Profile Publications No. 135 The Dewwoitine 520.

itine 520 by Raymond Danel D.520 No. 624 o f G.C.B. 1/18 inflight over Cognac in March!April 1945. This aircraft, one o f the D.520's put into service with the Free French Air Force after the German retreats o f 1944, carries the slogan “A lie: le gossel" in front o f the cockpit this maybe colloquially translated as to"Go it, kid !",or“ Attaboy, kid!". On 21st April 1940, at the French aircraft test estab­lishment C.E.M.A. situated at Orleans-Bricy, a series of comparative test flights were staged between the second production Dewoitine 520 and a Messer- schmitt Bf 109E-3 which had landed intact behind the French lines. These tests proved that despite the Luftwaffe fighter’s 20 m.p.h. speed advantage due to its more powerful engine, the Dewoitine was a most realistic opponent the superb handling qualities of the little French aircraft gave it a definite “edge” in manoeuvrability. The desperate air battles that raged across the skies of France a few weeks later confirmed that in combat the Dewoitine was capable of a performance fully comparable to that of the best fighter aircraft then in service with the belligerent powers, including the Supermarine Spitfire I. It was quantity, not quality, that was lacking too few of the agile D.520's were available to the hard-pressed fighter squadrons to enable them to cut the Luftwaffe from the sky. On the earth below this bitter struggle was repeated by the land forces of France and Britain, whose greatest sacrifices hardly slackened the pace of the juggernaut Panzer divisions. Had the armistice not taken place on 25th June 1940, the D.520 would certainly have paralleled the careers of its contemporaries in England and Germany a series of progressive developments and improvements might well have seen it instill combat service through­out the Second World War. The seeds of this develop­ment were in being already performance was about to be improved by the installation of the Hispano-Suiza 12Y51 engine of 1,000 h.p. in the D.523, the designation of aircraft Nos. 601 to 780 in the production line. The D.524, aircraft No. 781 onwards, was scheduled to be powered by the 1,200h.p. H-S12Z and had the planned production rate continued uninterrupted some 2,200 D.520 or D.520 derivatives would have been delivered to the Armee de /'Air by the close of 1940. Other projects disturbed by the armistice included nego­tiations with the U.S.A. for the mass production of the D.522 by Ford this was another derivative of the D.520 for which the Allison V1710-C15 engine of 1,040 h.p. was anticipated. Also abandoned was the scheme to setup anew production inline the Chausson plant at Asnieres, near Paris, for the D.551, a refined and lightened version of the D.520 which would have been capable of 411 m.p.h. A direct descendant of the D.550 record aircraft which achieved 436-5 m.p.h., the first D.55I of a batch of 18 pre-production machines manufactured at Bagneres-de-Bigorre was practically ready for its maiden flight when its career was brought to an untimely end by the fortunes of war.D .520 DESIGN AND P ROT O TYPES The Dewoitinc 520 was inborn November 1936 as a private venture by Emile Dcwoitinc, who was pre­viously well-known for such fighter designs as the D.101 (1921), the D.9 (1924), D.21 (1927), D.26 and D.27 (1928), D.500 (1932), D.501 and D.510 (1934), the last-mentioned three equipping at that time most of the French Air Force Groupes de C/iasse. On 13th July 1934, the Air Force staff had issued a technical programme calling for new fighters to succeed the D.510, which had only been ordered in limited quantities as it was considered obsolescent. However, the Dewoitinc 513 which appeared in response to this requirement immediately proved itself inferior to its main competitor, the Moranc- Saulnier 405. Having informed June 1936 a private design office, Dewoitine ordered his chief designer Robert Castello to study without delay an entirely new fighter, as cheap as possible, powered by the 900 h.p. Hispano- Suiza 12Y21 engine and capable of 500 km/h. (310 m.p.h.). This design was initially rejected by the French Air Ministry (a provisional specification of 15th June 1936 amended the following September 18th but not officially issued to the aircraft manu­facturers called for a maximum speed of not less than 520 km/h, 323 m.p.h.) and a modified project was submitted once more to the Service Technique The first prototype D.520 at Toulouse-Franca zal on 20tli September 1938, a few days prior to its first Jlight. Note the leading-edge slots that were never tested and were omitted on subsequent aircraft. In the background, a D.510 o f G.C. ////being repaired. (Photo: Sud-Aviation: S.A.) 3
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