Design, Development, & HistoryEdit
Ernst Heinkel continued to improve his fighter. The He 112 was drastically redesigned. It was actually a new aircraft, although the former designation was retained. The He 112 V9 prototype, which later became the main aircraft of the He 112 B-0 preproduction batch, even differed from its predecessors in external appearance. Its wingspan was reduced and its total fuselage length increased. The shape of the tailplane and the fin was completely changed, and the rudder area was noticeably enlarged. A bubble canopy was installed in the rear section of the cockpit instead of the fuselage spine fairing, and the cockpit itself obtained a sliding section and became completely closable.
The He 112 B-0 had a Junkers Jumo 210C twelve-cylinder in-line liquid-cooled engine producing 680 hp takeoff power and featuring a Junkers-Hamilton two-bladed variable-pitch metal propeller.
The He 112 B-0's armament was exceptionally powerful for its time and included two synchronous 7.92 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig MG 17 machine guns mounted on either side of the forward fuselage, with 500 rounds of ammunition each, and two 20 mm Oerlikon MG FF cannons mounted in the wing panels, with 60 rounds each.
With all performance characteristics considered, the He 112 B-0 looked better than the Bf 109's early versions. But the Messerschmitt had already been launched into full-scale production by that time, and it was cheaper, simpler, and easier to produce than the He 112. Besides, the Bf 109 was more versatile, and its design had significant potential for further improvement.
Heinkel realized that the He 112 would probably never be accepted for service with the Luftwaffe, so he put special emphasis on obtaining export orders for his fighter. Japan was the first to take an interest in the He 112. In early 1938, four fighters of the He 112 B-0 variant were added to the arsenal of the Imperial Japanese Navy. A total of 12 He 112 B-0 machines were delivered to Japan during the coming years. These aircraft, unlike the first He 112 A-0 preproduction machines, were accepted for service with the Navy under the same designation, the A7He1 Carrier Fighter, but they never participated in any combat operations and were mainly in service with training units.
26 machines of a He 112 B-0 preproduction batch commandeered from the «Japanese Order» were used temporarily by the Luftwaffe. In 1938, all of them were part of the 3rd and the 4th squadrons of the JG 132 Fighter Wing and provided air cover over Leipzig during the Sudeten Crisis of 1938. 17 aircraft of the He 112 B-0 variant were delivered to Spain, where they formed a separate fighter wing called Grupa de Casa 5-G-5. The Spanish operated their He 112s until the early 1950s. A total of 34 machines of the He 112 B-0 series were produced, including 4 prototypes and 30 production aircraft.
The He-112 B-0 is the 3rd varient in the 112 line,combining the machine guns of the V-5 with the cannons of the A-0 placed onto a stable firing platform. It is highly manoverable, being able to match or out-turn others. It does however lack armor, and is vulnerable to concentrated fire.