Sunday, 7 February 2016

The missing Luftwaffe warbird

The missing Luftwaffe fighter


At the same time as Messerschmitt was developing the Bf109, rival firm Heinkel were also putting forward a new all-metal monoplane fighter, the He112. Early prototypes of each were pretty evenly matched in terms of speed and rate of climb and both the Me109E, as Messerschmitt’s fighter became, and the He112E had speeds of more than 350mph.
The latter could climb to 20,000 feet in 10 minutes. More importantly, it had a very sturdy inwardly-retracting undercarriage that made it easy to land for newly trained pilots, and a phenomenal range of some 715 miles, which was better even than the twin-engine Messerschmitt 110.


The He112 would have been the ideal partner to the Me109 – and its range was an advantage in the battle of Britain and elsewhere. However, while Willy Messerchmitt was a good party man and Göring had a special (and irrational) fondness for the Me110,  Heinkel had a whiff of Jewish blood – so the Heinkel fighter was dropped.