Blohm&Voss BV40

moin1900

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Hi everybody

The BV 40 was an armored Glider to be armament with different Weapons for example:
2x Mk108, R4M Rockets, Gerät "Schlinge", 250kg Anti-Aircraft Bomb, Four aerial Torpedoes ?
The BV40 should be also fitted with Argus Pulsejets like the Me328

Thanks in advance
 

Apophenia

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"P.S. The BV40 should be also fitted with Argus Pulsejets like the Me328"

Interesting notion. IIRC, part of the Bv 40 concept was keeping the frontal area as small possible. Obviously adding a pulsejet would increase that target area. The extra weight would also require greater span.
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

Thanks for these really good Pictures from the BV40 and the Gerät Schlinge ! JUSTO
Wow, this simple Glider armed with these different types of Weapons !
It should be a multi-role armored Glider! It is really amazing !

On the first Picture there is a version with a HWK 109-509B
I think it is much better than two Argus Pulsejets.

Many greetings
 

Avimimus

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I heard reports of a 8xSD50 loadout a few years ago. Is this accurate?
 

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Hi all

From " le fana de l'aviation"
 

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Jemiba

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In an article i Flugzeug Classic, September 2013 about the Bv 40 a proposal is mentioned, to
carry Bv 40 gliders, filled with explosives, as Mistel on a He 177and launch them (probably
unmanned !) against the bomber stream.Haven't heard of this idea before and I actually see
no reason to carry them as Mistel (piggy back), as they could as well use under wing bomb racks.
Unfortunately in the article by Herbert Ringlstetter no sources are mentioned. Anyone who heard
of this idea before ?
 

Wurger

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Never heard it before. A Mistel would be considered on account of the engine gondolas and the landing gear recesses on the He 177, but it was still a crazy idea since this combination should get too much close to the bomber streams and their escorts. It would be a sitting duck.
 

sgeorges4

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blohm und voss Bv 40

Let's start with the variant:

One with bomb under the wing,one is a mistel(one He 177 and the Bv is put under him,he has one or two Bt 700),my source for the aircraft is a article by J-C Mermet from this aero journal:
http://www.aero-journal.com/aero-journal63.php

https://www.lasegundaguerra.com/viewtopic.php?t=2573
Is this a good representation of the proposed rocketed variant wich used a walter HWK 109-509:



Topics merged
 

sgeorges4

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For the mistel Bv 40 and He 177,the Bv 40 was suppose to be equip with one or two BT 700 under the wing
 

newsdeskdan

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The idea for launching BV 40s from a He 177 seems to have arisen in April 1944 and been discussed up to June 1944.

All the information about the BV 40 in connection with the He 177, use of the BT 700 and use of supplemental rocket motors comes from a single published source - Luftfahrt International Nr. 6 Nov-Dez 1974. The article it features on the BV 40 is reasonably comprehensive and lists 92 separate sources upon which it is based. In reality however, it's actually just one source - a single large bundle of letters, telegrams, reports and notes. See attached examples from said bundle.
 

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Kuno

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Cannot avoid thinking that the Germans wasted quite a lot of time and (brain-)resources on ideas like the BV 40 ::)
 

Justo Miranda

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- Blohm und Voss BV 40

In the winter of 1943, it was quite evident that the Luftwaffe could not prevent the Allied bombers from carrying out the punishment missions where and whenever they wanted. The powerful American four-engine bombers, specialized in daylight accurate attacks, operated in self-defensive formations, which allowed them to support each other using the concentrated crossed fire of their heavy machine guns. Statistically, this was lethal to the target of 1.53 square meters represented by an Fw 190 in a frontal view at a distance of 1,000 yards.

Theoretically, the solution consisted in reducing the frontal area of the fighter. In practice this meant eliminating the engine and redesigning the airplane as an armoured glider. Germany had much experience in the construction of sailplanes and numerous projects of Gleiterjägern (glider fighters) emerged during the last two years of war.

By placing the pilot in prone position, they could manufacture an airplane with a frontal area of just 0.5 square meters, but the change required numerous studies. With the widespread use of dive bombers during the first months of World War Two, the crews of Stukas began to falter. After making a certain number of missions, some of them experienced a number of black-out phenomena and other fainted, losing control of their aircraft. According to studies by the Luftwaffe Aviation Medicine Branch (LFM), this was caused by insufficient blood pressure in the brain, consequence of the g-forces that tended to accumulate blood in the legs. Experiments with centrifuges reaching 14 g in 1936 showed that a pilot lying in prone position could better retain consciousness that in a seated position, as the heart was at the same height than the brain.

To gain some experience, they used a single seat glider Akaflieg FS-17 and a specially modified DFS Kranich II to place a second pilot in the nose, in prone position.
However, upon reaching a certain level of g, the structural strength of the gliders began to fail. Therefore, to continue experimenting, the company Akaflieg built the Berlin B9, a small twin engine experimental aircraft capable of supporting up to 22 g in flight. In 1943 the project scientists were able to prove that a pilot in prone position could recover in a few seconds after a dive at 8.5 g. During the summer, this information was used to design the Blohm und Voss P.186, an armoured Gleitjäger designed to perform Rammstoss attacks in accordance with the RLM specification of August 19, 1943.

The rammer should be towed by a Bf 109 G and released near the stream bomber.
But it was found out that, being slower than the bombers, the Gleitjäger could only hit against their tail surfaces by diving from great altitude to gain speed. However, the towing plane lacked the power to reach the appropriate flight level in time for the interception. A frontal attack would exceed the maximum 14 g bearable by the pilot, so the only possibility left was to laterally attack the bomber formation, diving from about 1,000 m above the stream.

LFM subsequent investigations showed that the tolerance of the pilot to impacts in prone position was quite limited and the P.186 was cancelled on October 30, 1943. At that time the demand for flying boats, the main aeronautical product by Blohm und Voss was virtually non-existent and to save the P.186 contract, Dr. Ing. Richard Vogt proposed its amendment as a heavy armoured fighter glider. The new design called BV 40 (December 13, 1943) received authorization from the RLM to be built on a pre-series of twelve aircraft. The armoured cockpit,
virtually invulnerable to the impact of US 12.7 mm machine guns, weighed 300 kg and was made of welded steel plates. The pilot in prone position was frontally protected by a 120 mm thick windscreen. The rest of the airframe was built in wood/plywood.

The BV 40 took off from a detachable twin wheels trolley towed by a Bf 109 G, using a 30 m long rope, reaching 10,000 m in 25 minutes. The launch took place 1,200 m ahead of the bomber stream and 500 m over its flight level. With a dive angle of 20 degrees, the BV 40 reached an attack speed of 475 kph. The armament initially proposed consisted of a MK 108/30 cannon installed under the port wing root and a towed explosive paravane bomb of 2 kg called Gerät Schlinge under the starboard wing.

At a distance of 400 m from the target, the pilot made a first attack with the gun and then he used the momentum built during the dive to gain altitude for a second attack with the Gerät Schlinge. To that purpose, the paravane detached from its position under the wing, being linked to the plane by a 20 m cable and kept in stable flight 7 m under the fighter thanks to its special aerodynamic design. The pilot should just fly over one of the 'boxes' until the bomb collided with one of the planes.

The system did not work properly during testing and the Technical Office of the Luftwaffe (TAL) suggested doubling the firepower by installing a second MK 108 instead of the paravane. The manufacturer, on the other side, proposed converting the BV 40 into a rocket fighter by installing a HWK 109-509B bi-fuel rocket engine that would provide enough speed to make attacks from behind the bombers and then flee from the escort fighters. Its armament could later be replaced by air-to-air rockets of the R4M type. After the attack, the plane should land on a ventral folding skid, reducing its speed to 118 kph using flaps.

The BV 40 was very heavy and slow manoeuvring. At 900 kph in a dive it would have been impossible to use the ailerons owing to flutter. The Flieger-Stabsingenieur Tilenius proposed using the BV 40 as air-to-air bomber equipped with four AB 250 submunition containers. But the idea was rejected in favour of the Me 262 of the Kommando Stamp that used SD 500 bombs and AB 500 containers with acoustic fuses for these attacks.

An antiship version was also planned, armed with four BT-700 torpedo-bombs that would be towed by a He 177 bomber to the proximity of an Allied fleet. The prone position allowed the pilot to withstand up to 14 g, when recovering its flight level after a dive attack, to throw the bombs as close as possible to the warship. It was considered that the BV 40 could use a little DFS pulsejet for the return flight.
 

newsdeskdan

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The above account is all rather garbled and inaccurate I'm afraid. I've only given the primary sources a cursory inspection but the note of October 30 appears to be the presentation of the P 186 in its new form (recognisable as the BV 40), not its cancellation. Work on the P 186 continued throughout November and December until, on December 15 (not the 13th - see attached), it was officially given the name BV 40 and the order for an initial production run of 12 examples was placed. Perhaps I should remove something from my forthcoming Luftwaffe: Secret Projects bookazine and replace it with an accurate account of the BV 40's history.
 

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newsdeskdan

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Cannot avoid thinking that the Germans wasted quite a lot of time and (brain-)resources on ideas like the BV 40 ::)
I would tend to agree with that. The amount of resources expended on most unorthodox German projects amounted to a few guys' time for a couple of weeks, some paper and some pencils. But the BV 40 was designed and actually built - despite seeming like a fairly unpromising idea.
 

sgeorges4

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what are the difference between the P.186 and Bv 40? Can we get a drawing?
 

richard B

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For the quite different P.186.01 , a drawing was shown here by "Kiradog" in 2012 : ( just type P.186.01 in the search button to go to the thread)
 

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Wurger

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The above account is all rather garbled and inaccurate I'm afraid. I've only given the primary sources a cursory inspection but the note of October 30 appears to be the presentation of the P 186 in its new form (recognisable as the BV 40), not its cancellation. Work on the P 186 continued throughout November and December until, on December 15 (not the 13th - see attached), it was officially given the name BV 40 and the order for an initial production run of 12 examples was placed. Perhaps I should remove something from my forthcoming Luftwaffe: Secret Projects bookazine and replace it with an accurate account of the BV 40's history.
Perhaps saving it for a future issue? Unpowered flight isn`t my forte!
 

newsdeskdan

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The above account is all rather garbled and inaccurate I'm afraid. I've only given the primary sources a cursory inspection but the note of October 30 appears to be the presentation of the P 186 in its new form (recognisable as the BV 40), not its cancellation. Work on the P 186 continued throughout November and December until, on December 15 (not the 13th - see attached), it was officially given the name BV 40 and the order for an initial production run of 12 examples was placed. Perhaps I should remove something from my forthcoming Luftwaffe: Secret Projects bookazine and replace it with an accurate account of the BV 40's history.
Perhaps saving it for a future issue? Unpowered flight isn`t my forte!
I've never been particularly interested in the BV 40 but it is a bona fide 'secret project' and it appears that the only available accounts of it in English are... inaccurate. I ought to set the record straight somewhere, somehow!
 

steelpillow

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Cannot avoid thinking that the Germans wasted quite a lot of time and (brain-)resources on ideas like the BV 40 ::)
I would tend to agree with that. The amount of resources expended on most unorthodox German projects amounted to a few guys' time for a couple of weeks, some paper and some pencils. But the BV 40 was designed and actually built - despite seeming like a fairly unpromising idea.
What effort was wasted was more the fault of the High Command than the industry. If you think of the BV 40 as a cheap-and-cheerful Me 163 it makes some sense.

Most design studies like this are never intended as production designs, merely as reference points in the ongoing research and marketing efforts. As a requirement matures, the flurry of initial studies reduces to perhaps a couple of wind tunnel models and detailed studies before the best of breed makes it to the production drawing office. It is only in the new projects office that every concept and reference design receives the same initial effort as real projects. Or, to put it the other way round, production models start out just like any other new design; to the new projects office they are all just another project, indistinguishable from the vast bulk of stillborn and aborted ideas in the drawings cabinet. As a project starts to die on its feet, much thrashing around to seek alternative lifelines in other roles often takes place. Aviation has ever been thus (although in the earliest days the free-flying model was often the chosen medium for initial design studies. Drawings cabinets came into widespread use only with the subcontract production demands of WWI. Today it is CAD files).

In the case of Nazi Germany, the constant squabbling and later panicking within the command chain led to the initiation, mutation and subsequent cancellation of an unusually high number of projects. It was through no fault of the industry. B&V's Projekt 186 is a typical example, starting out as a series of initial studies and making it as far as half-a-dozen BV 40 prototypes before the high command changed its mind and diverted their energies elsewhere. But it did have a positive legacy. Hans Amtmann was involved in the development of the prone pilot position and later followed it up in the USA. This prompted the UK to give it a try as well. (I don't know about say France or Russia.)

I think we enthusiasts tend to fall overmuch for the marketing hype, reading it as created to support those reference designs and forgetting that the drawings and performance figures are there only to support the hype and negotiations.
 
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newsdeskdan

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Cannot avoid thinking that the Germans wasted quite a lot of time and (brain-)resources on ideas like the BV 40 ::)
I would tend to agree with that. The amount of resources expended on most unorthodox German projects amounted to a few guys' time for a couple of weeks, some paper and some pencils. But the BV 40 was designed and actually built - despite seeming like a fairly unpromising idea.
What effort was wasted was more the fault of the High Command than the industry. If you think of the BV 40 as a cheap-and-cheerful Me 163 it makes some sense.

In the case of Nazi Germany, the constant squabbling and later panicking within the command chain led to the initiation, mutation and subsequent cancellation of an unusually high number of projects. It was through no fault of the industry. B&V's Projekt 186 is a typical example, starting out as a series of initial studies and making it as far as half-a-dozen BV 40 prototypes before the high command changed its mind and diverted their energies elsewhere. But it did have a positive legacy. Hans Amtmann was involved in the development of the prone pilot position and later followed it up in the USA. This prompted the UK to give it a try as well. (I don't know about say France or Russia.)

I think we enthusiasts tend to fall overmuch for the marketing hype, reading it as created to support those reference designs and forgetting that the drawings and performance figures are there only to support the hype and negotiations.
I would tend to disagree with most of this. The mainstream German aircraft development process, between the manufacturers, the RLM and the Luftwaffe was generally laborious, bureaucratic and earnest. The BV 40 might have initially made sense as a rammer, but this mode of attack was deemed too difficult and dangerous, and the project then became less and less obviously useful.
I don't know that there really was constant squabbling and later panicking within the command chain. The verbatim transcripts of RLM and then Jaegerstab meetings can generally be characterised as crushingly dull and for the most part consist of a group of professional people trying to work out the right thing to do for the good of Germany's war effort.
The manufacturers are usually seen as embodied by their most visible figures - Willy Messerschmitt, Kurt Tank, Ernst Heinkel etc. But in truth each of the large manufacturers was a highly complex organisation managing a huge web of contracts and sub-contracts with dozens of other firms, often including those perceived as their major competitors. For example, had the Me 209 gone ahead, it seems likely that Focke-Wulf would have been one of the firms subcontracted to build it. Each of the private companies had a board of directors, some of whom were extremely influential on the company's overall direction and internal politics, such as Rakan Kokothaki at Messerschmitt or Willy Kaether at Focke-Wulf, and the 'visible' personalities had to account for their actions to the board, which on rare occasions led to internal squabbling. But there really wasn't much room for squabbling or panicking within the chain of command. The only real sign of 'panicking' was Volksjaeger and even then the only real hint of panic came from Saur, who seems to have been behind it. Most of the aircraft manufacturers were simply indignant about it for various reasons. In contrast to the situation with armoured fighting vehicles, Hitler seems to have rarely made any personal intervention in aviation.
Can you give an example of marketing hype in the Third Reich during wartime? Bear in mind that just because all these designs are common knowledge today, at the time they were being developed in conditions of utmost secrecy under a regime which really did not look kindly upon secrets being revealed to anyone who ought not to know them. Who would the hype and marketing have been for? And all performance figures given with project designs were subjected to extremely rigorous mathematical scrutiny, which usually took weeks. Messerschmitt routinely got its sums wrong but no one was 'fooled' because the RLM's scrutineers simply reported what the true performance figures were likely to be and Messerschmitt lost face. Again.
 

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I would tend to disagree with most of this.
I agree that the RLM mostly ran a neutrally-minded and reasonably effective bureaucratic process. But that means that we must look elsewhere to explain the great waste of effort. I do not see any such explanation in your reply.

History invariably teaches us to look to the politicians. The senior Nazi figures did indeed indulge in power struggles and personal favouritism. The Volksjäger is just the best known aviation example, where design authority was granted to Heinkel despite widespread recognition of the Salamander's flaws. Another one was Hitler's diversion of the Me 262 fighter to "stuka" duties. The tale of the Ju 87 replacement is a particularly sorry one, of endless cancelled projects leading to an increasingly severe lack of capability as the war progressed. Hitler had even personally given the go-ahead to the BV 237, only to have it tied up in red tape and cancelled behind his back by those who favoured other manufacturers. The eventual diversion of the Schwalbe from its fighter role had not been the only interim expedient forced upon the Luftwaffe, though it was the last and most incongruous.
One has to bear in mind that this kind of infighting among one's bosses is not the kind of thing that diligent committee members record if they value their careers in a totalitarian society. The vast body of their output will be carefully turgid, just as you have found.

By marketing hype I mean the eternal optimism of technologists in the performance of their creations and in the time to delivery. The claims, visions and numbers embodied in the brochures and other submissions that they prepared for the RLM were invariably optimistic, often wildly so. Frankly, I see the technical role of these brochures as typically secondary, their main purpose was to pander to the perceived bias of the moment and to secure the next contract in the development chain.
I do not collect images of them for that reason, as my interest is more directly in the design and engineering. But if you read some of the materials put out by Lippisch or B&V, they typically promote half-baked technologies such as tailless fighters, with absurdly short development times. "Deliveries could begin in eighteen months" might be a typical phrase accompanying a proposal that finally flew some three years later and proved far from combat-ready. For example the B&V P 208 piston-powered outboard-tail fighter was touted as a viable interim solution during the development of the jet engine. Three years later, the jet-powered P 215 derivative was still undergoing constant changes to its empennage when the war ended. Meanwhile Northrop in the USA had graphically demonstrated with his XP-56 that providing acceptable handling for such beasties was not as easy as it looked. Back in 1914, the British Ministry of Supply had refused to allow Armstrong Whitworth to develop the Dunne D.12 for this very reason, acknowledged by Dunne himself. Lippisch spent twenty years on the development trail that led from his earliest monoplane structures to the Me 163 Komet. Richard Vogt at B&V would have been fully aware of the issues but, being an enthusiastic inventor sort of chap and needing to promote his project by hook or by crook, he could not resist that glossy wrapper of what I have described as marketing hype.

Returning to the BV 40, Pohlmann claims it was his boss Vogt's idea. I see it as just one of many zany ideas to be briefly investiagted by those with more practical air warfare experience before being dismissed. That it was taken to prototype stage and bounced around in various roles is more illustrative of the political realities over everybody's heads than any confidence in the concept. "Jawohl, Herr Senior Nazi, it is heavily armoured and flies at great speed, it will smash the American bombers!" "I shall increase the size of the labour camps at your disposal! Sieg heil!" kind of conversation. The company's aim has been achieved, though not through any sense of engineering or operational reality. (I am not suggesting that this was a specific gambit with the BV 40, it is meant only to be illustrative of the kind of thinking. And by the end of the war, there were at least two labour camps supplying B&V).

I think the important thing for a historian is to keep an open mind, not promote one's own theory beyond reason, and accept that others have probably gone down different rabbit-holes from one's own and found different bunnies at the bottom - all part of the same tangled warren.
 
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newsdeskdan

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The Volksjäger is just the best known aviation example, where design authority was granted to Heinkel despite widespread recognition of the Salamander's flaws.

Yes, I mentioned this.

The tale of the Ju 87 replacement is a particularly sorry one, of endless cancelled projects leading to an increasingly severe lack of capability as the war progressed. Hitler had even personally given the go-ahead to the BV 237, only to have it tied up in red tape and cancelled behind his back by those who favoured other manufacturers.

I don't think anyone has ever written an accurate account of the efforts made to replace the Ju 87 (interested to know if anyone has seen one though?). The competition progressed as usual but it was eventually realised that even a next generation ground attack aircraft was still going to be dangerously inferior in performance to the corresponding generation of Allied fighters by the time it arrived at the front. As such there was just no point progressing with the project. The day of the piston-engined dedicated ground attack aircraft was simply done and it was agreed that the fighter-bomber concept was the only viable way forward. This is an extremely simplified version of what is a much more complex history.

For example the B&V P 208 piston-powered outboard-tail fighter was touted as a viable interim solution during the development of the jet engine. Three years later, the jet-powered P 215 derivative was still undergoing constant changes to its empennage when the war ended.

The earliest reference I have to the P 208 (the P 208.01-01) is August 30, 1944. I don't think it was ever an interim solution during the development of the jet engine. There was a separate competition of the Hochleistungsjaeger for a high performance piston engine fighter which ran alongside 1-TL-Jaeger.

"Jawohl, Herr Senior Nazi, it is heavily armoured and flies at great speed, it will smash the American bombers!" "I shall increase the size of the labour camps at your disposal! Sieg heil!" kind of conversation.

That sort of conversation might have taken place during the final days of the Third Reich, when the SS managed to gain control over aircraft development, but up to the spring of 1944 it was Milch directly under Goering. Then it was the Jaegerstab under Goering. Then the Entwicklungshauptkommission acting more or less without oversight up to about March 1945. Milch/Jaegerstab/EHK is the diligent experts crunching numbers to work out what was right for the Luftwaffe (although there were definitely discussions about slave labour and other unsavory practices).

I think the important thing for a historian is to keep an open mind, not promote one's own theory beyond reason, and accept that others have probably gone down different rabbit-holes from one's own and found different bunnies at the bottom - all part of the same tangled warren.

Nice analogy. The primary source material is what it is and ideally that's what historians' theories should be firmly based on. I would show you the full transcript of the pivotal discussion concerning the Ju 87's replacement illustrating my point above but it runs to several dozen pages and I don't have time to resize and post it all up. But here are the first three pages.
 

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steelpillow

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Pohlmann records the tailless idea gathering momentum in the 143/44 period. When the Skoda-Kauba SK-SL6 outboard tail test plane appeared in 1944 it seems to have been too late to influence the design (sources differ and none I have seen are contemporary). But yes, I accept that two years is nearer the mark than three. As for the rest, I think it's time I stopped straying from the BV 40.
 

newsdeskdan

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Pohlmann records the tailless idea gathering momentum in the 143/44 period. When the Skoda-Kauba SK-SL6 outboard tail test plane appeared in 1944 it seems to have been too late to influence the design (sources differ and none I have seen are contemporary). But yes, I accept that two years is nearer the mark than three. As for the rest, I think it's time I stopped straying from the BV 40.
Hah - yes, I'm also guilty of straying from the BV 40. Regarding that wingtip booms design, the earliest thing I've ever come across is the DVL design of January 1944 I included on p52-55 of my Luftwaffe: Secret Designs bookazine. I've had a quick look back through what I've got on the P 208, which runs to several hundred pages of handwritten notes, preliminary reports, drawings, comparison reports, aerodynamics reports and the final published report and the best I can do is actually August 12, 1944, for the very earliest mention of it in a handwritten sheet - following immediately on from notes about the P 207. Seriously - there is no evidence to show that Blohm & Voss was working on it before that point - nine months before the end of the war.
Now back to the BV 40.
 

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newsdeskdan

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Here's something to add some BV 40 value. The Blohm & Voss P 186.02-02 of October 1943 (darker grey background) versus the BV 40 of January 1944. The design actually featured some more subtle changes between January 1944 and June 1944, such as a slightly reshaped nose, a relocated tail skid and a slightly thicker tail fin but had largely been finalised by Jan 44.
 

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sienar

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What is going on with that drastic reduction in wing thickness at about the half semi-span mark?
 
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