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Heinkel He177 Greif: Heinkel's Strategic Bomber

Heinkel He177 Greif: Heinkel's Strategic Bomber
Autor: Richard J. Smith
Data publikacji: 2009-03-00
ISBN: 9781903223932
Wydawca: IAN ALLAN
Język: angielski
Wymiary: 30.6 x 23.2 x 2.4 cm
Oprawa: twarda
Liczba stron: 208
Produkt chwilowo niedostępny.

W przypadku braku książki w magazynie, czas realizacji zamówienia może wynieść 3-6 tygodni.
Opis produktu:

325 colour and mono illustrations 

The He 177 was a formidable warplane with the potential to have been a lethal weapon for the Nazis. However, it was ill-fated and suffered from serious problems such as an inherently poor engine design and 'knee-jerk' role diversification by the commanders in charge. Furthermore, the aircraft's development and testing was crucially damaged by the turbulent political environment of the day. Nazi leadership agonized over the aircraft's delay and deployment, and so the aircraft which enticed thousands with its daring potential, sadly failed to reach these standards. Nevertheless, the He 177 was a remarkable warplane which adopted several different roles at various stages of its development. It was considered an excellent dive-bomber and strategic bomber, with the capabilities of an anti-shipping aircraft and transport and tank-destroyer. In this extensively researched new study, accomplished authors J. Richard Smith and Eddie J. Creek shed new light on this sometimes overlooked aircraft and its unique service history. Using a carefully selected collection of photographs and drawings to supplement the informative narrative, the authors have succeeded in producing a masterpiece which will be essential reading for all military and social historians of this period, as well as for scale modelers wanting to recreate this exceptional warplane. 

The He 177 has always had a bad reputation. Most aviation enthusiasts will know that the type was almost fatally handicapped from the very start by the use of the DB 606 engine, effectively two DB 601s joined by a gearbox, necessary to allow it to act as a dive bomber - engines which had an alarming tendency to burst into flames. But the full story of the aircraft is both more complex and more interesting than this simple impression allows. Smith and Creek have produced an impressive, well illustrated and readable volume which clearly tells the history of this unloved aircraft.

Chapters one to three cover the development of strategic bombing theory in the Luftwaffe and other air forces to set the He 177 in context, the history of the Heinkel company and the development of the He 177 as far as the production of the first prototypes and production A-1 series aircraft. There is a brief but interesting comparison of the He 177 and the Avro Manchester, also powered by coupled engines which proved unreliable.

Chapters four to six cover the development and early operational history of the design. The initial disastrous deployment of the He 177 was in late 1942 in support of the German army surrounded at Stalingrad. On the meagre 19 supply sorties flown five He 177s were lost due to engine fires, demonstrating just how immature the design was. Smith and Creek also show how it was also limited by a number of other shortcomings, such as oscillations at high speeds and a weak wing, surprising in an aircraft that was designed from the start as a dive bomber. The use on later models of He 177 of guided anti-ship weapons such as the Fritz-X and Hs 293 is described in some detail. The increasing frustration among the higher ranks of the Luftwaffe with the seemingly endless problems and delays the He 177 encountered is also covered.

Chapter seven covers the various plans to eliminate the main problem of the He 177 by replacing its troublesome pair of coupled engines with four single ones, or creating new aircraft based on it such as the He 277 or the high-altitude He 274.

Chapters eight to ten cover the late war use of the He 177. In the west it participated in the 'mini-Blitz' against London of Operation Steinbock and attacked shipping off the D-Day beaches. In the east it conducted a brief strategic bombing campaign as well as near suicidal low-level sorties against Soviet tank formations. By now the design had matured enough that the He 177A-5, strengthened and re-engined, could be a capable bomber if well trained crews and (importantly) maintenance support was available. But they rarely were, and this coupled with Allied air superiority stopped the aircraft achieving anything notable despite often appalling losses. Smith and Creek tell this part of the story well.

The British and Americans flew captured He 177s at the end of the war and chapter 11 relate Capt. Eric Brown and Col. Harold E. Watson's impressions of the aircraft. A lengthy set of appendices describe the aircraft in detail, give its specifications, the unit commanders of He 177 formations, detail camouflage and markings, and finally list He 177s by werknummern (serial numbers) with details against individual aircraft if know.

Physically the book continues the high standard recent Classic volumes have set. There are many interesting photographs, including extracts from He 177 manuals, which are reproduced sharply (though some of the originals are of poor quality). Captions sometimes just repeat the main text of the book rather than adding extra information. There are several colour photographs and most chapters have a colour profile of a relevant He 177.

In summary this is a well produced, copiously illustrated and readable book that can be recommended to anyone interested in this aircraft with its great potential but numerous flaws.

The only other book I know of covering the He 177 in similar depth is Griehl and Dressel's 'Heinkel He 177, 277, 274.' Their book has more detail, but in my opinion does not tell the He 177 story as clearly as this one. Many of the photographs are the same in both books but they are reproduced slightly better in Smith and Creek's volume, which also has some colour illustrations. Both volumes can be recommended as each has its strengths.

J. Richard Smith is undisputedly one of the world's foremost authorities on the history of the Luftwaffe. His works include the landmark publication Jet Planes of the Third Reich as well as Arado 234 Blitz, Luftwaffe Camouflage & Markings 1935-45, Me262 and numerous other leading aviation titles

As a historian and enthusiast, Eddie J. Creek has been actively collecting documents and photographs relative to the history of the Luftwaffe for over 30 years.

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