ca 1945.  FE-4611 is preserved in the NASM Paul E. Garber facility, Suitland, Maryland, and FE-4612 was scrapped at Freeman Field in 1946.  (USAAF photos)

Two were brought to the USA, Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann, (Wk. Nr. unknown), USA FE-4611, now on display in the NASM’s Garber facility, and FE-4612, which was scrapped at Freeman Field in 1946.