Heinkel He 111

Although the Heinkel He 111 was designed ostensibly as a civil airliner for Lufthansa, its military potential was of a far greater importance. The first prototype of Siegfried and Walter Gunter's enlarged, twin-engine development of the remarkable He 70 was fitted with a glazed nose when flown at Rostock-Marienehe on 24 February 1935, in the hands of Flugkapitan Gerhard Nitschke. An all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane, it was powered by two 660 hp (492 kW) BMW VI 6,OZ engines and was followed by two further prototypes, each with shorter-span wings than those fitted on the first prototype. The third aircraft became the true bomber prototype and the second, which flew on 12 March 1935, was a civil version with a mail compartment in the nose and two passenger cabins, with seats for four and six passengers. After tests at Staaken this prototype eventually joined the Lufthansa fleet, although much of the development work on the civil version was carried out by the fourth prototype, the first to be revealed to the public and demonstrated at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport on 10 January 1936. Lufthansa received six He 111C 10 seat airliners during 1936, and these first entered service on the Berlin-Hannover-Amsterdam, Berlin-Nuremberg-Munich and Berlin-Dortmund-Cologne routes. Lufthansa received later a number of He llIG-3 transports with 880 hp (656kW) BMW 132Dc engines and, later, a further generally similar hatch under the alternative designation He 111L.

Development of the military counterpart continued with the manufacture of 10 He 111A-0 pre-production aircraft, based on the third prototype, but with a longer nose and armed by three MG 15 machine-guns in nose, dorsal and ventral positions. Two were used for operational trials at Rechlin but poor handling, power deficiencies and inadequate performance resulted in rejection, and all 10 were later sold to China. The solution was the installation of two 1,000-hp (746-kW) Daimler-Benz DB 600A engines, first fitted to the fifth (B-series) prototype which flew in early 1936 as the forerunner of the first production versions built at Marienehe from the autumn of 1936. These comprised the He 111B-1 powered by the 880-hp (656-kW) DB600, followed by the He 11IB-2 with 950-hp (708-kW) DB 600CG engines. The improvement in the performance of these aircraft resulted in the Reichsluftfahrtministerium placing such large orders that it was necessary to build a new He 111 construction facility at Oranienburg, near Berlin, this being completed in 1937.

The B-series was followed by the He 111D-1 with improved DB 600Ga engines, but the urgent need to divert DB 600 powerplant for fighter production meant that this version was built in only small numbers. This brought introduction of the 1,000 hp (746 kW) Junkers Jumo 211A-1, installed initially in a He 111D-O airframe to serve as the prototype of the He 11IE-0 pre-production series. In the initial production He 11IE-1 bomber of February 1938 the bombload was increased to 3,748 lbs (1700 kg), but the He 11IE-3 had another increase to 4,409 lbs (2000 kg), and the ensuing He 11IE-4 could carry 2,205 lbs (1000 kg) of this total on underfuselage racks; final sub-variant of the E-series, the He 111E-5 introduced an additional 183.7 Imp gal (835 litres) of auxiliary fuel carried within the fuselage. The next version into production was the He 111G which first introduced a new wing of simplified construction with straight, instead of curved taper. This was used first in the He 111G-3 civil transport built for Lufthansa, and there was some delay before it was approved by the RLM. Then followed the He 111G-1, basically similar to C-series aircraft but for the addition of the new wing, and the He 111G-4 which was powered by the 900 hp (671 kW) DB 60OG engine; four He IIIG-5 aircraft supplied to Turkey had Daimler-Benz 600Ga engines. Next came, unsequentially, the similar He 111F-1 powered by Jumo 211A-3 engines of which 24 were supplied to Turkey, and 40 virtually identical aircraft were built for the Luftwaffe in 1938 under the designation He IIIF-4.

Developed in parallel were the H-series and P- series, the latter introducing in 1939 a major fuselage redesign which replaced the stepped cockpit by an extensively-glazed cockpit and nose section and, at the same time, moved the nose gun position to starboard to improve the pilot's view. The pre-production He 111P- 0 also introduced a revised ventral gondola, with the gunner in a prone position, and was powered by two 1,150 hp (858 kW) DB 601 Aa engines. Relatively few He 111Ps were built before this version was superseded by the H-series, the He 111P-1 which was virtually identical to the pre-production aircraft being delivered first in the autumn of 1939; the He llIP-2 differed only by having changes in radio equipment, and the He 111P-3 was a dual-control trainer. Heavier armour protection and up to six MG 15 machine-guns were introduced in the five-crew He 111P-4 which, in addition to carrying 2,205 lbs (1000 kg) of bombs internally had ETC 500 racks beneath the fuselage for a similar external load; the He 111P-6 had all-internal stowage for 4,409 lbs (2000 kg) of bombs, and later P-series conversions, for use as glider tugs with 1,175 hp (876 kW) DB 60IN engines installed, were redesignated He 111P-2/R2.

A Heinkel He 111H-16 of the 9./KG 53 'Legion Condor' wearing the escort identity bars carried by
bombers involved in the large daylight bombing raids on London 15 September 1940

The major production version, built in a large number of variants, was the H-series, the He 111H-0 and He 111H-1 pre-production/production batches being basically the same as He 111P-2s except for the installation of 1,010 hp (753 kW) Jumo 211A engines.

The He 111H-2 which became available in the autumn of 1939 had Jumo 211A-3 engines and carried two additional MG 15 machine-guns, one in the nose and one in the ventral gondola, and the He 111H-3 introduced armour protection and armament comprising a 20-mm MG FP cannon and an MG 15 in the ventral gondola, two MG 15s in the nose, one dorsally mounted, and similar weapons in beam positions. The He 111H-4 introduced Jumo 211D-1 engines and was equipped with two external racks to carry a 3,968 lbs (1800 kg) bombload that could include two 1,686 lbs (765 kg) differed only by having increased fuel capacity.

When He 111H-3 and He 111H-5 aircraft were later fitted with a nose-mounted device to fend off balloon cables they were both redesignated He 111H-8, and subsequent re-conversion for use as glider tugs was made under the designation He 111H-S/R2. Junkers Jumo 21IF-1 engines with variable-pitch propellers, and a fixed MG 17 machine-gun mounted in the tail, identified the He 111H-6; and the He 111H-10 was developed and built in small numbers especially for the night bombing offensive against the UK, these being equipped with Kute-Nase balloon cable-cutters in the wing leading edges and additional armour protection. Armament changes and a fully- enclosed dorsal position accommodating an MG 131 machine-gun identified the He 111H-11, in which the nose position carried a 20 mm MG FP cannon and the ventral MG 15 was replaced by a twin-barrel MG 81Z; when the beam guns were later replaced by MG 81Zs these aircraft were redesignated He 111H-11/R1, and changed their designation yet again to become He 111H-11/R2 when adapted to tow Gotha Go 242 gliders. The He 111H-12 and He 111H-15 were both built in small numbers, without the ventral gondola, to serve as missile launchers for Henschel and Blohm und Voss weapons respectively. The first of the pathfinder versions had the designation He 111H-14, and when converted later to serve as a glider tug was redesignated He 111H-14/R2.

Built in large numbers, following introduction in the autumn of 1942, the He 111H-16 was generally similar to the He 111H-11, but equipped to carry a bombload of up to 7,165 lbs (3250 kg), although this necessitated the use of R-Gerate rocket-assisted take off equipment; it was built in sub-variants that included the He 111H-16/RI which had a revolving dorsal turret with an MG 131 machine-gun, He 111H-16/P.2 equipped for rigid- bar towing of gliders, and the He 111H-16/R3 which carried additional radio equipment for use as a pathfinder. The ensuing He 111H-18 was also a pathfinder, with exhaust flame dampers to make it suitable for night operations, followed by the He 111H-20 built in sub-variants that included the He IIIH-20/Rl carrying 16 paratroops, He 111H-20/R2 night bomber/glider tug, He 111H-20/R3 night bomber with heavier armour protection and improved radio, and the virtually identical He IIIH-20/R4 with GM-1 power boosting equipment for the powerplant; when a 1,750 hp (1305 kW) Jumo 213E-1 engine with two-stage superchargers was installed in He 111H-20/R3 aircraft they were redesignated He 111H-21. The He 111H-22 was equipped to carry a Fieseler Fi 103 (V-1) missile beneath each wing, and the final H-series variant was the He 111H- 23 paratroop transport with 1,776 hp (1324 kW) Jumo 213A-1 engines.

Produced in parallel with the F-series, the He 111J-0 and He 111J-1 were intended as torpedo-bombers and powered by 950 hp (708 kW) DB 600CG engines, but the He 111J-1 production aircraft, of which about 88 were built, were equipped as bombers. A single prototype was built of a proposed high-altitude bomber under the designation He 111R, powered by two 1,810 hp (1350 kW) DB 603U engines, but no production aircraft resulted. Final, and certainly the most unusual version, was the He 111Z (Zwilling, or twin), designed to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant transport glider. It comprised two 111H-6 airframes joined by a new wing centre-section which mounted a fifth Jumo 211F-2 engine. Two prototypes and 10 He 111Z-1 production aircraft were built during the winter of 1941-2.

First deliveries to an operational squadron were made late in 1936, to 1./KG 154 at Fassberg, and in February 1937 30 He 111B-ls were sent to the Legion Condor bomber unit K/88 in Spain, following operational trials in which four of the pre-production He 11IB-Os were flown by a flight of VB 88. The He 111 bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe's bombing effort in early World War 11. Poland in the autumn of 1939, Norway and Denmark in April 1940, France and the Low Countries in May and against British targets during the Battle of Britain. Large-scale introduction of the Junkers Ju 88, and the He 111's vulnerability to British fighters, resulted in the Heinkel bomber being transferred to night operations and to a variety of specialised roles, as a missile-carrier, torpedo-bomber, pathfinder and glider- tug. Transport duties were also undertaken, including operations to supply the beleaguered German army at Stalingrad between November 1942 and February 1943, and by the end of the war He Ills were virtually flown only in the transport role. Production of more than 7,000 German-built aircraft for the Luftwaffe was completed in the autumn of 1944. In addition to those manufactured in Heinkel factories at Marienehe and Oranienburg, He Ills were built by Norddeutsche Dornierwerke in Wismar, by Allgemeine Transport-gesellschaft in Leipzig, Arado in Babelsberg and Brandenburg/Havel and at other centres. Some 236 He 111Hs were built by CASA in Spain during and after the war as the CASA 2.111, approximately 130 with Jumo 21IF-2 engines and the rest with Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-29s. Some were converted later for transport and training duties.

He 111A/A-0

Following unsatisfactory tests of 10 pre-production He 111A-0 bombers, all were sold to China.

He 111B/B-1/B-2

Testing of the fifth prototype with 746 kW (1,000 hp) DB 600A engines led in 1936 to the production He 111B-1 with 656 kW (880 hp) DB 600C engines, followed by the He 111B-2 with the 708 kW (950 hp) DB 6OOCG.

He 111C

Six 10-passenger airliners for Lufthansa.

He 111D

An improved version with DB 600Ga engines and auxiliary wing radiators deleted; production was discontinued in favour of the He 111E.

He 111E/E-0/E-1/E-3/E-4/E-5

The shortage of DB 600 engines brought installation of 746 kW (1,000 hp) Junkers Jumo 211A-1 engines in an He 111D-0 airframe; the resulting He 111E-0 pre-production prototype had increased bombload; production He 111E-1 bombers were delivered in 1938, followed by the He 111E-3 and He 111E-4 with further increase in bombload and He 111E-5 with fuselage auxiliary fuel tank.

He 111F/F-1/F-4

The new wing of the He 111G and Jumo 211A-3 engines characterised the 24 He 111F-1 bombers supplied to Turkey; the Luftwaffe received 40 similar He 111F-4 aircraft in 1938.

He 111G/G-1/G-3/G-4/G-5

First version with the new straight-taper wing which, incorporated on the He 111C, brought redesignation He 111G-1; the He 111G-3 had 656-kW (880-hp) BMW 132Dc engines, the He 111G-4 671-kW (900-hp) DB 60OGs, and four He 111G-5 aircraft for Turkey had DB 600Ga engines.

He 111H/H-0/H-1/H-3/H-4/H-5/H-6/H-8/(H-8/R2)/H-10/H-11/(H-11/R1/R2)/H-12/H-15/H-14/(H-14/R2)/H-16/(H-16/R1/R2/R3)/

Developed in parallel with the He 111P series, the He 111H-0 and He 111H-1 were basically He 111P-2s with 753 kW (1,100 hp) Jumo 211A engines; the He 111H-2 of 1939 had improved armament; the He 111H-3 introduced armour protection and a 20-mm cannon; the He 111H-4 had Jumo 211 D-1 engines and two external racks for bombs or torpedoes, and the generally similar He 111H-5 had increased fuel capacity; the He 111H-6 introduced Jumo 211F-1 engines and machine-gun in the tailcone; He 111H-8 was the redesignation of He 111H-3s and He 111H-5s following installation of fenders for balloon cables, most of them being converted later to He 111H-8/R2 glider tugs; the He 111H-10 for night bombing of UK targets had additional armour, reduced armament and wing leading-edge balloon cable-cutters; the He 111H-11 and He 111H-11/R1 had revised armament, the last becoming He 111H-11/R2 when converted later as a glider tug; the He 111H-12 and He 111H-15 were missile-launchers, the He 111H-14 a pathfinder version and the He 111H-14/R2 a glider tug; introduced in 1942, the He 111H-16 was a major production variant similar to the He 111H-11 but able to carry a 7,165 lbs (3250 kg) bombload with the use of rocket-assisted-take-off gear. The He 111H-16/R1 had a revolving dorsal turret, the He 111H-16/R2 was for rigid bar towing of gliders and the He 111H-16/R3 was a pathfinder version as was the He 111H-18 with exhaust flame dampers. Four versions of the He 111H-20 comprised the He 111H-20/R1 capable of carrying 16 paratroops. The He 111H-20/R2 night bomber/glider tug, the He 111H-20/R3 with increased armour protection and the generally similar He 111H-20/R4 which introduced GM-1 power boost equipment. A version of the He 111H-20/R3 with 1,750 hp (1305 kW) Jumo 213E-1 engines and two-stage superchargers was designated He 111H-21. The He 111H-22 was a missile carrier and the He 111H-23 was a paratroop transport with 1,776 hp (1324 kW) engines.

He 111J/J-0/J-1

A torpedo bomber version of the He 111F series, the He 111J-0 and He 111J-1 both had 950 hp (708 kW) DB 600CG engines.

He 111L

The alternative designation for the He 111G-3 civil transport.

He 111P/P-0/P-1/P-2/P-3/P-4/P-6

In 1939 the He 111P series introduced a major fuselage redesign, the stepped cockpit being replaced by an asymmetric glazed cockpit and nose. The He 111P-0 introduced a prone position ventral gondola and was powered by two 1,150 hp (858 kW) DB 601Aa engines. First being deliveries of the He 111P-1 began in late 1939. The He 111P-2 was similar but for radio revisions. The He 111P-3 had dual controls and the five crew He 111P-4 had more armour and armament. The He 111P-6 had 1,175 hp (876 kW) DB 601N engines and its 4,409 lbs (2000 kg) bombload stowed vertically in the fuselage; when later converted as a glider tug the He 111P-6 became the He 111P-6/R2.

He 111R

A single prototype of proposed high altitude bomber.He 111Z/Z-1

The He 111Z (Zwilling, or twin) combined two He 111H-6 airframes, joined by a new wing centre-section to mount a fifth Jumo 211F-2 engine; designed to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant transport glider; two prototypes and 10 He 111Z-1 production aircraft were built.  

Specifications (Heinkel He 111H-16)

Type: Four or Five seat medium bomber (Later used as a torpedo bomber, glider tug and missile launching platform)

Design: Ernst Heinkel AG

Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel AG, SNCASO (France), Fabrica de Avione SET, CASA (Spain), Romania.

Powerplant: Two 1,350 hp (1007 kW) Junkers Jumo 211F-2 12-cylinder inverted Vee piston engines.

Performance: Maximum speed 227 mph (365 km/h) at sea level; service ceiling 21,980 It (6700 m).

Range: 1,212 miles (1950 km) with full bombload.

Weight: (Z-2) Empty equipped 19,136 lbs (8680 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 30,865 lbs (14000 kg).

Dimensions: Span 74 ft 1 3/4 in (22.60 m); length 53 ft 9 1/2 in (16.40 m); height 13 ft 1 1/4 in (4.00 m); wing area 931.11 sq ft (86.50 sq m).

Armament: One 20 mm MG FF cannon, one 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine gun and three 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 81Z machine guns, plus a normal internal bombload of 2,205 lbs (1000 kg). Could carry up to 7,165 lbs (3250 kg) of bombs (most externally) with the use of rocket-assisted-takeoff-gear (RATOG).

Variants: He 111A, He 111B/B-1/B-2, He 111C, He 111D, He 111E/E-0/E-1/E-3/E-4/E-5, He 111F/F-1/F-4, He 111G/G-1/G-3/G-4/G-5, He 111H/H-1 to H-6/H-8, He 111H-8/R2, He 111H-10, He 111H-11, He 111H-11/R1/R2, He 111H-12/H-15 (missle launchers, He 111H-14 (pathfinder), He 111H-14/R2 (glider tug), He 111H-16 (major production version), He 111H-16/R1/R2/R3, He 111H-18, He 111H-20/R1/R2/R3/R4, He 111H-21, He 111H-22, He 111H-23, He 111J/J-0/J-1, He 111L, He 111P/P-0/P-1/P-2/P-3/P-4/P-6, He 111P-6/R2, He 111R, He 111Z/Z-1 (Zwilling).

History: First flight (He 111V-1 prototype) 24 February 1935, (pre-production He 111B-0) August 1936, (production He 111B-1) 30 October 1936 (first He 111E series) January 1938, (first production He 111P-1) December 1938, (He 111H-1) January/February 1939, final delivery (He 111H-23) October 1944, (Spanish C2111) late 1956.

Operators: Germany (Luftwaffe, Lufthansa), China, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Turkey.