The disaster in the Karniner Forst
On the evening of September 20, 1985, residents around Karnin, west of Stralsund, heard an unusually loud bang. The window panes of the houses in the area shook. It was suspected that once again a Jet fighter from the air base Pütnitz had broken the sound barrier.

But a little later, the military airspace surveillance in the "Fuchsbau" Fürstenwalde received the message that a Soviet airplane crashed. The offices of the People's Police in the Stralsund district were immediately informed of this.
A jet plane and its pilot were considered missing. It was a Friday evening and already dark.
It was not until the next morning that a large-scale search operation began. Helicopters circled at low altitude, searching in vain for the missing plane.
In the morning, a mushroom picker discovered a deep crater in the Karniner Holz. This was filled with a red shimmering liquid. Above it lay several uprooted trees. Between them protruded a sheet of metal the size of a house door with a red star, which could have come from a Soviet airplane.
He drove to Karnin and reported his unusual find to the police. Together with the section officer of the People's Police, they secured the site.
Soon after, Soviet military helicopters landed in the neighboring field. They brought soldiers with them, who cordoned off the forest area extensively.
It was the crash site of the missing plane.
However, there were no traces of the plane except for two large pieces of sheet metal. The jet plane had hit almost vertically and had dug deep into the loamy forest floor. The surrounding oak trees were shredded and the forest floor was covered with mud for a radius of 50 meters.

The recovery work lasted more than 2 weeks. Special excavators from the Stralsund Meliorationskombinat were used. So that they could get to the site, first aisles had to be cut in the whale.
The mortal remains of the pilots and larger pieces of wreckage could only be recovered at a depth of 18 meters. After that, the deep pit was closed again. A small pond remained in the forest at the impact site.
Doe Soviet Army erected a memorial stone next to the crash site in memory of this disaster. On it is written in Russian that the pilot perished while carrying out official business.
After a funeral service in Lärz, the pilot's remains were transferred to the Soviet Union for burial.

Colonel Gennady Aleksandrovich Kuznetsov Photo: private
Nach Abzug der sowjetischen Truppen 1994 wurde das Denkmal von Bürgern aus den umliegenden Orten weiter gepflegt.
After the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1994, the monument continued to be maintained by citizens from surrounding towns.
At that time it was not customary to report military air accidents in the press.
The population believed that the crashed military aircraft belonged to the nearby Soviet Army air base in Ribnitz-Damgarten. No further details were known.
It was not until 20 years later that further facts were clarified through interviews with witnesses and examinations of found wreckage.
The pilot who died in the accident, Colonel Kuznetsov, was the commander of the 19th Guard Aviation Regiment of the 16th Air Army of the Soviet Armed Forces in the GDR.
His unit was stationed at Lärz Airfield on the Müritz River.
On that Friday evening, he had taken off there in his plane.
A practice flight was planned under difficult weather conditions with heavy cloud cover.
The flight on the usual route went smoothly at first.
In the Richtenberg area, he was flying at an altitude of 5000 meters when he reported the failure of the control units over the radio.
After a few seconds, the radio link also failed. After that, the aircraft finally disappeared from radar.
Because of the complete destruction of the aircraft, the exact cause of the crash could never be completely clarified.
In the service report of the command post of the air defense of the GDR, the next day was noted only:
. "Mig-27, Lärz, after failure generator failure from flight order".

The later ill-fated machine with the board number 56 (Photo: private)
The question of why the pilot did not use his ejection seat to save himself remains unanswered.
It is also not known whether the flight data recorder was found. Its data could have helped to explain the cause.
Even today, countless small pieces of wreckage lie scattered far in the forest.
Through analysis of some found objects, important details about the aircraft could be determined:
The aircraft involved in the accident was a Soviet single-seat fighter-bomber of the type MiG-27 K.
This aircraft bore the blue board number 56 on its fuselage.
It was manufactured in 1982 at the Irkutsk aircraft plant with serial number 768 026 27164.
The MiG-27 aircraft were equipped with swing wings and had only one steel engine.
They were developed as fighter-bombers to fight tanks with guided missiles and also had a 30 millimeter gun with 6 barrels and a firing rate of about 6000 rounds per minute.
The MiG-27 K version went into series production in 1976 and was used by the Soviet armed forces from 1980.
It was equipped with a sighting system that was highly advanced for the time. This consisted of a video system for locating armored targets coupled with a laser beam.
An on-board computer used this to automatically guide the missiles to the target while the pilot continued flying.
The existence of this highly effective weapons system in the territory of the GDR was kept a closely guarded secret and remained largely unknown at the time, even among experts in the GDR's air forces.

01.09.2018 Manfred Rassau