The Dornier 335 was a heavy fighter built for Germany during the Second World War. Today, we’ll be exploring the story of the quickest aircraft the Nazis have ever built:
Claude Dornier was a German aircraft designer and engineer known for his unusual taste in aircraft designs. While he gained fame with his more usual, typical aircraft designs, it was his unusual projects that were more interesting.
He was experimenting way before WWII with a new concept of aircraft called push-pull engines.
Push-Pull Engine Configuration
This propulsion method would combine two engines and as the name suggests, one would push the plane from behind and the other one would pull from the front. While this concept was done previously, the trick that he came up with was to get rid of the extra drag that was created with separate engines in both pods.
This is precisely the same principle that would make the Do 335 possible. The unique push-pull engine configuration made the plane extremely fast. While two propellers would mean an overkill on a fighter, its superior speed made all the difference in a level dog fight. However, it would also mean that it was unreliable and incredibly complex.
The Do 335 Pfiel, or “Arrow” was like no other in many different ways. The jet would be powered by two Daimler Benz DB 603 engines, 1700 horsepower each. This would give it immense power.
These engines were located in the forward and aft sections of the fuselage. The aft one was being used as a push, while the forward one was the pull engine. This engine placement will eliminate drag. Also, in case of one engine failure, it would be easy to control and land the plane, unlike traditional double-engine planes of that time.
For its armament, it featured one 30 mm Mk. 103 cannon mounted in the nose, and 20 mm MG 151 autocannons. Its weapons bay can also fit up to a thousand kilos of bombs for its multi-rile mission profile. It also featured an ejection seat with a maximum speed of 760 kilometers per hour, quicker than a P-51 Mustang, or pretty much any other Allied plane.
Fastest Aircraft Ever Built By Nazi Germany?
Aside from being an aircraft with jet engines, it was the fastest aircraft that was built by Nazi Germany. It was stable in flight, easily maneuverable, and extremely powerful.
However, it had some the issues such as the landing hear. For an aircraft at its size and weight, the landing gear was too weak and would be prone to break especially if the pilot came in hard.
Hitler saw the Do 335 as a super fighter that could save Germany from increasing Allied air attacks.
So, how did the plane fare in combat? Well, it just didn’t. With only 37 built, an flown by the war ended, they simply didn’t have the opportunity to use it in combat.
At least, that’s what the records are saying. However, as French ace Pierre Clostermann said, he did encounter one Do-335 in 1945 which managed to easily outrun him and his unit and was not shot down. However, we can only speculate how this plane performed against Allied bombers of that time.