Pages of History: D.520 – War Thunder Video Tutorials


Hi everyone and welcome back to the pages of history. Today we are going to talk about a curious, but unjustly obscure aircraft – the French Dewoitine D.520. Its history began in 1934, as the D.500 and D.501 fighter aircraft then in service were becoming obsolete and required a more modern replacement. A project by Emile Dewoitine initially did not meet the requirements of the French DoD, but ultimately was to become a prototype. But, the following revision of the new aircraft proved to be a lengthy affair. The first actual machines only entered service in 1940. The reason behind that – was the aircraft’s engine, it took a long time to develop and to mass produce. The head designer, by the way, was never in favor of French engines and preferred to work with foreign powerplants. When the Germans invaded, France had just 246 of the D.520s. With only a third of this number being combat ready. Other machines were not properly equipped and armed, while most of the pilots had no time to actually learn to fly a new aircraft, not to mention actually fighting with it. The fighter was too late to enter the war, for which it was designed. Overall, the D.520 was a decent machine, but not fantastic. Its climb rate and maximum speed was below most of its enemies, but it was quicker in a turn. Its cannon was not very reliable and had a mere 60 rounds of ammunition, which to be fair, had very good ballistic qualities and allowed it to compete with the German FFs. Ironically, both of these cannons are derivatives of the Swiss Oerlikon-FF cannon. But, despite the appalling state of French aviation, you couldn’t call Goering’s victory an easy one. On April 10th, Germany began its invasion of Belgium and France, just three days later, on April 13th 1940 the French D.520 met its enemy in the skies. The French had managed to score a few kills over the Luftwaffe, but not with their fighters. They downed three Hs.126 tactical recon aircraft and one H.111 bomber. The next day, Dewoitine’s planes downed two Bf.109s and two more Bf.110s. The D.520 had its baptism of fire and demonstrated that it could successfully fight the Nazi aggressors. Next up was a battle against the Italian airforce, when six French D.520s totally annihilated an attack formation of 24 CR.42 fighters, coming in to attack a French airfield near the border. Early in the war, the Italian Regia Aeuronatica simply had nothing comparable to the new French fighter. But, Dewoitine’s victories were short-lived. The French had surrendered. But, D.520 history did not stop there. Actually, afterwards, it became even more curious. All surviving aircraft were to become German trophies and were supplied to Vichy France and Hitler’s allies during the war. The D.520 flew over Bulgaria, Romania and even Germany itself. But, not to great success, mind you. You see, this aircraft was very unforgiving in its controls. It was designed for experienced pilots, not for fresh graduates of the Hitlerjugend’s airclub. So, the aircraft crashed one after the other. Faster than occupied France could produce replacements for it. The D.520 was a true flying saboteur. Now, add to that a considerable amount of production sabotage by the French and you had a machine that only a true madman would fly. Perhaps, this was one of the major contributions towards the ultimate outcome of the war. In late 1934, the D.520 was considered obsolete and was only used as an auxiliary air defense fighter, a light attack aircraft and a training machine. That’s it for this episode, thank you for watching War Thunder’s pages of history. See you soon!

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