The Focke Wulf Kondor was one of the most emblematic planes of the air battles of World War II over the Atlantic. It was a large-sized aircraft of civil origin adapted as a reconnaissance, maritime patrol and attack aircraft. The Kondor registration + F8 BT belonged to the 9 / KG40 squadron for long distance recognition based in Bordeaux and Cognac and which was occupied with carrying out missions in the area between the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic.
The plane, with the emblems of the German Luftwaffe, had four 9-cylinder BMW engines. Its weight was 17,000 Kg and had a wingspan of 32.9 metres. It was equipped with 20 mm guns, 13 and 7.92 mm machine guns. It had the capacity to carry six 250 kg bombs or two torpedoes. This aircraft was equipped with a search radar, probably a FuG Rostock or FuG 200 Hohentwiel.
The bottom of the Ria de Muros, at the level of Monte Louro guards the remains of the aircraft in whose accident, of which the causes are unknown, killed all the members of the crew, without it being possible to recover the bodies. The crew consisted of Ofw Richard Schöngraf pilot. Uffz Kurt Groneberg, copilot. Uffz Helmuth Tiemann. Uffz Eric Althammer. Fw Rudolf Lätsch. Ogfr Ernst Thiel.
The accident was sighted by the inshore fishing boat Alondra. Its captain, Carlos Arda, reported what happened to the authorities. This was his statement:
“The undersigned, ship’s captain, Carlos Arda, resident of Marin and master of the fishing boat Alondra, page 4,817 of the 3rd list of Vigo, has the honour to inform you that this morning, being on the boat dedicated to the tasks of fishing at the level of the Muros estuary, at about 11 a.m., saw a German plane flying at very low altitude and heading north, which nose dived about two miles away from the fishing boat Alondra. We immediately went to the place where the plane sank to give appropriate support, this resulting fruitless, because after spending four hours at the place it had nose dived, we could only pick up some packages on the surface. Due to this we headed for this port (Vigo), reaching it at about five in the afternoon. The number of packages were eleven, one that was part of the landing gear and ten more, apparently, oil and gas deposits.”
This was not the only plane crash that occurred in the Costa da Morte during the war. Between 1941 and 1943 there were frequent flights from war planes both from the Allies and the Axis. The memory of aerial battles, demolitions and forced water landings remains in the memories of old sailors.
Annex: Aircraft detained in Spain during World War II. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2014.