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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Hansa-Brandenburg W.20 ans its Mother U-Boat.

Guest Michael Scarborough

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Guest Michael Scarborough


I am new to this website and would like to ask for some guidance from those of you who are clearly passionate about this subject. Some of you may know of my dad, the USN aviation writer W.E. Scarborough, who flew the North Atlantic searching for the Bismarck before heading to the Pacific.

I am planning a 1/32 scale diorama featuring the diminuative flying boat, the Hansa-Brandenburg W.20. From what I have been able to gather, the plan was to take the plane to sea on board a U-boat, from which it would be launched and recovered. However, the war's end also put an end to the project.

My idea for the diorama is therefore somewhat hypothetical. I would like to show the plane being recovered by the U-boat crew and would limit the scene to only as much of the deck and storage unit for the plane as is necessary to tell the story.

While models and some photos of the plane are available, I have not been able to come up with any information regarding what type of U-boat was intended to be used or what the storage unit might have looked like. The instructions that come with one of the models state that the storage unit was to be 6 X 1.8 meters. Clearly, there must be some info. somewhere.

Even if there is no specific info. on exactly what type of U-boat would have been used, can a realistic guess be made and photos and plans of that U-boat type be found? After all, I am only planning to show a small section of deck and storage unit.

Any help that any of you can offer on this subject will be greatly appreciated. Even though this is a hypothetical scene, I have a strong desire to Get It as Right as possible. Either specific information or suggestions on how to do the research will be most welcome.

Best regards,

Michael Scarborough

PS I will be positng this note on several different WWI websites, so I apologize if I seem to be everywhere all at once.

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Welcome aboard

Germany commissioned 7 merchantman U boats intended as underwater blockade runners. These were all taken into the German navy for conversion into U boat cruisers with a heavy gun armament. The first of this type was U151 and this link will give you a rough general arrangement drawing. U boat cruiser

It was intended to build further U boat cruisers roughly based on this design but these do not appear to have been completed

Ernst Heinkel was asked to design a small one man flying boat for use on the new boats and 3 versions of the Brandenburg W20 were built. I enclose a drawing of one of these. However since the boats were never completed it never went on a U boat. A competing design was the L.F.G Stralsund V 19, a single seat float plane. This was intended to be housed in a cylinder on deck so its probably fair to assume that the W20 was intended to be stowed in the same manner.


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Guest Michael Scarborough

Wow! Specific information and so quickly! I am stunned and very appreciative.

I will take this information and run with it.

Many thanks,


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