Do 217 file photo [49]

Do 217

ManufacturerDornier Flugzeugwerke
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight1 January 1938


ww2dbaseAlthough the appearance of the Do 217 bombers was similar to that of Do 215, the design was actually drawn from scratch, and the purpose was to replace the venerable Do 17 bombers. One driving force behind the Do 217 design was competition from Junkers, whose Ju 88 prototype proved to be superior to Do 17 in every way. The first Do 217 took flight in 1938, and they first saw combat in late 1940. These latest Dornier bombers had powerful engines and carried heavy bomb loads; they were the heaviest of all German bombers until the introduction of He 177 in late 1942. While they carried a heavy bomb load, they could still maintain a fast speed. With their capability, they were used in a variety of bombing missions; they were regularly used in raids on British cities during the Battle of Britain, and on 9 Sep 1943, Do 217 bombers sank Italian battleship Roma with Fritz X guided missiles. Stability was a drawback for them, however, until it was discovered that fixed slats along the leading edges of the vertical fins could remedy the problem.

ww2dbaseToward the latter stages of the war, due to the German lack of fighters, many Do 217 bombers also took up the role of night fighters, similar to other German bombers at the time. They did not perform well as fighters, but they served that role well past the end of the design's production life in Jun 1944. The primary reason for ending Do 217 production was the greater demand for fighter production. By that date, 1,905 were built.

ww2dbaseSources: Aircraft of the Second World War, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2007


MachineryTwo BMW 801A or 801M 18-cylinder two-row radials rated at 1,580hp each
Armament1x15mm MG 151/15, 2x13mm MG 131, 3x7.92mm MG 15, 4,000kg of bombs
Span19.00 m
Length18.20 m
Height5.00 m
Weight, Empty8,850 kg
Weight, Loaded15,000 kg
Speed, Maximum515 km/h
Service Ceiling7,500 m
Range, Normal2,100 km

MachineryTwo BMW 801D 18-cylinder two-row radial engines rated at 1,700hp each
Armament1x15mm MG 151/15, 2x13mm MG 131, 3x7.92mm MG 15, 4x7.92mm MG 81, 4,000kg of bombs, 2 FX 1400 glide bombs or 2 missiles
Span19.00 m
Length18.20 m
Height5.00 m
Weight, Empty9,450 kg
Weight, Loaded16,570 kg
Speed, Maximum533 km/h
Service Ceiling8,400 m
Range, Normal2,100 km

MachineryTwo Daimler-Benz DB 603A 12-cylinder inverted-V liquid cooled engines rated at 1,726hp each
Armament2x13mm MG 131, 4x7.92mm MG 81, 4,000kg of bombs
Span19.00 m
Length17.00 m
Height4.96 m
Wing Area57.00 m²
Weight, Empty9,100 kg
Weight, Maximum16,700 kg
Speed, Maximum557 km/h
Speed, Cruising400 km/h
Service Ceiling7,358 m
Range, Normal2,145 km

MachineryTwo Daimler-Benz DB 603B supercharged DB 605T engine rated at 1,860hp each
Armament6x7.92mm MG 81, 2x1,102lb bombs
Span19.00 m
Length17.00 m
Height5.00 m
Weight, Empty10,350 kg
Weight, Loaded15,840 kg
Speed, Maximum781 km/h
Service Ceiling16,154 m
Range, Normal2,100 km

MachineryTwo BMW 801A 14-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,539hp each
Armament4x7.92mm MG 17 machine guns, 4x20mm MG FF cannons, 2x13mm MG 131 machine guns
Span19.00 m
Length18.20 m
Height5.00 m
Wing Area57.00 m²
Weight, Empty9,350 kg
Weight, Maximum13,180 kg
Speed, Maximum487 km/h
Service Ceiling8,400 m
Range, Normal2,050 km


Do 217 aircraft in flight, date unknownDo 217 bomber in flight, circa late 1930sDo 217 J-2 nightfighter, date unknownA Dornier Do-217 bomber on an airfield in Finland with reindeer in the foreground, 26 Jul 1941.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
21 Nov 2007 01:24:39 AM

The Dornier Do.217 was not employed as a bomber during the Battle of Britain. 3.(F)/11 employed the type in a reconnaissance role during the last few months of 1940, but the first bomber unit to be so equipped (II/KG 40)was not formed until the spring of 1941
2. Jan Doernte says:
6 Sep 2009 02:52:26 AM

The first photo is not a 217, but its predecessor, a Do 17z. Wrong engines, and wrong cockpit/canopy on the same structural base. The second and third photos are accurate.
3. James Walby says:
2 Nov 2012 04:14:43 AM

The Do 217 had higher G & high speed anti-interception capabilities than most contemporary bomber types due to its inherent dive-bombing design performance parameters.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
28 Jun 2017 12:06:54 AM

At 16,850 kg the Dornier 217K-2 was the heaviest of all production 217s and was specifically developed to carry the 1,570 kg FX 1400 (also known as ’Fritz X’) radio-controlled heavy bomb. These were slung on special racks beneath the inner wings which, in order to carry the extra weight, had the wingspan increased to 24.8 metres. On this version an additional 1,160 litre fuel tank was fitted in the forward bomb bay and almost all had the R19 fitting of twin MG81Z guns firing aft from the rear of each engine nacelle.

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