Heinkel He 111
was a German aircraft designed by
Siegfried and Walter Günter
in 1934. Through development, it was described as a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Due to restrictions placed on Germany after the
First World War
prohibiting bombers, it masqueraded as a civil
airliner, although from conception the design was intended to provide the nascent
with a fast
medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognized German
due to the distinctive, extensively glazed
nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of
World War II. The bomber fared well until the
Battle of Britain when its weak defensive armament was exposed.
Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the
European theatre. It was used as a
during the Battle of Britain, a
Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres.
The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realized, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favor of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. Production of the Heinkel continued after the war as the Spanish-built CASA 2.111. Spain received a batch of He 111H-16s in 1943 along with an agreement to license-build Spanish versions. Its airframe was produced in Spain under license by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA. The design differed significantly in powerplant only, eventually being equipped with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. The Heinkel's descendant continued in service until 1973.