Profile Publications No. 15 The Heinkel He 111H

J U J U I The He 111H-l inflight. Probably because of their greater experience inaccurate navigation under difficult conditions (they provided the path-finder element in the great Coventry raid), the crews of Kampfgntppe (later Kampfgesch­ wader) 100 were withdrawn from night operations over the British Isles in mid-May of 1941. The battle- cruiser Bismark was approaching the violent end of her career in the Atlantic, and urgently required air support. The Heinkels never located her by the time they reached the great ship’s last known position she had already been sunk, and KGr. 100 was unable to find “Force H ”.Many units involved in these operations flew the Heinkel He 111H-3. Popular with crews for its good handling and control qualities and first-class stability, this variant normally carried 760 Imp. gallons of fuel in its wing cells. The H-4 (Junkers Jumo 211F-2 engines) was fitted with an additional fuselage tank of 184 Imp. gallon incapacity the bomb-bay, the war­ load being carried externally under a specially strengthened centre section. The He 111H-5 carried an increased external bomb-load of 5,510 lbs. THE VERSATILE H-6 One of the most widely used versions of the He 111H was the H-6 variant. Appearing in all theatres of operation in a variety of roles, the H-6 first proved its A Staff'd o f Hell l H overs the English Channel February 1941. worth as a torpedo-bomber with I/K G 26 of the famous “Lowen Geschwader”. Powered by Jumo 211F-2 engines of 1,340 h.p. the Heinkel He 111 H-6 could carry two torpedoes externally. In April of 1942 the advance party of I/KG 26 arrived at the new airfields of Banak and Bardufoss on the north-west coast of Norway. Tn the period June-Septem ber 1942, the Heinkels carried out intensive operations against Anglo-American convoys on the “Kola run” ,the vital series of supply shipments to Murmansk and other North Russian ports. Considerable success was achieved, including profitable sorties against the ill- fated PQ 17, and the He 111H-6 proved itself highly suitable for the maritime attack role. DESERT OPERATIONS The North African campaign was not remarkable for the scope it offered either the Allies or the Axis for multi-engined bomber operations on a large scale. The rapidly fluctuating front lines and the absence of densely populated areas rendered such operations both wasteful and unwise. Nevertheless, at onetime elements of at least three Heinkel-equipped Geschwader were inactive this theatre. The desert campaigns did produce at least two Heinkel operations of interest. In January 1941, II/K G (Photo: Imperial War Museum) 5
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