What happens when an aircraft is captured by an opposing combatant? No surprise the best answer may be “it depends”. The vast majority of captured aircraft will be wreckage. Either brought down in combat or captured in a damaged or disabled state. So often in these cases the wreck is simply parted out and melted down.
But occasionally an aircraft in flyable, or at least repairable condition is captured. At the most obvious level such aircraft are thoroughly examined by air intelligence people. Especially if the type is new or rarely seen, a captured (mostly) intact aircraft will be treated as a major source of valuable information. Everything from how does the aircraft perform, what are its strengths and weaknesses, what does the enemy’s technological and industrial ability look like and a whole host of similar findings.
Most major combatants had whole departments that specialized in gathering as much of this sort of information as they could. Smaller militaries might consider re-using the aircraft for themselves, especially if they acquire a type in enough quantity to equip a squadron (Finland comes to mind as doing a lot of this against the Soviets).
The Germans, uniquely as far as I know, captured hardware in such quantities they even reconditioned and resold much of it. They ultimately re-tasked whole captured industries.
For this theme build we’ll look at four examples of aircraft flown by “the other side”. These are all fairly simple kits and the theme could go quickly, but with the caveat I brought up a few weeks back: I am still busy with some family business and a lot of travel is involved, so some simple three week builds may get drawn out over several months. We’ll see!
Our four subjects will be a Messerschmitt Bf 109, a Dewoitine D.520, a Mitsubishi A6M, and a Dornier Do 335.