Germany: Luftwaffe Warplanes, 1939-1945: DFS

Deutsche Kampfflugzeuge der Luftwaffe 1939-1945: DFS

German Warplanes flown by the Luftwaffe 1939-1945: DFS

During and after the end of the Second War a number of German Warplanes were captured and evaluated by the Allied forces.  Most of these aircraft were later scrapped and therefore only a handful have survived.  This is a partial list of aircraft that were known to have been flown by the Luftwaffe.

Während und nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs wurden eine Reihe deutscher Kampfflugzeuge von den Alliierten erbeutet und ausgewertet.  Die meisten dieser Flugzeuge wurden später verschrottet und daher haben nur eine Handvoll überlebt. Dies ist eine unvollständige Liste von Flugzeugen, von denen bekannt war, dass sie von der Luftwaffe geflogen wurden.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1523-35A / Stocker, Dr. / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Two DFS 230s flying over Italy, towed by a pair of Junkers Ju 87B tugs, 1943.

The DFS 230 was a German transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - "German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight") with Hans Jacobs as the head designer. The glider was the German inspiration for the British Hotspur glider and was intended for airborne assault operations.

In addition to the pilot, the DFS-230 glider had room for nine men who sat close together on a narrow bench located in the middle of the fuselage (six facing forward, and four backward[1]). Entry and exit to the cramped interior was by a single side door. The front passenger could operate its only armament, a machine gun. It was an assault glider, designed to land directly on top of its target, so it was equipped with a parachute brake. This allowed the glider to approach its target in a dive at an angle of eighty degrees and land within 20 metres (60 ft) of its target. It could carry up to 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) of cargo.

It played significant roles in the operations at Fort Eben-Emael, the Battle of Crete, and in the rescue of Benito Mussolini. It was also used in North Africa. However, it was used chiefly in supplying encircled forces on the Eastern Front such as supplying the Demyansk Pocket, the Kholm Pocket, Stalingrad, and the defenders of Festung Budapest (until February 12, 1945). Although production ceased in 1943, it was used right up to the end of the war, for instance, supplying Berlin and Breslau until May 1945.

By means of a cable running along the tow rope the pilots of the tow-plane and of the freight glider were able to communicate with each other which made blind flying possible, when necessary. The towing speed of the DFS-230 was approximately 190 km/h (116 mph). It dropped its landing gear as soon as it was safely in the air, and landed by means of a landing skid. The DFS-230 could be towed by a Ju 52 (which could tow two with difficulty), a He 111, a Ju 87, Hs 126, a Bf 110, or a Bf 109. The Ju 52 towed the glider using a 40 metres (131 ft) cable or, in bad weather, a much shorter rigid bar connected by an articulated joint to the tow aircraft. The DFS-230 had the highest glide ratio (8:1) of any World War 2 military glider other than the Antonov A-7. This was because it was thought that the glider had to be capable of a long approach during landing, so that it could be released a greater distance from the target so the sound of the towing aircraft did not alert the enemy.  (Wikipedia)

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-569-1579-14A / Stocker, Dr. / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Fallschirmjäger, DFS 230, Italy, 1943.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-569-1579-28A / Stocker, Dr. / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Fallschirmjäger, DFS 230, Italy, 1943.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1503A-01 / Toni Schneiders / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Fallschirmjäger, DFS 230, Gran Sasso, Italy, 1943.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1503A-02 / Toni Schneiders / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

DFS 230, San Grasso, Italy.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-565-1425-20A / Schnitzer / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

MG 34 mounted on a DFS 230.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-565-1407-04A / Macioszek / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Italian soldiers with a DFS 230, 1943.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-565-1407-31A / Macioszek / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Junkers Ju 87 preparing to tow a DFS 230, 1943.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1519-18 / Stöcker / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Luftwaffe soldiers loading a DFS 230 in preparation for deployment.

(Smolik Photos)

DFS 230 in the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, Berlin, Germany.

(Clemens Vasters Photo)

DFS 230 in the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, Berlin, Germany.

(Piotr Witkowski Photo)

DFS 230 in the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, Berlin, Germany.

DFS 230 Glider in flight, Italy.  (Bundesarchiv Photo, Bild 101I-568-1530-13)

The DFS 230 Glider was a Luftwaffe transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - “German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight”) with Hans Jacobs as the head designer. The glider was the German inspiration for the British Hotspur glider and was intended for paratrooper assault operations. The glider could carry 9 soldiers with equipment or a payload of about 1,200 kg. The usual tug was a Ju 52 but tugs included Ju 87 and Ju 88 tow planes. They were used in the airborne assault landings at Fort Eben-Emael and Crete, as well as in North Africa and in the rescue of Benito Mussolini and for supplying the defenders of Festung Budapest, until 12 February 1945.

DFS 230 Glider captured by the RAAF.  (RAAF Photo)

One DFS 230 was captured by the Royal Australian Air Force. One DFS 230C, (Wk. Nr. 36-16) fuselage frame is with the Museum fur Verkher und Technik, Berlin. DFS 230A-2, (Wk. Nr. 120-02), KA+1-52 is on display in the Luftwaffen Museum der Bundeswehr, Berlin-Gatow, Germany (this aircraft is a replica containing original parts). The airframe remains of a DFS 230C-1 are preserved in a museum in Banja Luka, and another is in the Historical Museum, Sarajevo, both in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A DFS 230C-1 fuselage frame is on display in the Military Museum, Belgrade, Former Yugoslav Republic. This glider participated in the raid on Marshal Tito’s partisan headquarters. An original restored DFS 230A-2 fuselage is on display in the Eben Emael Fortress Museum, Belgium. Parts of a DFS 230 fuselage frame are in a private collection/War Museum in Sfakia on the Island of Crete, Greece. A nearly complete fuselage is on display in the Musée de l’Air, France. This glider’s remains were recovered from Vassieux en Vercors. Parts of several different DFS 230C-1 are with the Musée de la Résistance du Vercors, Champigny-sur-Marne near Paris and the Ailes Anciennes in France. A DFS 230 fuselage frame was recovered from a mountain in Norway and is being preserved for a museum.

DFS 230A-2, (Wk. Nr. 120-02), KA+1-52, replica containing original parts on display in the Luftwaffen Museum der Bundeswehr, Berlin-Gatow, Germany.  (MisterBee1966 Photo)

DFS 108-49 Grunau Baby glider, (Wk. Nr. 031016), designated USA FE-2600, later T2-2600, at Freeman Field.  (US National Archives Photo 80G-4Z0983)

DFS 108-49 Grunau Baby glider, (Wk. Nr. 031016), shipped to the USA where it was designated USA FE-2600, later T2-2600.  This aircraft-NC, is on display in the NASM, Washington, D.C.  

DFS 108-49 Grunau Baby glider, (Wk, Nr. possibly 030240),  FE-2601 was sold as a surplus aircraft, possibly Reg. No. N69720.

DFS 108-14 Schugleiter SG38.  (Richard Peter, Deutsche Fototek)  

DFS 108-14 Schugleiter SG38, USA FE-5004 was scrapped at Freeman Field in 1946.  

DFS 108-14 Schugleiter SG38 FE-5005 was last reported at Wright Field in 1948, subsequent fate unknown but possibly in storage with the NASM.

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DFS 228, rocket-powered reconnaissance aircraft (prototype).  (Luftwaffe Photos)

DFS 331, transport glider (prototype).  (Luftwaffe Photos)

DFS 346, rocket-powered reconnaissance aircraft (project completed by Soviets).   (Soviet Air Force Photos)

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