Military Factory logo

Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon)

Nazi Germany (1940)
Picture of Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Picture of Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft Picture of Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
+ Images
This entry's gallery contains additional pictures. Click to View.

The Blohm und Voss Bv 138 was a pivotal floatplane in service with Germany, operating as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/5/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Blohm and Voss (also written as "Blohm und Voss" or "Blohm & Voss") Bv 138 was a German flying boat that saw quantitative production during World War 2. Initially conceived of as early as 1936, the aircraft would enter service by 1940 and play the most pivotal role of maritime reconnaissance and patrol for The Reich, working on occasion in conjunction with the feared and lethal U-boat submarine crews prowling Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Flying boats held unique performance qualities unequaled by other aircraft types of their time - they could operate at farther ranges and loiter for extended periods of time while being able to take-off and land from virtually any water source. Conversely, flying boats were traditionally slow and plodding machines, become machine gun fodder for engaging enemy aircraft and depended upon escorts or their own machine gun/cannon network for point defense.

The Bv 138 was of a most unique design. The wings were high-mounted monoplanes with pontoons mounted to either side of the aircraft. A pair of engines were mounted on the main wings and extended out onto tailbooms towards twin-fins at the tail assembly. A third engine was mounted on the upper fuselage, above and behind the flight deck.

The Bv 138 was developed from three operational prototypes, thought these early systems were fitted with under-powered Junkers Jumo powerplants and circular-type tail boom assemblies. With some revision, the Bv 138A - in prototype form - was now distinct enough to warrant the all-new designation of Bv 138A-1. These systems now featured the Junkers Jumo 205D engines of 700 horsepower.

The definitive Bv 138 system became the Bv 138C-1 model of which some 227 examples were produced. These versions would feature 1,000 horsepower Junkers Jumo engines and an impressive defensive array of both cannon and machine guns of various caliber. A single 20mm cannon was usually mounted in a bow-positioned turret while still another was manned in a rear turret emplacement. A trainable, rear-firing 13mm (0.50 caliber) heavy machine gun was fitted in the middle of the upper fuselage, just behind the mid-set engine nacelle. A single trainable 7.92mm machine gun was added to the right-fuselage side as well. Accommodations amounted to five crewmembers and an internal payload capacity of 661lb was listed and could include bombs and depth charges.

The Blohm und Voss Bv 138 was unofficially called "The Flying Cog" ("die fliegende Holzschuh") thanks to its most distinct appearance.


Picture of the Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Picture of the Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft



Any available statistics for the Blohm and Voss Bv 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Bar chart graphic
Performance  
Bar chart graphic
Survivability  
Bar chart graphic
Versatility  
Bar chart graphic
Impact  
Bar chart graphic


Rating: 52 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (177mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Blohm and Voss Bv 138C-1's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
272
272


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1940
Type: Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Blohm and Voss - Nazi Germany
Production: 272
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Nazi Germany (retired)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Blohm and Voss Bv 138C-1 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
65.12 ft


Meters
19.85 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
88.39 ft


Meters
26.94 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
19.36 ft


Meters
5.9 m


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
38,912 lb


Kilograms
17,650 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
3 x Junkers Jumo 205D 12-cylinder diesel engines developing 1,000 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
177 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
285 kph


Knots
154 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,672 mi


Kilometers
4,300 km


Nautical Miles
2,322 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
16,404 ft


Meters
5,000 m


Miles
3.11 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
1 x 20mm cannon in bow-mounted turret
1 x 20mm cannon in rear turret
1 x 13mm machine gun in rear-facing trainable gun position
1 x 7.92mm machine gun on trainable mount in right-side hull position

OPTIONAL:
Internal bomb load maximized at 661 lb.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Bv 138A - Planned Initial Production Model Designation; distinct tail surface design.
• Bv 138A-1 - Initial Production Model fitted with Jumo 205D powerplants of 700hp each; redesigned tail surface and new hull design.
• Bv 138B-0 - Second Production Models of which only six examples were produced.
• Bv 138B-1 - Fourteen examples produced.
• Bv 138C-1 - Definitive Bv 138 Model of which some 227 examples were produced.