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“An aircraft unlike anything the world has ever seen” – this is the kind of statement you’d hear about the Dornier Do 335. The heavy fighter built during WWII was first introduced in 1944 and retired a year later. Despite its short service life, plenty of people still believe that it could have delayed the end of WWII. Here’s why:
It was a one-seater fighter that was 45.3 ft long, 44.9 ft wide, and weighed about 19,500 lbs. But despite its large size, the 335 was no slouch in terms of performance. The 335’s two engines could produce 3,452 hp, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 474 mph, making it the fastest propeller plane of WWII by a big margin.
For armament, the fighter boasted a powerful 30mm main cannon and two supplementary 20mm cannons. However, this setup could be further supplemented by adding gun pods under the wings.
As expected, the combination of its speed and firepower naturally made the 335 an exceptional aircraft.
In this configuration, one engine is placed at the front of the fuselage, while another is fitted at the rear. Each engine drives its own propeller, with the front pulling the aircraft while the rear pushes it. This layout made the 335 more aerodynamic than traditional twin-engined aircraft.
Additionally, the push-pull configuration also reduced the “torque effect”, which could make handling and maneuvering very challenging during takeoff and landing.
One major factor that affected the German aviation industry was the relentless Allied bombing campaigns at key industrial centers. In many cases, factories had to be relocated to less vulnerable locations which further delayed production.
The availability of resources was also hampered and weakened throughout the war as Germany continued to lose ground. Furthermore, the German labor force was significantly impacted by the war. Many of its skilled workers were drafted into military service, leaving factories short-staffed.
And so, with the Dornier Do 335 produced in such small numbers, the fighter failed to “change the course of WWII”. The only way it could have affected it is if Germany produced them in large numbers, while also supplementing it with fuel (that they’re also running out of), and drafting enough pilots to fly them.