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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Heinkel He 115 floatplane, torpedo bomber, minelayer

Photos

  • Heinkel He 115 floatplane
  • Heinkel He 115B floatplane
  • Heinke He 115K-2 floatplane
  • Heinke He 115K-2 floatplane

Design

The Heinkel He 115 was designed to be a general purpose coastal aircraft. It was designed in competition with the Blohm und Voss Ha 140.

The He 115's main duty was to be a torpedo bomber, but it was found that the He 115 was too slow and hard to handle. It became a successful and well liked reconnaissance and mine laying aircraft.

The He 115 was an all metal mid wing aircraft.

Prototype

The He 115 prototype first flew in October 1936. It had two BMW 132K radial engines (960 HP).

Production

Initial construction went from 1938 to 1942. For a time it was stopped but was restarted in 1943.

  • Heinkel He 115A-1:
    • Production: 1938 - ?
  • Heinkel He 115B-1 delivered in 1939.
  • Heinkel He 115C:
    • Production:1940 - 1941
  • Heinkel He 115E-1: 141
    • Production: 1943 - ?
  • Total: ~350, ~500
    • Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel A.G.

Variants

  • Heinkel He 115V1: Prototype.
  • Heinkel He 115A-0: Pre production.
  • Heinkel He 115A-1: Production. Had one 7.92 mm MG in the nose and one 7.92 mm MG in the rear of the cockpit.
  • Heinkel He 115A-2: For export.
  • Heinkel He 115A-3: Had a new bomb bay and radio equipment.
  • Heinkel He 115B: Could carry more fuel. Structure was stronger. First to be able to carry a magnetic mine.
  • Heinkel He 115B-1: Had additional fuel capacity.
  • Heinkel He 115B-2: Had stronger floats.
  • Heinkel He 115C: More powerful engines. More defensive armament.
  • Heinkel He 115C-1: Had forward firing 20 mm MG 151. Five 7.7 mm MG 15 and MG 17 machine guns.
  • Heinkel He 115C-2: Available in 1941. Had the same reinforced floats as the He 115B-2. Allowed to be used from snow and ice.
  • Heinkel He 115C-3: Minelayer.
  • Heinkel He 115C-4: Torpedo bomber.
  • Heinkel He 115D: Had four crewmen. Used BMW 801 radial engine (1,600 HP).
  • Heinkel He 115E-1: Had two 7.92 mm machine guns in the nose and rear.
  • Heinkel He 115K2:

Usage

Britain, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Norway (15, 6 He 115A-2), and Sweden (10 He 115A-2) used the He 115.

Speed Records

The He 115V1 prototype was able to set eight speed records for its class in 1938/ March 20, 1938. The He 115's average speed over the course was 200 mph.

First Usage

In 1938 He 115A-1s joined the Luftwaffe.

Mine laying in English waters

The Kustenfliegergruppen 106, 506, and 906 were equipped with the He 115B-2 and were used to mine English waters. 33 He 115s were lost in mine laying operations.

Battling the Convoys

During 1942 the KuFlGr 406 was used to attack the North Cape PQ convoys.

Britain's Use

The British used He 115s that were originally used by Norway. These were two He 115A-2s and a He 115B-1.

Specifications

  Heinkel He 115
Type General purpose floatplane
Crew 4
Dimensions  
Span 73' 1"
22.27 m
Length 56' 9.5"
17.31 m
Height 21' 8"
6.6 m
  Heinkel He 115B
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 132
Cylinders Radial 9
HP 865 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Performance  
Speed at 11,150' / 3,400 m 196 mph
315 kph
Service ceiling 17,060'
5,200 m
Range 1,305 miles
2,100 km
  Heinkel He 115B-1
Type Torpedo bomber, Minelayer
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 132K piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 9
Cooling Air
HP 960 each, 970 each
Dimensions  
Span 72' 2", 72' 2 1/8"
22.2 m
Length 56' 9", 56' 9 1/8"
17.3 m
Height 21' 7", 21' 7 1/8"
6.6 m
Wing area 933.3 ft2
86.7 m2
Weight  
Empty 11,684 lb, 14,748 lb
5,300 kg, 6,690 kg
Loaded 20,065 lb, 22,928 lb
10,400 kg
Performance  
Speed at 11,150' / 3,400 m 220 mph
Speed at 11,155' / 3,400 m 220 mph
355 kph
Climb 771'/minute
235 m/minute
Service ceiling 18,040', 18,045'
5,500 m
Range 1,243 miles, 2,080 miles
2,000 km
Armament 2: MG
Nose 1: 7.9 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm MG 15
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm MG 15
Bombs, mines, or torpedo 2,205 lb, 3,200 lb
1,000 kg
Torpedo 1: 1,764 lb
1: 800 kg
OR  
Parachute mine 1: 2,205 lb
1: 1,000 kg
OR  
Bombs 2: 551 lb
2: 250 kg
  Heinkel He 115C
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 132Ks
HP 960 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Performance  
Speed at 3,280' / 1,000 m 186 mph
299 kph
Climb to 3,280' / 1,000 m 5.1 minutes
Range 1,740 miles
2,800 km
  Heinkel He 115C-1
Type Mine Layer, Reconnaissance, Torpedo Bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: BME 132K
Cylinders Radial
HP 960 each
Dimensions  
Span 73' 1.2"
22.28 m
Length 56' 9.1"
17.3 m
Height 21' 7.5"
6.59 m
Wing area 933.26 sq ft
86.7 sq m
Weight  
Empty 15,146 lb
6,870 kg
Loaded 23,545 lb
10,680 kg
Performance  
Speed at 3,280' / 1,000 m 186 mph
300 kph
Climb to 3,280' / 1,000 m 5 minutes 6 seconds
Range 1,740 miles
2,800 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 15 mm
1: 7.9 mm MG, 7.92 mm / 0.31" MG
Rear Cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG, 7.92 mm / 0.31" MG
Engine Nacelles Firing Rearward 2: 7.9 mm MG, 7.92 mm / 0.31" MG
Ordnance Load, Bombs or Mines 2,756 lb
1,250 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1: 1,102 lb
1: 500 kg
  Heinkel He 115K2
Type Mine laying, Reconnaissance
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 132K
HP 850 each
Dimensions  
Span 75' 10"
Length 57'
Height 23' 4"
Weight  
Loaded 20,200 lb
Performance  
Speed 220 mph
Range 1,300 miles
Armament  
Nose 1: MG
Rear cockpit 1: MG
Torpedo 1,760 lb

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site