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He 45
Scout and Light Bomber

He 45

He.45 and He.46 were created in parallel, were similar in size and engine power, but differed in design. The development contract was awarded based on specifications prepared by the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation. They excluded any manifestation of design creativity. The aircraft had to be designed without the use of newfangled solutions and attempts to achieve high flight performance. The main requirements were obedience in management, ease of maintenance, structural strength and good weight return. As a result, as expected, the He.45 and He.46 turned out to be rather ordinary aircraft of mixed design with moderate flight data.

Actually He.45 flew after He.46 in the spring of 1932. The engine was VMW-VI - 12 - water-cooled cylinder, takeoff power 600hp. The propeller is wooden, two-bladed, with a fixed pitch. The first He.45a was a classic biplane with a two-post wing box and chassis wheels with a common axle. The fabric-covered wooden two-spar wing had N-struts made of light alloy. The upper wing was mounted above the fuselage on N-shaped boar struts. Ailerons were on the upper and lower wings with a rigid connection to each other. The fuselage of a square cross-section was welded from steel pipes and sheathed to the cockpit with sheets of light alloy, then with cloth. The cabin was designed for two crew members. The plating at the rear cockpit could be removed to accommodate an annular turret for one MG-15 machine gun.

During 1932. passed successful tests. The first contract for the production of the He.45a was received from the Ministry of Defense by the end of the year, and deliveries to German "schools of air traffic" began in the summer of 1933. The first to receive the He.45 was the school in Schleizhein, which became the main center for the training of air reconnaissance. The He.45a was intended primarily for training and therefore was delivered unarmed, with a visor and a normal rear cockpit, as befits an aircraft with a civilian registration on board. A ring turret for a machine gun was on all aircraft, hidden under the skin. It was envisaged to install a FuG-VI radio station powered by a windmill generator under the fuselage, and a camera could be placed behind the observer's cabin.

Crew 2
Wing span, m 11.50 14.00
Length, m 10.60 9.50
Height, m 3.60 3.40
Wing area, m² 34.60 32.90
Weight, kg:
Empty 2,100 1,766
Loaded weight 2,750 2,300
power, h.p.
Maximum speed over ground, km/h 290 250
Maximum speed at altitude, km/h 270 257
Cruising speed over ground, km/h 220 210
Cruising speed at altitude, km/h 210 230
Service range, km 1200 985
Service ceiling, m 5,500 6,000

Armament. One synchronous 7.9-mm MG-17 machine gun and one MG-15 on a mobile installation in the rear of the cockpit, up to 300 kg of bombs.

On March 1, 1934. the Ministry of Defense had only 24 He.45. By the end of the year, their number had increased to 150. Basically, it was the He.45c model, produced by Gothaer Vagonabrik and Focke-Wulf. At the end of the year, the He.45d from Bayerische Flyugzeugwerke also began to arrive. These models differed only in the composition of the equipment and were the first large-scale modifications. The elevator was slightly different, the tail crutch was strengthened, the rigid connection of the ailerons was replaced with a cable one. Instead of VMW-VI-6.0, BMW-VI-7.3 with a takeoff power of 750hp began to be installed.

By the beginning of 1936. The He.45 was the most numerous aircraft of the German Air Force. It was used in long-range reconnaissance squadrons, for advanced flight training, for training observers. On it since 1934. tested engine "Daimler-Benz" DV-600 - 12-cylinder water cooling. In total, the DB-600 received several He.45s, including D-ITIN, D-ITZA, D-IVAZ and D-IZEO. All four aircraft received a larger propeller diameter, the landing gear for the D-ITZA and D-IZEO were with wheel fairings. Three aircraft carried a radiator under the nose of the fuselage, and the D-IVAZ carried between the landing gear struts. He.45 with registration D-IDAQ was used to test an experimental liquid-cooled engine BMW-116 with a capacity of 600hp.

When in the summer of 1936. production of He.45 was completed, Bayerische Flyugzeugwerke delivered 156 aircraft, Gothaer Wagon Factories - 68, Focke-Wulf - 219. The total production of He.45 was 512 aircraft.

Photo Description
He 45 A-1

Схема He 45 A-1

Combat use. With the formation in November 1936 of the reconnaissance squadron A / 88 as part of the Condor legion, in addition to the He.70f-2, it included six He.45s biplanes, of which the so-called "He.45-Quette". These aircraft were used until they were replaced by six Hs.126a in the fall of 1938. More intensively He.45s used "grupo 6-G-15", which after being trained in the Condor legion from March 1937. based in Vitoria. This unit immediately entered the battle, performing ground attacks, bombing and reconnaissance flights in the northern sector of the front. Despite the obvious obsolescence of the He.45, they have achieved noticeable success. The Spanish crews called them among themselves "Pavo" (Turkey). The aircraft performed well in the battles over Biscaia, Santander and Asturias in October 1937; then used in battles on Brunet. The Heinkel biplanes took part in operations on the Alfambra River, against Teruel and the Levant. In total, the Spanish nationalists received 40 He.45s. By the time the fighting ended, 6-G-15 had 27 aircraft at the Logrono base. Six more vehicles were transferred from the Condor Legion after receiving the Hs.126a.

Me 109 & He 45a1

The Luftwaffe build-up program provided for the creation of six long-range air groups and six short-range reconnaissance air groups. Five long-range reconnaissance groups - Aufkl.Gr. (F) / 121, 123, 124, 125 and 224 - were to include three squadrons with nine He.45s and one with nine He.70f each. The sixth group was supposed to receive 36 Do.17 from the very beginning. Six short-range reconnaissance groups - Aufkl.Gr. (H) / 111, 112, 113, 114, 115 and 212 - were to include three squadrons of nine He.46s each and one with nine He.45s. In subsequent years, the He.45 was gradually removed from service and transferred to training units. By August 31, 1939. they remained in service with several close reconnaissance squadrons, and only one of them - 4. (H) / 21 was fully armed with He.45, and the other four - 4. (H) / 12, 5. (H) / 13, 4. (H) / 23, 4. (H) / 31 - had three He.45.

With the beginning of World War II, it seemed that He.45s had already finished his career, but in the fall of 1942. the lack of aircraft capable of performing night flights along the line of the Eastern Front forced various training and obsolete machines to be put into operation for the "harassing" squadrons. The first such unit was formed in Rossosh-on-Don using He.45 from flight schools. Crews were recruited there. The armament consisted of a synchronous MG-17 and one MG-15 at the observer. Bomb load - 10 kg bombs per compartment. Usually they were dropped from an altitude of 250-1000 m. These bombs turned out to be unreliable - there were several cases of their explosion in an aircraft compartment. As a result, He.45 received special containers for 50 and 70 kg bombs. By the spring of 1943. the "harassing" squadrons were reorganized into auxiliary squadrons of night bombers and grouped into "night attack aircraft" groups. Most of the He.45 had been written off by this time.

He 46
Close Reconnaissance and Liaison Aircraft

He 46c

In parallel with the He.45, intended for arming long-range reconnaissance squadrons, a close reconnaissance aircraft He.46 was created, which had flown over before its colleague. But if the He.45 was put into series immediately after the test of the prototype without major changes in the design, then the first He.46a was strikingly different from the serial He.46s. The He.46a (D-1028) used a rather unusual wing layout. The upper wing with a span of 11.5 m was brought forward and had a sweep of 10 °, and the lower wing was straight with a span of 8.8 m. This was to improve the forward and downward visibility of the pilot.

Simultaneously Siemens Apparatus und Machinen GmbH was developing the SAM-22B 9-cylinder radial air-cooled engine. The engine was planned for installation on the He.46, but did not keep up with the readiness of the He.46a. As a result, it was necessary to install the "Bristol-Jupiter", whose power - 450 hp on takeoff - was 25% less than that of the SAM-22B. With the "Jupiter" He.46a there was clearly not enough thrust-to-weight ratio, but the controllability turned out to be acceptable, and the characteristics were quite high and fully met the requirements of the Ministry of Transport. The air headquarters found the aircraft unsatisfactory due to poor visibility for the observer, severely limited by the lower wing.

He.46a was tested with two- and four-bladed propellers. Even at the beginning of the tests, the tail section of the fuselage was reduced in height, and the observer's cabin was lowered. However, more serious changes were needed to meet the requirements of the air headquarters. It was decided to remove the lower wing altogether, and increase the span of the upper wing to 14 m. The second prototype aircraft, almost ready for the spring of 1932. and similar to He.46a, has been redone. He flew in the early summer of 1932 under the designation He.46b already as a parasol. The handling did not suffer from this, and the wing area even increased from 30.6 to 31.9 square meters.

The new scheme was adopted by the air headquarters. The third prototype He.46c was made with a SAM-22B engine instead of the Jupiter. The propeller was wooden, two-bladed, with a diameter of 3.7 m. The SAM-22V turned out to be unsatisfactory in a number of aspects. Vibration during its operation did not allow the pilot to even read the readings of the instruments. The motor mount has been redesigned a couple of times, Heinkel and Siemens have carried out a number of joint activities to reduce vibration, but to no avail. Since there was no other alternative, they had to come to terms with this in 1933. a series of He.46s was ordered.

The serial He.46s was of a mixed design with a two-spar wooden wing, sheathed with fabric, on N-shaped boar struts and with struts from the fuselage. The fuselage was welded from steel pipes and sheathed in front with light alloy plates, at the back with fabric. The chassis wheels were on separate axle shafts. The pilot sat under the wing cutout, the observer behind him and just below. In its cockpit, it was planned to install the MG-15 machine gun on a ring turret. In the compartment behind and under the observer it was possible to install one Zeiss camera, or hang up to 20 × 10-kg bombs vertically.

A total of 481 aircraft of all modifications were produced.

Photo Description
Drawing He 46 D-1

Drawing He 46 D-1

Armament. One 7.9-mm MG-15 machine gun at the observer, up to twenty 10-kg bombs in the compartment.

Combat use. Shortly after the outbreak of the war in Spain, the rebels requested twenty He.46c delivered in September 1936. The Spanish didn't like the vibration of the plane very much. However, they were formed into a 3-G-11 "grupo" at bases in Avila and Leon in three squadrons. The Spaniards called He.46c "Turkey" (Pava). This "grupo" originally operated in the Saragossa area, participated in the Battle of Brunete and the Ebro, but in August 1938. the planes were transferred to the air observer school in Malaga.

In 1937. He.46s were in service with 18 of 24 close reconnaissance squadrons. There were 162 aircraft in combat units, the rest in flight schools. Each of the groups Aufkl.Gr. (H) / 111, 112, 113, 114, 115 and 212 had three squadrons with He.46c. With the start of deliveries of Hs.126a-1, Heinkel's scouts began to be removed from service. By the beginning of the war, the He.46s were in five squadrons: 4. (H) / 12 in the 2nd Air Fleet, 2. and 4. (H) / 23 in the 3rd Air Fleet, 2. and 4. (H ) / 31 in the 4th air fleet. The last two squadrons took part in a fleeting campaign against Poland. A small number of He.46s were also scattered over several squadrons. By the beginning of the invasion of France, the Hs.126 had almost completely replaced the He.46c in combat units, although eight aircraft were still in the Oberost reconnaissance squadron.

All German close reconnaissance squadrons that participated in the attack on the Soviet Union were armed with Hs.126. The Hungarian corps in the southern sector of the front had one squadron with the He. 46, but they did not participate in the battle due to the frequent change of airfields when moving to the east. In the summer of 1942. the 312th close reconnaissance squadron with 12 He.46eUn was sent to the Soviet Union. They quickly switched to bombing. In March 1943. 312 Squadron was replaced by 311 Squadron from Fw.189. Losses by this time amounted to only one aircraft with supposedly three shot down Soviet fighters.

Soon after the withdrawal of the Hungarian "Heinkels" from the battles, He.46c reappeared at the front - already in the "harassing" squadrons. They operated at night and used obsolete and training aircraft. A special school for night bombers was founded in Stubendorf, Silesia, where they taught night flights without instruments, using only visual observation. He.46c was used together with He.45, Go.145 and Ar.66. Gradually, other machines appeared among them, until the number of groups of "night attack aircraft" (converted from "harassing" squadrons) did not reach 14. They operated mainly from small airstrips close to the front. Takeoff took place even before sunset, and returned just with the onset of complete darkness. Although the "night stormtroopers" suffered heavy casualties, their success was undeniable. He.46c was used for such tasks until the last group of "night attack aircraft" was disbanded.


  • Luftwaffe Aviation / V.N. Shunkov /
  • Luftwaffe Combat Aircraft / Edited by David Donald /
  • Wings of the Luftwaffe (combat aircraft of the Third Reich) / William Greene.
  • Encyclopedia of Military Technology / Aerospace Publising /