The Heinkel He 111 was a twin engine German bomber aircraft of all-metal construction, equipped with a retractable landing gear. It was developed by Heinkel at Rostock. The aircraft was designed by Siegfried Günther and was based on the civilian Heinkel He 70 aircraft.
The aircraft was developed in the 1930´s by the Günther brothers as a fast airliner for the German airline Lufthansa, with a crew of two and carrying ten passengers. In World War II it was used as a bomber in large numbers.
In 1932 the Reichsverkehrsministerium (RVM) ordered development of an airliner, which could be also used as a bomber, but the Bomber variant (secret at first) had priority. On 17th November 1934, the Heinkel He 111 V1 (No. 713; 1st Bomber derivative), had its first flight. In May 1935 the first flight of the first civilian prototype (No.715; He 111 V2) took place. This aircraft and the fourth prototype flew as a transport aircraft, but the Heinkel He 111 V4 and the He 111 A-0 showed also bomber design features. During testing, the He 111 was very often modified, for example it received more powerful DB-600 engines (becoming the He 111B), because the Luftwaffe wanted a higher top speed. Because of the fact that the aerodynamical advanced canopy was very expensive, it was tried to lower the costs with the use of new wings:With the He 111F-series, the aircraft were equipped with trapezoidal wings, which had in comparison to the old wings straight leading- and trailing edges.
Following the success of the He-111 V3 D-ALES, Heinkel received an order for a pre production batch of ten He-111A-0 bombers. The second and third examples were tested at Rechlin, but the weight of the military equipment interfered with handling and reduced the top speed, leading to the rejection of the He 111A-0 by the Luftwaffe. [N 1]
He 111 Z Zwilling
One of the more bizarre aircraft to be used in action during World War II, the He-111 Z Zwilling was a single twin-fuselage bomber created by literally joining the airframes of two He 111s at the wing with an additional section containing a fifth engine.
The layout of the He 111z had the pilot, first mechanic, radio operator, and gunner in the port fuselage, and observer, second mechanic, and gunner in the starboard fuselage.
The Luftwaffe had ten He 111 Zs (in addition to two prototypes) manufactured in order to haul the massive Me
321 transport glider. Further Z-2s and Z-3 variants were planned to serve as long-range heavy bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, but were abandoned along with the rest of German bomber production in 1944.
He 111 Zs were used during the Allied invasion of Sicily and in the German evacuation of the Caucasus. When it was found they were unable to tow a fully-loaded Me 321, rocket pods were mounted at key points on the He 111 Z to add thrust.
In 1944, one He 111 Z was shot down by the Royal Air Force over France and eight others were shot down or destroyed on the ground.
- All ten examples of the He 111A-0 were subsequently exported to China, for use against the Japanese.
- Kay, Antony L and J R Smith. German Aircraft of the Second World War. Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0 85177 920 4 Pages 128-129