Fokker TVIII


A Fokker T.VIII-Wm used by the Luftwaffe at a base in the Aegean Sea where the See-Aufklärungsgruppe operated
 

Fokker's intensive activity in the years prior to World War II led to the creation in 1938 of a twin-engine seaplane for naval use. It was conceived to meet the needs of the Dutch navy but paradoxically ended up being used by the enemy, the Germans. This aircraft was the T.VIII-W. Out of a total of 36 planes built, 28 bore the German insignia and served in naval reconnaissance and relief duty mainly In the Mediterranean area and the North Sea.

The T.VIII-W project was launched in 1937 in response to official specifications issued by the Dutch navy calling for a new twin-engine seaplane capable of carrying a torpedo inside its fuselage (with the option of substituting this type of armament with ordinary bombs) to be used principally in coastal defence. Moreover, the aircraft was to have a long range and good cruising speed. In 1938, an order was placed for five production series aircraft, which were completed by June of the following year. Despite the existence of several problems in tuning the aircraft, the Dutch navy was so satisfied with the T. VIII's characteristics that a subsequent order for 26 planes was signed shortly after. These aircraft were to go into service in the East Indies, although none reached this destination. In fact, the outbreak of war halted all plans since the German invasion led to the occupation of the Fokker factory before the lot in production had been completed, and the T.VIII-Ws, once built, were all requisitioned into German service.


 

The twin-engine Fokkers were built in three versions, the T.VIII-Wg (19 aircraft), characterized by its mixed wood and metal structure, the all-metal T.VIII-Wm (12 aircraft) and the T.VIII-Wc (5 aircraft), with mixed structure and covering but larger overall. Nineteen of the first type were built, 12 of the second, and five of the third. The T.VIII-Wcs were built on the basis of an order issued by the Finnish air force in 1939. They were characterized by a fuselage that was lengthened some 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), by wings that were lengthened almost 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), and an increased wingspan of 86.11 sq ft (8.00 sq m) as well as by the installation of 890 hp (664 kW) Bristol Mercury XI engines. All the other aircraft were supplied with a pair of American Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind 9-cylinder single row, air-cooled radial engines, generating 450 hp (336 kW) each and driving two-bladed metal propellers. A single landplane based T.VIII-L was built for Finland, but was seized by the Germans when the factory was overrun.

The Fokker T.VIII-W was a twin-engine mid-wing monoplane, characterized by the presence of two large duralumin floats. The fuselage had an extensively glazed nose that housed the observer's post. Immediately behind the pilot's station was the compartment for the radio operator who had a flexible machine gun at his disposal for the defence of the rear sector. A second fixed weapon, installed in a half-wing, was controlled by the pilot. The bomb load consisted of a maximum of 1,300 Ibs (600 kg) of bombs or a torpedo. 

Apart from its use in the German navy, the Fokker T.VIII-W (in another twist of fate) served in the same roles and in the same theatre of war, in the North Sea, in a British Coastal Command unit. Meanwhile, eight T.VIII-Ws had been flown to England along with other Dutch floatplanes on 14 May 1940, and on 1 June 1940 No.320 (Dutch) Squadron RAF was formed at Pembroke Dock, to operate the T.VIII-Ws on convoy escort work. These aircraft carried RAF markings, plus a small Dutch triangle badge. Three of the aircraft were lost, and with no spares available the remaining aircraft were flown to Felixstowe for storage, They were joined by another in May 1941, when four Dutchmen escaped from Amsterdam and brought their T.VII-W down on the sea near Broadstairs.

Germany Navy use of the Fokker T.VIII-W was mostly confined to patrol duties in the Mediterranean. 

Specifications (Fokker T.VIII-wg) 

Type: Three Seat Torpedo Bomber & Reconnaissance Floatplane

Design: Fokker Design Team

Manufacturer: N. V. (Nederlandsche Vliegtuitenfabriek) Fokker in Amsterdam

Powerplant: (T.VIII-W) Two 450 hp (336 kW) Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind 9-cylinder single row, air-cooled radial engines. (T.VIII-Wc) Two 890 hp (664 kW) Bristol Mercury XI engines.

Performance: Maximum speed 177 mph (285 km/h); cruising speed 137 mph (220 km/h); service ceiling 22,310 ft (6800 m); climb to 9,845 ft (3000 m) in 7 minutes 48 seconds.

Range: 1,709 miles (2750 km) on internal fuel.

Weight: Empty 6,834 lbs (3100 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 11,023 lbs (5000 kg).

Dimensions: Span 59 ft 0 1/2 in (18.00 m); length 42 ft 8 in (13.00 m); height 16 ft 4 3/4 in (5.00 m); wing area 473.63 sq ft (44.00 sq m).

Armament: One 7.9 mm (0.31 in) forward firing FN-Browning machine-gun on port side of fuselage and one similar single gun on pivoted mount in rear cockpit plus up to 1,334 lbs (605 kh) of bombs or a single torpedo carried internally.

Variants: T.VIII-W (prototype), T.VIII-Wg (wood and metal structure, T.VIII-Wm (all metal), T.VIII-Wc (mixed structure and larger aircraft built for Finland), T.VIII-L (a single aircraft built for Finland).

Avionics: None.

History: First delivery (prototypes) June 1939; first delivery (Mk I) January 1937; first flight (Mk V) December 1938; first delivery (Mk V) August 1939; production terminated in June 1943.

Operators: Netherlands, Germany (Luftwaffe)