BV 222 Wiking
Long-range Reconnaissance Seaplane
Blohm und Voss
Blohm & Voss BV 222 "Wiking" - German long-range reconnaissance seaplane of the Second World War and the largest seaplane of the Luftwaffe - was originally designed by Dr. Richard Vogt and R. Schubert in 1937 by order of Lufthansa as a long-range passenger aircraft ...
Three aircraft, each equipped with six 746 kW (1000 hp) Fafnir 323R BMW Bramo radial engines, were ordered in September 1937 and entered service in January 1938. the structure had a number of notable features, including a large free floor area formed by a transverse beam almost 3.05 m wide, and the absence of intermediate partitions above it. The tubular main wing spar also served to accommodate fuel and oil tanks (a characteristic feature of all Vogt designs), and the lateral stability floats consisted of two parts, retracted to the sides into the wing.
On September 7, 1940, weather vane Captain Helmut Rodig first took to the air a prototype, which undoubtedly had a military potential. Indeed, soon the plane was equipped with wider doors for carrying out cargo transportation as part of the Luftwaffe, and on July 10, 1941 it made its first combat sortie. After flying to Norway, he was transferred to the Mediterranean region, where he carried out supplies to the German armed forces from Greece to Libya.
The armament was installed on the second and third prototypes, which made their first flight on August 7 and November 28, 1941. The third prototype had only one MG 81 machine gun of 7, 92 mm caliber in the bow, while the second was additionally equipped with four more such machine guns in the hatches of the central part of the fuselage and two - in the upper turrets, as well as a pair of MG 131 13 mm caliber machine guns in two gondolas located under the center section. Later, the first prototype was equipped with similar weapons in the bow and central parts and MG 131 machine guns in each of the upper turrets. On May 10, 1942, it was delivered to the Luftverkehrstaffel "C" air transport squadron (later renamed the 222 Marine Transport Air Squadron). In August of the same year, it was followed by a second prototype with a modified hull bottom.
In addition to the three prototypes mentioned, five BV 222A-0 (V4-V8) and five BV 222C-0 (V9-V13) aircraft were created, the latter having Jumo 207C diesel engines, enhanced defensive armament and launch boosters. The BV 222B variant with the Jumo 208 engine was intended for Lufthansa, and the BV 222D was supposed to be a military model with the Jumo 2071 engines). The absence of these engines led to the creation of the BV 222E, which was supposed to be fitted with six Bramo-Fafnir 323 radial engines.
During 1942, transport operations in the Mediterranean gained a large scale. V6 and V8 were shot down by the RAF. The sorties were now carried out at night and continued until early 1943, when the remaining Vikings were transferred to Biscarossa for naval patrols with the 222 Naval Reconnaissance Squadron subordinate to Z. / KuFlGr 406. For this new role, the BV 222 was equipped with HuG 200 Hohenwell radars and long-distance communication equipment. V3 and V5 sank in the anchorage, but the squadron received new vehicles. In October 1943, she was renamed the 1st Long Range Reconnaissance Squadron of the 129th Naval Reconnaissance Squadron and continued to engage in submarine guidance in the Atlantic Ocean. The next loss was BV 222C-010, shot down by the British, one of the Vikings managed to destroy the Lancaster bomber. In July 1944 the squadron was disbanded and the BV 222 returned to transport missions. Seven of them survived the battles, and three were captured by the allies and sent for research.