Blohm + Voss (also shown historically as Blohm & Voss and Blohm und Voss), is a German shipbuilding and engineering works. It is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. ThyssenKrupp announced in December 2011 that it had agreed the sale of Blohm + Voss' civil shipbuilding division to British investment company STAR Capital Partners, pending regulatory approval. The company built aircraft through Hamburger Flugzeugbau before and during World War II.
It was founded on April 5, 1877, by Hermann Blohm and Ernst Voss as a general partnership. A shipyard was built on the island of Kuhwerder, near the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, covering 15,000 m² with 250 m of water frontage and three building berths, two suitable for ships of up to 100 metres length. The company's logo is a simple dark blue rectangle with rounded corners bearing the white letters "Blohm+Voss". Until 1955 the company name was shown with the ampersand.
The company has continued to build ships and other large machines for 125 years. Despite being almost completely demolished after the end of World War II, it now builds warships both for the German Navy and for export (see MEKO), as well as oil drilling equipment and ships for numerous commercial customers.
With the rise of the Nazi Party to power in 1933, Germany's rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty was begun. This began a sudden change in fortune for the company, run then by brothers Rudolf and Walther Blohm, which was taken out of a deep crisis. Until then specialising in shipbuilding, the company began to design and build aircraft for the German state airline, pre-war Deutsche Luft Hansa and the Luftwaffe. The aeronautical section of the company was named Hamburger Flugzeugbau, therefore the first planes it produced had the code "Ha", but in September 1937 the aviation subsidiary was renamed Abteilung Flugzeugbau der Schiffswerft Blohm & Voss, later replaced by "BV". Particularly noteworthy were the large flying boats the company produced, especially the largest aircraft designed, built and flown by any of the Axis forces, the Bv 238, and its ingenious approaches to aircraft building that even featured asymmetric designs.
From 1933 to 1945, the company operated the Hamburger Flugzeugbau aircraft company. Although initially given the factory code Ha (for the factory's official name), the link with Blohm & Voss shipyards proved too strong and therefore the early aircraft designs were called "Blohm & Voss, type Ha..." followed by the design number. To end this confusion, in 1938 the Reichsluftfahrtministerium changed the company code to BV.
Aircraft and projects designed under the Ha and BV designations can be found at
Meyhoff, Andreas. Blohm & Voss im »Dritten Reich«, Eine Hamburger Großwerft zwischen Geschäft und Politik (Hamburger Beiträge zur Sozial- und Zeitgeschichte, Band 38) (in German). Hamburg, Germany: Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, 2001. ISBN 3-89244-916-3.
Pohlmann, Herrmann. 'Chronik Eines Flugzeugwerkes 1932-1945. B&V - Blohm & Voss Hamburg - HFB Hamburger Flugzeugbau (in German). Motor Buch Verlag, 1979 ISBN 3-87943-624-X.
Prager, Hans Georg and Bishop, Frederick A.(Transl.). Blohm + Voss: Ships and Machinery for the World. London: Brassey's Publishers Limited, 1977. ISBN 0-904609-14-6.
Witthöft, Hans J. Tradition und Fortschritt - 125 Jahre Blohm + Voss (in German). Koehlers Verlag, 2002. ISBN 3-7822-0847-1.
Wixey, Ken. Flugboots from Hamburg: An outline history of Blohm und Voss flying-boatsAir Enthusiast No.82 July/August 1999 pp42–48