Blohm & Voss BV 141

BV 141
BV 141B featuring its asymmetrical gondola and tailplane.
Role Reconnaissance, light bomber[1]
Manufacturer Blohm & Voss
Designer Richard Vogt
First flight 25 February 1938[1]
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built 13[1]–28[2]

The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft. It is notable for its uncommon structural asymmetry. Although the Blohm & Voss BV 141 performed well, it was never ordered into full-scale production, for reasons that included the unavailability of the preferred engine and competition from another tactical reconnaissance aircraft, the Focke-Wulf Fw 189.


In 1937, the German Air Ministry – the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) – issued a specification for a single-engine reconnaissance aircraft with optimal visual characteristics. The preferred contractor was Arado with the Ar 198, but the prototype proved unsuccessful.[1] The eventual winner was the Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu; even though its twin-boom design using two smaller engines did not match the requirement of a single engined aircraft. Blohm & Voss (Hamburger Flugzeugbau) although not invited to participate, pursued as a private venture something far more radical.[1] The proposal of chief designer Dr. Richard Vogt was the uniquely asymmetric BV 141.


The perspex-glazed crew gondola on the starboard side strongly resembled that found on the Fw 189, and housed the pilot, observer and rear gunner, while the fuselage on the port side led smoothly from the BMW 132N[1][lower-alpha 1] radial engine to a tail unit.

At first glance, the placement of weight would have induced tendency to roll, but the weight was evenly supported by lift from the wings.

In terms of thrust vs drag asymmetry, the countering of induced yaw was a more complicated matter. At low airspeed, it was calculated to be mostly alleviated because of a phenomenon known as P-factor, while at normal airspeed it proved to be easily controlled with trimming.

The tailplane was symmetrical at first, but in the 141B it became asymmetrical – starboard tailplane virtually removed – to improve the rear gunner's field of view and fire.[1]

Operational history

Assembly of BV 141B

Three prototypes and an evaluation batch of five BV 141As were produced, backed personally by Ernst Udet, but the RLM decided on 4 April 1940 that they were underpowered, although it was also noted they otherwise exceeded the requirements. By the time a batch of 12 BV 141Bs were built with the more powerful BMW 801 engines, they were too late to make an impression, as RLM already decided to put the Fw 189 into production. Indeed, an urgent need for BMW 801 engines for use in the Fw 190 fighter aircraft reduced the chance of the BV 141B being produced in quantity.[1]

Vogt came up with several other asymmetric designs, including the piston-jet P.194.01, but none of those was actually built.[1]

Several wrecked BV 141s were found by advancing Allied forces. One was captured by British forces and sent to England for examination. No examples survive today.


BV 141B

Contrary to much that has been written,[lower-alpha 2] all 20 BV 141Bs ordered were produced and delivered.[2] There exists a complete record of BV 141 production with: either a German civil registration number or pre-military, four letter Stammkennzeichen factory radio code number.[2]


Pre-series BV 141 A-0

BV 141 A-01
(V4); WNr 01010360; D-OLLE; damaged[1]
BV 141 A-02
(V5); WNr 01010361; BL+AB
BV 141 A-03
(V6); WNr 01010362; BL+AC
BV 141 A-04
(V7); WNr 01010363; BL+AD
BV 141 A-05
(V8); WNr 01010364; BL+AE

Pre-series BV 141 B-0

The first to have BMW 801 engine. About 2 m longer and 2 m wider than A-05.[1]

Series BV 141 B-1

Specifications (BV 141 B-02 [V10])

BV 141B

Data from

General characteristics


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. . The first prototypes used 1,000 PS (986 hp, 736 kW) Bramo 323 radial engine.
  2. Rys 2004 says V13 was the last one actually built, but notes the discovered aircraft "mysteriously" marked "(G)K+GH".


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Rys 2004, pp. 55–60.
  2. 1 2 3 Files of the Hamburger-Werke.
  3. 1 2 Kambeck, Lars. Jet & Prop Magazine.


  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich (4th impression ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1979, pp. 81–86. ISBN 0-356-02382-6.
  • Green, William (2010). Aircraft of the Third Reich. London: Aerospace. pp. 136–144. ISBN 978-1-900732-06-2. 
  • Rys, Marek (2004). Blohm und Voss BV 141. Nowa Technika Wojskowa (New Military Technology) (in Polish). Warsaw: Magnum-X. pp. 55–64. ISSN 1230-1655. 
  • Smith, J. Richard and Anthony Kay. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Co, 1978, Third impression, pp. 66–71. ISBN 0-370-00024-2.
  • Taylor, Michael. The World's Strangest Aircraft. London: Grange, 1999. ISBN 1-85627-869-7.
  • Wood, Anthony and Bill Gunston. Hitler's Luftwaffe: A Pictorial History and Technical Encyclopedia of Hitler's Air Power in World War II. London: Salamander, 1977, p. 135. ISBN 0-86101-005-1.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blohm & Voss BV 141.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/28/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.