Aviation Archive Issue 25 - 2016 UK

(Jacob Rumans) #1


Dornier Do 335A-1

Type: Twin-engined,
heavy fighter
Crew: One
Length: 45ft 5in (13.85m)
Wingspan: 45ft (13.8m)
Height: 15ft (4.55m)
Empty: 16,314lb (7,400kg)
Max T/O: 21,164lb (9,600kg)
Max Speed: 474mph (765km/h)
Range: Not known
Powerplant: 2 × Daimler-Benz DB 603A
12-cylinder inverted
engines of 1,726hp each
Armament: 1 × 30mm (1.18in) MK103
cannon (as forward
Motorkanone), 2 × 20mm
MG151/20 cowl-mount,
synchronised cannons.
Up to 2,200lb (1,000kg)

cylinder engines. It was armed with one 30mm
MK103 cannon (70 rounds were carried) firing
through the propeller hub and two 15mm
MG151/15 cannon (200 rounds per gun) firing
from the top cowling of the forward engine.
The aircraft was also equipped to carry an
internal bomb load of 500kg (1,100lb).
After initial handling trials at
Oberpfaffenhofen, the Do 335V1 was ferried
to the Rechlin Erprobungstelle for official
evaluation. Although some snaking and
porpoising was found at high speeds, the
Rechlin test pilots were generally enthusiastic.
They commented favourably on its general
handling behaviour, manoeuvrability and
in particular on its acceleration and turning
circle. However serious flaws also plagued the
design. The rear engine overheated often and
the landing gear was very weak and prone
to failure. Following initial testing, the RLM
ordered 14 prototypes, ten preproduction
aircraft with the suffix designation A-0, eleven
production A-1 single-seat aircraft, and three
A-10 and A-12 two-seat trainers. On 23 May
1944, Hitler ordered maximum priority to
be given to Do 335 production. The main

production line was intended to be at Manzell,
but a bombing raid in March destroyed the
tooling and forced Dornier to set up a new line
at Oberpfaffenhofen.
By the time the war ended, Dornier had
finished building as many as 48 Do 335s and
another nine or so were under construction.
Plagued by mechanical unreliability and
lack of aviation fuel, the operational career
of the Do 335 is rather obscure. Do 335A-0
and A-1 aircraft are thought to have flown a
number of operational missions with EK335.
Some were also used by III/KG 2 in the Spring
of 1945. French fighter ace Pierre Clostermann
related an encounter with a Do 335 in April
1945, during which the German aircraft easily
outpaced the pursuing Hawker Tempests and
escaped unharmed.
Technically innovative, heavily armed and
possessing a performance which no other
piston-engined aircraft had ever achieved, the
Do 335 possessed great potential as a combat
aircraft, but never got the chance to prove
itself. Delayed by high-ranking indecision and
Allied bombing raids, this innovative aircraft
simply ran out of time.
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