The company behind World of Warplanes is financing the recovery of British Spitfires that were buried in Burma near the end of the Second World War.
David Cundall made headlines earlier this month with his discovery, after 16 years of searching, of a hidden cache of Spitfire Mk XIV fighter planes in Burma. And not just two or three, or even a dozen; the managing director of Cundall's Burmese partner company told The Guardian that he thinks the stash contains at least 60 intact warbirds. The Spitfires are believed to have been crated and hidden by British forces shortly before the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Cundall is a legitimate aviation treasure hunter, having previously discovered "several" Spitfires, Hurricanes and even a Lancaster bomber since 1974, but bringing home 60 Spitfires is a mammoth undertaking. Enter Wargaming.net, the strategy/MMO company best known for World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, which announced today that it is "fully underwriting" the cost of recovering the aircraft. Tracy Spaight, Wargaming.net's director of special projects, has already spent several months traveling and working with Cundall and will soon launch a blog providing a first-hand look at the investigation, the process of "conflict archeology" and the excavation itself, which is scheduled to begin later this year or early in 2013. It will also "shine a spotlight" on the brutal but often overlooked Burma Campaign of the Second World War.
"Since its founding, Wargaming has been dedicated to bringing military history alive, whether through video games or more recently through historic preservation and educational initiatives with museums," said Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi. "When we learned of David's long quest to track down the Spitfires, we reached out to support him, not only to recover the planes if they are there, but also to help tell the story of the air war in Burma - which is of great interest to our community."
The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most famous military aircraft of all time and emblematic of Britain's solitary struggle against the might of Germany during the open stages of World War Two. The Burma find will dramatically increase the number of surviving Spitfires; more than 20,000 were built across all marks, but today only 35 survive in flying condition.