Heinkel He 219
Never given enough official backing to enter service in sufficient numbers or a timely manner, Heinkel’s Uhu could have proved devastating to Bomber Command had it been available in quantity.
In 1940, well before Allied bombers would threaten the German heartland, Heinkel had defined the basics of its P.1064 – a multi-role heavy fighter/reconnaissance/strike type – an attractive tricycle-gear aircraft with a two-man crew sitting in tandem far forward on the nose, twin tails, and a shoulder-mounted wing. However, this private venture did not attract official interest initially.
By the time that the interceptor version of the P.1064 – the He 219 – was taking shape, the bomber threat was steadily becoming all too real, and in the spring of 1942 the production lines for the new aircraft were taken out by a raid. Heinkel then farmed out construction to less geographically concentrated locations, lessening their vulnerability but also delaying the program. Thus, instead of there being an operational He 219 unit by the late summer of 1942, the first prototype did not even fly until November of that year, and by the spring of 1943 there were still only a handful of aircraft.
Even after the Uhu was flying, it would still have to go through a competition with the Ju 88, which was officially favored. The 219 was finally able to go into action in the hands of NJG1, which in fact ended up being the only operational user, and the type’s potential was demonstrated by Werner Streib’s mission of 11/12 June 1943, wherein he claimed five RAF bombers – although these were tempered by the crash of Streib’s aircraft.
He 219A-5/R1: DB603A engines
He 219A-5/R2: DB603E
He 219A-5/R3: DB603Aa
He 219A-5/R4: Revised cockpit to allow a third crewman
He 219A-6: Lightened “Mosquito Killer” with DB603Ls.
He 219A-7: A-5 development with supercharged DB603Gs.
He 219A-7/1: Heavier armament; two Mk103 cannon and a pair of MG151 machine guns fitted in the tray, and two Mk108s in the wings.
He 219A-7/R2: Mk108s substituted for the Mk103 tray installation.
He 219A-7/R3: As the R2, but with machine guns in the wing rather than cannon.
He 219A-7/R6: Jumo 222A/B
Well before the basic Uhu was to enter service, use of the airframe as a basis for a strike aircraft was being looked at, and the Jumo 222 powered He 219C-2 might have proved formidable in that mission. With a redesigned fuselage shared by the C-1 night fighter model, the C-2 would have been armed with two Mk 103 cannon in the nose, up to three 1,000lb bombs carried externally, and a manned tail turret with a quartet of MG 131s. Neither of the C-model prototypes flew.
Perhaps the most radical extrapolation of the basic He 219 design, the Hütter Hü 211 was intended as a long-range high altitude reconnaissance type.A product of sailplane designer Wolfgang Hütter, the Hü 211 would have mated an He 219 fuselage to new, long-span wings and Jumo 222 engines. Construction of a pair of prototypes began, and a first flight was anticipated in early 1945, but both incomplete aircraft were destroyed by Allied bombs in December 1944.
He 419 V1: Prototype high altitude fighter created from an He 219A-5 fuselage fitted with a new wing and DB603G engines. The He 419A production model would have had a single tail.
He 419B-1/R1: Further enlarged wing, with the He 219 tail for expediency. Six examples are said to have been built.
He 219 Bibliography:
Photos (2): captured He 219 in US markings Aviation News November 5, 1945 p.10
James Griffiths Review of the 1/72 Dragon He 219B-1 kit Scale Aviation Modeller international May 2008
“Sneak preview: Revell 1/32 He 219A-7” Model Airplane International October 2012
Preview of the Zoukei-Mara 1/32 He 219A-0 Model Airplane International August 2013 p.58-59
Bill Bunting “Scaling Down Uhu – Mark 1’s Heinkel He 219A-7” Scale Aviation Modeller International August 2014
Phil Butler War Prizes: The Album p.42: photos of a captured He 219A in RAF hands, Uhu FE-612 at Freeman Field
David Donald Warplanes of the Luftwaffe p.130-133: He 219A-5 cutaway, color 3-view of a NJG1 He 219A-7/R2.
Manfred Griehl Luftwaffe X-Planes: German Experimental and Prototype Planes of World War II p.35: photo of the He 219 V33.