One of WWII’s strangest aircraft was also one of its best. The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (“Arrow”) was a Nazi Germany World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company.

The two-seater trainer version was called Ameisenbär (“anteater”). The Pfeil’s performance was much better than 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 Nazi Germany’s fastest piston-engined 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 Do 335 trace back to World War 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 Do J Wal and the gigantic Do X. The remote propeller drive, intended to eliminate parasitic drag from the engine entirely, was tried in the innovative but unsuccessful Do 14, and elongated, tubular drive shafts as later used in the Do 335 saw use in the rear engines of the four-engined, twinned tandem-layout 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 four-surface set of cruciform 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 sides, to jettison the canopy from atop the cockpit before ejection.

Only one Do 335 survives, the second preproduction Do 335 A-0, designated A-02, with construction number (Werknummer) 240 102, and factory radio code registration, or Stammkennzeichen, of VG+PH.

The aircraft was assembled at the Dornier plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, Bavaria on 16 April 1945. It was captured by Allied forces at the plant on 22 April 1945. VG+PH was one of two Do 335s to be shipped to the United States aboard the Royal Navy escort carrier HMS Reaper, along with other captured German aircraft, to be used for testing and evaluation under a USAAF program called “Operation Lusty”.

Sources: YouTube; Wikipedia

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2020/04/17/dornier-335-hitlers-steel-arrow/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.