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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Heinkel He 219 night fighter
Nickname: Uhu ("Owl")

Photos

  • Heinkel He 219 Uhu night fighter
  • Heinkel He 219 Uhu night fighter

Design

The Heinkel He 219 was originally designed as a multi-purpose aircraft but it only saw use as a night fighter. In 1941 the Air Ministry asked that the aircraft, then under design, be made into a night fighter.

It was based on Heinkel's P.1060 fighter-bomber proposal but this didn't receive support in Berlin. Production was delayed by Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch preferring the Junkers Ju 188.

Radar

The He 219 used the Lichtenstein FuG 220 radar.

Cockpit

The He 219's windscreen was bulletproof and had wipers and hot-air demisting.

With the cockpit being so far forward, in front of the engines and guns, the flash didn't bother the crew as much.

Ejection seats were first used in combat in the He 219.

The He 219's cockpit was pressurized.

Fuselage

The fuselage contained the self sealing and protected fuel tanks.

Undercarriage

The undercarriage was the first Luftwaffe plane to have tricycle landing gear.

Armament

One of the unique features of the He 219 was its Schräge Musik ("slanted music") upwards firing cannons located at the rear of the fuselage.

The gun turrets of the He 219 were remotely controlled.

Prototype

On November 15, 1942, was the first flight of the He 219V1 prototype.

Delays occurred when the Royal Air Force (RAF) raided Rostock and 75% of the design drawings were destroyed.

It was to beat out the Dornier Do 217N and Junkers Ju 88S.

Production

The production of the He 219 was to be cancelled as the Ju 88G was able to catch the Lancaster and Halifax bombers. However, the He 219 was the only plane able to take on the Mosquito so production continued.

Due to jets and single engine fighters receiving production priority in May 1944 production of the He 219 was haulted.

  • Heinkel He 219: 294, 296, <300
    • Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel A.G.

Variants

  • Heinkel He 219V-1: Prototype. Had Daimler-Benz 603A (1,750 HP) engines.
  • Heinkel He 219A-0: Pre production version. In May 1943 sent to Holland for operational trials.
  • Heinkel He 219A-1: Reconnaissance.
  • Heinkel He 219R3: Had a single MG in the tail. This was removed in later versions.
  • Heinkel He 219A-2: First production model.
  • Heinkel He 219A-2/R1: First production model.
  • Heinkel He 219A-5: First production model produced in any quantities. Had increased fuel.
  • Heinkel He 219A-5/R1:
  • Heinkel He 219A-5/R2:
  • Heinkel He 219A-5/R3:
  • Heinkel He 219A-5/R4:
  • Heinkel He 219A-6: Special model to fight the Mosquito. Had boosted Daimler-Benz DB 603L engines. Armament was reduced to increase performance.
  • Heinkel He 219A-7: Introduced in 1944. Had Daimler-Benz 603G engines. Armament was increased. It carried two 20 mm cannons and six 30 mm.
  • Heinkel He 219A-7/R1: Had up to eight cannons. Including two 30 mm in a Schräge Musik (slanting music or jazz) configuration.
  • Heinkel He 219A-7/R4: Had a radar in the rear of the plane to warn of Mosquito night fighters.
  • Heinkel He 219A-7/R5: Had Junkers Jumo engines.
  • Heinkel He 219A-7/R6: Had two Jumo 222A/B engines (2,500 HP), which propelled the He 219 435 mph / 440 mph / 700 kph.
  • Heinkel He 219B: Had longer span. Not used in service. Had MW 50 power boost.

Usage

The He 219 was one of the few Luftwaffe aircraft that were able to catch the de Havilland Mosquito. It was estimated that 60% of the Mosquitos lost in night combat were due to the He 219.

Trial Run

Some of the He 219A-0 reproduction models were sent to Holland for trials. A mission led by Major Werner Streib, on June 11/12, 1943, shot down five Lancaster bombers. In the very first six sorties He 219 crews claimed 20 RAF bombers shot down. Six of those being the Mosquito, which had been immune up until then.

First Unit

The first unit to use the He 219 was the 1. Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, based at Munster-Handorf.

Specifications

  Heinkel He 219 Uhu
Type Night fighter
Crew 2
  Heinkel He 219A Uhu
Type Night Fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603A
OR 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603E
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Water
Propeller blades 3 Blade VDM constant speed
Fuel Capacity 577 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 60' 8"
18.49 m, 18.5 m
Length 50' 11.75", 51'
15.54 m, 15.5 m
Height 13' 5.5", 14' 5"
4.1 m, 4.4 m
Wing area 478 sq ft
44.4 sq m
Weight  
Loaded 29,900 lb
13,580 kg
Performance  
Speed at 21,000' /
6,410 m
385 mph
616 kph
Service ceiling 30,500'
9,300 m
Range 1,335 miles
2,140 km
Armament  
Fuselage Fairing 4: 20 mm MG 151/10
Behind Cockpit - Firing Upwards at 65° 2: 30 mm MK 108
  Heinkel He 219A-2 Uhu
Engine (Type) 2: DB 603 A
  Heinkel He 219 A-2/R1
Type Night fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603A
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,750 each
Dimensions  
Span 60' 8"
Length 51'
Height 13' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 24,640 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 22,965' /
7,000 m
416 mph
Service ceiling 41,660'
Range 1,243 miles
Armament 6: 20 mm
  Heinkel He 219A-5 Uhu
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603E
Cylinders Inverted V 12
HP 1,800 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Weight  
Empty 21,826 lb
9,900 kg
Loaded 28,990 lb
13,150 kg
Armament  
Upward firing 2: 30 mm
Wing roots 2: 20 mm
Ventral tray 2: 30 mm
  Heinkel He 219A-7 Uhu
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603G
HP 1,900 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Weight  
Empty 24,692 lb
11,200 kg
Loaded 33,730 lb
15,300 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 22,965' /
7,000 m
416 mph
669 kph
Cruising speed 335 - 391 mph
539 - 629 kph
Climb 1,810'/minute
552 m/minute
Service ceiling 41,667'
12,700 m
Range 1,243 miles
2,000 km
Armament 2: 20 mm
6: 30 mm
Upward firing 2: 30 mm
Wing roots 2: 30 mm
Ventral tray 2: 20 mm
2: 30 mm
  Heinkel He 219A-7/R1 Uhu
Type Night fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 603E piston
2: Daimler-Benz DB 603G piston
Cylinders Inline
HP 1,800 each
1,900 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 60' 8", 60' 8.5"
18.5 m
Length 50' 11.75", 51'
15.54 m
Height 13' 5.5", 13' 6"
4.1 m
Wing area 479 ft2
44.5 m2
Weight  
Empty 24,640 lb, 24,691 lb
11,200 kg
Loaded 33,660 lb, 33,730 lb
15,300 kg
Performance  
Speed maximum 415 mph
670 kph
Speed @ 22,965' /
7,000 m
416 mph
670 kph
Cruising speed 390 mph
630 kph
Climb 1,805'/minute
550 m/minute
Service ceiling 40,000', 41,665'
12,200 m, 12,700 m
Range 1,240 miles, 1,243 miles
2,000 km
Armament  
Upward firing 2: 30 mm Mk 108
Wing roots 2: 30 mm Mk 108
Ventral tray 2: 20 mm MG 151/20
2: 30 mm Mk 103
  Heinkel He 219B
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 222 E/F
Weight  
Loaded 32,550 lb
14,780 kg
Performance  
Speed at 33,000' /
10,000 m
435 mph
616 kph

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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