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France's Dewoitine D.520 fighter

Photos

Dewoitine D.520 fighter:
France's Dewoitine D.520 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Dewoitine D.520 fighter:
France's Dewoitine D.520 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Dewoitine D.520 fighter:
France's Dewoitine D.520 fighter
Dewoitine D.520 fighter:
France's Dewoitine D.520 fighter

Design

The design of the Dewoitine D.520 was first started in November 1936 as a private venture by Emile Dewoitine. It was to meet a 1936 requirement for a single engine fighter. On April 3, 1938, the French government accepted the design.

The cockpit was located well back and caused problems with landing and taxiing.

The construction was all metal stressed skin.

Compared With a Bf.109 E-3

A Messerschmitt Bf.109 E-3 was forced down in French territory in early 1940 and this was compared with a D.520. It was found that the D.520 was slower but more maneuverable than the Bf. 109.

Prototype

The prototype was flown by Marcel Doret on October 2, 1938. The engine overheated and he was unable to get up to 325 mph as was expected. He forgot to lower the undercarriage during a landing and wrecked the prototype in 1938. The next prototypes were flown in January and May 1939.

Production

There were 200 ordered by May 1939. This was later increased to 710. The Vichy increased it to 740.
There were orders placed for over 2,300 by late 1939.

The first production model was flown on November 2, 1939.

By April 1940 the orders for the D.520 stood at 2,320. They were to be manufactured at a rate of 350 per month.

In May 1940 production was ramped up to ten per day. 437 were completed by the armistice.

Vichy France then built 478 from July 1941 to 1943.

  • Prototypes: 3
  • Dewoitine D.520: 775, 915
  • Manufacturer: SNCAM
  • Production:
    • ? - January 1940: 13
    • February - April 1940: 126
    • May - June 1940: 311
    • Vichy France: Summer 1941 - December 1942

Variants

  • Dewoitine D.520-01: Prototype. Had Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 engine (890 HP). A two bladed wooden propeller with fixed pitch. The radiators were in the wings.
  • Dewoitine D.520-02: Prototype. Had radiator under the fuselage. Tail surfaces were made larger. It had a three bladed electrically controlled propellar. The canopy was redesigned. The landing gear was altered.
  • Dewoitine D.520:
  • Dewoitine D.521: Conversion with the Rolls-Royce Merlin III (1,030 HP) engine. Had two 20 mm cannons in the wings. In February 1940 was its first flight.
  • Dewoitine D.524: Had Hispano-Suiza 12Z (1,200 HP) engine.

Usage

Used in combat by Bulgaria (150), France, Italy (72), and Romania (96).

Battle of France

There were only 36 D.520s operational by May 10, 1940.

First Use

Only 36 Dewoitine D.520s were delivered to one groupe de chasse, the GC 1/3, by May 1940. This groupe shot down three Hs 126s and one He 111 on May 13, 1940.

43 Dewoitine D.520s were then delivered to the GC II/3, GC II/7, GC III/3, and GC III/6.

52 were then delivered to the Aéronavale escadrilles AC 1, 2, 3, and 4 before France surrendered.

It was clamed that the D.520 shot down 114 enemy planes by the time of the armistice. The D.520s also lost 85 of their own.

Germany

After the surrender of France, D.520s were used by the Germans as trainers.

In 1942 the Germans seized 411 (246) D.520s and passed them onto Axis countries.

Vichy France

Were used as combat aircraft. 235 D.520s were used by the Vichy air force in France and 202 were used in Africa.

Ace

Adjutant Pierre Le Gloan of GC III/6 shot down 18 aircraft. He shot an additional 4 in other aircraft.

After World War II

A few of the D.520s that remained were converted to two seat trainers. The last of the D.520s were withdrawn from service in September 1953. These were a part of the Escadrille de Présentation of the Armée de l'Air.

Specifications

  Dewoitine D.520
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Hispano-Suiza
Hispano-Suiza 12Y 45 piston
Hispano-Suiza 12 Y
Cylinders Inline, V 12
Cooling Liquid
Net HP 910, 920, 935
Supercharger Szydlowski
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 33' 5", 33' 5.5", 34'
10.2 m
Length 27', 28', 28' 8.5", 28' 9"
8.6 m, 8.76 m
Height 8', 8' 5", 8' 6"
2.56 m, 2.57 m
Wing area 172 ft2
15.97 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,479 lb, 4,612 lb
2,036 kg, 2,092 kg
Loaded 4,850 lb, 5,889 lb
2,677 kg
Maximum load 6,129 lb
2,780 kg
Performance  
Speed 332 mph, 340 mph
535 kph
Speed at sea level 280 mph
450 kph
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
329 mph
529 kph
Cruising speed 230 mph
370 kph
Climb 2,362'/minute
720 m/minute
Climb to 13,120' /
4,000 m
5 minutes, 5 minutes 48 seconds
Climb to 26,000' 12' 53"
Service ceiling 36,090', 39,440'
10,500 m, 11,000 m
Range 620 miles, 950 miles
890 km, 998 km
Maximum range 777 miles
1,250 km
Armament 1: 20 mm
4: MG
Propeller hub 1: 20 mm HS 404 rapid fire cannon
1: 20 mm
Ammunition 60 rounds
Wings 4: 7.5 mm MAC 34 M39 MG
4: 7.5 mm MG
Ammunition 675 rounds each
  Dewoitine D.520S (first 558 aircraft)
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Hispano-Suiza 12Y45 piston
Cylinders Inline
Cooling  
Net HP 930
Supercharger  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 33' 5.5"
10.2 m
Length 28' 8.75"
8.76 m
Height 8' 5 1/8"
2.57 m
Wing area 171.7 ft2
15.95 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,685 lb
2,125 kg
Loaded 5,897 lb
2,675
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 18,045' /
5,500 m
332 mph
535 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
5.82 minutes
Service ceiling 33,630'
10,250 m
Range 553 miles
890 km
Armament  
Propeller hub 1: 20 mm HS404
Wings 4: 7.5 mm MAC 1934 M39 MG

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site