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BV 222 Wiking (Viking) & BV 238

7 September 2016



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Blohm & Voss BV 238 taking off, note the wing floats which retreated clamshell style into the underwings—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

One of World War II’s largest flying boats was the Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking (Viking), with six Junkers Jumo 207C 6-cylinder 2-stroke diesel fueled engines of 1000 hp each, was produced in the limited quantity of only thirteen. Originally designed as an airliner, the Wiking was noted for its extremely long as well as flat main cabin floor—novel at the time. The militarized version was powered by diesel engines so the aircraft could be refueled at sea by U-boat and was heavily armed with 3 x 20mm cannon and 5 x 13mm machines guns for defensive measures. Crew number eleven to fourteen on missions ranging from transporting as many as 92 troops, 72 litter cases or over 30,000 pounds of cargo. The Wiking’s cruise speed was 186–214 mph (dependent upon altitude) for 3500+ miles. Though a few survived the war sadly none survived much longer, being scrapped or sunk.

A single larger cousin to the BV 222 was manufactured—the BV 238. It did not survive WW II as it was destroyed to ensure Nazi staff could not use it for escape to far away lands. Each of the six engines was twice the power of each of the BV 222 engines and the gross take weight just over twice that of the Wiking’s though range as well as speed were nearly the same.

[Note: reader Heike Stiller spotted errors in the original posting which has been corrected and expanded from the original text.]

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking in flight with no apparent defensive armament—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking, note the double deck—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 238 plan sheet—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking being prepped for service—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking afloat—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking port wing 20mm cannon turret—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking taxis—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo

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The Blohm & Voss BV 238’s size was truly impressive—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive photo


4 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 September 2016 01:30

    You have managed to stump me. This is the first time I ever heard of this airplane, and grew up reading every airplane magazine ever published during and after the war. It is too bad that none have survived. Touring one would be great. That gun turret out on the wing is also something new. That is one big airplane to have plenty of room for gun turrets on the wings!

    I have to wonder what the control loads were like. I am sure it was all mechanical. I looked it up online and did not see any reference to hydraulic boosted controls. Must have been a lot like flying a dump truck. . . a very large dump truck.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      7 September 2016 10:04

      Hello Chuck and glad the post picked up your day. I’d like to find out more of the Wiking but I think we’d have to either learn German or have a German speaking friend. Like you I’d imagine the controls were manual with some mechanical advantage but the Germans were remarkable aeronautical engineers so maybe…

  2. Heiko Stiller permalink
    17 February 2017 14:05

    Photos Nos. 1, 4 and 9 do not show the BV 222 (1940) but the BV 238 (1944). While the BV 222 was the largest operational seaplane in World War II the BV 238 was nearly twice as heavy and significantly bigger in all measures. Due to wartime restrictions only one prototype of the BV 238 was flown and tested in spring 1944. The immense plane was strafed and sunk by allied fighter bombers only a few days before the war ended. – The flying characteristics of the giant BV 222 were similar of those of a very much smaller plane as described by Captain Eric Brown (Royal Navy) who tested the type after the German surrender in Norway: “The controls were undeniably very effective, but, to my mind, they were dangerously light for so huge a machine.” (Air International/April 1981, p. 184) The plane seems to have had nothing of a dump truck although it was slightly underpowered, especially the Diesel-powered BV 222C version (photo No. 8). The BV 222A version was powered by ordinary BMW-radials.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      18 February 2017 09:44

      I see what you mean–the area in front of the cockpit as well as the tail cone shape differ. I’ll rewrite the post this weekend to correct the captions as well as to amend the material with the information provided by you. Thanks for your help in this. Joe

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