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Blohm & Voss BV 238

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BV 238
Role

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Manufacturer

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First flight

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Primary user

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Number built

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The Blohm & Voss BV 238 was a German flying boat (Flugboot) built during World War II. It was the heaviest aircraft ever flown when it first flew in 1944, and was the largest aircraft produced by any of the Axis powers in World War II.[2]

Design

The BV 238 V1, bearing the four-letter factory radio code of RO + EZ, first flew in April 1944.[1] Six 1,287 kW (1,750 hp) Daimler-Benz DB 603 inverted V12 piston engines were used in total, arranged in three forward-facing engine nacelles on each wing. Each engine's coolant radiator was placed in a chin cowl directly under the engine, bearing an almost identical appearance to those fitted to the Do 217M medium bomber and some examples of the Do 217J night fighter, possibly as standardized Kraftei ("power-egg") unitized engine modules.[1]

Destruction

The sole completed BV 238 was strafed and sunk while docked on Schaalsee. Sources differ regarding the date, the attackers and the attack aircraft used.

According to American sources, the BV 238 V1 was destroyed September 1944 by P-51 Mustangs of the US 361st Fighter Group. The lead Mustang, Detroit Miss, was piloted by Lieutenant Urban "Ben" Drew, and another was piloted by William D. Rogers. Drew was told after the attack that he had destroyed a BV 222 Wiking, another large flying boat. He continued to believe this was the case until he was contacted by the BBC in 1974 for a documentary and told that their research had determined that the aircraft he had destroyed was actually the BV 238 V1, undergoing flight tests at the seaplane base at Schaalsee.[3]

German sources, based in part on the testimony of nearby inhabitants and Blohm & Voss employees, claim that the BV 238 V1 was discovered by the RAF between 23 April and 26 April 1945. The Allies were reportedly concerned that Adolf Hitler could use it to escape to South America, and so an attack followed shortly afterwards. The aircraft was attacked by Hawker Typhoons, or Hawker Tempests. Their strafing set the engines alight, and the aircraft burnt and sank with only part of a wing remaining above the surface.[3] According to the British, the attack happened on 4 May 1945. During the strafing, the back of the flying boat broke and the forward part of the plane sank into the water.[citation needed]

Other prototypes

Production of two other prototypes was begun but neither was finished. A ¼-scale model of the BV 238 was made during the plane's development for testing. Known as the FGP 227, it made a forced landing during its first flight and did not provide any data to the program.[1][4]

Variants

Data from Aircraft of the Third Reich Vol.1[1]

BV 238 V1
The only completed prototype.
BV 238-Land
The initial designation for the land-based derivative of the BV 238.
BV 250
A land-based derivative of the BV 238 for use as a strategic maritime reconnaissance aircraft and long-range transport.

Specifications (BV 238A-02 (V6))

Data from Aircraft of the Third Reich Vol.1,[1] Blohm & Voss Bv 222 "Wiking" – Bv 238[5]

General characteristics
  • Crew: ca 12
  • Length: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Wingspan: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Height: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Wing area: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Empty weight: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Gross weight: Script error: No such module "convert". for reconnaissance missions
Script error: No such module "convert". for bomber missions
  • Max takeoff weight: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Powerplant: 6 × Daimler-Benz DB 603G inverted V-12 liquid-cooled piston engines, Script error: No such module "convert". each for take-off
    Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propellers

Performance

  • Maximum speed: Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert". weight at sea level
Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Landing speed: 143 km/h (77 kn, 89 mph)[citation needed]
  • Range: Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert". at Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Service ceiling: Script error: No such module "convert".
  • Wing loading: Script error: No such module "convert".</ul>Armament
  • Guns: 8 x Script error: No such module "convert". MG 131 machine guns with 1,800 rpg; 4 in each nose and tail turret
8 x Script error: No such module "convert". MG 131 machine guns with 900 rpg; 4 in each wing mounted turret
4 x Script error: No such module "convert". MG 131 machine guns with 500 rpg; 2 (as a twinned MG 131Z) in each manually aimed beam/waist position
2 x Script error: No such module "convert". MG 151/20 autocannon with 1,400 rpg in forward dorsal turret
  • Bombs: 20 x Script error: No such module "convert". SC 250 bombs in wing bomb bays
and 4 x Script error: No such module "convert". SC 1000 bombs on external racks
or 2 x Script error: No such module "convert". LD 1200 torpedoes on external racks
or 4 x Henschel Hs 293 missiles on external racks, if Bv 238 fitted with FuG 203 Kehl MCLOS guidance transmitter
or 2 x Script error: No such module "convert". BV 143 glide bombs on external racks
 </ul>

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Green, William (2010). Aircraft of the Third Reich (1st ed.). London: Aerospace Publishing Limited. pp. 165–168. ISBN 978-1-900732-06-2. 
  2. ^ Luftfahrt History Heft 1: Blohm & Voss BV 238. Lautec Medien GmbH, 57078 Siegen.
  3. ^ a b GOT: The Blohm & Voss BV 238 thread 4245 from The Great Planes and Warbirds Community; questions the American claim about the destruction of the aircraft and reinforces the German version of events.
  4. ^ Nowarra 1997, p. 42.
  5. ^ Nowarra 1997, p. 47.
Bibliography
  • Green, William (2010). Aircraft of the Third Reich (1st ed.). London: Aerospace Publishing Limited. pp. 165–168. ISBN 978-1-900732-06-2. 
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Five: Flying Boats. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1962 (5th impression 1972). ISBN 0-356-01449-5.
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1970 (4th impression 1979). ISBN 0-356-02382-6.
  • Krzyźan, Marian. Blohm & Voss BV 222 & BV 238 (Monografie Lotnicze 29) (in Polish). Gdańsk, Poland: AJ-Press, 1996. ISBN 83-86208-47-3.
  • Nowarra, Heinz J. (translated by Don Cox) Blohm & Voss Bv 222 "Wiking" - Bv 238. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 1997. ISBN 0-7643-0295-7. (Translation of the German original Luftgiganten über See: BV 222 Viking - BV 238. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas Verlag GmbH, 1980. ISBN 3-7909-0124-5.)
  • Smith, John Richard; Anthony L. Kay and Eddie J. Creek. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1972(3rd impression 1978). ISBN 0-370-00024-2.
  • Wagner, Ray and Nowarra, Heinz. German Combat Planes: A Comprehensive Survey and History of the Development of German Military Aircraft from 1914 to 1945. New York: Doubleday, 1971.
  • Winchester, Jim. The World's Worst Aircraft. New York: Amber Books, 2005. ISBN 0-7607-8714-X.
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External links