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The Fokker T-V strike plane - may 1940

The Fokker T-V [1936] was a medium bomber capable of carrying an internal pay-load of max 1.000 kg of bombs.

It had three machineguns [top, bottom, rear] and a gunner-operated 20 mm Solothurn gun [nose] for its own defense. Its top speed (unloaded) was 418 km/hr, which was quite acceptable for those days. Due to the scarce supply of powerful engines the plane was equipped with two Pegasus engines, but it would have certainly reached a top-speed of over 450 km/hr with more powerful engines for which it had been designed.

Save some design flaws, this Dutch bomber was quite modern for its days, but only 16 were procured. The plane was manned by a crew of four or five. Unfortunately the specially designed bomb-racks were not delivered yet in May 1940, and as such most T-V's were fitted with old 600 kg racks. As such an ordinance of 8 x 50 kg, 4 x 50 kg + 2 x 100 kg, or 2 x 300 kg was carried during the May War. Only two T-V's had test versions of the new rack and were able to carry the full pay-load.

The 20 mm Solothurn [single shot] gun was an heritage of the principal role the T-V was designed for: a cruiser plane. Although it was a single shot gun, it proved highly effective in the morning of the 10th, when all T-V's were scrambled as fighter-cruisers to prevent them from being destroyed on the ground by the first German strike. They managed to down quite a number of adversaries during these first sorties.

Although the T-V had been redesigned as a medium bomber before the invasion, the first mission had nevertheless been in a cruiser role. After that the remaining T-V's would only fly bomber missions. Since the fighter capacity of the Dutch airforce was seriously reduced after the initial stage of the German air-offensive, the T-V's would be sent on quite a number of unescorted missions. T-V bomb-strikes were carried out against Waalhaven and Ockenburg AFB, the Rotterdam bridges and the Moerdijk traffic bridge.

The price they paid for those high risk sorties was high. On the fourth day of the invasion only one T-V had remained operational and that particular one was shot down during a dramatic last attempt to destroy the Moerdijk traffic bridge with two 300 kg mine bombs. The destruction of the bridge failed, and the last plane ditched into the ground after being attacked by Luftwaffe fighters. The crew perished.

In May 1940 only 9 of the 16 planes were serviceable and they managed to shoot down quite a number of German planes. All nine ready planes were eventually destroyed. The Germans captured some T-V's but obviously never used them. The design had a few obvious flaws, of which one was the poor protection of the fuel tanks. This made the in itself quite well armed T-V vulnerable for particularly 20 mm gun fire of the German fighters.

Category Gallery / Armament and equipment (69 images)