Dornier Do 24 Reconnaissance / Transport / Search and Rescue Flying Boat
The Dornier Do 24 is one of the few World War 2 aircraft with the distinction of having served on both sides of the conflict.
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The Dornier Do 24 was a capable flying both serving in limited numbers both Allied and Axis powers in World War 2. The system was classified as a flying boat, capable of operations on both land and sea, and was the product of German engineering and a Dutch Navy requirement. The Do 24 achieved her maiden flight on July 3rd, 1937 and entered service in November of that year. Some 279 total examples were produced before, during and after the war with several models serving up until the early 1950s.
Design of the Do 24 was conventional as flying boats go. The system featured a hull-like fuselage with sponsons for added on-water stability. The wings were high-mounted monoplane systems held in place by struts extending from the fuselage and sponsons. The cockpit was held forward of the wings with entry to the fuselage made through a wide hinged door in the upper portion under the wing assembly. Three BMW/Bramo Fafnir 323R-2 series 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developed 1,000 horsepower each, provided up to 340 kilometers of speed and were fitted across the middle of the wing section, over the main body of the fuselage. These engines featured a slim nacelle design and five-bladed propellers (Do 24 ATT). The tail section consisted of a split "T" type with twin vertical fins extending out from the fuselage end. Crew accommodations amounted to 5 or 6 personnel. Armament was strictly defensive - as is expected for the type of role she was designed for - and consisted of a two 7.92mm MG 15 machine guns in a bow and tail position, 1 x 20mm MG 151 cannon in a central fuselage position and up to 12 x 110lb bombs as needed.
With the Dornier Wals of the Dutch Navy effectively on their way out of service, the brand decided a replacement was in order and contracted the German aircraft firm of Dornier to design the replacement. Utilizing this Dutch requirement, the Do 24 was born as an all-metal constructed system capable of the needed operations in the Dutch East Indies where they would be used. The initial batch of early aircraft appeared with varying powerplants, the first two featuring Junkers Jumo types followed by three more with Wright Cyclone types. Production was handled by both German and Netherlands facilities.
All progressed as planned until the eventual occupation of the Netherlands by German forces, effectively killing all future Dutch production of the system. The German occupation forced the confiscation of all completed and under construction systems for Luftwaffe use. Future models produced in Dutch facilities naturally shifted use of German powerplants away from the American Wright-branded products and featured the BMW Bramo series. In action through World War 2, the Do 24 served with German, Australian (existing Do 24 systems already operating in the East Indies) and Spain. Spain offered up the type in a somewhat neutral role, providing search and rescue services for pilots of both sides of the conflict. France made use of the time for a time and the Sweden "captured" a German Do 24 making an emergency landing in the neutral nation. The aircraft appeared in various arrangements through her production life, differing mainly through powerplants and minor changes throughout.