Aviation Archive

Product Spotlight: Heinkels Over the Arctic

 

“The worst journey in the world.”

– British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his remarks about the lend-lease convoys transiting the Arctic to reach the Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk

Among its many roles, the He 111 served as a torpedo bomber in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Atlantic campaign the Luftwaffe created Fliegerführer Atlantik for this purpose. In the spring 1941, the Luftwaffe had been using conventional bombs to attack shipping more often than not. Such a method resulted in heavy losses to He 111 units in aircraft and crew as the 111s attack point was too close. III./Kampfgeschwader 40 had only eight of 32 crews remaining by April 1941 and had to be withdrawn. Most He 111 units were replaced by the faster Junkers Ju 88 and Dornier Do 217 which also suffered losses, but not to the extent of the He 111.

A proper aerial torpedo could have prevented such losses. The German Navy had purchased Horton naval torpedo patents from Norway in 1933 and the Whitehead Fiume patent from Italy in 1938. But air-launched torpedo development was slow. In 1939 trials with Heinkel He 59 and Heinkel He 115 had revealed a 49 percent failure rate owing to aerodynamic difficulties and depth control and fusing difficulties. Until 1941 the Luftwaffe obtained poor results in this field. When in 1941 the Luftwaffe took an active interest, the Kriegsmarine resisted Luftwaffe involvement and collaboration and direct requests by the Luftwaffe to take over development was refused. With the Atlantic campaign in full swing, the Luftwaffe needed a torpedo bomber to allow its aircraft to avoid increased shipboard anti-aircraft armament. It set up a number of schools devoted to torpedo attack at Gossenbrode, Germany and Athens, Greece. It was found that the He 111 was highly suited to such operations. In December 1941 the Luftwaffe was granted the lead in torpedo development. Trials at Grossenbrode enabled the He 111 to carry two torpedoes, while the Ju 88 could also manage the same number and remain faster in flight. KG 26 was equipped with both the He 111 and Ju 88. Some 42 He 111s served with I./KG 26 flying out of Norway.

The He 111’s ordnance was the Italian Whitehead Fiume 850 kg (1,870 lb) torpedo and the German F5 50 kg (110 lb) light torpedo. Both functioned over a distance of 3 km (1.9 mi) at a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) The Whitedhead armament weighed over 200 kg (440 lb). To make an attack the He 111 pilot had to drop to 40 m (130 ft) and reduce air speed to 190 km/h (120 mph). The water depth had to a minimum of 15 m (49 ft). In comparison to the Italian and German-designed ordnance, the Imperial Japanese Navy‘s Type 91 torpedo — the ordnance which proved so devastating to the U.S. Navy‘s warships during the Attack on Pearl Harbor — would end up being considered for German production as the Luftorpedo LT 850, after its plans were taken to Germany nine months later by IJN submarine I-30 on August 2, 1942.

The He 111 was committed to operations in the Arctic Ocean against the Arctic convoys traveling to the Soviet Union from North America and the United Kingdom. One notable action involved I./KG 26 attacking Convoy PQ 17 in June 1942. I./KG 26 and its He 111s sank three ships and damaged three more. Later, III./KG 26 helped Ju 88s of III./KG 30 based at Banak sink several more ships. Some 25 out of 35 merchant ships were sunk altogether. Convoy PQ 16 was also successfully intercepted by KG 26, who claimed four vessels, but lost six crews in return. Convoy PQ 18 was also intercepted during 13 15 September 1942. In total some 13 out of 40 ships were sunk. However it cost the Luftwaffe 40 aircraft, of which 20 were KG 26 He 111s. Of the 20 crews, 14 were missing.[42]

He 111 torpedo units continued to operate with success elsewhere. Anti-shipping operations in the Black Sea against the Soviet Navy were also carried out. The Soviets mainly sailed at night and singly, making interception very difficult. The Soviets also heavily protected their shipping at sea and in port. Anti-aircraft defensive fire was severe in daylight and at night was supported by searchlights, though these measures did not stop the He 111 completely. Geschwader continued to press home their attacks with some success.

In the Mediterranean theatre the Allies had won air superiority by 1943 but the torpedo Geschwader, KG 26, continued to operate He 111s in shipping attack units. The He 111s attacked Allied shipping along the African coast flying from bases in Sicily and Sardinia both in daylight and darkness. In spite of nightfighers and anti-aircraft defences the He 111s continued to get through to their targets. Losses meant a gradual decline in experienced crews and standards of attack methods. Such missions were largely abandoned in the spring owing to shortages in aircraft and crews. By April, KG 26 could only scrape together some 13 Ju 88 and He 111 torpedo bombers. With the exception of I./KG 26 all other groups converted onto the Ju 88.

Look for Corgi’s recently announced Heinkel He-111H-6 torpedo bomber some time this summer (AA33715).

 
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Corgi Takes a Bold Step for 2017

 

These days, it isn’t often when Corgi decides to take a gamble and invest in new tooling, particularly when they seem more comfortable taking a safer route with their older molds. However, with the debut of the 2017 catalog, it would appear as if they are doing just that by upscaling their English Electric Lightning jet fighter that’s been a hit with collectors for several years running. According to their web site, a 1:48 scale F.6 Lightning fighter is currently under development, although details concerning its feature list are still rather sketchy (AA28401). Since no image was posted on their web site or in their catalog, we are led to believe its still a ways off, likely expected towards the end of 2017. In any event, this could be a watershed moment in Corgi’s history, as they look to explore the feasibility of offering larger versions of previously released warbirds.

 
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Corgi Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack in Style

AA36110d

Corgi plans to commemorate the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in grandiose style with specially crafted packaging designed to evoke the spirit of each combatant. According to the Corgi Diecast Diaries, “[Corgi is] proud to announce the launch of the July – December 2016 Corgi model range. Amongst this fantastic array of die-cast delights, collectors will have noticed a trio of models that have been produced to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the infamous Japanese raid against Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, which saw America enter the Second World War. All three of the models to be produced mark aircraft that were in service at the time of the attack and will surely be popular additions to the Aviation Archive range as this Anniversary approaches. Die-cast Diaries is pleased to be bringing you the news that all three of these models will benefit from specially produced commemorative box artwork, which will certainly further enhance these beautiful models and give them a distinctive appearance. We are still working on some of the details relating to the Curtiss P-40B release, so for this edition, we will concentrate on the Zero and Catalina, with the P-40 to follow.

AA33108b

As one of the most advanced and capable aircraft in the early years of the Second World War, the Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ideal carrier-based fighter aircraft to support Japanese naval actions in the Pacific region. Possessing exceptional levels of speed and manoeuvrability, the Zero was capable of operating over long distances and during early combat operations, Zero pilots were to enjoy spectacular successes over their adversaries. Posting an almost unbelievable kill ratio of 12:1, the diminutive Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ultimate dogfighter during the early months of WWII, but this dominance was to be short lived, as America entered the war and pilots learned how best to tackle Japan’s best fighter.”

 
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Corgi Weighs In this April

AA34606

According to the folks at Corgi, their latest 1:32 scale de Havilland Mosquito is scheduled to buzz our airfield in early April. Based on a Royal Australian Air Force Mk. VI fighter-bomber, #AA34606 was attached to 464 Squadron, which took part in support of the D-Day landings in June 1944. Wearing black-and-white Invasion Stripes, their latest behemoth measures 15-1/2 inches in length by 20-1/4 inches in width,  and bears all of the hallmark detail and authenticity we’ve all come to expect from this longstanding model maker.

AA34606e

Pre-orders are still being accepted although we should hear soon if this item will be allocated like some of their previous heavies.

 
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Corgi Harkens Back to World War I

AA38905

There was a time when Corgi was pumping out scale WWI aircraft faster than you could shake a stick at. That was then and this is now. For 2013, it looks like only one WWI-era biplane is on the docket – a German Fokker D VII Fighter that was piloted by Oblt Erich Lowenhardt, then deployed to Puisieux-Ferme, during August 1918 (#AA38905). A squadron of these beauties are on their way to us, which will likely get snapped up the moment they land. If you were thinking about purchasing one of these ageless beauties, now would be as good a time as any to lock in your order.

 
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Corgi Provides a Sneek Peak at Their 2nd Half Aircraft

 

AA39915

Earlier today, Corgi posted details concerning their second half 2013 Aviation Archive releases. A couple of surprises were tossed in to the mix, including a 1:72 scale replica of an Avro Vulcan jet bomber and a set containing both a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress and Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 fighter. We hope to have the complete list of new introductions up on our site by later today. At that point the pre-order window will be open but keep in mind that many of their newest releases are not being made available for general sale so its important to review the list and place your orders early if you want to be guaranteed delivery.

 
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Could Corgi's B-17 Fly Again?

B17

Thus far, Corgi has remained mum concerning the incorporation of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress into their 2013 Aviation Archive program. However, that may soon change, as they have just added an intriguing post to their Tumblr page that could portend its use as a subject replica. According to the feed, Corgi stumbled upon a fascinating story involving a B-17 named ‘Ye Old Pub’, that was savaged by German aerial attacks over western Europe. Instead of finishing off the stricken plane, a chivalrous Luftwaffe pilot examined then escorted the plane to the North Sea in an attempt to steer it back home to England.

You can find more information on the tale here: http://corgi.tumblr.com/post/40628115507/a-higher-call-amazing-story-charles-brown-was-a

 
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Could Corgi’s B-17 Fly Again?

B17

Thus far, Corgi has remained mum concerning the incorporation of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress into their 2013 Aviation Archive program. However, that may soon change, as they have just added an intriguing post to their Tumblr page that could portend its use as a subject replica. According to the feed, Corgi stumbled upon a fascinating story involving a B-17 named ‘Ye Old Pub’, that was savaged by German aerial attacks over western Europe. Instead of finishing off the stricken plane, a chivalrous Luftwaffe pilot examined then escorted the plane to the North Sea in an attempt to steer it back home to England.

You can find more information on the tale here: http://corgi.tumblr.com/post/40628115507/a-higher-call-amazing-story-charles-brown-was-a

 
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Corgi Debuts Their First Half 2013 Lineup

Corgi's 1:72 scale Short Stirling Mk.III Heavy Bomber - Arthur Aaron VC, 218 Squadron, 1943
Corgi’s 1:72 scale Short Stirling Mk.III Heavy Bomber – Arthur Aaron VC, 218 Squadron, 1943

Even though several of their 2012 introductions have yet to be released, Corgi today unveiled their first half 2013 lineup to their adoring fans. Several key items will be offered, including this 1:72 scale Short Stirling heavy bomber piloted by VC recipient Arthur Aaron and a second 1:32 scale rendition of a De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber. We’ll be posting all of the new aircraft in their respective sections later today and will begin to accept pre-orders should you be so inclined. Enjoy!

 
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