The Dewoitine D.520 was arguably the best fighter available to the French at the time of the Battle of France concerning World War 2.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The Dewoitine D.520 was a single seat piston-engine fighter designed and built for the French Air Force. Developed from lessons learned in their ill-fated D.513 design, Dewoitine produced a fighter of sleek design and acceptable capability, especially when compared to that of the German Luftwaffe - to which the D.520 squared off valiantly yet unsuccessfully in the Fall of France in 1940. Despite this, the D.520 was generally respected and use continued by the Vichy French Air Force and even in post-war France. The D.520 signified France's first successful and best "modern" fighter design of World War 2.
Design work on the D.520 began as early as 1936, with the first prototypes flying by 1938. Beyond some design modifications and differing engine types (all from the Hispano-Suiza line) the models varied little. From the D520.1 prototype, the base D.520 series was born and ordered up for production by 1939, with the system being fielded by 1940 - to which only some 36 had actually been delivered when the Germans invaded. The D.520 reportedly squared up well against its German counterparts though success in the defense of France was not to be. Some 114 enemy kills were made at a loss of 85 French D.520's before the eventual collapse of the aerial defense. The system stayed in production with the German-sided Vichy French Air Force and was still available in some numbers after the war.
At its core, the D.520 was a basic straight-line fighter most noted for its sleek overall design and set-back cockpit of which was enclosed canopy. The position of the cockpit so far away from the nose undoubtedly took away from the pilots visibility forward and down but the added room in the nose made for an easier engine (which featured a variable-pitch propeller system) and armament installation. Armament consisted of a nose-mounted 20mm cannon and 4 x 7.5mm machine guns, with two machine guns per wing leading edge. Trailing edge flaps were also instituted into the wing design. A single vertical tail surface adorned the empennage and retractable landing gears rounded out the features.
[ 881 Units ] : Dewoitine - France
Bulgaria; France (Free France / Vichy France); Nazi Germany; Kingdom of Italy; Romania
28.74 ft (8.76 m)
33.46 ft (10.2 m)
8.40 ft (2.56 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Dewoitine D.520 production model)
4,612 lb (2,092 kg)
6,151 lb (2,790 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Dewoitine D.520 production model)
1 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y-45 12-cylinder V-type engine developing 930 horsepower.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Dewoitine D.520 production model)
336 mph (540 kph; 292 kts)
36,089 feet (11,000 m; 6.84 miles)
957 miles (1,540 km; 832 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Dewoitine D.520 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
1 x 20mm HS 404 cannon in nose
4 x 7.5mm machine guns in wings
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Dewoitine D.520 production model)
D520.1 - Prototype Model Designation; initial prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 inline engine; additional prototypes features slight modifications to various design elements including the canopy and wing; second prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51 engine; third prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-31 engine of 890 horsepower.
D.520 - Main Series Designation; fitted with either Hispano-Suiza 12Y-45 or Hispano-Suiza 12Y-49 engines of 920 horsepower.
D.524 - Experimental Variant; fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-89 engine of 1,200 horsepower.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes AnvilOfWar.com, GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.