DB603 powered He177B in 1941

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    Daimler-Benz DB 603 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Heinkel He 177 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So hypothetically speaking if the He177B (4 propellor version) was available in 1941 with the DB603 engine (1750 HP), because the DB603 is not cancelled in 1937, instead remaining funded by the RLM, and the He177 is therefore designed as a 4 propellor aircraft without dive bombing requirements. That would make it available in 1941 for service.

    What would the effect be of having such an aircraft available for the Luftwaffe at the start of Barbarossa?

    Below are the specs for a later version of the He177 with weaker engines than a DB603 powered version. The version below is therefore less capable than the version I am proposing (it would be lighter without the dive requirement and have more powerful engines), but it should provide a starting point to conceptualize the power of a Luftwaffe strategic bomber.

     
  2. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    Heinkel He 277 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    He277_B5.jpeg
    he277_drei.gif

    The He277 would have a similar profile to the HE177B that I'm imagining, as the engines were about the same power and size, but with better specific fuel consumption.
    The bomb load would be the same as the He177, but with better range like the He277.
     
  3. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,147
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Interesting thought
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    Any thoughts about what the targets would be? I'm thinking that initially it would be Moscow and the surrounding power infrastructure, with later oil refineries after Case Blue failed. Later still would be the Ural factories and probably Leningrad or some other industrial target in range.
     
  5. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tamago no Chie
    Location:
    Tamago no Chie, (B'ham, UK)
    Possible targets -semi strategic in a tactical sense - industrial targets with large rail heads - kill troops and supplies that might be in the process of being directed towards the front, perhaps preceding or during a Reich forces offencive... or on the defencive - attacking in a counter -attacking defencive manner, although die kliener moustachio would have political freedom to redirect targetting as per his usual.
     
  6. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    #6 wiking85, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
    So in the run up to Kursk we could see massed He177B strikes on the single rail road running into the Kursk salient? That would be an interesting use, as it would mean 6 tons of bombs per bomber per mission and by 1943 there would likely be around 500 in service operational (historically 1,200 were built throughout the war with their dysfunctional engines).

    kursk_1943.jpeg
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    By 1941 Heinkel Oranienburg had over 6,000 employees building Ju-88 light bombers. You want them to make He-177s instead?

    That would be great for the Battle of the Atlantic as Germany would have a proper maritime attack aircraft. However the Heer will have fewer of the highly effective Ju-88 light bombers for CAS. Life on the Russian front will be worse then historical for Germany unless all of those He-177s are used to interdict Lend-Lease convoys heading for Northern Russia.
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Why not Dave as you have suggested in other scenarios.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    He-177 was a large, expensive aircraft to purchase and operate.

    If DB603 engines are available during 1941 Germany might get more bang for the buck by kicking the Do-217 bomber program into high gear. The Do-217 is plenty large enough for operations from Norway.

    Germany could also consider a Ju-88H (i.e. stretch fuselage) variant powered by DB603 engines. This might be the most cost effective option of all.
     
  10. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    The Do-217 wasn't finished in 1941. It still had to got through significant development with its 'deepened' bomb bay through 1942 before it was really combat operational. It also lacked the range, speed, and payload to really make the strategic impact of the He177.

    The Ju88H wasn't developed until 1944. The Ju88 airframe had to go through a lot of development to reach that level, something that AFAIK couldn't be jumped up. It also lacked the payload to make the range worthwhile.

    No other bomber could do what the HE177B would/could have done in 1941 (without the dive bombing development) with the DB603. Obviously it was more expensive and harder to produce and required more fuel than the Ju88 or Do217, but it was able and designed to perform missions that the other two aircraft could not. The Ju88 was a medium range speed bomber, the Do217 a naval/level medium bomber replacing the He111. The He177 was a very long range strategic bomber/naval recon aircraft. It was meant for hitting targets that required heavy bomb loads at a distance that other bombers could not hit, like Soviet oil production, Ural factories, and Soviet electrical production centers.

    The He177 could have been produced in moderate numbers in 1941 probably having a single Geschwader operational. It would be probably about 90-100 aircraft with a total production for the year being around 200 units. That was very doable even maintaining historical production of the Ju88 if production was organized better. In fact the resources were set aside for the He177, but its constant technical troubles prevented it from entering mass production. By 1943 there is no reason there could not be several hundred operational, as historically some 600 were produced by 1944 anyway:
    Heinkel He 177 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    With a functional model that was actually combat operational production would have been higher or at very least as much.
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,512
    Likes Received:
    943
    Trophy Points:
    113
    #11 stona, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    Doctrine,doctrine,doctrine and politics.

    It was Robert Knauss,a former deputy of Milch at Luft Hansa who in 1933 proposed the development of a "Langstreckench-Grossbomber" to Milch. The paper he delivered is pure Douhet.Knauss' theories were controversial within the Wermacht at the time but were supported by Milch and importantly Walter Wever,the Luftwaffe's first Chief of Staff. It was Wever who famously announced to in a lecture to the German Air War college in 1935 that "the decisive weapon of air warfare is the bomber."

    It was Wever's support that led to the issuing by the RLM's "Technische Amt"of a specification for a strategic bomber in 1935. The specification went to Dornier and Junkers. The Do 19 and Ju 89 resulted.
    On 3rd June 1936 Wever was killed in a plane crash. He was replaced by Albert Kesselring who had very different ideas about the application of air power. He ordered an immiediate reappraisal of the so called "Ural Bomber" programme. It was abandoned,along with the doctrines of Knauss and Douhet on 29th April 1936.

    There were many in the RLM who considered this an error. Most notably Kurt Pflugbeil,the Inspector of Bombers. It was he who eventually pushed through the specification for "Bomber A" in 1936. Heinkel was the only serious contender and was awarded the contract. Work began on project P 1041 in October 1936 with Siegfried and Walter Gunther,working under Heinrich Hertel.

    The trials and tribulations of the early development (abandonment of surface evaporation cooling system,extra fuel tanks etc) had already reduced the performance considerably when,in November 1937,Udet suggested to Heinkel that the 177 might not be needed at all. Heinkel threatened to abandon the project entirely to which Udet replied.

    "Jeschonnek and the General Staff cannot see a way in which we could use it.Nobody is thinking of a war against England. Goring has had full discussions with the Fuhrer before taking the decision to concentrate all our resources on the twin engined dive bomber.........For the conflicts we are likely to be involved in we only need a medium bomber with a small range and small bomb load. We'll go on developing the He 177 for research purposes. Perhaps we can use it as a long range machine for the Navy,but it must be able to dive or it won't stand a chance."

    The He 177 now had to be able to bomb from a 60 degree dive. This led to a whole series of further problems. Heinkel wanted to power the second prototype with four Jumo 211 engines but was turned down by the RLM on the grounds that a normal four engined aircraft cannot dive. Dive bombing capability became something of a fixation for the RLM. When informed of this decision Siegfried Gunter is supposed to have said to Heinkel "they've gone absolutely crazy on dive bombing.It's become a mania."

    A four engined design was started by Heinkel under the designation He 179 in 1939 but Udet stopped it on 12th September 1939.

    The He 177 was not given a proper production schedule until 1940. According to Heinkel this was in response to Udet's wish to be able to attack the Royal navy at Scapa Flow. He thought destruction of the Home Fleet would force Britain to the negotiating table. Udet rarely comes over as the sharpest tool in the box :)

    Anyways,that's a long way of explaining why no four engined bomber was going to be available in 1941 or at any other time and also giving a bit of background to the doctrinal and political problems which plagued the development of a German strategic bomber force.

    An inkling of how the Germans may have used the type can be found in a letter from Jeschonnek to Milch on 28th October 1942.

    "the Fuhrer has expressed his opinion concerning the He 177 several times in the last few days,implying that he sets great value on seeing this aircraft operational on the Eastern front as soon as possible,even in its simplest form. He is thinking in terms of nocturnal horizontal attacks against area targets outside the range of our other aircraft."

    It was also seen as an escort for U Boats and the Atlantic blockade runners.

    There may be problems with your 1941 time frame too. Eight He 177s had been delivered for operational development by Erprobungsstaffel 177 by the end of August 1942. At this time there were only four qualified crews.

    Although 102 aircraft had been built by late 1942 only 33 had been accepted by the quatermaster-general's office for squadron service.Only two (prototypes V6 and V7) had been delivered to an operational unit,10.(Erg)/KG 40.

    Care is needed when drawing conclusions from raw and unqualified figures in Wikipedia type sources.

    The four engined concept,now with BMW 801 engines,was resurrected in March 1943 under the initial designation He 177 B,then A-8,possibly to disguise the fact that Heinkel were once again considering four engines.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  12. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,481
    Likes Received:
    325
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    London Ontario Canada
    They did make a He 177b with 4 Ju222 on it.
     
  13. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    #13 wiking85, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    @Stona:
    I'm well aware of the history of the He177 and German doctrine. I highly suggest you read James Corum's "Creating the Operational Air War", which debunks the myth of the Douhetian Wever and Luftwaffe, as well as the tactical Luftwaffe.
    The HE177 ran into problems with the incompetent Udet after Wever's death when Udet replaced Wimmer in the technical office, pretty much causing the exodus of anyone capable in a position to push back against Udet. This also brought in Goering's ridiculous ineptness to the management of the Luftwaffe, as prior he had been a non-entity really in its management, leaving it up to the competent Wever. Upon Wever's death Goering didn't want Milch to start to assert control over the Luftwaffe and instead side lined him while putting his puppets in control of the Luftwaffe who would respond to his infrequent orders when he deigned to give them.

    So if we go back to assuming the classic What If, Wever not dying in 1936, then the He177 doesn't run into its massive technical, manufacturing, and doctrinal problems, as Udet and Goering are not determining all of the above.
    Instead competent professionals remain in charge and the He177 isn't ordered to be modified to dive bomb, thus saving it from repeated delays and keeping it on track to be operational by 1941. In fact the original timeline from design to mass manufacture was 1936-1940, with more time added to get pilots trained on the type and ground crews familiar with maintenance. As it was if the original horizontal bombing role remained the same from design through testing, then the first prototype was to be delivered to Rechlin in 1938 and would have had a production schedule then, instead of having Udet cancel the HE177, then order it redesigned, then having to deal with the massive problems with technical issues, etc.
    Stick to the original design minus the problematic features like surface evaporation cooling, which can be relatively easily dealt with in development testing, and the design stays on track and enters production by the fall of 1940.
    Also with the DB603 getting funding from 1937-1940 instead of it being cancelled and then reactivated, it should be ready in 1941 for mass manufacturing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_177#Further_development-The_Heinkel_He_177B
    Based on some of these descriptions, it looks like the He177B as tested historically looked and performed like the He277.

    And the DB603 was used as the engine, not the BMW801.

    The point is that we can draw some lessons from the specs provided, as they pretty much match up to actual testing data of existing models, either the He177A, minus the technical problems, or the HE277 for further developments down the road.
     
  14. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    #14 wiking85, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    Except the Jumo222 never entered production and historically the He177B didn't enter testing until 1943, which it should have done in 1938.
    Heinkel He 177 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    At least according to Wikipedia, the Jumo222 was NOT used with the HE177B. Instead the DB603 WAS. I'm just suggesting moving up what historically happened by several years, as the technology was there, but stupid decisions were made and not fixed until far too late.

    There was some rumors of the Jumo222, but nothing confirmed,
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,512
    Likes Received:
    943
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yes they did.
    As far as four engined versions go I know of:

    He 177 V101,WNr 5550 coded NE+OD which first flew on 20th December 1943. It was powered by four DB 603 engines with annular radiators. This was fitted with Jumo 222 engines at some time later and was found,burnt out,at the Eger factory,Cheb,Cechoslovakia at the end of the war.

    The other three were:

    V102,WNr 0023 coded GA+QQ was converted from the He 177 V9 prototype. It retained the twin fins and rudder.

    V103,WNr 500036 coded KM+TL it started off with a single fin and rudder but was later altered to the twin fin design.

    V104,WNr 550055 coded KM+UE another twin fin and rudder version.

    These three were all powered by DB 603 engines.

    There were then proposals for several four engined versions.

    B-0 was to be powered by four BMW 801s
    B-5 (stufe I and stufe II) with DB 610 engines
    B-6 with BMW 801 engines and similar specifications to the B-5. There were also proposals foe a Jumo 213E powered version and even one for a version with six BMW engines!
    B-7 or A-10 would be like the second stage (stufe II) B-5 but with DB 603 engines.

    At a conference in May 1944,called by Goring, the prospects for the He 177 were deemed to be good. Goring even commented in reference to the type,"we will soon be using decent aircraft again."
    A month later "Overlord" took place and that was effectively the end for the He 177. None of the four engined production versions were ever built.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,512
    Likes Received:
    943
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The burnt out aircraft found at Cheb and generally accepted to be V101 was definitely fitted with Jumo 222 engines.
    In the photographs the fuselage is almost completely destroyed but the wings are relatively intact. The Jumo engines and their four bladed propellers are clearly visible. These engines were fitted by Flugzeugwerke Eger,probably as part of the He 277 development program. There is no evidence that the aircraft ever flew with them.

    Steve
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,512
    Likes Received:
    943
    Trophy Points:
    113
    There were still huge problems with the original design. Most worrying was the wing. Even removing the need for dive bombing the wing was 30% weaker than Heinkel's estimates. That's according to a Rechlin report.
    When Milch read the report he said:

    "First of all we tried a minor ear operation. Then we cured its teeth. Now its got a chronic heart ailment."

    There were also handling problems that were only overcome by imposing a maximum speed well below that theoretically attainable. An oscillation started at around 500kph and could not be stopped. It dissapeared only when speed was reduced to 400 kph. Friederich Utech of E-stelle Rechlin experienced this first hand.
    He remembered:

    "Everything functioned normally until we hit 500kph whereupon the flight mechanic suddenly pulled back on the throttles without being asked........I noticed that the aircraft had begun to excercise a slight undulating movement around the lateral axis......."

    This got worse as the aircraft deccelerated.

    "The amplitudes continued to rise with ever increasing frequency despite the reduction in speed.....A complete oscillation cycle took some three seconds. Fortunately they reached a maximum value and then began to subside.
    The cause of the oscillating behaviour was never discovered and the He 177 retained its upper speed limit."

    A British report noted:

    "This aircraft combines light elevator control and good elevator effect with comparatively low strength,the consequence being that wrinkling of the wing or wing failiures may result from careless flying."

    This doesn't sound quite like the wonderful aircraft some would have us believe. It was not a strong aeroplane.

    If you go with four engines the DB 603 isn't a requirement,other engines could be used.

    I never said that the BMW 801 was used on any version of the He 177. It was part of a proposal at the meetings in March 1943,I've got drawings dated 15.3.43 which show this option.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    #18 wiking85, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    The problem with this is that by the time Rechlin got the aircraft it had already been modified heavily so that it could dive bomb. The reference mentioned above is to removing dive bombing from the mission profile, but still problems with horizontal bombing AFTER all of the massive modifications to make it dive bombing capable that threw the design off balance. That's not to say that there still wouldn't be problems with the design during testing, but the massive deviations in 1937 from the original design to shoehorn diving into the requirement changed the aircraft into a design monstrosity that was compromised. They didn't suddenly go back to the original design after changing it to make it dive bombing capable, they kept the modification that engineered into the aircraft as required by Udet in 1937. The point is that HAD the design NOT been modified from its original conception (minus minor changes to the cockpit and surface evaporative cooling that were needed) it is far less likely to have those problems that it historically experienced from the major modifications that unbalanced the aircraft.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,512
    Likes Received:
    943
    Trophy Points:
    113
    #19 stona, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    The RLM is often made a scapegoat.

    The plan to use the two DB 606 engines originated with the Heinkel design team not the RLM. It was Heinkel who had asked Daimler Benz to develop the engine for their P 1055 project (He 119). It puts the RLMs unwillingness to suddenly accede to Ernst Heinkel's request to change to a four engined design in context.

    The Gunter brothers proposed the evaporative cooling system for the very hot running DB 606 engines. The drag penalty incurred with the addition of radiators when this didn't work was Heinkel's fault,not the RLM's. The extra drag resulted in less range which in turn led to the fitting of extra fuel tanks. This required structural strengthening and extra weight,all factors reducing the expected performance of the aircraft. None of this has anything to do with the RLM.

    The decision to make the aircraft capable of bombing from a 60 degree dive should not be taken out of context either. The Avro Manchester was built with the same requirement,originally a 70 degree dive though this was later changed to a more realistic 25 degrees.. The only real problems for the He 177,caused by the decision,were a potential increase in weight and a corresponding radical undercarriage design. Even so the He 177 was never capable of being a dive bomber. It was an inherently weak design,and never was modified to dive bomb. Too much is made of this aspect of the design process with the benefit of hindsight.
    These are the facts:
    At a meeting at Karinhall on 13th September 1942 he asked Heinkel if the project could be saved. Heinkel replied that the engine problems were cured but "the airframe has to be strengthened for dive bombing." It was at this point that Goering said "It does not have to dive." A relieved Heinkel told the Reichmarshal that the He 177 could go straight to the squadrons,which it patently could not.

    The on going structural problems were highlighted by Generalstabsing Roluf Lucht on a visit to the Heinkel works at Marienehe in September 1942. He wrote that there was "a neglectful and dwindling treatment of the question of structural strength." He warned Prof. Heinkel of ominous parallels between the He 177 and Me 210.

    Even had the aircraft been developed trouble free with two or four engines a 1941 introduction to service is optimistic. Shortly after the Munich crisis Jeschonnek asked Goring to authorise the manufacture of as many He 177s as possible. He wanted "at least five Geschwader by the autumn of 1942."

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    No other 1941 bomber could match the He-177B in range / payload but what does that accomplish for the German war effort? Germany had few air missions that required such a large, expensive aircraft. The He-177B would allow Germany to cancel the make shift Fw-200 maritime attack aircraft. Is it worth lowering Ju-88A production by 70 aircraft per month in order to build about 25 He-177Bs per month at Heinkel?

    Standard He-111Hs and Ju-88As had enough range to attack Allied convoys north of Norway. But they need a lot more then those historically assigned to achieve decisive results.

    Engines of the Red Army in WW2 - Routes Overview
    Arctic%20Route.jpg
     
Loading...

Share This Page