Review: Dornier Do 335 Pfeil

review-dornier-pfeil

Dornier Do 335 Pfeil
The Luftwaffe’s Fastest Piston-Engine Fighter

J. Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek & Gerhard Roletschek
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The Do 335 Pfeil (Arrow) is indeed unique in the aviation history with its pushing and pulling propellers and sadly today only one example survives in an almost original condition. The Do 335A-0 “102” (W.Nr. 240102) is today on display at the Paul E. Garber Facility near the Dulles International Airport in Washington DC, and have its wings taken from another Pfeil-aircraft, a Do 335A-1 (W.Nr. 240165).

This book describes the complete history of this German’ combat aircraft. The book is divided six chapters: Whales and Flying Pencils, The Dornier Do 335, What might have been, “The most fascinating aircraft”, Camouflage and Markings and Do 335 – An Overview. As the name suggests the first chapter describes the origin of what later became the Do 335 and the second one, which naturally takes up most of the space in this 176-page book, focuses on the development regarding the test-pilots, prototypes, pre-production aircraft and to some extent the airfields and production facilities. The third chapter describes some what-might-have-been aircraft, including the Junkers Ju 635, which would have had a similar layout as the Heinkel He 111 Zwilling and was intended as a long-range fighter. The fourth chapter is about Do 335 “in service” with the American’, British’ and French’ Air Forces during 1945 and onward, while the fifth chapter is self-explaining. The last chapter describes the Do 335’s technical details, such as the rudder-line arrangement.

The book also contains three appendixes, the first one being of especial interest - at least for me personally. For it is the actual flight manual intended for Luftwaffe use, this being the December 1944-issue. And, being a person who just loves the German language, it is all with the original text in German! The second and third appendixes contain detailed technical drawings, including ones of the planned Do 335B, and an assembled 1/48 scale modeling kit of a Do 335A-0 respectively, and both are without a doubt very useful for those practicing plastic modeling.

The text itself is written in a way that is easy to understand, even to those (including me!) who have some difficulties understanding technical English, and explains in a step-by-step type of manner everything from the identity markings to the test-flights. This is a book that I strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in German’ or WW2 aircraft in general or just have an urge to know everything about this very fascinating one-of-a-kind aircraft. For those interested in plastic modeling the last two appendixes should be of the most interest, although the colour-plates spread out in the six chapters should give some hints on painting camouflage and markings.

(Reviewed by M. Darefors)
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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