SECURING THE SKIES

Dornier Do17

Overview

The Do17 is the least known of the trio of German twin-engined bombers used during the Battle of Britain. The He111 was numerically the superior, the Ju88 and Do17 were about equal in numbers. The Ju88 was a far more adaptable and high performance machine, which is why the Do17 had largely been withdrawn from front-line service by 1942. Another aircraft that was originally conceived as a passenger aircraft, the prototype made its first flight in the autumn of 1934. The slim fuselage was unsuitable for passenger carrying and the aircraft were mothballed. The following year, the type was prepared for a new role as a fast bomber, and by 1937 new versions of the Do17 were entering service with the Luftwaffe as bombers and reconnaissance-bombers.

Foreign observers at a military aircraft competition in 1937 were impressed with the aircraft's speed (248 mph / 400km/h) as it could out-pace some contemporary fighters. Like the He111, the aircraft saw service in the Spanish Civil War and fared equally as well against the Republican's fighters. The major production version was the Do17Z which appeared in 1939, capable of carrying up to eight machine guns and an increased crew of five.

Recognition

Thin, 'pencil' fuselage with bulged forward fuselage featuring heavily-framed cockpit and ventral gun position. Small twin fins at the rear. Mainwheels retract into engine fairings

Power and specifications
PowerplantTwo 1,000 hp Bramo 323P nine-cylinder air-cooled engines.
Span59ft ¾in (18.00m)
Length52ft 0in (15.85m)
Max Speed265 mph (427km/h) at 16,400 ft (4,998m)
ArmamentBetween four and eight 7.9mm machine guns in front, rear and beam cockpit mountings and ventral position
BombloadNormal load of 2,200lb (1,000kg).
AccommodationPilot and four gunners/navigators/bomb-aimers.