Aviation of World War II

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Night Fighter



Do 217N-V1 took off for the first time on July 31, 1941. With the exception of the power plant and the restoration of the rear bomb bay (the ability to carry bombs reflected the decision to use this type for night raids behind enemy lines on the Eastern Front), it was similar to the Do217J-2. Its first production version began to enter the night fighter groups from the last quarter of 1942. This variant, the Do217N-l, had the same FuG202 radar as the Do217J-2. Other equipment included the FuG25, which provided identification with anti-aircraft batteries and served as a direction indicator for the Himmelbett system operator, a FuG101 radio altimeter and a FuG10 shortwave radio. From April 1943, when the British Air Force began to suppress radio communications between night fighters and Himmelbett posts, an additional VHF radio station FuG 16 was introduced, operating in a part of the spectrum that was not covered by the British. On some aircraft, the MG FF-M cannon battery was replaced by four MG 151 cannons of the same caliber. The rate of fire and ballistic trajectory of MG FF shells was somewhat inferior to the desired ones, and the MG 151 was distinguished by both a higher rate of fire and better ballistic data.

Do 217N-1 Early combat experience revealed the fact that the upper turret and ventral ledge machine gun are rarely used. Therefore, it was decided to remove both, covering the lower point with a long wooden fairing, providing some reduction in aerodynamic drag. This combination was carried out using a special factory conversion kit in frontline repair shops. The modified aircraft were designated Do217N-1 / U1. The next novelty introduced on the Do 217N-1 was the Shrage Muzyk, an additional cannon that fired obliquely upwards. The Shrage Muzyk experiment was performed on Do 17Z-10 by Oberleutenant Schonert, squadron commander in 4 / NJG2. When Schonert received the Knight's Cross from Major General Kammhuber in July 1942, he reminded the commander that installing a stationary upward-firing cannon on the Do 217 would allow the bomber's almost unprotected belly to be attacked from a position where the fighter would be virtually inaccessible. defensive fire. As a result of this conversation, Kammhuber issued an order to modify the three Do217 night fighters for vertical cannons for combat evaluation.

Three converted aircraft were produced in the spring of 1943. Two 20mm MG 151 cannons were mounted in the central fuselage for forward-upward firing at an angle of 70 °. The weapon was aimed using a reflex sight mounted on the cockpit ceiling above the pilot's head and slightly in front of him. The first definitive victory with the Shrage Musik was noted in May 1943. This and subsequent similar successes led to the creation of a field conversion kit for use on the Do 217, consisting of four 20mm cannons, mounted at an angle of 70 degrees to the horizontal. The aircraft modified in this way were designated Do217N-2 / R22. Shrage Muzyk added another 500 kg to the weight of the aircraft with equipment, lowering the ceiling by 500 m, and the maximum speed by 5 km / h at the ground and by 14 km / h at an altitude of 6000 m.

Do 217N-2 Having replaced Do217N-1 in production at the end of spring 1943, Do 217N-2 was distinguished by all these features, which were gradually introduced on Do 217N-1 / U1. Production was finally discontinued at the end of 1943. A total of 207 Do 217J and Do 217N fighters were delivered to the Luftwaffe this year. Dornier night fighters were widespread in night fighter groups. They were usually used in conjunction with the Bf 110. No group was equipped with only Do 217. Groups I, II and III, NJG 3 and NJG 6, operating in Central Command, also included some Do 217 by the end of 1943. NJG4, based in in the Frankfurt area and at times sent to Eindhoven as part of the 3rd Air Fleet, had two Do 217 squadrons in the II group. In addition to the night protection of the Third Reich itself. Do 217 fighters were also deployed between August and November 1943 on the Eastern Front, where I / NJG100 operated - a separate group known as "railroad night fighters" as their primary mission was to hunt for trains. She operated in the central sector as part of the 6th Air Fleet. With the collapse of the Himmelbett defense system during Operation Gomorrah and the hasty introduction of the impromptu Wilde Sau night-hunting system, the Do 217 night fighter's career took off. Flight duration has become the most important characteristic of a night fighter, defined by the phrase "during the night". Apart from a handful of Ju 88s, the Do 217J and Do 217N were the only fighters in the night fighter groups that could cover significant distances in the German night sky and thus fulfill the functions required by the new tactics. Meanwhile, the ratio of Ju88 fighters and bombers on the assembly lines began to change dramatically - from 1:11 in 1942 to 1: 3.6 in 1943. Over the last six months of the year, 706 Ju 88 fighters left assembly lines, after which, finally, fighters were favored in production over bombers. However, the introduction of the Wilde Sau gave the Dornier fighters a short "glory hour".

Due to the priority given to the rearmament of the Ju 88 night fighter groups, the Do 217 night fighter's combat career was short. If by the end of August 1944. only one I / NJG3, based in Ka-Strup and Lüneburg, was fully armed with Ju88, but by the end of the year all three groups NJG2, II / NJG3 and one group each in NJG1 and NJG6 were rearmed with Junkers, and Dornier fighters "almost completely disappeared from service.

In the last weeks of their combat use, some Do 217N-2s were equipped with a FuG 220 Liechtenstein SN-2 radar, which was not operated by Windou. It had a maximum detection range of 6.5 km. However, for the Dornier, which lacked the high flight characteristics that would allow attacking in pursuit, the short zenith of glory continued until the Zame Sau ("hand boar") tactic was adopted: fighters penetrated the bombers as the latter moved towards the target and then attacked "on the run". Also, the Ju 88s did not appear in large numbers. Like all the night fighters used in World War II with the exception of one, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, the Do 217 was improvised but made a big deal in the dramatic months of 1943.

Do217K-1 Do217M-1 Do217J-2 Do217N-1
Length, m 17.12 17.12 17.67* 17.67*
Wing span, m 19.0
Wing area without a fus., m² 48.5
Wing area,including a fus., m² 56.7
Height in line of flight, m 4.8
Weight, kg:
Empty weight, kg - 9065 8730 10270
Loaded weight - 16790 13180 13200
Engine (two) BMW 801D DB603A BMW 801ML DB603A
Power, hp takeoff 1700 1750 1580 1750
at alt 1440 1620 1380 1850
m 5700 5700 4600 2100
Max speed, km/h at alt 515 560 489 515
m 4000 5700 5500 6000
Cruise speed, km/h at alt - 400 465 470
m -     5400
Rate of climb min - 6.7 3.5 9
to alt, m - 2000 1000 4000
Ceiling, m - 7350 9000 8900
Range, km - 2150 2050 1755
7.92-mm machine guns 3** 3** 4 4
13-mm machine guns 2/3 2/3 2 2
15/20-mm cannon no no 4 4
Internal bomb load, kg 2500 2500 no 400
Bombs, kg 4000 4000 no 400

* - without radar antennas.

** - the nose 7.9-mm twin MG 81Z machine gun was quite often replaced with 13-mm MG 131.

- no data

Photo Description
Drawing Do-217N-2 Drawing Do-217N-2
Dornier Do-217J-2 Dornier Do 217N-2


  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/