Heinkel He 177 Greif
After the scrapping of German plans for a strategic bombing force in 1936, the Luftwaffe abandoned plans to develop a heavy bomber until in 1938 the RLM approached the Heinkel company with a requirement for such an aircraft, resulting in the Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffon), a four-engine mid-wing aircraft in which the 1,000-hp (746-kW) DB 601 engines were coupled in pairs (termed DB 606s) to drive single propellers. The first aircraft, the He 177 VI, was flown on 19 November 1939. Continuing engine overheating problems as well as persistent structural failures delayed production, the first He 177A1 not reaching I/KG 40 for operational trials until July 1942; in the course of these He 177s took part in raids on the UK, but generally they proved disappointing m service.
Several subvariants of the He 177A-3 were produced, including the He 177A-3/R3 which could carry three Hs 293 antishipping missiles, the He 177A-3/R5 with 75-mm gun in the ventral gondola and the He 177A-3/R7 torpedobomber. He 177A-3s were used by KGr 2 to fly supply missions to the beleaguered German forces at Stalingrad in January 1943. The He 177A-5 incorporated a stronger wing to carry heavier external loads, and a small number was converted to the Zerstörer role with 33 upward-firing rocket tubes in the space normally occupied by the bomb bays. Small numbers of He 177A-5s returned to the night attack on the UK early in 1944; this version proved to be the last to serve with the Luftwaffe (bombers being afforded low priority during the last year of the war), but many interesting projects continued to be pursued, including one involving the conversion of He 177 V38 as a carrier of Germany's atomic bomb, which m the event did not materialize. About 1,160 production and 30 prototype He 177s were built.
Specification Heinkel He 177A-5/R2 Greif
Type: six-crew heavy bomber
Powerplant: two 2,950-hp (2200-kW) Daimler-Benz DB610A-1/B-1 paired inverted V-12 piston engines
Performance: maximum speed 488 km/h (303 mph) at 6000 m (19,685 ft); initial climb rate 190 m
(623 ft) per minute; service ceiling 8000 m (26,245 ft); range with two Hs 293 weapons 5500 km (3,418 miles)
Weights: empty 16900kg (37,257 lb); maximum take-off 31000 kg (68,342 lb)
Dimensions: span 31.44 m (103 ft 1% in); length 20.40 m (66 ft 11 Vt in); height 6.40 m (20 ft 11% in); wing area 102.00 m2 (1,098.0 sq ft)
Armament: one 7.92 (0.31-in) MG 81 gun in nose, one 13-mm (0.51-in) MG 131 gun in forward dorsal turret, one 13-mm (0,51-in) MG 131 gun in rear dorsal turret, one 13-mm (0.51-in) MG 131 gun in rear of ventral gondola, one 20-mm MG FF cannon in front of ventral gondola and one 20-mm MG FF in tail, plus a maximum internal bombload of 6000kg (13,228 lb) or two Hs 293 missiles