Wargaming.net, the Belarusian studio behind military games World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, is fully funding the upcoming excavation of British fighter planes reportedly buried in Burma during World War II.
The expedition is being led by British aviation aficionado David Cundall (above left), who has been finding Royal Air Force planes for nearly 40 years. After hearing rumors that numerous RAF Spitfires were buried in Burma, he spent the next 14 years gathering evidence to verify their location and obtain permission from the country to excavate them. Cundall signed such an agreement with the Burmese government on Oct. 16, and his archaeological team will be working in tandem with Burmese officials.
Wargaming.net reached out to Cundall when the company heard of his undertaking, according to chief executive Victor Kislyi. "Since its founding, Wargaming has been dedicated to bringing military history alive," he said in a press release announcing the financial support of Cundall, "whether through video games or more recently through historic preservation and educational initiatives with museums." According to Cundall, the "generous funding [Wargaming.net] provided to underwrite the entire project have helped make this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a reality."
The RAF Spitfires in question — rumored to be between 20 and 36 in number, but possibly more than 60 — were reportedly ordered by the British government to have been buried in crates and hidden in Burma in the summer of 1945, just before the U.S. bombed Hiroshima. Htoo Htoo Zaw, managing director of the Shwe Taung Paw company, Cundall's Burmese partner, said earlier this month that he expects the find "will be the largest number of Spitfires in the world."