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Vichy Dewoitine D 520 Escadrille GC III.6 White 33 No382 Rayak airport Lebanon May 1941 01

 Vichy Dewoitine D 520 Escadrille GC III.6 White 33 No382 Rayak airport Lebanon May 1941-01

The Dewoitine D.520 in a nutshell

National origin:-   France
Role:- Fighter
Manufacturer:- SNCAM / SNCASE
Designer:- Emile Dewoitine, owner and founder of Dewoitine, with the firm's chief engineer, Robert Castello
First flight:- 2 October 1938
Introduction:- January 1940 Retired:- 1953
Primary users:-   French Air Force,   Free French Air Force,   Luftwaffe,   Regia Aeronautica,   Bulgarian Air Force
Number built:- ≈900
Variants:- In 1940, SNCAM had several projects to fit the D.520 airframe with more powerful engines. These developments were halted by the June armistice.

 

The Dewoitine D.520 Story

The Dewoitine D.520 was a French fighter aircraft that entered service in early 1940, shortly after the beginning of the Second World War.

The D.520 was designed in response to a 1936 requirement from the French Air Force for a fast, modern fighter with a good climbing speed and an armament centred on a 20 mm cannon. At the time the most powerful V 12 liquid-cooled engine available in France was the Hispano-Suiza 12Y, which was less powerful, but lighter than contemporary engines such as the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Daimler-Benz DB 601. Other fighters were designed to meet the specifications but none of them entered service, or entered service in small numbers, too late to play a significant role during the Battle of France.

Unlike the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406, which was at that time the most numerous fighter in the French Air Force, the Dewoitine D.520 came close to being a match for the latest German types, such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109. It was slower than the Bf 109E but superior in manoeuvrability. Because of production delays, only a small number were available for combat against the Luftwaffe. The D.520 proved to be relatively capable as a dogfighter against the Luftwaffe's inventory, but lacked sufficient numbers to make a difference.

Following the armistice, the D.520 continued to be used, being operated by both the Free French Air Force and the Vichy French Air Force. The type was also returned to production during 1942, although it was manufactured at a lower rate than it had been during 1940. Additional examples were operated by the Luftwaffe, Regia Aeronautica, and the Bulgarian Air Force. The D.520 saw combat service in North Africa, Bulgaria, and the Eastern Front, as well as use in France and Germany for training and defence purposes. During the type's later life, it was used as a trainer aircraft. On 3 September 1953, the last D.520s were finally withdrawn from service.

 

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This webpage was updated 30th September 2020