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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Dornier Do 217 heavy bomber

Photos

  • Dornier Do 217 bomber
  • Dornier Do 217E bomber
  • Dornier Do 217E bomber
  • Dornier Do 217E2 bomber
  • Dornier Do 217E2 bomber

Design

The Dornier Do 217 was a larger and faster version of the Dornier Do 17. It had better aerodynamics with a wider and longer fuselage.

A requirement for the Do 217 was that it should be able to act as a dive bomber and some had large air brakes in the tail. This requirement was eventually withdrawn.

Do 217K and Do 217M

In early 1942 the Do 217K and Do 217M were being developed and produced at the same time. The were basically the same except for the engines. The nose was enlarged and glazed.

Do 217J and Do 217N

Night fighters that were converted on the production line. They had a stepped windscreen and solid noses containing the primary armament.

Prototype

The Do 217V1 prototype first flew in August 1938. The prototype had problems with directional stability and controls that were sluggish. It crashed after having only flown a few flights.

Production

  • Prototypes: 15
  • Dornier Do 217A: 8
  • Dornier Do 217C: 5
  • Dornier Do 217E-0, Dornier Do 217E-1, Dornier Do 217E-2: ~200
  • Dornier Do 217E-3: 100
  • Dornier Do 217E-4: ~500
  • Dornier Do 217J: 157
  • Dornier Do 217K, Dornier Do 217M: ~520
  • Dornier Do 217N: 207
  • Dornier Do 217P: 6
  • Dornier Do 217R: 5
  • Total: 1,730, 1,905
    • Manufacturer: Dornier Werke GmbH

Variants

  • Dornier Do 217V1: Prototype. Two Daimler-Benz DB 601A inline engines (1,075 HP/1,100 HP).
  • Dornier Do 217V9: First flew in early 1940. Was powered by two BMW 801 engines. Fuselage was deeper.
  • Dornier Do 217A: Reconnaissance.
  • Dornier Do 217A-0: Had larger tail surfaces. Joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 as a reconnaissance aircraft. Used in over flights of Soviet Union before the out break of war in Russia.
  • Dornier Do 217C: Bomber.
  • Dornier Do 217E-1: Anti shipping and bomber. Production model. Entered service in late 1940.
  • Dornier Do 217E-2: Bomber. Dive bomber. Added dorsal turret with 13 mm gun.
  • Dornier Do 217E-2/R2: Torpedo bomber.
  • Dornier Do 217E-2/R-10: Navy patrol plane with two 2 ton bombs under the wings.
  • Dornier Do 217E-3: Added additional armor. Increased armament.
  • Dornier Do 217E-4: Had balloon cable cutters on the leading edge of the wings.
  • Dornier Do 217E-5: Carried two Henschel HS 293 anti ship missiles. Converted from earlier models in 1943.
  • Dornier Do 217J: Night fighter. Based on the Do 217E airframe. Had FuG 202 radar. The nose carried two 20 mm and four 7.92 mm guns. Joined the Luftwaffe in 1942.
  • Dornier Do 217J-1: Night fighter. Kept bomb bay which could carry an intruder missile. Relegated to training. Four 20 mm and four machine guns.
  • Dornier Do 217J-2: Night fighter. Used FuG Lichenstein radar.
  • Dornier Do 217K: Could carry HS 293 or Fritz X missiles. Carried eight machine guns.
  • Dornier Do 217K-1: Night bomber.
  • Dornier Do 217K-2: Longer wings to carry two Fritz X radio controlled missiles.
  • Dornier Do 217K-3: Longer wings to carry two Fritz X or two Hs 293 radio controlled missiles.
  • Dornier Do 217M: Used two Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines (1,750 HP).
  • Dornier Do 217M-5: Prototype for carrying missiles.
  • Dornier Do 217M-11: Prototype for carrying missiles.
  • Dornier Do 217N: Night fighter. Based on the Do 217M airframe. Two Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines. In the nose were four 20 mm, four 7.92 mm, and two 20 mm (upward firing Schäge Musik) guns.
  • Dornier Do 217N-2: Night fighter. Upgraded radar. Removed from service in early 1944.
  • Dornier Do 217P: High altitude bomber. Pressurized cabin. In the fuselage was a Daimler-Benz DB605 (1,475 HP) engine that was used to supercharge the two main engines. Could reach 50,000' / 15,240 m altitude.
  • Dornier Do 217R: Designation for five Do 317 prototypes. These were converted to missile carriers.

Usage

The Dornier Do 217 was operated by Italy (Do 217J) and Germany.

First Unit

The II/KG 40 first received the Do217E in March 1941 to be used for anti-shipping over the Atlantic Ocean.

Raids on Britain

The Do 217E was used in the Baedecker raids on British cities in 1942.

France

The Do 217E-1s were stationed in France with the II./KG 40 in March 1941.

Anti Shipping

In 1943 Do 217K-2 armed with Fritz X missiles struck several Allied ships operating in the Mediterranean. The cruiser HMS Spartan, destroyer HMS Janus, and Italian battleship Roma were sunk by the missiles.

Night Fighters

The Italians were supplied with twelve Do 217Js. These were used to defend Genoa, Milan, and Turin.

Luftwaffe Gruppen

The Do 217J-2 equipped eight Luftwaffe Gruppen.

Luftwaffe Nachtjagdgruppen

There were 15 Nachtjagdgruppen equipped with Do 217 night fighters. These Nachtjagdgruppen were also equipped with Ju 88s and Bf 110 night fighters.

Specifications

  Dornier Do 217
Type Heavy Bomber
Crew 4
Pilot, bombardier, radio operator, rear gunner
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603A
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Water
Propeller blades 3 blade feathered
Dimensions  
Span 62' 5"
19 m
Length 56' 6"
17 m
Wing area 610 sq ft
56.6 sq m
Weight  
Loaded 35,000 lb
15,890 kg
Performance  
Speed at Sea Level 290 mph
464 kph
Speed at 22,000' / 6,710 m 330 mph
528 kph
Service ceiling 24,000'
7,320 m
Range 2,400 miles
3,840 km
Armament  
Nose 1: MG 81
Dorsal Turret 1: MG 131
Rear 1: MG 131
Lateral 2: MG 81
Bombs 5,550 lb
  Dornier Do 217E
Type Medium / heavy bomber, Reconniassance
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 801, BMW 801MA
Cylinders Radial
HP 1,320 each, 1,550 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4", 72'
19 m
Length 59' 8.5", 63' 5"
18.2 m
Height 16' 4"
4.98 m
Weight  
Loaded 30,800 lb
Performance  
Speed 290 mph
Armament 4: MG
Nose 1: 15 mm
  Dornier Do 217E-1
Type Bomber, Dive Bomber
Crew 4, 4 or 5
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 801 MA, BMW 801 A
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,550 each, 1,580 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4"
Length 59' 8"
Height 16' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 33,070 lb
Performance  
Speed at 17,000' 320 mph
Service ceiling 24,600'
Range 1,430 miles
Armament 5: MG
5: MG 15
1: 15 mm
1: 15 mm MG 151
Nose 1: MG 151
1: MG 151/20
Dorsal 1: MG 131
Rear 1: MG 131
Lateral 2: MG 131
Bombs - total 4,409 lb, 4,410 lb
2,000 kg
  Dornier Do 217E-2
Type Medium / heavy bomber, Dive bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 801ML, BMW 802, BMW 801A
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
HP 1,580 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 5"
Length 56' 6"
Weight  
Empty 19,522 lb
8,855 kg
Loaded 33,070 lb, 33,700
15,000 kg
Maximum load 36,299 lb
16,465 kg
Performance  
Speed 325 mph
Speed at sea level 273 mph
439 kph
Speed at 17,060' / 5,200 m 320 mph
515 kph
Cruising speed 245 mph
394 kph
Climb - full load 710'/minute
216 m/minute
Service ceiling 24,600'
7,500 m
Range 1,430 miles
2,300 km
Maximum range 1,740 miles
2,800 km
Armament 2: 13 mm MG
3: 7.9 mm MG
Top cockpit turret 2: MG
Forward firing 4: Cannon
Nose 1: 15 mm
1: MG 151
1: MG 151/20
Dorsal Turret 1: MG 131
Rear 1: MG 131
Lateral 2: MG
2: MG 131
Bottom 1: MG
Bombs - total 6,600 lb, 8,818 lb
4,000 kg
  Dornier Do 217J
Type Night fighter, Intruder
Crew 3 - 4
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 801A
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,580 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4"
19 m
Length 59'
18 m
Height 16' 3"
4.97 m
Armament  
Nose 1: 20 mm
4: 20 mm
4: 7.92 mm MG 17
OR 4: 7.9 mm MG
Dorsal turret 1: 13 mm MG
Ventral gondola 1: 13 mm MG
  Dornier Do 217J-2
Weight  
Empty 20,613 lb
9,350 kg
Maximum load 29,056 lb
13,180 kg
  Dornier Do 217K
Type Medium / heavy bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 810D
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4"
19 m
Length 55' 9.25"
17 m
Height 16' 4"
4.98 m
  Dornier Do 217K-2
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 801
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Dimensions  
Span 80', 81' 4"
24.4 m, 24.8 m
Armament  
Under wing 2: FX 1400 Fritz X missiles
Rear 4: MG 81
  Dornier Do 217K-3
Dimensions  
Span 81' 4"
24.8 m
Armament  
Under wing 2: FX 1400 or Hs 293 missiles
  Dornier Do 217M
Type Medium / heavy bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB603A, DB 603
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Water
HP 1,750 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Dornier Do 217M-1
Type Heavy bomber
Medium / heavy bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603A piston
Cylinders Inline, Inverted V 12
HP 1,750 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4"
19 m
Length 55' 9.25", 58' 4.5"
17 m, 17.79 m
Height 16' 3.5", 16' 6"
4.96 m, 5.03 m
Wing area 613.54 ft2
57 m2
Weight  
Empty 19,845 lb, 19,985 lb
9,000 kg, 9,065 kg
Maximum load 36,817 lb
16,700 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 294 mph
473 kph
Speed at 18,700' / 5,700 m 348 mph
560 kph
Cruising speed 248 mph
399 kph
Climb 688'/minute, 690'/minute
210 m/minute
Service ceiling 24,170', 31,170', 31,180'
7,367 m, 9,500 m
Range 1,335 miles, 1,335 - 1,550 miles, 1,555 miles
2,150 km, 2,148 km - 2,495 km, 2,500 km
Armament 2: 13 mm MG
4: 7.9 mm MG
6: 7.92 mm
8: 7.92 mm MG 81
2: 13 mm MG 131
Bombs - internal 5,511 lb
2,500 kg
Bombs - total 8,818 lb
4,000 kg
  Dornier Do 217N
Type Night fighter / intruder
Crew 3 - 4
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB603A , Damiler-Benz DB503
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,750 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 320 mph
515 kph
Cruising speed 264 mph
425 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 15 minutes
Service ceiling 29,200'
8,900 m
Range 1,550 miles
2,495 km
Armament  
Nose 4: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Upward firing 4: 20 mm (some models)
  Dornier Do 217N-2
Type Night fighter
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler Benz DB 603A
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,750 each
Dimensions  
Span 62' 4"
Length 62'
Height 16' 4"
Weight  
Empty 20,700 lb
9,390 kg
Loaded 29,100 lb, 29,101 lb
13,200 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 320 mph
Service ceiling 29,200'
Range 1,090 miles
Armament 4: MG
4: 20 mm

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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