Heinkel He 177 Grief
The first prototype was flown in November 1939. It was a heavy bomber, introducing a power plant in which four Daimler-Benz DB 601 12-cylinder inverted engines were grouped together in pairs to create the DB 606, each pair driving a single propeller.
Many prototypes were built, most of which displayed obvious shortcomings including dangerous diving characteristics, landing gear and structural weaknesses, and problems associated with the engines including persistent crankshaft torsional vibration, lubrication and propeller troubles: two prototypes broke up in the air and at least one caught fire.
Four years of development preceded the first production orders for the He 177.
Following a brief period of use as an emergency transport aircraft on the Eastern Front, during which time several caught fire and so earned the nickname "Flaming Coffin". The first squadron of nine machines was sent to Stalingrad to supply the beleaguered fortress, but of the nine machines, seven caught fire and were burnt out.
The Greif began its operational career in October 1943 on anti-convoy and U-boat cooperation duties. It took part (sub-types A-3 and A-5) in attacks on England in January 1944, known as the "Little Blitz", but as the war progressed was used to a greater extent as a missile carrier for anti-shipping duties. As the end of the war approached fewer and fewer Greifs remained operational: shortages of fuel and trouble with the engines grounding large numbers.
Although a small number of twin-finned He 177B were built in early 1944, most of the 1,160 or so Greifs produced were A-series types, although it is doubtful whether more than about 200 became fully operational in all respects. The He 177A-0 was the pilot production model, powered by two DB 606 engines (made up of four DB 601). Armament comprised two 13 mm MG 131 in dorsal and tail positions, one 7.9mm MG 81 in the nose, two 7.9mm MG 81 in a ventral position facing aft and a 20mm MG FF cannon firing forward from a "chin" position, plus 48x70kg, ten 500kg, six 1,000kg, or two 2,500kg bombs. The He 177A-1 was similar except for defensive armament, while the He 177A-3 had two DB 610 power units (four DB 603 engines), airframe changes and was equipped to carry two Hs 293 glider missiles. The final major version, the He 177A-5, was equipped to carry three Hs 293, two Hs 294 or two PC 1400 Fritz X (armour-piercing) radio-controlled missiles.
There were 40 modified He177 in Norway, May 1945 for a one way attack to USA.
A He 177 was intended for the continuance of the Me 264 steam-turbine experiments. Later proposed designs had four separate engines which would have solved many of the problems, and was built as the He 277.
He 177 A Greif
Length: 66.929 ft / 20.4 m
Height: 20.965 ft / 6.39 m
Wingspan : 103.15 ft / 31.44 m
Wing area : 1097.928 sq.ft / 102.0 sq.m
Max take off weight : 68355.0 lb / 31000.0 kg
Weight empty : 37044.0 lb / 16800.0 kg
Max. speed : 265 kts / 490 km/h
Cruising speed : 224 kts / 415 km/h
Service ceiling : 26247 ft / 8000 m
Wing load : 62.32 lb/sq.ft / 304.0 kg/sq.m
Range : 2970 nm / 5500 km
Engine : 2 x Daimler Benz DB 610 A, 2910 hp
Crew : 4
Armament : 3x MG 81 7,92mm, 3x MG 131 13mm, 2x MG 151 20mm, 1000kg Bomb. int., 2x HS293 Missl. ext.
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 610A/B, 2200kW
Max take-off weight: 31000 kg / 68344 lb
Empty weight: 16800 kg / 37038 lb
Wingspan: 31.44 m / 103 ft 2 in
Length: 20.40 m / 66 ft 11 in
Height: 6.39 m / 21 ft 0 in
Wing area: 102.0 sq.m / 1097.92 sq ft
Ceiling: 8000 m / 26250 ft
Range: 5500 km / 3418 miles
Armament: 3 x 7.92mm machine-guns, 3 x 13mm machine-guns, 2 x 20mm cannons, 1000kg of bomb