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Arado Ar 196
The Ar 196 was a shipboard reconnaissance low-wing monoplane aircraft built by the German firm of Arado starting in 1936. The next year it was selected as the winner of a design contest and became the standard aircraft of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) throughout World War II.
Arado Ar 234 Blitz
The Arado Ar 234 was the world’s first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. Produced in very limited numbers, it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber, it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. It was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to fly over England during the war, in April 1945.
Blohm & Voss BV 222
The Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking (German: “Viking”) was a large, six-engined German flying boat of World War II. Originally designed as a commercial transport, and produced in only limited quantities, it was both the largest flying boat and largest sea-based German aircraft to achieve operational status during the war.
Bücker Bü 181
The Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann was a two-seater, single-engine aerobatic monoplane aircraft built by Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH in Rangsdorf, near Berlin and extensively used by the Luftwaffe in World War II.
DFS SG 38 Schulgleiter
The Schneider DFS 108-14 SG-38 Schulgleiter (German for “school glider”) is a German high-wing, cable-braced, single-seat primary glider that was designed by Schneider, Rehberg and Hofmann at Edmund Schneider’s factory at Grunau in 1938, hence the designation. It was produced by several builders, including Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS).
The SG 38 was designed to be a training glider for basic flight training by the Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps (NSFK). The SG-38 played a critical role in pilot training for the Luftwaffe in the Second World War, as a simple, but robust, trainer for the rapid increase in the number of pilots needed by Germany. It was commonly flown by bungee launch on the slopes of the Wasserkuppe.
DFS 230 Glider
The DFS 230 was a German transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe in World War II. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS – “German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight”) with Hans Jacobs as the head designer. The glider was the German inspiration for the British Hotspur glider and was intended for paratrooper assault operations.
The glider could carry 9 soldiers with equipment or a payload of about 1,200 kg. They were used in the landings at Fort Eben-Emael and Crete, as well as in North Africa and in the rescue of Benito Mussolini and for supplying the defenders of Festung Budapest, until February 12, 1945.
- DFS 230 A-1 – Initial production version
- DFS 230 A-2 – A-1 with dual-controls
- DFS 230 B-1 – Braking parachute added, able to carry defensive armament (MG 34 machine gun)
- DFS 230 B-2 – B-1 with dual-controls
- DFS 230 C-1 – Late production version; B-1 with nose braking rockets
- DFS 230 D-1 – C-1 with improved nose braking rocket design, one prototype (DFS 230 V6)
- DFS 230 F-1 – Larger version with capacity for 15 soldiers, one prototype (DFS 230 V7, DV+AV)
Dornier Do 17
The Dornier Do 17, sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift (“flying pencil”), was a World War II German light bomber produced by Claudius Dornier’s company, Dornier Flugzeugwerke. It was designed as a Schnellbomber (“fast bomber”), a light bomber which, in theory, would be so fast that it could outrun defending fighter aircraft.
The Dornier was designed with two engines mounted on a “shoulder wing” structure and possessed a twin tail fin configuration. The type was popular among its crews due to its handling, especially at low altitude, which made the Do 17 harder to hit than other German bombers.
Designed in the early 1930s, it was one of the three main Luftwaffe bomber types used in the first three years of the war. The Do 17 made its combat debut in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, operating in the Condor Legion in various roles. Along with the Heinkel He 111 it was the main bomber type of the German air arm in 1939–1940. The Dornier was used throughout the early war, and saw action in significant numbers in every major campaign theatre as a front line aircraft until the end of 1941, when its effectiveness and usage was curtailed as its bomb load and range were limited.
Production of the Dornier ended in the summer of 1940, in favour of the newer and more powerful Junkers Ju 88. The successor of the Do 17 was the much more powerful Dornier Do 217, which started to appear in strength in 1942. Even so, the Do 17 continued service in the Luftwaffe in various roles until the end of the war, as a glider tug, research and trainer aircraft. A considerable number of surviving examples were sent to other Axis nations as well as countries like Finland. Few Dornier Do 17s survived the war and the last was scrapped in Finland in 1952.
On 3 September 2010, the Royal Air Force Museum London announced the discovery of a Henschel-built Dornier Do 17Z buried in the Goodwin Sands off the coast of Kent, England. On 10 June 2013, the salvage team successfully raised the airframe from the seabed.
Dornier Do 335
The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (“Arrow”) was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The two-seater trainer version was also called Ameisenbär (“anteater”). The Pfeil’s performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique “push-pull” layout and the much lower drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines. The Luftwaffe was desperate to get the design into operational use, but delays in engine deliveries meant only a handful were delivered before the war ended.
Flettner Fl 282
The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (“Hummingbird”) is a single-seat intermeshing rotor helicopter, or synchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world’s first series production helicopter.
Focke-Wulf Fw 189
The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (“Eagle Owl”) was a German twin-engine, twin-boom, three-seat tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft. It first flew in 1938 (Fw 189 V1), entered service in 1940 and was produced until mid-1944. It should not be confused with the Heinkel He 219 night fighter also named Uhu.
In addition, Focke-Wulf used this airframe in response to a tender request by the RLM for a dedicated ground attack airplane, and later submitted an armored version for trials. However, the Henschel Hs 129 was selected instead.
Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor
The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, also known as Kurier to the Allies was a German all-metal four-engined monoplane originally developed by Focke-Wulf as a long-range airliner. A Japanese request for a long-range maritime patrol aircraft led to military versions that saw service with the Luftwaffe as long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping/maritime patrol bomber aircraft. The Luftwaffe also made extensive use of the Fw 200 as a transport.
It achieved some success as a commerce raider before the advent of long-range RAF Coastal Command aircraft and CAM ships eliminated its threat.
Gotha Go 242
The Gotha Go 242 was a transport glider used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. It was an upgrade over the DFS 230 in both cargo/troop capacity and flight characteristics. Though it saw limited action, it appeared in multiple variants.
Gotha Go 244
The Gotha Go 244 was a transport aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during World War II.
Heinkel He 59
The Heinkel He 59 was a German biplane designed in 1930 resulting from a requirement for a torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft able to operate with equal facility on wheeled landing gear or twin-floats.
Heinkel He 115
The Heinkel He 115 was a World War II Luftwaffe seaplane with three seats. It was used as a torpedo bomber and performed general seaplane duties, such as reconnaissance and minelaying. The plane was powered by two 960 PS (947 hp, 720 kW) BMW 132K nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines. Some later models could seat four, had different engines or used different weapon setups.
Heinkel He 177
The Heinkel He 177 Greif (“griffin”) was a large, long-range heavy bomber flown by the Luftwaffe during World War II. In general terms, the He 177 was the only operational strategic-range heavy bomber available to the Luftwaffe during the war years, that had a payload/range capability similar to the four-engined strategic heavy bombers of the USAAF and RAF, although it had much higher figures for its cruising and maximum speeds.
Designed to a 1936 requirement known as Bomber A, the aircraft was originally intended to be a purely strategic bomber intended to support a long-term bombing campaign against Soviet industry in the Urals. In spite of its large, 30-meter (100 ft) wingspan size, the design was limited to using two engines. During the design phase, Luftwaffe doctrine came to stress the use of moderate-angle dive bombing, or “glide bombing”, in order to improve accuracy. Applying the changes needed for this type of attack to such a large aircraft was entirely unrealistic.
In order to deliver the power required from only two engines on an aircraft this large, engines of at least 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kW) were needed. Such designs were not well established at the time, and the DB 606 “power system” engine, combined with the cooling and maintenance problems caused by the tight nacelles, caused the engines to be infamous for catching fire in flight. Luftwaffe aircrew nicknamed its bomber the Reichsfeuerzeug (“Reich’s lighter”) or the “Flaming Coffin”.
The type eventually matured into a usable design, but too late in the war to play an important role. It was built and used in some numbers, especially on the Eastern Front where its range was particularly useful. It is notable for its use in mass raids on Velikiye Luki in 1944, one of the late-war heavy bombing efforts by the Luftwaffe. It saw considerably less use on the Western Front, although it played a role during the late-war Operation Steinbock, or “baby blitz”, against the UK.
Junkers Ju 88
The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engined multirole combat aircraft. Designed by Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) in the mid-1930s to be a so-called Schnellbomber (“fast bomber”) which would be too fast for any of the fighters of its era to intercept, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early operational roles, but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and even, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb.
Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe’s most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945, and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout the production, the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged.
Junkers Ju 90
The Junkers Ju 90 was a 40-seat, four-engine airliner developed for and used by Deutsche Luft Hansa shortly before World War II. It was based on the rejected Ju 89 bomber. During the war, the Luftwaffe impressed them as military transports.
Junkers Ju 188
The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-on to the famed Ju 88 with better performance and payload. It was produced only in limited numbers, due both to the presence of improved versions of the Ju 88, as well as the deteriorating war condition and the resulting focus on fighter production.
Junkers Ju 322
The Junkers Ju 322 Mammut (Mammoth) was a heavy transport military glider, resembling a giant flying wing, proposed for use by the Luftwaffe in World War II. Only two prototypes were ever built.
Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun
The Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun was a German single-engine sport and touring aircraft, developed by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works) in the 1930s. The Bf 108 was of all-metal construction.
Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet
The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. It is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational. Its design was revolutionary, and had performance unrivaled at the time. German test pilot Heini Dittmar in early July 1944 reached 1,130 km/h (700 mph), an unofficial flight airspeed record unmatched by turbojet-powered aircraft for almost a decade. Over 300 aircraft were built, but the Komet proved ineffective in its dedicated role as an interceptor aircraft and was responsible for the destruction of only about nine Allied aircraft. Sixteen air victories for 10 losses, according to other sources.
Messerschmitt Me 210
The Messerschmitt Me 210 was a German heavy fighter and ground-attack aircraft of World War II. The Me 210 was designed to replace the Bf 110; design started before the opening of World War II. The first examples of the Me 210 were ready in 1939, but they proved to have unacceptably poor flight characteristics from serious wing platform and fuselage design flaws. A large-scale operational testing program throughout 1941 and early 1942 did not cure the aircraft’s problems. The design entered limited service in 1943, but was almost immediately replaced by the Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (“Hornet”). The Me 410 was a further development of the Me 210, renamed so as to avoid the 210’s notoriety. The failure of the Me 210’s development program meant that the Luftwaffe was forced to continue operating the outdated Bf 110, despite mounting losses.
Messerschmitt Me 321 – Gigant
The Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant was a large German cargo glider developed and used during World War II. It was developed into the six-engined Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant.
Messerschmitt Me 323 – Gigant
The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant (“Giant”) was a German military transport aircraft of World War II. It was a powered variant of the Me 321 military glider and was the largest land-based transport aircraft of the war. A total of 213 are recorded as having been made, a few being converted from the Me 321.
Messerschmitt Me 410 – Hornet
The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (“Hornet”) was a German heavy fighter and Schnellbomber used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Though essentially an incremental improvement of the Me 210, it had a new wing plan, longer fuselage, and engines of greater power. The changes were significant enough to be designated the Me 410.
Savoia Marchetti SM-93
The Savoia-Marchetti SM.93 was an Italian dive bomber designed and produced in Italy from 1943.
Siebel Si 204
The Siebel Si 204 was a small twin-engined transport and trainer aircraft developed in World War II. It was based on the Fh 104. Originally designed in response to an RLM development order for a small civil transport aircraft in 1938, it was eventually produced for the Luftwaffe.