What is it with Heinkel products?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by zoomar, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    In the 30 some odd years I have been an avid reader of technical aviation histories, it seems like - with the possible exception of the He-111 and He-115 - there is an inordinate degree of controversy regarding Heinkel aircraft among internet posters on this and other boards.

    Some argue that Heinkel was somehow the victim of unreasonable negative prejudice by the RLM and that this, not the superiority of rival designs, led to the official abandonment of planes such as the He-112, He-118, and He-280. My own take is that in all three instances the RLM made the correct decisions by selecting the Bf-109, Ju-87, and Me-262 for production. Then there is the question of the He-100, He-219 and He-177/277. And finally, there is the He-162. It seems Heinkel attracts controversy and "what if-ism".

    I'm curious what others think.
     
  2. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    The Me-109 could be produced easier and sooner, the Ju-87 too. Loosing out because the techically superior product is not yet ready when the customer demands delivery ASAP has happened to others too. The XB-39 come to my mind.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. There was nothing wrong with the He-100 and He-118 per se. In both cases Heinkel was simply a couple years too late to win the RLM contract. If late 1930s Germany had a larger aviation industry (i.e. similiar to the USA) both aircraft would likely have entered mass production.
     
  4. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    How large was the American aviation industry in the late '30s?
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Not very big. at least compared to what it would be even in 1942 let alone 1944.

    The American industrial might was such that we could build the new factories and equip them in short order (short meaning 2-4 years) and recruit the needed workers without shorting the man power of the Armed forces.

    The He 118 would never have been adopted by the Luftwaffe. It had one of those terrible and oh so expensive elliptical wings :rolleyes:
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Large enough to produce P-35 and P-36 army fighter aircraft at the same time. Plus F2A and F3F naval fighter aircraft.
     
  7. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    How do you define "large"? Actual number of airframes made or number of companies capable of making airframes? The number of the former was low due to a low demand, the number of the latter and their potential was high. So high, that when the demand kicked in, airframe production was slowed because engine makers could not meet the demand.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    in what numbers?

    Four different production lines, each making a small number of aircraft per month.

    It took Grumman from Dec of 1938 to May 11 1939 to deliver 27 F3F-3s, what's that? 5 a month average?
    And the only reason they got this contract at all was because Brewster couldn't promise delivery of the F2A in time.

    It took Seversky from July of 1937 to Aug 1938 to deliver76 P-35s. Once again, not a production rate that would cause the Germans to tremble in their boots.

    What the US had was a large number of small companies or design teams but very few companies that could actually manufacture aircraft in large numbers. Large being relative. The contract for 210 P-36 fighter to Curtiss was the largest single fighter contract issued in the US since WW I. More P-6s or P-12s may have been built but not to a single contract.
     
  9. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    I assume the USAAF neither ordered more than 76 planes, nor demanded delivery by January 38?

    My point exactly. No big orders, no large scale production.
    That changed from May 38 onwards, as France began to order hundreds of H-75. The 1st planes flew in November 38 and in May 1940 ~330 had been delivered to France. Starting in July another 200 build for France were diverted to the UK. I don´t have the exact dates of production but the rate seems to have been around 20 a/c per month.

    What the US aviation industry was capable of was demonstrated once large orders were placed. Three months after the production of the P-40 started, the monthly rate exceeded 100 a/c.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How many Me-109 fighter aircraft were delivered by January 1938? Of those delivered, how many had the proper DB600 / DB601 engine rather then a make shift engine like the RR Kestrel or Jumo 210?

    U.S. fighter aircraft production may have been small during the 1930s but it was way ahead of Germany who had to start from essentially nothing.
     
  11. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Don't know about Jan 1938 but by May 31 1938 some 341 Bf109Bs had been produced.

    Afaik only the Bf109V1 used the Kestral.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Government could demand all they wanted, if the factory space didn't exist or the work force wasn't there what was going to happen?

    How many planes had the Seversky company built before they got this contract?
    Seversky/Republic got contracts for P-43 more to help finance factory expansion and train the work force for the up coming P-47 than with any expectation that the P-43 was really a good plane.


    It also governed the size of the plants. Curtiss was building trainers (civil as well as military) and trying to build other commercial aircraft as well. A bit later in timing but the plane that would become the C-46 comes to mind. Curtiss was one of the 2 or 3 largest aircraft manufacturers in the US.


    Considering that the P-40 could use a good bit of the jigs, fixtures and tooling form the P-36 and that they had already built close to 1000 P-36 and hawk 75s in proceeding 2 years (just over 40 planes a month?) that doesn't seem to be that big a deal.
    Of course numerous photos of P-40s (early long nose ones) under going final assembly and fitting out, out of doors show that the Curtiss factory didn't have enough floor space for the numbers of aircraft it was trying to produce. Lockheed had a similar problem producing Hudson's at this time for the British but working outdoors in LA is a bit different than working outdoors in Buffalo New York.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I assume you mean the vast numbers Curtiss P-6 biplanes and Boeing P-12 biplanes that the US built in the early 30s. Or perhaps the 136 Boeing P-26s? How about the 50 Consolidated P-30s?

    Of course to be fair perhaps we should count the 85 or so German Arado 65s, the Arado 68s and the 700 or so Heinkel He 51s on the German side to see just where the the Germans start from essentially nothing really was.

    It might interesting to compare bomber production form 1930 to 1938 also.
     
  14. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    Again, just my point. Without sizable orders no company will expand it´s workforce and factory space. And 76 a/c does not even get close to that. The P-40 was a different story. The US Gov. ordered 524 in April 39, France ordered 230 in October and the UK 560 in May 1940. So by the time the production began C-W had ~1,300 orders on the books and could be sure that many more would come. That justifies expanding workforce and factory space.

    Had anyone ordered 760 P-35 the Seversky company´s monthly production rate would have exceeded a 5 a month average. ;)
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps it would have evolved into a less espensive aircraft just as the He-112 evolved into the less expensive but equally capable He-100.
     
  16. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    It's stretching things to say the He-112 evolved into the He-100. The heavy and overly complex He-112A evolved into the lighter and more capable He-112B, which might have been a worthy competitor to the Bf-109 if was the plane Heinkel started with in the first place. Unfortunately, by the time the He-112B was developed, the decision to go with the 109 was already made.

    The He-100 was an entirely new design that owed nothing to either variant of the He-112. The He-100 was superior to the contemporary Bf-109E, which of course was already in production. However, with its complex suface evaporation cooling and small airframe closely tailored to its engine, it probably would not have had the long-term development potential of the 109. Had Germany not been addicted to the "select one basic fighter and make everybody make it" policy, but rather followed US, Soviet, and British practice and placed a number of similar planes in service, both the He-112B and the He-100 might have been fine stablemates to the Bf-109 and, later, the Fw-190.

    Regarding the He-118, its problem, beside complexity and cost, was the apparent fact that it failed its flight competition with the Ju-87. This may have been because its test pilot (Ernst Udet, I believe) did not take it to the edge of its dive envelope while the Stuka pilot did. I've always wondered if the He-118 could have been developed to function more as an armored ground attacker in the IL-2 Sturmovik mold. It was a cool-looking airplane and was far more advanced in concept than the Ju-87.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I believe the story goes that Udet took it to edge of dive envelope and beyond. The Plane broke up in flight and Udet had to use his parachute. I believe a max dive angle of 50 degrees is mentioned which is hardly in the same category as the JU 87 90 degree dive.
    Weither that requirement was wise is one question. But the fact that the He 118 could not meet the requirement as written means that there wasn't favoritism shown.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Heinkel He 118 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sounds to me like a defective propeller and/or reduction gears. If so that sort of problem can be fixed. So can the bomb release mechanism, if that is the reason for a limited dive angle.
     
  19. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    The he-100 would have progressed from the Db601Aa(Db601M) to the Db601N to the Db601E.

    If the aircraft was already capable of 400mph think how much faster it would have been with the 601E.


    As to Udet, isn't that a German word for "monkey-wrench"?
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The He-100 compares well with early war U.S. fighter aircraft like the P-39 and P-40. Heinkel should have offered it to the U.S. Army Air Corps during 1939. Power it with a Ford Motor Company copy of the RR Merlin, which Henry Ford offered to produce for American use.
     
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