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 1935
Major applications Messerschmitt Bf 109E-F

Messerschmitt Bf 110C-F

Number built 19,000
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 German "Reichverkehrsministerium" (Reich Ministry of Transport),[1] in 1930 Daimler-Benz began development of a new aero engine of the 30 l (1,800 cu in) displacement class: a liquid-cooled inverted-vee 12-cylinder piston engine.[2] This was designated F4, and by 1931 two prototypes were running on the test bench.[2] These were followed by the improved F4B, which became the prototype for the DB 600.[2]

In 1933, Daimler-Benz finally received a contract to develop its new engine and to build six examples of the DB 600.[2] For the year after, the DB 600 was the only German aero engine in the 30-litre class.[2] In total, 2281 DB 600s were built.[2]

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.[2] 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.[2]

Serial production began in November 1937, and ended in 1943, after 19,000 examples of all types were produced.[2]


DB 601 A-1
Up to 1,100 PS (809.0 kW; 1,085.0 hp) at sea-level with 2,400 rpm, up to 1,020 PS (750.2 kW; 1,006.0 hp) at 2,400 rpm and 4,500 m (14,800 ft) altitude, B4 fuel
DB 601 Aa
Up to 1,175 PS (864.2 kW; 1,158.9 hp) at sea-level with 2,500 rpm, up to 1,100 PS (809.0 kW; 1,085.0 hp) at 2,400 rpm and 3,700 m (12,100 ft) altitude, B4 fuel
DB 601 B-1
Same as DB601 A-1 for use in Messerschmitt Bf 110 and/or bomber aircraft (different prop/engine ratio, 1:1.88 instead of 1:1.55)
DB 601 Ba
Similar to 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 M
For use in the Heinkel He 100D 1,175 PS (864.2 kW; 1,158.9 hp)
DB 601 N
Up to 1,175 PS (864.2 kW; 1,158.9 hp) at sea-level and at 4,900 m (16,100 ft) altitude with 2,600 rpm, C3 fuel
Up to 1,270 PS (934.1 kW; 1,252.6 hp) at 2,100 m (6,900 ft) 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 (992.9 kW; 1,331.5 hp) at sea-level with 2,700 rpm, up to 1,320 PS (970.9 kW; 1,301.9 hp) with 2.700 rpm at 4,800 m (15,700 ft) altitude, B4 fuel
Up to 1,450 PS (1,066.5 kW; 1,430.2 hp) at 2,100 m (6,900 ft) 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
Project initiated in February 1937, to "twin-up" two DB 601As or Es coupled to work on a single propeller shaft with all-up weight of some 1.5 tonnes;[3] for use in Heinkel He 119 (one DB 606) and Messerschmitt Me 261 (twin DB 606) designs, where they worked well in their prototype airframes; saw first combat use with 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.[4]
Alfa-Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41-I Monsone
Licence built by Alfa Romeo in Italy
Aichi Atsuta
Licence built by Aichi in Japan
Kawasaki Ha-40
Licence built by Kawasaki in Japan


DB 601
DB 606


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

Specifications (DB 601 Aa)[edit]

Data from [5]

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 (2,070.54 cu in)
  • Length: 1,722 mm (67.80 in)
  • Dry weight: 590 kg (1,300 lb)



See also[edit]

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists



  1. ^ MTU-Museum Triebwerksgeschichte – gestern, heute und morgen, on www.mtu.de (German, PDF, 4,4 MB)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mankau&Petrick, 2001. pp. 347-355
  3. ^ Griehl, Manfred; Dressel, Joachim (1998). Heinkel He 177 – 277 – 274. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing. p. 224. ISBN 1-85310-364-0.
  4. ^ Griehl, Manfred; Dressel, Joachim (1998). Heinkel He 177 – 277 – 274. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing. p. 224. ISBN 1-85310-364-0.
  5. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24.
  6. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan (Jan 2003). "With the Noise of a Stone Crusher". Popular Science.


  • Bingham, Victor (1998). Major Piston Aero Engines of World War II. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-84037-012-2.
  • Christopher, John (2013). The Race for Hitler's X-Planes: Britain's 1945 Mission to Capture Secret Luftwaffe Technology. Stroud, UK: History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6457-2.
  • Gunston, Bill (2006). World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines: From the Pioneers to the Present Day (5th ed.). Stroud, UK: Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-4479-X.
  • 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]