Dornier Do 217 Units of World War 2 Book Review

Dornier Do 217 Units of World War 2

Series:  Osprey Combat Aircraft 139

By Chris Gross, Illustrated by Januz Swiatlon and Mark Postlewaite

Softcover, 96 pages, index, 30 color profiles

Published by Osprey Publishing, September 2021

ISBN-10: ‎1472846176

ISBN-13: 978-1472846174

Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches

The Do 217 was a development of the Do 17, generally more powerful and more capable.  It used a wide variety of engine and airframe configurations, and was used for several types of missions including both level and dive bombing, reconnaissance, night fighting, and as a glide bomb carrier.  Still, the basic design was nearing obsolescence as the war began, and was soon superseded by more modern designs such as the Ju 88.

In many ways the Do 217 is the forgotten bomber of the Luftwaffe, with contemporary designs such as the He 111 and Ju 88 receiving far more coverage than the Dornier.  Perhaps the most notable successes of the type were achieved by III/KG 100 aircraft carrying the Hs 292 and Fritz-X wire-guided glide bombs, which were responsible for sinking the Italian battleship Roma, as well as damaging the Italia, USS Savannah (CL-42), HMS Uganda and HMS Warspite, among others.

This is volume 139 in the Osprey Combat Aircraft series and the text follows the standard format of a developmental history of the type with and operations history of the aircraft in service, interspersed with anecdotes from the crews.  30 full color profiles grace the center of the book.  These are beautifully rendered and will provide much inspiration to modelers.  Oddly, aircraft from KG 100 which successfully attacked Allied warships in the Mediterranean are not represented.

Author Chris Gross has also produced an upcoming volume in the Luftwaffe Classics series, many previous editions of which are considered the definitive works on their subjects.  While awaiting that volume, this book constitutes an excellent addition to Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series, and is well worth purchasing for the profile artwork alone.  A valuable reference for an under-documented Luftwaffe type, and a recommended addition to your library.

Dornier Do 17 Units of World War 2 Book Review


Dornier Do 17 Units of World War 2

By Chris Goss, profiles by Chris Davey

Series:  Osprey Combat Aircraft 129

Softcover, 96 pages, appendices, 30 color profiles, and index

Published by Osprey Publishing, September 2019

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472829638

ISBN-13: 978-1472829634

Dimensions:  7.3 x 0.3 x 9.8 inches

State of the art when introduced in the mid-1930s, the Dornier Do 17 was fast approaching obsolescence at the beginning of the Second World War.  It was intended that the “Flying Pencil” would be able to out-run defending fighters, but such was the pace of aeronautical development that it was not considered fast even for a bomber by the start of the war.  Coupled with its poor range and limited bomb load it was destined to be replaced in short order, but along with the Heinkel He 111 the Dornier Do 17 made up the medium bomber arm of the Luftwaffe for the first year of the war.

The Do 17 served with the Condor Legion in Spain, and in the Battle of France.  In the Battle of Britain losses mounted and several units began transition training to the new Ju 88.  Surviving units fought in Greece and in Russia, but by 1942 front-line units had converted to the Ju 88 or the more powerful Do 217 development of the design.  Still, some Do 17s soldiered on in auxiliary roles through the end of the war.

This work tells the story of the units which flew the Do 17 in Luftwaffe service and in the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.  Much of the text reads as a loss list, with dates, places, and crew names given for the aircraft involved.  Being a type with marginal performance figures, attrition was constant and the detailed listing of losses soon becomes repetitive.  The profiles offer little relief, as the vast majority are finished in the same standard Luftwaffe bomber camouflage scheme of 70 / 71 over 65, with a little variation provided by the Condor Legion schemes or those aircraft wearing black distemper for night raids.

Overall there are no surprises here for those familiar with Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series.  The format follows the familiar formula with photographs and color profiles.  The repetitive nature of the writing provides some useful information for amateur researchers, but tends to make recreational reading a slog.  Good for picking a specific Do 17 as a modeling subject.


New York City Vintage Photographs Part III

A flight of Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortresses banks in to fly over Manhattan on 28 March 1937. The bombers were assigned to the 96th Bombardment Squadron, which had twelve Y1B-17s on strength. At the time these were the only heavy bombers in the USAAC inventory. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

The Royal Mail Ship Queen Elizabeth pulls into the pier with the skyscrapers of New York in the background. The Queen Elizabeth was a huge ship even by today’s standards – 1,031 feet in length and displacing 83,000 tons.

Here is the RMS Queen Mary in her gray warpaint. She served as a troop transport during World War Two and was capable of carrying as many as 15,000 troops at a time. Because of her high speed she was thought to be immune to attacks by German U-boats and made the majority of her trans-Atlantic crossings unescorted. She is pictured returning U.S. servicemen home on 20JUN45. Currently Queen Mary is preserved as a museum in Long Beach, California. She is reputed to be haunted.

The French battleship Richelieu on her way to the Brooklyn Naval Yard on 18FEB43 for repairs and modernization. While under Vichy control she was hit by the British battleship HMS Barnham and suffered an internal explosion in her number seven 15” (380 mm) gun in turret two. After her defection to the Free French she was outfitted for service in the Pacific.

The Dornier Do-X makes an eye-level pass along New York’s skyline on 7 August 1931. The largest aircraft of her time, the Do-X was powered by twelve 524 horsepower Bristol Jupiter engines which can be clearly seen in this view.

A Swedish Airlines DC-4 seen over Manhattan in 1946. It did not take long after World War Two for the international airline industry to establish regular routes between major cities around the world.

Three U.S. Coast Guard Grumman JRF-2 Goose (Geese?) fly formation over New York on 10 April 1940. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

Another Coast Guard amphibian in pre-war livery, this time it is a Hall Aluminum PH-3. This photograph was taken on 21 February 1940. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) enters New York harbor on 13 May 1956. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first to travel to the North Pole under the ice sheet.

The aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) travels up the Hudson River in 1939.  Considered too slow for combat in the Pacific she operated in the Atlantic for the majority of the war.  She supported the landings in North Africa on 8 November 1942, where her fighters engaged Vichy French aircraft and her dive bombers hit the French Battleship Jean Bart.

Part IV here:

New York City Vintage Photographs Part I

In May of 1935 the French liner S.S. Normandie set the world’s record for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing of 4 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes. At the beginning of the Second World War the French Line kept the Normandy berthed in Manhattan, fearing German U-boats. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. took possession of the ship, renaming her the USS Lafayette.
The US intended to use the Lafayette as a troopship and began conversion work. Shipyard welding started a fire which quickly got out of control. Efforts to extinguish the fire eventually flooded enough of the ship to capsize her, and she sank at her moorings at Pier 88.
The hulk of the USS Lafayette was stripped and re-floated, but she proved to be beyond economical repair and was eventually scrapped in 1946. Here a US Coast Guard Grumman J4F Widgeon is seen above the wreck in late 1943.
The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here she is seen on the East River in New York City returning from sea trials on Christmas Day, 25 December 1916.
A beautiful photograph of the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) off Manhattan in 1932. Colorado was the lead ship of her class, her sister ships were USS Maryland (BB-46), and USS West Virginia (BB-48). The USS Washington (BB-47) was cancelled while under construction under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and sunk as a target. The Colorados had turbo-electric propulsion and were armed with eight 16”/45 main guns.
Sisterships USS New York (BB-34) and USS Texas (BB-35) light up the night sky with their searchlights while visiting New York City for the World’s Fair, 03 May 1939. The Empire State Building can be seen in the background to the right.
A fine study of the Dornier Do-X transferring passengers in New York Harbor, 1931. The Do-X arrived in New York on 27 August 1931 after several mishaps and a ten-month journey. She was to remain in New York for another nine months while her engines were overhauled.
The airship Hindenburg passing over Manhattan on May 6, 1937 on her way to Lakehurst Naval Air Station, shortly before the disaster. Her explosion was captured by several news photographers sent to document her docking after crossing the Atlantic. Remarkably, 62 of the 97 people on board survived the fire and crash of the Hindenburg.
Two Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 96th Bombardment Squadron seen over New York, 28 March 1937. The US Army Air Corps operated thirteen Y1B-17s, for a time they were the only heavy bombers in the USAAC inventory.
The US Navy airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) seen over Battery Park in 1930. She was built as reparations for the First World War at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH in Germany. She served the US Navy from 1924 to 1932 when she was decommissioned.

Part II here:

Dragon 1/72 Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil” Build

Here is a recent completion, Dragon’s 1/72 Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil” (Arrow). Extras for this project are two resin DB 603 engines from Aries, photoetch from Part, and EagleCals decals.

I decided to open everything up on this one, so the first step was to cut away the fuselage panels and thin the sides.  The rudders were molded to one half of the fuselage, I cut them loose to better address the depth of the hinge line.

One odd bit of kit design here, the sides of the wheel wells are only partially enclosed. The main gear are meant to fit into the rectangular sockets at the far ends of each well.  There is also the potential for a nasty seam inboard, and at a place not easy to address.  Not the most easily seen part of a model, but this kind of thing drives me nuts.

The half walls were removed with a Dremel tool and all the detail sanded off and smoothed. Then I used the wheel covers as a guide to shape some support for the tops of the well and did the same thing with strip for the bottoms.  Then I made the side walls with Evergreen stock and the nasty gap inboard was covered.  The cut-out at the back of the port wing is a bay for a retractable ladder.

Details and structural frames were built up with more Evergreen.  There is a little “bit-ology” added to simulate the fine details.

Here all the major interior components are test fit.  The fuel and oil tanks are built up from 0.060″ Evergreen stock.

This is the parts farm, separated by colors and ready for painting. Lots of fiddly bits to add to this one.  All the panels were thinned and have the interior framing added, they will be displayed around the finished model.  The landing gear legs have been rebuilt and detailed.

The fuselage interior. Much of this will be covered up, but the after engine bay has some open volume and can be seen past the engine and plumbing.  Most of the Part PE that I used went into the cockpit and the nose wheel bay.  The wing to fuselage joint was a little loose and needed shimmed and filled.

Paint and decals are on, ready for a wash to bring out the panel lines.

The finished model on her base.  Figures are from Preisser, canopy is from Falcon.

I added weight where I could but it still ended up being a tail-sitter. The bottoms of the wheels were drilled out and pinned to the base with bronze rod.

A mirror was cut by a local glass shop and replaces one of the concrete panels in the apron to allow the underside detail to be seen.