Fokker T.V Medium Bomber / Bomber Interceptor
The few examples of the Fokker T.V available at the time of the German invasion of The Netherlands saw little success in combat.
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Originating on German soil prior to World War 1 (1914-1918), Fokker delivered several famous fighter types for the German Empire during the Great War. In 1919, the concern moved operations to neighboring Netherlands to begin anew. In the run up to World War 2 (1939-1945), the company put forth a variety of aircraft now mostly lost to history. Once such development became the T.V bomber/bomber destroyer which attracted the interest of the Netherlands Army Air Force amidst rising tensions to the East.
Origins of the T.V lay in the early part of the 1930s when rumors of possible renewed war in Europe threatened daily goings on. Joining another promising Dutch design already in motion, the fighter-minded Fokker D.XXI monoplane, the T.V bomber was being pushed from within the ranks of the Netherlands Army Air Force itself. Fokker unveiled what was, for the time, a largely modern monoplane bomber with a crew numbering five to include two pilots, a bombardier, navigator, radioman/gunner and dedicated gunner. The aircraft fielded a length of 60.5 feet long, a wingspan of 68.9 feet and a height of 13.8 feet.
With its twin Bristol Pegasus XXVI air-cooled radial piston engines developing 926 horsepower each, the aircraft could manage a top speed of 260 miles per hour, a cruising speed of 205 miles per hour, a range of 960 miles and a service ceiling nearing 16,400 feet. Offense was by way of a single 20mm Solothurn S-18/100 cannon in the nose to help combat incoming enemy bombers while defense was provided through 4 x 7.9mm Browning machine guns in dorsal, ventral, beam and tail positions. The listed bomb load was 2,200lbs for when the aircraft was used in the traditional bombing role. For overall construction, Fokker returned to their tried-and-proven wood-and-steel formula, this at a time when powers of the world were moving towards all-metal designs promising improved survivability and in-the-field robustness. It is noteworthy that the fuel tanks were not self-sealing. Coupled to the airframes largely wooden make-up, this proved disastrous in actual combat.
Despite a procurement contract already signed in December of 1936, the initial finalized airframe did not take flight until October 16th, 1937. The design resulted in a smooth aircraft with good handling qualities and sound armament. However, the bomber destroyer aspect was reduced to the point that the aircraft was more and more considered a traditional medium-class bomber platform instead. Initial deliveries followed in 1938 and into 1939 though, by this time, there proved nagging reliability issues with the powerplants. The issues were so apparent that the aircraft was only limited to the initial batch of the sixteen requested as the Netherlands government attempted to move on securing twin-engined Dornier Do 215 light bomber airframes from Germany itself - its soon-to-be enemy. However, this endeavor fell to naught when Germany invaded the Low Countries during the beginning phases of World War 2 in Western Europe - the invasion beginning on May 10th, 1940. This, no doubt, eliminated the prospect of securing the Do 215 bombers.
During the invasion thrusts, Netherlands forces fought a valiant campaign to retain their sovereignty alongside Belgium, Luxembourg and - ultimately, France. The existing T.V bombers were pressed into action and known to have been used directly against German forces at both The Hague and at Rotterdam. However, the T.V's fared rather poorly on the whole and useful numbers quickly dwindled after just a few short days of combat. Beyond their unreliable engines, the aircraft were prone to catching fire due to their base construction and unsecured fuel stores. All T.V bombers were therefore out of action by the end of the invasion on May 17th - resulting in a decisive German victory and paving the way to Paris, France. The German force numbered some 750,000 men against the Dutch defense of 280,000 - 22 divisions versus 9.
Such ended the story of the Fokker T.V in the grand scope of World War 2.