Do 217 N-2
|This page is about the German twin-engine fighter Do 217 N-2. For other versions, see Do 217 (Family).
The Do 217 N was one of the many variants built off the Do 217 platform. The Do 217 itself is essentially a bigger, more powerful version of the Do 17. It was a stark contrast to the Do 17 in many ways. While the Do 17 was intended for performance and subsequently had a weak bomb load, the Do 217 had comparable bomb loads to even the He 111. The Do 217 served in many roles, from regular bombing to attacking ships with guided munition such as the Fritz-X radio-controlled bomb. The Do 217 was in service even after World War II with the Swiss Air Force.
The Do 217 N was based off the 217 M, which introduced the Daimler-Benz "DB 603" engine. It provided a substantial increase in power and led to a significant number of subvariants. This also led to the Do 217 N, which was intended for nighttime duties against Allied bomber formations. The 217 N had substantially more armament including the addition of four upward-facing MG 151 cannons mounted aft of the pilot. In theory, pilots would fly below a bomber and then use the upward-facing cannons to attack. An IR spanner and headlight would be used to accurately guide shots on target. The N-2 was a minor development from the N-1 and weighed less due to the removal of the bomb bay equipment.
Introduced in Update 1.39, the Dornier Do 217 N-2 is a very unique aircraft. It is one of the few aircraft in-game that features fixed, upward-facing cannons. The 217 N-2 also comes equipped with the FuG-220 search radar, which can detect targets up to 8 km (4.97 mi) away. In addition to the Schräge Musik cannons, the 217 N-2 also comes armed with four forward-facing MG 151 cannons supplemented by another four 7.92 mm machine guns. With good aim, players can easily destroy fighters and bombers. However, the Do 217 is still a bomber airframe, so it cannot effectively dogfight enemy aircraft. It is highly advised to stick to teammates or pair up with a squadmate who is using a fighter.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,500 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|100% Engine power
|WEP Engine power
Survivability and armour
- 8.5 mm steel - bulkhead in front of the cockpit
- 50 mm bulletproof glass - armoured windscreen and cockpit roof
- 5 mm steel - a box containing Schrage Musik cannons
- 5 mm steel - plate in the tail
Modifications and economy
The Do 217 N-2 is armed with:
- 4 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, chin-mounted (200 rpg = 800 total)
- 4 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, Schräge Musik mounted in mid fuselage (200 rpg = 800 total)
- 4 x 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns, nose-mounted (1,000 rpg = 4,000 total)
Usage in battles
The Do 217 N-2 plays similar to most other heavy fighters, in that it is reliant on delivering a quick knock out punch to an enemy to be effective. However, the aircraft has two unusual traits, which make for different play styles than other heavy fighters. The first is the lack of any form of turret weaponry. This makes the N-2 a unique member in the German heavy fighter line, as virtually all other heavy fighters either have a tail gunner or are agile enough to not need one. The second feature is the inclusion of a set of vertical firing cannons, known as Schräge Musik. This weapon package brings a unique benefit to the table. As most bombers lack the ability to fire their turrets directly under themselves, you can fire away with near-complete immunity to retaliation from enemy gunners.
However, the N-2 is undeniably slow and has crushingly poor manoeuvring. This makes the lack of any form of turret defence all the more noticeable. Caution must be taken to avoid more nimble enemies when possible, as you will be greatly outclassed otherwise.
While the aircraft as a whole seems heavily dependent on lumbering up to a high altitude, and then slowly hunting down bombers, there does exist a fun, if unconventional, alternative. The alternative approach is to go about strafing ground targets, while flying upside down. The main reason for upside down strafing is the Schräge Musik. By flying inverted, you can strafe a large number of ground units in a single pass, while remaining fairly high above the trees. This combines well with the fact that the vertical and forward cannons use the same ammo belts. This tactic can even be put to use around airfields, putting a quick end to anyone on the ground. The only thing to remember when doing this is to always keep a close eye on your altitude. Flying upside down will cause you to fall fairly quickly, so do remember to roll back to right side up in time to avoid crashing. Results are not guaranteed.
- In simulator, the Schräge Musik provides a brand new way for bomber hunting. This weapon system is easy to learn but hard to master, and should only be used if the bomber is flying high, preferably above 800 m. if it is low, you are more likely to crash if you cannot control the aircraft well enough, or you can just use the forward-firing cannons. As you slide underneath a bomber, go into the Schräge Musik mode, and carefully align the reticle to the target. There is no set distance of how far below the target you should be, so the reticle will not always point towards where the shells will actually end up, so do fire some short bursts first to see if you are leading too much or not enough. Adjust the lead by controlling the pitch of the plane. Now as you watch the reticle move, you must also constantly scan the altimeter. This is because that in the Schräge Musik mode, you are just staring at the blank sky above so you are likely to lose sense of direction and not know whether you are diving or climbing. If the number jumps down rapidly, pull stick up immediately. To move the reticle sideways involve a combination of rudder and aileron input, which takes some practice. Each Schräge Musik cannon holds 200 rounds which leaves room for trial and error as they are indeed hard to aim. With precise aiming they are super efficient at destroying wings, fuselage and engines.
The Do 217 N-2 is equipped with a FuG 220 search radar, located in the nose of the aircraft; a control box which is part of the radar damage model is located behind the pilot.
|FuG 220 - Target Detection Radar
Manual Engine Control
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Very deadly nose mounted armament (4 x 20 mm cannons and 4 x 7.92 mm MGs) with fast fire rate, great one-second burst mass, destructive damage, flexible belt types and plenty of ammo (200 RPG for the cannons, 1,000 RPG for the MGs). This makes it excellent at head-on attacks against any aircraft, especially bombers and attackers
- Rigid construction that can take a lot of punishment from MG fire. It also barely catches fire
- Has access to a target detection radar which most planes don't have. Rather useful in clouds or with bad weather / low visibility
- Decent dive acceleration allowing it to easily dive at more than 500 km/h, outrunning slower opponents like the I-16 and F4F
- Improved ballistic performance of the 20 mm MG 151 over the FF/M allows for firing both the machine guns and cannons at the same time and hit the target accurately
- The 20 mm AP shells, its huge ammo capacity and the 8 x 50 kg bombs give it ground pounding ability to some extent
- Its appearance and name are very identical to its bomber variants. The player can sometimes utilise this and lure the unprepared enemy into a surprising head-on
- Schräge Musik can be a devastating surprise, for example upside down strafing. While unconventional, it can be of great fun and effect
- Extremely poor manoeuvrability. Turn time is more than 27 second even when upgraded, meaning it might get out-turned by attackers like the IL-2, A-20G or even bombers like the B-25
- Control surfaces tend to lock up at more than 500 km/h. Due to this, when diving it might not be able to pull up in time, or cannot pull the lead properly
- No defensive firepower makes it totally defenseless against any chasers
- Poor climb rate and energy retention makes it hard to intercept high-flying bombers
- Poor roll rate makes it hard to respond to offensive / defensive manoeuvres (e.g. scissors). The I-16 now becomes a deadly opponent due to its superior roll rate
- The fixed angle of the Schräge Musik makes it very hard to use, thus severely limiting its value in most scenarios
- Its poor flight performance makes it thoroughly difficult to effectively combat other fighters
- Is a big target which is easy to get hit
Dornier Do 217 N-2 night twin-engine fighter.
In December 1942, the Do 217 N-2 night fighter was launched into full-scale production. Originally, planes of this variant were not equipped with defensive turrets, their bomb door was sealed shut, and no bomb release system was installed.
A more advanced FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar was mounted on the aircraft, different from the FuG 202 in its smaller weight, its modified antennas which provided lower aerodynamic resistance, and its enhanced accuracy. The effective detection range of the new radar was 100 to 2,000 m.
The above-mentioned measures helped significantly reduce the aircraft's takeoff weight, even though its armour had been reinforced (with an additional armour plate under the pilot's seat). The Do 217 N-2's speed and ceiling were higher than those of the N-1 variant.
As on the Do 217 N-1, a Schräge Musik mount could be installed on the aircraft.
During full-scale production, some aircraft received an even more advanced FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar. This radar was able to operate when the British used passive radar interference, that is, fragments of metal foil scattered in the air by British bombers to blind German radars.
Some Do 217 N-2s had a FuG 227 Flensburg radio direction finder tuned to the operating frequency of the British Monica radar which was installed in the tail section of RAF bombers to warn when German night fighters appeared. The use of the FuG 227 enabled German night fighters to reliably detect Allied bombers within a distance of up to 100 km and then pursue them.
In addition, one more radio direction finder, the FuG 350 Naxos Z, could be mounted on the Do 217N to detect British bomber units. It allowed the detection, within a distance of up to 50 km, of signals from the British H2S blind bombing radar system, which was installed on pathfinder aircraft flying in front of the bomber units.
The Do 217 N-2's production was discontinued in December 1943. A combined total of 364 Do 217s night fighters were built, including 130 Do 217Js and 234 Do 217Ns.
- Related development
- Other aircraft equipped with Schräge Musik
|Dornier Aircraft Corporation (Dornier Flugzeugwerke)
|Do 17 Z-7
|Do 217 J-1 · Do 217 J-2 · Do 217 N-1 · Do 217 N-2
|Do 335 A-0 · Do 335 A-1 · Do 335 B-2
|Do 17 E-1 · Do 17 Z-2
|Do 217 E-2 · Do 217 E-4 · Do 217 K-1 · Do 217 M-1
|Germany twin-engine fighters
|Bf 109 Z-1
|Me 410 A-1/U2 · Me 410 B-1/U2
|Do 17 Z-7 · Do 217 J-1 · Do 217 J-2 · Do 217 N-1 · Do 217 N-2
|Ta 154 A-1
|Ju 88 C-6 · Ju 388 J