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taxi-plane

Siebel Si 204

The Siebel Si 204 was a small twin-engined transport and trainer aircraft developed during World War II. It was based on the Fh 104. Originally designed in response to a RLM development order for a small civil transport plane in 1938, it was eventually produced for the Luftwaffe.

Development

The Si 204 was planned as a small passenger plane with 2 crew and 8 passengers for German Lufthansa. The development of this all-metal-plane was initiated in 1938. The contractor was, as usual, the RLM, but the development was conducted in close collaboration between Lufthansa and Siebel in Halle. After the beginning of the war the plane was re-designed as a trainer aircraft with a full glass cockpit for blind flying.

The first two prototypes only were delivered as passenger planes with the old cockpit. The maiden flight of the first prototype was before September 1940, possibly on 25 May 1940, that of the second prototype before February 1941. The third prototype was re-designed as a trainer aircraft for blind flying. As a result of this, the maiden flight was not earlier than the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942.

At that time Siebel produced the Junkers Ju 88 under licence, and therefore only 15 prototypes were able to be built in Halle. As a result, SNCAN in France produced the passenger plane A-1 and the pre-series A-0 between April 1942 and November 1943. ČKD/BMM in the Czech Protectorate delivered the first blind flying trainer D-0 in January 1943 followed by the production of a further 44 D-0 pre-series planes. The D-1 series was begun in March 1943 by the Aero company, also located in the Czech Protectorate, and by BMM in June or July 1943. In August 1943, SNCAN also delivered the first D-1.

The production of the D-3 was started in October 1944 by the Aero company. The D-3 had wooden wings and a tail plane made of wood and metal. In France, production of the D-1 was ended in August 1944 as a result of the Liberation. All in all 168 Si 204 were built by SNCAN. BMM produced the plane until October 1944 and then changed to the production of spare parts for the Si 204. The Aero company was scheduled to cease production of the D-1 in March 1945 after building 486 planes and then switch to D-3 only. The aircraft, however, was only built until January 1945 with 541 completed. Therefore the total production was 1,216 including the prototypes.

Production figures of the Si 204 until 31 January 1945:

Version Siebel SNCAN BMM/ČKD Aero SUM
Prototypes 15       15
A-0   30     30
A-1   85     85
D-0     45   45
D-1   53 447 477 977
D-3       64 64
SUM 15 168 492 541 1.216
Sources: Files from Federal Archive/Military Archive Freiburg and from Lufthansa-Archive, Cologne

After the war, a production of Si 204 continued in Czechoslovakia and France. Aero Vodochody produced 179 Si 204D, developed into military trainer variants Aero C-3A and C-3B (the later for bombardier training), passenger variant C-103 and military transport variant Aero D-44, until 1949. SNCAC in France produced 240 of transport NC-701 Martinet, and a number (100?) of passenger NC-702 Martinet. NC-701 was distinguished by three-blade propellers.

Operational history

The use of the Si 204 D was mainly in B- and C-Schools (advanced schools) and by FÜG 1 (delivery wing of the Luftwaffe), probably as a taxi plane for crews who had delivered other planes to fighting units. The utilization in blind flying schools was sporadic; for radio schools there is no evidence of use. The Si 204 A flew mainly with communications squadrons and flying services for senior officers, but also with schools.

In July 1944 five Si 204 were destined to be converted to night combat planes, but no further planes were allotted. They were probably intended for the pre-series Si 204 E-0. There is, however, no evidence that these planes were ever used in combat situations.

Lufthansa received at least four Si 204: The first prototype, D-AEFR, was evaluated from March to May 1941 by Lufthansa Prague. From spring 1942 to spring 1943 the second prototype, D-ASGU, was used on regular routes as a freight carrier. At the end of the war one Si 204 D remained in Berlin-Tempelhof (named “Rhein”). One flew to Enns in Austria, where it was captured by the Allies.

After the war, captured Si 204s flew in a variety of roles in the Soviet Union, including with Aeroflot and TsAGI, but were all quickly phased out of service as local aircraft manufacturing was re-established.

Prototypes of the Si 204

Version Engine Usage First Flight Fate
V1 As 410 Prototype passenger plane, Reg. D-AEFR 25th May, 1940? Not mentioned in November 1942, scrapped?
V2 As 410 Prototype passenger plane, Reg. D-ASGU Before February 1941 26.02.44 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V3 As 410 Prototype Blind flying school plane Before February 1942 01.06.42 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V4 As 411 Prototype Blind flying school plane, Reg. KM+GB Before November 1942  
V5   For stress testing    
V6 As 410 Evaluation As 410 December 1942  
V7 As 410 Weather reconnaissance    
V8 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V9 As 410 General flight evaluation   30.06.43 Crash School C-16 Burg
V10 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V11 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V12 As 410 General flight evaluation   13.03.44 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V13 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V14 As 411 Prototype D-2    
V15 As 411 Evaluation As 411    

Operators

Military Operators

Civil Operators

  • ČSA (post-war - Aero C-103)
  • Deutsche Lufthansa operated at least 4 aircraft.
  • Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT operated in 1947-1948 six NC-701 bought in France, for aerial photography (markings: SP-LFA to LFF)
  • Aeroflot operated post war some captured Si 204 for transport duties.

Specifications (Si 204)

See also

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • Franzke, Manfred. Siebel Fh.104/Si.204 varianten. Ilterissen, Gernmany: Flugzeug Publikations GmbH, 1997.
  • Griehl, Manfred. The Luftwaffe Profile Series No. 11: Siebel Fh 104/Si 204 and its variants. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publications, 1998. ISBN 0-76430-566-2.
  • Jońca, Adam. Samoloty linii lotniczych 1945-1956 Warszawa, Poland: WKiŁ, 1985. ISBN 83-206-0529-0.
  • Smith, J.R. and Kay, Antony J. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London:Putnam, 1990. ISBN 85177 836 4.

External links

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