Aviation of World War II

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Bomber-Reconnaissance aircraft



At the end of the 1930s, Yugoslavia also ordered the Do-17K aircraft from Germany - a modification of the Do-17M with Gnome Ron 14-N air-cooled engines. In total, more than 70 cars were manufactured, both for Germany and in Yugoslavia itself. Based on this model, a special export version of the Do-215 was also developed.

This bomber was ordered by Sweden, but before the start of the war, the Swedes did not manage to get a single bomber. A total of 112 Do-215s were built: four were sold to Hungary, two to the USSR, and the rest were used by Germany. Variants of this model are Do-217A-1 with DB-601A engines (ordered by Sweden); Do-215B-3 (for the USSR) and reconnaissance bomber Do-215B-4.

By its design, it was a cantilever twin-engine high-wing aircraft with a spaced tail. The cabin was heated by engine exhaust gas, which was also used to operate the anti-icing device located on the leading edge of the wing. Behind the cockpit was a bomb bay with horizontal bomb racks. The design of the bomb bay made it possible to quickly install and remove bomb racks, fuel tanks, aerial cameras and other equipment, which ensured the multi-purpose use of the Do 215. The aircraft had a metal wing with a smooth running skin.

Powerplant. Two (inverted V) DB 601 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1070hp each. with. at an altitude of 3700 m and a maximum power of 1175 hp. with. The engines were located in the front parts of the engine nacelles, while the rear compartments of the engine nacelles were used to remove the main landing gear. After retracting the landing gear, the openings of the rear compartments of the engine nacelles were automatically closed by doors. The design of the engine nacelles made it possible to install various engines in them at the request of the customer. Fuel was placed in two tanks with a capacity of 860 liters. There were also two oil tanks with a capacity of 110 liters each.

Produced in 1940, Do 215 aircraft were mainly used on the Soviet-German front as a photo reconnaissance aircraft. An additional fuel tank with a capacity of 900 liters and aerial cameras were installed in the bomb bay. The flight deck was fitted with additional oxygen equipment for high altitude flights.

As for the characteristics of the aircraft, the assessment given to it by Soviet pilots, who tested Do 215B-3 bombers purchased by the USSR, is of interest. In terms of maximum flight speed, it was between the SB-2 (2×M-103) and DB-3 (2×M-88) and compares favorably with the unstable DB-3 and the insufficiently survivable SB-2. Unlike our aircraft, the Do 215 could fly confidently on a single running engine. When evaluating the cockpit, navigation and communications equipment, the comparison was also not in our favor.

A total of 92 aircraft were manufactured.

Crew 4
Wing span, m 18.10
Length, m 15.79
Height, m 4.56
2 × DB-601A, hp 1,175
Weight, kg:
Maximum takeoff weight 8,800
Maximum speed at altitude 5000m, km/h 480
Rate of climb, m/s 3.0
Service ceiling, m 8,000
Service range, km 3,000
3 × 7.92-mm MG-15 machine guns, internal bomb load, kg 1000
Photo Description
Drawing Do-215

Drawing Do-215B-3

Dornier Do-215

Do 215 - the left side view. Armament is removed

Do 215B-5 Kauz II

Night Fighter

Do 215B-5. Similar to Do 17Z-10s, Do 215B-4s with DB601A engines were converted into night fighters. They successfully entered service with 4/NJG1 at Leeuwarden in late 1940 as Do 215B-5s. October 1941

The Do 215B-5 is credited with the first night radar victory in the Luftwaffe. "Telefunken" developed a radar station with dimensions suitable for installation on a twin-engine fighter, back in the late 30s. This device is known as the "Liechtenstein device". With a minimum and maximum range of about 180 m and 4 km, it provided the position of the target in azimuth and height, using a phase rotation switch, which quickly activated various antennas. Although the Liechtenstein passed its first flight tests in July 1939, its potential capabilities were obvious, the sleepy attitude of the Air Force command to everything related to night air defense largely contributed to the fact that only two years later the FuG202 pre-production devices of the Liechtenstein Armed Forces "were ready for combat testing on the Do 215B-5 4 / NJ01 in Leeuwarden. The "Matratzen" ("mattress") antenna, which increased drag, reduced the maximum cruising speed by about 20 km / h, but the Do 215B-5 still retained the flight characteristics necessary for a successful rear attack on twin-engine British bombers. Its potential as a "defensive" night fighter was further enhanced by the advent of the AI ​​radar, the first victory with which was won on August 9, 1941, piloted by Oberleutnant L. Becker. Thus, while this super-heavy fighter was seen as a purely offensive aircraft, its potential in a defensive role began to be reassessed.

It was believed that improvised fighters - converted Dornier bombers, which had previously proved invaluable for night raids on the enemy, now, due to their superior flight duration compared to the Bf 110, could play an important role in defensive night operations. It can be said about the offensive actions of that time that the night air defense of Great Britain intensified and the German losses of night raiders began to grow rapidly. By this time the Do 215B had been discontinued. Only the last 20 or so aircraft on the assembly line were produced as Do 215B-5 night fighters.


  • Do 215 V1,V2,V3 - aircraft used as demonstrators with Bramo 323A-1, Gnome-Ron 14N and DB 601A engines respectively.
  • Do 215B-0 and B-1 - a batch of 18 bombers intended for the Swedish Air Force, but transferred to the Luftwaffe.
  • Do 215B-2 bomber variant for the Luftwaffe.
  • Do 215V-3 - two aircraft delivered in 1940 in the USSR.
  • Do 215V-4 - photo reconnaissance version for the Luftwaffe.
  • The Do 215B-5 and B-6 are night fighters with a forward fuselage similar to the Do 17Z-10 modification. The most successful modification was the Do-215B-5 night fighter-interceptor, based on the Do-17Z-10. Only a few vehicles underwent alteration, they were equipped with infrared sensors, two 20-mm MGFF cannons in the wings and four 7.92-mm machine guns in the nose.


  • "Aviation and astronautics" /1999 No. 7/
  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/