Friday 27 April 2012

Luftwaffe modelling - Do 217 M-1 night recce unit Aufklärungsgruppe Nacht (Italeri Do 217)

You may have seen Rolf Blattner's superb Do 217 M from the 1:72 Italeri Do 217 kit on britmodeller. Rolf has been in touch to let the Luftwaffe blog know a DB 603 resin update set to enable modellers to go to town on the Italeri Do 217 and produce a really accurate 'M' sub-type is now available from his original master via Without doubt this new set can be thoroughly recommended to all enthusiasts looking to add an example to their collection of what KG 100 pilot Roderich Cescotti describes in his memoir "Langstreckenflug" as "the best Luftwaffe bomber of the war ".

The Do 217 M was a direct development of the Do 217 K. The 217 M V-1 was constructed using a 217 E-2 as a basis for the conversion and first flight took place in July 1942. Planned as a medium day and night bomber the usual variety and number of sub-variants was envisaged, including dive-, torpedo-, night-, high altitude- and carrier-plane for "stand-off" weapons.

The variant differed essentially with the installation of the Daimler-Benz DB 603 with four-bladed prop replacing the BMW 801 radials, engines which were desperately needed for the Fw 190 fighter programme. The inline V12 cylinder DB 603 A yielded over 1700 hp but suffered several problems with pistons, piston rings, main bearings and vibrations in concert with the four bladed props of the unit. Instead of the planned 1000 bombers only around 500 of the type had been produced when bomber production was curtailed in early 1944.

 Rolf's superb model is finished as Do 217 M-1, coded "K7 + HK" of 1.Gruppe / 2.Staffel Aufklärungsgruppe Nacht, Kastrup, Danmark, winter 1945. The Do 217 M-1’s of the specialist night recce unit Aufklärungsgruppe Nacht were equipped with camera equipment (Rüstsatz 6) in the rear bomb bay and flash bombs in the front bay, flying night recce in the region of the North Sea and the Baltic from airfields in Danmark through the winter of 1945.