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Dewoitine D.501: Lost But Not Forgotten

F.222.2 and D.501 are now available for the testers of French aviation!

At the time of their introduction to service, aircraft of the D.500 series were among the most advanced in the world. However, rapid advancements in aircraft development quickly rendered the D.500 series obsolete, as more and more technologically advanced aircraft made their appearance. Meet one of the versions of the series, the Dewoitine D.501!


The D.500 series of aircraft were developed in response to the C1 specification issued by the French Air Ministry in 1930. The specification mostly intended to replace France’s inventory of old WW1 and 1920 era aircraft with more modern designs. Famous aircraft designer Émile Dewoitine, submitted his D.500 design and almost immediately caught the attention of the Air Ministry’s officials. Shortly after the D.500 had its maiden flight in 1932, an order for 60 aircraft was placed in 1933, 10 of which were for the D.501. In essence, the D.501 was just a subvariant of the D.500. The two major differences lie in the powerplant and armament. Namely, the D.500 used a Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs engine, whilst the D.501 was equipped with a 12Xcrs engine, that allowed for the installation of a 20mm cannon through the propellor hub. This change also caused the removal of the two nose-mounted machine guns from the original layout, found on the D.500. Whilst a single 20mm cannon, paired with a couple machine guns may seem like a laughable setup today, the sheer presence of an autocannon on an aircraft back then was deemed almost as a luxury. 

By the outbreak of WW2, aircraft of the D.500 series were more than outdated by machines of other nations, including some of the late 1930s French aircraft, such as the MS.406. The machines rarely saw front line use, instead being relegated to reserve units of the French Air Force and to trainer roles. However, a small number of aircraft did see limited action during the Spanish Civil War, likely being the only recorded combat use of the aircraft. Just under 400 aircraft of the D.500 series were manufactured, around 160 of which were D.501s.

In War Thunder, the D.501 will receive the chance to go up against contemporary designs of other nations in low-ranked battles, allowing the aircraft to make full use of some of its advanced design features. Although it may not seem like it, the D.501 combines several traits that many pilots appreciate in a small, compact package. Its 690 horsepower engine allows it to reach a respectable maximum speed of 367 km/h at medium altitudes, whilst the lightweight fuselage ensures excellent maneuverability and handling.

Besides excellent handling, pilots of the D.501 can also make deadly use of the aircraft’s offensive armaments, consisting of a 20mm cannon and two low caliber machine guns mounted underneath the wings. For most opponents the D.501 will meet in combat, a single quick burst will be more than enough to send the opponent spiraling to the ground. 

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In War Thunder update 1.73 “Vive la France” the D.501 is added as rank I fighter aircraft of the French aviation tech tree.

Checkout the French Aircraft Premium packs available in our store now

The War Thunder Team

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