Heinkel He 113
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In 1940, Joseph Goebbels publicised the fact that a new fighter was entering service with the Luftwaffe. The plan involved taking pictures of Heinkel He 100 D-1s at different air bases around Germany, each time sporting a new paint job for various fictional fighter groups. The pictures were then published in the press with the He 113 name, sometimes billed as night fighters (even though they did not even have a landing light).
The aircraft also appeared in a series of "action shot" photographs in various magazines such as Der Adler, including claims that it had proven itself in combat in Denmark and Norway. One source claims that the aircraft were on loan to the one Luftwaffe Staffel in Norway for a time, but this might be a case of the same misinformation working many years later.
It's unclear even today exactly who this effort was intended to impress —foreign air forces or Germany's public - but it seems to have been a successful deception. British intelligence featured the aircraft in AIR 40/237, a report on the Luftwaffe that was completed in 1940. There the top speed was listed as 628 km/h (390 mph). It also states the wing was 15.5 m² (167 ft²) and it noted that the aircraft was in production. Reports of 113s encountered and shot down were listed throughout the early years of the war.
Specifications (He 113/He 100D-1)
- Crew: one, pilot
- Length: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)
- Wingspan: 9.42 m (30 ft 11 in)
- Height: 3.60 m (11 ft 10 in)
- Wing area: 14.5 m² (156 ft²)
- Empty weight: 2,070 kg (4,563 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,500 kg (5,512 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601M liquid-cooled supercharged V12 engine, 876 kW (1,175 hp)
- Maximum speed: 668 km/h (362 kn, 416 mph)
- Range: 900 km (486 nmi, 560 mi)
- Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,090 ft)
- Dabrowski, Hans-Peter. Heinkel He 100, World Record and Propaganda Aircraft. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-88740-345-X.
- Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft Etobicoke, Ontario: Prospero Books, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
- Green, William. "Heinkel's Hoaxer". RAF Flying Review, Feb. 1963.
- Heinkel, Ernst. Stormy Life. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1956.
- Wagner, Ray and Heinz Nowarra. German Combat Planes: A Comprehensive Survey and History of the Development of German Military Aircraft from 1914 to 1945. New York: Doubleday, 1971. ISBN 0-8240-9268-6.
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