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Historical : Luftwaffe Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2015 - 23:52:06

Luftwaffe aircraft-type nomenclature
By Charles Metz
Mar 25, 2010, 11:36

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(1) Basic type designators: A space always appeared between the abbreviation for the manufacturer's name and the type number -- e.g., Ju 88 and Me 410 rather than Ju-88 and Me-410 or Ju88 and Me410. Anything else is downright wrong.

(2) Subtype designators: Over the years many authors have simply appended the subtype designator to its type number without a space -- e.g., Ju 88A and Me 410B, and this usage can be found in some original RLM documents. However, most Luftwaffe historians now insert a space after the type number in accord with the majority of RLM documents -- e.g., Ju 88 A and Me 410 B.

(3) Minor-variant designators: Eassentially all Luftwaffe historians agree that subtypes of subtypes should be indicated by a hyphen and then a number after the subtype designator -- e.g., Ju 88 A-5 and Me 410 B-2.

(4) Manufacturer abbreviations: The trickiest issue is whether more than one letter should be capitalized in the abbreviation for the manufacturer's name when that name is composite, as in Blohm und Voss or Focke-Wulf. Even some experts disagree on this one, because the RLM seems to have used both conventions. However, the consensus of opinion reached several years ago by members of the Luftwaffe Verband who had surveyed original documents is that the choice depends on the manufacturer in question -- e.g., BV 222 but Fw 190.

Charles Metz

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