Addressing many of the shortcomings of the earlier versions, the Heinkel He.III ‘H’ series was produced in greater numbers than any other variant. With greater power from the Jumo 211 engines, better defensive armament and heavier weapons loads, these aircraft were used right up until the last days of the war.
Although the Heinkel He III was no longer classed as an adequate attack bomber on the Western Front by 1941, it did go on to serve with distinction in a variety of different roles and in every theatre of Luftwaffe operation. Successive upgrades allowed the aircraft to deliver a more effective weapons payload, whilst also providing the crew with much better defensive armament. The internal weapons bay was no longer used to carry bombs, but was converted to house an additional fuel tank, which allowed for much longer patrols and was particularly useful for maritime operations.
Perhaps the most interesting missions carried out by ‘H’ model Heinkel He IIIs was that of the torpedo carrying maritime attack bomber. Used in both the Battle of the Atlantic and against targets in the Mediterranean and on the Eastern Front, Luftwaffe units enjoyed notable successes against Allied shipping, until the weight of Allied air superiority began to take its toll of experienced torpedo bombing crews. As less experienced crews began to fly these missions, success rates plummeted and loss rates continued to cause concern.
- Livery A: 1H+BP, 6./KG 26, Sicily, early 1941
- Livery B: He 111 H-6 Geschwader Stab St.G 3, North Africa, 1941.
- Livery C: Romanian Air Force