On Jan. 18, 2014, German volunteers led by researcher Uwe Benkel excavated the remains of an American Thunderbolt fighter that went down southwest of Darmstadt, Germany, in World War II.
According to Stars and Stripes, Three hours into the excavation of a crashed American World War II fighter, more than a dozen volunteers and World War II hobbyists were picking through the dirt at the bottom and edges of a growing hole in a farm field. They’d already pulled up hundreds of rounds of ammunition, parts of the downed P-47 Thunderbolt’s engine and scores of pieces of mangled aluminum.
The crash site is less than 10 miles southwest of Darmstadt, a city all but destroyed by Allied bombing during the war. Paint on parts of the tail suggest the Thunderbolt belonged to the 83rd Fighter Squadron of the 78th Fighter Group. The P-47 was initially the only long-range offensive fighter available to the Allies in Europe. It was popular with pilots due to its rugged airframe, which could take extreme punishment and still keep flying, its powerful turbocharged engine and massive firepower in the form of eight .50-caliber machine guns, Stars and Stripes reported.