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Blohm and Voss Ha 137

Dive Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft Prototype

Nazi Germany | 1935

"The Blohm and Voss Ha 137 was a pre-World War 2 German attempt at an effective dive bomber and ground attack platform - only six were completed."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/01/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
During the German military's build up of the 1930s, many aircraft types were developed to fulfill specific roles over the battlefield. Among these was the dive bomber which was eventually filled by the classic Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" (detailed elsewhere on this site). However, before the Stuka became the core of the German precision bombing force, there was a competition between several design houses originating from a 1934 requirement and this involved both Henschel and Blohm und Voss.

Blohm und Voss, through their Hamburger Flugzeugbau arm, developed the "Ha 137". The director of the design became Dr. Richard Vogt who had just returned from developing warplanes for the Empire of Japan under the Kawasaki brand label. The new aircraft sported gull-wing style monoplane wings, a traditional single-finned tail unit, enclosed cockpit and fixed (tail-dragging) undercarriage. At the nose of the aircraft would be a single BMW XV inline piston engine driving a three-bladed propeller unit. Crew space allowed for a single crewman. The aircraft was known to the company as "Project 6".

Overall length was 31 feet with a wingspan reaching 36.6 feet and a height of 9.1 feet. Empty weight was 4,000lb against an MTOW of 5,325lb.

Vogt's initial design submission was called to be reworked as the BMW XV engine was not to be. This led to selection of the BMW 132 instead, a licensed-production version of the American Pratt & Whitney "Hornet" air-cooled radial piston engine. The design was then revised to become "Project 6A". The British Rolls-Royce "Kestrel" engine was also in contention under "Project 6B".

The German Air Ministry moved to cover three prototypes based on the earlier work (V1 through V3) and this led to a first-flight of one of them on January 18th, 1935. The third prototype (V3) arrived with the Kestrel engine installed and three more prototypes were ordered with power stemming from the homegrown Junkers Jumo 210 series engine. Development continued into 1936.

As the competing Junkers Ju 87 had flown in September of 1935 and was introduced for service the following year, the Ha 137 had little chance of succeeding as anything by this point (a close-support role and navy version were both entertained). The remaining three prototypes (V4 through V6) were still built and became available in 1937 but, ultimately, these were used in test campaigns by Blohm und Voss.

As flown, the Ha 137 (the V4 prototype) managed a maximum speed of 185 miles per hour with cruising speeds of 180 miles per hour. Range was out to 360 miles and its service ceiling reached 23,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 1,640 feet per minute.

Should it have been adopted for military service, standardized armament would have included 2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in the forward fuselage and 2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in underside fairings. Alternatively the latter could be substituted for 2 x 20mm MG FF automatic cannons. Beyond this fixed armament, there was provision for 4 x 110lb SC50 series conventional drop bombs.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Blohm and Voss Ha 137 V4 Dive Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft Prototype.
1 x Junkers Jumo 210Aa V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 590 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
186 mph
300 kph | 162 kts
Max Speed
22,966 ft
7,000 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
357 miles
575 km | 310 nm
Operational Range
1,640 ft/min
500 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Blohm and Voss Ha 137 V4 Dive Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft Prototype.
31.0 ft
9.45 m
O/A Length
36.6 ft
(11.15 m)
O/A Width
9.2 ft
(2.80 m)
O/A Height
4,001 lb
(1,815 kg)
Empty Weight
5,324 lb
(2,415 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Blohm and Voss Ha 137 Dive Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft Prototype .
2 x 7.92mm MG17 machine guns in fixed, forward-firing positions at forward fuselage.
2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns OR 2 x 20mm MG FF cannons fitted into the fixed undercarriage structures.

4 x 110 lb SC50 conventional drop bombs.
Notable series variants as part of the Blohm and Voss Ha 137 family line.
Blohm and Voss Ha 137 - Base Series Designation
Ha 137A - Prototype with Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine installed.
Ha 137B - Prototype with Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine installed.
V3 - First-batch prototype
V4 - Second-batch prototype; powered by Junkers Jumo 210 engine.
V5 - Second-batch prototype; powered by Junkers Jumo 210 engine.
V6 - Second-batch prototype; powered by Junkers Jumo 210 engine.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Blohm and Voss Ha 137. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 6 Units

Contractor(s): Blohm and Voss - Nazi Germany
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany

[ Nazi Germany (cancelled) ]
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Image of the Blohm and Voss Ha 137
Image from the Public Domain.
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Image of the Blohm and Voss Ha 137
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Blohm and Voss Ha 137 Dive Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft Prototype appears in the following collections:
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