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Old 31st July 2013, 19:33
Ruediger Kaufmann Ruediger Kaufmann is offline
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Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Hi all,

we would inform you that we had found the crash place of well known Oberleutnant Otto Kittel in Latvia.

We had searched for it together since 2009 and my friend Sergej Azarenoks hat found the crash place.

Here is our report.

Short History about Otto Kittel: Oberleutnant Otto Kittel was born at 21. February 1917 in Kronsdorf. After fighting at the east front he was the fourth German Fighter ace with 267 areal victories. He was high decorated by Adolf Hitler himself with the “Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords”.
He was team leader of fighter unit 2. Staffel of I. /JG54 and flow a Focke Wulf Fw190 A-8 with Marking “black1” and Serial Number 690282 at the Kurland battle in Latvia. At the 16. February 1945 he attacked together with his comrade Oberfähnrich Renner 14 Russian IL2 planes that made a low level attack on German positions. He shot down one of the IL2 but was shot by another and crashed at the battle line. He is/was still Missing In Action. The shot down IL2 made an emergency landing.

After a lot of private investigations and searching teams in the last 67 years our Team was the first one that found the crash place and gets the allowances of the “State of Latvia” for a search in this area.
From the „Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V“: (German War Grave Commission) visited two experts at the crash place. They get Administrative from Germany and Poland.
Since 2009 the son of Otto Kittel was involved at our searchings and visited the crash side together with his wife at the recovery.

Investigations, searching and digging at the crash area:

After some talkings with old eyewitnesses and check up the official German position of the lost, it was 100% clear that the fist found parts are from the plane of Otto Kittel. We had found later parts of the Aircraft serial number too.
The hole area are today a smal wooden and swamp place with a lot of Mosquito’s and other small animals. The only way for a search and digging was at the summer time.
All of our team and some friends of Sergej were searching four days in the area with special metal detectors also for deep signals of steel and aluminum parts square feet by square feet. We had found all parts in the earth and identify them exactly for rebuild the situation of the crash in February 1945.

This is our investigation in fact of the found parts and there places:

After the shot down in about 150 Meters highness (450 feet) Otto Kittel must have open his safety belt and his harness of the parachute too!!! So he must be still alive before the crash and prepare an emergency landing!!!
The canopy parts so it was still closed! So he had not time to shot the canopy off by a special Focke Wulf system.
At the emergency landing his plane scattered for about 300 Meters in a not lucky downhill area. We know that there was a lot of snow at February 1945. The plane was totally broken in thousands of pieces at the first small trees and stopped at a high wooden place and exploded by broken of its fuel tanks. The radial 14 cylinder BMW 801 engine was cut and thrown about 70 Meters into the woods.
The broken parts of the 12mm steel protection pilot seat show that the pilot must be killed immediately after passing the first small trees and the broken off of the cockpit section of the plane.
We searched the area from the broken cockpit to the last parts of the broken engine steep by steep for any human remains. Some bones were found here, but was not identified as human at time. The hole area was a fighting zone too. The experts of the German War Grave Commission take it for further analyses but we think all together that it must be from Otto Kittel. The next weeks / months will show there analysis.

We had fund one Stainless steel parachute harness belt lock and a small piece of his flying glaces as personal items. The Stainless steel belt lock was not destroyed in any case, so he must have open it before the crash. Sergej gave it to the son as present. (see photo)

We had recovered a lot of Aircraft parts but please note that we would give no further special details about the crash place and the recovery.

Ruediger Kaufmann (Germany) and Sergej Azarenoks (Lativa)
31. July 2013

Here are some photos about:
Team
Crash area
Sergej together with the son and his wife
Stainless steel Parachute belt lock
Please excuse the bad quality of photo from the Fw190 Gas trottle

Last edited by Ruediger Kaufmann; 22nd January 2015 at 14:06.
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Old 1st August 2013, 04:26
Rob Romero Rob Romero is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Fantastic find and research. Thanks you so much for resolving this aviation mystery.

Thanks!
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Old 1st August 2013, 05:20
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Nokose Nokose is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Ruediger and Sergej, Outstanding job! His son can have some closure as soon as the war grave commission does confirmation.
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Old 1st August 2013, 07:51
gilles collaveri gilles collaveri is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Ruediger and Sergej,

congratulations for the professionalism of your job;

It is great that you managed your work with all authorizations (that is not easy to obtain) and in a spirit of memory (and not business!)

A couple of questions :

- will these parts be shown in a museum ?
- Could you show us parts with the WNr ? that must be moving;

This must have kept busy for years and we can say you did an outstanding job.

GC
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Old 1st August 2013, 08:03
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Peter Kassak Peter Kassak is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

congratulations, nice find and another puzzle of history is complete...
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Old 1st August 2013, 22:46
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

FANTASTIC JOB...well worth a book of Archeological and Military History!
By the way...Kittel deserve a full biography!!
CONGRATULATIONS to your team!...and YES, keep us informed of new information/pictures.
Really AMAZING....67 years researching....you deserve it!
Adriano Baumgartner
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Old 1st August 2013, 23:49
Nick Hector Nick Hector is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Looking at the dense growth, it's no wonder he was missing for so long.
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Old 2nd August 2013, 01:57
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Adriano,

Franz Kurowski published one in 2007. Oberleutnant Otto Kittel: Der erfolgreichste Jagdflieger des Jagdgeschwaders 54, published by Flechsig. 158 pages. ISBN 978-3-88189-733-4. I have not attempted to read it, and I have never heard great things about the books Kurowski has produced. I would love to see a biography from a publisher like 296.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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Old 2nd August 2013, 12:28
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

Dear Frank,

I did not know about that "biography" of Kittel...that's good news indeed! Maybe one day it will be edited in English too…

I do agreed with you that some well known historians SOME TIMES do not write with their heart, rather with economical interests, etc…taking notes from previous published works, etc…I have heard from RAF veterans, from instance, that some pictures they have “loaned” were never returned by some of those well known historians…Have heard too, by another historian that he still was not paid by the Editors, 7 or more years after they published his book…After some experiences, as a “sprog”/apprentice freelancer historian by hobby and passion” me too I learned that when you do pass information to some Editors in the UK, they do grab it and think in revenues for their own benefit…Just for an example…from my sample to one of those well known UK Houses, they managed to contact 2 veterans and edit their own memories…thanks to the tip and ADDRESSES that was on letters I had received from the veterans themselves (that were on my book)…I am happy for the vets, who had their own stories published/edited…but it was not a fair play by the Editors.

I do write for passion (not for living) and up to now, my only edited work was an article on a Brazilian magazine, about one of our country men that flew for the RAF in WW2. ALL revenues were donated to charity and it is my wish that some day we will manage to have a certain amount or percentage from those WW2 books donated to charity…How can I appropriate myself from histories that are not mine to earn money for me? NO, Frank…not me, do you see!? If one day I do manage to edit my works…the revenues will be fully donated to charity.

We, who had access to the veterans, we are indeed privileged men…their friendship is the most valuable gift we could have earned…BUT…this is my personal and maybe utopian thoughts.

There are dozens of well known flyers from both sides that do deserve a full biography…the list is huge and, when I saw that the son of Kittel was present at the site…I first thought of a marvelous biography, with full details of his career…the kind of book that we, and most of members on this forum would be pleased to read.

Do hope you will keep your Professional and admirable work on the USAF Fighter Aces. There are indeed some Historians styles and personalities that we (readers and sprog writers) do admire…Wish you and yours a nice weekend, in peace and health.

Yours must sincerely,
Adriano Silva Baumgartner (a sprog – yet to be historian with a huge passion for books and Military History)
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Old 19th August 2013, 23:43
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Jan Bobek Jan Bobek is offline
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Re: Crash place of Otto Kittel found

This is really great find.
If I remember well, I have reference to German ground unit that found Kittel´s body and buried him.
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