Three Engine He 111

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thaddeus_c
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Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 26 Aug 2018 18:01

What If after the Junkers JU-88/188 and Dornier Do 217 started to eclipse the older He 111 and in addition the He 177 is cancelled after the first 150 - 175 production run (1942), Heinkel tries to claw back business with a three engine He 111?

speculating the same Jumo 211 engine, and a 100 ft. (?) wingspan similar to what was employed on the Ju 86 (in high altitude variant), in fact the He 111 had outclassed the Ju 86 before and they could compete for that recon role as well?

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 26 Aug 2018 21:54

There was a solid nose version of the original concept. But it was really only useful for cargo or passengers.
The bomber version had the forward gun and bomb aimer's position in the greenhouse nose section.

Adding a third engine would require the nose to be completely reconfigured and would more or less eliminate the forward gun position at least. The third motor would need to be considerably farther forward to prevent the prop from interfering with tbe wing engines as well. This has its own inherent problems with thrust and weight offsets.

Going to a four engine concept with longer wings would have made more sense. Similar to the evolution of the Manchester to the Lancaster. But the aircraft still had limited potential. Its fuselage left very little room to improve bomb capacity.

Tbe Luftwaffe already had heavy bombers from Heinkel and Focke Wulf. Perfecting them would have been more efficient.

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by T. A. Gardner » 26 Aug 2018 22:41

Adding a third engine in the nose would be very problematic. The first problem would be the shift in the center of gravity. The Jumo 211 weighs over half a ton, and by the time you include the mounting, and accessories over a ton.

Then there's the obvious problem of forward defensive fire from the plane. The Italians had this problem with their tri-motors and the Germans knew about that and the problems they had with the Ju 52 bomber variant in Spain.

A more likely choice by Henkel would have been to revise the He 111 along the lines of the He 116.

Image

While this was a slightly smaller transport plane with low power Argus engines, it would have been possible for Henkel to simply apply the same idea to the He 111. You upsize the wing some, maybe stretch the fuselage a bit and slap 4 smaller and lighter engines with about 900 to 1000 hp on it. The problem here is that Germany really doesn't make a truly suitable engine for this purpose.

Of course, in doing that going to the He 277 four engine bomber would make far more sense.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 26 Aug 2018 23:58

Add to the above, the Reich in general and the Luftwaffe in particular never really wanted to deviate significant funds, personnel or resources away from the army support role.

Jet planes, heavy bombers, even a version of Coastal Command all materialized, but still remained the poor cousins from the beginning to the end.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 27 Aug 2018 02:10

thanks for the insights!

my speculation was Heinkel heavy bomber cancelled after that first disastrous production run of 165 (1942) but also the great demand for DB engines and their successful experience with Zwilling version of He 111 (as they were scheming a 15,000 lb. bombload for THAT version)

the use of common parts might have been favored at this time in Germany, and three engines seem a savings? (despite the problems noted, the LW DID seize on the SM.82 design for example)

was wondering for recon role could the fuselage (center) engine be used to prevent frosting in pressurized, high altitude version? the JU-86 and British Welkin used supercharger from one of the wing engines? also what increase in speed might be expected from third engine?

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 Aug 2018 03:29

Have a look at tbe Zwilling from the top view. You will note the centre engine is spaced somewhat further from the two left and right inboard engines than they are from their outboard counterparts.
That is because the props need to clear. In the case of the Ju 52, its engines were radials, so overhang was less. A centrally mounted engine would require a significant offset because of the length of a V12.
Not only that a somewhat larger central prop will be required to divert the prop wash around the fuselage. The extra engine and its associated plumbing for fuel, oil and radiators will occupy most of the former crew compartment. Where for instance will the escape hatch go?
As mentioned above with no gunner/bomb aimer position the aircraft is useless as a bomber. Making it into a faster recon aircraft is moot. There were several better platform choices for that role including the Ju 88 HaHa. In any case, the aerodynamic streamlining would be reduced by the extra engine. So who knows how much faster it really would have gone, given the extra weight and drag.
Perhaps the final nail in the coffin? The loss of the greenhouse and addition of the third engine will reduce visibility below to virtually zero. Not a great attribute for a potential recon aircraft.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 27 Aug 2018 04:33

maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Aug 2018 03:29
Have a look at tbe Zwilling from the top view. You will note the centre engine is spaced somewhat further from the two left and right inboard engines than they are from their outboard counterparts.
That is because the props need to clear. In the case of the Ju 52, its engines were radials, so overhang was less. A centrally mounted engine would require a significant offset because of the length of a V12.
Not only that a somewhat larger central prop will be required to divert the prop wash around the fuselage. The extra engine and its associated plumbing for fuel, oil and radiators will occupy most of the former crew compartment. Where for instance will the escape hatch go?
As mentioned above with no gunner/bomb aimer position the aircraft is useless as a bomber. Making it into a faster recon aircraft is moot. There were several better platform choices for that role including the Ju 88 HaHa. In any case, the aerodynamic streamlining would be reduced by the extra engine. So who knows how much faster it really would have gone, given the extra weight and drag.
Perhaps the final nail in the coffin? The loss of the greenhouse and addition of the third engine will reduce visibility below to virtually zero. Not a great attribute for a potential recon aircraft.
they could use the arrangement of He 119 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_119 to address visibility and maintain (some) weight balance of the aircraft? (they installed the much larger DB twinned power system behind the cockpit in a somewhat smaller aircraft so it seems at least feasible)

(any) bomber version would likely require only externally mounted? but that was frequently done anyways?

(also this speculation is NOT to replace all He 111 production, merely a limited variant, as the Zwilling surely would have been even if bomber version had been pursued)

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 Aug 2018 14:11

Looking at the cutaway, I can see that a third engine could possibly be shoehorned into the forward bomb bay.

The resultant reduction in cabin space, exhaust fumes and noise; would likely mean the dorsal and ventral gun positions would need to be eliminated.

There would be a fair amount of work to strengthen and restructure the nose and cabin sections, to accept the weight and stresses. Challenging, but not impossible, I agree.

But was it practical? We are now left with an unarmed aircraft, useless as a bomber or transport. The recce function would be the only task left it could perform. The expense would need to create a noticible improvement.

Note it was not enough that it simply be faster than an He 111. It needed to be faster than any other options already available. More importantly, it would have to be faster than allied fighters sent to shoot it down, if there was any hope of success.

We can only speculate on that, but there are some relationships that may help. Lets assume a third engine produces a 50% increase in total horsepower. The relationship between horsepower and velocity is a third power equation. So a 50% horsepower gain only results in a net gain of 15% on velocity. This would take the aircraft from around 275mph to about 315mph.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by stg 44 » 27 Aug 2018 17:27

T. A. Gardner wrote:
26 Aug 2018 22:41
Adding a third engine in the nose would be very problematic. The first problem would be the shift in the center of gravity. The Jumo 211 weighs over half a ton, and by the time you include the mounting, and accessories over a ton.

Then there's the obvious problem of forward defensive fire from the plane. The Italians had this problem with their tri-motors and the Germans knew about that and the problems they had with the Ju 52 bomber variant in Spain.

A more likely choice by Henkel would have been to revise the He 111 along the lines of the He 116.

Image

While this was a slightly smaller transport plane with low power Argus engines, it would have been possible for Henkel to simply apply the same idea to the He 111. You upsize the wing some, maybe stretch the fuselage a bit and slap 4 smaller and lighter engines with about 900 to 1000 hp on it. The problem here is that Germany really doesn't make a truly suitable engine for this purpose.

Of course, in doing that going to the He 277 four engine bomber would make far more sense.
The BMW 132/Bramo 323?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramo_323#Performance
Power output:
670 kW (900 PS) at 2,500 rpm at sea level for take-off
745 kW (1,000 PS) at 3,100 m (10,200 ft)
Worked on the Fw200.
Image

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by T. A. Gardner » 27 Aug 2018 20:48

That wouldn't be a bad choice. Four of those at 950 to 1,000 hp would represent about a 70 to 80% increase in total horsepower. That would make for a decent four engine bomber.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 28 Aug 2018 12:37

they could use the three engine version as high altitude recon/bomber, it would be faster than Ju 86, slower than Ar 234 (which only appears later) but neither of those carried bombs in recon role?

potential to retain one of the internal bomb bays and mounts behind each of the two external engines?

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 28 Aug 2018 19:02

thaddeus_c wrote:
28 Aug 2018 12:37
they could use the three engine version as high altitude recon/bomber, it would be faster than Ju 86, slower than Ar 234 (which only appears later) but neither of those carried bombs in recon role?

potential to retain one of the internal bomb bays and mounts behind each of the two external engines?
Because the bombardier's position is now occupied by the drive shaft, it would be pointless to add bombs to this aircraft. In any case a standard Ju 88 would be faster and fly higher.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 29 Aug 2018 01:32

maltesefalcon wrote:
28 Aug 2018 19:02
thaddeus_c wrote:
28 Aug 2018 12:37
they could use the three engine version as high altitude recon/bomber, it would be faster than Ju 86, slower than Ar 234 (which only appears later) but neither of those carried bombs in recon role?

potential to retain one of the internal bomb bays and mounts behind each of the two external engines?
Because the bombardier's position is now occupied by the drive shaft, it would be pointless to add bombs to this aircraft. In any case a standard Ju 88 would be faster and fly higher.
the He 119 with driveshaft in similar configuration had provision for 2,200 lb. bomb load. the Ju 86 was used as high altitude recon aircraft (though without bombs) and the Ju 88 was option then as well and not used?

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by maltesefalcon » 29 Aug 2018 02:01

Agreed there were two experimental He 119 built to carry bombs. But there was indeed no crew position for a bomb aimer, so it would be quite useless as a high altitude bomber. Were any actual bombing missions completed in one?

So we are taking an He 111 and rejigging the entire nose section. Third engine in bomb bay. Driveshaft through crew cabin. In all likelihood no gun positions. At which point does it stop being an He 111 and become an entirely new aircraft? And for the second time I ask how fast will it go and will it be fast enough to justify the cost?

I will not comment further on this thread as it seems to be going in circles.

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Re: Three Engine He 111

Post by thaddeus_c » 29 Aug 2018 12:45

the JU-252 with tri-motor arrangement had max. takeoff weight of 11 tons greater than twin engine HE-111, and comparable speed (using the same Jumo 211 engines)

(NOT suggesting a speculative HE-111 with three engines could carry an 11 ton bomb load, only noting that an additional engine would allow the aircraft to cope better with the externally mounted overload historically employed)

as far as the economics of such an arrangement?

nothing could equal aircraft engine that could reach 2,000 hp, that was not an option for Germany, in addition they resisted ending production of any aircraft types?

so weird twinned engines and fuselages were considered normal

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