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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug (DFS) 230 assault glider

Design

Ernst Udet visited DFS and was told about the possible use of assault gliders in war.1 An order was placed on this alone.1

The DFS 230 was originally a civilian glider.2

Prototype

The first prototype was flown in 1937.1 Hanna Reitsch often demonstrated the DFS 230 to officials.1

Production

The DFS 230 was produced by DFS, Gotha, Hartig, Erla, and Mraz (Czechoslovakia).1 The DFS 230 was produced until 1942.1

  • Prototypes: 61
  • DFS 230: 1,5001

Variants

  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230V-7: Prototype.1 Could carry 15 troops.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230A-0: Production sub variant.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230A-1: Production sub variant.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230A-2: Production sub variant.1 Had dual controls.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230B-1: Production sub variant.1 Had stronger structure.1 There was a braking parachute and provision for armament.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230B-2: Production sub variant.1 Had dual controls.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230A:
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230B:
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230C-1: Conversion of the B-1 with a revised nose.1 The nose contained three Rheinmetall-Borsig braking rockets which allowed it to land in only 100' / 30 m.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230D-1: Enlarged to carry 15 troops.1
  • Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflugzeug DFS 230F: Could carry 15 troops.1 Never produced.1

Usage

The DFS 230 was only used by Germany starting in 1938.1

Fort Eben Amael

Probably one of the most famous operations in which 41 DFS 230s were used was in the attack on the Belgium Fort Eben Amael on May 10, 1940.1,2

Mediterranean

The DFS 230 was used in Crete, and North Africa.1

Eastern Front

The DFS 230 was used in on the Eastern Front in supply missions in Budapest, Breslau and other cities.1

Rescue Mussolini

In September 1943 DFS 230 gliders were used to assault the mountain top prison that held the captured Benito Mussolini.1

Specifications

  DFS 2301
Type Assault glider1
Crew 11
Passengers 81
Cargo 2,750 lb2
Dimensions  
Span 68' 5.5"1, 69'2
20.87 m1
Length 36' 10.5'1, 37'2
11.24 m1
Height 9' 6"1
2.9 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Diving speed 180 mph1
290 kph1
Towing speed 112 - 130 mph1, 130 mph2
180 - 209 kph1
Armament  
Upper fuselage decking 1: 7.9 mm MG1
  DFS 230B-11
Type  
Crew  
Passengers  
Cargo  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 1,896 lb1
860 kg1
Loaded 4,630 lb1
2,100 kg1
Performance  
Diving speed  
Towing speed  
Armament  

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site