Dornier Do 335

Dornier Do 335A-0
Crewone, pilot
Length45.4 ft13.85 m
Wingspan45.1 ft13.8 m
Height15 ft4.55 m
Wing area592 ft²55.00 m²
Empty11,484 lb5,210 kg
Maximum take-off19,500 lb8,590 kg
Engines2x Daimler-Benz DB603A
Power2x 1,750 hp1,287 kW
Maximum speed447 mph765 km/h
Combat range721 miles (half load)1.160 km
Ferry range
Ceiling37,400 ft11,400 m
Guns1x 30mm MK 103
2x 20mm MG 151/20
Bombs2,200 lb1,000 kg

The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Arrow) was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The Pfeil's performance was much better than any similar design due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the Luftwaffe was desperate to get the design into squadron use, but delays in engine deliveries meant only a handful were delivered before the war ended.

The origins of the Do 335 trace back to World War I when Claudius Dornier designed a number of flying boats featuring remotely driven propellers and later, due to problems with the drive shafts, tandem engines. Tandem engines were used on most of the multi-engined Dornier flying boats that followed, including the highly successful Dornier Wal and the giantic Dornier Do X. The remote propeller drive, intended to elminate parasitic drag from the engine entirely, was tried in the innovative, but unsuccessful Dornier Do 14, and elongated drive shafts as later used in the Do 335 saw use in the rear engines of the tandem-engined Dornier Do 26 flying boat.

In a tandem layout the engines are mounted back-to-back in pairs, the front engine 'pulling' and the rear one 'pushing'. There are many advantages to this design over the more traditional system of placing one engine on each wing, the most important being providing the power from two engines with the frontal area (and thus drag) of a single engine design, allowing for higher performance. It also keeps the weight near the centerline, so the plane can roll faster than a traditional twin. In addition an engine failure doesn't lead to asymmetric thrust, and even in normal flight there is no net torque so the plane is easy to handle.

In 1939 Dornier was busy working on the P.59 high speed bomber project, which featured the tandem engine layout. In 1940 he commissioned a test aircraft to validate his concept for turning the rear, "pusher" propeller with an engine located far away from it and using a long driveshaft. This aircraft, the Göppingen Gö 9 showed that there were no unforseen difficulties with this arrangement, but work on the P.59 was stopped in early 1940 when Hermann Göring ordered the cancellation of all projects which would not be complete within a year or so.

In May 1942 Dornier submitted an updated version with a 1,000 kg bombload as the P.231, in response to a requirement for a single seat high speed bomber/intruder (other entries included the Messerschmitt Me 155). P.231 was selected as the winner after beating rival designs from Arado and Junkers, and a development contract was awarded as the Do 335. In the Autumn of 1942 Dornier was told that the Do 335 was no longer required, and instead a multi-role fighter based on the same general layout would be accepted. This delayed the prototype delivery as it was modified for the new role.

Fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines delivering 1,750 hp (1,287 kW) at take-off, the first prototype flew in October 1943. The pilots were surprised at the speed, acceleration, turning circle and general handling of the type -– it was a twin that flew like a single. The only sore spots they found were the poor rearward visibility and weak landing gear. V2 and V3 incorporated several minor changes; the oil cooler under the nose incorporated into the annular engine cowling, blisters were added to the canopy with small rear view mirrors, and the main undercarriage doors were redesigned.

On May 23, 1944 Hitler ordered maximum priority to be given to Do 335 production. The main production line was intended to be at Manzel, but a bombing raid in March destroyed the tooling and forced Dornier to set up a new line at Oberpfaffenhofen. The decision was made to cancel the Heinkel He 219 and use its production facilities for the Do 335 as well. However, Ernst Heinkel managed to delay, and eventually ignore, its implementation.

The first ten Do 335A-0s were delivered for testing in May. By late 1944 the Do 335A-1 was on the production line. This was similar to the A-0 but with the uprated DB 603E-1 engines and two underwing hard points for additional bombs, drop tanks or guns. Capable of a maximum speed of 474 mph (763 km/h) at 21,325 ft (6,500 m) with MW 50 boost, or 426 mph (686 km/h) without boost, and able to climb to 26,250 ft (8,000 m) in under 15 minutes, the Do 335A-1 could easily outrun any Allied fighters it encountered. Even with one engine out it could reach about 350 mph (563 km/h).

Delivery commenced in January 1945. When the US Army overran the Oberpfaffenhofen factory in late April 1945, only eleven Do 335A-1 single seat fighter-bombers and two Do 335A-12 conversion trainers had been completed.

In Japan the Japanese navy ordered the developed of a very fast heavy interceptor before the end of the pacific war. The result was the Kyushu J7W1 Shinden(震電, "Magnificent Lightning") which is very similar to the Do 335.

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