The Coolest Experimental Planes of World War II

German Heinkel He 100 And He 113

Photo source: Wikimedia

As the German Luftwaffe was preparing for World War II, officials considered a variety of planes to replace the service’s frontline fighter, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. One of the leading planes being considered was the Heinkel He 100, a fantastic aircraft for the time and one of the world’s best. In fact, for a time the plane broke and then held the world speed record for an aircraft of its class.

Wartime documents regarding the plane are difficult to find, but it was clearly an improvement over the Bf 109. It would have represented a major challenge to Allied fighters. But for some reason, the Luftwaffe continued to mass produce the 109 instead; it’s not clear why the He 100 program was ended.

The plane never saw frontline service but served as a propaganda instrument that was effective for a time because Germany’s first major challenge, Britain, had little information at the beginning of the war about Luftwaffe aircraft and capabilities. Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels announced that the Luftwaffe was fielding an extremely capable new plane, the He 113, which was really just a repainted He 100 prototype. German publications featured pictures of the “new fighter” complete with reports of its astounding capabilities.

Eventually, the British Air Ministry figured out that the He 113 did not exist.


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