- In a Dutch or BeNeLux techtree
- In the British techtree as a premium
- Other (Please explain)
- I said ‘No’ in the first question.
Hello everyone, today I would like to suggest a Dutch medium bomber!
This is the Fokker T.5!
A Fokker T.5 flying in formation with two other Fokker D.21’s
Development & History
The Fokker T.5 was the only true bomber plane of the Dutch airforce in May 1940. And calling it a bomber is not actually that accurate too. In 1936 the emphasize had been on designing a light and a heavy fighter cruiser. The first had resulted into the G.1, the second into the T.5. But the T.5 was later designated as a medium bomber for it would be to rigid to serve as a fighter-cruiser. (The Dutch were big fans of the fighter-cruiser idea. In more common terms they would be called heavy fighters)
In May 1936 funds were made available to design and built a prototype of a totally new military airplane type for the Dutch airforce. It would be a fighter-cruiser, what one nowadays would dedicate as a fighter-bomber. Fokker was awarded the contract because the government insisted on indigenous design and production. One should bear in mind that up to that point the most modern operational Dutch plane that was able to deliver bombs, was the C.10 biplane. This was a design of the previous generation of planes, with very basic bomb-racks under the wings.
Much discussion was held regarding the aircraft, and many of it’s weaponry features were left undefined, so Fokker had to work around this and make sure to keep this in mind to make the design work for the various discussed weapons options.
In January 1937 the Ministry of Defence ordered 16 T.5’s. The first plane was ordered as a flying mock-up, based on which the military purchasers would decide on the final internal configuration of the other 15 planes. This very odd contract-construction, ordering a production series of planes without the prior testing of a flying prototype, posed Fokker with all kinds of design queries that had to be answered during production and trials. The bomb-bay compartment was improvised awaiting a final decision on the types, shape and weight of the bombs. Furthermore a selection of the type of bomb-rack had to be made. The Dutch themselves did not produce any type of suitable bomb-rack and so for the time being a German (Heber) rack was selected for the first two planes. The nose section also awaited a final decision on the type of nose gun.
The unpainted Fokker T.5 prototype
In September 1937 the flying mock-up was towed out of the Fokker hangar. In October it would make its maiden flight. The plane was designated the 850. It was equipped with two Bristol Pegasus XX engines, although the contract had stated that Pegasus XXVI engines would be built-in. These were not available yet, but the other planes would indeed be equipped with the XXVI engines. An extended discussion was once again started about the camouflage colours and pattern, and it wasn’t before February 1938 before the 850 was shown with the final painting finish. Numerous small changes to the design followed, after which the plane was 90% ready in June 1938. It only failed the final nose-section because the nose gun had not been selected yet.
Meanwhile the next T.5’s, the 851, 852 and 853, left the production hall. The delivered planes still had to go to a series of adaptations, such as added camera-positions, communication instruments and adjustments to the rudder. The planes were tested and proved better than expected in many ways, with exception to the required takeoff distance which proved slightly longer. The better speed performance was, surprisingly enough, caused by the Pegasus XX engines that proved to outperform the better predicted XXVI type. The reason was later determined in the two-pitch propeller mode of the XX rather than the auto-pitch of the XXVI type.
The Fokker T.5, number 851
Although the planes were accepted by the airforce, they turned out to have a very vulnerable hydraulic system. Pressure vessels and hydraulic piping presented all kinds of challenges to the designers and constructors. All kinds of troubles were experienced with the T.5, which were partially related to lack of spare parts. In the end the test trials were finalized with the seventh plane delivered, the 856, which arrived in September of 1939.
It wasn’t the end of the ordeal. The hydraulic system of all delivered planes had to be replaced because the selected French product failed totally. Also the gear hydraulics posed problems and as such on many occasions the crew had to use the manual pump to lower the wheels.
Then it turned out that the oil consumption of the engines far exceeded the Bristol specification. The problems would never be actually solved, not even when Bristol themselves got involved. A third problem was the interference of the radio during operation that would later be determined as caused by the engine sparks. A problem that today is well known and solved by isolating the engines, but in those days it was quite new. This problem was solved just before the second world war broke out.
Yet another challenge hit the desks of the airforce commanders. There was a huge shortage of trained twin-engine plane pilots and observers. This shortage was created by the lack of a sufficient number of planes to train the crews. A deal was established with the KLM, and pilots were exchanged. In the end many T.5 pilots were designated as auxiliary KLM pilots, and as such yet another problem was solved.
The everlasting problems with the huge oil consumption made the T.5 unsuitable for prolonged flights, and as such it was hardly ever used for patrolling the skies during the period September 1939 - May 1940. During one of the rare patrol flights, in April 1940, one of the few T.5’s (The 864) had to make a crash landing and was seriously damaged. The expansion of the hydro-oil tanks improved the flight duration, but did not solve the problem with the oil consumption.
A lineup of seven Fokker T.5’s
The armament of the Fokker T.5 was mostly left open for discussion during it’s development. Since the plane was originally designated to become a fighter-cruiser, cable of carrying just a small payload of bombs, it was quite heavily armed. In the end the selected nose-gun had become the Solothurn 20 mm gun, which was not capable of automatic fire. It was a man-operated single-shot gun, although it was capable of rapid fire since it had a half-automatic action. Furthermore five M.20 7.9 mm machineguns were divided over as many machinegun positions at all angles (top, bottom, rear and sides) of the fuselage.
A Fokker T.5 fitted with the 20mm Solothurn in the nose
A diagram which shows the location of the other 7.9mm machine guns
Regarding the bomb-rack an interesting and extended discussion followed. Fokker had requested the Dutch company Van Heyst to design a bomb-rack suitable for the T.5 bomb-bay. Van Heyst had previously delivered the bomb-racks for the C.10 which had caused all kinds of problems with the release mechanism. Van Heyst continued to redesign new racks, but again failed to meet the requirements. At some time a German made Heber rack was tested together with a Van Heyst rack. The Heber rack proved to be vastly superior, so then the decision was made to order two German made Heber racks and build the other racks in license. But this decision came too late for most the bombers to be equipped with the efficient German racks in May 1940.
In the end 2 of the T.5 bombers were equipped with the German Heber racks, whilst the other 14 planes had old left over racks of civil KLM planes installed. It would have serious consequences for the pay-load of the T.5’s, that were as such only able to drop 400-600 kg bombs in stead of the planned 1,200 kg.
The two planes fitted with the German Heber racks were able to carry a maximum pay-load of 1,200 kg of bombs, divided into a setup of 4 x 300 kg bombs.
The 14 other T.5’s with older rack types could only carry 400-600 kg of bombs. Usually 4 off 50 kg and 2 off 100 kg were carried, sometimes 8 x 50 kg (Which required a slightly adapted rack).
The bomb aiming devices were also delivered short. This meant that some T-5’s had no or older aiming devices.
A photo taken of the bomb back of a Fokker T.5
The Fokker T.5 would be quite interesting ingame. It would not be able to out speed it’s enemies. But the 20mm gun in the nose could be fun to use as a headon weapons. The gun is originally a anti tank gun so any hit you make will do a lot of damage! The bombload is not the best compared to other medium bombers. But then again this is a pre-WW2 aircraft so it was to be expected.
Ingame I would like to see this plane be added into a Dutch or BeNeLux techtree
The only other nations I see working would be for Britain, but only because the Netherlands was allied with the UK. But the T.5 is so unique it to me only belongs in a Dutch or BeNeLux techtree.
For a much more detailed look into the specifications, make sure to check out this post:
Crew: 5 (Pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, radioman/gunner, gunner)
Length: 16 m (52 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 21 m (68 ft 11 in)
Height: 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in) tail down
Wing area: 66.2 m2 (713 sq ft)
Empty weight: 4,650 kg (10,251 lb)
Gross weight: 7,250 kg (15,984 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 7,650 kg (16,865 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Bristol Pegasus XXVI 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 690 kW (930 hp) each
Propellers: 3-bladed variable-pitch propellers
Maximum speed: 417 km/h (259 mph)
Cruise speed: 335 km/h (208 mph)
Service ceiling: 8,550 m (28,050 ft)
Time to altitude: 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 13 minutes 6 seconds
1 × 20 mm Vliegtuigmitrailleur M.37 (Solothurn S18-350) cannon for the nose gunner
5 × 7.92 mm Mitrailleur M.20 Vliegtuig in dorsal, ventral, and lateral positions, as well as in the tail cupola
Possible bomb options:
8, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 300 kg bombs / 50, 200, 300 kg mines / shrapnel bombs of 8 kg / incendiary bombs of 1 kg
With Heber bombs racks (Max 1200 kg)
- 4 x 300 kg
With old KLM racks (Max 600 kg)
- 2 x 300 kg
- 4 x 50 kg and 2 x 100 kg
- 8 x 50 kg
There you have it guys! Make sure to put your vote in the poll above and leave a comment! See you on the battlefield!
- Fokker T.V ‘Luchtkruiser’, history. camouflage and markings. by Frits Gerdessen & Luuk Boerman
- Fokker T.V bomber [T.5] [War over Holland - May 1940: the Dutch struggle]
- Fokker T.V - Wikipedia
- http://www.dutch-aviation.nl/index5/Military/index5-1 T5.html