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No Spitfires In Burma After All

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the we're-sorry-but-your-princess-is-in-another-castle dept.

The Military 102

FBeans writes "In a story at the end of last year, it was reported that up to 124 lost WWII Spitfires could be buried in Burma at various locations. A team sponsored by Wargaming.net and led by David Cundall, who says he witnessed one such burial of planes, have been investigating a site that was thought to have up to 36 planes buried in crates near the end of the war. However, based on the evidence they have obtained recently, it seems there are no Spitfires buried at this location, and no substantial evidence supporting any other location, possibly leading to the end of the hunt. Over 20,000 Spitfires were made between 1938 and 1948, at a cost of around £12,000 each. Cundall has spent 17 years of his life and around $200,000 hunting the Supermarine planes; presumably, the lack of evidence will not stop him from continuing to search."

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Plan B (3, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626301)

Check Myanmar.

Re:Plan B (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626501)

By way of Siam?

Re:Plan B (4, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626561)

Of course. You can get to Siam through French Indochina.

let's just get this out of the way... (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626859)

This book must be out of date: I don't see "Prussia", "Siam", or "autogyro".

Re:Plan B (0)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631151)

I think there's a ferry from Formosa.

-jcr

Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626351)

All gone missing. There's something funny goin' on 'round here.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (1)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626687)

Did you check your pocket?

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626705)

I would suggest you start by looking under the couch cushions.

P-38s are cooler. Ice cold. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627245)

meanwhile, in Greenland [p38assn.org] ...

you know, it's been a lot in the news lately.... people talk about the threat of nuclear destruction.... way back when atomic testing was still above ground... little did they know when they were setting off those a-bombs.... that lurking below, 60 years, encased in ice.... awesome incarnate waiting only to be melted down and walk again

all transcription errors in this communique are due to my faulty memory. If you know what I mean...

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (2, Funny)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626871)

All gone missing. There's something funny goin' on 'round here.

Did you check your pocket?

Nope, nothing there but this funky gold ring. How about a riddle game?

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627723)

All gone missing. There's something funny goin' on 'round here.

Did you check your pocket?

Nope, nothing there but this funky gold ring. How about a riddle game?

Mod parent up, it's precious.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626921)

Well, I don't have anything in there except - HEY waitaminute! Nice try, Gollum...

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627045)

Nah, not funny at all. the U.S loses $billions worth of equipment every year.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42629559)

Actually a lot of what is "lost" is actually thrown or given away so the military can blow through their budgets. Its pretty common knowledge that if you spend less you get less in next year's budget so when my grandfather was in the Air Force he was constantly bringing home nice stuff right before the fiscal year was up because they needed to "blow the budget". I know one year I saw brand new theater seats sitting out by the dumpster and when I asked my grandfather he said they had changed out the theater seats something like 5 times in 5 years because if they couldn't blow the budget any other way that was always an easy one to do.

Kinda sad but that is our bloated wasteful military for ya, its like Dilbert only with salutes...ohh and kickbacks.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627091)

Atlantis is cloaked in San Francisco bay. It eventually sank (again) when a Klingon Bird of Prey crash landed on top of it.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627545)

I'd settle for finding true love.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627923)

All gone missing. There's something funny goin' on 'round here.

Next it'll be all the Dolphins [wikipedia.org] , and it won't be so funny then.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628355)

All gone missing. There's something funny goin' on 'round here.

Next it'll be all the Dolphins [wikipedia.org] , and it won't be so funny then.

It's those fucking white mice again.

Re:Atlantis, the Ark, spitfires... (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42632211)

People from the future are scraping the present.. Same thing that happens to socks and keys, just different groups of meth heaads using cheap one off time machines....

Don't ask how I know this.. It will implode the universe...

Atlantis never disappeared (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633849)

I seem to remember reading that Atlantis was actually Sweden.
So Atlantis never disappeared. It was simply _sweded_.

Informative graphic (4, Funny)

coldsalmon (946941) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626363)

Thanks to the excellent graphic at the end of the article, I now know that the Spitfire's "performance" was located under the fuselage, and its "aerodynamics" were located in the tail section. Thank you, BBC.

Re:Informative graphic (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626403)

May be poorly placed, but they are informative tooltips.

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626467)

No, they really weren't informative.

*suspects he'll get whooshed for this*

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42628491)

Funnily they mention the elliptical wing shape, and then show a clipped wing late-war variant...

Re:Informative graphic (1)

NathanWoodruff (966362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626469)

You can also tell that the engine was placed in the right spot.

Re:Informative graphic (3, Insightful)

swm (171547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626693)

I don't know about the aerodynamics, but the performance part is correct.
That little scoop below the engine is the intake for air to cool the engine.
The design of that scoop could affect overall performance by something like ~1%.
Sounds small, but when everyone is using the same underlying technology,
and encounters typically have binary outcomes (you die or he dies),
1% can make the difference.

Re:Informative graphic (1)

slimdave (710334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628153)

The design of that scoop could affect overall performance by something like ~1%.

They could squeeze another couple of percent out with a coffee can exhaust, easy.

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632771)

I don't know about the aerodynamics, but the performance part is correct.
That little scoop below the engine is the intake for air to cool the engine.
The design of that scoop could affect overall performance by something like ~1%.
Sounds small, but when everyone is using the same underlying technology,
and encounters typically have binary outcomes (you die or he dies),
1% can make the difference.

Another one percenter.

Re:Informative graphic (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626713)

The model in the picture doesn't even have the classic Spitfire elliptical wing. It's one of the later models with clipped wingtips. Wikipedia has a better image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire [wikipedia.org]

Re:Informative graphic (1, Interesting)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626821)

I now know that the Spitfire's "performance" was located under the fuselage, and its "aerodynamics" were located in the tail section.

Which funnily enough is about right. The aircraft was a hack, a case of fix-what-we-have. The development history of the Spitfire is one of constant attempts to keep-up with the state-of-the-art as set by Germany and, to a lesser degree, the USA.

Constantly out-performed, out-manoeuvred and over-rated; the only reason the RAF continued to fly Spitfires is that there weren't enough Lend-Lease aircraft from the USA to meet demand. P-51s and P-47s couldn't come quick enough for European theatre and the P-40s held the line in North Africa.

There are plenty of airworthy Spitfires for anyone who feels dewy-eyed about them. What we really need to find is a cache of buried Beaufighters or Battles. Now THAT would really add to the historical record.

Re:Informative graphic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627121)

I think the main reason they flew Spitfires was that stuff like the P51 didn't actually exist until 4 years after the Spitfire first flew.

For example, a major reason why they didn't use P-51s during the Battle of Britain was that they hadn't been invented yet

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627809)

For example, a major reason why they didn't use P-51s during the Battle of Britain was that they hadn't been invented yet

"...continued to fly Spitfires..."

Once P-51s were available the Spitfire was obsolete. But they still needed aircraft.

Re:Informative graphic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42628827)

Sure but "Constantly out-performed, out-manoeuvred and over-rated" was not true for many years. There's a reason why the Luftwaffe's Adolf Galland rudely told Goering "I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my group."

Re:Informative graphic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42629451)

For example, a major reason why they didn't use P-51s during the Battle of Britain was that they hadn't been invented yet

"...continued to fly Spitfires..."

Once P-51s were available the Spitfire was obsolete. But they still needed aircraft.

You should realize when the P-51 was developed it was a MAJOR flop. The United States recognized it as failure as a fighter(due to its bad engine design) and the design was slated for ground support only! The British ordered some under the lend-lease but insisted they be altered to accept the spitfire engine (R.R. Merlin) it was with the English engine that the P51 became a fighter at all and it NEVER rendered the spitfire "obsolete" as like most every aircraft in the war the Spitfire was continuously upgraded with various marks and variants and thus remained a frontline fighter in the U.K throughout the war (and even after). While the P51 had extended range due to its new laminar wing design. In a dogfight between the two with all other things equal the spitfire proved more than a match, as evidenced by tests conducted at the time.
P.S. the scoop under the fuselage is NOT for cooling the engine it is in fact, the engine air intake. The Merlin is liquid cooled and the scoop(s) under the wing(s) are for the radiators...

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42629567)

Then there was the P51-D that shit all over basically everything but jet fighters.

The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60

That Packard was ridonkulous!

Re:Informative graphic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632445)

Then there was the P51-D that shit all over basically everything but jet fighters.

The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60

That Packard was ridonkulous!

Yes, the Packard licensed Rolls Royce Merlin was the best engine the Mustang ever saw. Then there was the Spitfire MK XIV produced about the same time as the P-51D. It was powered by the Rolls Royce Griffon engine (about double the HP of the Merlin) An engine that the Mustang never saw. Too bad, the Mustang could have been a contender!....

Re:Informative graphic (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42629473)

Lets address some slanted facts such as WWII did not occur until USA's involvement at which point american made was the best and won everything.

  The spitfire was a fine aircraft, one of its flaws was infact its engine. German and US engine developments seemed to always be ahead of the english. German fuel injection for example mean an aircraft could roll or perform manourvers with out cutting out. One of the dreams of pilots was to put a 109 engine into a spitfire as you would have the agility and the power..(you couldn't of course, but that was the dream).

  By the time the US started really handing out P-51's they were screaming hotrods. Learning from all the lessons from Uk and german developments the last ones were well sorted aircraft. But this was at the end of the war.

There are no doubt lots of aircraft hidden from WWII.. Countries stashed them, people bought them and stashed them. Amazing aircraft. If you ever get a chance to talk to a WWII fight pilot who flew them. Do it. I was lucky enough to have a Spirefire test pilot come my school and talk about them.. For a whole day. It had its shortcommings, but also had its advantages.

  Arguably its the prettiest aircraft of WWII

Re:Informative graphic (2)

harald (29216) | about a year and a half ago | (#42635637)

You don't really know the history behind the P-51, do You? It first came out with a license-manufactured Allison british-designed engine. Only when the british Rolls-Royce Merlin was implanted into the P-51 it started to excel.

It is true that a german aircraft could dive straight away, whereas the Merlin-engined had to do a half-roll first in order not to empty the carburettor of fuel.

The great thing about the P-51 was it's critical wing profile, that caused much less drag. This allowed the aircraft to have the range the Spitfire needed, as well as superior speed. These wing profiles are very much in use to day in sailing crafts, both under and above the surface.

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42628239)

I guess you don't,then know that the mustang was developed to an raf requirement. The first planes delivered to the raf had rubbish performance. That is until someone had the bright idea of replacing the underpowered American engine with the spitfire's merlin engine. I believe there were around twenty marks of the spitfire which was necessary to stay ahead of the Germans.technology advances quickly in wartime.

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42630247)

It's not really that simple...there were a great number of changes made between the prototype and the final version (as would be expected). The use of a more powerful engine was just one of them, and it's not as simple as somebody coming up with a bright idea of using a more powerful engine...of course with an airplane ordered in mass, there were budget and production and practical considerations.

Re:Informative graphic (3, Informative)

21mhz (443080) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628261)

Which funnily enough is about right. The aircraft was a hack, a case of fix-what-we-have. The development history of the Spitfire is one of constant attempts to keep-up with the state-of-the-art as set by Germany and, to a lesser degree, the USA.

That's true of all designs that had been around when the war started. Messerschmitt Bf 109 was progressively souped up to the flaming hot rods that the G models were.

Constantly out-performed, out-manoeuvred and over-rated; the only reason the RAF continued to fly Spitfires is that there weren't enough Lend-Lease aircraft from the USA to meet demand.

Interestingly, the P-51 was designed to the British order, and first shipped to RAF. They found the early variants lacking, or at least not providing enough added value above Spitfires.

Re:Informative graphic (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628525)

I now know that the Spitfire's "performance" was located under the fuselage, and its "aerodynamics" were located in the tail section.

Which funnily enough is about right. The aircraft was a hack, a case of fix-what-we-have. The development history of the Spitfire is one of constant attempts to keep-up with the state-of-the-art as set by Germany and, to a lesser degree, the USA.

Constantly out-performed, out-manoeuvred and over-rated; the only reason the RAF continued to fly Spitfires is that there weren't enough Lend-Lease aircraft from the USA to meet demand. P-51s and P-47s couldn't come quick enough for European theatre and the P-40s held the line in North Africa.

There are plenty of airworthy Spitfires for anyone who feels dewy-eyed about them. What we really need to find is a cache of buried Beaufighters or Battles. Now THAT would really add to the historical record.

You overstate your case. The Spitfire had a higher power to mass ratio than any of its competitors and had a much better rate of turn than, for instance, the P-51. It had many shortcomings and many advantages compared to P-51s and P47s. Overall the range and cruise speed certainly made a P-51 a more valuable aircraft for flying the kind of missions most common late in the war, but Spitfires were pretty well suited for the Blitz.

Re:Informative graphic (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631039)

Thanks to the excellent graphic at the end of the article, I now know that the Spitfire's "performance" was located under the fuselage, and its "aerodynamics" were located in the tail section.

Just like everybody else's. Of course, many an aviatrix [wallmay.net] also knew about the importance of "aerodynamics" located in the forward fuselage.

Re:Informative graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42633471)

... and elliptical wings? the model looks like the late MKXII with square wings...

Wasn't news when it was is posted now even less so (-1, Flamebait)

avandesande (143899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626369)

EOM

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626381)

News for Nerds, stuff that matters?

Now if he had actually found something ....

Re:Eh? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626533)

Well, no news is good news, and by that standard this is some excellent journalism.

Re:Eh? (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626817)

Most journalism schools teach that good news is no news.

Re:Eh? (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626961)

A negative result is still a result.

what about germany? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626439)

i heard there was a war there too at about the same time

Re:what about germany? (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626479)

That was clearly a cover up for the secret alien invasion.

Re:what about germany? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626531)

i heard there was a war there too at about the same time

Spitfires were not shipped to Germany in creates and buried when the war ended rather than shipped back to the UK.

Re:what about germany? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626547)

err ... crates.

Re:what about germany? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627009)

Spitfires were never crated and shipped to Germany. Its too easy to fly them over. And fly them back, when they are finished with their mission. Burma was different. The logistics to return the crates to a port, locate an available ship, load them and haul them back wasn't worth the effort. So it was either abandon them (leaving them to fall into the hands of some unknown military) or disable them.

I'm actually surprised that they would have buried them to keep them from falling into 'enemy' hands. Digging them back up would have been easy. A few explosive charges would have rendered them useless and been cheaper than digging big holes.

Re:what about germany? (2)

Shotgun (30919) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627299)

Big holes were easy. They had bulldozers.

The idea was that they were just going to be hidden for a while, until someone requisitioned the resources to get them back. But then the jet age began, and no one really cared about some buried remnants of last years war. They are only interesting now for the nostalgia factor.

Re:what about germany? (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42630437)

...That and Spitfires are worth a lot of money these days (and they are screamin' fast at air races)

Re:what about germany? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631097)

If you blew them up, you couldn't recover them if the fortunes of war allowed you to reclaim that territory. Weapons, ammo, and equipment are buried all the time.

Re:what about germany? (1)

tokul (682258) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627479)

You heard about the war, but you haven't heard about combat range of Spits.

hmmmm (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626489)

"Mr Cundall insists that his eyewitness testimony is correct."
well, there is your mistake.

Eyewitness accounts, as it turns out, are very bad.

It's not rational (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626519)

I don't know whether to lambast the guy for being so f***ing stupid, or feel sorry for him because he's mentally ill. I mean, let's think about this. Why, WHY, would they bury even a single plane, let alone 124 of them? It's just not rational.

Re:It's not rational (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626567)

clearly you've never been in the military.

Re:It's not rational (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626593)

It's a wonder the word irrational exists in the English language since no one ever does anything that's irrational.

Re:It's not rational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626605)

I mean, let's think about this. Why, WHY, would they bury even a single plane, let alone 124 of them? It's just not rational.

Yeah. That's just what they WANT you to think. So that you'll never find the TRUTH, maaaan! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! The great Burmese Spitfire Graveyards are where they buried the ark! If you'd only stop to think for yourself once in a while, it'd all make sense!

Re:It's not rational (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628259)

Obviously The Doctor took them to Demons Run where they were presumably destroyed so he couldn't return them.

Re:It's not rational (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626635)

Why, WHY, would they bury even a single plane, let alone 124 of them? It's just not rational.

Saddam did during the most recent invasion of Iraq. He figured that it would protect them from bombing attacks, and he could just dig them up after the war ended.

Re:It's not rational (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626641)

Um, the UK built over 20,000 Spitfires. At the end of the war, it's easy to believe, you've got over a hundred of these things in shipping crates in Burma, where they would have been assembled and used if the war hadn't suddenly ended. Essentially all your air force pilots in Burma are going home in the next couple of weeks.
So:
    -no enemy for them to fight
    -nobody around who's trained to fly them
    -would rather the Chinese/Russians/whoever don't get their hands on them.

Choices are: ship them to the UK and then bury them, or just bury them. "Just bury them" is cheaper. Though personally, I wouldn't have left them in weatherproof crates. If you're going to abandon them, make them useless first.

Re:It's not rational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626769)

The more likely solution would be "set them on fire". I mean, if the planes were worth keeping operational they'd be worth shipping back, and burying them is a lot more work, and might result in their captture by whoever you're trying to hide them from. But destroying them is easy and ensures they're no good to anyone.

Re:It's not rational (4, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628507)

The more likely solution would be "set them on fire". I mean, if the planes were worth keeping operational they'd be worth shipping back, and burying them is a lot more work, and might result in their captture by whoever you're trying to hide them from. But destroying them is easy and ensures they're no good to anyone.

Not these planes. They would just spit it back out.

Re:It's not rational (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628253)

What about blow them up or otherwise effectively destroy them? If you're going to bury them, you're obviously willing to take the risk that someone could digs them back up and salvage parts and/or technology from them if they were not in a weatherproof or otherwise sealed container. Blowing them up with charges in key locations destroys the plan, most of the technology, and they can still be buried if you really wanted.

Spitfires were obsolete ... (5, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626691)

I don't know whether to lambast the guy for being so f***ing stupid, or feel sorry for him because he's mentally ill. I mean, let's think about this. Why, WHY, would they bury even a single plane, let alone 124 of them? It's just not rational.

Spitfires were considered technologically obsolete at the time. The British had an operational jet fighter by the end of the war. The ships necessary to transport the crates back to the UK may have been unavailable, or had higher priority cargo, or it was not cost effect, ... The mechanics needed to assemble the aircraft may have been, or were about to be, shipped home and discharged from service. Similarly the pilots may have been shipped home, or perhaps they were never sent to where the crates were in the first place.

While burial is plausible, it would also seem plausible to just store the crates and sell the aircraft off as surplus to developing nations.

The Spitfire is an amazing aircraft. An important part of history. But at the end of the war they were not as rare and valuable as they are today, and sufficient quantities were available in the UK for historical preservation and museum needs. If the aircraft in question had been returned to the UK they probably would have been scrapped and the metal sent off to the recycler. It may seem strange to us today but that was the postwar fate of many warbirds. That is why they are so rare today.

Re:Spitfires were obsolete ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632549)

Not really sure where even to start here...Please let me state first off I am NOT advocating that the planes got buried. First of all "Spitfires were considered technologically obsolete at the time." Really? Because you do understand we are not talking about Spitfire MK I's here, these are the latest most advanced MK XIV's Obsolete? I think not!! They were cutting edge for the time. The statement that "The British had an operational jet fighter by the end of the war." is a bit misleading have you ever researched the stats on the Gloster Meteor? Or the production numbers? It is a bit of a stretch to even class this "test-bed" as a fighter. Most people assume that by the end of WWII because Germany had developed jets and they were superior that everyone immediately went from props to jets. Not so. Germany was several years ahead of everyone else and EVERYONE was scrambling to catch up. The ME262 were most sought after "war prize" to get back home and reverse engineer. (well that and the Horton/ Gotha which later North American went and had secretly removed from the Smithsonian Vaults for study and developed into the B-2 stealth bomber 50 years later!) The Spitfire remained in active service with various advancing marks well into the 1950's when the jet age and the British "Vampire" eventually spelled demise. Yes it is a sad fact that many of these aluminum war birds gave their full measure to the scrap yard to fuel a post war recovery. The idea of buried spitfires in pristine condition is a great whimsical dream. I know this in my head, but I still buy a lottery ticket and consider a dollar well spent to keep the dream alive...

Re:Spitfires were obsolete ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634137)

Because you do understand we are not talking about Spitfire MK I's here, these are the latest most advanced MK XIV's Obsolete? I think not!! They were cutting edge for the time. The statement that "The British had an operational jet fighter by the end of the war." is a bit misleading have you ever researched the stats on the Gloster Meteor? Or the production numbers?

Again, Spitfire's were amazing aircraft in their time. However 1946 was past their time. According to wiki the RAF had 16 squadrons flying Meteors in 1946. Spitfires were increasing used for non-fighter roles. Photo-recon seemed popular. Plus the Spitfires seemed to be migrating from the RAF to colonial and developing nations.

I'm a little more familiar with the P-51. It too was still in use in the 1950s. However like the Spitfire it was technologically obsolete and was being used for non-fighter roles. In the Korean war the P-51s were used for close air support, their slower speed allowed them to hit targets closer to friendly troops. The front line fighters of that time, the jets, were too fast and needed more of a safety margin between friendly troops and targets. Perhaps some Spitfires were used by the RAF for similar reasons.

Re:It's not rational (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626749)

There is some plausible reasons for burying the planes, but to think that eyewitness locals would not dig them up for scrap in the intervening years is stupid.

Re:It's not rational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42631145)

Good point. I wouldn't be too surprised if they actually were found and sold off by the Burmese. It wouldn't be that hard to ship them off to someplace like China in the post-war years. (Such airplanes wouldn't be a bad thing to have on your side during the early years of the Chinese Revolution.) Not to mention despite being considered outdated since the beginning of the jet age, these planes would still be useful for ground support against opposing forces that have no air force of their own. If not used for military action, high performance aircraft still make great military trainers. Thus there are plenty of 3rd world countries that would find antiquated aircraft quite useful.

Re: It's not rational (2)

grcumb (781340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42630089)

It happened a lot at the end of WWII. The island of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific has a popular dive spot known as Million Dollar Point, where the US dumped hundreds of vehicles and crates of equipment into the ocean rather than ship it home. The story goes that Britain and France refused an offer to sell the materiel at 6 cents on the dollar because they thought the US would have no choice in the end.but to give it to them. That US general in charge ordered everything dumped in a fit of pique. Ah, colonial days. Such fun!

Re:It's not rational (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631049)

I've got a friend that used to be in the Army.
He buried a Jeep once. Ran perfectly. He even drove it into the hole.
Of course, I suppose it was the other guy with the bulldozer that didn't know it was there that *technically* did the burying...
My buddy was actually just trying to hide it as a practical joke.......

recycle much? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626575)

Why would burying them in the ground seem like a better option than recycling the metal and the engine and various engine parts? Quite a few fit into automobiles or a car could be designed that used the parts. How strong is the evidence that anyone anywhere ever actually put them in the ground?

Re:recycle much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626703)

Are you fucking stupid? It was WW2. The main concern was denying the enemy materiel once the planes could no longer be used.

Re:recycle much? (1, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626707)

Well, they were obsolete when they arrived, and the world had just undergone a major conflict - the planes would have to be shipped back to the UK and stripped, which would have cost money. Why spend that money, when you can spend less to mine, refine and produce the metal locally using British labour, with money ending up in British pockets?

You forget just how many WW2 aircraft were cut up, scrapped and simply buried because the cost of recycling them was too high at that time - there are over 150 Lancasters and 400 Spitfires cut up and buried at one location in Wiltshire, UK, all done in the same period that we are talking about here.

Re:recycle much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42628625)

a car could be designed that used the parts

A car that fits the 2000 hp engine?

I want one, please.

Re:recycle much? (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628977)

FTFY!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJn7LHE83cc
You actually CAN have that! And its called BRUTUS!

Re:recycle much? (1)

palndrumm (416336) | about a year and a half ago | (#42629893)

Also, someone has managed to stuff a 27L Meteor engine (essentially the non-supercharged version of the Spitfire's Merlin engine) into a Rover SD1 :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1BnhZsS8a0 [youtube.com]

Re:recycle much? (1)

ZosX (517789) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633055)

That was super cool.

Dig??? Get someone competent for the task (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626669)

Geophysical methods would be far more appropriate and much cheaper. A magnetometer would locate the engines very quickly and ground penetrating radar and seismic would take care of the rest.

Re:Dig??? Get someone competent for the task (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626995)

...And here I thought maybe you'd recommend bringing in Sallah.

Re:Dig??? Get someone competent for the task (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627613)

ground penetrating radar

Works great when the soil is dry or dry-ish. Gets worse in wetter soil. Southeast Asia is kind of the place used as either a worst case scenario for ground penetrating radar for testing, or as a reason other methods are needed since several projects (such as mine clearing) were found to just be useless there.

Who knows? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42626683)

The tropical terrain makes searches ever harder. I have a great uncle who was shot down (presumably) over New Guinea. Like many Australians, he and the navigator were simply declared MIA. The resources weren't available for a search at the time, obviously. My Grandpa (his brother) was stationed in New Guinea. Even in that period, he told me, the climate attacked everything man-made, from clothes, boots, and leather, to fuel dumps.

Re:Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632035)

Really? My grandfather Lew Lockhard in Franklin, TN ("Blue 2") flew P-38's, P-39's, and P-40's... mainly P-38's out of New Guinea... mainly bomber escort missions. He bailed out once and hit the silk... another time a plane caught fire on the runway and he had to jump out... and another time he had to land on an atoll (30 mile and refuel himself with a hand crank pump).

He is still alive, as is his flight leader Sully ("Blue 1"), and his flight leaders P-38 is sitting on the ground in the jungle in New Guinea... in an area protected from disturbance so the natives aren't bothered.

As his flight leader crashed in the jungle, and had to trek his way out and kill a headhunter along the way... and ended up in the newspaper back home about it... Some college students made a dramatasized movie about his flight leader... Blue 1.. called "Injury Slight, Please Advise"... and hiked to see the P-38, still sitting on the jungle floor. Its in an occasional stream bed, that floods when it rains real hard.

Movie:
http://injuryslight.com

Some random footage:
http://marlee2.peachcountry.com/Hagen_P38_(high_res).mov

http://marlee2.peachcountry.com/Talk Philly(highres).mov

Pic - the Marlee 2, when the stream is flooded:
http://air-war.org/image_marlee2.jpg

Pics - grandpa:
http://air-war.org/image_lew_P47_1944.jpg

http://air-war.org/image_lew_pilot_card_low_res.jpg

http://air-war.org/image_blue_two_small.jpg

What's really cool, to me anyway, is a P-38 identical to my grandfathers, that flew right next to it, is still sitting on the jungle floor and is going to stay there because nobody can screw around with it. You know, if that thing was sitting anywhere out in the desert on the ground in the US, it would of been scooped up long ago and restored or robbed for parts by scumbag theives... self proclaimed... salvagers.

Re:Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632103)

Here's a few other clips about the P-47 and Swamp Ghost mentioned in the Fred Hagen Philly Interview above, for those interested:

http://marlee2.peachcountry.com/Hagen_P47_(High_Res).mov

http://marlee2.peachcountry.com/Swamp_Ghost_small.mov

http://marlee2.peachcountry.com/SwampGhostTease.mov

This are Quicktime .mov format, which will play if you have the Quicktime plugin installed in your browser... otherwise you right click and save them to your desktop and play them with VideoLan, Quicktime, or maybe Windows Media Player.

Re:Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632135)

I can add this... according to my grandpa what my dad say (who was an air traffic controller)... after the war, instead of shipping all those planes back, they just bulldozed them into big pits and buried them... it was cheaper then shipping them back home.

The P-38, for example, was one fast fighter plane great for long distance escort missions... but with two engines, it was also a bitch and expensive to maintain. The P-51 Mustang, which was just as good or better, was a lot cheaper to maintain, which is why the P-51 remained in service as a backup piston fighter up until Korea... by then it was horribly outclassed. But other planes, like P-38... an all out superiority fighter at any cost... was just too expensive to keep in service, maintain, and bring back... so they just bulldozed the lot of them into big pits, or ravines, and buried them all uncermoniously.

     

Re:Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42632851)

I can add this... according to my grandpa what my dad say (who was an air traffic controller)... after the war, instead of shipping all those planes back, they just bulldozed them into big pits and buried them... it was cheaper then shipping them back home.

The P-38, for example, was one fast fighter plane great for long distance escort missions... but with two engines, it was also a bitch and expensive to maintain. The P-51 Mustang, which was just as good or better, was a lot cheaper to maintain, which is why the P-51 remained in service as a backup piston fighter up until Korea... by then it was horribly outclassed. But other planes, like P-38... an all out superiority fighter at any cost... was just too expensive to keep in service, maintain, and bring back... so they just bulldozed the lot of them into big pits, or ravines, and buried them all uncermoniously.

   

The War was over.
Gone was the blade.
Couldn't dig with a spoon.
So they got a bulldozer.
No ceremony, just
Burma Shave

Look up (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626843)

I'm wondering if they should perhaps be looking for a rather large tree with strange-shaped fruit.

Burma? Bermuda? (0)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626959)

Have they looked in the triangle?

who actually cares? (0, Offtopic)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627047)

In all seriousness, When I wrote this this morning, I didn't care, after reading the comments.... nothings changed. I guess we can put this one down to a slow news day! Still better than seeing 1000 news stories about how an inch of snow has yet again crippled Britain.

Re:who actually cares? (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627129)

I'm sure there are some people who are interested.

Re:who actually cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42633387)

hmm, you're one of those mindless yobbo fucks, hey?

Something something (1, Redundant)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627381)

Something something
Something something
Something something
Something Spitfire
Burma Shave!

FAILZORS?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627593)

No evidence, what? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631699)

I don't get it? The article starts with "The archaeologists have concluded that evidence does not support the original claim..." Then a spokesman says " there are no Spitfires"
The article then continues by giving evidence that the spitfires might exist; "Before the dig, scientists had discovered large concentrations of metal under the ground ... plus some crate was found (although the article doesn't say why this is, or is not evidence. And that is it. There is no more mention in the article why they believe there is no spitfires.
There is a sidebar where they claim to have gone over the records, and say there is no record of the burials, and that probably the metal concentrations come from something else.
So what they are saying is, "we don't really know, but we'll just say there aren't any."

That's odd (1)

loonyjuice (1744114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42645751)

I seem to recall, when it first made the news, that they had used some sort of underground radar to confirm the aircraft's presence and could make out the outline of them all. Seems odd that it turns out they aren't there, unless I dream't that first bit? Conspiracy theory anyone?
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