He-111: any growth potential?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The He-111 was one of most widely used bombers in the ww2, used also before and after ww2. It could be regarded as a key Luftwaffe weapon in 1939-41 time frame. Wonder how far ahead the bomber might've been developed? What was the best war-time variant, so we can draw some estimates?
     
  2. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Because of the way the internal bomb storage was structured it severely limited any meaningful way to house heavy weapons. The He111's so configured carried these weapons on external racks which cut into the performance and range capability of the aircraft. Armament is the next biggest issue. I feel the Luftwaffe never really properly addressed this area. Some aircraft looked like cactus with a lot of weapons sticking out but only so many crew could be carried before payload and range were affected.

    With these difficulties I don't really see any meaningful growth that can be accomplished. IMHO
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The He-111 may have been able to be developed.

    It depends on 3 things.

    How much change is acceptable? There was a big change from the B-17D to the B-17E. Much larger tail fin, change in taper of rear fuselage. Much increased weights and the addition of the power turrets.
    How much can you change the He 111 and what will those changes do to performance estimates. And how much delay /lost production? The changes to the B-17 happened after about 135 of all previous models had been built which means there was NO massive disruption of multiple exiting production lines.

    Availability of engines. Many countries had engines that advanced in power/capability in fits and starts. The Germans had two V-12s that seemed to stall in progress for a time during WW II. While the Jumo 211 did go from just about 1000hp at the beginning of the war and made it to about 1400-1500hp by end of production. Even late model He-111H-16s (late 1942) only got 1350hp F versions. It appears that it never got the "J" version of the engine???
    The last ones built got Jumo 213As of 1750hp.
    Basically the He 111 didn't get engines of comparable power to a B-25 until 2-3 years later than the B-25. Wellington was getting 1600-1700hp engines in 1942.
    The DB series of engines offer no solution as they rarely offered much more power at any given point in time. Unless you go for the DB 603.

    He 111 with BMW 801s?

    3rd point is armament. Goes a bit with how much modification. Offensive weapons require enlarged bomb bay and/or modified spars running through the fuselage section. Adding more external racks allows more bombs but more drag. Defensive armament requires quicker development (and better) of power turrets/mountings. Changing from one or two manually aimed MG 81s out each side (or out the rear of the gondola) to a single manually aimed MG 131 isn't really going to change things a whole lot.
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #4 wiking85, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
    Honestly the best you're going to get from an early 1930's design is an evolutionary step, that is a HE211. But the Ju88/188/288/388 series had much more potential than further He111 development. Let's also look at doctrine too, which drives equipment development: the HE111 was basically meant to be phased out by 1941 anyway in favor of the Ju88, which would be the tactical/operational bomber, while the HE177 was supposed to fill the strategic/large operational role. The He111 or a 211 were not necessary and would require too much development to make functional for the missions coming; it was too slow for speed bombing and too small for the strategic role, which it filled from 1940-44. It was a developmental dead-end by 1940, as it was designed in 1933, which meant it long exceeded the service period it was expected to service in. Much like the 1933 designed Me109, it soldiered on not because it had further potential beyond the H-series, but because it would require too much time to switch to something better.

    Frankly the one aircraft that was still two engined and found a role was the Do217, which was technically a heavy bomber, something that the He111 frame could not compete with. Still even the Do217 was not enough for the task it was supposedly designed for, which really required something in the four engine category.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-252 superior as a transport aircraft.
    Fw-200 superior as a passenger aircraft.
    Ju-288 superior as a medium bomber.
    Do-217 superior as a medium bomber.

    If you've got money for He-111 development then why not produce one or more of the above aircraft instead?
     
  6. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Ditto to the above. Undoubtedly the He111 could have been improved, given enough time and money. Given enough time and money you could probably teach Sarah Palin to read - the question is; why would you want to?
    The Ju88 was far better from the get-go, and with more developement potential besides.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It actually depends on the Mission. The He 111 was Germany's best "strategic" bomber in the early years and with a bit more upgrading might have served well instead of the He 177 or while the He 177 was being sorted out.

    Some old books give 1200mile range with MAX bomb load (internal or external?)

    The He 111 carried about 760 Imp gallons in the wing tanks while leaving the bomb bay clear, Yes, it could use one or both sides of the bomb bay for fuel. Ju-88A-4 carried 637 Imp gallons by using the front half of the bomb bay for fuel leaving room for 10 X 110lb bombs inside.
    JU-88 could not reach some targets with anywhere near the amount of bombs the He 111 could. At close ranges the the JU-88 was better. He 111 was a better night/long range bomber.

    IF it had gotten the intercooled "J" engine the Ju-88A-4 got, it would have had about another 100hp per engine for take off and almost another 200hp per engine at max cruise at altitude. It was too big and draggy to match the Ju-88 but modest increase in range/bombload/cruising speed should have been possible without jumping through too many hoops.
     
  8. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    But if the 111 was operating at the ranges you are talking about would there have been any LF fighter capable of escorting them? The 111 did okay as tactical weapon, operating in situation of freindly air superiority, but as a stategic bomber over enemy airspace? Bear in mind that any escorting fighter would have to travel quite a bit further that the 111 would too, weaving about trying to stick with the slower bombers
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    And who had "effective" night fighters in 1941? British were getting there.
    Russians had ?????

    Germans had bombed Belfast Ireland. Over 400 miles from Brest let alone other airbases in France.

    What was going to escort the He 177?

    British bombed (or tried to) the Skoda works in Czechoslovakia using Whitleys.

    The He 111 was not going to be turned into a superbomber but improvements could have been made without going totally nuts.
     
  10. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The only option for improvements on the He 111 was more engine power, without a complete structural redesign there was no option to get bigger bombs into the internal bay. A H-16 with 2t internal bombload + 2.425t fuel should have a range of ~1900km (may include an additional reserve of 15-20%)
     
  11. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Here is some information on the H-16. The bomb bay is pretty crowded and charts are attached showing typical load outs and performance specifications.
     

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  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I've always wondered how did the way the He111 hauled the internal bombs affect accuracy ?
    As soon as they left the bombay and hit the airsteam, they had to tumble from upright, to down.
    And with the bombs doing a tumble, the whole load couldn't be dropped at once, or you'd have bombs being damaged by colliding as soon as they left the aircraft.
     
  13. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    #13 krieghund, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
    If you happen to watch the "Battle of Britain" movie, 43 minutes into the film the He111's (CASA 2.111) let go their loads pretty fast and give an example of how the bombs have to tumble from what you would call upside down. I would guess this was to slow the bombs forward speed for a more accurate delivery though I can't see how.
     

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  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The trouble with judging from a movie might give a wrong impression, you don't know if those inert bombs are accurant in weight, or just lightweight models of bombs.

    I've noticed that movies showing actual wartime bombs dropping makes it appear a He111 can't drop the bombs in quite as compact package as bombs from a more convential horizontal bombay stowage arrangement.
     
  15. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    Just about everything about the He-111 argues that it had reached its maximum potential in 1939-40 and, without the kind of complete redesign that transformed the Do-17/Do-215 into the much larger and more capable Do-217, it was a dead end. It would appear that Heinkel also knew this as I am unaware of any serious attempt to redesign the plane after the H model (except the proposed long range bomber variant of the He-111Z, which is an interesting speculation)
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I can agree with Dave and zoomar about Do-217 being a plane where German resources are better spent, if one wants to see anything better than Jumo-211/DB-601/605 installed. No wonder, the new design should always beat the older one. Hence, as SR6 posted, a Jumo better than historical one would be a better bet. Maybe also installing some turret(s) with HMG(s), or barbettes from Me-210/410
     
  17. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    FYI the Do217 was a totally new design based on experience gained with the Do17 and 215, rather than being a further development of the earlier models.
     
  18. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The DB603 would have worked just fine had it been funded from 1936 on...
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Where would you've put it: on Do-217 or He-111?
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It's my understanding DB603 engine was Dornier's first choice for Do-217 just as it was Dr. Tank's first choice for Fw-190. RLM cancellation of DB603 funding forced both Focke Wulf and Dornier to scramble for other engine solutions.

    Provide DB603 engine and Do-217 bomber with proper funding and He-111 can probably end production during 1942.
     
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