German Bombers and Transport Aircraft

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  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956. Since the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany from having an air force, German pilots had to be trained in secret from the Treaty of Versailles. Initially, civil aviation schools within Germany were used, yet only light training planes could be used in order to maintain the facade that the trainees were going to fly with civil airlines such as Lufthansa. To train its pilots on the latest combat aircraft, Germany solicited the help of its future enemy, the USSR, which was also isolated in Europe. A secret training airfield was established at Lipetsk in 1924 and operated for approximately nine years using mostly Dutch and Russian, but also some German, training aircraft before being closed in 1933. This base was officially known as 4th squadron of the 40th wing of the Red Army.

    On 26 February 1935, Adolf Hitler ordered Hermann Göring to establish the Luftwaffe, breaking the Treaty of Versailles's ban on German military aviation. Germany violated the treaty without sanction from Britain, France, or the League of Nations, and neither they nor the league did anything to oppose this. Although the new air force was to be run totally separately from the army, it retained the tradition of according army ranks for its officers and airmen, a tradition retained today by united Germany's Luftwaffe and by many air forces throughout the world. It is worth noting, however, that before the official promulgation of Göring's new Luftwaffe in 1935, Germany had a paramilitary air force known as the Deutscher Luftsportverband (DLV: German air sports union). The DLV was headed by Ernst Udet and its insignia were taken over by the new Luftwaffe, although the DLV "ranks" had special names that made them sound more civilian than military. Dr. Fritz Todt, the engineer who founded the forced labor Organisation Todt, was appointed to the rank of Generalmajor in the Luftwaffe. He was not, strictly speaking, an airman, although he had served in an observation squadron during World War I and had been awarded the Iron Cross. He died in a plane crash in February 1942.

    National Socialist Party came to power, the eagle held between his claws the symbol of the party—the swastika (an old symbol of sunrise)—which was usually enveloped by an oak wreath. Göring rejected the old heraldic eagle because he felt it was too stylized, too static, and too massive; instead he chose a younger, more natural and lighter eagle with wings spread as if in flight, as he considered this a more suitable symbol for an air force. While the Wehrmacht eagle held the symbol of the National Socialist Party firmly in its claws, the Luftwaffe eagle held the swastika with only one claw while the other was bent in a threatening gesture.

    The Luftwaffe attempted to incorporate all military units that had anything to do with air warfare. Given the strong nazi origin and influence in the Luftwaffe, this was seen as a way to increase nazi influence in the army (alongside the other project in this respect, the formation of SS divisions), as well as boosting the personal prestige of Göring. Thus the anti-aircraft (Flak) and airborne troops (Fallschirmjäger) fell under direct Luftwaffe command, and the navy (Kriegsmarine) never established its own air branch; naval aviation was executed by the Luftwaffe. Even the aircraft flown from the (never finished) aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin were intended to be operated by the Luftwaffe. By the middle of the war, when personnel assignments for the Luftwaffe were disproportionate to a shrinking amount of planes, the excess personnel was not transferred to the army (Heer), but instead organized into Luftwaffe Field Divisions in 1942. However, their performance as ground units was so poor that command was transferred to Heer in 1943, although they retained their name.

    At the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of the most modern, powerful, and experienced air forces in the world, dominating the skies over Europe with aircraft much more advanced than their foreign counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to the German Blitzkrieg (lightning war) doctrine, as the close air support provided by various medium two-engine bombers, Stuka dive bombers and an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were key to several early successes. However, unlike the British and American Air Forces, the Luftwaffe never developed four-engine bombers in any significant numbers, and was thus unable to conduct an effective long-range strategic bombing campaign against either the Russians or the Western Allies.

    The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the most versatile and widely-produced fighter aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe and was designed when biplanes were still standard. Many versions of this aircraft were made. The engine, a liquid cooled Mercedes-Benz DB 601, initially generated up to almost 1,000 hp (750 kW). This power increased as direct fuel injection was introduced to the engines. The kill ratio (almost 9:1) made clear this plane was far superior than any of the other German fighters during the war. In this regard it was followed by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 at 4:1. This plane had relatively short wings and was powered by a radial BMW engine. The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka was a main asset for Blitzkrieg, able to place bombs with deadly accuracy. The leader of the Luftwaffe was Hermann Göring, a World War I fighter ace and former commander of Manfred von Richthofen's famous JG 1 (aka "The Flying Circus") who had joined the Nazi party in its early stages.

    In the second half of 1940, the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain over the skies of England, the first all-air battle. Following the military failures on the Eastern Front, from 1942 onwards, the Luftwaffe went into a steady, gradual decline that saw it outnumbered and overwhelmed by the sheer number of Allied aircraft being deployed against it. Towards the end of the war, the Luftwaffe was no longer a major factor, and despite fielding advanced aircraft like the Messerschmitt Me 262, Heinkel He 162, Arado Ar 234, and Me 163 it was crippled by fuel shortages and a lack of trained pilots. There was also very little time to develop the new aircraft, and they could not be produced fast enough by the Germans, so the jet- and rocket-powered planes proved to be "too little too late".
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #2 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
    The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Often described as a "Wolf in sheep's clothing", it masqueraded as a transport aircraft, but its purpose was to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium bomber.

    Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive "greenhouse" nose of later versions, the Heinkel was the most numerous and the primary Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. It fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament, relatively low speed, and poor manoeuvrability left it exposed. Nevertheless it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European Theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Atlantic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Fronts.

    Although constantly upgraded, the Heinkel He 111 became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The He 111 was to have been replaced by the Luftwaffe's Bomber B project, but the delays and eventual cancellation of the project forced the Luftwaffe to continue using the He 111 until the end of the war. Manufacture ceased in 1944, at which point, piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force defunct, the He 111 was used in transport and logistics roles. The design of the Heinkel endured after the war in the CASA 2.111. Its airframe was produced in Spain under license by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA. The design differed significantly in powerplant only. The Heinkel's descendant continued in service until 1973, when it was retired.
     

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  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #3 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    In the early 1930s Ernst Heinkel decided to build the world's fastest passenger plane, a goal met with scepticism by Germany's aircraft industry and political leadership. Heinkel entrusted development to Siegfried and Walter Günter, both fairly new to the company and untested. In June 1933 Albert Kesselring visited Heinkel's offices. Kesselring was head of the Luftwaffe Administration Office: at that point Germany did not have a State Aviation Ministry but only an aviation commissariat, the Luftfahrtkommissariat. Kesselring was hoping to build a new air force out of the Flying Corps being constructed in the Reichswehr and convinced Heinkel to move his factory from Warnemunde to Rostock and turn it over to mass production with a force of 3,000 employees who would produce the first He 111. Heinkel began a new design for civil use in response to new American types that were appearing, the Lockheed 12, Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.

    The first single-engined Heinkel He 70 Blitz ("Lightning") rolled off the line in 1932 and the type immediately started breaking records. In its normal four-passenger version its speed reached 380 km/h (230 mph), powered by a 447 kW (600 hp) BMW VI engine. The elliptical wing that the Günther brothers had already used in the Bäumer Sausewind sports plane before they joined Heinkel became a feature in this and many subsequent designs they developed. The design drew the interest of the Luftwaffe, which was looking for an aircraft with dual bomber/transport capabilities. The He 111 was a twin-engine version of the Blitz, preserving the elliptical inverted gull wing, small rounded control surfaces and BMW engines, so that the new design was often called the Doppel-Blitz ("Double Blitz"). When the Dornier Do 17 displaced the He 70, Heinkel needed a twin-engine design to match its competitors. Heinkel spent 200,000 hours developing it. The fuselage length was extended to just over 17.4 m/57 ft (from 11.7 m/38 ft 4½ in) and wingspan to 22.6 m/74 ft (from 14.6 m/48 ft).

    The first He 111 flew on 24 February 1935, piloted by chief test pilot Gerhard Nitschke, who was ordered not to land at the company's factory airfield at Rostock-Marienehe, as this was considered too short, but at Rechlin. He ignored these orders and landed back at Marienehe. He said that the He 111 performed slow manoeuvres well and that there was no danger of overshooting the runway. Nitschke also praised its high speed "for the period" and "very good-natured flight and landing characteristics", stable during cruising, gradual descent and single-engined flight and having no nose-drop when the undercarriage was operated. However during the second test flight Nitschke revealed there was insufficient longitudinal stability during climb and flight at full power and the aileron controls required an unsatisfactory amount of force.

    By the end of 1935, prototypes V2 V4 had been produced under civilian registrations D-ALIX, D-ALES and D-AHAO. D-ALES became the first prototype of the He 111A-1. On 10 January 1936, and received recognition as the "fastest aircraft in the world", as its speed exceeded 402 km/h (250 mph).[11] However, this was incorrect; the fastest aircraft at that time was the Macchi M.C.72, which broke the record in 1934. The design would have achieved a greater total speed had the DB 600 engines of 746 kW (1,000 hp) been added. However, German aviation industries lacked power plants with more than 447 kW (600 hp). Heinkel were forced to use the BMW VI glycol-cooled engine.
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #4 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    Early civilian versions

    The first prototype, He 111 V1 (W.Nr. 713, D-ADAP), first flew from Rostock-Marienehe on 24 February 1935. It was followed by the civilian-equipped V2 and V4 in May 1935. The V2 (W.Nr. 715, D-ALIX) used the bomb bay as a four-seat "smoking compartment", with another six seats behind it in the rear fuselage. V2 entered service with Lufthansa in 1936, along with six other newly-built versions known as the He 111 C. The He 111V4 was unveiled to the foreign press on 10 January 1936. Nazi propaganda inflated the performance of the He 111C, announcing its maximum speed as 400 km/h (249 mph), in reality its performance standing at 360 km/h (224 mph).[15] The He 111C-0 was a commercial version and took the form of the V4 prototpye design. The first machine, designated D-AHAO "Dresden". It was powered by the BMW VI engine and could manage a range (depending on the fuel capacity) of 1,000 km (621 mi) to 2,200 km (1,367 mi) and a maximum speed of 310 km/h (193 mph). The wing span on the C series was 22.6m (74 ft 1¾in). The fuselage dimesions stood at 17.1m (56 ft 1¾in) in the He 111V1, but changed in the C to 17.5m (57 ft 5in). The Jumo 205 diesel-type powerplant engine replaced the BMW VI. Nevertheless, the maximum speed remained in the 220–240 km/h (137-149 mph) bracket. This was increased slightly when the BMW 132 engines were introduced. A general problem existed in powerplants. The He 111 was equipped with BMW VI glycol-cooled engines. The German aviation industry lacked powerplants that could give an output more than 600hp. The engines that were of suitable quality were kept for military use, frustrating German airline Lufthansa and forcing it to rely on the BMW VI or 132s.

    The He 111G was an upgraded variant and had a number of differences to its predecessors. To simplify production the leading edge of the wing was straightened, like the bomber version. Quite a few different engine types were used, among them the BMW 132, BMW VI, DB 600 and DB601A. Some C variants had been upgraded with the new wing modifications. A new BMW 132H engine was also used in a so-called Einheitstriebwerk (unitary powerplant). These radial engines were used in the Junkers Ju 90 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 200. The wing units and engines were packed together as complete operating systems, allowing for a quick change of engine. The He 111G was the most powerful as well as the fastest commercial version. The G-0 was given the BMW VI 6.0 ZU. Later variants had their powerplants vary. The G-3 for example was equipped with the BMW 132. The G-4 was powered by DB600G inline 950 hp engine and the G-5 was given the DB601A with a top speed of 410 km/h (255 mph). By early 1937, eight G variants were in Lufthansa service. The maximum number of He 111s in Lufthansa service was 12. The He 111 operated all over Europe and flew flights as far away as South Africa. Commercial development ended with the He 111G.
     

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  5. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #5 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    The He 111Z was a design that entailed the merging of two He 111s. The design was originally conceived to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 glider. Initially, four He 111H-6s were modified. This resulted in a twin-fuselage, five-engine aircraft. They were tested at Rechlin, and the pilots rated them highly. A batch of 10 were produced and five were built from existing H-6s. The machines were joined by a centre wing formed by two sections 6.15 m (20 ft) in length. The powerplants were five Jumo 211F engines at 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) each. Total fuel capacity was 8,570 L (2,260 US gal). This was increased with the addition of four 600 L (160 US gal) drop tanks. It could tow a Gotha Go 242 glider or Me 321 for up to 10 hours at cruising speed. It could also remain airborne if the three centralised powerplants failed. The He 111Z-2s and Z-3s were also planned as heavy bombers carrying 1,800 kg (3,970 lb) of bombs and having a range of 4,000 km (2,500 mi). The ETC extensions allowed for a further four 600 L (160 US gal) drop tanks to be installed.

    The He 111Z-2 could carry four Henschel Hs 293 anti-shipping guided missile, which were guided by the FuG 203b Kehl III missile control equipment. With this load the He 111Z had a range of 1,094 km (680 mi) and a speed of 314 km/h (195 mph). Its maximum bombload was 7,200 kg (15,870 lb). To increase power the five Jumo 211F-2 powerplants were to be fitted with Hirth TK 11 superchargers. The armament was the same as the H-6 with the addition of one 20 mm MG 151/20 in a rotating gun-mount of the centre section. The variant did not display any convincing (stable) flight performance. The layout of the He 111Z had the pilot and his controls in the port fuselage only. Only the controls themselves and essential equipment remaining in the starboard section. The aircraft had a crew of seven; a pilot, first mechanic, radio operator and gunner in the port fuselage, and the observer, second mechanic and gunner in the starboard fuselage.

    The Z-3 was to be a reconnaissance version and was to have additional fuel tanks increasing its range to 6,000 km (3,730 mi). Production was due to take place in 1944, just as bomber production was being abandoned. The long-range variant designs failed to come to fruition. The He 111Z was to have been used in an invasion of Malta in 1942 and as part of an airborne assault on the Soviet cities Astrakhan and Baku in the Caucasus in the same year. During the Battle of Stalingrad their use was cancelled due to insufficient airfield capacity. Later in 1943 it helped evacuate German equipment and personnel from the Caucasus region and during the Allied invasion of Sicily attempted to deliver reinforcements to the island. During operations, the He 111Z did not have enough power to lift a fully loaded Me 321. The He 111s in RATO (rocket assisted takeoff) units were supplemented by rocket pods. Two were mounted beneath each fuselage and one underneath each wing. This added 500 kg (1,100 lb) in weight, but gave additional thrust to the engines. The pods were then released by parachute after takeoff.[36] The He 111Z's operational history was minimal. One such machine was caught by RAF fighter aircraft over France on 14 March 1944. The He 111Z was towing a Gotha Go 242, and was shot down. Eight were shot down or destroyed on the ground in 1944.
     

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  6. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #6 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    Polish campaign

    Five He 111 Geschwader were committed to the German invasion of Poland. Kampfgeschwader 1 (KG 1), Kampfgeschwader 4 (KG 4), Kampfgeschwader 26 (KG 26), Kampfgeschwader 27 (KG 27) and Kampfgeschwader 53 (KG 53). All, with the exception of KG 4 were committed to Luftflotte 1 under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring. KG 4 operated under Luftflotte 4. The He 111 provided medium-high altitude interdiction and ground support missions for the German Army. The He 111 participated in the Battle of the Bzura when the Polish Army Poznań and Army Pomorze were virtually destroyed by aerial assault. It also participated extensively in the Siege of Warsaw. During the campaign the Luftwaffe had anticipated that its bombers would be able to defend themselves adequately. PZL P.11s "for all their limited firepower and aerodynamic limitations, were capable of handing out severe punishment when able to engage the bombers without interference".

    Phoney war

    During the period of the phoney war the He 111 was tasked with strategic bombing attacks over the North Sea and naval bases in the United Kingdom as a means of attacking the Royal Navy. On 9 November 1939, Adolf Hitler issued directive No. 9 which emphasised the target with most importance as the British Navy. Mindful of the damaging blockade that hurt the German war effort in the First World War, the directive selected British port storage depots with particular reference to oil and grain facilities, mining British sea lanes and direct attacks on British merchant shipping. In October 1939 several sorties had been made to bomb the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow and the Firth of Forth. HMS Hood was a particular target. Interceptions were made by RAF Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane squadrons and suffered the odd losses. One significant incident took place on 22 February 1940. Kampfgeschwader 26 were ordered to attack fishing boats in the Dogger Bank region. The Kriegsmarine suspected they were being used as early warning vessels to report German warship movements in the North Sea, who at this time had made sorties to sink Allied merchant shipping. At the same time a German naval flottila 1st Zerstörerflottille was sent into to the are to disrupt Allied shipping. Lying between the German ships and the open sea was a massive minefield to prevent the Royal Navy from reaching the Heligoland Bight. Within the field lay a 6 mile (10 km) gap for the Germans to slip through. The liaison between the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe broke down. KG 26 had not been told of the German destroyers' presence. Attacking from 5,000ft (1,500m) the He 111s sank the Leberecht Maas and the Max Schultz, with the loss of 600 German sailors.

    Norwegian campaign

    The Heinkel formed the backbone of the Kampfwaffe in Operation Weserübung, the invasions of Denmark and Norway. KG 4, KG26 and KGr 100 were committed. The occupation of Denmark took less than 24 hours with minimal casualties and no aerial losses. The He 111s first task along with the Luftwaffe in general was to offset British Naval superiority in the North Sea. He 111s of KG 26 were to support the German Naval Task Force, composed of the heavy cruisers Blücher and Lützow, light cruiser Emden, three E-Boats and eight minesweepers with 2,000 men to Oslo. KG 26 were unable to prevent the sinking of Blücher at the Battle of Drøbak Sound by the Oscarsborg Fortress. KG 26 focused on Drøbak since the other strong points were taken. Showered with SC 250 250 kg (550 lb) bombs, the Norwegians capitulated. Heinkel He 111s of KG 26 helped Junkers Ju 88s of KG 30 damage the battleship HMS Rodney and sink the destroyer HMS Gurkha on 9 April. With most of the country secure the He 111s participated in the Battles of Narvik and anti-shipping missions against Allied reinforcements being brought to Norway by sea in May-June 1940.

    French campaign

    The French Campaign opened on 10 May 1940. The He 111 Geschwader encountered scattered and uncoordinated Allied fighter resistance over the Netherlands and Belgium. On 14 May 1940, He 111s of KG 54 undertook the Rotterdam Blitz in which large portions of the city were destroyed after the 111s had dropped some 91 tonnes (100 tons) of bombs. The Dutch surrendered early the following morning, ending the Battle of the Netherlands. Most units suffered light to moderate losses in the early stages. The exception was KG 27, which suffered the heaviest losses of the He 111 Geschwader over the French sectors. By the end of the first day, seven He 111s were missing, two were written off and five damaged. The He 111s supported the dash to the English Channel and helped defeat the French forces at Sedan, the Allied counter-offensive at the Battle of Arras and assisted German siege forces during the Battle of Dunkirk. During the Sedan breakthrough, 3,940 sorties were flown against French positions by German bomber formations, the bulk of which were equipped with the He 111. The result was a French collapse that made the pincer move of Fall Gelb possible. The He 111 - with its heavier bomb load - was also tasked with the destruction of the French rail network in the Reims and Amiens regions. Their attacks were instrumental in preventing French reinforcements and retreats. Any French counter against the German forces left flank was impossible as a result. With the conclusion of Fall Gelb the He 111 units prepared for Fall Rot. Some 600 He 111s and Do 17s took part in Operation Paula which was aimed at the final destruction of French air power in and around Paris. The resulting combats and bombing failed to destroy what remained of the Armée de l'Air. From that point He 111 losses were light, with occasional exceptions. The He 111 had performed well, though losses were substantially higher than in any campaign before it. This was mainly due to its light defensive armament. This would be exposed during the Battle of Britain, the first major test of the He 111s poor defensive armament.
     

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  7. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #7 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    Battle of Britain

    Luftflotte 2 and Luftflotte 3 committed 34 Gruppen to the campaign over Britain. Fifteen of them were equipped with the He 111. The remainder were mixed Do 17 and Ju 88 units. The He 111 and Ju 88 were equal in performance in all but speed, in which the Ju 88 was faster. The Do 17 was also faster, but lacked the heavy bomb load capabilities of the Ju 88 and He 111. During the Battle of Britain the He 111 was to fare better than the Ju 88. The Heinkels ability to take heavy punishment was one of its strengths. However The battle highlighted the need for heavier armament and effective protection by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Messerschmitt Bf 110 units if losses were to be kept to sustainable levels. The concentration of most of the crew in the glass nose made the He 111 vulnerable to concentrated fire from a head-on attack. A frontal shot of a He 111H, summer 1940. The cockpit design gave the crew excellent vision but was vulnerable to attack from a head-on position

    The advantages won in July and August were destroyed by the switch of strategy to bombing British cities (known as the Blitz) on 7 September 1940. The He 111 was now being asked to perform in the role of the strategic bomber, something it had not been intended for. Despite this, the He 111 carried enough destructive power to cause severe damage to strategic targets; the de Havilland Mosquito factory near Bristol was devastated by Kampfgeschwader 53 on 30 August. A month later, the Woolston factory was destroyed largely by He 111s of Kampfgeschwader 55 on 26 September; the factory had been producing the Supermarine Spitfire. This attack forced the factory's closure and dispersal, though the disruption to production was, at that time, not as serious as it would have been in July/August 1940.

    He 111s were fitted with the Knickebein during the Blitz, leading to the Battle of the Beams. This system was intended to increase the navigational ability of the He 111. Several aircraft using this system were needlessly risked over London in nuisance raids in the winter 1939/40. One was shot down on 13 February 1940 but the crew were killed and the aircraft was lost over the North Sea. The Knickebein was later upgraded to the X-Gerät. This was expected to increase the precision to the extent that it could target individual buildings. Eventually, the Y-Gerät was introduced, as an enhanced version of the previous X system. On 3 November 1940 the RAF had a chance to evaluate a He 111 with the equipment. The bomber had landed along the coast and was partially submerged. A Royal Navy captain who arrived claimed command of the salvage operation as he was a superior rank to the attending Army Officer. The captain insisted the He 111 be towed to deeper water before hoisting it up. The ropes snapped and the He 111 sank. The machine was eventually pulled out, but the salt water had got into its Gerät system.

    The Luftwaffe tried to attack industrial, transport and civilian targets simultaneously but failed to do so. Even so the He 111 contributed to the Birmingham Blitz, Bristol Blitz, Barrow Blitz, Coventry Blitz, Liverpool Blitz, Plymouth Blitz and Southampton Blitz which caused severe damage. Some of these targets were obscured by cloud, but the equipped X-Gerät Heinkels inflicted heavy damage. However the British countered its use with decoy sites to attract the attention of bombers and the "Meacon" system, which disrupted Luftwaffe beacon transmissions.
     

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  8. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #8 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
    The He 111 also served as a torpedo bomber in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Atlantic campaign the Luftwaffe created Fliegerführer Atlantik for this purpose. In the spring 1941, the Luftwaffe had been using conventional bombs to attack shipping more often than not. Such a method resulted in heavy losses to He 111 units in aircraft and crew as the 111s attack point was too close. III./Kampfgeschwader 40 had only eight of 32 crews remaining by April 1941 and had to be withdrawn. Most He 111 units were replaced by the faster Junkers Ju 88 and Dornier Do 217 which also suffered losses, but not to the extent of the He 111.

    A proper aerial torpedo could have prevented such losses. The German Navy had purchased Horton naval torpedo patents from Norway in 1933 and the Whitehead Fiume patent from Italy in 1938. But air-launched torpedo development was slow. In 1939 trials with Heinkel He 59 and Heinkel He 115 had revealed a 49 percent failure rate owing to aerodynamic difficulties and depth control and fusing difficulties. Until 1941 the Luftwaffe obtained poor results in this field. When in 1941 the Luftwaffe took an active interest, the Kriegsmarine resisted Luftwaffe involvement and collaboration and direct requests by the Luftwaffe to take over development was refused. With the Atlantic campaign in full swing, the Luftwaffe needed a torpedo bomber to allow its aircraft to avoid increased shipping defensive armament. It set up a number of schools devoted to torpedo attack at Gossenbrode, Germany and Athens, Greece. It was found that the He 111 was highly suited to such operations.

    In December 1941 the Luftwaffe was granted the lead in torpedo development. Trials at Grossenbrode enabled the He 111 to carry two torpedoes, while the Ju 88 could also manage the same number and remain faster in flight. KG 26 was equipped with both the He 111 and Ju 88. Some 42 He 111s served with I./KG 26 flying out of Norway. The He 111's ordnance was the Italian Whitehead Fiume 850 kg (1,870 lb) torpedo and the German F5 50 kg (110lb) light torpedo. Both functioned over a distance of 2 miles (3 km) at a speed of 25mph (40kmph) The Whitedhead armament weighed over 200 kg (440lb). To make an attack the He 111 pilot had to drop to 130ft (40m) and reduce air speed to 120mph (193kmph). The water depth had to a minimum of 50ft (15m). The He 111 was committed to operations in the Arctic Ocean against the Arctic convoys traveling to the Soviet Union from North America and the United Kingdom.

    One notable action involved I./KG 26 attacking Convoy PQ 17 in June 1942. I./KG 26 and its He 111s sank three ships and damaged three more. Later, III./KG 26 helped Ju 88s of III./KG 30 based at Banak sink several more ships. Some 25 out of 35 merchant ships were sunk altogether. Convoy PQ 16 was also successful intercepted by KG 26, who claimed four vessels, but lost six crews in return. Convoy PQ 18 was also intercepted during 13 15 September 1942. In total some 13 out of 40 ships were sunk. However it cost the Luftwaffe 40 aircraft, of which 20 were KG 26 He 111s. Of the 20 crews, 14 were missing.

    He 111 torpedo units continued to operate with success elsewhere. Anti-shipping operations in the Black Sea against the Soviet Navy were also carried out. The Soviets mainly sailed at night and singly. It made interception very difficult. The Soviets heavily protected their shipping at sea and in port. Anti-aircraft defensive fire was severe in daylight and at night were supported by searchlights. Nevertheless it failed to stop the He 111 Geschwader continued to press home their attacks with some success. In the Mediterranean theatre the Allies had won air superiority by 1943 but the torpedo Geschwader, KG 26, continued to operate He 111s in shipping attack units. The He 111s attacked Allied shipping along the African coast flying from bases in Sicily and Sardinia both in daylight and darkness. In spite of nightfighers and anti-aircraft defences the He 111s continued to get through to their targets. Losses meant a gradual decline in experienced crews and standards of attack methods. Such missions were largely abandoned in the spring owing to shortages in aircraft and crews. By April, KG 26 could only scrape together some 13 Ju 88 and He 111 torpedo bombers. With the exception of I./KG 26 all other groups converted onto the Ju 88.
     

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  9. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #9 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    The Rashid Ali Rebellion and resulting Anglo-Iraqi War saw the Luftwaffe committ 4.staffel.II./KG 4 He 111s to the Iraqi Nationalists cause under "Flyer Command Iraq" (Fliegerführer Irak). Painted in Iraqi markings their stay was very brief. Due to the Iraqi collapse the Staffel was with drawn on 31 May 1941, just 17 days after its arrival. The record of the He 111 fleet at the time of its departure between the 15 and 29 May indicated it had participated in seven armed reconnaissance flights and five bombing missions against Habbaniya which involved 20 crews and the dropping of 10 tons of bombs.

    The Italian failures during the initial period of the North African Campaign forced the Wehrmacht to reinforce the Axis forces in North Africa which led to a 28 month aerial campaign. The He 111 along with the Ju 88 took on deep offensive bombing operations from the very beginning. In January 1941 a number of Kampfgeschwaders carried out raids against the Royal Navy and Allied convoys. KG 26 was the first unit to be used in this capacity. Some of the early raids were costly despite the lack opposition. On night of 17/18 January 12 of KG 26s machines set out to bomb Benghazi, seven of eight were lost after running out of fuel. Successes were frequent and the minesweeper HMS Huntley and the freighter Sollum were sunk. A number of He 111 units, mostly KG 26, also supported the German invasion of Crete. During the Balkans conflict and following attack on the Soviet Union, most of the bomber operations in the theatre fell to the Ju 88 and Junkers Ju 87 equipped units. The He 111s returned during the winter of 1941/42 during the stalemate on the Soviet-German front.

    Throughout 1941-1942, the small numbers of He 111s assisted in the attempt to starve Malta into surrender. With most of RAF Fighter Command concentrated on the Channel Front, the He 111s and the Luftwaffe came close to achieving this by gradually strangling the sea supply routes and forcing a partial collapse of British sea power in the central Mediterranean Sea. The Allied forces on Malta were considering surrender as late as November 1942. It was not until later that month the attacks ceased and the siege was lifted.
     

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  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Great stuff gehko but what is your source? Are you copying from a website, a book or is this something you have been working on?
     
  11. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    All the information that I have is in spanish, so sometimes I translate it and in other ocasions I take the information from internet or from one of the many e-books that I have. To be honest, I would like to write it by myself, but you have to consider that is very difficult to write in a diferent lenguage, and write a text like these would take me weeks. In any case this is helping me to improve my writting english.

    Concernning the pictures, check out my thread "new sites"; most of my pictures come from those sites.
     
  12. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    thanks for the links. You put together some neat threads..great work !
     
  13. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #13 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    On 22 June 1941 Adolf Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The Heinkel order of battle on this date amounted to three Kampfgeschwader. KG 53, committed to Luftflotte 2 attached to Army Group North. KG 27 was committed Luftflotte 4's Army Group Centre and KG 55, allocated to V. Fliegerkorps. As in the previous campaigns the He 111 were to provide tactical support to the German Army. Little thought was given to strategic bombing. It was thought that such an undertaking would not be required until the conquest of the European part of the Soviet Union west of a line connecting the cities of Arkhangelsk and Astrakhan, often referred to as the A-A line. During 1941-1942 the tactical use of the He 111 was limited owing to its limited manoeuvrability and bulky airframe. The He 111 was switched to the job of "train busting". The only specialised German ground attack aircraft was the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Henschel Hs 123. However, both lacked the range. The only recourse was to "employ" the He 111, along with the Ju 88. Some units had success. For example, KG 55 destroyed or damaged 122 train loads, along with claims of 64 locomotivess. But the Soviets set up countermeasures. Heavy concentrations of anti-aircraft artillery caused losses to increase, particularly in inexperienced crews. KG 55's special train busting staffel (Eis)./KG 55 suffered some 10 percent losses. During the winter battles of 1941, the He 111 was used also reverted back to a transport aircraft. The He 111 helped evacuate 21,000 soldiers from the Demyansk pocket, while transporting some 24,300 tons of food and ammunition. The He 111 proved invaluable in the "battle of the pockets".

    Later, in 1942, the He 111 participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. During the Soviet Operation Uranus, which encircled the German Sixth Army, the He 111 fleet once again was asked to fly in supplies. The operation failed and the Sixth Army was destroyed. Some 165 He 111s were lost to heavily entrenched Soviet defences around the city during the siege.

    The He 111 operated in the same capacity as in previous campaigns on the Eastern Front. The bomber was asked to perform strategic bombing functions. Targeting Soviet industry had not been high on the OKL's agenda in 1941-42, but prior to the Battle of Kursk several attempts were made to destroy Soviet military production. The tank factory at Gorkovskiy Avtomobilniy Zavod (GAZ) was subjected to a series of heavy attacks throughout June 1943. On the night of 4/5 June, He 111s of Kampfgeschwader 1, KG 3, KG 4, KG 55 and KG 100 dropped 161 tonnes (179 tons) of bombs, causing massive destruction to buildings and production lines. All of GAZ No. 1 plant's 50 buildings, 9,000 m (29,500 ft) of conveyers, 5,900 pieces of equipment and 8,000 tank engines were destroyed. However, the Germans made an error in target selection. The GAZ plant No. 1 produced only the T-70 light tank. Factory No. 112, the second-biggest producer of the more formidable T-34, continued production undisturbed. Soviet production facilities were repaired or rebuilt within six weeks. In 1943, Factory No. 112 produced 2,851 T-34s, 3,619 in 1944, and 3,255 in 1945. The Luftwaffe had also failed to hit the Gorkiy Artillery Factory (No. 92) or the aircraft plant where the Lavochkin La-5 and La 5FN were made. The Luftwaffe failed to disrupt the Soviet preparation for the coming battle, but the He 111 had proved capable of operating in a strategic role.
    Heinkel He 111 H in flight

    Soviet fighter opposition had made strategic bombing in daylight too costly. German bombers crews were retrained in the winter of 1943/44 to fly night operations. The offensive began on the night of the 27/28 March 1944. Some 180 to 190 He 111s took part dropping an average of 200 tons of bombs. On the night of 30 April/1 May 1944, 252 sorties were flown. This was the highest number flown during the offensive. The targets were mainly Soviet marshalling yards in the western and eastern Ukraine.

    Later in the summer, 1944, the He 111 once again operated with success as part of the shrinking German bomber force. German industry began to move factories eastward, out of the range of RAF Bomber Command and United States Army Air Force attacks. In response, the USAAF started shuttle missions to the Soviet Union in which they would continue on and land in the USSR after their mission. The USAAF would then repeat the mission and continue to England. IV. Fliegerkorps was ordered to target the airfields of the USAAF bombers. On 21 June 1944, the US Eighth Air Force's B-17 Flying Fortresses landed at Mirgorod and Poltava airfields after bombing targets in Debrecen, Hungary. The Soviets had not prepared proper anti-aircraft defences and IV. Fliegerkorps and its He 111s from KG 4, KG 53 and KG 55 dropped 91 tonnes (100 tons) of bombs destroying 44 B-17s and 15 US fighters. The He 111s flew at altitudes of 4,000-5,000 m (13,120-16,400 m), and not a single German aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Such missions were halted thereafter. The suspending of the "shuttle missions" (known as Operation Frantic) was assessed by the Germans as a result of the Soviet failure to provide appropriate protection. It is likely, however, that the B-17 and P-51's, which now had the range to strike anywhere in Europe, and had bases that could reach Eastern Europe in Italy, did not fly shuttle missions to the Soviet Union owing to these reasons.
     

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  14. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #14 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    By the spring, 1943, the numbers of He 111s in operational combat units was declining. The introduction of more powerful bombers, mostly the Junkers Ju 88, but also the Dornier Do 217 (as a rival anti-shipping attack aircraft) forced the He 111 out of service. Luftwaffe offensive operations were largely halted after late 1943 owing to Allied air superiority. Nevertheless, the anti-shipping missions against the Soviet Navy in the Black Sea. The late model He 111 H-16s in particular were fitted with FuG 200 Hohentweil anti-shipping radar. The armament of the FuG 200 equipped He 111s consisted of several difference types of Anti-ship missiles. The Henschel Hs 293 L-10 Friedensengel, a glider-mounted torpedo and the Blohm Voss Bv 143 and Blohm Voss BV 246 rocket-assisted glide bombs. Only the Hs 293s reached the operational stage. The Hs 293 was controlled by the FuG 203b Kehl III guidance control box. After the bomb was released, and the rocket fuelled power unit ignited, the rocket cleared the aircraft and was then in sight of the bomb aimer. The aimer controlled the lever of the FuG 203 to adjust the angle of the missile's control surfaces. Flares were attached to the missiles to allow the crew to track the direction of the missile until impact.

    Other variants such as the He 111H-16/R3 and H-20/R2 pathfinders carried V-1 flying bombs to their targets in London as part of Adolf Hitler's "vengeance" campaign. The V-1s had been launched from northern France and the German occupied Netherlands, but of the 2,000 launched some 50 percent had reached London, of which 661 were shot down. The He 111H-21 and H-22 were asked to deliver the V-1s when the British and Canadian 21st Army Group liberated the Netherlands and overran the landing sites. Some of the H-22s were loaded with Fieseler Fi 103R (Reichenberg) missiles. The conditions of late 1944 differed greatly from the "Blitz" of 1940-41. RAF nightfighters carried the AI Mk IV metric wavelength radar and the high performance of types like the de Havilland Mosquito ensured German bomber crews had to stay low to the surface of the sea to avoid early detection, while flying the North Sea route to the British coast. Flying at low-level for long periods carried heavy risk of collision with a rising wave. In order to have any chance of surviving, crews were forced to wear bulky immersion suits and inflatable life vests that made the average flight, of three to five hours, very uncomfortable.

    The raids usually started from the radio beacon at Dan Helder, the Netherlands. When the release point was reached, the pilot would climb to 1,600ft (500m) and release the payload before retreating back to low altitude. The return journey was just as dangerous at that time. Mosquito units operating over the Netherlands and continent posed a threat to He 111s as they sought to land. In late 1944 and 1945, the He 111 reverted to a transport role. It helped evacuate Axis forces from Greece and Yugoslavia in October - November 1944. He 111 units also transported men and material out of Budapest, during the siege of the city, while He 111s of Kampfgeschwader 4 assaulted Soviet bridgeheads and lay mines in the Danube to hamper the Red Army from crossing the river. The remaining He 111s withdrew from the Hungarian front after the siege ended in February 1945 to concentrate on destroying the bridges over the Oder river as the Soviet advance was nearing Berlin.
     

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  15. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #15 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    The Arado Ar 232 Tausendfüssler (German:"Millipede") was the first truly modern transport aircraft, designed and built in small numbers by the German firm Arado during World War II. The design introduced almost all of the features now considered to be "standard" to modern transports, including a low-slung box-like fuselage, rear loading ramp, a high tail for easy access to the hold, and various features for operating from rough fields. Although the Luftwaffe was interested in replacing or supplanting their fleet of outdated Ju 52/3m transports, they were overloaded with types at the time and did not purchase large numbers of the Ar 232.

    The Ar 232 design led from a tender offered by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry, RLM) in late 1939 for a replacement for the Ju 52 transport. Both Arado and Henschel were asked for rear-loading designs powered by two of the 1,193 kW (1,600 hp) BMW 801A/B radial engine, which was just entering prototype production and not currently used on any front-line designs. The Arado design beat out Henschel's after an examination of the plans, and an order for three prototypes was placed in 1940.

    Wilhelm van Nes led the design of the Ar 232. He began at the cargo area, with a bay directly behind the cockpit that extended 6.6 m (21 ft 7¾ in) to the rear, 2.3 m (7 ft 6½ in) wide and 2.0 m (6 ft 6¾ in) high. Typical designs of the era would use a side-mounted door for access, but the Ar 232 used hydraulically powered clamshell-doors on the rear of the bay with a ramp to allow cargo to be rolled into the hold. The tail control surfaces were mounted on the end of a long boom to keep the area behind the doors clear so trucks could drive right up to the ramp. This allowed the Ar 232 to be loaded and unloaded faster than other designs. For short-field performance, the Ar 232 incorporated Arado's own "travelling flap" design for the entire rear surface of the wing. Even loaded to 16,000 kg (35,270 lb), the plane could take-off in 200 m (656 ft). This distance could be further reduced by using rocket assist (RATO) for take-off, and either parachutes or reverse RATO for landing.

    The most noticeable feature of the Ar 232 was the landing gear. Normal operations from prepared runways used tricycle gear, but the struts could "break", or kneel, after landing to place the fuselage closer to the ground and thereby reduce the ramp angle. An additional set of 11 smaller wheels per side supported the aircraft once "broken", or could be used for additional support when landing on soft or rough airfields. The aircraft was intended to be capable of taxiing at low speeds on its small wheels, thus being able to negotiate small obstacles such as ditches up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in width. The appearance of the row of small wheels led to the nickname "millipede". In flight, the main legs fully retracted into the engine nacelles, while the support wheels remained extended and the nose wheel only semi-retracted. Normally operated by a crew of four, the pilot was the only member without two jobs. The navigator operated a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun in the nose, the radio operator a 20 mm MG 151 cannon in a rotating turret on the roof, and the loadmaster a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun firing rearward from the extreme rear of the cargo bay above the cargo doors.
     

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  16. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #16 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    Even before the prototypes were complete in 1941, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 project had moved to the BMW 801A/B, and was proving to be a capable design. Production of the BMW 801 was insufficient to supply this new demand, and the Ar 232 was forced to use another engine. Eventually, the BMW Bramo 323 from the Junkers Ju 352 was selected instead, as it was already in production and could meet requirements if the Ar 232 really did replace the Ju 52/3m in service. The prototypes were far enough along that switching engines would have seriously delayed the program, so the first two were to be completed as the Ar 232A, and the third and a newly ordered fourth as the Ar 232B. The prototypes (and all production aircraft) used four engines (in place of the two specified in the RLM specification) in order to provide the desired performance.

    The first two prototypes, GH+GN and VD+YA, started trials in early 1941. The first flight resulted in the collapse of the nose gear, but the millipede wheels saved the plane from damage. A further ten pre-production machines were built, and were used operationally as the Ar 232A-0 while awaiting production versions. In general, the Ar 232 completely outperformed the Ju 52/3m. It carried roughly double the load over longer distances, operated from shorter runways and rougher fields if need be, and cruised about 70 km/h (44 mph) faster. The Ar 232B program ran at the same time. With four 895 kW (1,200 hp) Bramo 323, the plane increased in power from 2,386 kW (3,200 hp) to 3,580 kW (4,800 hp), solving the A model's problem of having little excess power in case of engine failure. This change also required the wing to be extended slightly, the span rising just over 3 m (9 ft 10 in) in total. The extra weight of the engines also moved the center of gravity forward, which was offset by extending the cargo area rearward another meter.

    Two prototypes were ordered, the V3 and V4, and V3 first flew in May 1942. A further 10 were then ordered as the Ar 232B-0, and were used widely in an operational role. However, this was the only order for the design, as the Luftwaffe gave transport aircraft production a very low priority. Many of those produced were used by Arado to transport aircraft parts among their factories, and did not see front-line service. Plans were also made to replace the outer wing sections and control surfaces with wooden versions to conserve then-limited supplies of aluminium. Originally to be known as the Ar 232C, the design dragged on and was later re-named the Ar 432. Plans were finally put into place to start production in October 1945, but the war ended without even a prototype being produced. Two even larger planned versions, the Ar 532 and the Ar 632, would have almost doubled the wingspan to 60 m (196 ft 10 in) and added another two engines. Two of the B-0s were captured by the British at the end of the war. After test flights by Eric "Winkle" Brown, who gave the design excellent marks, they were used by the Royal Air Force on flights between England and Germany after the war.
     

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  17. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #17 gekho, May 2, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
    The Dornier Do 17, sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift (German: "flying pencil"), was a World War II German light bomber produced by Claudius Dornier's company, Dornier Flugzeugwerke. It was designed as a Schnellbomber ("fast bomber"), a light bomber which, in theory, would be so fast that it could outrun defending fighter aircraft. The Dornier was designed with two engines mounted on a "shoulder wing" structure and possessed a twin tail fin configuration. The type was popular among its crews due to its manoeuvrable handling at low altitude, which made the Dornier capable of surprise bombing attacks. Its sleek and thin airframe made it harder to hit than other German bombers, as it presented less of a target.

    Designed in the early 1930s, it was one of the three main Luftwaffe bomber types used in the first three years of the war. The Do 17 made its combat debut in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, operating in the Legion Condor in various roles. Along with the Heinkel He 111 it was the main bomber type of the German air arm in 1939-40. The Dornier was used throughout the war, and saw action in significant numbers in every major campaign theatre as a front line aircraft until the end of 1941, when its effectiveness and usage was curtailed as its bomb load and range were limited. Production of the Dornier ended in the summer of 1940, in favour of the newer and more powerful Junkers Ju 88. The successor of the Do 17 was the much more powerful Dornier Do 217, which started to appear in strength in 1942. Even so, the Do 17 continued service in the Luftwaffe in various roles until the end of the war, as a glider tug, research and trainer aircraft. A considerable number of surviving examples were sent to other Axis nations. Few Dornier Do 17s survived the war. The last was scrapped in Finland in 1952.
     

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  18. skeeter

    skeeter Member

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    Nice reading and photos. I purchased a book not too long ago about the Nazi effort to produce an 'Amerika Bomber.' Alas, America was just too far away to make it worthwhile, though I am surprised they did not go for one or more one way missions with a minimal crew flying back out over the Atlantic after pickling their bombs on, say, New York City. It could have ditched next to a sub in the dead of night one would think with direction finding equipment and some subdued lighting, and be gone before trouble showed up. But later in the war, this would have been more problematic with the airborne radar sets that the Allies had begun fielding. As far as the Heinkel 111? It was inadequate from the start. How much more could the Nazis have pounded England, and all parts of it, with a four engine job (built from the ground up to be a bomber) if they had had them in quantity? Concentrating, of course on military targets and not on London and other civilian centers, as it was a key mistake of the Nazi leadership, thereby taking pressure off of England's military assets and Fighter Command. In a nutshell, the maniacal Hitler started the war too soon. His navy was ready. His air force not tuned to the job of conquering, but rather defense. The vaunted Me 109, for instance, was not an offensive fighter. If it was, it would have had the range to prove it, like the Mustang.
     
  19. skeeter

    skeeter Member

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    Hitler's navy WAS NOT ready, I meant to say.
     
  20. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #20 gekho, May 3, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    In 1932, the Ordnance Department (Heereswaffenamt) issued a specification for the construction of a "freight aircraft for German State Railways", and a "high speed mail plane for Lufthansa". The factory at Friedrichshafen began work on the design on 1 August 1932. When the Nazis took power in 1933, Hermann Göring became National Commissar for aviation with former Lufthansa employee Erhard Milch as his deputy, soon forming the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM — Air Ministry). The RLM designated the new aircraft Do 17, and on 17 March 1933, just three months after taking office, Milch gave the go-ahead for the building of prototypes. At the end of 1933, the RLM issued an order for a "high speed aircraft with double tail," and for a "freight aircraft with special equipment," in other words, a bomber. The original design (the Do 17 V1) configuration in 1932 had sported a single vertical stabilizer, and Dornier continued developing that model. The Do 17 was first demonstrated in mock-up form in April 1933. The "special equipment" was to be fitted later, to disguise its offensive role.

    In April 1934, the Dornier works at Manzell began project "definition." During this month, the defensive armament was designed and the bomb release mechanism details ironed out. Production of these prototypes began on 20 May 1934 and, on 23 November 1934, the Do 17 V1, with a single fin and powered by two BMW VI 7.3 motors, took off on its first flight. Testing was delayed by a series of accidents, with V1 being damaged in landing accidents in February and April 1935. The twin-tailed V2 (powered by low-compression BMW VI 6.3 engines) first flew on 18 May 1935 and was evaluated together with the V1 by the RLM at Rechlin in June. During the tests, the single fin proved to be only marginally stable, resulting in the V1 being modified with a twin tail. The aircraft was destroyed in a crash after an engine failure on 21 December 1935. The V3, also fitted with a twin tail, was originally planned to be powered by Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs engines, but as these were unavailable, it was fitted with BMW VI 7.3 engines like the V1 and flew on 19 September 1935. The V1 prototype remained the only built machine with the single stabilizer.

    It is claimed that, unlike the Heinkel He 111 series, whose military use was planned from the start, the Do 17 V1 was contracted as a fast six-passenger mail plane to compete with the smaller Heinkel He 70 monoplane. It has been suggested that it was rejected by Lufthansa, as the cramped cabin was too uncomfortable for passenger use and the operating costs also were too high for a mail plane. According to the story, the three prototypes remained unused in the Dornier factory in Lowental for almost six months, until Flight Captain Untucht of Lufthansa came across them. After receiving permission to fly one of the machines, he proceeded to put it through an almost stunt flying routine. After landing, he said that "the machine is as nimble as a fighter, give it more lateral stability and we'll have a high speed bomber!" Untucht's comments prompted Dornier to redesign the tail unit and revived interest in the type.

    Dornier was then ordered to produce the V4 prototype. Some sources state this differed from the V3 in that the passenger portholes were removed and the single fin was replaced with two smaller ones. Photographic evidence demonstrates the V3 had twin stabilizers from the start of its construction. The tests of the "twin-tailed" V4, V6 and V7 prototypes were positive and more prototypes like the V8 emerged as the forerunner of the long-range reconnaissance version, while the V9 was tested as a high-speed airliner. The V9 machine was still flying in 1944.
     

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