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Published on Apr 3, 2010
French ace Pierre Clostermann encounter with a Pfeil in April 1945. He describes leading a pack of four Hawker Tempests from 3 Squadron RAF when he intercepted a lone Do 335 flying at maximum speed at treetop level. Despite the Tempest's considerable low altitude speed, the RAF fighters were not able to catch up or even get into firing position.!!
The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil ("Arrow") was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The two-seater trainer version was also called Ameisenbär ("anteater"). The Pfeil's performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the much lower drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines.
There are many advantages to this design over the more traditional system of placing one engine on each wing, the most important being power from two engines with the frontal area (and thus drag) of a single-engine design, allowing for higher performance. It also keeps the weight of the twin powerplants near, or on, the aircraft centerline, increasing the roll rate compared to a traditional twin. In addition, a single engine failure does not lead to asymmetric thrust, and in normal flight there is no net torque so the plane is easy to handle. The choice of a full "four-surface" set of cruciform tail surfaces in the Do 335's rear fuselage design, included a ventral vertical fin--rudder assembly to project downwards from the extreme rear of the fuselage, in order to protect the rear propeller from an accidental ground strike on takeoff.
At least 16 Do 335s were known to have flown (V1--V12, W.Nr 230001-230012 and Müster-series prototypes M13--M17, W.Nr 230013-230017) on a number of DB603 engines including the DB603A, A-2, G-0, E and E-1. The first preproduction Do 335 (A-0s) starting with W.Nr 240101, Stammkennzeichen VG+PG, were delivered in July 1944. Approximately 22 preproduction aircraft were thought to have been completed and flown before the end of the war, including approximately 11 A-0s converted to A-11s for training purposes.
General characteristics Crew: 1, pilot Length: 45 ft 5 in (13.85 m) Wingspan: 45 ft 1 in (13.8 m) Height: 15 ft (4.55 m) Wing area: 592 ft² (55 m²) Empty weight: 11,484 lb (5,210 kg) Max takeoff weight: 19,500 lb (8,590 kg) Powerplant: 2× Daimler-Benz DB 603A 12-cylinder inverted engines, 1,287 kW, 1,726 hp (1,750 PS) each
Performance Maximum speed: 474 mph (765 km/h) Combat radius: 721 mi (1,160 km (half load)) Service ceiling: 37,400 ft (11,400 m)
Armament 1 × 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannon (as forward engine-mounted Motorkanone) 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cowl-mount, synchronized autocannons Up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) bombload