Aviation of World War II
The Do-217E-5 aircraft - one of the best variants of the basic Do-217E model - was originally equipped with pylons for the suspension of Hs-293A radio-controlled anti-ship missiles and the Kehl / Strassburg control system.
These aircraft were part of II / KG-100 - a special unit of the Luftwaffe, created in April 1943. This unit operated in the Biscay's Bay of and in the North Atlantic on the communications of the Allies. Do-217E-5s sank American ships, although they did not pose a serious threat to convoys.
At the end of 1941, the Dornier aircraft factories began to switch from the production of the Do 217 E-2 to the production of a new modification of the Do 217 E-4. This aircraft differed from its predecessors only in the improved engines of the BMW 801 C.
By 1943, the Luftwaffe received a new type of anti-ship weapon - Henschel Hs 293A and FX 1400 Fritz-X radio-controlled bombs. The Hs 293A bomb would be more correctly called a gliding or winged bomb. She was the prototype of modern cruise missiles and looked like a small plane or glider with an inverted tail. In the middle part of this "bomb" was a wing span of 3.1 meters. The nose was a warhead weighing 500 kg. Radio equipment was located in the tail section. Under the fuselage was a rocket booster. A special sleeve inside the wing of the aircraft brought warm air to the bomb, keeping the temperature inside it constant, necessary for the normal operation of all devices. Hs 293A was suspended under the wing of a bomber and dropped from a height of 1300-1400 m at a distance of about 8 km from the target. After the reset, the rocket booster accelerated the "wing bomb" to a speed of 600 km/h. Then she began to plan towards the target, controlled by radio. The Hs 293A was aimed at the target by the navigator-scorer using a small handle on the radio transmitter. To prevent the navigator from losing sight of the bomb, a signal flash was installed on its "tail".
The Henschel FX 1400 Fritz-X bomb was also radio-controlled, but had neither a wing nor a rocket booster. On the tail section of this 1400-kg bomb, an annular stabilizer of an increased area with horizontal and vertical rudders was installed. This allowed the fall of the FX 1400 to be slow and controlled. The bomb was dropped from a great height. Firstly, because it was necessary to have a margin of time to aim it at the target, and secondly, the bomb had to accelerate to a certain "impact" speed in order to break through the armored deck of the warship and explode inside, causing it the greatest damage. A bright signal flash was also installed on the tail of the Fritz-X.
A small number of the latest production Do 217E-4 bombers were converted into aircraft carriers of radio-controlled cruise bombs and received the designation Do 217 E-5 while still in the factory workshops. Under the wing of these bombers, on the outside of the engine nacelles, there were two ETC 2000 / XII bomb racks. In addition, the FuG 203b Kehl III radio transmitter was installed on the aircraft, and the FuG 230b Strassburg receiver was installed on the Hs 293 planning bomb.
The Fritz-X bomb hit the American cruiser Savannah, September 11, 1943