Aviation of World War II

Home Russian

BV 238

  • Long-range Reconnaissance Seaplane
  • First flight: 1944
  • Blohm und Voss

Blohm & Voss BV 238 - was supposed to be the largest German long-range reconnaissance seaplane and transport aircraft during the Second World War.

In early 1940, Dr. Richard Vogt began developing a series of long-range flying boats that could simultaneously carry out naval patrols and transport missions. It was supposed to take the BV 138 aircraft as a basis, which at that time began to enter service. Water tank design work has shown that the step can be much longer than conventional designs, allowing for a much larger aircraft. Armed with this data, Vogt's group began designing a new aircraft in November, called the Blom and Foss BV 238. Its powerplant was a box of four 24-cylinder Jumo 223 engines arranged in four rows of six cylinders. By July 1941, it became clear that these engines would never see the light of day, so Vogt redesigned the design, which now had six engines.

At the end of 1941, an order was received for three BV 238A prototypes with DB 603 engines and one BV 238B with BMW 801 star engines. Soon, Blom & Foss offered a land variant of the BV 238, later renamed BV 250. It was the plane, in which instead of the redan, the doors of the bomb bay hatch were installed. It had a long range, which made it possible to carry out strategic reconnaissance on the coasts of the United States. Four of these prototypes were ordered, and Blom & Foss began work on assembling three of them, but they were never completed. The BV 238/250 program required a huge investment, so it was decided to build a prototype about a quarter of the original with six 15.7 kW (21 hp) engines.

The FGP 227 aircraft manufactured near Prague turned out to be completely unprofitable. He was unable to take off with a wheeled chassis and was transported to Travemunde for testing on the water, but during transport the car was damaged by French prisoners of war. This model made its first flight in September 1944, a few months after the launch of a full-size aircraft, but immediately after takeoff, all of its engines failed, which entailed further damage.

Flight tests of the BV238VI began in April 1945, and although this aircraft was inferior in size to the largest aircraft in the world at that time - the Tupolev ANT-20, it was definitely the heaviest, and for takeoff at full weight it was required starting boosters. At the end of 1944, the aircraft was sunk at an anchorage on Lake Shaal by a P-51 Mustangami of the US Army Air Force. By this time, the prototypes of the V2 and V3 with DB 603 engines were nearly finished. Work on the V4 with the BMW 801 and V5 (a pre-production model for the BV 238A), as well as three BV 250s, went quite far, but after the loss of the only flying aircraft and due to other, more urgent needs of the Luftwaffe, this program was discontinued.

Blohm und Voss BV 238V-1
Crew 7
Wing span, m 60.17
Length, m 43.36
Height, m 12.8
Wing area, m² 360
Weight, kg:
Empty 54,780
Gross weight 10,000
6 х DE DB 603G, power, h.p. 6 x 1900 (1417 kW)
Maximum speed, H=6000m, gross weight 60 t, km/h 425
Approximate range, km 7,850
four MG 131 13 mm machine guns: one each in the nose and tail turrets and in the turrets at the rear of each wing, the same coaxial machine guns on the sides of the fuselage and two MG 151 20 mm cannons in the dorsal turret.
wing bomb bays for 20 250 kg bombs and outer pylons for four LD 1200 torpedoes, four 1000 kg bombs, four Hs 293 missiles or four BV 143 gliding bombs

Photo Description
Drawing BV 238

Drawing BV 238

BV 238V1

BV 238V1 was the only flying giant of the BV 238 family. It was unarmed and was still undergoing initial flight tests when it sank, after which the program was canceled.


  • Luftwaffe Aviation / V.N. Shunkov /
  • Combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe / edited by David Donald /
  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /