Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Greif, He 177 was no B-17. Epic Luftwaffe Fails

Found this, you'll find more at the Defence Media Network, see for complete article, here's how it starts....

The Luftwaffe made many Great Airplanes like the FW-190 and Me262. And then there were flying flops like the Greif. Germany didn't make any really successful 4 engine bombers, and the Greif seems as result of Germany not liking 4 engined bombers.

The Condor was only marginally successful as a patrol bomber. By contrast, the UK produced the Lancaster and US produced the B-17 and B-24 before WWII, and developed the B-29 (copied by the Russians), and was working on the B-36 which set the example for every American heavy bomber from the B-52 to the B-70, B-1 and B-2.

Heinkel He 177 Bomber Was a ‘Flying Tinderbox’ During World War II

The Greif brought grief to the Luftwaffe

He 177 engine run
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A Heinkel He 177 with its crew, Sept. 23, 1944. Heinkel finally gave up on the twinned DB 606 engines and redesigned the He 177B to have four conventional engines, with three prototypes flying in 1944, but by then it was too late, with bomber projects being cancelled and production concentrating on fighters. Bundesarchive photo
Speaking to Generaloberst (Colonel General) Hans Jeschonnek, chief of staff of the Luftwaffe as part of a rambling exchange about tanks and aircraft, the Führer said:
“I have to say again and again: I consider the whole 177 model a mistake because it was demonstrated already during the Great War that the problem of installing two engines on one shaft is extremely difficult to solve, and has led to constant difficulties.”
The He 177 may not have been Hitler’s biggest mistake – there is a long roster of candidates – but it was a mistake on the part of planemaker Ernst Heinkel’s design team and the Luftwaffe. It personifies the failure of the wartime German air arm to equip itself with long-range bombers.
It was classified as a heavy bomber. Its promised performance was better than any bomber in the world, carrying two tons of bombs to targets 1,400 miles inside enemy territory at 225 miles per hour. It would have enabled the Luftwaffe to reach Allied convoys in the Atlantic and Soviet installations beyond the Ural Mountains.
HE 177 In Flight
A Heinkel He 177 V5 heavy bomber prototype in flight, ca. 1942/43. U.S. Navy photo
Instead of enhancing the offensive striking power of the Luftwaffe the He 177 became renowned for structural flaws, engine issues (including frequent engine fires) and an overall lack of reliability. The tail surfaces had to be redesigned and enlarged. There were constant problems not only with the coupled engines but with the complex, 14-foot, 8-inch, four-bladed propellers.

Strong Specifications

Developed beginning in 1939, the He 177 was designed to a German Air Ministry specification calling for a heavy bomber with an ordnance load of at least 4,400 pounds. While it was being prepared for its first flight, Generaloberst Ernst Udet, perhaps Germany’s most famous pilot, persuaded the Luftwaffe to decree that all combat aircraft should be capable of dive-bombing in the manner of the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka.  Jeschonnek continued this policy after Udet’s death in 1941. This impossible requirement for a heavy bomber dictated the twinned-engine configuration that was at the heart of the Greif’s multitude of troubles.
The He 177 looked like a twin-engined bomber. Its twinned engines were contained in each of two nacelles making it a four-engined bomber – sort of. The concept relied on the Daimler Benz DB 606 twin engine, which took two 1,350-horsepower DB 601A-1/B-1 inverted V inline engines and placed them side by side, with the inner cylinders almost vertical, producing an inverted W. The engines were prone to overheating and in-flight engine fires were common. Six of the original eight aircraft were lost, most due to engine fires, and many of the first 35 production aircraft (with Ernst Heinkel in disfavor, the planes were built mainly by Arado) also suffered the same fate.

-->see for complete article

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