When Germany invaded The Netherlands on May 10th 1940 only 7 Do24K’s were delivered by Aviolanda to The Dutch East Indies. 13 Do24K-2’s were in various stages of building and the stocks were filled with parts for another 16 examples. There were enough Wright Cyclone engine for at least 11 Do24’s. Still in May Oberingenieur Stellmann returned to Aviolanda with the RLM order to make the two most complete examples, the X-38 and X-39, airworthy. The interest came mainly from the German Seenotdienst that for a long time was eagerly awaiting such an aircraft like the Do24 if not the Do24 itself. The tactical units within the Luftwaffe had first choice concerning plane-choice and so the Seenotdienst had to make do with aging Heinkel He59’s. Now they saw their chance clear to get their hands on the impounded Dutch Do24’s.
June 1940 Flugkapitan Karl Born, commander of Seenotflugkommando I Norderney, came to Aviolanda in Papendrecht with a few representatives of Dornier and factory testpilot Erich Gundermann. They came to check out the X-38. Born was thrilled he could get his hands on the Do24’s in the factory because this meant a vast modernisation of the Seenotdienst, Born even called the Do24 the "wonder plane". As fast as they could the X-38 was made ready and was flown by pilots from the LZA (Luftzeugamt) to Travemunde. During this flight the X-38 still had the Dutch camouflage, but was equipped with German nationality markings and the registration D-AFBT. The gunturrets were removed because the pilots of the Seenotdienst were under the impression they were protected by the flag of the International Red Cross. Small changes were made so the Do24 could be used in air-sea rescue. July 19th 1940 the former X-38, now completely painted white with red crosses on the fuselage, was delivered to Seenotkommando I (Seenotstaffel 4). Because the Seenotdienst was on paper a civilian organisation the Do24 had to be equipped with with a civilian registration and because of reasons unknown the registration D-AFBT was cancelled and D-AEAV was applied.
In the same way as the X-38 the X-39 arrived at Norderney with the registration D-APDA. Both aircraft were equipped with American Wright Cyclone’s and were the pride of the Seenotdienst, now it was only time to wait for the first operational mission. Read all about that first mission here.
September three more arrived at the LZA at Travemunde followed by four in October. The civilian registration and white painting had by that time long vanished because the English still tried to shoot the aircraft down and on too many occasions did with the loss of many lives, which also included English military personel.
At least 13 Do24N-1’s were delivered to the Luftwaffe in this style. When the stock of Wright Cyclone’s had run dry the Do24’s were equipped with BMW 132N radials delivering 685 hp and thus the Do24T-1 was born.


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