Category Archives: Fighter


Messerschmitt Me 609 (Huma-Models)

TYPE: Fighter, Fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,726 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 472 mph (estimated)

COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 609 was a short-lived WW II German project which joined two fuselages of the Messerschmitt Me 309 fighter prototype together to form a heavy fighter.
The project was initiated in response to a 1941 RLM (Reich Air Ministry) requirement for a new “Zerstörer” (destroyer, or heavy fighter) to replace the Messerschmitt Bf 110 in a minimum time and with a minimum of new parts The new design would use components from existing aircraft, thus not disrupting existing production. After the cancellation of the Messerschmitt Me 309 project in 1943, work was continued using it as a basis for other designs. One of these reworked designs was for the Me 509; another was for the 609, which was basically two Me 309 fuselages joined with a new center wing section. Messerschmitt was also working on and had completed a twin-fuselage Bf 109, known as the Me109Z, but the prototype was destroyed before flight testing.
Two Me 309 fuselages were to be joined with a constant chord center wing section, into which two inboard landing gears retracted. The outboard landing gears were resigned, two nose wheels retracted to the rear and rotating 90 degrees to lie flat beneath the engines. This resulted in an unusual four-wheel arrangement.  Power was to be supplied by two Daimler Benz 603 or 605 12 cylinder inverted V liquid -cooled engines. The pilot sat in a cockpit located in the port fuselage, with the starboard cockpit canopy being faired over.
Two versions were envisioned: a heavy fighter (“Zerstörer”) and a high-speed bomber (“Schnellbomber”, fast bomber). In the fighter version, two MK 108 30 mm cannon and two MK 103 30mm cannon were projected as the armament, with a provision for two additional MK 108 30mm cannon mounted beneath the center wing section or under the outer wing sections. In addition, either one SC 500 or two SC 250 bombs could be carried, also beneath the center wing section. The fast bomber version would have reduced armament, with only two MK 108 30mm cannon were to be installed. Extra fuel (1500 kg) could be carried in the faired over starboard cockpit, and the bomb load was to consist of two SC 1000 bombs which were carried beneath each fuselage.
Finally, a two seater night fighter variant was envisioned with FuG 220 “Lichtenstein SN-2” antennas mounted at the outer wings. The pilot sat in the port and the radar operator in the starboard fuselage.
Even though it was calculated that many components of the Me 309 could be used (fuselage, engines, equipment, 80% of the wings), by the time this design began to jell, the Messerschmitt Me 262 turbojet fighter was proving to be the plane of the future, and could take over all roles for which the Me 609 was designed. Thus, the Me 609 project was no longer pursued after 1944 (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt “Projekt Wespe II” (Project Wasp II), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Short-range fighter, fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: One Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,300 kp thrust

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: This late WW II Messerschmitt „Projekt Wespe” (Wasp) is mostly unknown, and information on it is incomplete. Two seperate fuselages were designed for the „Wespe”:
Design Messerschmitt „Projekt Wespe I” had the cockpit located midway along the fuselage, and the single turbojet engine was located at the rear and was fed by a long air duct. A long tapering single fin and rudder was chosen, with the tail planes located about halfway up.
Design Messerschmitt „Projekt Wespe II” had the cockpit located far forward on the fuselage, and the single He S 011 turbojet was mounted mid fuselage. It was fed by an air duct which wrapped under the forward fuselage, and exhausted below a tail boom with a V- Tail unit.
Both designs used a tricycle landing gear arrangement, with the main gear retracting inwards from the wing and the front gear retracting forwards. No armament was specified, but at this stage in the war two MK 108 30mm cannon would probably have been fitted. Priority for both designs was the use of non-strategic material as much as possible, reduction of time for maintenance and adequate flying characteristics (Ref.: 17).

Messerschmitt Me 163C V1 (A+V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Rocket-powered interceptor fighter


POWER PLANT: One Walter HWK 509C-1 bi-fuel rocket engine, rated at 2,000 kp main chamber plus 400 kp auxiliary chamber

PERFORMANCE: 596 mph at 40,000 ft.

COMMENT: As soon as it was realized that the HWK 509A rocket engine of the Messerschmitt Me 163B “Komet” consume appreciable more fuel than had been calculated, reducing commensurately the powered endurance of the aircraft, Professor Walter began investigating the possibility of introducing an auxiliary cruising chamber which achieved test status during 1944 in two B-series prototypes, the Me 163B V6 and Me 163B V18, these subsequently serving as test beds for the Me 163C-series. The cruising chamber afforded a thrust of 400 kp which was additional to the normal full-power thrust rating, and the intention was that the aircraft should take off and climb to operational altitude with both rocket chambers operating at full thrust, then cut the main chamber and cruise on the power of the auxiliary chamber alone. Apart from provision of a fully-retractable tailwheel which was positioned further forward to allow for the twin vertically-disposed rocket pipes, some revision of the keel line and shortening of the landing skid, the Me 163B V6 and Me 163B V18 were externally similar to the standard Me 162B-series production aircraft.
On July 1944, test pilot Rolf Opitz took off from Peenemünde in the Me 163B V18 for the first climb calibration trials with both rocket chambers functioning. Everything went according to plan until, just above 13,000 ft., the aircraft began to accelerate. At 14,760 ft. the climb rate of the aircraft was still increasing and within four seconds the aircraft has passed 16,400 ft. Another few seconds and the aircraft exceeded its critical Mach number, and Opitz promptly cut the rocket motor. The prototype immediately went into a steep dive from which Opitz only succeeded in recovering a few feet above the waters of the Baltic Sea. After landing back at Peenemünde Opitz discovered that almost the entire rudder of the aircraft had been ripped away, and it was subsequently ascertained the Me 163B V18 had attained a speed of 702 mph.
While test with both prototypes were proceeding, the Messerschmitt drawing office was working on a refined version of the rocket fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 163C, intended from the onset to utilize the auxiliary cruising chamber. While the wings of the new model were essentially similar to those of the Me 163B, a new centre section was introduced which increased overall span and gross area. This was married to an enlarged fuselage of improved fineness ratio which accommodated the pilot in a pressurized cockpit enclosed by a blister-type all-round vision canopy. The T-Stoff and C-Stoff tankage was increased and the armament, which could comprise either two 20-mm MG 151 or two 30-mm MK 108 cannon, was transferred from the wing roots to the fuselage. The additional tank capacity and cockpit pressurization allowed the maximum altitude to increase to 52,000 ft, as well as improving powered time to about 12 minutes, almost doubling combat time (from about five minutes to nine).
Preparations for the series production of the new model as Messerschmitt Me 163C-1a began late in 1944, but only three were reportedly completed, the being allocated “Versuchs” number as Me 163C V1, V2 And V3, and only one is known to have flown before all three were destroyed to prevent them falling into Soviet hands (Ref.: 7).

Heinkel He P.1073.09-44 (Revell Models, Parts scratchbuilt)

TYPE: Fighter project, forerunner of the Heinkel He 162


POWER PLANT:  one Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1.300 kp thrust

PERFORMANCE: 615 mph in 19615 ft

COMMENT: The summer 1944 saw limitations of the Messerschmitt Me 262 becoming readily apparent. The basic design predated the war. It was heavy and expensive, and required to precious turbojet engines. A cheap high-performance replacement was needed so in July 1944 the RLM issued a requirement for a new single-turbojet high-performance fighter, known as the “1-TL-Jäger”. Germany’s aircraft companies were quick to realise that this was potentially the most important competition in which they had so far had the opportunity to participate. Designing a successful single-seat fighter carries a huge amount of prestige and the most famous firms – Blohm &Voss, Focke-Wulf , Heinkel, Junkers and Messerschmitt – jumped at the chance to create the successor to not only on the me 262 but perhaps also the Bf 109 and Fw 190 too. The engine was to be a Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet and the companies were allowed two months to prepare their first designs, Blohm & Voss had two months more time.
On September 1944 the designs were presented at a meeting at Messerschmitt’s Oberammergau facility. It is not known which designed were presented by Messerschmitt and Heinkel, though it is likely that these were one of the earliest versions of the former’s Me P.1101, and the latter’s He P.1073 or a variant of it. Focke-Wulf put forward a twin-boom design Nr.280 it had been working on since early 1944. Blohm & Voss’s design (P.212) was apparently not ready and furthermore it was agreed that Junkers should also be allowed to submit a tender for the requirement.
On the last day of the meeting, a new requirement was suddenly and for most part unexpectedly issued for what would become the “Volksjäger” (Peoples Fighter). This called for a fighter powered by a single BMW 003 turbojet engine that could reach a maximum speed of 466 mph and have an endurance of 30 minutes at full throttle. It also had to be able to operate from poor airfields.
This urgent demand for new single-turbojet fighter designs that could be built in a hurry from low grade non-strategic materials effectively stalled work on the “1-TL-Jäger” competition for several months, particularly Blohm & Voss, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel and Junkers all hastily drafted entries for the “Volksjäger” contest.
The Heinkel He P.1073, originally designed before July 1944 as a fighter with two Junkers Jumo 004C turbojet-engines, one under the nose and one at its back but now altered to fly with just one Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011, was already close to meeting the “Volksjäger” specification. The Heinkel “Volksjäger”-design He P.1073.01.18 was dated from September 1944, just one day after the specification was issued. This only was possible because Heinkel’s design team had several different variants of the design on the drawing board. The documentation describes the He P.1073.01.18 as a “Kleinst-Jäger” (Midget Fighter) and states it is ”a simplification of the design with HeS 011”. It bears remarkable resemblance to what would become the Heinkel He 162 “Spatz” (Sparrow”) except the wings are simpler and both nose wheel and main gear retract forward into the fuselage. Heinkel’s design received a similarly lukewarm reaction, probably because it was based heavily on the company’s already known “1-TL-Jäger” project. But Heinkel’s representatives pointed out that with aircraft such as the Heinkel He 177 bomber no longer in production there was now spare capacity available at its capacious and well-equipped factories. There is some evidence that on September 23rd 1944 Hitler himself ordered the He P.1073 into mass production as Heinkel He 162.
The variant of the He P.1073 design that finally led to the definitive Heinkel He 162 “Volksjäger” is shown here. The design is dated back from September 10th, 1944 and shows the installation of the turbojet engine on the back. The wings are swept back at 35 degree, the tail plane had a positive dihedral and two fins. Under the fuselage on ventral starboard side a streamlined pannier was fitted holding a MK 108 machine canon and two MG 213C machine guns were oblique mounted in the front at both sides of the pilot’s seat. Work on the final version of the Heinkel “Volksjäger began on October 25th, 1944 and its maiden flight took place on December 6th that year (Ref.: Sharp, Dan: Luftwaffe. Secrets Jets of the Third Reich. Mortons Media Group Ltd, Horncastle, 2015).

Messerschmitt Me 262 HG IV (Hochgeschwindigkeits Projekt IV, High-speed project IV), (Unicraft Models, Parts from Revell)

TYPE: High-speed research aircraft


POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004C, rated at 1050 kp each or two Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,200 kp each

PERFORMANCE: High sub-sonic speed (estimated)

COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 262 HG IV („Hochgeschwindigkeits-Projekt IV“, „High-speed Project IV“) was a high-speed concept which would be based on the Messerschmitt Me 262 „Schwalbe“ („Swallow“). The design dates back to early 1940 when attempt were made to test the revolutionary turbojet driven aircraft at critical Mach numbers.
Several proposals were calculated on the drawing board and even one design realized:
The Messerschmitt Me 262 V9 HG I was flight tested in January 1944. During the course various aerodynamic improvements were introduced into a basic Me 262 aircraft. The leading edge of the inner wing as well as of the vertical tail was increased to 45 degree, the leading edge of the horizontal tail was swept back to 40 degree, a shallow, low-drag cockpit canopy was installed, and the muzzles were faired over. The highest speed attained by this experimental aircraft being 624 mph.
On the drawing board remained the Messerschmitt Me 262 HG II and Me 262 HG III, both designs in various subtypes with different wings, conventional as well as with “Butterfly”-type tail plane, different engine installation and air intake.
Finally, the Messerschmitt Me 262 HG IV was a basic Messerschmitt Me 262 aircraft with original wing section and low mounted nacelles, housing the turbojet engines, but an intensively modified fuselage similar to the Me 262 HG III/3. The cockpit was placed to the rear of the fuselage merging into the tail plane, fuel tanks and armament was set at the front of the aircraft.
All Messerschmitt Me 262 HG II, Me 262 HG III and Me 262 HGIV were never realized

Messerschmitt Me 209 V1 (Huma Models)

TYPE: Racing aircraft


POWER PLANT: One Daimler-Benz DB 601 ARJ liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,775 hp


COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 209 V1 was a single-engine racing aircraft which was designed for and succeeded at breaking speed records.
The designation Me 209 was used for two separate projects during World War II. The first was a record-setting, single-engined race aircraft, for which little or no consideration was given to adaptation for combat. The second Me 209  V4 was a proposal for a follow-up to the highly successful Messerschmitt Bf 109 which served as the Luftwaffe’s primary fighter throughout World War II.
Designed in 1937, the Me 209 V1 was a completely separate aircraft from the Messerschmitt Bf 109, solely designed to break speed records. It shared only its Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine with the Bf 109, which in the Me 209 was equipped with steam cooling. Willy Messerschmitt designed the small aircraft with a cockpit placed far back along the fuselage just in front of its unique cross-shaped tail section. Unlike the Bf 109, the Me 209 featured a wide track, inwardly-retracting undercarriage mounted in the wing section.
The aircraft achieved its purpose when test pilot Fritz Wendel flew it to a new world speed record of almost 469 mph on 26 April 1939, bearing the German civil registration D-INJR. This record was not officially broken by another piston-engined aircraft until 16 August 1969 by Darry Greenamyer’s highly modified Conquest F8F “Bearcat”.
The Me 209 V1’s speed record was itself shattered in terms of absolute speed, eighteen months later by Heini Dittmar, flying another Messerschmitt aircraft design, the Messerschmitt Me 163A V4 rocket fighter prototype to a 624 mph record in October 1941.
The idea of adapting the Messerschmitt Me 209 racer to the fighter role gained momentum when, during the Battle of Britain, the Messerschmitt Bf (Me)109 failed to gain superiority over the Royal Air Force’s Supermarine “Spitfire”. The little record-setter, however, was not up to the task of air combat. Its wings were almost completely occupied by the engine’s liquid cooling system and therefore prohibited conventional installation of armament. The aircraft also proved difficult to fly and extremely hard to control on the ground. Nevertheless, the Messerschmitt team made several attempts to improve the aircraft’s performance by giving it longer wings, a taller vertical stabilizer, and installing two synchronized 7.92 mm MG 17 in the engine cowling. Several modifications on the aircraft, designated Messerschmitt Me 209 V4, however, added so much weight that the aircraft ended up slower than the contemporary Bf 109E. As a result the complete Messerschmitt Me 209 project was soon cancelled, but was revived later in form of the Messerschmitt Me 209 V5. (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt Me 163B V41 “Komet“ („Comet“), Erprobungskommando 16, (Heller)

TYPE: Rocket-powered interceptor


POWER PLANT: One Walter HWK 109-509A-2 liquid-fuel rocket engine rated between 1,500 kp to 100 kp full variable

PERFORMANCE: 559 mph at all altitudes

COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 163 “Komet” (“Comet”) was a German rocket-powered interceptor aircraft. Designed by A. Lippisch, it was the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational and the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed 1000 km/h (621 mph) in level flight. Its performance and aspects of its design were unprecedented. The Messerschmitt Me 163 “Komet” was among the most technically advanced and inherently dangerous military aircraft ever to see service. The radical ‘tailless’ design was developed by Dr Alexander Lippisch as the DFS 194 at the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug, (German Research Institute for Sailplanes) at Darmstadt in the 1930s. In January 1939, project work on the DFS 194 was transferred to Messerschmitt AG at Augsburg responsible for fitting a rocket motor. Lippisch also moved to Messerschmitt AG to head the development project team. The rocket-powered sailplane DFS 194 made its first flight on August 1940 what was very successful. Although Messerschmitt was not impressed by the concept of a rocket-powered interceptor, Lippisch and his team continued work on the project. Officially designated Messerschmitt Me 163 the aircraft was first flown under rocket power in 1940 becoming the first aircraft to exceed 1000 km/h, experiencing control problems on the edge of the sound barrier.
Five prototype Messerschmitt Me 163A V-series aircraft were built, adding to the original DFS 194 (V1), followed by eight pre-production examples designated as Me 163 A-0. These aircraft were intensively tested by the Luftwaffe and although its extraordinary acceleration, climbing characteristics and speed inspired the authorities the handling of this tiny aircraft especially during take-off and landing showed tremendous problems. The rocket engine gave power for only a few minutes and the rest of the flight had to be continued as a glider.
Five prototypes and eight pre-production examples were followed by 30 completely redesigned production aircraft Messerschmitt Me 163B-0. These aircraft were armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon and some of these were allocated to “Erprobungskommando16” (EKdo 16) (“Testing-command 16”) that was formed March 1943 in Peenemünde-West, as a test unit for the rocket fighter, and later based at the Luftwaffe airfield in Bad Zwischenahn for a considerable period of time. This EKdo 16 had some of the aircraft painted completely in red and was the first Luftwaffe unit to perform a combat mission.
The performance of the Me 163 far exceeded that of contemporary piston engine fighters. At a speed of over 200 mph the aircraft would take off, in a so-called “Scharfer Start” (“sharp start”, “sharp take-off”) from the ground, from its two-wheeled dolly. The aircraft would be kept at level flight at low altitude until the best climbing speed of around 420 mph was reached, at which point it would jettison the dolly, retract its extendable landing skid and then pull up into a 70° angle of climb, to a bomber’s altitude. It could go higher if required, reaching 39,000 ft in an unheard-of three minutes. Once there, it would level off and quickly accelerate to around 550 mph or faster, which no Allied fighter could match. Flight endurance under power was just eight minutes after which the aircraft became a glider, and the time available to attack enemy aircraft using  two 20mm cannons was very limited. Once the rocket’s fuel supply was exhausted the Me 163B “Komet” was an easy target for fighter aircraft, particularly during the landing phase (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt Me 262 HG III/ Concept 3 (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: High-speed test aircraft. Project


POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: High subsonic speed, estimated

COMMENT: In early 1941 several high speed versions of the basic Messerschmitt Me 262 were designed on the drawing board. The first of these “Hochgeschwindigkeitsjäger” (HG), (High-speed fighter) was the Messerschmitt Me 262 V9, unofficially called HG I. This aircraft featured modified wing leading edges of the inner wing section, swept angles of stabilizers, and a “Rennkabine” (Racing canopy), shallow, low-drag cockpit canopy and windscreen with low profile.
Other two projects were created following this way: The Me 262 HG II called for an outboard wing of increased chord and an improved air intake and engine installation, and finally  the Me 262 HG III, which was the final stage of development. It required more radical modifications, as a new 45 degree swept wing with engines housed in the wing roots. Three variants of the Me 262 HG III are known correspond to the original layout.
Entwurf 1” (Concept 1) had a the original tail plane of the Me 262, “Entwurf 2” (Concept 2) had a butterfly-type tail plane, and “Entwurf 3” (Concept 3) together with various subtypes was considerably altered in the fuselage area, where the cockpit was relocated at the rear and formed a part of the empennage group. The swept back stabilizers were located behind the cockpit. This Messerschmitt Me 262 HG III/ Concept 3 attained a very high state of fighter technology, which in the post-war period was the only realized abroad after a passage of several years.

Messerschmitt Me P. 1110/II “Tunnel-Einlauf”, (“Tunnel-air-intake”) with Kramer X-4, (Planet Models, Resin)

TYPE: High altitude fighter


POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,300 kp


COMMENT: In Autumn 1944, in the context of the “Jägernotprogramm” (“Emergency Fighter Program”) the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL, Luftwaffe High Command) requested for proposals for a new generation of fighter/interceptor aircraft in order to replace the Heinkel He 162 “Salamander” or “Volksjäger” (“Peoples fighter”).
Besides designs such as Blohm & Voss Bv P.212, Focke-Wulf Ta 183, Heinkel He P. 1078, and Junkers EF 128 Messerschmitt proposed its project Me P. 1110 with three different variants.
First of the designs was the Messerschmitt Me P.1110/I, a turbo-jet powered interceptor with a conventional-looking design with the air intakes located in the middle part of fuselage sides above the wing the inlet not protruding the cross section (“Rampen-Einlauf”, “Ramp-air-intake”). The wing was of wooden construction and was swept back to 60 degree at the wing root and 40 degree at the leading edge. The tail plane was conventional with elevators and a vertical fin and swept back. Power was provided by a Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine. A pressurized cockpit with streamlined fairing,  tricycle landing gear and three MK 108 30mm cannon in the nose with a provision for two more in the wing roots was envisaged.
The second design was the Messerschmitt Me P.1110/II that differed from the Me P.1110/I mainly in a V-tail unit and a divided annular air intake behind the cockpit. The advantage of this unusual arrangement was that it would reduce drag by fifteen percent compared to a single nose air intake at the cost of four percent air flow reduction to the jet engines. To increase the air flow a supercharger was provided that additionally withdraw the boundary layer.
Like the Me P.1110/I, the Me P.1110/II had 40 degree swept-back wings, an HeS 011 jet engine and was armed with three MK 108 30mm cannon in the nose with a provision for two more in the wing roots.
The third design the Messerschmitt Me P.1110 “Ente” was of canard configuration with small wings in the front and larger wings in the rear part of the fuselage.
All projects would be soon dropped in favor of the Junkers EF 128 and none of the Messerschmitt designs made it to the prototype stage. (Ref.: 20, 22).

Dornier Do 335A-0 “Pfeil” (Arrow”), (Dragon Models)

TYPE: Heavy Fighter


POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603A liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,725 hp each


COMMENT: The Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil” (“Arrow”) was a WW II heavy fighter built by the Dornier Company. It’s performance was much better than any other twin-engine designs due to its unique push-pull configuration and the lower aerodynamic drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines. It was Luftwaffe’s fastest piston-engine aircraft of World War II. The Luftwaffe was desperate to get the design into operational use, but delays in engine deliveries meant that only a handful were delivered before the war ended.
The origins of the Dornier Do 335 trace back to WW I when Claude 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-engine Dornier flying boats that followed, including the highly successful Dornier Do J “Wal” (“Whale”) and the gigantic Donier Do X. The remote propeller drive, intended to eliminate parasitic drag from the engine entirely, was tried in the innovative but unsuccessful Dornier Do 14, and elongated, tubular drive shafts as later used in the Do 335 saw use in the rear engines of the four-engine, twinned tandem-layout Dornier Do 26 flying boat.
There are many advantages to this design over the more traditional system of placing one engine on each wing, the most important being 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 of the twin power plants near, or on, the aircraft centerline, increasing the roll rate compared to a traditional twin. In addition, a single engine failure does not lead to asymmetric thrust, and in normal flight there is no net torque, so the plane is easy to handle. The choice of a full “four-surface” set of cruciformly tail surfaces in the Do 335’s rear fuselage design, included a ventral vertical fin-rudder assembly to project downwards from the extreme rear of the fuselage, in order to protect the rear propeller from an accidental ground strike on takeoff. The presence of the rear pusher propeller also mandated the provision for an ejection seat for safe escape from a damaged aircraft, and designing the rear propeller and dorsal fin mounts to use explosive bolts to jettison them before an ejection was attempted — as well as twin canopy jettison levers, one per side located to either side of the forward cockpit interior just below the sills of the five-panel windscreen’s sides, to jettison the canopy from atop the cockpit before ejection.
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 flying test bed, closely modeled on the airframe of the early versions of the twin engine Dornier Do 17 bomber but only 40% of the size of the larger bomber, with no aerodynamic bodies of any sort on the wing panels and fitted with a retractable tricycle landing gear to validate his concept for turning the rear pusher propeller with an engine located far away from it and using a long tubular driveshaft. This aircraft, the Göppingen Gö 9, built by , Schrempp-Hirth, a small sailplane company, showed no unforeseen difficulties with this arrangement, but work on the Dornier P.59 was stopped in early 1940 when the RLM ordered the cancellation of all projects that would not be completed within a year or so.
In May 1942, Dornier submitted an updated version his design as the Dornier P.231, in response to a requirement for a single seat, “Schnellbomber” -like high-speed bomber/intruder. P.231 was selected as the winner after beating rival designs from Arado, Blohm & Voss and Junkers, development contract was awarded as the Dornier Do 335. In autumn 1942, Dornier was told that the Do 335 was no longer required as a “Schnellbomber”, 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.
The Dornier Do 335 V1 first prototype flew in October 1943 and initial trials revealed essentially good handling characteristics. Acceleration was particularly favourable and the turning circle was rather better than had been anticipated. The use of a nose-mount annular radiator for the forward engine (much like a Junkers Jumo 211-powered Junkers Ju 88, or Jumo 213-powered Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9) and a ventral-fuselage mount air-scooped radiator installation for cooling the rear engine (appearing like that on a North American P-51 “Mustang”) was distinctive.
However, several problems during the initial flight of the Do 335 would continue to plague the aircraft through most of its short history. Issues were found with the weak landing gear and with the main gear’s wheel well doors, resulting in them being removed for the remainder of the V1’s test flights. The Do 335 V1 made 27 flights, flown by three different pilots.
During these test flights the second Do 335 V2 was completed and made its first flight on December 1943, followed by the third Do 335 V3 on January 1944. In mid January 1944, RLM ordered five more prototypes, one to be built as Do 335A-6 night fighter. By this time, more than 60 hours of flight time had been put on the Do 335 and reports showed it to be good handling characteristics, but more importantly, it was a very fast aircraft. Even with one engine out, it reached about 350 mph.
Thus the Do 335 was scheduled to begin mass construction, with the initial order of 120 preproduction aircraft to be manufactured by DWF (Dornier-Werke Friedrichshafen) to be completed no later than March 1946. This number included a number of bombers, destroyers (heavy fighters), and several yet to be developed variants. At the same time, DWM (Dornier-Werke München) was scheduled to build over 2000 Do 335s in various models, due for delivery in March 1946 as well.
On 23 May 1944, as part of the developing “Jägernotprogramm” (“Emergency Fighter Program”) directive, maximum priority was given to Do 335 production. Furthermore, the decision was made, along with the rapid shut-down of many other military aircraft development programs, to cancel the Heinkel He 219 night fighter, which also used the DB 603 engines, and use its production facilities for the Do 335 as well. However, Ernst Heinkel managed to delay, and eventually ignore, its implementation, continuing to produce examples of the He 219A.
At least 16 prototype Do 335s were known to have flown as well as Muster-series prototypes on a number of DB603 engine subtypes. The first preproduction Do 335A-0s were delivered in July 1944 to the “Erprobungskommando 335” (“Proving detachment 335”) formed for service evaluation purposes. Approximately 22 preproduction aircraft were thought to have been completed and flown before the end of WW II including approximately 11 Do 335A-1 single-seat fighters of which two examples had been converted to a trainer version Do 335A-12 for training purposes (Ref.: 7., 24).