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Linkedin Marina Baslina Marketing Strategist. He is a member and advisor to the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition. At about knots, roll hard right before the Zero pilot could get his sights lined up. The Japanese and the Americans both sought to acquire enemy aircraft for evaluation and the Germans and Japanese even used captured aircraft on operations—both clandestine and tactical. While both sides had systems for retrieving captured aircraft and for testing them, ordinary field commanders and flying units would often mark captured aircraft for themselves and operate them as squadron instructional machines or as squadron hacks.
The result was hundreds of captured aircraft usually used for the enjoyment of the pilots and as war trophy motivators. Here, now, are some of the thousands of images we found and some of the stories of their capture and subsequent fates: The Japanese Navy sent two carriers Ryujo and Junyo with 82 fighters and bombers, escorted by two heavy cruisers Takao and Maya , and three destroyers. Also included in this task force were troopships holding 2, troops, 5 I-class submarines, and 1 oil tanker.
Koga was part of a three-plane section from the aircraft carrier Ryujo that had just shot down an American Consolidated PBY Catalina and was in the process of strafing the survivors when his Zero was hit. Akutan was a designated emergency landing area with a Japanese submarine patrolling nearby to rescue any downed pilot.
Here, Koga made an attempt to land with his wheels down, but the grassy meadow was boggy and his gear dug in and flipped the Zero on its back. Koga was killed instantly, likely with a broken neck. His squadron mates were instructed to strafe and destroy any downed aircraft to save it from falling into enemy hands, but they were unsure whether their friend was dead or alive and were loath to kill him if he had survived.
The crash site was undetected for a month, but was finally spotted by a PBY. A recovery team was sent immediately to inspect the aircraft wreckage and recover intelligence. His body was dragged out and photographed then buried in a shallow grave nearby. The grave was found empty. A search of records indicated that an American war graves team had dug up Koga and buried him as unidentified along with other Japanese bodies at Adak Island. After two attempts to recover the Zero without damaging it, it was finally removed upside down by barge to Dutch Harbor.
Mihiel for transport to Seattle, Washington. From there, it was transported by another barge to NAS North Island near San Diego where repairs were made—straightening the vertical stabilizer, rudder, wing tips, flaps, and canopy. It carries the standard medium blue over light blue scheme typical of carrier-borne aircraft of the early war. The Akutan Zero in flight, high above San Diego during initial flying tests. There are those that say it was the most important intelligence acquisition of the war and ultimately led to the defeat of the Japanese Army and Navy air forces.
There are others who say that it was somewhat inconsequential, as fighter pilots in the Pacific area were already and quickly learning how to fight the nimble fighter. As well, the aircraft which would ultimately best the Japanese in the air were already in design and in production. Regardless of the impact, the Akutan Zero was a sensation, albeit a Top Secret one. In , it was recalled to North Island for use as a training plane for rookie pilots being sent to the Pacific.
As a training aircraft, the Akutan Zero was destroyed during an accident in February at North Island. Only small bits instruments still exist in museums in Washington and Alaska. They gratefully took the excellent trainers NAs and NAs , while the other still on order were delivered to Canada and used extensively in training RCAF and commonwealth pilots. This camouflaged example of an NA carries only the Balkenkreuz on its fuselage and did not have to endure the indignity of a Hakenkreuz Swastika on its tail.
The NA can be identified by its ribbing and fabric covered fuselage. My professional opinion is that this is a staged shot of one on the ground superimposed on a cloudscape. The NA is painted in the scheme common to the NA and 64 trainers—overall bare metal with bright yellow engine cowling and tail. An NA in Luftwaffe markings with yellow cowling and empennage, photographed at Guyancourt, France in early One of these types was the Curtiss Hawk Model 75 P Many of those were subsequently donated or sold to Finland, later joined by Norwegian examples up to a total of Others were operated by the Luftwaffe.
After this, some were utilized in the fighter-trainer role with Jagdfliegerschule 4 near Nuremberg. They could not have enjoyed the time they were equipped with them when the rest of the Luftwaffe was wreaking havoc with the One of the best-known and most photographed captured aircraft in enemy markings is the now-infamous Boeing B Flying Fortress Wulfe Hound. Wulfe Hound became the first B captured intact by the Luftwaffe and was thoroughly used by them to better assess weak points of the Flying Fortress.
The crew was attempting to destroy the airplane by stuffing a parachute into a fuel tank and then firing a Very pistol flare into it. Unfortunately, the Germans arrived before they could get a fire started. He ended up as a POW and managed to escape twice, being captured again on both occasions. This Fort is heavily camouflaged from marauding Allied aircraft, and was used extensively by KG for night missions. These superchargers were activated by exhaust-driven turbines which became really efficient corresponding to the greater difference in air pressure at higher altitudes, exactly when more power was needed.
For that reason the Flying Fortress was primarily made available to the power plant experts, who tried to get to the bottom of as many details of the engines as possible.
The most varied measuring instruments were installed for this purpose, so that the fuselage behind the bomb-bay was like a laboratory with engineers in attendance. I took over the following test flight, which was to take place with the full complement of the engineers aboard; our task was to monitor the engine and airframe performance in climbing to higher altitudes. I remember this flight particularly well, and shall therefore dwell on it some detail.
The take-off was made with full fuel tanks, which meant having some Imp gals of fuel on board. We departed from the concrete runway of Larz airfield and the take-off was monitored on instruments. Even with the comparatively heavy all-up weight the actual take-off presented no problem and the aircraft handled normally. Then began the climb with maximum climbing power which was also measured and monitored. Everything went very well at first. The engineers were busy doing their jobs, and we had meanwhile reached an altitude of at least ft, and we saw ourselves in a nice mess: It was quite a remarkable fireworks display with the flames flaring out just behind the engine nacelle and over the wing to a length of some 15 feet.
Now, what does one do when an engine is on fire? By no means throttle back the misbehaving engine, but instead stop the fuel flow immediately by shutting the relevant fuel valve so that the fuel already in the pipes and carburettor is used up as quickly as possible.
That done, I alerted the rest of the crew and the engineers about the fire — in so far as they had not already noticed it themselves. For this purpose there was a loud alarm bell in the B, which could be heard everywhere despite the rumble of the engines. In any case, I also opened the bomb-bay doors as I considered this is the best method of bailing out from this aircraft without getting caught in the tail unit.
The fuel in the pipes was soon used up, but I let the engine run for a while longer to make sure every last drop was gone. Despite this, the flames hardly became smaller at all. Lerche, who had flown the B from Denmark where it had landed, had enough experience with the type to land it successfully in this situation. If Allied crews were in the vicinity of Switzerland when they ran into mechanical problems, they chose to make forced landings in the neutral country, rather than risk capture and internment as POWs.
They were however not allowed to return to the war and their aircraft were impounded. Switzerland played host to numerous crews aircraft landed or crash-landed in Switzerland during the war—mostly Bs and Bs and even commandeered some of their aircraft for evaluation. Here we see the strange sight of a strategic offensive bomber in the bright red markings of neutral Switzerland. It was returned to England in September Many of the aircraft were painted in the red Swiss markings simply for the ferry flight to a storage field at Dübendorf, Switzerland, not wishing to be inadvertently shot down.
Another B in Luftwaffe markings. The aircraft was piloted by Lieutenant Dalton Wheat when he forced-landed at Laon airfield in France on 26 June , on a mission to Villacoublay. Units like the famous KG actually operated a number of captured B bombers, in particular on night missions, where the markings were less obvious. Due to the lack of German aircraft with sufficient range, some recon missions used captured American Bs or Bs and Soviet Tu-2s.
For the most part, these machines were used for re-supply roles dropping in supplies to German forces operating behind Soviet lines , or transporting important personnel. It appears that this was photographed at a captured Luftwaffe airfield late in the war as the gawkers appear to be Allied airmen. In the fast shifting battlefields of the North African campaign, where the whole desert was an emergency landing field, aircraft could in fact change hands more than once.
It had been captured by the Wermacht in April , but was then taken back by the Allies in January of the following year at a place called Gambut in Libya, albeit in poorer condition. Former Squadron Hawker Hurricane V from previous photograph at the time of its recapture January , some eight months after the Germans took it. It clearly had seen better days.
It was one of about 30 Hurricanes which were left in Derna, Bomba and Gazala. The Germans had made use of two of the Hurricanes—V and T A Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 in Luftwaffe markings.
Little is known by us about this captured aircraft. On the web, I have read where it was operated by Jagdgeschwader 51, but was unable to corroborate that. A rare colour photo of a Hurricane in the service of the Luftwaffe—with mechanics, pilot and brass looking on.
Looking at this image and the previous black and white image, it seems possible that these are one and the same Hurri. This Spitfire colour image is a model suffers the double indignity of having not only Nazi markings, but the attachment of a Daimler-Benz DB Engine. Scheidhauer took part in the Great Escape, but was recaptured at Saarbrucken, and shot dead by the Gestapo on 29 March , along with 50 others who took part.
After the Spitfire was captured and received its DB, it was taken to Sindelfingen Daimler-Benz factory, near Echterdingen, where a 3. After a couple of weeks, and with a new yellow-painted nose, the Spitfire returned to Echterdingen.
Capt Willy Ellenrieder, of Daimle-Benz, was the first to try the aircraft. He was stunned that the aircraft had much better visibility and handling on the ground than the Bf It took off before he realized it and had an impressive climb rate, around 70 ft. Inset photo via Stewart Callan, Flickr. It was popular with the pilots in and out of working hours. The remains of the hybrid Spitfire were scrapped at the Klemm factory at Böblingen.
Text via Stewart Callan, Flickr. Perhaps the Merlin was permanently destroyed and they had not captured any other Rolls-Royce engines. At first glance, I saw a P in this photo, but then on second glance realized it was not It was taken by the Luftwaffe for evaluation. The aircraft remained in an incomplete state in Orly, until it was destroyed in an Allied air raid.
The Marauder that never marauded. This Marauder was evaluated by the Luftwaffe in and then displayed at an air show in Germany after its bizarre capture on 2 October The aircraft never saw combat, having been lured to a Dutch island following spurious German radio signals as it was trying to land somewhere safely following an engine fire on its remaining engine during its delivery flight from Iceland to Scotland. Luftwaffe This is exactly how most of the aircraft that fall into enemy hands are retrieved.
Marauder the one from the previous photo sits forlornly on a beach on the Dutch island of Noord Beveland, surrounded by admiring Germans. The pilot, Clarence Wall, was lured off course by fake radio directions from Germans and, having an engine fire, made a picture perfect wheels up landing. The aircraft was quickly jacked up and removed. Its long range also made it suitable for direct ferry flights across the Atlantic.
But the B had its negative points. Yet all this did not prevent experienced crews from appreciating the combat values of the B on account of its high speed and strong armament, and using it accordingly.
Luftwaffe It is surprising that any of the aircraft captured by both Germany and Japan survived the war. The bright yellow fuselage band and tail flashes can still be seen though barely visible on orthographic film , but the Swastika has been blanked out by a censor in this photo.
We can also see the paint circle where the old USAAF star roundel was painted over—just to the right of the airman. L was delivered in mid It was lost on 6 February while in service with No. It was forced to land and captured intact. A wonderful digital recreation of the captured Czechoslovak Squadron Vickers Wellington shows us just how she was repainted.
Luftwaffe markings were added including painting her underside yellow as both the Axis and the Allies did with experimental aircraft. Late in the war, it behooved the Germans to get the intact aircraft to Rechlin as soon as possible, for marauding Allied aircraft would soon be on hand to make sure it would never fly for the Nazis. Here we see another Lanc being shot up by a P the day after it went down in a field in Germany.
Note the staff car which then got the same treatment. Piloted by Soviet pilot, Sub. Ruevin from st fighter squadron, on 27 December , it made a forced landing on the frozen surface of Lake Valkjarvi, Karelian Isthmus. The Finns captured it in perfect condition.
It was used till 12 February It was not used in combat flights however, due to lack of manuals and parts. The Latvians also use a swastika red on white. It appeared in war bond drives, and was finally returned to Wright Field in the summer of after being superficially damaged in Los Angeles.
When it landed back at Freeman and Wright Fields it was repainted in Nazi markings for public viewing. Several Squadron pilots climbed in and took off to check it out. It was nicknamed Delta Lily. The aircraft was used by Squadron RAAF to transport mail, food supplies and small items from Cairo and back to the front line, doing two or three trips each week.
Lord Casey, Governor General of Australia, came in this aircraft to see the men of the squadron in Australian War Memorial via adf-gallery. The starboard side of the Libyan Clipper had a different layout for her lettering. The Junkers Ju 52 was built in very large numbers—nearly 5, One of the most beautiful aircraft of the war was the Italian-designed SM. In my estimation it belongs in the top ten most beautifully designed aircraft of the war along with the Savoia-Marchetti SM.
It was a cantilever, mid-wing monoplane trimotor with a retractable tail wheel undercarriage. About were built, the first entering service in The Germans were thus rewarded for the delays in their order for SM. These aircraft had better capabilities as transports than the Ju 52, the standard transport aircraft of the Luftwaffe , even if it was much more robust, being all metal.
Records were either not kept or were destroyed. Information via Wikipedia, photo via ww2aircraft. There is something about a trimotor that seems just right and balanced and yet which seems so foreign. After the Armistice in September , the Luftwaffe captured a number of the beautiful aircraft and pressed them into service. When the Italians surrendered on 8 September , this was not the end of the combat history of the SM. A new Sparviero variant was designed and put into production, the SM.
The North of Italy was still in German hands and a fascist government continued construction. Some Sparvieros were taken on the spot by the Luftwaffe and used with German or Italian crews as regular Luftwaffe utility transports. When the Germans removed the Soviet red star markings they found the Latvian Swastikas underneath. The Germans operated them at virtual squadron strength as glider tugs for assault glider pilot trainees.
None are known to have survived. This aircraft, a former Croatian operated , was captured by the British and operated by Polish Squadron in Italy immediately after the war.
Note the Polish checkerboard symbol on the nose. Here we see it shortly after the Americans painted their brand on her sides. During the Second World War, the 79th and its subordinate fighter squadrons were assigned to the 12th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theatre. With the beginning of the occupation period, the Group was reassigned to the Ninth Air Force which had been assigned the primary Army Air Corps occupation duties in the European Theatre.
The 86th and the 87th along with the 85th Fighter Squadron made up the three squadrons of the 79th Group. This appears to have been painted right over the dirt from the exhaust or perhaps the stain was cleaned off for the photo. This was applied to both sides. This emblem was eventually replaced by that of the 86th Fighter Squadron , shown in the next photo. She is photographed here undergoing static testing. Note the replacement port wing. The original port wing can be seen off to the side, behind the tail.
Here she has had her 87th Fighter Squadron emblem a cartoon mosquito with a machine gun replaced with that of sister 86th Fighter Squadron, a Native American with a Tomahawk and quiver of arrows leaning down from the clouds. This intact fighter was captured by American soldiers on 8 May at Soliman airfield in Tunisia. Originally it belonged to the 4. Staffel of JG Note the tropical filter, the re-painted surfaces and the missing seat armour. The only changes made at North American were installation of American radio and oxygen equipment.
The ME G has a high rate of climb and good level flight performance. Its range is very limited as only gallons can be carried internally and flights of over miles leave little gasoline for reserve It is very light on all controls below KPH but the turning radius is poor compared to our fighters.
At high speed the controls become very heavy. The airplane is stable and should be a good gun platform but the vision is very poor under all conditions. The cockpit is cramped but would not be too bad if the visibility were better. A captured Messerschmitt Bf F with tropical filter on its engine cowl was used by No. Here we see one of many times that the aircraft letter code was replaced by a punctuation mark. It is not uncommon, for squadrons operating captured aircraft, to give them squadron markings so as to lay claim to the booty.
Also it was common to give them a question mark? Whether this was done for humorous reasons or to keep letters for operational aircraft is not known. Today, Martuba is still a Libyan Air Force base. The aircraft was flown for evaluation purposes by squadron pilots including Stocky Edwards. This very Luftwaffe fighter may have met Edwards in aerial combat previous to its capture. Heinz Lüdemann, was damaged on 4 November as a result of a dogfight between fighters from 8.
Lüdemann made a perfect forced landing at the Quotafiyas airfield near Gambut in Libya. It was subsequently ferried to Gambut by another pilot. The aircraft was repaired by maintenance crews of the No. Once the Messerschmitt Bf G from the previous photo was repaired, it was given the markings of No. This was Squadron Leader R. My co-driver and myself were ahead of the convoy and when we had arrived at our Satellite, the only aircraft there was a 3 Sqn.
The aircraft appeared to be OK and it was obvious no enemy had operated from the airfield. Our main object was to find an enemy aircraft that could be flown by our C. Bobby Gibbes — so we went to see if there were abandoned aircraft at Gambut Main, several miles away.
There were lots of damaged aircraft and we were delighted to find an almost-new On examination the damage was slight — mainly no canopy — which must have been jettisoned in flight for the tail plane was damaged where hit by the canopy. I wrote CV on the fuselage and then realised if we left it unguarded someone else would grab it.
I sent Rex back to the Squadron to notify Bobby of what had happened and saying we would return the following morning. A team of airmen and a truck was organised to come to Gambut Main early next morning. In the meantime, three army officers appeared and wanted to know what I was doing with the I told them that I was taking it back to the Squadron for the C. Outranked I was a Flying Officer and outnumbered, I did well to convince them the prize was going to 3 Sqn.
When Sergeant Palmer returned we parked the vehicle against the fuselage and that night slept under the mainplane. No one was going to get the , which we now knew to be a G. The ground staff arrived early the next morning and the aircraft was towed back to the Sqn. I imagined the look in the eyes of the C. Three or four days later the aircraft was repaired and the C.
Eventually the Intelligence people did get the aircraft and Bobby Gibbes flew it back to the Delta area. Much later we heard that they had pranged it! Captured in Tunisia in and often attributed to Heinz Lüdemann of 2. She appeared at numerous air shows throughout the early s, demonstrating the grace and power of this beautiful aircraft and, in a twist of sheer irony, she was heavily damaged when landing from what was to be her final flight before permanent retirement in the RAF Museum.
Her full history can be read here. The end result of the previous description of stealing a Messerschmitt Bf is one happy unit commander. Photo via Mike Mirkovic at adf-gallery. The squadron personnel amused themselves by inspecting the many abandoned German and Italian aircraft on the field. Despite badly damaged wings, undercarriage and prop and a stripped instrument panel, he was determined to make it airworthy again.
Various parts were scrounged off wrecks at Derna and nearby airfields, and a new airscrew was found at an airfield km away. Later in the day the squadron moved further east to El Adem airfield. From Heliopolis the F was eventually shipped to England for further testing. Photo via Yuri Maree.
The unit was taken off operations for ten days to train on the aircraft and stayed behind at LG Landing Ground as the Allied offensive moved west at high speed after the Alamein breakout. The swift German retreat left much equipment behind. Damage was slight, and after a new engine was installed Major Metelerkamp flew the renumbered AX-? Captain Hannes Faure, one of the flight commanders, flew AX-? The next day Lt. However, the cockpit hood had blown off upon landing at Tmimi and it was fixed by No.
Major Metelerkamp was killed in action five days later. Photos via Yuro Maree. The fast-moving armoured war of the Eastern Front would from time to time cough up an intact enemy aircraft for both sides. One can only imagine how cold this scene would have been in that brutal winter war. The date indicates that the German forces were just a few weeks away from surrendering at Stalingrad.
According to trophy lists, the Soviets would acquire 54 Messerschmitt Bf s with eight of these being fully operational. Photo via Stewart Callan, Flickr. Photo via Lou Kemp. This Japanese Messerschmitt Bf is certainly not a captured aircraft, but more of a military exchange project. In , the five Bf Es were sent to Japan, without guns and armament, for evaluation. While in Japan they received the standard Japanese Hinomarus red meatball and yellow wing leading edges, as well as white numerals on the rudder.
A red band outlined in white is around the rear fuselage. In , the Japanese Army received one Focke—Wulf Fw A-5, and this aircraft was extensively tested during that year.
It was most probably delivered by submarine, and also carried standard Luftwaffe camouflage, and was flown in Japanese markings. A strange aircraft with a strange roundel. Stability in a high-speed dive was exceptional, but it was underpowered and under-armed for a modern fighter.
In keeping with a test aircraft, the rudder and fuselage band of this aircraft were painted bright yellow, while the roundel is wrong in every respect—proportion and size. One of them was used by the German Embassy and was at Croyden.
That particular Taifun was blocked from escaping by the placement of a large woodden packing crate at the doors of the Embassy hangar. This Taifun was first used by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in connection with the tests carried out there on the Bf E. It was the fastest light communications aircraft the RAF had then, but they were often mistaken for Bf s.
Postwar, 15 more captured Bf s flew in RAF colours. Broadhurst acquired the captured German communications aircraft in North Africa, had it painted in British markings and used it for touring the units under his command. A very crude roundel has been applied to cover the full fuselage Balkenkreuz. Focke—Wulf Fw G-3 No. It was painted in a striking white scheme with red spinner, cowling, fuselage band and USN striped tail. Here we see it at Gerbini, covered in camouflage netting to keep it hidden from marauding Luftwaffe aircraft bent on destroying it to keep it from the Americans.
Later, in while stateside, this aircraft was repainted in a standard USN 3 tone non-specular, intermediate blue and insignia white scheme. It was shipped to the United States in January , where repairs were made. It should be noted that the USN seemed impressed enough by this aircraft that they encouraged development of the F8F Bearcat, which was clearly and visually inspired by the tough fighter.
The 79th FG is the same unit that captured and flew the Messerschmitt Bf Irmgard, shown earlier in this article. To avoid any possibility of the aircraft being taken to be the enemy, the aircraft was painted overall red with yellow wings and red wingtips as well as a yellow fuselage band and horizontal stabilizer.
It is believed that this is an air-to-air photograph of the same Focke—Wulf Fw that is shown in the previous image but it could be another airframe altogether. The former Luftwaffe aircraft appears to be flying over olive groves, which makes sense, as the 79th Fighter Group was assigned to the 12th Air Force operating in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
The orthographic film used by the photographer gives the appearance of a colour shift. This may be later as the rudder now sports red, white and blue stripes. It is interesting to note that today, the 79th Fighter Group became the 79th Test and Evaluation Group in the early s, and then was consolidated with another group to become the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group.
One wonders whether the test and evaluation experience won by the 79th on s and s during the Second World War played a part in this new assignment. A close-up of the 85th Squadron Flying Skull emblem. There were two Fw s procured and flown by the 79th Group. The colour image in the inset is likely the same as the larger photo, but there are differences—the inset photo has a foot step near the wing root that is missing in the larger shot.
It was captured and painted overall bright orange-red to distinguish it from enemy Focke—Wulf s. In the end, the aircraft was never flown and was left behind when the th left St-Trond. After taxiing in I found the tires soaked in hydraulic fluid and they were so deteriorated I felt that they were unsafe Then we had to move on and left the Fw at St- Trond.
I did get to fly the Bearcat which I believe was more or less a copy of the —although no-one ever admits it. We can see where the German markings were either buffed out or spray-painted over. Finley relished the opportunity to understand what he had been up against. Both pilots felt that the Spitfire was superior. For more on Hart Finley, click here. Photo via Vintage Wings of Canada. Between and people worked at Cravant, and the facility was also known as camp Cravant had been a Luftwaffe repair facility, and Fw fuselages and wings of Fw A-4s, A-5s, and A-8s were captured there by the Allies in October Sabotaged airframe parts and the use of hastily recycled metals meant many aircraft were of poor quality.
The principal operator of the NC. They flew with the unit for 18 months. A majority of the remaining 51 NC. The final flight by a French NC. Last Rufe standing floating. As soon as the war was over in Europe, the French were looking to consolidate their interests in the Far East, including French Indochina Vietnam. The Allied reporting name for the aircraft was the Rufe.
It crashed shortly after this photo was taken, killing the pilot. Being from an island country with an empire spread over half the largest ocean in the world, the Japanese were into float planes in a big way—not just transports, but bombers and fighters.
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Bad Wörishofen is a spa town in the district Unterallgäu, Bavaria, Germany, known for the water-cure hydrotherapy developed by Sebastian Kneipp — , a Catholic priest, who lived there for 42 years.
Many of the resort hotels and boarding-houses in Bad Wörishofen offer their guests treatment using Kneipp's methods. The new spa complex out of town is called Therme Bad Wörishofen. Time Magazine called the city "The secret capital of health". HistoryThe first known reference to the place dates from , where it is described as the lordship "Werenshova". The name is thought to mean "Homestead of Werin".