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Aviation / Aerospace

Dornier Do 23

Medium Bomber [ 1934 ]

The Dornier Do 23 led a short service life with the German Luftwaffe before being replaced by the capable Heinkel He 111.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/14/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

During the 1930s rearmament period for Germany, the country furthered many projects that went clearly against the Treaty of Versailles that appeared after World War 1 (1914-1918). The Luftwaffe bomber force ultimately received some attention and several designs were put forth including the Dornier Do 23. The Do 23 was a follow-up design to the Do 11 heavy bomber of 1932 because of persistent inherent issues in the earlier mark. The same period also saw the short-lived Do 13 model emerge but the Do 23 was the much more extensively modified form and managed to fix some of the problems.

The aircraft carried a straight high-wing monoplane planform with a conventional tail unit (single vertical fin, low-set planes), a fixed tail-dragger undercarriage (with spatted main wheels), and leading edge engine nacelles (one per wing). The fuselage featured slab sides and housed the cockpit at front, crew positions along its length and the internal bomb bay. 3 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine guns were fitted as defensive armament - one at the nose, another at a dorsal gun position and the final gun at a ventral position. The aircraft was cleared to carry up to 2,200 pounds of conventional drop stores. The typical crew arrangement numbered four.

The powerplant of choice became 2 x BMW VIU V12 liquid-cooled engines of 750 horsepower each. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 160 miles per hour, a range out to 930 miles and a service ceiling of 13,780 feet. Empty weight was 12,345 pounds against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 20,282 pounds. Dimensions were a length of 18.8 meters, a wingspan of 25.6 meters and a height of 5.4 meters.

A prototype Do 23 saw its first flight during 1934 and brought along some improvements in handling though performance was clearly lacking for a bomber platform. Nevertheless, the type was ordered into serial production and managed a healthy pre-war total of 282 aircraft before the end of its run. Initial production models were designated as "Do 23F" and an improved version with better engines (featuring glycol cooling) appeared as the "Do 23G".

Despite their rather obsolete status at the start of World War 2 in September of 1939, the aircraft was still in circulation in some number and fell to the Luftwaffe arm of Czechoslovakia during the early phases. Some of the German fleet was also passed on to the Hungarian Air Force. By and large, the bomber was wholly outclassed by the time the war went into full swing and it was superseded in the Germany inventory by more appropriate players such as the Heinkel He 111, the Junkers Ju 88 and Dornier's own Do 17 - all detailed elsewhere on this site.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Nazi Germany national flag graphic
Nazi Germany

Not in Service.


Dornier-Werke GmbH - Nazi Germany
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Czechia National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany National flag of Hungary Czechoslovakia; Hungary; Nazi Germany
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.

61.7 ft
(18.80 m)
84.0 ft
(25.60 m)
17.7 ft
(5.40 m)
Empty Wgt
12,346 lb
(5,600 kg)
20,283 lb
(9,200 kg)
Wgt Diff
+7,937 lb
(+3,600 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Dornier Do 23G production variant)
Installed: 2 x BMW VIU liquid-cooled V12 engines developing 750 horsepower each.
Max Speed
162 mph
(260 kph | 140 kts)
13,780 ft
(4,200 m | 3 mi)
932 mi
(1,500 km | 810 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Dornier Do 23G production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in nose position
1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in dorsal position
1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in ventral position

Up to 2,200lb of conventional drop stores held internally.

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)

Do 23F - Initial Production Mark
Do 23G - Improved Do 23; fitted with 2 x BMW VIU series piston engines with glycol cooling.

General Assessment
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (162mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (282)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).

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Image of the Dornier Do 23
Image from the Public Domain.

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