Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Arrow)
The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Arrow) was a heavy fighter. It was big and had two engines, one mounted fore and one aft, both on the plane's center-line.
|Dornier DO 335|
This unique push-pull layout actually worked and gave the Arrow a speed unmatched by any other piston-driven aircraft. Only a few saw any kind of operational service, but they were just over the horizon.
The Arrow was only spotted by the Allies now and then in the last days of the war, most likely on training flights gone wrong. During April 1945, there simply wasn't anywhere left to train that wasn't an operational area. However, when you are spotted by enemy planes and fired upon, that's combat, even if you merely run away faster than your pursuers can catch you (which the Arrow did).
|Do-335s on the apron at Oberpfaffenhofen at the war's end, including unfinished two-seat versions|
Armament was two 15 mm Mk 103 machine guns in the nose and a 30 mm Mk 103 cannon firing through the propeller hub. Some versions also had cannon in the wings, too. Top speed was well over 400 mph, 474 mph with boost. Having the two propellers in-line helped reduce wind drag and gave the design greater speed than, say, an American P-38 that also had two engines, but in standard configuration.
Below is some footage of the DO 335.
This is one aircraft that was being manufactured at war's end that would have seen major combat duty later in 1945 if the war had lasted that long. Unlike some of the jet and rocket-powered fighters that were of extremely dubious provenance and probably would never have made a difference, the DO 335 did work extremely well and could be flown by ordinary Luftwaffe fighter pilots using ordinary fuel and with standard training.
Flying them did not put your life at risk every time out, as with, for instance, the ME-163 Komet.
The DO 335 did pose a threat to the Allied bomber stream and would have entered service in very large numbers had the war lasted another year.
Below are both original photos and some of a carefully restored Do 335 in original markings.
|That appears to be an unfinished two-seat version, being inspected by American military personnel after capture.|