Daimler-Benz DB 601

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DB 601
Daimler-Benz-DB 601A.jpg
Preserved Daimler-Benz DB 601.
Type Piston V12 aircraft engine
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Daimler-Benz
First run 1930s
Major applications Messerschmitt Bf 109
Developed from Daimler-Benz DB 600
Variants Aichi Atsuta
Kawasaki Ha-40
Developed into Daimler-Benz DB 603
Daimler-Benz DB 605
DB 601A, partially sectioned (right side)
Aichi Atsuta, a license-built DB 601 (left side)
One of the DB 601 engines from Rudolf Hess's Messerschmitt Bf 110 on display at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland.

The Daimler-Benz DB 601 was a German aircraft engine built during World War II. It was a liquid-cooled inverted V12, and powered the Messerschmitt Bf 109, among others. The DB 601 was basically an improved DB 600 with direct fuel injection.

The DB 601Aa was licence-built in Japan by Aichi as the Atsuta, by Kawasaki as the Ha-40, and in Italy by Alfa Romeo as the R.A.1000 R.C.41-I Monsone.


Based on the guidelines laid down by the Reichswehrministerium ("Reich's Ministry of Defence"), in 1929[clarification needed] Daimler-Benz began development of a new aero engine of the 30-litre displacement class: a liquid-cooled inverted-Vee 12-cylinder piston engine.[1] This was designated F4, and by 1931 two prototypes were running on the test bench.[1] These were followed by the improved F4 B, which became the prototype for the DB 600.[1]

In 1933, Daimler-Benz finally received a contract to develop its new engine and to build six examples of the DB 600.[1] For the year after, the DB 600 was the only German aero engine in the 30-litre class.[1] In total, 2281 DB 600s were built.[1]

The DB 601A-1 was a development of the DB 600 with mechanical direct fuel injection. Like all DB 601s, it had a 33.9 litre displacement.[1] The first DB 601A-1 prototype, designated as F4E, was test run in 1935, and an order for 150 engines was placed in February 1937.[1]

Serial production began in November 1937, and ended in 1943, after 19,000 examples of all types were produced.[1]


DB 601 A-1
Up to 1,100 PS (809 kW) at sea-level with 2,400 rpm, up to 1,020 PS (750 kW) at 2,400 rpm and 4.5 km altitude, B4 fuel
DB 601 Aa
Up to 1,175 PS (864 kW) at sea-level with 2,500 rpm, up to 1,100 PS (809 kW) at 2,400 rpm and 3.7 km altitude, B4 fuel
DB 601 B-1/Ba
Same as DB601 A-1/Aa for use in Messerschmitt Bf 110 and/or bomber aircraft (different prop/engine ratio, 1:1.88 instead of 1:1.55)
DB 601 N
Up to 1,175 PS (864 kW) at sea-level and at 4.9 km altitude with 2,600 rpm, C3 fuel
Up to 1,270 PS (934 kW) at 2.1 km altitude with 2,600 rpm
DB 601 P
Same as DB 601 N for use in Messerschmitt Bf 110 and/or bomber aircraft (different prop/engine ratio, 1:1.88 instead of 1:1.55)
DB 601 E
Up to 1,350 PS (993 kW) at sea-level with 2,700 rpm, up to 1,320 PS (970 kW) with 2.700 rpm at 4.8 km altitude, B4 fuel
Up to 1,450 PS (1,066 kW) at 2.1 km altitude with 2,700 rpm
DB 601 F/G
Same as DB 601 E for use in Messerschmitt Bf 110, Messerschmitt Me 210 and/or bomber aircraft (different prop/engine ratio,1:1.875 (601F), 1:2.06 (601G) instead of 1:1.685)
DB 606 A/B
Two DB 601 F or G coupled to work on a single propeller shaft for use in early Heinkel He 177As - 2,700 PS (1,986 kW) at sea level with a mirror-imaged starboard component engine supercharger, and derided as "welded-together engines" by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring in August 1942, from the problems they caused with engine fires in the He 177A during service from their inadequate installation design; such problems were not present in either the Heinkel He 119 and Messerschmitt Me 261 which also used them.
Alfa-Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41-I Monsone
Licence built by Alfa Romeo in Italy


DB 601
DB 606


Aichi Atsuta
Alfa Romeo RA 1000 RC 41
Kawasaki Ha-40

Specifications (DB 601 Aa)[edit]

Data from [2]

General characteristics

  • Type: Twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled supercharged 60° inverted Vee aircraft piston engine
  • Bore: 150 mm (5.91 in)
  • Stroke: 160 mm (6.30 in)
  • Displacement: 33.93 L (2,070.5 in³)
  • Length: 1,722 mm (68 in)
  • Dry weight: 590 kg (1,320 lb)



See also[edit]

Related development
Comparable engines
Related lists



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mankau&Petrick, 2001. pp. 347-355
  2. ^ Tsygulev (1939). Aviacionnye motory voennykh vozdushnykh sil inostrannykh gosudarstv (Авиационные моторы военных воздушных сил иностранных государств) (in Russian). Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe voennoe izdatelstvo Narkomata Oborony Soyuza SSR. 
  3. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan (Jan 2003). "With the Noise of a Stone Crusher". Popular Science. 


  • Mankau, Heinz and Peter Petrick. Messerschmitt Bf 110, Me 210, Me 410. Raumfahrt, Germany: Aviatic Verlag, 2001. ISBN 3-925505-62-8.
  • Neil Gregor Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich. Yale University Press, 1998

External links[edit]