Axis Warplane Survivors (Book)

Axis Warplane Survivors

Axis Warplane Survivors

A guidebook to the preserved Military Aircraft of the Second World War Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy, and Japan, joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia; the co-belligerent states of Thailand, Finland, San Marino and Iraq; and the occupied states of Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Vichy France, Greece, Ljubljana, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The book may be ordered online at:


During the Second World the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) faced a number of well-equipped enemy opponents, often paying the highest price in the engagements that took place in the air war.  Canadian casualty statistics for the war amounted to 46,998 dead, including 17,974 who served with our Air Forces.  Canadian Museums have done stellar work in preserving much of our military history, and for the aviation enthusiast, examples of most (but not all) of the aircraft flown by the RCAF and CF have been well taken care of for the public to see.  

As a historian and aviation enthusiast, I wanted to see more of the RCAF aircraft that fought in the Second World War as well as examples of the opponents they faced in hostile skies.  Where were the Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and the Messerschmitt Bf 109s?  What about the Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel jets and Me 163 Komet rocket fighters, the Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger and the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen?  I began reading up on them, and have visited many aviation museums to see them. Two captured Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a "Sturmvogel" jet fighters were shipped to Canada after the war ended.  Unfortunately, they were later destroyed.  So were many other types.  A small handful of captured War Prizes survived, and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum does have an Me 163 Komet and an He 162 Volksjäger on display at Ottawa, Ontairo.  My question is, where did the rest ot the Second World War combat aircraft go?  Other countries must have lots of them, or so I thought, and so I began to hunt for them in earnest, and unfortunately discovered the same story elsewhere – most of them have been destroyed.

The list of surving Second World War aircraft is fairly short.  Most have been scrapped.  A few are being recovered from crash sites and being put back together for display, but you would need to make an extensive travel itinerary for yourself if you want to see them. A number of dedicated restorers have done a great service for those of us with the interest.  Gifted technicians have done their best to restore and preserve these iconic pieces of aviation history, and made it possible to visit and see the aircraft we have leared about in history books up close and for real.  You just need to know where to look.  Many of the Axis aircraft listed here are or were located in Canada.  Good hunting to you.

(RCAF Photo)

Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a "Schwalbe" (Wk. Nr. 111690), coded "White 5", 1./JG 7, repainted in RAF markings and designated AM80, shown after its arrival in Canada, alongside an RCAF de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito fighter.

(Leslie Corness, CANAV Books Collection Photo)

Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a "Sturmvogel" (Wk. Nr. 500210), coded "Red 1", painted "Yellow 17", 1./JG 7, captured at Schleswig.  Designated RAF AM52, later VH509, it is shown here disassembled and stored at RCAF Station Downsview, Ontario after 1 Sep 1945.  AM 52 was sold to Cameron Logan of New Scotland, Ontario, ca 1947, with 300 other war-surplus RCAF aircraft, and was eventually scrapped by him at New Scotland.

(Ed Das Photo)

Messerschmitt Me 262a (Wk Nr. 500210), previously coded "Yellow 17", painted as RAF AM52, Serial No. VH509, Ontario.

Harold A. Skaarup

Those of us who live in the free world need to remember how well equipped and often determined the adversaries our aircrews faced were, and how difficult and remarkable an achievement it was to have succeeded in the face of tremendous casualties.

For additional details and photos on captured Axis Warplanes visit the webpages on this site covering "RCAF War Prize Flights",  "Canadian Warplane Trophies of the Second World War", "German Warplanes of the Second World War preserved", "Italian Warplanes of the Second World War preserved", and "Japanese Warplane Survivors".

(USAAF Photo)

Messerschmitt Bf 109 (Wk. Nr. TBC), 5F+12, on a captured airfield in Germany with a USAAF North American P-51D Mustang in the background.  One of a number of Luftwaffe aircraft found on airfields in the British and American sectors at the end of the war.

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