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He 219 «Uhu»

Night fighter


He 219

Originally designed as a multipurpose aircraft, it eventually became a highly specialized night fighter, and in this capacity has achieved remarkable success.

Not 219 VI (first prototype) took off on November 15, 1942 and demonstrated exceptional controllability and high flight characteristics. The only serious problem was poor track and lateral stability, which was improved on the third aircraft by increasing the tail area and lengthening the rear of the fuselage. The No 219 three-wheeled landing gear was an exceptional innovation for the Luftwaffe and was described by the German Air Ministry as an "unnecessary American innovation." In practice, the combination of a single nose wheel, which rotated during retraction, with a dual main landing gear, demonstrated excellent take-off and landing characteristics.

Power plant On prototypes He 219, pre-series He 219A-0 and serial He 219A-2, a 12-cylinder inverter V-shaped engine DB 603A liquid-cooled with a capacity of 1303 kW (1750 hp) was installed ... It was supposed to be replaced on commercial aircraft by the 1,415 kW (1,900 hp) DB 603G with increased compression ratio and a high-speed supercharger, but non-delivery led to a proposal to use as a temporary measure the DB 603E engine with a large supercharger and GM nitrous oxide injector -one. But it also turned out to be in short supply, so the same DB603A had to be used for the He 219A-2. Ultimately, DB 603G began to be installed on the He 219A-7, which turned out to be the most produced version, while the simplified model He 219A-6, designed to combat the Mosquito. equipped with a DB 6703L 1565 kW (2100 hp) engine with MW-50 and GM-1 afterburners and a two-stage supercharger.

Radar The first production aircraft (twelve He 219A-2/R1) were equipped with a simple FuG 212 Liechtenstein C-1 radar with four small antennas on the nose. Subsequent A-2s had one antenna for the C-1 and four large antennas for the new FuG 220 Liechtenstein SN-2 radar. On some A-5s, the C-1 radar was not installed, and the SN-2 antennas were often mounted upside down to reduce interference. On the A-7, a new FuG 218 Neptune radar was added to the Liechtenstein SN-2.

Armament The process of developing and selecting weapons and equipment was so complex that even now it is impossible to understand it. Even during the war, the German Air Ministry was interested in whether it was possible to reduce the number of types and variants of weapons. Prototypes flew with a record 29 weapon options, but plans to deploy the production program were disrupted by repeated raids on Rostock in March and April 1942, as a result of which virtually all technical documentation for the He 219 was destroyed twice. On the He 219A-2, they abandoned the installation of the MG 131 for firing in the rear hemisphere, this machine gun was no longer mounted on other versions, except for the He 219A-5 / R4, which had a fuselage extended forward and a new three-seater cockpit. The composition of the armament depended on those guns that were available by the time the next aircraft was ready - a pair of MG-151/20, or MK-103, or MK-108 guns. In May 1943, one He.219 received four MK-103 cannons with a total weight of 830 kg in the lower fairing. If the MK-108 guns had short barrels, limiting the effective firing range, but well suited for mass production, then the MK-103 had long barrels; as a consequence of the high initial velocity of the projectile and good flatness of the trajectory. However, the MK-108 was 40% lighter than the MK-103. As a result, the pre-production He.219A-0 was equipped with both types of cannons. With MK-108 the fighter was called He.219A-0 / R-1, and with MK-103 He.219A-0 / R-2 All He 219s had space for two 30 mm MK 108 cannons for firing back-down at an angle of 65 0 on Shrage Musik mounts, but only a few of them had it, it was usually installed in units Maintenance.

One of the reasons Milch was negative about Not 219 was that. that he considered this aircraft incapable of performing any missions other than bomber missions. Therefore, Heinkel designed the He 219A-3 three-seat fighter-bomber and the He 219A-4 high-altitude winged reconnaissance aircraft. Production could be carried out by a night fighter (already produced too slowly), but did not receive official permission, although an offer was made.

Many options and modifications slowed down the pace of serial production. Added to this was the problem of untimely deliveries of promising engines by Daimler-Benz and Junkers. Karl Francke, technical director of the Heinkel campaign since 1942, was forced to admit in August 1944: “The Not 219, in service with the Luftwaffe, is the best and fastest night fighter we have. But its characteristics today are not entirely sufficient to intercept the Mosquito.

Combat use The first He 219A-2 / R1 entered service with the 1st group of the 1st squadron of night fighters in 1943. It remained the only unit operating this type of aircraft due to the slowdown in supplies.

On the night of June 12, 1943, Not 219A-0 under the control of Major Streib made its first sortie. During this sortie, Streib shot down at least five British bombers. On his return to Venlo, Streib found that the flaps were not extended. The plane left the runway at high speed and was destroyed, although the pilot and radio operator NCO Fischer were not injured.

In the next 10 days after Streib's success, several He 219s from I / NJG.1 headquarters on six flights shot down 20 British bombers, including six Mosquitoes, previously considered invulnerable. On July 1, 1943, Streib became colonel and commander of the NJG. 1. The headquarters link continued to use several pre-production He.219A-0s, but despite Kammuhber's demands to give Heinkel's aircraft the highest priority, over the next six months, only one I / NJG.1 squadron was re-equipped, while the rest continued to fly on the Bf.110.

Deliveries went almost exclusively to I/NJG.1, which became the only group armed with the No. 219. Although the group constantly lacked these aircraft, the effectiveness of its operations was constantly increasing. On January 21, 1944, the commander of the group, Captain Manfred Meurer, was killed when his He.219 collided with Lancaster. Meirer, with 65 victories, was one of the most accomplished night pilot pilots. He was followed by captain Hans Dieter Frank with 55 wins. He died on September 27, 1944 over Hanover when his He.219 collided with another night fighter. But the combat losses were significantly less than the number of victories won, and did not go in any comparison with them until the appearance of the Mosquito night fighters over Germany.

In service with I/NJG.1 He.219A proved to be easy to maintain, since from the very beginning easy access to all units was provided. In maintenance units, even large units were replaced, and six fighters were generally assembled from spare units by service personnel. Although these aircraft did not even receive serial numbers and were not officially listed anywhere, they were used in battles. From the point of view of the pilots, the He.219A stood out for its excellent firepower, even with the installation of the minimum caliber cannons. The stock of shells, 300 for 20 mm guns and 100 for 30 mm, was quite sufficient. The crew, engines and ammunition were well armored. In addition, the He.219 was the first combat aircraft to receive ejection seats - in this area Heinkel was a pioneer. Even with a full load, He.219 had an excess of power, so that the engine failure on takeoff was not dangerous. Cases of take-off on one engine were actually recorded.

On October 1, 1944, the group lost its third commander, Major Forster crashed. From October 2, 1944 until the end of the war, the group was commanded by Werner Baake. By that time, the major had 41 victories. Some of the pilots on He.219 demonstrated amazing success. So Ober-Feldwebel Morlock on the night of November 3, 1944, in just 12 minutes, shot down six aircraft and one more presumably, but the next night he died from a Mosquito attack. Losses at the end of 1944 grew steadily. From the beginning of 1945, losses from assault strikes on airfields were added to them.

January 10, 1945 1/NJG.1 had 64 He.219A, of which 45 were combat-ready. The NJG.1 headquarters had 20 He.219 and Bf.110, of which 18 were combat-ready. Although I / NJG.1 remained the only unit using the He.219, two or three examples of the fighter were in the so-called Norway Night Fighter Squadron in the V Air Fleet.

He 219A-7/R1 Specification
Crew 2
Wing span, m 18.5m (60 ft 8 in)
Wing Area 44.5 m2 (480 ft2)
Length,(With Aerials) m 15.55m (50 ft 11¾ in)
Height, m 4.1m (13 ft 5½ in)
2x Daimler-Benz DB 603G; Power at take-off, hp 1,900
at altitude 7,400m (24,278 ft) 1,560
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 11,210 (24,714 lb)
Loaded weight 15,300 (33,730 lb)
Maximum speed at altitude 7000m (22,966ft) 665km/h (413 mph)
Time to level 6000m (19,685ft), min 11,5
Time to level 10000m (32,808ft), min 18,8
Service ceiling 12,700m (41,666 ft)
Service range at speed 625 km/h (388 mph) 1,540km (957 mls)
Service range at speed 535 km/h (332 mph) 2,000km (1,243 mls)
6 х MK-108; rounds per gun: 100
2 х MG-151; rounds per gun: 300
Photo Description
Drawing He 219A

Drawing He 219A

He-219A-5/R2 # FE 612, Freeman AFB, USA, 1946-1947


  • He 219V-1 Two 20mm MG 151/20 Cannon in wing roots. One 13mm MG 131 in rear cockpit.
  • He 219A-2/R1 Two 20mm MG 151/20 Cannon in wing roots. Two or Four 20mm MG 151/20 Cannon in belly tray. Two 30mm Mk 108 cannon in Shrage Musik mount.
  • He 219A-7/R1 Two 30mm Mk 108 Cannon in wing roots. Two 20mm MG 151/20 Cannon in belly tray. Two 30mm Mk 103 Cannon in belly tray. Two 30mm Mk 108 cannon in Shrage Musik mount. Ammunition: 100 rounds per gun
  • He 219A-7/R2 Two 30mm Mk 108 Cannon in wing roots. Two 20mm MG 151/20 Cannon in belly tray. Two 30mm Mk 108 Cannon in belly tray. Two 30mm Mk 108 cannon in Shrage Musik mount. Ammunition: 100 rounds per gun


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "Warplanes of the Luftwaffe. Combat aircraft of Hitler`s Luftwaffe." /under cor. David Donald/

Add Comment

September 21, 2020

Hi guys - my name is Richard, I own an aviation publishing company in the UK
I have a team of writers who are working on a book on the Heinkel He 219. I have heard from a couple of authors (Yefim Gordon, Dimitry Sobolev) that one example was taken to the Soviet Union in 1945, possibly from the Czech Republic. We would REALLY like to find out any further information, especially original Russian documents that specifically mention the He 219. Yefim Gordon says:
'‘Among the new German aircraft…sent to the Soviet Union, there was a single example of the Heinkel He 219…as related by the Russian aviation historian Dimitry A. Sobolev, this fact was mentioned in a letter sent by People’s Commissar of the Aircraft Industry Aleksey I. Shakhoorin to the Communist Party Central Committee in the Summer of 1945…it is known that BNT TsAGI (The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute) prepared a special report…based on the above-mentioned studies, as well as on captured documents…’'
do you know of any copies of the special report mentioned, or the 1945 letter sent by Shakhoorin?
Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated. We have very little information on the Soviet He 219, or if it even existed, and to prove it would be a major discovery for us.
Many thanks
Richard Carrick

September 21, 2020

After the end of the war, several samples of the He-219 aircraft in different technical conditions entered the USSR as war trophies, were flown around and comprehensively tested. There was nothing outstanding in the design. Of much greater value were airborne navigation, sighting equipment, airborne radar and equipment for detection and selection of air targets located at ground command posts.