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rec.aviation.military Frequently Asked Questions (part 5 of 5)
Section - H.12. German aircraft designations (WW2)

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German aircraft were identified by two letters denoting the manufacturing
company, a number denoting the aircraft type (separated from the letters by
a space), and various modifiers for subtypes.

Manufacturer codes:

    Arado          = Ar
    Bücker         = Bü
    Bachem         = Ba
    Blohm und Voss = Bv, Ha
    Dornier        = Do
    Fieseler       = Fi
    Flettner       = Fl
    Focke-Achgelis = Fa
    Focke-Wulf     = Fw, Ta
    Gotha          = Go
    Heinkel        = He
    Henschel       = Hs
    Horten         = Ho
    Junkers        = Ju
    Messerschmitt  = Bf, Me

"Bf" for Messerschmitt came from Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, the company's
name before Willy Messerschmitt took over.  "Ha" for Blohm und Voss came
from Hamburger Flugzeugbau, the name of the aircraft division of the Blohm
und Voss shipbuilding company.  "Ta" for Focke-Wulf was used in honour of
designer Kurt Tank.

Type numbers were assigned by the RLM (air ministry); a single sequence was
used for all manufacturers.  Related types were often given numbers
differing by 100; for example, the Messerschmitt Me 210 was designed as a
replacement for the Bf 110, and was developed into the Me 310 (abandoned
before flight) and Me 410.

Prototype aircraft had a "V" followed by a number identifying individual
aircraft, separated from the main designation by a space (e.g.  Me 262 V1).
Major variants were denoted by a letter immediately following the type
number (e.g.  Me 262A), minor variants by a number separated from the major
variant letter by a dash (e.g.  Me 262A-1).  Pre-production aircraft had a
zero in this position (e.g.  Me 262A-0).  Further variations on a subtype
could be denoted by a lower case letter attached to the variant number
(e.g.  Me 262A-1a).  Modified aircraft were indicated by "/R" or "/U" and a
number (e.g.  Me 262A-1a/U5), or by "/Trop" (which I assume indicated a
tropical climate adaptation).

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Top Document: rec.aviation.military Frequently Asked Questions (part 5 of 5)
Previous Document: H.11. Chinese aircraft designations
Next Document: H.13. Japanese aircraft designations and codenames (WW2)

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM