On Wednesday, this Halifax bomber was found in the depth of the Trondheimsfjord. (Photo: NTNU / NRK)
At a depth of 180 meters, students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) did a sensational finding by using a mini submarine in the Trondheimsfjord: A British Halifax World War II heavy bomber used in the attempt to sink the German battleship Tirpitz.
– We have found the wreckage of a Halifax bomber from World War II. The plane was most likely on a bombing raid against the Tirpitz in 1942, but was shot down in the attempt, says Martin Ludvigsen, Professor at the Marine Technology Centre at NTNU in Trondheim to NRK.
The plane was found just outside Trondheim and is located only 600 meters from the shore.
– We were out with six students who follow a course in underwater engineering. They came from the Marine Technology Center at NTNU. The students have been tasked to plan and carry out this mission, says Ludvigsen.
14 British Bombers Lost
Tirpitz, which was considered a major threat to Allied convoys between the U.K. and Murmansk, was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany’s navy.
It stayed in Norwegian waters from early 1942 until 12 November 1944 when it was severely damaged by Lancaster bombers and capsized off Tromsø during “Operation Catechism” – the last of nine attempts to sink or sabotage the feared battleship.
A recognition drawing of the Tirpitz made for allied pilots by the US Navy. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
The Halifax bombers operated from advanced bases in the North East of Scotland, and operations in the Trondheimsfjord were on the limit of their capacity: 14 aircrafts were either shot down or crashed and never returned home.
Still in Good Condition
The bomber is still in relatively good condition although it has been in salt water for over 70 years.
– It has a wingspan of 30 meters, and it is a four-engine aircraft. The seawater corrodes the fuselage, but the aircraft is complete. The wings are still attached, and the engines are where they should be, says Ludvigsen.
It is made detailed investigations of the Halifax to document as much as possible, but it will probably be both too expensive and difficult raising it from the bottom of the Trondheimsfjord.
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews
Sources: NRK, snl.no