Another new addition to the very popular Air War Archive series. This book covers the early war years of the Heinkel He 111, which was one of the most important German bombers, flying on through WWII to the end. The author has provided clear text to accompany the outstanding selection of images. There is also an introduction that covers the Heinkel development process through to the He 111. Much Recommended
NAME: Air War Archive, Heinkel He 111, The Early Years – Fall of France, Battle of Britain and the Blitz FILE: R2447 AUTHOR: Chris Goss PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 146 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, German Air Force, Luftwaffe, medium bomber, twin engine bomber, France, Britain, Blitz, Battle of Britain ISBN: 1-84832-482-9 IMAGE: B2447.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hjlyu8n LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Another new addition to the very popular Air War Archive series. This book covers the early war years of the Heinkel He 111, which was one of the most important German bombers, flying on through WWII to the end. The author has provided clear text to accompany the outstanding selection of images. There is also an introduction that covers the Heinkel development process through to the He 111. Much Recommended This book covers the early war years of the ubiquitous He 111 that served from Norway's North Cape to the Mediterranean and through the full term of WWII. The He 111 shows the strength and the weakness of the German planning for war. The strength was that the Luftwaffe built a large force of medium bombers that could be used for strategic bombing but which were really intended to support the army in its lightning war concept. As long as the army could roll forward, little requirement existed for strategic bombing beyond a relatively small number of large terror raids on largely unprotected cities, much as had been rehearsed during the Spanish Civil War. The weakness came once the Germans had reached a significant natural obstacle. The army was not equipped with landing craft, beyond the limited ability required to cross rivers. The English Channel presented a much more serious obstacle that was made harder by the Royal Navy with its formidable Coastal Forces and main Fleet. That required a German Navy capability, far beyond what it possessed, to provide escort for a huge fleet of sea-going landing craft, and to provide shore bombardment in support of the first waves of landing craft. As a result, the Germans fell back on their best chance of victory in attempting to gain air superiority. They had to destroy the RAF and then heavily bomb all key points of defence to the landings. Even then, it was probably no more than a pipe dream that Hitler was soon keen to swap for an invasion of Russia. If there really was a master plan, a swift Russian campaign would provide a huge increase in German resources and buy time to build the new weapons that would be necessary to make a successful invasion of Britain possible after the Russian surrender. The Russians failed to oblige, Britain mounted a formidable air assault on Germany and Occupied Europe, America entered the War in alliance with Britain, and Germany was forced to surrender. In the meantime, He111 crews did their best with what they had. The He 111 was an advanced mid wing metal monoplane with low drag at the time of its entry into service. Unfortunately for the Germans, it was soon obsolescent outside its use in support of the army. Its twin engine power limited the weight of bombs it could carry and its range was limited, if more than adequate as flying artillery supporting armoured forces advancing rapidly. The bomb bay cellular design also limited the size bombs it could carry, in contrast with the RAF Lancaster that could carry a heavy load to targets across Germany and had a cavernous bomb bay that was eventually able to carry the massive 10 ton Grand Slam earthquake bomb, or a huge variety of incendiary and explosive bombs. Of course, the Lancaster had the advantage of being designed specifically for high altitude bombing over long distances and with a very heavy bomb load. It also started its design later than the He111 and, in its final form, included bombing radar. The result was that, even with ample airbases, from Northern Norway to the Spanish border, the Luftwaffe's He 111 were unable to reach all of the British isles. This might have been adequate had Britain been defended in the same way as Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Unfortunately for the Germans, the RAF was equipped with two outstanding and complementary single seat fighter planes, the Hurricane and the Spitfire, that were already arriving for all fighter squadrons with a point defence mission and were linked by radio into the most advanced command and control system anywhere in the world. That system drew information from Royal Observer Corps observation posts, and from a very advanced chain of radar stations. That exposed the other major weakness of the He 111, a lack of defensive armament. Single rifle calibre machine guns that were hand controlled at only three positions were grossly inadequate. An 8 gun British fighter was able to attack where only one machine gun could fire back. Without fighter escort, the He 111 was a sitting duck, as demonstrated with a single attack from Norway on Northern England where the Germans believed there were no fighters for defence. The RAF fighters scythed through this large formation and the Germans fled back, never to repeat the attempt. In the South, they could only avoid catastrophic losses with heavy fighter escort and the Me 109, which was the only German fighter then able to contend with Hurricanes and Spitfires, had inadequate fuel, giving it only minutes of combat time over British targets. The RAF fighters had similar short range but they were not having to fly across the Channel first and were able to land, refuel, re-arm and be back in the air, ready for the next German wave. The He 111 weaknesses have given the opportunity to include a large number of images of shot-down Heinkels.