Information

Heinkel He 111: Rear View


Heinkel He 111, Ron Mackay (Crowood Aviation). A comprehensive look at one of the most famous German aircraft of the Second World War, taking us through its pre-war development, its time as the Luftwaffe's most important bomber early in the war, to its long decline and the eventual collapse of the German bomber force.[see more]


HEINKEL HE 111 - An Illustrated History

Straordinario volume, illustrato con oltre 750 tra foto a colori e in bianco e nero, artwork a colori, profili e disegni al tratto, dedicato a questo ben noto bombardiere tedesco protagonista della seconda guerra mondiale di cui presenta le origini, lo sviluppi, le varianti, il disegno, la carriera operativa e l'equipaggiamento. Un'opera di sicuro interesse per tutti gli appassionati di aviazione tedesca e modellisti.

The Heinkel He 111 was the most recognisable German bomber aircraft of World War 2. This book will form a comprehensive study of the development and operational history of the Heinkel He 111, exploring the many variants of this famous and long-serving Luftwaffe bomber aircraft. The text will be supported by several hundred rare photographs, manufacturer's handbook data, scale line drawings and specially commissioned colour artwork. The He 111 was a mainstay of the Luftwaffe bomber force. Rugged and flexible, it first saw operational deployment in the Spanish Civil War with the Legion Condor in the late 1930s, and subsequently in World War Two, it was used on every single battle front, from the early Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939/40 through to the Mediterranean and the vast theatre that was Russia. Although synonymous with German Blitzkrieg, it also served as a night bomber (as in the Blitz against London in late 1940), as well as a torpedo-bomber, emergency transport and even as an airborne launcher for V-1 flying bombs in late 1944. The appeal of the He 111 as a combat aircraft - especially to modellers - was due to its widely dispersed service and as such, its variants and the wide array of armament and equipment with which they were fitted as well as their various markings and camouflage schemes. Each chapter will cover either a specific area of development or an operational theatre. The chapters will cover technical aspects and operational deployment along with tint boxes and special sections on unusual items and key pilots etc, and cover the following areas: Heinkel - the company The origins of the He 111 Prototype development First combat (Spain) The Blitzkrieg - Poland, the Low Countries and France The Battle of Britain and the Blitz Further developments The Mediterranean and the Balkans Operation Barbarossa The 'Maid of all Work' The Mediterranean (second phase) Attrition and Retreat - Operations in the East 1943-1944 Special Forces (the He 111Z 'twin' and the V-1 Carriers) Final operations 1944-1945


Heinkel He 111 A's to China

Post by Jerry Asher » 24 Oct 2014, 06:01

Re: Heinkel He 111 A's to China

Post by Jerry Asher » 03 Nov 2014, 16:26

Re: Heinkel He 111 A's to China

Post by Snautzer05 » 03 Nov 2014, 22:27

Re: Heinkel He 111 A's to China

Post by durb » 14 Nov 2014, 14:44

There has been a thread "He 111 in Chinese service" in this forum, but unfortunately it seems to be contaminated for having material taken from dubious websites and containing malware (at least my antivirus program warns seriously about it!).

Here is something found from safe website which deals with Soviet bombers in China and which has also info about other aircraft equipment of Chinese during the Sino-Japanese war in 1937-1945:

"According to information of the Guomindang government, at the beginning of the war with Japan there were about 600 (Chinese) combat aircraft, of which 305 were fighters and the remainder light bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. Medium bombers (the Chinese classified them as “heavy”) were not more than 20 machines. All belonged to the three squadrons of the 8th Air Group (in Chinese- “Dadui” that is “Large Detachment”). The 10th Squadron (“Zhongdui” - “Medium Detachment”) flew the Italian three-motor Savoia S.72. In the summer of 1935 a sample copy, equipped for VIP transport was demonstrated and later presented to Chang Kaishi the Chinese ordered and themselves assembled 6 such machines. In fact these were military transport aircraft equipped with bomb racks for night activity. By the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war all the S.72s were in shabby condition and were suitable only for transport.

The 19th Squadron was fitted out with Heinkel He-111A-0 twin motor bombers which had been rejected by the Luftwaffe (In 1935 six machines were purchased by the aviation command of Guangdong Province). And finally, the the 30th Squadron had the very best equipment, American Martin 139WCs (9 machines purchased in 1935, with the first 6 machines arriving in Shanghai in February 1937 for assembly and the training of crews).

In mid-August 1937 the 8th Air Group was rounded out by the 13th Squadron, receiving in Nanchang 4 SM.81B Italian bombers assembled in the local aviation factory.

At the beginning of the war the Japanese surpassed the Chinese in numbers and quantity, and also in the training of their flying and technical personnel. In spite of their heroism, the Chinese suffered enormous losses. During the first weeks of the war the Chinese lost almost all of their medium bombers. In August-September five of the six Martins of the 30th Squadron were destroyed, bombed by Japanese forces near Shanghai. The sixth and last was shot down on 22 October. Most of the S.72s were destroyed in 1937 on the ground during air attacks. On 25 August 1937, during an attack on Japanese ships in the area of Shizilin and Yuncaobin 2 He-111As of the 19th Squadron were shot down. Later one Heinkel was transferred to the 13th Squadron for training, and one more was mistakenly shot down over Hankou on October 1 by a Chinese Hawk fighter . In February 1938, during the course of two days, all the SM.81Bs were destroyed on the ground.

Ultimately the Chinese were forced to withdraw all their remaining bombers to the rear, beyond the radius of action of the Japanese fighters which completely dominated the Chinese sky. Already by the autumn of 1937 the command staff of the Japanese air forces considered the enemy’s aviation completely destroyed."


He 111 night fighters

Post by stig58 » 27 Sep 2015, 16:41

I am doing short biographies on the Ritterkreuzträger’s of the Luftwaffe Jagdfliegers. I first got interested in the Luftwaffe after reading Ernst Obermaier’s “Die Ritterkreuzträger Der Luftwaffe 1939-1945” and “Horrido” by Toliver & Constable. I always wanted to extend the biographies of the Jagdflieger to include their victories, aircraft, awards, and promotions, ect. I am researching Engelbert Heiner at the moment he apparently flew the He 111 as a night fighter on the eastern front claiming 11 night victories with KG 27,

“In the spring of 1942, he become prominent for being the pioneer in creating the first improvised unit of night fighting on the eastern front, flying in a Nachtjagd schwarm. Although the unit was composed of aircraft belonging to 9./KG 27, the Nachtjagd schwarm was subordinate to the command of Luftflotte 4”.

Did he fly the He 111 on these night missions, if he did was there a special forward firing machine gun mounted on his aircraft?

If there is anyone else interested in this topic who wants to exchange pictures, and information, I would be glad to hear from.

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by NagaSadow » 27 Sep 2015, 21:29

"Luftwaffe im Focus" issue #5 might be of interest to you. It contains an article about Ofw. Waldemar Teige of 6./K.G. 53 who was credited with 14 kills flying a He 111 H-6 in the night fighter role. IIRC the He 111's weren't modified and most of the kills were scored by the gunners of the nose mounted 20mm MG/FF.

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by stig58 » 28 Sep 2015, 19:52

Thanks for the reply, it seems a strange aircraft to use as a night fighter by the Luftwaffe. But with Heiner claiming 11 kills and Teige with 14 it cant have been a bad machine to fly at night. I have not started my short biography on Teige yet, but seems worth a look, apparently he claimed 12 kills according to Ernst Obermaier, there is a picture of Teige's He 111 displaying 12 victories on the rudder.

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by SES » 29 Sep 2015, 10:13

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by stig58 » 29 Sep 2015, 11:54

An interesting picture of a KG 53 night fighter note the extra armament for the front gunner a heavy calibre machine gun.

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by ROLAND1369 » 29 Sep 2015, 14:29

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by Ironmachine » 29 Sep 2015, 17:06

Re: He 111 night fighters

Post by stig58 » 29 Sep 2015, 17:22

I have a list of Waldemar Teige's kills they were mainly against the Russian Tupolev TB-3 bomber, as can be seen from the picture, the size of the bomber is amazing, it is pictures with two I-16 "Rata" fighters attached to it's wings! It must have been excellent shooting for the He 111 gunners to bring it down.

28.11.41 6./KG 53 I-18 Russia -
11.02.42 6./KG 53 PE-2 - -
21/22.02.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -
21/22.02.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -
21/22.02.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -
16/17.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 S. Ost Dorogobush -
16/17.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 S. Ost Dorogobush -
16/17.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 S. Ost Dorogobush -
18/19.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 S. Ost Dorogobush -
20/21.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -
23/24.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -
29/30.05.42 6./KG 53 TB-3 - -


He-111 H6 was found in Poland

Post by Wars98 » 27 Dec 2006, 17:57

WORLD WAR II
The Mystery of a Forest Lake

One frosty day at the end of 1940, the inhabitants of the Kamionka forest district in Pomerania heard a terrifying noise. It turned out that a German bomber had crashed in a blizzard. The machine hit the frozen surface of a lake. The tail of the plane and the corpse of the rear gunner were found in the forest but the smashed wreckage of the fuselage with the two dead pilots was either on the ice or under it. German police surrounded the accident site and the wreckage was secured and removed.

More than six decades later, at the beginning of 2006, a group turned up at the lake with strange equipment. They were members of the Historical Exploration Section of the Association of Friends of Sopot (TPS). They were looking for the wreckage of the plane. A heritage conservation officer was asked for permission for further investigations and the removal of the plane wreckage.

TPS members and the Gdańsk Brethren of Military History (GBHW) came back to the lake in June and set to work. Divers found the engine of the plane in the murky waters of the lake. The decision was taken to attach it to balloons. Lifting over a ton of heavy engine took over eight hours. Finally, the engine moved and was brought to the surface, but the lake's soggy shore meant it could not be brought out of the water.

The decision was taken to tow the engine to the opposite shore. However, a "moving island" got in the way. The participants of the expedition couldn't believe their eyes. It turned out that a large part of the peat in the lake had come up off the bed and was drifting. It posed a serious risk to the operation because it was in danger of breaking the ropes fixing the engine to the balloons. The only solution was to try and pull the island away.

A motorboat headed towards the "drifting" island. The island was slowly pulled away towards the far end of the lake with the help of ropes attached to small anchors. The path was cleared. On the opposite shore, a digger was waiting for the valuable find. It was able to pull the engine out. "It was a Jumo 211 F-1 engine! We were all happy and champagne bottles were uncorked!" recalls one of the witnesses to the expedition. Despite the six decades that had gone by, the engine was in great condition. The are a few Jumo 211 F-1 engines in the world, but none of them is complete.

On closer examination, it appeared that the wrecked machine was probably a German Heinkel He-111 bomber. The divers continued taking other parts of the wrecked plane from the lake: propeller parts, the fuselage, the pilot's cabin, the undercarriage and weaponry. A superbly preserved pillion for attaching torpedoes underneath the fuselage was another interesting find. It was a torpedo plane.

All parts was photographed, measured, described and given an inventory number by an archeologist. The engine and other parts of the plane were given to conservators. They will soon be shown at an exhibition organized by the Castle Foundation in Gniew. An attempt will be made to recreate the fate of the plane and the crew. There are many indications that ice on the plane was the reason for the catastrophe.


He 111 and Ju 88 production balanced

Post by stg 44 » 25 Jan 2013, 00:58

What if the He 111 was given production equality with the Ju 88 bomber in 1939? In that year the Ju 88 'Wunderbomber' was given vast resources (some sources claim over 50% of aircraft production capacity) to be Germany's main bomber, but due to various technical problems during initial construction only a handful were built in 1939 before ramping up significantly in 1940.
The He 111 was a proven design by 1939 and had reached its definitive H-series by early 1939 it had better range than the A1 version of the Ju88 and a larger bomb load later it was to have lower losses than the Ju88 during the Battle of Britain and had heavier defensive armament.
So if in 1938-9 the decision was made to have a 'balanced' air force by balancing bomber production equally between the He111 and Ju88, what would that mean for production and the Luftwaffe's combat potential?

As far as I can tell the He 111 was pretty easy to produce compared to more other aircraft in Germany's inventory, especially compared to the early Ju 88. So by increasing the He 111's production capacity in 1938-9 instead of just building up enormous Ju 88 capacity, which wasn't utilized until 1940, the overall number of Germany's bombers going into 1940 would be significantly higher than historical numbers. They would either have greater reserves of aircraft and parts or higher front line strength. Also during the BoB and Blitz there would be more aircraft in the air thanks to either larger reserves and spare parts or more formations in service. Potentially the extra He 111s would have greater survivability than the Ju88s considering the historic loss rates of the types during the BoB.

The LW would have more aircraft with longer range and bigger bomb load in 1940-1 until the Ju88A4 came online and improved the Ju 88's range and bomb load. In the long term the cost would be fewer Ju 88s, which would have its consequences for night fighter and heavy fighter units, but as far as bombers went the He 111 soldiered on well into 1944 on the Eastern Front. I imagine eventually the He 111 would be phased down and out in favor of the Ju 88 airframe still in the short term for the Western Campaigns and in the first two-three years of Barbarossa the extra He 111s would come in handy, as the extra aircraft in the sky, even if of inferior type, would be at a time when the Luftwaffe mostly managed to achieve air superiority, so it would be a boon rather than a hinderance.

What do you all think? Would the extra He 111s and fewer Ju88s make a difference? Would there be more total aircraft output for Germany overall if the He 111 got more production resources in 1939 at the expense of the Ju 88?

Re: He 111 and Ju 88 production balanced

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2013, 02:04

Better defensive armament because it needed it.

The losses issue is not that clear-cut either - 32 He 111s vs 39 Ju 88s in July. but BOTH types lost 39 in August

The Ju 88 had a maximum 6,660lb bombload against the He 111's 4,400 lb internal bombload. but according to Wiki most commonly the Ju 88 carried a 3,310-4,410 lb - so actually, in the summer of 1940 - virtually the same!

And Patrick Bishop gives the Ju 88 A-1 a range advantage over the He 111 - 1553 miles vs. the He 111's 1212 miles.

Re: He 111 and Ju 88 production balanced

Post by stg 44 » 25 Jan 2013, 02:21

The Ju 88A1 topped out at 2400kg for bombs and could carry 2000kg with full loaded fuel in internal bomb bays about the same distance, but with greater fuel usage. The Ju 88A4 with the Jumo211F upgraded engines could take the 3000kg with rocket booster takeoff. Same with the He 111H6 with the same engines.

From what I've seen of the He 111H3 with the same engines as the Ju 88A1 it was about equal in terms of bomb load (2500kg mounting a 2500kg externally and carry extra fuel internally), which could reach out to 1500 miles with external load and extra internal fuel.
I've even seen the He 111H3 with 1500 miles with internal fuel and bomb load listed. This range was associated with night bombing, so I assume that was with the three man crews and reduced defensive armament. For a 2000kg internally the He 111 could it further without extra fuel, while the Ju88 needed to mount it externally and carry double the fuel to reach the same range.

Nevertheless it was easier to produce the He 111 in 1939 and on, as they ended up being the cheapest bomber, but were not emphasized despite their relative ease to build compared to the Ju 88. So production could be higher will less fuel cost during operations.


He 177/277

Post by procrazzy » 06 Sep 2004, 13:48

How good was the he 177? and what could have happend if the he 277 got into mass production? If possible could you please send me some pics of thease two areoplanes.

Post by bryson109 » 06 Sep 2004, 15:53

Post by Huck » 08 Sep 2004, 04:27

In reality Goering specifically asked Heinkel to transform He-177 from a 2 engine heavy bomber with dive capabilities in a 4 engine level bomber. However, Goering had no intention to put the modified bomber into mass production, he was interested only in delaying it.

The history of He-177 is a convoluted one. It was designed to a '38 RLM requirement for a heavy bomber/ long range antishipping aircraft with dive bombing capabilities. Hitler was personally interested in this aircraft. Goering however, feared that once the plane developed it will require an independent Kriegsmarine air fleet (if it was to be used effectively in antishipping role), which he always tried to prevent (in order to avoid the split of resources between LW and KM). Still, he wanted the long range bombing capability to harass the Allied production centers and large depots (with surprise raids and precise strikes from high altitude), but made sure that He-177 production remained at a low output.

Milch was also very much against He-177, but for different reasons. He wanted to marginalize or even eliminate the companies favoured during Udet's period, such as Messerschmitt, Heinkel and DB, and award the most lucrative contracts to Junkers, Focke Wulf and BMW. Together with Goering he modified He-177 requirements several times, tried to publicly compromise Heinkel for delays and when the tooling for He-177 production was ready he ordered production to be cancelled, because the aircraft was "not safe" for flight. At that time He-177 already had 1 year of flight testing (most of it in actual combat, though the aircraft was not yet operational). An independent board called to investigate He-177 situation, concluded that none of the problems with He-177 could be attributed to the aircraft itself: there were training, maintanance and operating troubles due to LW own capacity to operate such a complex bomber.

When the production and service of He-177 started for real (mid '43) many thought that LW was already fighting a defensive war (an opinion largely voiced by Milch) and production should concentrate on fighters and fighter bombers. A strategic bomber ready for production so late made little sense to them, therefore He-177 remained rather a couriosity with LW. Nevertheless He-177 shared with B-29 the distinction of being the most advanced piston engine bombers in service during ww2.

He-177

Post by brustcan » 10 Sep 2004, 01:52

Re: He-177

Post by Huck » 10 Sep 2004, 03:15

What you say is true, but unfortunately it only underlines the troubles with the prototypes and the preproduction types and says nothing about the operational aircraft. The aircraft was ready for mass production in summer of '43 when all the problems were solved. The production and operational service started in autumn of '43 but it was never on a large scale (for reasons I already mentioned). A-3 model was the first real production model, earlier ones, A-0 and A-1, were mostly used for training, testing and tactical planning. The last batch of A-0 were finished as late as September '43, together with the last batch of A-1. From then on the real A-3 (the one powered by DB610) entered production. A-5 was only a minor modification of A-3 (upgraded armament and different length flaps). In service He-177 proved to be quite reliable, even the earlier models had a very lengthy service: from a total of 105 A-0 and A-1 in service, only 38 were lost to all causes after an average of 1 year and a half of service, though all the pilots that flew them were new to the type!

Re: He-177

Post by brustcan » 10 Sep 2004, 22:32

What you say is true, but unfortunately it only underlines the troubles with the prototypes and the preproduction types and says nothing about the operational aircraft. The aircraft was ready for mass production in summer of '43 when all the problems were solved. The production and operational service started in autumn of '43 but it was never on a large scale (for reasons I already mentioned). A-3 model was the first real production model, earlier ones, A-0 and A-1, were mostly used for training, testing and tactical planning. The last batch of A-0 were finished as late as September '43, together with the last batch of A-1. From then on the real A-3 (the one powered by DB610) entered production. A-5 was only a minor modification of A-3 (upgraded armament and different length flaps). In service He-177 proved to be quite reliable, even the earlier models had a very lengthy service: from a total of 105 A-0 and A-1 in service, only 38 were lost to all causes after an average of 1 year and a half of service, though all the pilots that flew them were new to the type!

Post by Huck » 11 Sep 2004, 04:19

Well, not really. The actual numbers are: 27 saw active service, 8 were sent to flight schools (usually schools got batches of 4 bombers). The service period was from 06.42 when first 3 were delivered to I./KG50 to 08.44 when the last one was lost (IV./KG100). 2 were lost due to enemy action and 6 were lost in various accidents, so 8 were lost in total, not 25.

The plane was not operational at this point, and won't be until Autumn of '43.

All KG1 groups took part in those missions, they were "all effort" missions.

In I./KG100 reports these aircrafts appear as A-3 not A-5. Also they were in the process of moving in France for the Steinbock raids, 3./KG100 began to move from Lechfeld to Chateaudun 3 weeks prior this raid, 2./KG100 started to move the week before the raid. The maintenance facilities required to operate He-177 were still to come, prior this move only one He-177 squad operated from Chateaudun. In plus all the He-177 that 2. and 3./KG100 had were new builds, not yet flown in combat, so the manufacturing defects were yet to be discovered. I'm not surprised that they didn't flew well on the first mission and most aborted it.

In general bombers had much stricter safety requirements than fighters, which translated in many aborted missions. For example in average USAAF fighters had 1 inefective sortie in 15-20 sorties flown, USAAF bombers on the other hand had 1 aborted sortie in 5 flown, and some even 1 in 3! When one bomber had problems all its squad mates had to check for the same problems, because they could be affected by the same maitenance deficiencies common to the squad. There are many such instances. I can give you an example from B-29 missions against Japan:

92 plane leave India
79 reach China
75 dispatched for mission
68 leave China
47 reach the target
1 single bomb managed to fall somewhere near the target

Post by brustcan » 11 Sep 2004, 10:16

Well, not really. The actual numbers are: 27 saw active service, 8 were sent to flight schools (usually schools got batches of 4 bombers). The service period was from 06.42 when first 3 were delivered to I./KG50 to 08.44 when the last one was lost (IV./KG100). 2 were lost due to enemy action and 6 were lost in various accidents, so 8 were lost in total, not 25.

The plane was not operational at this point, and won't be until Autumn of '43.

All KG1 groups took part in those missions, they were "all effort" missions.

In I./KG100 reports these aircrafts appear as A-3 not A-5. Also they were in the process of moving in France for the Steinbock raids, 3./KG100 began to move from Lechfeld to Chateaudun 3 weeks prior this raid, 2./KG100 started to move the week before the raid. The maintenance facilities required to operate He-177 were still to come, prior this move only one He-177 squad operated from Chateaudun. In plus all the He-177 that 2. and 3./KG100 had were new builds, not yet flown in combat, so the manufacturing defects were yet to be discovered. I'm not surprised that they didn't flew well on the first mission and most aborted it.

In general bombers had much stricter safety requirements than fighters, which translated in many aborted missions. For example in average USAAF fighters had 1 inefective sortie in 15-20 sorties flown, USAAF bombers on the other hand had 1 aborted sortie in 5 flown, and some even 1 in 3! When one bomber had problems all its squad mates had to check for the same problems, because they could be affected by the same maitenance deficiencies common to the squad. There are many such instances. I can give you an example from B-29 missions against Japan:

92 plane leave India
79 reach China
75 dispatched for mission
68 leave China
47 reach the target
1 single bomb managed to fall somewhere near the target

Post by Huck » 12 Sep 2004, 04:41

Those are old books, today mostly sources of errors than information. In general books dealing with lots of planes won't give decent stats for any of them. I don't remember finding a single aircraft in "Warplanes of the Third Reich" with correct performance numbers. "The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe" is the story told from Milch's perspective, completely distorting the events that involved Messerschmitt and Heinkel, among others (of his many enemies). For instance the production numbers given for Udet times are completely incorrect, is just funny to see Milch still trying to pose as Udet's friend and in the same time as the saviour of the LW. I'd take with great care anything written in those books.

Anyway, here's a list with the whole A-0 service, so that you can check the actual losses (which were far lower than the 25 quoted):

data from Michael Holm's site:

Post by Stormbird » 13 Sep 2004, 07:11

Post by Huck » 17 Sep 2004, 01:56

In May 1944 Major Schubert of the Luftwaffengeneralstab and Reichsmarschall Goring's Adjutancy was finally appointed to establish the principal reasons for the delays experienced in re- equipping Luftwaffe bomber units with the He 177. Nothing needs to be added to his report:

Most of the aircrew of units selected for re- equipment with the He 177 were operationally 'tired-out' and relatively few were from front-line units. The necessary personnel consisted primarily of Young, often inexperienced aircrews, and for reasons of capacity their conversion training at operational training and replacement Gruppen could only be completed in relatively few cases. Most of the young pilots had only nine to 12 months of practical flying experience prior to being transferred to such a complicated aircraft as the He 177.

Apart from that, the new operational crews had been trained on the Ju 88, and most had hardly any training in the art of night-flying. The necessary conversion training meant the compulsory withdrawal of operational He 177s for use as trainers, which in turn led to an overload of work for the technical personnel due to the numerous instances of damage suffered by these aircraft as a result of the training activities.

Matters were made all the more difficult by the fact that some of the ground personnel had not been pre-instructed on the He 177. In addition, the vast majority of the technical personnel arrived at their He 177-equipped bomber Gruppen several months after the units had first received their re- equipment orders. By spring 1944, some units were still short of about 50 per cent of engine fitters. Some of the other personnel first set eyes on the He 177 upon arrival at their assigned unit's airfield, their instruction and training on the Heinkel bomber having to start there and then.

The supply of aircraft servicing tools and appliances also did not keep up with deliveries of He 177s. Thus, for instance, the wing attachment cranes needed to facilitate powerplant changes arrived several months after the delivery of the aircraft themselves, and even then they were too few in number. For IV/KG 1 there was no specialised engine-changing equipment at all, and for this reason the unit had to suspend all training activities in mid-April 1944.

The 'engine circulation' (service units - repair depots - service units) also did not flow as it should have done at first, because of a lack of transportation. Neither the supply of new engines nor the return of DB 606/610s in need of repair functioned properly, least of all the supply of exchange powerplants to individual airfields. It wasn't until April 1944 that these shortcomings were effectively overcome, but they were never fully eradicated.

According to Major Schubert, the time expenditure required for the maintenance and servicing of the He 177 was incomparable with that of any other operational aircraft in service with the Luftwaffe. The jacking-up operation to change the main undercarriage tyres alone (which had to done at least twice as frequently as on other aircraft types) lasted some 2fi hours using the prescribed mechanical spindle blocks. Yet by early summer 1944 far too few of these 12-ton spindle blocks recommended by the manufacturer were available to He 177-equipped units.

The layout of the powerplants too did not exactly help attempts to carry out the necessary servicing work. Because of the inaccessibility of the coupled engines their dismounting took considerably longer than similar work on, for example, the Ju 88 or He 111. Due to the low training level of the technicians, a 25-hour control check on the He 177 usually took two, sometimes even three days.

Criticism was also made of the airfields selected to receive the He 177. Apart from Aalborg in Denmark, all of the others were already completely overcrowded, and lacked the potential for dispersal, camouflage and suitable protection of their aircraft against bomb splinters and shrapnel. For this reason low-level attacks by Allied aircraft caused great losses amongst the He 177s parked out in the open from 1944 onwards, especially as the airfields were now constantly within the range of both fighters and bombers. To make matters worse, this vulnerability to attack had a knock-on effect on He 177 training activities, which sometimes had to be reduced by up to per cent because enemy aircraft were on their way and air raid warnings came into force.

No consideration had been given to the fact that the technically complex He 177 required sufficient hangar space for maintenance and repair purposes, especially during the winter months. The delays caused by this shortcoming alone may well have been responsible for the postponement of He 177 operations by some six months to a year.


View of an undamaged Polish city from the cockpit of a German medium bomber aircraft, likely a Heinkel He 111 P, in 1939 [991x648]

In about 5 seconds, the city's going to be obliterated.

(correct me if I'm wrong about the power of German WWII bombers)

He-111's didn't have the bombing punch of our heavy bomber B-17's/B-24's or Brit Lancasters -- they were more medium bombers like our B-25 Mitchells.

So if the bombardier is lined up on a target, that building is about to go away, but not an entire swath of the city.

Really? I have a very misguided view of the Blitz in Poland. I thought the annexation was military by nature, but not aimed at destroying the place - merely overrunning it quickly and seizing control.

Anyone know the name of the city he's flying over? This is still in the first days of the war, so chances are that city didn't stay so pristine for long, if Warsaw is any example.

This is the cockpit area of a He-111. The photo OP posted is being taken over the shoulder of the nose gunner, likely by the pilot who is seated not much further back from the cameras position, or by any of the other three aircrew rear of the pilot.

EDIT: For those interested, the deleted comment was saying this couldn't have been taken from the cockpit, unless the person pictured was using the gun to control the 'plane.


Heinkel He 111: Rear View - History

Douglas SBD Dauntless

(Variants / Other Names: A-24 Dauntless DB.Mk I)


SBD-5 N93RW, owned and operated by the Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, Texas, USA, and flown by Tom "Gumby" Gregory. Rear gunner: T.C Jones. Photo courtesy Dave Zavoina.

History: In the spring of 1938, a Northrop dive-bomber designated the BT-1 entered service with the US Navy. Its influence was felt over at the Douglas Company, where a new naval dive-bomber was designed and produced based on the Northrop design. Initially designated the XBT-2, the new design was later called the SBD when Northrop was bought out by the Douglas Company. Production began in 1940, and although the SBD had a general likeness to its Northrop predecessor, it was a completely different airplane. Testing of the prototype (with a 1,000-hp Wright Cyclone engine) revealed an exceptionally capable airplane.

In April 1939, the US Marine Corps and US Navy placed orders for the SBD-1 and SBD-2, respectively, the latter having increased fuel capacity and revised armament. The first SBD-1s entered service with the Marines' VMB-2 Squadron in late 1940, and the first SBD-2s joined the Navy in early 1941. The next variant to appear, the SBD-3, entered service in March 1941, and incorporated self-sealing and larger fuel tanks, armor protection, a bullet-proof windshield, and four machine guns. The SBD-4 followed with an upgraded 24-volt electrical system, and a few of these were converted to SBD-4P reconnaissance platforms.

The next, and most produced, variant was the SBD-5, which was built at Douglas's new Tulsa, Oklahoma plant. It had a 1,200-hp R-1820-60 engine and increased ammunition capacity. Over 2,400 SBD-5s were built, and a few were shipped to the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, under the designation Dauntless DB.Mk I, but these were never used operationally. Mexico also took delivery of a small number of SBD-5s. The SBD-6, the final variant, had an even more powerful engine and greater fuel capacity.

Meanwhile, the US Army, realizing that it did not have a dive bomber equal in capability to Germany's Ju 87 Stuka, ordered the SBD-3 in 1941, under the designation A-24. This aircraft was identical to the Navy airplanes except it did not have an arresting hook, and its tailwheel had an inflated tire instead of a solid rubber one. The A-24 was never found to be of great use during WWII, as its range and performance were inadequate for service in the South Pacific, and the dive-bombing mission was of little use elsewhere. Nevertheless, the A-24 (and later the A-24A, equivalent of the SBD-4 and A-24B, equivalent of the SBD-5) remained in service with the US Army Air Corps for several years after the war.

Nicknames: Barge Clunk Speedy-D Speedy-3 Slow But Deadly Banshee (A-24).

Specifications (SBD-6):
Engine: One 1,350-hp Wright R-1820-66 Cyclone 9-cylinder radial piston engine
Weight: Empty 6,535 lbs., Max Takeoff 9,519 lbs.
Wing Span: 41ft. 6in.
Length: 33ft. 0in.
Height: 12ft. 11in.
Performance:
Maximum Speed: 255 mph
Cruising Speed: 185 mph
Ceiling: 25,200 ft.
Range: 773 miles
Armament:
Two forward firing 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine guns
Two 7.62-mm (0.3-inch) machine guns on flexible mounts
Under-fuselage mountings for up to 1,600 pounds of bombs
Wing hard-points for up to 650 pounds of bombs.

Number Built: 5,936

Number Still Airworthy: 3

[ SBD Pilot Report 1 by J.B. Stokely ]

[ SBD Pilot Report 2 by Dave Hirschman ]


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