Strange Vehicles: Blohm & Voss BV 141

Blohm and Voss BV 141 reconnaissance aircraft

It seems that during World War II, while Nazi-controlled Germany was busily cementing itself in the history books as one of the most evil ideological societies in history, its aircraft designers and engineers were feverishly experimenting with all sorts of odd ideas and prototype aircraft. One such vehicle was the Blohm & Voss BV 141, an unusual, asymmetrical, single-engined aircraft which was designed for aerial reconnaissance. It came about after the German Air Ministry issued a request for a reconnaissance aircraft  which, naturally, had excellent visibility from the cockpit.

As it turned out, the aircraft which won the contract was the only-slightly more conventional Focke-Wulf Fw 189. However that didn’t stop Blohm & Voss from continuing to develop their design as a private venture in the hopes the military might change their mind.

The Blohm & Voss BV 141 consisted of a perspex-glazed crew compartment which was offset to the right of the aircraft. The main fuselage, which housed the single engine, was offset to the left. The BV 141 carried a crew of three, a pilot, an observer and a rear gunner. It was armed with two fixed forward-facing machine guns, and two rear-mounted swiveling machine guns.

Initially three prototypes were constructed, followed by five aircraft for evaluation by the German Air Ministry. In 1940 the aircraft was declared to be underpowered but otherwise fine. Twelve more aircraft were built, these were all fitted with more powerful BMW 801 engines. However it wasn’t enough to convince the German military to put in an order for more aircraft, and besides, the BMW 801 engines were urgently needed for the much more important Fw 190 fighter aircraft. In total 20 BV 141s were manufactured

During the allied advance towards the end of the war, several wrecked examples of the Blohm & Voss BV 141 were discovered. One was captured by British forces and sent back to England for examination. None of the aircraft exist today.

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