Heinkel He 111
Type: medium bomber (later also torpedo bomber, glider tug and missile launcher).
A natural twin-engined outgrowth of the He 70, the first He 111 was a graceful machine with elliptical wings and tail, secretly flown as a bomber but revealed to the world a year later as a civil airliner. Powered by 660hp BMW VI engines, it had typical armament of three manually aimed machine guns but the useful bomb load of 2,200lb (1,000 kg) stowed nose-up in eight cells in the center fuselage. In 1937 a number of generally similar machines secretly flew photo-reconnaissance missions over Britain, France and the Soviet Union, in the guise of airliners of Deutsche Lufthansa.
In the same year the He 111 B-1 came into Luftwaffe service, with two 880hp Daimler-Benz DB 600C engines, while a vast new factory was built at Oranienburg solely to make later versions. In February 1937 operations began with the Legion Condor in Spain with considerable success, flight performance being improved in the B-2 by 950hp DB 600CG engines which were retained in the C series. The D was faster with the 1.000hp Jumo 211 A-1, also used in the He 111 F in which a new straight-edged wing was introduced. To a considerable degree the success of the early elliptical-winged He 111 bombers in Spain misled the Luftwaffe into considering that nothing could withstand the onslaught of their huge fleets of medium bombers. These aircraft – the trim Do 17 , the broad-winged He 111 and the high-performance Ju 88 – were all extremely advanced by the standards of the mid-1930s when they were designed. They were faster than the single-seat fighters of that era and, so the argument went, therefore did not need much defensive armament. So the three machine guns carried by the first He 111 bombers in 1936 stayed unchanged until, in the Battle of Britain, the He 111 was hacked down with ease, its only defense being its toughness and ability to come back after being shot to pieces.
The inevitable result was that more and more defensive guns were added, needing a fifth or even a sixth crew-member. Coupled with incessant growth in equipment and armor the result was deteriorating performance, so that the record-breaker of 1936-38 became the lumbering sitting duck of 1942-45. Yet the He 111 was built-in ever-greater numbers, virtually all the later sub-types being members of the prolific H-series. Variations were legion, including versions with large barrage-balloon deflectors, several kinds of missiles (including a V-1 tucked under the left wing root), while a few were completed as saboteur transports.
All the modifications found necessary and incorporated after the H-6 series were brought together in the H-16 main series produced from 1942. The H-16/R1 had an MG 131 machine gun mounted in an electrically operated dorsal turret. With a towing coupling – in fact a rigid coupling for heavy gliders – it was given the designation H-16/R2, and the R3 was a pathfinder with heavier armor and reduced bomb-carrying capacity.
The most numerous version was the H-6, and the extraordinary He 111Z (Zwilling) glider tug of 1942 consisted of two H-6s joined by a common center wing carrying a fifth engine. Right to the end of the war the RLM and German industry failed to find a replacement for the old ‘Spaten’ (spade) and the total produced in Germany and Romania was at least 6,086 and possibly more than 7,000. Merlin-engined C.2111 versions continued in production in Spain until 1956.
Users: China, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Romania (license-production at Fabrica de Avione SET), Spain (license-production of H-16 at CASA), Turkey.
Pictures of Heinkel He 111
Data for Heinkel He 111 H-16
|Heinkel He 111 H-16||Specifications|
|Power plant||two 1,350-hp Junkers Jumo 211 F-2 engines|
|Wing span||74 ft 18 in|
|Length overall||53 ft 9.7 in|
|Height overall||13 ft 1.5 in|
|Weight empty||19,136 lb|
|Weight maximum loaded||30,865 lb|
|Max level speed||252 (maximum weight) - 270 mph at 19,685 ft|
|Cruising speed||221 mph at 16,405 ft|
|Time to height||8.5 min to 6,560 ft|
|Time to height||in 30-35 min at gross weight, 50 min at maximum weight to 14,765 ft|
|Service ceiling||21,980 ft (maximum weight) - 27,890 ft|
|Range||1,212 - 1,280 miles|
|Heinkel He 111 H-16||specification|
|in front of ventral gondola||one 20-mm MG FF cannon (540 rpm, velocity 1,920 ft.sec)|
|in electrically operated dorsal turret||one 13-mm MG 131 (930 rpm, velocity 2,461 ft.sec)|
|up tp seven 7.92-mm MG 15/17/81||manual mountings in nosecap, open dorsal position, ventral gondola, waist windows. Fixed forward-firing and rear-firing machine gun (1,200 rpm, velocity 2,477 ft.sec)|
|Bomb load||One 2,000-kg (4,409 lb) bomb carried externally and one 500-kg (1,102 lb) bomb internally, or eight 250-kg (551 lb) bombs all internally. Total maximum 2,000 kg (5,511 lb) (other marks carried one or two 765-kg (1,686 lb) torpedoes, BV246 glide missiles, Hs293 rocket missles, Fritz X radio-controlled glide bombs or one FZG-76 'V-1' cruise missile)|
|Heinkel He 111 H-16||figures|
|First flight (prototype)||24 February 1935|
|Production delivery (B-1)||30 October 1936|
|Production delivery (H-1)||January or February 1939|
|Service delivery (H-16)||1942|
|Final delivery (Germany)||October 1944|
|Total production figure||6,086+ (with foreign production approx. 7,450)|
|Accepted by Luftwaffe 1/39-12/44 (including transports)||6,615|
|Production (always only bombers) 1939||452|
|He 111 's in First Line Units 1.9.39||780|
|He 111's in First Line Units 20.9.42||398|
|He 111's in First Line Units 31.12.42||315|
|He 111 's in First Line Units 10.1.45||212|