Heinkel He 115

infobox Aircraft
name = He 115
type = Torpedo bomber
manufacturer = Heinkel



caption = A Finnish-operated He 115.
designer =
first flight = August 1937
introduced = 1939
retired =
status = Retired
primary user = Luftwaffe
more users = Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service
Swedish Air Force
Royal Air Force
produced =
number built = 138
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
The Heinkel He 115 was a World War II Luftwaffe seaplane with three seats. It was used as a torpedo bomber and performed general seaplane duties, such as reconnaissance and mine laying. The plane was powered by two BMW 132K 960 hp (720 kW) nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines. Some later models could seat four, had different engines, or used different weapon setups.

Prototypes

Five prototypes were used in the development of the aircraft:

*He 115 V1 August 1937, set eight payload/speed records.
*He 115 V2 November 1937, similar to V1.
*He 115 V3 March 1938, introduced glassed cockpit, which became standard.
*He 115 V4 May 1938, production prototype, introduced struts in place of wires between fuselage and floats.
*He 115 V5 1939.

Variants

The basic design of the aircraft remained remarkably unchanged during the type's long career. The main differences, with a few notable exceptions, were changes in armament and avionics. Also to note is that the 'new' 'E' version, launched when production restarted in 1941, is in fact similar to the 'C'-series, again with the exception of armament changes.

*He 115A-0 10 pre-production examples, armed with a single machine gun.
*He 115A-1 added a nose-mounted machine gun.
*He 115A-2 similar to A-1, exported to Norway and Sweden.
*He 115A-3 modified weapons bay and changes to the radio equipment.
*He 115B-0 the 'B'-series introduced the ability to trade fuel and bomb load, as well as the possibility to carry a 1,000 kg magnetic mine.
*He 115B-1 added increased fuel capacity.
**He 115B-1/R1
**He 115B-1/R2
**He 115B-1/R3
*He 115B-2 had reinforced floats for operation from ice or snow.
*He 115C-1 introduced additional armament.
**He 115C-1/R1
**He 115C-1/R2
**He 115C-1/R3
**He 115C-1/R4
*He 115C-2 reinforced floats in same manner as B-2.
*He 115C-3 minelayer version.
*He 115C-4 torpedo bomber version.
*He 115D one aircraft fitted with BMW 801C engines rated at 1,600 hp (1,193 kW) each.
*He 115E-1 similar to the 'C'-series, but with revised armament.

Armament

Armament varied, but included a MG 15, MG 151, MG 17 machine guns and MG FF cannons. Other weapons used by He 115 variants include carrying LTF 5 or LTF 6b torpedoes and bomb types such as the SD 500 and SC 250. Some also carried LMB III or LMA mines.

Operational history

At the beginning of the war, the He 115 was used for dropping parachute mines in British waters, normally aiming for narrow passages in close vicinity of heavily-trafficked ports on the English south coast. The River Thames was also a prime target.

However, the aircraft had its finest moment when operating in the anti-shipping role against the Arctic convoys from bases in Northern Norway. Because these convoys initially lacked air cover, the slow speed and comparatively light armament of the He 115 was not such a big problem as it had been over the heavily-defended English coastline. Later on, with the appearance of carriers and escort carriers, coupled with new Soviet long-range fighters like the Petlyakov Pe-3bis, the air superiority over the convoys was challenged, and as a result, the torpedo bomber losses were increasing.

Apart from its use as a minelayer and torpedo bomber, it was also used in the coastal reconnaissance role.

Foreign service

Royal Norwegian Air Service He 115Ns

Seven He 115A-2 (Five of them He 115Ns) served in the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service against the Germans during the Norwegian Campaign of April-June 1940.

In response to the rising tensions in Europe the Norwegian Ministry of Defence had ordered six He 115Ns on 28 August 1939. Between 14 July and 13 November 1939 all six ordered aircraft were delivered to the Norwegian authorities.Luftwaffe.no: [http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Artikler/115.html Heinkel He 115 in Norway] en icon] The He 115N order was intended to replace the RNoNAS' fleet of indigenously designed and produced Høver M.F. 11 biplane seaplanes, a type that had made its first flight on 29 September, 1931 and was by now outdated.

The Norwegians signed another order of six He 115Ns in December 1939, with delivery estimated to March/April 1940. The delivery of this second order was however pre-empted by the German invasion of Norway on 9 April, 1940.

At the outbreak of hostilities, the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service had six He 115Ns in service (F.50, F.52, F.54, F.56, F.58, F.60) spread along the coast from the naval air stations at Sola and Flatøy in the south to the one at Skattøra Naval Air Station outside Tromsø in the north. At the beginning of the invasion, the aircraft at the seaplane base at Hafrsfjord near Stavanger (F.60) was captured by the Germans, but two of the Luftwaffe's He 115s (given the codes F.62 and F.64 in Norwegian service) were in turn seized by an improvised militia unit of Norwegian riflemen at Ørnes in Glomfjord, Nordland and by a group of police at Brønnøysund, Nordland. The two aircraft were seized after they ran out of fuel and had to make emergency landings on 10 April. Manned by Norwegian aircrews, they served against their former owners for the duration of the campaign.

Norwegian He-115s were employed against German and German-controlled ships (see: HNoMS "Uller"), as well as providing ground support to the Norwegian Army's offensive on the Narvik Front. Four of the Norwegian aircraft (F.52, F.56, F.58 and F.64) made the journey to the United Kingdom after the June 10 1940 surrender, a fifth (F.50) escaping to Finland, landing on Lake Salmijärvi in Petsamo. [FAF in Color: [http://www.sci.fi/~ambush/faf/fafincolor.html Finnish Air Force Aircraft: Heinkel He 115] en icon] A sixth He 115 (F.54) also tried to make the journey to Britain, but was lost over the North Sea. The last of the Norwegian He 115s, F.62 (one of the two captured German aircraft), was unservicable at the time of the evacuation and had to be abandoned at Skattøra, later being repaired and flown by the Germans.

In the UK

The four escaped aircraft were at first reformed into the Norwegian Helensburgh Group under Cdr. Bugge.

The exiled Norwegian Cabinet Nygaardsvold made plans soon after arriving in the UK to use the four He 115 aircraft to perform leaflet dropping missions over Norway. The leaflet mission was to deliver a declaration to the occupied Norwegian people, stating that the Norwegian authorities were re-established in the UK and were rejecting any Nazi German overtures proposing a German-Norwegian peace deal. All four Norwegian He 115s were ordered from Helensburgh to Scapa Flow on 3 July 1940 to carry out the mission, although one had to return to Helensburgh due to engine problems. The three He 115s assembled at Scapa Flow were ordered to fly to Norway and drop the declaration over the cities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. Shortly before the mission was to get under way the British Air Ministry intervened and stopped the expedition, insisting that such an undertaking would be suicidal to attempt with the slow flying He 115s. Three days later the three Norwegian aircraft returned to Helensburgh. [Hafsten 1991: 297]

Three of the Norwegian He 115s (F.56, F.58 and F.64) were subsequently used in covert operations with Norwegian crews off Norway and in the Mediterranean Sea. In British service, the three received new serial numbers: BV184, BV185 and BV187. BV184 was attacked and damaged by two Polish Spitfire fighters over the Bay of Biscay in the spring of 1942 while cooperating with French fishing boats [Berg 1997: 93] , and later lost in a refuelling fire in the UK. BV185 was destroyed in an Italian air raid on Kalafrana, Malta after flying just one clandestine operation to North Africa. BV187 flew several missions on the North African coast from its base in Malta before finally being attacked and destroyed by two German Bf 109s.

He 115 F.50 in Finland

One Norwegian aircraft (F.50) escaped to Finland, where it was interned, and later used by the Finnish Air Force' LLv.44 to ferry sissi troops. In this role, it proved valuable as it did not require a vast open space to land on, but instead could touch down on lakes. It served in this role until it crashed behind Soviet lines in East Karelia on July 4 1943.

wedish He 115s

The Swedish Air Force operated a dozen He 115A-2s under the local designation T 2, with Air Force numbers 101-112. Another six aircraft were ordered, but never delivered due to the outbreak of World War II. They were sturdy and well-liked by their crews, and were not taken out of use until 1952. The Swedish T 2s were kept on duty throughout World War II and made a valuable contribution to protecting and enforcing Swedish neutrality. The T 2s replaced the outdated T 1s (Heinkel HD 16s) in the torpedo bomber role and also served as a regular bomber, for smoke screening and for long distance reconnaissance missions. Five of the twelve T 2s were lost in accidents during their service with the Swedish Air Force. [Avrosys.nu: [http://www.avrosys.nu/aircraft/Torped/192T2.htm T 2 - Heinkel He 115 (1939-1952)] ]

Operators

*flagicon|Bulgaria|1878 Bulgaria: Royal Bulgarian Air Force
*FIN: Finnish Air Force
*flag|Nazi Germany: Luftwaffe
*NOR: Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service
*SWE: Swedish Air Force
*UK: Royal Air Force

pecifications (He 115C)

aircraft specification
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=Fact|date=April 2008
crew=3
length main=56 ft 9 in
length alt=17.3 m
span main=72 ft 10 in
span alt=22.2 m
height main=21 ft 7.75 in
height alt=6.60 m
area main=942 ft²
area alt=87.5 m²
empty weight main=11,670 lb
empty weight alt=5,290 kg
loaded weight main=20,020 lb
loaded weight alt=9,080 kg
engine (prop)=BMW 132K
type of prop=9-cylinder radial engines
number of props=2
power main=845 hp
power alt=630 kW
max speed main=217 mph
max speed alt=349 km/h
combat radius main=1,305 mi
combat radius alt=2,100 km
ceiling main=21,400 ft
ceiling alt=6,520 m
loading main=21.3 lb/ft²
loading alt=103.8 kg/m²
power/mass main=0.084 hp/lb
power/mass alt=139 W/kg
armament=
*1 fixed 7.92mm MG 17 and one flexible MG 15 7.92 mm machine gun
*Up to 2,205 lb. (1,000 kg) torpedo or bombs

ee also

aircontent
similar aircraft=
*PBY Catalina
*Hall XPTBH
sequence=
He 112 -
He 113 -
He 114 -He 115 -
He 116 -
Hs 117 -
He 118
see also=
*List of military aircraft of Germany
*List of military aircraft of Sweden
*List of military aircraft of Norway
*List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force

References

Notes

Bibliography

*
* Ede, Paul and Moeng, Soph (gen. editors) "The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft" ISBN 1-85605-705-4
* Keskinen, Kalevi and Stenman, Kari "Finnish Air Force 1939-1945" ISBN 0-89747-387-6
*

External links

* [http://www.nuav.net/haltenbank.html Article on He 115 found at Haltenbanken]
* [http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Artikler/115.html He 115s in Norwegian service]
* [http://www.avrosys.nu/aircraft/Torped/192T2.htm He 115s in Swedish service]


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