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A Heinkel He 111 in flight.

The Heinkel He 111 was a German medium bomber used during World War II by the Axis.


It first flew in 1934 disguised as an airliner, because of restrictions set after World War I, and entered service in 1935.[1] The He 111 was powered by two Junkers Jumo 211 engines and could carry up to 4,400 kg of bombs internally. It was also armed with one 20 mm cannon, one 13 mm machine gun, and up to seven 7.92 mm machine guns.[1] The fuel system consisted of two tanks in each wing. one between the engine and the fuselage containing 154 Imp Gal (700 litres), and one outside the engine containing 220 Imp Gal (1,000 litres).[2]



The conception of the He 111 had been inspired by a specification issued by Deutsche Lufthansa, which called for an airliner suitable for high speed passenger and mail services. Aware that orders for such a machine would be limited, as a purely civilian aircraft would not be commercially worthwhile, and the soon to be unveiled Luftwaffe would require a machine suitable for bombing missions, Walter and Siegfred Gunther designed a dual purpose aircraft.[3]

This led to the development of the He 111A-0 bomber aircraft. The first of ten examples was evaluated at Rechlin during 1936, but inadequate power from the BMW VI engines, especially while carrying a warload, resulted in all ten He 111A-0s being sold to China.[4]

The next variant, the He 111B, was the first built with the newly developed all metal three part outer wing. Six pre series B-0 (Werk Nr 1432 - 1437) were followed by 130 B-1s built in six lots at Rostock, and 283 B-2s built by Norddeutsche Dornier-Werke (NDW) at Wismar. In July 1938, the DB600 C engines in He 111Bs and Js were replaced by DB 600 Gs, under the terms of a refit order. An order to rebuild He 111Bs still in service as dual control trainer aircraft came in April and July 1939.[5]

The next main development was a redesign of the forward fuselage, which resulted in the standard nose making way for an asymmetric 'glasshouse' assembly. Following completion of a mock up in March 1936, former He 111B-1 Werk Nr 1664 was completed with the new nose design as the He 111V8 in April 1937, only for the tests at Rechlin the following month to be temporarily halted due to vibration issues. The V8 was quickly followed by the He 111V9 (Werk Nr 1807/D-AIZU), which made its initial flight with the new nose in May 1937. Both of these aircraft were fitted with DB 600C engines, and thus served as prototypes of the He 111P.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Brown, Eric Melrose. Wings of the Luftwaffe. The Crowood Press Ltd - New edition (14 Feb 1998). ISBN 1853104132.Pages 123-124 and 126
  3. Green, William. Famous Bombers of the Second World War. Purnell Book Services. 1975. Page 8
  4. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 149 Sheet 1 (World Military Aircraft:Heinkel He 111 - Pre war variants)
  5. Aeroplane Monthly: June 2002 Page 47 - He 111 Database
  6. Aeroplane Monthly: June 2002 Page 42 - He 111 Database

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