Captured German aircraft, wrapped up to protect them from the salty ocean air, are carried back to the United States. There are a couple of Me 262s, some Fw 190s, a couple of Dornier Do 335s, and two Heinkel 219s. And that’s just what we can see in the photo.
This photo almost certainly shows some of the prizes captured as part of Operation Lusty, whose name was an acronym for “Luftwaffe Secret Technology.” Under the leadership of Colonel Harold E. Watson, specific German aircraft were targeted for collection and shipped back to Wright Field in the US on board the HMS Reaper for testing and analysis. The team that carried out the tests was known as Watson’s Whizzers, and also included former Luftwaffe pilots. It’s likely that one of the Do 335s and one of the He 219s in this photo are the only two remaining in existence today (another He 219 was discovered underwater near Denmark in 2012 and awaits restoration). The 335 is on display at the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center in Washington, DC, and the 219 is currently being restored at the same facility.