He 177B Greif

Article Retrieved from : http://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/89846-he277-german-heavy-bomber/

The He177B was a four engined version of Germany's He177A Greif and was designed as part of last ditch attempt to give the failing nation a strategic bomber, its root can be traced back a lot further, back to when the Greif itself was being developed and suffering its first teething troubles, notably unreliable engines and a poorly though out design specs (a twin engined heavy bomber that could be used for tactical, strategic naval and dive bombing tactics...)

The He177A used two of the complex Daimler-Benz DB 6061F engines as when conceived she had to outrun fighters, and be able to dive bomb, something that four engined bombers find very hard due to drag and instability. The DB606 engine was in essence two DB 601 liquid-cooled 12-cylinder inverted-vee inline engines mounted side by side in a single nacelle.

Heinkel's chief designer Siegfried Gunter chose the engine based on his first-hand experience using it in the HE119 high speed reconnaissance bomber in 1937, which made it one of the fastest planes in 1937, the engines themselves would produce 2564 hp each, but this amalgamation of engined welded together were prone to overheating and catching fire, a fact that delayed the He177 for many years and caused it to be hated by crews, who named it the flaming coffin.

The suggestion to use four engines was proposed back in 1940 at Heinkel's project office at Vienna-Schwechat but the RLM's Technische department could not conceive the grief that the Greif would cause (couldn't help myself).  By 1941 the alarming incidence of the He177 fires could no longer be denied (75% crash and burn rate in A-0 series) and it was decided to revert back to four engines for the He274 high altitude bomber.   However, the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium Ministry of aviation) were adamant that the He177 would go ahead with two engines and that a four engined version named He277 was not be made.  It is alleged that after continuous requests by Professor Ernst Heinkel himself, Herman Goering himself personally forbid from proceeding any further, and only the professors direct link to Adolf Hitler allowed him to continue the project (this has been under some debate with historians for a while over this matter with some saying it was the RLM that made the xxxx up not Goering, while others don't agree on other parts, either way it can be argued that their was at least some internal bickering and wires crossed that prevented the He277 being built sooner and it may be because Goering however, feared that once the plane developed it would require an independent Kriegsmarine air fleet if it was to be used effectively in antishipping role, which he always tried to prevent)

It is alleged that during the above period Heinkel and Gunter chose to continue the project under the name He177B although drawing plans were still labelled He277, while it was not directly disobeying Nazi high command as aviation designers have always taken liberties, it was worked on slowly while official permissions filtered down. It would appear from further reading that this was paid for out of Heinkel's pocket.

On the 23rd May 1943 at Obersalzberg Hitler asked senior representatives of the German Aircraft manufacturing companies to design a Bomber capable of attacking London day and night at high altitude or long range attacks on convoys from the USA. Heinkel advised Hitler that his H177B was able to perform such tasks providing Hitler gave the order for the bomber to begin construction. The order was made and Heinkel began to immediately make plane to put the He177B into production.

The aircraft was now powered by four liquid cooled Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines and the prototype He 277 V1 was sent to Vienna-Schwechat late 1943 for testing.  In order to bypass questions from Goering or the RLM the plane was named He177 B-0

The first flight was undertaken by the second model He 277 V2 renamed the He177B-5/R1 with index GA+QQ on Feb 1944 and after a few modifications to the tail plane it was sent to Erprobungsstelle Rechlin for official evaluation.  It was here that the tail was completely reworked with twin fins and rudders. Designated as V-3 and index KW+TT the plane was tested fully armed, and as bombers go, the Germans spares no expense in giving it enough weapons to defend itself from the Allied air superiority.

The V-3 had four 13mm machine guns in a nose mounted remote controlled chin turret, four more in the tail in a quad Hecklafette HL 131V armoured turret, a single MG 81 in the nose and two dorsal turret with a pair of MG131s in both for a total of 13 Heavy MGs. Later it was designed to carry heavier defensive weapons capable or destroying incoming aircraft.

Of the models made the later versions were tested with cannon or simulated weights, the production version would therefore have had two 20mm MG151/20 auto cannon in remotely operated chin turret, four 20mm MG151/20 auto cannon in twin dorsal turrets (2 in each) and two 20mm MG151/20 auto cannon in ventral turret facing aft behind the bomb bay another set of 4x13 mm MG 131 machine guns in a Hecklafette HL 131V "quadmount", manned tail turret for a total of eight 20mm cannon and four 13mm heavy machine guns.

The He277 also carried a reasonable bomb load, with a long range compliment of thee one ton bombs or for shorted hops around Europe (or in WT) it could carry 5500kg.   Although Goring initially placed an order of 200 per month (a fanciful figure given Germanys wrecked infrastructure) his project untimely came to an end with his emergency fighter programme, which called for only fast jet or rocket style interceptors. Several He277's were flown with the rest in an almost ready state on the production line. One example of the He277 was turned into a recon aircraft but destroyed with the rest before the Russians snaffled it.

As many as 26 were built since there's no facts to corroborate this. It does suggest however that possibly 26 were in the proceess of being re-manufactured from older He-177 aircraft. There are however persistent suggestions that eight He-277 were built and flown

He 277 V01 He 177 B-0 1943
He 277 V02 GA+QQ He 177 B-5/R1 1944 He 277 V02 KW+TT
He 277 V09 GA+QQ
He 277 V10 GA+QR
He 277 V18 GA+QX
He 277 V26 GA+QM


Crew: 7
Length: 23.00 m
Wingspan: 40.00 m  -  Wing area: 133.00 mē
Height: 6.05 m
Weight : 21,800 kg (empty)  -  44,500 kg (MTOW)


Power plant: 4xDaimler-Benz DB 603A

Maximum speed: 570 km/h at 5,700 m (354 mph at 18,700 ft)
Cruise speed: 460 km/h (286 mph)
Range: 3,240 nmi (up to 5940 nmi Amerika Bomber role)
Service ceiling: 30,000 ft) or 48000ft depending on source

2x20 mm MG 151/20 autocannon in remotely operated, undernose Fernbedienbare Drehlafette FDL 151Z "chin" turret, 4x20 mm MG 151/20 autocannon in twin dorsal turrets, one FDL-type remotely operated forward and one aft Hydraulische Drehlafette HDL 151Z hydraulically powered manned turret, 2x20 mm MG 151/20 autocannon in FDL-style remotely operated, ventral turret facing aft, behind bomb bay, and 4x13mm MG 131 machine guns in Hecklafette HL 131V "quadmount", manned tail turret.

Or again depending or source
1 x chin barbette housing a battery of four 0.311 in (7.9 mm) MG 81 machineguns
1 x tail Hecklafette HL 131V "quad mount housing a battery of four 0.311 in (7.9 mm) MG 81 machineguns
1 x single MG 81 in the glazed nose, a pair of 0.511 in (13.4 mm) MG 131
2 x machineguns in the remotely-controlled forward dorsal barbette,
1 or 2 x MG 131 in the rear dorsal turret.

Up to 3,000 kg (6,612 lb) of disposable stores for America Bomber trans-Atlantic missions, maximum of 5,600 kg (12,345 lb) internally for shorter ranges, up to 4,300 km (2,670 mile) combat radius w/maximum bomb load.

The quad MG131 tail turret


Numbers Comment


1 1943.late


1 1944.02


(1) V2 being modified


1 -


1 -


1 -


1 -




-   Fictional -   Fictional      


- 1943/01 - 1944/01 13


- 1943/02 - 1944/02 17


- 1943/03 - 1944/03 23


- 1943/04 - 1944/04 28


- 1943/05 - 1944/05 34


- 1943/06 - 1944/06 44


- 1943/07 - 1944/07 57


- 1943/08 - 1944/08 66


- 1943/09 - 1944/09 71


- 1943/10 - 1944/10 0


- 1943/11 7 1944/11 0


- 1943/12 8 1944/12 0
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