Relics of lost 1943 US bomber from WWII found in Sicily

In search of lost heroes, a team of U.S. Army veterans and archaeologists have uncovered the traces of a lost American WWII heavy bomber in Sicily that has been missing since 1943.

The North American B-25 Mitchell heavy bomber was piloted by six airmen when it was shot down on July 10, 1943 while targeting a camouflaged German airstrip amid olive groves and pastures.

Possible human remains were also found at the site, which could identify airmen whose bodies were never found.

However, the Pentagon’s Defense POW / MIA accounting agency, which was involved in the excavation, told DailyMail.com “Many have said we found the remains of 5 pilots, but that is not true.”

“We have found possible human remains as well as other physical evidence, but we won’t know for sure until our forensic scientists have had a chance to thoroughly examine what was found.

The excavation is located near Sciacca, on the southwest coast of Sicily, and was first identified in 2017 as a potential bomber crash site.

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A team of US Army veterans and archaeologists have discovered the traces of an American WWII heavy bomber lost in Sicily since 1943. Members of the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) hold a ceremony honorable transport for the remains found at the site

On the evening of July 9, 1943, the United States and Great Britain, who led the Allied powers, launched the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky.

Operation Husky was a massive assault on the southern coast of Sicily that lasted a total of 38 days until August 17, but July 10 was the official start of the battle.

It was the second largest attack by Allied forces, the first being on D-Day, against German and Italian troops.

The attack involved more than 3,000 ships disembarking more than 150,000 soldiers on the ground, covered by more than 4,000 planes.

In search of lost heroes, a team of U.S. Army veterans and archaeologists have discovered traces of a lost U.S. WWII heavy bomber in Sicily that has been missing since 1943 (stock photo)

In search of lost heroes, a team of U.S. Army veterans and archaeologists have discovered traces of a lost U.S. WWII heavy bomber in Sicily that has been missing since 1943 (stock photo)

The searches were carried out by a team from the Pentagon's Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency, which locates and identifies missing US military personnel around the world.

The searches were carried out by a team from the Pentagon’s Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency, which locates and identifies missing US military personnel around the world.

The team spent November and December at the site, clearing clay and mud in near-freezing temperatures in hopes of finding the plane and its fallen airmen.

The team spent November and December at the site, clearing clay and mud in near-freezing temperatures in hopes of finding the plane and its fallen airmen.

They were only opposed on the island by two German divisions, as the Nazi leadership continued to believe that the main assault would take place in Sardinia and Corsica.

On the night of August 11, the Germans began a well-executed withdrawal that saw 40,000 German troops and 60,000 Italians cross the continent with minimal Allied hindrance.

However, the North American B-25 Mitchell heavy bomber was lost in action.

The searches were carried out by a team from the Pentagon’s Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency, which locates and identifies missing US military personnel around the world.

Pictured is the Sciacca excavation site in Sicily, where U.S. military veterans and archaeologists work to find lost American heroes

Pictured is the Sciacca excavation site in Sicily, where U.S. military veterans and archaeologists work to find lost American heroes

On the evening of July 9, 1943, the Allied Powers launched the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky.  Pictured is a view of Agrigento, near the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, July 10, 1943

On the evening of July 9, 1943, the Allied Powers launched the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky. Pictured is a view of Agrigento, near the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, July 10, 1943

This group is also made up of veterans who donate their time not only to find lost ships and the remains of those who died in action in the hope of restoring peace to their families once and for all.

The team spent November and December at the site, clearing clay and mud in near-freezing temperatures in hopes of finding the plane and its fallen airmen.

Archaeologist Clive Vella, scientific director of the expedition, told AP: “We owe (their) families precise answers.”

The North American B-25 Mitchell heavy bomber with a crew of six was one of 52 air casualties with missing personnel in the region during World War II, primarily in 1943 as the Allies moved into the southeast. from Sicily.

The remains were recently recovered from a site in Italy and will be transported and examined by forensic anthropologists and odontologists at the DPAA laboratory.  In the photo, a member of the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) holds an honorable transport ceremony

The remains were recently recovered from a site in Italy and will be transported and examined by forensic anthropologists and odontologists at the DPAA laboratory. In the photo, a member of the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) holds an honorable transport ceremony

A crew member was located immediately and buried in the town cemetery.

The body was claimed in 1944 by US military officials, but the other five airmen are still missing.

In the decades that followed, the crash site “like most others in the Mediterranean region, was salvaged for metal, the land restored to its original use,” Vella said. ‘

Most of the scars from an accident were gone.

The evidence, which includes possible human bones as well as potential remains from the plane, has been taken to a lab in the United States for examination.

Globally, more than 81,600 US military personnel are missing, including 72,350 from World War II, 7,550 from the Korean War and 1,584 from the Vietnam War.

And more than 41,000 of the total are presumed lost at sea.

The North American B-25 Mitchell is a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Force during World War II.

Operation Husky was a massive assault on the southern coast of Sicily that lasted a total of 38 days until August 17, but July 10 was the official start of the battle.  In the photo, an American reconnaissance unit searches for enemy snipers in Messina, Sicily, in August 1943.

Operation Husky was a massive assault on the southern coast of Sicily that lasted a total of 38 days until August 17, but July 10 was the official start of the battle. In the photo, an American reconnaissance unit searches for enemy snipers in Messina, Sicily, in August 1943.

The North American B-25 Mitchell is a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Force during World War II.

The North American B-25 Mitchell is a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Force during World War II.

It became the most heavily armed aircraft in the world, was used for high and low altitude bombing, strafing, photo reconnaissance, underwater patrol and even as a fighter and distinguished itself as the aircraft who completed the historic Tokyo Raid in 1942.

It took 8,500 original drawings and 195,000 man-hours of engineering to produce the first, but nearly 10,000 were produced from late 1939, when the contract was awarded to North American Aviation, until in 1945.

Named after famed air power pioneer Brigadier-General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell, it was a double-tailed, mid-wing land monoplane powered by twin 1700 horsepower Wright Cyclone engines.


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