excerpts of the above mentioned book (strangers in a strange land)
The massive allied raids over germany and occupied europe created a huge logistical problem for the luftwaffe: how to remove and make use of the tons of aircraft wreckage scattered over the eurpean landscape, since every heavy bomber provided aproximattely 35,000 pounds of potentially useful salvage..............
These units, known as berge-bataillone
(salvage battallions) were under the special control of the luftwaffe. Their mission was to investigate each crash site, evaluate the salvage potential and ship it to the proper destination...
The majority of the aircraft that crashed were completely destroyed and usable only as scrap metal.
Because gasoline was strictly rationed, the wreckage was usually transported by truck to the nearest railway station where it was loaded onto railway cars for transportation to the nearest salvage yard. To transport the wreckage of a heavy bomber, at least three railway cars were usually required.
The berge- battalions
were organized into Kompanie
(companies) and bergentrupps
(salvage unit) . usually a trupp
was asigned to investigate the crash site and salvage the aircraft. A truppp
normally consisted of fifteen soldiers led by three corporals. .....
At every crash site the bergentrupp
prepared a four part salvage report that would be sent to several luftwaffe commands.
When planes were not destroyed during landing (when the pilot decided to crash land in order to save a badly wounded crewman, who was unable to bail out). Others mistook german territory for neutral countries such as sweeden, spain or switzerland and made no attempt to destroy their aircraft. In such cases, the Luftwaffe demanded careful handling of the aircraft and its equipment.
In the event the airframe was not repairable, hard to obtain items, such as engines and propellers were carefully salvaged . these were sent to the Beauteparks
(captured item depot) for storage and possible use as spare parts for captured flyable aircraft. New or unique items of equipment were sent to Reichlin or the Deustche Verschsanstalt fur Lufthart
(DVL) at Berlin-adlershof for further investigation.
Intact items, primarly engines, were assigned to technical colleges as instructional aids.
Tires were sent to the tire storage facilities at the W. Heidik factory at Neuenhaben.
Parachutes were sent to the Textilwerke Henking K.G. at Seifhennersdorf
Salvaged fuel was stored in fuel dumps at Nienburg, Derben, Neuburg and Dulmen
The german aircraft industry was supplied with captured material and Junkers used two salvaged B-24 main landing gear assemblies for the Ju 287 V1
experimental jet bomber prototype.
The luftwaffe salvaged any usable aircraft parts to supply their “captured figther rebuild program”, a repair center was established at Goittingern and parts salvaged from fighter crashes were shipped there.
gliders were high interest items and carefully investigated at the Deustche Forschunganstalt fur Segelflugzeuge
(german research institute for gliders) at Darmastadt-Griesenheim.
Salvaged engines were overhauled at the Beutepark 5 der Luftwaffe
at Paris-nanterre from which engines were supplied to the units operating captured equipment.
Luftwaffe Secret order Nr 03743 of july 14, 1944 issued by Luftwaffe-Kommando XI
stated that after luftwaffe aircraft , B-17’s with damage of less than 80%
had the highest priority for salvage and repair. B17's were usually repaired at Rechlin.
Most downed american aircraft , even those with minor damage, were usually scrapped as soon as the salvage teams had finished cannibalizing the aircraft of all usable equipment.
The salvage work was hurried since an intact aircraft would soon draw the attention of prowling allied fighters. A number of repairable allied aircraft were destroyed by strafing attacks before they could be succesfully recovered.
In addition to the recovery of allied aircraft, the Berge-batallione
were also responsible for salvage of luftwaffe aircraft.
if you need more specific info, there are other sections of the book regarding the recycling process and the beuteparks
, (not very detailed, general info.)
interesting link regarding several Republic P-47D captured intact and used by the german Luftwaffe: