The Storch was probably the best observation and liaison plane of World War II. The Storch (stork) grew from a 1935 Luftwaffe design specification for a short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft. Although made for “communication, liaison, and feeder-service” the plane would be used for many tasks including reconnaissance, artillery spotting, aircrew recovery, air ambulance missions, and some light bombing.
Almost 2,900 aircraft were built and served on all fronts from the Arctic to North Africa. Many famous people were associated with the Storch during World War II: Erwin Rommel used it extensively, Winston Churchill flew in one; the Nazi rescue of Benito Mussolini culminated in a dramatic Storch take-off; and Hanna Reitsch, a famous German test pilot, flew Göering’s replacement into Berlin in April 1945 hoping to take Hitler out of the city.
History of the Artifact
It is believed that this is a German airframe built at the Fieseler Werke in late 1939. Its service history is unknown. It was found in derelict condition in East Germany in the 1980s. The plane is one of several Storch restorations completed by a firm in Michigan in the 1980s and 90s. The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum acquired the aircraft in 2000.
The aircraft is painted with the distinctive yellow fuselage and wing tip bands signifying service on the Eastern Front. The 2E + RA code indicates that this is aircraft “R” of the headquarters wing of Kampfgeschwader (bomber wing) 54. This unit participated in the first stages of Operation Barbarossa—the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
Did you know?
The Storch’s wings fold back to allow for road or rail transport and easy storage.