[Lone Sentry: WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
[Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on the European Theater in World War II]
Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"Dornier 217-E" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on the German Luftwaffe Dornier DO-217E bomber, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 36, October 21, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The number of improvements found in the various types of the Do-217 appear to make this aircraft a profitable subject for further comment in view of its many diverse uses as a long range heavy bomber, minelayer, and reconnaissance airplane.

The armament of the 217-E usually consists of one 20-mm Oerlikon cannon or a 13-mm machine gun on a free mount in the nose, one 15-mm machine gun fixed in the bottom of the nose, firing forward, one 13-mm machine gun in an electrically-operated dorsal turret, a 13-mm machine gun on a free mount in the ventral position, and two 7.9-mm machine guns on free lateral mounts. In a recently crashed airplane, two sets of twin 7.9-mm machine guns were found. It is believed that they are now being used for lateral protection instead of single machine guns of the same caliber. The most recent change found in Do-217 armament is the addition of three fixed, rearward-firing guns. One is in the extreme tail and one is in the aft end of each engine nacelle. A master switch and a cocking switch are provided for the pilot and there are three firing buttons, one each for the pilot, dorsal gunner, and ventral gunner. The circuits would allow the firing of either 7.9-mm or 13-mm machine guns. It is possible that a 30-mm gun will be fitted on a few of these aircraft for use as tank-busters. The night-fighter version of the Do-217 has four 20-mm fixed cannon in the nose in addition to four 7.9-mm machine guns. It has been reported that an experimental model is now being developed which will carry eight cannon and four machine guns.

The engines are the usual BMW 801A 14-cylinder, twin-row, air-cooled radials, each being easily detachable from the aircraft, and apparently now equipped with a modified exhaust system.

[Dornier DO217-E, WWII Luftwaffe Bomber]

Six fuel tanks having a total capacity of 785 U.S. gallons are mounted in the wings. Two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 399 U.S. gallons can also be carried in the fuselage bomb compartment instead of bombs and two 238 U.S. gallon jettisonable tanks on the bomb-racks outboard of the engine nacelles. This gives a maximum total capacity of 1,660 U.S. gallons, and a range of 2,445 miles at economical cruising speed with an endurance of 11.7 hours. The large fuselage fuel tank on the E-4 sub-type consists of a metal shell covered with self-sealing material, the first metal shell tank to be seen in a bomber.

The aircraft has a normal bomb load of 4,400 pounds, and a maximum of 6,600 pounds. Normal stowage consists of either four 1,100 pound and four 110 pound internal bombs or two 2,200 pound internal and two 550 pound external bombs. There is also provision for carrying torpedoes, but the Do-217 is not frequently used as a torpedo bomber.

The armor on the Do-217 E is reasonably comprehensive. The pilot's seat is protected by 5-mm (.197 in) plate, the back of which is attached to an 8.5-mm (.33 in) plate back-shield which moves it so that the pilot is always protected at any position of seat elevation. A piece of 9-mm (.354 in) plate in the roof of the cockpit, slightly aft of the pilot's head, gives him protection from above. For protection of the dorsal gunner, the top of the fuselage aft of the turret is armored with two 6-mm (.236 in) plates, on either side of which is a 6-mm curved triangular-shaped piece extending down over the sides of the fuselage. The rise of the turret above the fuselage is protected by a 9-mm (.354 in) circular plate made in four sections and about 12 inches high. The ventral gunner is protected in front by a 10-mm (.394 in) vertical plate, cut away for operation of the gun, and from below by 5-mm (.197 in) plates. One report states that he is also protected by an 8.5-mm (.335 in) semi-circular bulkhead 3 feet 9 inches by 1 foot 8 inches, placed aft of his position. There is no known protection for the lateral gunner. It has been reported that a 6-mm (.236 in) semi-circular bulkhead is fitted into the engine nacelles to protect the lower half of the engine and its accessories. The dinghy recess in the top of the fuselage about in line with the trailing edge of the wing, is armored with 8-mm (.315 in) rear plate, 4-mm (.157 in) plate on the sides and bottom, and 5-mm (.187 in) plate on the cover.

Some of the aircraft examined were wired and equipped for electrically operated dive-brakes, and an automatic pull-out device. The umbrella type dive-brake in the tail of early Do-217's proved unsatisfactory and the newer models have a five-slat type brake installed under the wing outboard of the engine nacelle, nearer the leading edge than the trailing edge of the wing.

In addition to the large dinghy, which is omitted in later models, each of the crew of four is provided with a single-seat dinghy, carried with their parachutes.

The F-Gerät radio altimeter, a device for measuring by radio the actual height of the aircraft above the ground, has been found in some aircraft. Usually a knife-edge cable-cutter is fitted, faired into the leading edge of the wing and around the nose.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page


Web LoneSentry.com