Heinkel He 100
In 1935, the Heinkel He 112 made it´s first flight. It was a quite modern fighter with small
elliptical wings and a retractable landing gear. But the Messerschmidt Bf 109 was a little bit superior
and won the german fighter selection competition of 1936.
The main problems of the He 112 were too expensive production and worse handling characteristics.
But the engineers at Heinkel didn´t give up; in 1937, Siegfried Günther designed
a new high-speed fighter with a potential of 700km/h. For easier production, it had less curves,
components and component groups than the He 112 (He 100: 969 components, He 112: 2.885 components).
The He 100 had two important innovations:
It had no normal cooling system with additional drag, but a condensation system which used parts
of the wing and fuselage surface to cool down it´s oil and water and
it had a full retractable landing gear. This means that all three wheels were fully retracted and covered in flight.
(This was also built into the He118 dive bomber and with a the earlier Polikarpov fighter I-16, but the He118
didn´t get out of the testings and the I-16 had another system which was never again used (as far as I know).
The second prototype made with a DB601M powerplant (1.050PS) a speed record over the 100km distance
of 634km/h, a speed the Bf 109 serial planes first reached in 1942 with a much more powerful engine.
But this wasn´t enough to convince the idiots in the RLM (german ministry of aviation), so Heinkel
equipped a new prototype with a short-life special engine with great power (up to 1.800PS). It crashed.
Then, they built the similar eigth prototype with the same engine and it broke the absolute world
speed record (708km/h, Italy) with a speed of 746km/h with the Testpilot Hans Dieterle in 30.03.1939.
The guys in the RLM outstripped themselves: instead of recognizing that the He 100 was clearly superior
to the Bf109 (later called Me 109), they gave Messerschmidt the instruction to top Heinkels speed record
(he did it with a Me 209, which had almost no similarities to the Me109, although it was called Me109R.
It flew under better conditions, in which the He100 would have topped this speed with at least 5km/h more.),
forbid Heinkel to counter and still reserved the excellent DB 601 series powerplants for the Me 109 and Me110.
The planned B serie was cancelled due to improvements.
The same happened with the heavily armed C serie (2 20mm MG FF, 4 7.92mm MG 17).
Heinkel only build three pre-serial He 100D-0 and twelve He 100D-1 (bigger tail unit and cockpit).
Three He 100D-0 were sold to Japan, which planned a licence production,
Six prototypes and one He 100D-1 were sold to the UDSSR, where especially Jakovlev analized it for his
later fighters Jak-1 and the excellent Jak-3 (Jakovlev later said that the condensation
cooling system was too complex for the rough conditions on russian airfields and didn´t copy it.).
The other D-1 were used to defend the Heinkel facilities at Rostock, but never engaged an enemy.
Some planes were shown for propaganda purposes as Nightfighter He 113,
which was more a mislead for the german people than for the allies.
Some british pilots claimed to have encountered He 100 during the Battle of Britain, but they were wrong.
The He 100 had some problems with its condensation cooling system, but these were solved with
an additional retractable normal cooler under the fuselage and the original condensation cooling
system proved that it was able to take as much battle damage as well as normal cooling systems.
The C serie proved that this fighter can carry a armament superior to all enemies of its time.
The expectable dogfight tactics would have been similar to the F4U Corsair and Fw190A (hit and run).
Why didn´t this plane succeed? Even with a standard cooling system (and no condensation cooling),
it would have been still fast enough to be state-of-the-art until at least 1942!
The only weakness I found was the small wing area of 14,50m2. It later would have limited the
amount of additional armour, horsepower, armament and fuel and resulted in a high landing speed.
In fact, the allies wouldn´t have had any chance in the Battle of Britain against
800 Heinkel 100D instead of 800 Me 109E!
|Heinkel He 100D-1 german fighter|
One 1.175PS Daimler Benz DB 601M 12-cylinder inverted Vee,|
liquid-cooled engine with direct fuel injection,
|one 20mm MG FF and two 7,92mm MG 17|
He 100 three-side drawing of V2 and D-0
He 100D inflight sideview photo
He 100D, low quality (Handscanner)
He 100D left side
He 100V2, the second prototype, mentioned above
He 100D-1 inflight photo
He 100D inflight photo
He 100 sideview painting
He 100D`s on the ground
He 100D`s on the ground (as He113 for propaganda bluff)
He 100D on the ground (as He113 for propaganda bluff)
He 100 Weblink (text only)
"Das Flugzeugarchiv", a source
one of my sources (three-view)
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