The Dewoitine D.520 was a French fighter aircraft that entered service in early 1940, shortly after the beginning of the Second World War. It was designed in response to a 1936 requirement from the French Air Force for a fast, modern fighter with a good climbing speed and an armament centred on a 20 mm cannon. At the time the most powerful V 12 liquid-cooled engine available in France was the Hispano-Suiza 12Y, which was less powerful, but lighter than contemporary engines such as the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Daimler-Benz DB 601. Other fighters were designed to meet the specifications but none of them entered service, or entered service in small numbers, too late to play a significant role during the Battle of France.
It was slower than the Bf 109E, but superior in manoeuvrability. Because of production delays, only a small number were available for combat against the Luftwaffe. The D.520 proved to be relatively capable as a dogfighter against the Luftwaffe’s inventory, but lacked sufficient numbers to make a difference.
Following the armistice, the D.520 continued to be used, being operated by both the Free French Air Force and the Vichy French Air Force. The type was also returned to production during 1942, although it was manufactured at a lower rate than it had been during 1940. Additional examples were operated by the Luftwaffe, Regia Aeronautica, and the Bulgarian Air Force. The D.520 saw combat service in North Africa, Bulgaria, and the Eastern Front, as well as use in France and Germany for training and defence purposes.
German forces invading Vichy’s so-called “free zone” in November 1942, captured 246 D.520s. The captured Dewoitines were to be delivered to the Axis Balkan Front, although some were used by the Luftwaffe for training purposes while 60 were transferred to Italy and 96, or 120, to the Bulgarian Air Force for use in combat. However, D.520s reached Bulgaria only in August 1943, as the fighter pilots of that country were still training on the type at Nancy with JG 107.
Made of brass, aluminum, and steel, this Oxygen Pressure regulator is in EXCELLENT relic condition! Removed from a captured aircraft in Italy by a US Veteran, there are some slight marks and wear, but it is VERY solid! All instruction labels are in French, apart from the main label, that is in German, indicating “Sauerstoff-Druck”. The brass fittings feature NO corrosion, but do have some slight dirt build-up, wear, and bends. The glass and needle are missing from the main gauge, but that could be restored, if one wished. I have indicated it’s location in the last photo. A VERY RARE item for any collection, display, or restoration project!
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