Dornier Do 18

Specification

Type: four-seat coastal reconnaissance flying boat; Powerplant: 2 x 880hp Junkers Jumo 205D 6-cylinder vertically opposed inline diesel engines; Performance: 162mph / 260kph (maximum speed), 137mph / 220kph (cruising speed), 13,780 ft / 4,200m (maximum ceiling), 2,175 miles / 3,500km (maximum range); Weight: 12,897lbs / 5,850kg (empty), 22,046lbs / 10,000kg (maximum take-off); Dimensions: 77ft 9in / 23.7m (wing span), 63ft 2in / 19.25m (length), 17ft 6.5in / 5.35m (height), 1,054.89sq.ft / 98m.sq (wing area); Armament: 1 x 13mm (0.51in) MG131 machinegun in the bow position, 1 x 20mm MG151 cannon in the dorsal turret and two 110lbs (50kg) bombs; Used: Germany.

History

Dornier Do 18 sinking
Dornier Do 18 sinking

Dornier Do 18
Dornier Do 18

Pusher Engine of Dornier Do 18
Pusher Engine of Dornier Do 18

The Dornier Do18 was the successor to the very successful Wal flying boats and was designed as a transoceanic mail plane for Lufthansa in 1934. It retained the basic metal hull and stabilising sponsons which had characterised earlier aircraft but was superior to them aerodynamically. It was initially powered by two 540hp Junkers Jumo 5 diesel engines with the prototype first flying on 15 March 1935, followed by four Do18E aircraft equipped with 600hp Jumo 205C engines. The sixth aircraft was the Do18F, first flown on 11 June 1937 and set a straight-line non-stop seaplane distance record of 5,214 miles (8391km) flying from the UK to Brazil in forty-three hours. It eventually became the Do18L when equipped with 880hp BMW 132N engines and flew again on 21 November 1939.

The Do18 was adopted to serve with Luftwaffe coastal reconnaissance units, the first military production version being the Do18D and entering service in September 1938. Powered by Jumo 205C engines (the same as the Do18E) it was armed with two 7.92mm (0.31in) MG15 machineguns in the bow and dorsal open positions. Further development resulted in the Do18D-2 and Do18D-3 variants with changes in installed equipment. The Do18G-1 was an improved version of the Do18D, being equipped with 880hp Jumo 205D engines, a 13mm (0.51in) MG131 machinegun in the bow position and a 20mm MG151 cannon in a powered dorsal turret. A number of these, with the armament removed, were converted for air-sea rescue duties, being redesignated the Do18N-1 and several were converted to dual-control trainers, being the Do18H. A Dornier Do18 from 2. / Kustenfliegergruppe 106 was shot down on 26 September 1939 and became the first German aircraft to be brought down by British forces in World War II. It was forced down by Lt B S McEwen from No. 803 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm operating from HMS Ark Royal in the North Sea. Just over 100 aircraft were built by the end of 1940 and following its replacement by the Blohm & Voss Bv138 had been relegated to air-sea rescue duties by 1942.

Bibliography

Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, Bounty Books, London, 2006.
Gunston, Bill. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Combat Aircraft of World War II, Salamander, London, 1978.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2007), Dornier Do 18, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_do18.html

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