Blohm & Voss BV 155...
...from Tempest Books
Title: Blohm & Voss BV 155
Author: Dan Sharp
Publisher: Tempest Books
A new book in the Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe series from Tempest Books, from author Dan Sharp, examines the story of the Blohm & Voss BV 155. This aircraft may not be too familiar to many who are interested in German aircraft of WW2. I think that would be a different reaction if I were to say the Messerschmitt Bf 109. This is actually the story of a later development of the Bf 109, to create a high altitude fighter with extended wings, wide track undercarriage and a pressurized cockpit. The pressure on the Messerschmitt company in the second half of the war to concentrate on their work on the famous Me 262 jets meant that they had to pass on their work with the high altitude fighter to another manufacturer. In this case, Blohm & Voss.
This is a softcover book of 114-pages and it starts with an Introduction which tells the story of the Allied team who went to Germany at the end of the war to look for particular German aviation developments. One of their destinations was the Blohm & Voss development factory at Finkenwarder, an island in the Elbe not far from Hamburg. Among other interesting airframes they found there was the BV 155, which was identified for removal and evaluation. Chapter 2 then picks up the story from the beginning, the Origins of the design, which had begun between 1942 and 1943 with the Messerschmitt company and their competing designs for a high altitude fighter coupled with a new Daimler Benz engine being developed for the same high altitude operation. In chapter 3, Blohm & Voss to the Rescue, we hear how the RLM (German Aviation Ministry) directed Messerschmitt to concentrate on other projects and that the high altitude fighter project should be passed over to another manufacturer, Blohm & Voss, in 1943. The two companies worked in co-operation with one another until they fell out, a part of the story explained in chapter 4, The Split with Messerschmitt. Getting past the possibility of the whole project being cancelled, chapter 5 gives the detail of the design coming 'Back from the Brink' and solutions for various issues which brought the aircraft to the point of prototype construction and test flights. With prominent radiators out on the wings, a suitable engine and the wide track undercarriage it was an intriguing looking design. The book is rounded off with the final chapter completing the story with details of the first test flights and what issues were found, and then its' capture and finally shipment to the UK and later the USA. The one surviving prototype (the second one built) does still exist and is in storage at the National Air & Space Museum in the USA.
The book is well illustrated throughout the book, with archive images, copies of original documents and drawings along with modern photos of the airframe in storage today plus some excellent colour artwork illustrating how it would have looked in wartime camouflage and markings. I found this to be a well detailed and thoroughly interesting read which I am sure will be enjoyed by aviation historians, modellers and especially those who like the stories of these late war Luftwaffe designs which didn't get to the production stage but with technology which attracted the interest of the allied technological teams when they got into Germany at the end of the war.
Thanks to Mortons Books for this review copy.