Plane Spotting – Identifying the Dornier 17

Research by the Air Historical Branch and RAF Museum suggests they have identified the aircraft lying on the Goodwin Sands as being Dornier 17 Z-2 Ser No 1160 of 7 Staffel, III Gruppe/KG3 (7th Sqn of 3rd Group of Bomber Wing 3). The aircraft is believed to be coded 5K + AR

The Dornier 17 were camouflaged green and dark green (in a splinter pattern) on the upper surfaces with pale blue under surfaces – the junction being roughly along the fuselage midline.

The wings bore black crosses (outlined in white) on their upper and lower surfaces and on the sides of the fuselage – aft the wing roots. It is believed that unit code ‘5K + AR’ was carried either side of the fuselage crosses (reading left to right). The letters were in black, other than the aircraft identifier ‘A’ which was in white or black-edged in white (white indicating that the aircraft came from the 7th Staffel, III Gruppe). This letter was probably repeated in white on the top surface of the wings (outboard of both crosses) and in black on the bottom surface.

The propeller spinners would normally be coloured white, the Staffel colour. The Serial Number or Werke Number 1160 was the aircraft’s individual serial and would be found throughout the aircraft – notably stencilled on the tail fin.

Finally, black swastikas (outlined in white) featured on the outboard of both rudders. Aircraft from the 7th Staffel usually carried the ace of clubs playing card insignia, either on the nose or on the engine cowlings.


Image credits:

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-341-0489-10A / Spieth / CC-BY-SA
Commons:WikiProject Aviation/recent uploads/2012 April 21-30