The BV 238 is a rank II German bomber with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB) and 4.0 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.63 "Desert Hunters".
The Blohm & Voss BV 238 was the largest aircraft produced during World War II by an Axis power. The size of the aircraft served a two-fold purpose, to show Germany's technological might and a show of force. Weighing in at 110 tons ( 220,000 lb or 99,790 kg), equal in weight to two B-29A-BN Superfortresses, the massive flying boat could hold an impressive bomb load or transport crew and vehicles (upwards of 300 troops total). For War Thunder’s purposes, the bomb load is what matters, as the 20 x 250 kg bombs (5,000 kg total / 11,025 lbs) is a devastating amount in-game, especially if the BV 238 can get up to a higher altitude away from most fighter/interceptors.
Though a slow-moving and even slower manoeuvring whale of a plane, the BV 238 is not to be considered a "sitting duck" just waiting to be picked off. With gunner positions in the nose, dorsal turret, tail and one rear-facing turret mid-wing on each wing, approach towards this aircraft is a very dangerous manoeuvre. The dorsal turret consists of a dual MG 151 20 mm autocannons whereas all other turrets are quad MG 131 machine gun setups. Approach from the rear of the aircraft is almost impossible to do without being hit by the defensive fire, the best bet is a high-speed diving approach from the front or a high-speed approach from below. This aircraft is difficult to bring down with purely machine gun fire as they will need to be concentrated on the pilots or the engines and will typically take several passes to inflict much damage. With autocannons, on the other hand, the wings will be the weakest link as causing a wing to snap will send the leviathan crashing down to the earth.
BV 238s are a big juicy target for many players and as such, it is in the best interest of the flying boat pilot to try to enlist the services of an escort fighter or two. This provides two benefits, one, protection of the bomber to allow it to get to the target and drop its payload and two, enemy fighters come to the escorts, allowing the escorts to typically attack with an energy advantage.
The BV 238 is a big plane with big advantages and big disadvantages, but the bombing potential makes it worth the chance taken to get it over a target. Don’t be surprised when enemy fighters come gunning for you, just work it so they end up on your tail and let your gunners do their job!
Due to being an aircraft of this size, it is no surprise that the BV 238 is a very sluggish plane when it comes to making changes in flight. Typical characteristics of this aircraft are slow acceleration, poor climb rate, low top speed, pitiful turn rate and an agonizingly slow roll rate, the BV 238 is a handful and will not out-perform any aircraft it will face in-game. If necessary, combat flaps can significantly decrease the turn time, however, manoeuvres like this should be limited as it can expose the bomber to enemy fighters looking for an advantage.
While at altitude, to get away from inbound fighters, it may be tempting to dive down to a lower altitude, however, this may be counterproductive as it will put the fragile bomber at a much lower altitude and in range of many more enemy fighters. For this aircraft, altitude is king and the best place from which it can bomb. When being attacked, ensure the gunners have a clear shot at the incoming enemy fighter and if necessary, switch to gunner-view and staff the turrets yourself. Even if the BV 238 ends up going down, make sure the enemy fighter goes with you
The only notably good flight characteristic of the BV 238 is the low stall speed of the flying boat, which allows it to glide long distances at low speeds and makes it incredibly easy to land this massive aircraft in the water.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,600 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,600 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flaps
|Max Static G|
|< 360||< 360||< 280||> 314|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|6,600 m||1,500 hp||1,650 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 5 mm Steel plate behind pilot.
Though the BV 238 almost entirely lacks armour, it is a highly survivable plane. Massive areas of empty space within the fuselage as well as the iconic six engines of this behemoth cause the bomber to be an incredibly tough target to take down. With smart use of Manual Engine Controls to disable engines and manipulate radiators, a BV 238 pilot can nurse even a critically damaged bomber several kilometres home safely. Due to the plane's role as a flying boat, the belly of the bomber is unusually durable, and can easily survive landings on land-based runways in spite of the BV 238's lack of a wheeled landing gear. The wings of this massive aircraft are the weak points, if a cannon bearing aircraft manages to cause one of the wings to snap, there is nothing stopping the BV 238 from crashing to the earth.
In terms of crew members, the BV 238 houses an impressive ten crew members, with two crew members in the flight deck and five more each manning various gunner positions around the aircraft, and three more miscellaneous crew. This makes the BV 238 very hard to neuter, as the crew members are spaced very far apart, with one gunner on each wing past the third engine, two near the flight deck, and one in the tail of the aircraft, altogether making it nigh-impossible to prevent return fire from the bomber.
The BV 238 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- 20 x 250 kg SC250JA bombs (5,000 kg total)
With only one ordnance option, the BV 238 does not spoil the pilot with choices. However, this bombload is exceptional for any bomber found at this battle rating, allowing a single bomber to destroy three bombing points with no allied aid. The BV 238's bombload is located in the wings, 10 in each bomb bay, which must be opened prior to ordnance drop.
The BV 238 is defended by:
- 2 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, front dorsal turret (700 rpg = 1,400 total)
- 4 x 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, nose turret (1,800 rpg = 7,200 total)
- 4 x 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, 2 x wing turrets (900 rpg = 3,600 total)
- 4 x 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, tail turret (900 rpg = 3,600 total)
The BV 238 is equipped with an excellent selection of defensive positions. On the upper surface of the aircraft sits a deadly dual-20 mm dorsal turret, containing two MG 151 cannons which are capable of inflicting critical damage to aircraft with just few hits. This turret mainly covers the port and starboard sides of the boat, as well as directly in front of the nose, with the BV 238's massive tail section blocking a considerable amount of the turret's rearview. To cover for this blind spot, the BV 238 also has three rear-facing turrets each equipped with quad MG 131 13 mm machine gun setup. These machine-gun points have high fire rates and large ammo counts allowing for sustained fire. As a bonus, the bomber also has an additional quad MG 131 turret within the nose.
Unlike most bombers and especially unlike those comparable in battle rating to it, the BV 238 is very well-defended, which combines with the plane's excellent survivability to make the bomber an incredibly lethal platform, in spite of the plane's extremely poor flight performance. There are very few blind spots, not a single gunner can reach and those enemy aircraft which end up on the tail of the BV 238 can potentially end up facing down not only twelve x 13 mm machine guns, but also two 20 mm cannons on top of that.
Usage in battles
Though slightly unusual in design, the BV 238 is a strategic bomber through and through. It carries a massive bombload allowing the bomber to decimate several bombing points and deliver more ordnance yet to the enemy airfield. Due to its incredible endurance, it can stay airborne for longer than most other aircraft could and inflict far more damage than its contemporaries could bear.
The BV 238's main job in battle is to deliver its payload to the strategic objectives found around the map and has a secondary use as a gunship with its impressive 'defensive' armament. BV 238 pilots should seek to bait enemy fighters, who typically have poor high altitude performance at this battle rating, into following the behemoth before mowing them down with an unrelenting and lethal cloud of lead from its eighteen defensive guns.
BV 238 pilots should avoid head-on attacks where possible, the easiest way to take a BV 238 out of action is to instantly knock out the pilot during a head-on attack. However, in the event of an unavoidable head-on, switch to gunner-view and manually staff the forward turrets and unleash fire and fury on whoever is attempting to bring you down as at this point it is perfectly acceptable to "spray and pray" you have plenty of ammo to spare and the survivability of the BV 238 depends on it.
Manual Engine Control
|Not controllable|| Controllable
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
|Separate|| Not controllable
|I||Fuselage repair||Radiator||Turret 13 mm|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 13 mm MGs (turret)|
|III||Wings repair||Engine||Turret 20 mm|
|IV||Engine injection||Cover||New 20 mm cannons (turret)|
- As a premium aircraft, the BV 238's modifications are automatically unlocked upon purchase of the aircraft.
Pros and cons
- Impressive bomb load (5 tons payload in the form of 20 x 250 kg bombs)
- Extremely durable airframe, with a large crew compliment
- Excellent defensive armament in most-all directions, eighteen total defensive machine guns and autocannons
- Ability to land on water and rearm/repair from nearby carriers; can also land on land-based runways without landing gear
- Handles well for such a large aircraft
- When at higher altitudes, difficult for fighters to easily reach
- Bullet sponge can soak up huge amounts of ammunition rounds in the body of the aircraft (larger calibre rounds excepted)
- The largest aircraft in War Thunder, thus an easily identifiable and desirable target
- Large aircraft with a large payload equals very challenging to fly (manoeuvrability suffers when fully loaded)
- No access to landing gear, must belly land (causing damage) or land on water
- Easy to destroy from the underside due to lack of ventral turrets
- Easy target when flying at low altitudes
- Weak points include pilots and wings
- Convergence of wing gunners makes it difficult to aim
The Blohm & Voss BV 238 was an experimental flying boat that saw development and flight trials in 1944. With a wingspan of just over 60 metres and a length of 43.5 metres, the BV 238 was a truly gargantuan aircraft, being, in fact, the heaviest aircraft in existence at the time. Powered by six DB.603V 12-cylinder radial engines, the BV 238 could reach 424 km/h at 6 kilometres altitude, with a range of over 10,000 kilometres.
Blohm & Voss Flugzeugbau designer and leader of the flying boat project, Hans H. Amtmann stated in an autobiography, "The RLM issued a request for a large flying boat. In spite of the fact that Erhard Milch, the powerful secretary to the Air Minister Göring, wanted this flying boat developed and built by the Dornier company, the technical staff of the Air Ministry selected our design and the contract went to our company."
Little known fact: Blohm & Voss arranged for students to build a manned flyable 1:4 scale model of the BV 238 for early testing.
However, the sole flyable BV 238 prototype met an unfortunate end before the series could enter production, as only four days before the end of the war, Allied Fighters discovered and destroyed the BV 238 V1 as it sat hidden near the town of Lübeck in a side arm of the large lake Schaalsee.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era (though nowhere the same size of 110 tons)
- Kawanishi H8K Emily (⅓rd the size at 32.5 tons)
Even smaller flying boats:
- Yenne, Bill. Seaplanes of the World. Cobb: First Glance Books, 1997. ISBN 9781885440075.
- Harrison, J. (Ed.). (2016). Hitler's 'Wonder Weapon' Bomber Project - Luftwaffe - Secret Bombers of the Third Reich. (38-40), Lincolnshire, UK: Mortons Media Group. ISBN: 978-1-911276-06-7
- Allward, Maurice. An Illustrated History of Seaplanes and Flying Boats. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1993. ISBN 9780880292863
|Blohm & Voss Ship Builders|
|Blohm & Voss||BV 238|
|Dornier||Do 17 E-1 · Do 17 Z-2 · Do 217 E-2 · Do 217 E-4 · Do 217 K-1 · Do 217 M-1|
|Focke-Wulf||Fw 189 A-1 · Fw 200 C-1|
|Henschel||Hs 123 A-1|
|Heinkel||He 111 H-3 · He 111 H-6 · He 111 H-16 · He 177 A-5|
|Junkers||Ju 87 B-2 · Ju 87 R-2 · Ju 87 D-3 · Ju 87 D-5 · Ju 88 A-1 · Ju 88 A-4 · Ju 188 A-2 · Ju 288 C|
|Savoia-Marchetti||▀S.M.79 serie 1 · ▀S.M.79 B · ▀S.M.79 serie 4 · ▀S.M.79 serie 8|
|▀S.M.79 AS · ▀S.M.79 bis/N · ▀S.M.79 bis/T.M|
|Trophies||▀Wellington Mk Ic|
|Germany premium aircraft|
|Fighters||He 51 B-2/H · He 112 B-1/U2 · He 112 B-2/U2 · Flegel's Bf 109 A · Bf 109 E-7/U2 · Bf 109 G-2 · Fw 190 C · Fw 190 D-13|
|▀Marcolin's C.R.42 CN · ▀Hawk H-75A-2 · ▀Yak-1B · ▀La-5FN · ▀P-47D · ▀Tempest Mk V|
|Twin-engine fighters||Bf 109 Z · Bf 110 C-6 · Do 335 B-2 · He 219 A-7 · Ju 388 J · Ta 154 A-1|
|Jet fighters||Sea Hawk Mk.100 · ▀G.91 R/4|
|Attackers||Hs 129 B-2 (Romania) · ▀IL-2 (1942)|
|Bombers||▀Wellington Mk Ic · BV 238 · Fw 189 A-1 · Ju 288 C|