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Dornier Do 17: The ‘Flying Pencil’ in Luftwaffe Service

Dornier Do 17: The ‘Flying Pencil’ in Luftwaffe Service Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2020 Title Dornier Do 17: The ‘Flying Pencil’ in Luftwaffe Service
Author Chris Goss Publisher Crecy
Published 2020 ISBN 9781906537555
Format 336 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $79.95


Early fixtures in Nazi Germany’s renascent Luftwaffe, Dornier Do 17 variants saw service in Spain’s civil war and during the Blitzkrieg era as reconnaissance and bombing platforms.

Now Chris Goss tells the total tale in Dornier Do 17: The ‘Flying Pencil’ in Luftwaffe Service – 1936-1945 from Classic – an imprint of Crecy Publishing.

Available in North America from Specialty Press, coverage spans eight chunky chapters across 336 picture-packed pages:

  • Design and Development, Into Service and Spain
  • Poland and Sitzkrieg
  • Scandinavia and France
  • The Battle over Britain
  • Blitz and Nuisance Attacks
  • Intruder
  • Balkans, Greece, Mediterranean and the Soviet Union
  • Back to Britain, Decline and Aftermath

Each section includes a chronologically arranged historical précis, period photos, detail shots, and extended captions.

Units. Actions. Anecdotes. Markings. Armament. Personnel. Losses. Casualties. Dates. Even times. Day-by-day. Month-by-month. They’re all here.

Modelers will love it. Color profiles with insets provide plenty of project inspiration. And where possible, Goss cites individual aircraft by codes and Werknummern.

Maps, drawings, tech-manual excerpts, and archival reproductions also augment the lavishly illustrated account.

Unfortunately for Dornier, Do 17s failed to match Heinkel He 111s and Junkers Ju 88s for speed and payload capabilities. And by the Battle of Britain’s conclusion, Do 17 variants began disappearing from frontline Luftwaffe service.

Their swan-song occurred over the Balkans and Soviet Union in 1941. And the last few Croat-manned examples soldiered on in anti-partisan roles until mid-1944.

Twelve illuminating appendices, annotations, glossary, selected bibliography, and index neatly wrap things up.

I just wish Goss included the later RLM 70/71 dorsal camouflage pattern to supplement the two RLM 61/62/63 splinter schemes in Appendix 12. The relative paucity of citations proved somewhat troubling in a work of this size and scope. And that’s not a Do 17Z at the bottom of page 287.

But, whew! What a cool, colorful chronicle. Get the whole Do 17 story. Grab Goss’ superb study.

Now how about an equally meaty monograph on Dornier’s more successful successor, the Do 217?

Robustly recommended!

With thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy!