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Blohm and Voss Bv 222 Wiking (Viking)

Long Range Reconnaissance / Transport Flying Boat

Blohm and Voss Bv 222 Wiking (Viking)

Long Range Reconnaissance / Transport Flying Boat


The Bv 222 was a mammoth machine by World War 2 standards, powered by no less than six 1,000 horsepower engines.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Nazi Germany
YEAR: 1941
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Blohm and Voss - Germany
OPERATORS: Nazi Germany
National flag of Germany
National flag of Nazi Germany
Technical Specifications

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Blohm and Voss Bv 222C-0 Wiking (Viking) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 11 to 14 plus 92
POWER: 6 x Junkers Jumo 207C 12-cylinder diesel engines developing 1,000 horsepower each.








nautical miles


1 x 13mm machine gun in bow position.
1 x 20mm cannon in forward dorsal turret.
4 x 13mm machine guns in four fuselage beam positions.

Bv 222C:
1 x 13mm machine gun in nose.
1 x 20mm cannon in forward dorsal turret.
1 x 20mm cannon in left overwing turret.
1 x 20mm cannon in right overwing turret.
4 x 13mm machine guns in four fuselage beam positions.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Variants / Models

• BV 222 V1 - Intitial Series Prototype
• BV 222 V2 - Prototype Version; coverted to maritime reconnaissance; destroyed by the Allies retaking Norway.
• BV 222 V3 - Prototype Model; fitted with gun turrets on top of wings mounting 1 x 20mm cannon each position; destroyed by Allied fighters while docked.
• BV 222 V4 - Prototype Version; coverted to maritime reconnaissance.
• BV 222 V5 - Prototype Version; coverted to maritime reconnaissance; destroyed by Allied fighters while docked.
• BV 222 V7 - Prototype that would go on to become production version.
• BV 222A
• BV 222B - Fitted with Junkers Jumo 208 series engines.
• BV 222C - Production Model Aircraft


Detailing the development and operational history of the Blohm and Voss Bv 222 Wiking (Viking) Long Range Reconnaissance / Transport Flying Boat.  Entry last updated on 3/12/2019. Authored by Dan Alex. Content ©
The Blohm & Voss Bv 222 Wiking (translating to "Viking") was a large German flying boat design of World War 2. The behemoth system was fielded only in limited numbers and served primarily in the transport role with some reconnaissance sorties as secondary. Transport aircraft generally made strong reconnaissance platforms thanks to their inherently long ranges. The Bv 222 was delayed from production during her development and, once in practice, proved highly susceptible to enemy fighter attacks despite the supplied defensive armament. Some thirteen examples were produced.

Where No Plane Has Gone Before

The Bv 222 scored a few "firsts" during her combat tenure. She became the largest aircraft in the war to score a kill against an enemy aircraft (believed to be an Allied PB4Y Liberator of the USN though sometimes incorrectly stated in sources as an Avro Lancaster) while at the same time becoming the largest aircraft to be downed during the conflict. She also became the biggest flying boat-class aircraft type to achieve operational status in the war.

Bv 222 Origins

The Bv 222 started life from a 1936 design, which in itself was built to a civil airliner specification. While many-an-aircraft were used for the transportation of cross-continental mail deliveries, passenger transports were becoming en vogue and the German airliner corporation of Deutsche Lufthansa was in need of a large aircraft for such an opportunity. Three Bv 222 examples were placed on order and appeared in three respective prototype forms known simply as Bv 222 V1, Bv 222 V2 and Bv 222 V3. Construction of the first of these three systems began in January of 1938. First flight was achieved by prototype V1 on September 7th, 1940. Testing would continue on until December of that year. Early forms fitted the Bramo Fafnir 323-series radial piston engines. These would later be replaced by the Junkers Jumo diesel engines for easier resupply when at sea, with fuel provided for by via fuel-laden U-Boats.

War Comes Calling

However, by 1941, the Bv 222 was placed into service with the German Luftwaffe, ferrying much-needed supplies across the Mediterranean to Afrika Corps forces operating in North Africa. The initial cross-water flight, interestingly enough, was piloted by a civilian aircrew and made use of a fighter escort. The flight depart from Athens, Greece. To dispose of the escorting need - and thusly freeing up the much-needed fighters for combat elsewhere - the Bv 222 V1 was finally armed with an array of defensive machine gun and 20mm cannon positions throughout her design. A single 13mm machine gun was fitted in a nose position while a further four were positioned at fuselage beam windows. A 20mm cannon was added to augment the defensive capabilities, this via a forward-placed dorsal turret. Now that the V1 had officially been baptized in the German war effort, she became the backbone of the new Lufttransportstaffel 222 squadron. The V1 soldiered on until February 1943, to which she was lost at sea following a collision with underwater wreckage upon a landing attempt.

The V2 achieved first flight on August 7th, 1941. After nearly a year of evaluation, she was officially cleared for service. The major difference in the V2 was the addition of the overwing cannon turrets accessed by crew through a tunnel built into the wing spars. In all, the Bv 222 now sported 3 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons (1 x in dorsal turret; 2 x in wing turrets) and 5 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns (1 x in nose an 4 x in fuselage beam positions). Despite this formidable array, the defensive bubble offered by these weapons was limited at best, especially considering the speed at which the Bv 222 could travel, plus her enormous size making her a tempting target to passing enemy fighters.

V3 was next online, flying first on November 28th, 1941 and entering service in on December 9th. She directly replaced the sunk V1 but was destroyed herself at the hands of the RAF at Biscarrosse in Southwest France in June of 1943. V4 followed and sported a slightly revised (taller) vertical tail unit. V5 was also lost in June of 1943 at Biscarrosse, France. V6 was lost to enemy fire on August 21st, 1942 along the all-important Taranto-to-Tripoli supply route. V7 achieved first flight on April 1st, 1943 and fitted 6 x Junkers Jumo 207C diesel engines of 1,000 horsepower each. V8 was lost on December 10th, 1942 along the same Taranto-to-Tripoli route as the V6.

Ultimately, the Bv 222 V7 prototype was selected as the official production model for the military Bv 222 and appeared with the definitive "Bv 222C" model designation form. The earlier prototypes (V2, V3, V4 and V5) pressed into military service became maritime reconnaissance platforms, differing mainly in defensive armament and some mounting FuG 200 series search radar systems while flying for Fliegerfuhrer Atlantik. Bv 222B was a proposed variant to fit Junkers Jumo 208 series engines but never materialized.

Bv 222 Walk-Around

At its core, the Bv 222C was a dedicated long-range transport. It could carry a full complement of 92 soldiers along with its base 11- to 14-person crew. The pilot and co-pilot sat in a raised flight deck with excellent overhead, side and forward views. All six engines could be accounted for between the two pilots by a simple glance outside. The deep fuselage proved a massive structure and was streamlined from the conical nose assembly to the tapered tail end. The wide-span wing assemblies were shoulder-mounted monoplanes with three Junkers Jumo 12-cylinder engines underslung, three engine nacelles to a wing. Wingtips were rounded edges. The empennage was made up of a single rounded vertical tail fin of large area and complemented by a pair of horizontal planes, also rounded. Crew access doors were found along the fuselage sides near the water line, a pair forward and a pair aft. The cargo hold was accessible via a large square cargo door fitted to the starboard side just aft of the wing assemblies. Including general wartime supplies and soldiers, the cargo hold could also take on wounded personnel in medical litters.

As the forte of any flying boat was its uncanny ability to land on water, the Bv 222 design featured the traditional boat-like hull for cutting and displacing such surfaces. This allowed the Bv 222 the capability to land or take-off from water surfaces with relative ease, provided there was enough straight line distance to do so. Having no undercarriage meant that the Bv 222 was limited to waterborne activities.

The production Bv 222C model maintained a wingspan of nearly 151 feet with a wing area of 2,744.8 square feet. Her height measured in at upwards of 36 feet while her length came in at over 121 feet. When empty, the beast still weighed 67,572lbs and displaced 100,503lbs when loaded. Her maximum take-off weight (MTOW) topped 108,030lbs. Maximum speed was a reported 242 miles per hour at 16,400 feet while she could cruise at 189 miles per hour at sea level. Range was an impressive 3,790 miles. Her service ceiling was limited to just 23,950 feet with a rate-of-climb equal to 473 feet per minute.

The Hammer Ultimately Falls

The Bv 222 fought on through to the end of the war to which several complete examples were taken as prizes by the Allies. The United States retained two of the completed aircraft whilst the United Kingdom brought one home for herself. The RAF actually operated their Bv 222 up until 1947 while the US studied the design and implemented a similar hull on their upcoming Convair R3Y "Tradewind" flying boat transport. Two further remaining Bv 222 examples were scuttled by their German crews prior to the end of the war.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (242mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Blohm and Voss Bv 222C-0 Wiking (Viking)'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 (13)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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