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Heinkel HE219 Why so few?

Discussion in 'Axis Fighter Planes' started by Waterloo50, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 New Member

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    With German expertise in designing fighters, why was the HE219 the Luftwaffe's sole dedicated night fighter.
    My understanding is that in 1940, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium were initially very keen to see the new night fighter project,( designated P 1055) reach completion but by 1941 they had rejected it, Heinkel, despite the P 1055 being rejected by the RLM decided to press on with the project and by the end of 1941 they had developed the P 1060. The RLM eventually ordered 12 prototype P1060's and by 1942 they were designated as HE219.
    The He219 prototype made 46 flights but there were those that complained that it was under powered, Generalluftzeugmeister Ehhard Milch had decided that building the HE219 was a bit of a pointless exercise considering it only had one purpose, he preferred multirole aircraft. Other competitors also offered the RLM their version of a night fighter e.g. Dornier Do-217 and Junkers JU-188, tests were held in March 1943 and the HE219 surprised everyone by out performing its rivals. The He219 entered its first combat at night in June 1943, it then went into mass production in August 1943. Despite its success and a whole bunch of new variants being designed, the HE219 was far to limited in numbers to alter the course of the war.
    I have just a couple of questions about this particular aircraft, does anybody know what tests/requirements the Luftwaffe and the Reichsluftfahrtministerium had designed for potential night fighters..and finally, where did its first combat take place and are there any written accounts of that combat?

    [​IMG]

    Source: warbirdsnews.com
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    yoo-hoo!
     
  3. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    Unfortunately I don't have a book that goes into specifics on the requirements.
    The closest I have is a mention in 1932 of "Rearmament aircraft II". It calls for a 2 seater day/night fighter. With cannon armament and measures to reduce noise and exhaust flames.
     
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  4. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 New Member

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    1932, That would be well before the Spanish civil war and far in advance of WW2, some smart people obviously had anticipated a need for a day/night fighter. I'm surprised that Germany waited until 1940 to push ahead with the P 1055 project, I suspect that it was a far better alternative to send a dedicated night fighter to protect the bombers especially when you consider the early stages of the Battle of Britain, on one raid alone, 9 Heinkels were protected by a top screen of approximately 50 BF109's and that was just an evening raid against British coastal shipping. A dedicated night fighter would have had massive benefits for protecting the bombers especially at the start of the Blitz, the Luftwaffe lost a few aircraft at night when the Brits sent up their Blenheim's from the Fighter Intercept Unit, they were equipped with IF radar Mk3 which enabled them to find their targets, later the RAF had the Beaufighter which was also equipped for the night fighter role and had pretty good success in taking down German bombers. I think the Luftwaffe missed an opportunity when they decided against the HE219 and abandoned the chance to develop something which was clearly needed.
    Just my thoughts...:)
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    To answer your initial question of 'why so few?' I think you have to look at its development/production history. Production models did not reach operational units until very late in 1943 and by that point German industry was beginning to decline due to factory damage, shortage of resources and other issues. The need to prioritize production on those items most in need often killed programs of promising aircraft over proven, though dated, designs.
     
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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    They were srill not appreciated as effective enough and there were problems with wings and the plane conxtruction like glue production and its power vs mosquito. Kph more from search
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I think some statistics here kind of tell the story. The come from Mike Spick's book, Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. the Ju 88G-6 nightfighter and the He219A-5 are compared.


    Ju 88G-6 vs He 219A-5

    Loaded weight: 28,900 lbs. vs 33,730 lbs.

    Wing loading: 49lb./sq. ft. vs 70lbs./sq.ft.

    Max speed: 389 mph vs 364 mph

    Service ceiling: 32,800ft. vs 30.340 ft.

    Rate of climb: 1,655 ft./min. vs c. 1,750 ft. min.

    Range: 1,398 mi vs . 960 mi.

    As you can see, the Ju 88 is superior in almost all categories. The He. 219 was perhaps a little faster in the climb but was heavier, slower, less maneuverable, and had shorter legs than the Ju-88.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Germans wanted their Mosquito but I think schrage musik was devastating in nachtjagd.
     

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