Unique Me 323 “Gigant” wreck found off Sardinian coast

An Me 323 Gigant. (Photo Bundesarchiv (CC BY-SA))

Italian researchers claim to have discovered the wreck of a Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant heavy cargo/troop transport off the Sardinian coast. Only 200 Me 323 were built during the war and none has survived to this day, the only remnants of the type being a main spar owned by the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr (German Air Force Museum), near Berlin.

The plane was reportedly shot down by a Bristol Beaufighter on 26 July 1943 as it left Sardinia for Pistoia in Italy. A few troops onboard the aircraft managed to evacuate the aircraft before it sank, but most passengers were trapped inside and drowned.

If the wreck does prove to be an Me 323, this would be a major discovery for aviation historians. Amateur historian and diver Cristina Freghieri claims she had been searching for the wreck for a year but had not expected to find it here. The wreck was discovered by using a wire-guided camera, and was then explored by a team of divers. The few seconds of footage that have been made available would tend to show the wreck is indeed an Me 323 (see below, starting at 0:57).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2012/09/18/unique-me-323-gigant-wreck-found-off-sardinian-coast/


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    • peter westeneng on October 11, 2012 at 3:56 AM
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    great find

    • Ed on November 29, 2012 at 5:19 PM
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    In WEB Griffin’s “The Spymasters”, this type of plane is stumbled across by a matte black OSS-assigned C-47 and shot down by the heavy machine gun the Gooney Bird had attached at the cargo door. Interestingly, Griffin’s plane was bound for Italy or Sardinia.

    I bet we got our idea of the Globemaster from this beast.

    • General Sultan on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM
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    Wow, great find!

    • John Penley on May 4, 2021 at 10:15 PM
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    If this is a Me 323 it is probably the one shot down by Sq Ldr Maydwell DSO DFC flying a Marauder from 14 Sqn. After the war he met the German pilot Walter Honig at his flying club in Germany

    • John Penley on May 4, 2021 at 10:23 PM
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    An Me 323 was shot down by Sqn Ldr Maydwell DSO DFC of 14 Sqn flying a Marauder on 30 July near Corsica. In 1982 he met the German pilot Walter Honig at his flying club in Germany.

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  3. […] of plans to raise it (yet), but the temptation to do so must be pretty strong.      Here is a link to a 2-minute video about that wreck which has footage in it of the Messerschmidt Me 323 in use during WWII.     […]

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