Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking

The Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking was a six engined Luftwaffe flying boat used in the transport and long-range maritime patrol roles during the Second World War.  It holds the distinction of being the largest operational flying boat to enter series production during the war.
The BV 222 was initially designed for passenger and mail service for a Lufthansa requirement in 1936.  Hamburger Flugzeugbau prepared the initial design, the original Ha 222 designation being changed to BV 222 when the company reorganized.  Otherwise, the design could have been known as the Hamburger flying boat!  This is the BV 222V1 prototype in flight.  In 1943 it sank in Piraeus, Greece after striking a sunken ship on landing.
In addition to its size the Wiking introduced several innovative design features for its time.  The cargo floor was flat, with an unbroken area extending for the entire width and much of the length of the fuselage.  It could carry up to 92 troops or 72 litters.  The wing floats were actually split in the middle, each half retracting separately upward to form the underside of the wing surface.
By any measure the Wiking was a monster.  It had a wingspan of 150 feet 11 inches (46 meters) and a length of 121 feet 5 inches (37 meters).  Maximum loaded weight was 101,391 pounds (45,990 kg).
A total of thirteen Wikings were produced.  The first six development aircraft (V1 through V6) plus V8 were each powered by six Bramo Fafnir 323 radial engines.  V7 and the five production BV 222C-0 were powered by Jumo 207C diesel engines. Both types of engines were rated at 1,000 HP.  This is a BV 222 fuselage in the Blohm & Voss factory in Hamburg in 1945, dwarfing the group gathered to the right.
A view of the flightdeck looking out through the cockpit glazing.  Note the back armor for the pilot’s seat on the left, and the canvas sun shades rolled up behind the windows, a detail often overlooked by modelers.
A BV 222 ashore on its beaching gear.  The 20 mm gun turrets installed between the outboard engine nacelles are visible in this view.  These were accessed by crawling though the wing spar from the fuselage.  There were many variations in the armament configurations of individual Wikings.
Here a motorized barge built on inflatable rafts is being used to unload cargo from the after door of the Wiking.
A Wiking is being winched down a ramp to the water in preparation for another flight.  This is one of the early development machines with the Bramo radial engines.
Contrast this photograph with the previous picture.  This Wiking is powered by six Jumo inline diesel engines.  The diesels used the same fuel as maritime engines, allowing the aircraft to transfer fuel from U-boats and surface vessels.  This is the V7 development aircraft, fuselage code TB+QL.
After the war the surviving Wikings were evaluated by the Allies.  Here is BV 222V2 (X4+BH) under US Navy control at Trondheim Fiord, Norway.  The American test flights were plagued by engine fires and the program was aborted for safety reasons.  The unusual camouflage is the result of a white Arctic pattern being roughly over sprayed with a darker color.