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, extensively-glazed, bullet-shaped "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 were 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. It was to have been replaced by the Luftwaffe's Bomber B project, but the delays and eventual cancellation of the project forced the Luftwaffe to continue using the He 111 until the end of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 for transport and logistics.
The He-111 Stats
Specifications (He 111 H-6)
Crew: 4 (pilot, navigator/bombardier/nose gunner, ventral gunner, dorsal gunner/radio operator)
Length: 16.4 m (53 ft 9½ in)
Height: 4.00 m (13 ft 1½ in)
Wing area: 87.60 m² (942.92 ft²)
Empty weight: 8,680 kg (19,136lb lb)
Loaded weight: 12,030 kg (26,500 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 14,000 kg (30,864 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Jumo 211F-1 or 211F-2 liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 986 kW (1,300 hp (F-1) or 1,340 (F-2)) each
Maximum speed: 440 km/h (273 mph)
Range: 2,300 km (1,429 mi) with maximum fuel
Service ceiling: 6,500 m (21,330 ft)
Rate of climb: 20 minutes to 5,185 m (17,000 ft)
Wing loading: 137 kg/m² (28.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: .082 kW/kg (.049 hp/lb)
* up to 7 × 7.92 mm MG 15 or MG 81 machine guns, some of them replaced or augmented by
1 × 20 mm MG FF cannon (central nose mount or forward ventral position)
1 × 13 mm MG 131 machine gun (mounted dorsal and/or ventral rear positions)
* up to 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) carried internally (eight 250 kg max), or:
up to 2,500 kg (5,512 lb) on two external racks