Peter Ernst Mansfeld, (ca. 1580–1626)

German mercenary and military commander during the early years of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). Peter Ernst Mansfeld was the illegitimate son of Graf (Count) Peter Ernst I, Prince von Mansfeld, imperial governor of Luxembourg. Although Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576–1612) legitimized the younger Mansfeld, he was specifically excluded from inheriting any of his father’s estates.

Mansfeld entered imperial service and distinguished himself in fighting in Hungary, campaigning under his half brother Charles (1543–1595), also a soldier of note who held a prominent command in the imperial forces. Probably from spite for being excluded from what he regarded as his rightful inheritance, Mansfeld switched allegiances and fought on the side of the Protestant princes who did battle against the House of Habsburg. Mansfeld was one of the most prominent military commanders in the Bohemian period (1618–1625), the opening of what became the Thirty Years’ War.

With the start of the war in July 1618, Mansfeld entered the service of Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, and led a small army to Pilsen (Plzeò) in Bohemia, which he besieged and captured (September 19–November 21). Mansfeld was, however, defeated the next year in the hard-fought Battle of Sablat (June 10, 1619), in present-day Záblati in the Czech Republic, by an imperial army under Count Bucquoy. After this, Mansfeld reportedly offered his services to Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II (r. 1619–1637) and remained inactive while the titular king of Bohemia, Frederick V (“The Winter King”), elector palatine of the Rhine, fought to keep his throne. Mansfeld did not fight in the important Battle of White Mountain (Belá Hora, November 8, 1620) near Prague, when Frederick was defeated and forced to abandon his new kingdom.

Mansfeld kept his army together at Pilsen and, joining the service of the deposed Frederick in 1621, took up position in the Upper Palatinate, where he resisted efforts by imperial forces under Count Tilly to dislodge him. Mansfeld then moved his army from the Upper Palatinate to the Rhenish Palatinate, where he relieved Frankenthal and captured Hagenau. Joined by Frederick, Mansfeld defeated Johan Tzerclaes, Count Tilly, in command of a Catholic League army in the Battle of Wiesloch/Mingolsheim (April 27, 1622), some 14 miles south of Heidelberg. This victory delayed Tilly from effecting a juncture with Spanish forces from the Netherlands under Gonzales Fernández de Córdoba. In the Battle of Höchst (June 20) on the Main River, however, Tilly and Córdoba caught a Protestant army under Duke Christian of Brunswick attempting to join Mansfeld and defeated it. Christian and the majority of his force were able to link up with Mansfeld. The two commanders and their men then withdraw into Lorraine, devastating much of it. Living off the land, they largely destroyed much of the districts they were supposed to defend, and in July Frederick revoked their commissions.

Mansfeld and Christian were then employed by the Dutch to march north and join them in an effort to relieve the Siege of Bergen op Zoom on the Scheldt River by a Spanish army under Ambrosio Spinola. Although Mansfeld and Christian were defeated by Spinola in the Battle of Fleurus (August 29, 1622), Mansfeld was successful in raising the Siege of Bergen op Zoom (October 9) and conquered much of East Frisia later that year.

In December 1623, Mansfeld secured an alliance with King James I of England, father-in-law of the deposed Frederick. Mansfeld traveled to England and assembled a mercenary force there, financed by James. In January 1625, Mansfeld sailed from Dover for the Netherlands with his small army. The Thirty Years’ War had now entered its Danish period (1625–1629) with the arrival in northern Germany of King Christian IV.

Driven out of East Frisia, Mansfeld attacked an imperial force under mercenary captain Albrecht Wenzel von Wallenstein at the Elbe crossing point of the Dessau Bridge and was badly defeated (April 25, 1626). Mansfeld soon raised another force, hoping to attack the hereditary Habsburg landholdings. Pursued by Wallenstein, Mansfeld headed for Hungary, where he planned to join forces with Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania. But when Bethlen made peace with the emperor, Mansfeld was forced to disband his troops. Mansfeld set out for Venice, but he died at Rakowitza near Sarajevo, Bosnia, under mysterious circumstances, most probably of illness, on November 29, 1626.

A commander of considerable ability, Mansfeld sold his services to the highest bidder. Mansfeld also showed considerable ability as a diplomat.

Further Reading

Hennequin de Villermont, Antoine C. Ernest de Mansfeldt. Brussels: Devaux, 1866.

Massarette, Joseph. La vie martiale et fastueuse de Pierre-Ernest de Mansfeld: 1517–1604. Paris: Duchartre, 1930.

Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years’ War. New York: Military Heritage Press, 1988.

Reese, P. Herzog Bernhard der Grosse. 2 vols. Weimar, 1938.

Stieve, Felix. Ernst von Mansfeld. Munich: Franz in Komm, 1890.

Wilson, Peter H. The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.


Henri IV – King of France

Henry IV before Amiens.

Siege of Amiens 1597 showing the English positions (left) & French positions.

Henri was King of France, but only in name. Most of the country was ruled by warlords, and everywhere the nobles robbed the bourgeois and harried the peasants, while the countryside swarmed with bandits. The League proclaimed as king Henri’s uncle, the aged Cardinal de Bourbon, and struck coins in the name of ‘Charles X’; but their real champion was the Duc de Mayenne (Guise’s brother) who secretly hoped for the throne. A mere sixth of France supported Henri. His army dwindled every day—not many Catholics would fight for a heretic King who had been excommunicated. His only chance was to be a Politique, to appeal to those who preferred peace to religious war. Some years before, he had written to a friend, ‘those who follow their conscience belong to my religion—my religion is that of everyone who is brave and true.’ But while the Baron de Givry might fling himself at Henri’s feet, crying, ‘You are the King for real men—only cowards will desert you’, there were not many men like Givry.

Meanwhile, Henri withdrew to Normandy with 7,000 troops, from where he could control the districts on which Paris depended for food, setting up his headquarters at Dieppe. Here he could obtain supplies and munitions from England. Mayenne pursued him, with 33,000 men. The odds were nearly five to one, and Henri’s staff advised him to sail for England. Instead the King prepared an impregnable position. The road from Paris approached Dieppe through a marshy gap between two hills—on one side was the castle of Arques, on the other earthworks and trenches. Henri placed his arquebusiers and Swiss pikemen in the trenches and drew up his cavalry behind them; heavy cuirassiers armed with pistols but accustomed to charging home with the sword.

The Catholic cavalry were old-fashioned lancers who charged in widely spaced lines. Their commander, the Duc de Mayenne, was a strange figure, enormously fat, too fond of food and wine, gouty and tortured by venereal disease, who passed his days in a sluggish torpor, frequently retiring to bed. His staff were as idle and unbusinesslike as their commander. None the less, he lacked neither ambition nor courage.

The morning of 21 September 1589 was misty. When Mayenne attacked the trenches in the Arques defile, the mist prevented the castle’s guns from firing. The Catholic pikemen overran Henri’s first line of trenches and the Catholic cavalry attacked on both flanks. When his front was on the point of disintegrating, Henri galloped up, shouting ‘Are there not fifty noblemen of France who will come and die with their King?’ His cavalry held the enemy—the Royalist foot rallied. Then the mist lifted and the castle batteries opened fire. The Leaguers withdrew hastily and Henri retook all the lost ground. Mayenne realized that he was facing a most formidable general. Some days later, news came that reinforcements were on their way to Henri—more Huguenot troops and an English expeditionary force. After another halfhearted engagement, the Duke withdrew.

Having taken the measure of his opponent, Henri was anxious to bring him to battle again. As bait he laid siege to Dreux. Mayenne advanced to its relief with 15,000 foot and 4,000 horse, and on 14 March 1590 engaged the King at Ivry. Henri had 8,000 infantry and 3,000 cuirassiers. A white plume in his helmet and a white scarf round his armour, he prayed before his troops—then he told them that, whatever happened, they must follow his white scarf. In the centre, he led his cuirassiers to crash into Mayenne’s lancers, through whom they hacked and pistolled their way. All along the line the Royalists hurled back the enemy cavalry until they disintegrated, fleeing, abandoning their infantry to be shot down by Henri’s arquebusiers. In his flight, Mayenne ordered the bridge at Ivry to be broken down behind him, cutting off many of his men from any hope of escape. The King ordered his exultant followers to spare Frenchmen but to give foreigners no quarter. Three thousand Leaguer foot and 800 cavalry died—nearly a hundred standards were taken.

In May he besieged Paris with 15,000 men, but the capital remained fanatically Catholic—even monks and friars took up arms. Rather than shed Parisian blood, Henri decided to starve the city into submission. (He is said to have passed his time debauching two young nuns, whom he afterwards made abbesses.) By July Paris was starving, horribly. There were cases of cannibalism—children were chased through the streets. People ate dead dogs, even the skins of dogs, together with rats and garbage. Some made flour from bones; those who ate it died. Thirteen thousand perished of hunger. At midnight on 27 July the King launched a general assault on the suburbs, but it was beaten back; despite its sufferings, Leaguer Paris was not prepared to surrender to a heretic King. Early in September it was relieved by the Duke of Parma, who ferried food across the Seine to the stricken city. Disconsolately the King withdrew, to winter in northern France. Many Royalist squires rode home.

It was in these gloomy days that Henri met Gabrielle d’Estrées. She was seventeen (Henri was thirty-seven), the daughter of a Picard nobleman, a plump, round-faced pink and white blonde who liked to dress in green. Gabrielle already had a lover, the sallow-faced Duc de Bellegarde (known as feuille morte—dead leaf). Rivalry drove the King into a frenzy. He showered letters on his ‘belle ange’—‘My beautiful love, you are indeed to be admired, yet why should I praise you? Triumph at knowing how much I love you makes you unfaithful. Those fine words—spoken so sweetly by the side of your bed, on Tuesday when night was falling—have shattered all my illusions! Yet sorrow at leaving you so tore my heart that all night long I thought I would die—I am still in pain.’ He wrote a poem, Charmante Gabrielle, and had it set to music. Eventually the affair went more smoothly. In the autumn of 1593 Gabrielle found herself enceinte with the King’s child, the future Duc de Vendôme.

Meanwhile, after the setback at Paris, Henri’s star had begun to rise again. In the summer of 1591 he was reinforced by English troops. For a time these were commanded by Queen Elizabeth’s young favourite, the Earl of Essex, to whom Henri showed himself especially amiable. Sometimes relations were strained: Sir Roger Williams, being rebuked for his men’s slow marching pace, snapped back that their ancestors had conquered France at that same pace. Even so, many Englishmen took a strong liking to Henri IV. In 1591 Sir Henry Unton, the English ambassador, wrote of him: ‘He is a most noble, brave King, of great patience and magnanimity; not ceremonious, affable, familiar, and only followed for his true valour.’

Sully tells us that Henri’s life on campaign was so exhausting that sometimes the King slept in his boots. Unton grumbled, ‘we never rest, but are on horseback almost night and day.’ None the less, Henri continued to hunt whenever possible.

The League was splitting into many factions. The Cardinal King, ‘Charles X’ had died in 1590, since when they had been unable to agree upon even a nominal candidate for the throne. The most formidable Catholic contender was the Infanta Isabella, daughter of Philip II of Spain—Guise, son of the murdered Duke, was to be her consort.

In November 1591 the Royalists beseiged Rouen. Henri, hearing that Parma was on his way to its rescue, galloped off with 7,000 cavalry to stop him. On 3 February 1592, at Aumâle, he unexpectedly made contact with the Spaniards and had to beat a hasty retreat after being wounded by a bullet in the loins; he was carried in a litter for several days. Unton commented gloomily, ‘We all wish he were less valiant.’ Parma relieved Rouen in April. However, he and Mayenne were trapped by Henri at Yvetot. When all seemed lost for them, Parma—who had been wounded—rose from his bed and evacuated his troops over the Seine by night. This great general then returned to the Low Countries where he died at the end of the year, his wound proving mortal.

One must admit that Henri IV lacked calibre as a soldier, compared with Parma. Though capable of fighting a defensive battle, as at Arques, the King was primarily a cavalry man—all his victories were won by the charge. His instincts as a captain of horse always came before his duty as a commander.

During 1592 Henri, the League and Philip II accepted a stalemate. The Tiers Parti, a combination of Politiques and moderate Leaguers, now asserted itself. Their solution was that Henri should turn Catholic. More and more Huguenots were willing to settle for a Politique monarchy—many urged the King to let himself be converted. After carefully counting his followers’ reactions, Henri, in white satin from head to foot, was received into the Roman fold at Saint-Denis, on 23 July 1593. This conversion has too often been seen as an act of cynical statesmanship, summed up in the phrase ‘Paris vaut bien une messe’ (there is no proof that he ever said it). In fact Henri wept over the gravity of the step. Since childhood his personal beliefs had been fought over by the kingdom’s most persuasive theologians, and he must have become hopelessly confused. Within a fortnight, towns all over France were declaring for Henri, and on 25 February 1594 he was crowned King in Chartres Cathedral. The impact upon France was extraordinary—Henri’s putting on the Crown was accepted as both sacramental confirmation and seal of legality.

On 18 March Henri entered Paris, sold to him by its governor, the Comte de Cossé-Brissac. The same afternoon the Spanish troops marched out of Paris. Henri watched them, saying, ‘My compliments to your King—go away and don’t come back.’

The warlords still controlled most of France—Mayenne Burgundy, Joyeuse the upper Languedoc, Nemours the Lyonnais, Epernon Provence, and Mercoeur Brittany. But the bourgeoisie rallied to Henri. Town after town rebelled against the magnates; at Dijon, led by their mayor, armed citizens overcame Mayenne’s troops and handed the town over to the Royalists.

Paris was still dangerous. Early in 1595, a young scholar, Jean Chastel, attacked Henri with a knife. Always agile, Henri recoiled so quickly that he escaped with only a cleft lip and a broken tooth.

At the beginning of 1595 Henri formally declared war on Spain. He had not done so before, to avoid the onslaught of Philip II’s full military might, which was still directed against the Dutch. Soon the Spaniards were invading France on five fronts. In June Henri, operating in Burgundy, nearly lost his life in a cavalry skirmish at Fontenay-le-Français. With a small force of cavalry he found himself surrounded by the entire Spanish army. An enemy trooper slashed at him and was shot down only just in time by one of Henri’s gentlemen. Luckily, reinforcements came up and the Spaniards withdrew. Henri wrote to his sister Catherine, ‘You were very near becoming my heiress.’

In September 1595 Clement VIII at last agreed to give Henri absolution (officially he was still excommunicated). Six days later Mayenne negotiated a truce with Henri; in return for his submission he received three million livres and the governship of the Ile de France. Soon, of the warlords, the Duc de Mercoeur in Brittany alone remained. Elsewhere every important French city had recognized Henry IV by the summer of 1596.

But Philip II continued the war implacably. Henri was desperate for money: in April 1596 he wrote to Rosny (the future Duc de Sully) that he had not a horse on which to fight nor a suit of armour. ‘My shirts are all torn, my doublets out at elbow, my saucepan often empty. For two days I have been eating where I can—my quartermasters say they have nothing to serve at my table.’ The King summoned the old feudal Assemblée de Notables to meet at Rouen in October 1596—nineteen from the nobility, nine from the clergy and fifty-two from the bourgeoisie. He invited them to share the task of saving France, in a tactful and flattering speech, and the necessary supplies were voted. Even so the war was far from won. In 1597 Amiens, capital of Picardy, was captured by the Spaniards. It was a severe loss, as not only was the town the centre of Franco-Flemish trade, but also a supply depot filled with munitions. Henri in person led an army to recapture it. ‘I will have that town back or die,’ he promised. ‘I have been King of France long enough—I must become King of Navarre again.’

During his siege of Amiens, Henri reorganized the army. He placed the three veteran corps of Picardy, Champagne and Navarre (also known as Gascony) on a permanent basis, together with that of Piedmont and new regiments from the northern provinces, each of 1,200 picked musketeers and pikemen. There were also the Royal Guards and the various regiments of mercenaries, Swiss and German. His 4,000 Gendarmes d’Ordonnance provided the heavy cavalry.

Amiens surrendered on 25 September. Elsewhere the Spaniards were failing. The Dutch, still fighting the Spanish, were increasingly successful. Another Spanish Armada, destined for Ireland, was destroyed by storms. In March even Mercoeur surrendered. King Philip, in failing health, despaired and, on 2 May 1598 a treaty was signed at Vervins, by which France retained the frontiers of 1559 and regained any towns occupied by the Spaniards. (Queen Elizabeth of England was so furious that she called Henri the Anti-Christ of ingratitude.)

Henri had also taken steps to ensure peace at home. The Edict of Nantes, promulgated in April 1598, gave the Huguenots liberty of conscience and guaranteed their safety with 200 fortified towns maintained at the Crown’s expense, though defended by their own Protestant garrisons. The Edict was not quite the triumph of common sense over bigotry that it seems to modern eyes. In reality it was little more than an armed truce. Protestant France could muster 25,000 troops led by 3,500 noblemen who constituted an experienced and highly professional officer corps. An English observer, Sir Robert Dallington, noted: ‘But as for warring any longer for religion, the Frenchman utterly disclaims it; he is at last grown wise—marry, he hath bought it somewhat dear!’ France could simply not afford another civil war. Even so Henri had to bully the Parlements into registering the Edict.

Henri IV was now undisputed King of a France which was at peace for the first time for nearly half a century. At last he was able to enjoy Paris. He acquired new friends, like the fabulously rich tax farmer, Sebastien Zamet, an Italian from Lucca, who had begun his career as Catherine de Medici’s shoemaker and then made his fortune as court money-lender. The King often dined and gambled or gave little supper parties for his mistresses in Zamet’s hôtel in the Marais. Gabrielle became a familiar figure in the capital. She accompanied the King everywhere; they rode together hand in hand, she riding astride like a man, resplendent in her favourite green, her golden hair studded with diamonds; she presided over the court like a Queen. As tactful and kindly in manners as she was warm-hearted and generous by nature, Gabrielle had the miraculous gift of making no enemies. She had born Henri several children, notably César whom the King made Duc de Vendôme. Gabrielle was given increasingly greater rank, eventually becoming a Peeress of France. Henri’s love deepened every day. Eventually he decided to marry her. In token of betrothal he gave her his coronation ring, a great square-cut diamond.

Henri left her briefly in April 1598, when she was again big with child. Her labour began on Maundy Thursday, accompanied by convulsions. On Good Friday, her stillborn child was cut out of her; she suffered such agony that her face turned black. She died the following day, of puerperal fever. Henri buried her with the obsequies of a Queen of France—for a week he wore black, and then the violet of half-mourning. He wrote to his sister, ‘The roots of love are dead within me and will never revive.’

Perhaps fortunately for his sanity, he was soon busy with Savoy. Its Duke, Charles Emmanuel, who dreamt of restoring the ancient Kingdom of Arles, delayed the surrender of Saluzzo and intrigued with Henri’s courtiers; there was even a plot to poison the King. In late 1600 Henri invaded the Duchy. Snow made it a difficult campaign and Henri complained of the hardship—‘France owes a lot to me, for what I suffer on her behalf.’ By the peace of Lyons, signed in January 1601, Henri gained Savoyard territories on the Rhône which all but blocked communications between the Spanish Netherlands and Spain’s possessions in northern Italy. It was the end of Henri’s career as a soldier. Few monarchs have handled a pike or pistolled their way through a cavalry mêlée with such gusto.

Operation Opera

The broad concept for the strike against the al-Tuwaitha facility, code-named Operation Opera, was agreed to as early as November 1979, but the sensitive nature of the target and its distance from Israel demanded a great deal of preparation. When the idea was initially conceived the round-trip distance of 1,500 miles meant that the aircraft then available—Skyhawks and Phantoms—would have required in-flight refueling over hostile territory, a major complicating factor. The delivery to the IAF in 1980 of F-16s resolved that problem. Although the distance would test the F-16s and their top cover F-15s, meticulous planning would allow the mission to be flown unrefueled. A key factor in that calculation was retaining access to the airfield at Etzion, near the Gulf of Aqaba on the Sinai Peninsula. As part of the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Israel was in the process of evacuating the Sinai, but because Etzion was the most suitable location for launching a strike deep into Iraq, its handover was delayed.

Another notable event was the cooperation between Israel and Iran, a country whose post revolution leaders regularly called for the “annihilation” of the Jewish state. Prior to the start of the Iran-Iraq War, Israel provided Tehran with intelligence on Iraq’s military readiness, including details of the Tammuz reactor. The IRIAF returned the favor with a well-planned strike against three Iraqi air bases on April 4, 1981, destroying some thirty to forty IQAF aircraft and a substantial amount of infrastructure. In addition to weakening the IQAF, the Iranian raid diverted Iraq’s attention from Israel and exposed shortcomings in their air defenses that the IAF later exploited. Iran also gave Israel technical details of the Iraqi reactor. Additional intelligence came from the United States, whose KH-11 satellites routinely monitored al-Tuwaitha.

Even without the setback caused by the IRIAF strikes, the IQAF was struggling. Following the 1973 October War a faction of the IQAF attempted to replace Soviet doctrine and equipment with Western ideas and matériel, a push that led to the acquisition in 1976 of Mirage F-1 strike/fighters from France. However, Western aircraft were expensive and their operational concepts difficult to master; consequently, progress stalled and the IQAF became embroiled in an internecine three-way quarrel in which some favored organizational modernization, others wanted to retain the discredited but comparatively undemanding Soviet approach to air warfare, and others still wanted to revive the doctrines taught by the RAF in the 1950s. If there was a model of Iraqi airpower, it could only be described as “confused.”

While Iraq’s airmen procrastinated, Israel’s got on with the job. Gaps in the air-defense networks in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq were identified, and a route and flight profile was chosen to minimize the risk of detection and maximize fuel efficiency. Deception techniques were prepared, under which the IAF pilots would make radio transmissions in Arabic and, if challenged, pretend to be a Jordanian or Saudi air force formation that had wandered off course. Pilots practiced navigation, tactics, and weapons-delivery techniques, attacking a replica of the reactor.

While the IAF’s preparations were impeccable, they involved little that was new: the IAF simply did what first-class air forces do. One aspect that did offer professional interest, however, was the choice of weapon. Weapon selection centered on two issues: how much damage was needed to achieve the objective, and was there a risk of releasing nuclear-contaminated material into the atmosphere? In order to minimize the possibility of radioactive fallout, the reactor would have to be bombed before it became operational (“hot”), a condition Israeli intelligence reportedly believed would be reached in late 1981. Exhaustive investigations by specialist engineers satisfied the Israeli government that the risk of causing atmospheric contamination was slight.

That left the size, type, fuzing, and number of weapons to be determined. After analyzing the reactor’s construction, Israeli planners concluded that unguided, 2,000-pound high-explosive bombs should be used. Eight should be sufficient; twelve would provide a margin of error. Since the F-16s would be carrying full fuel, they were limited to two bombs each, indicating a formation of six aircraft, to which IAF commander Maj. Gen. David Ivry added two backups, making a strike force of eight. Some bombs would be fuzed to explode instantaneously to crack the casing, while others would have delayed fuzing to allow them to reach the reactor’s core before exploding, maximizing damage.

The use of unguided (“dumb”) bombs was noteworthy. U.S. pilots had used precision-guided munitions extensively ten years previously in North Vietnam, and there was no technical reason why the IAF could not have done the same; indeed, given the sensitivity of the target, it might seem odd that they chose otherwise. Perhaps because the mission was already pushing the boundaries of range, payload, and planning the IAF wanted to control as many other variables as possible—in this instance, the risk of malfunctioning or unusable (because of weather) bomb guidance systems. The F-16s were fitted with an excellent continuously computed impact point sight, which, together with the pilots’ skill, gave the IAF’s commanders every confidence the target would be hit. During practice for the raid, the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Rafael Eitan, flew in a two-seat F-16B to observe progress.

The execution of the plan was near flawless. Eight F-16s with six F-15s as top cover took off from Etzion in the early afternoon of June 7 and flew unchallenged at low level over Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Remarkably, as the formation crossed the Gulf of Aqaba, it was seen by King Hussein of Jordan, who was holidaying there. Hussein deduced that the aircraft were heading for al-Tuwaitha and ordered his military headquarters to advise the Iraqis. The message either never reached Baghdad or was not heeded.

Crossing the Euphrates River well inside Iraq, the Israeli pilots were astonished that their antimissile warning systems remained silent, indicating that the enemy’s air-defense radars either had not detected them or were inactive. No Iraqi SAMs were launched, and no IQAF fighters were scrambled.

Situated in a drab suburban area and surrounded by a prominent wall, the al-Tuwaitha reactor was easily identified. The Israeli pilots pulled up to about 8,000 feet for a dive attack. Rolling-in at 5-second intervals, they dropped their bombs from 3,500 feet before breaking away hard and releasing missile-avoidance flares. Of the 16 bombs, 12 hit the main reactor. Leaving the site smoking and on fire, the formation climbed to 42,000 feet for the 90-minute flight home, again untroubled by the enemy.

A final small but thoughtful contribution was made by Major General Ivry as the strike force crossed the Israeli border. It can be easy in the excitement of completing an operational mission—let alone one of this significance—for a pilot to lose concentration and make a careless mistake during approach and landing. Ivry took the microphone, congratulated his pilots, and asked them to remain focused until they were safely on the ground. It was a nice touch, and a reminder that for all its seeming invincibility, the IAF was a small and personal organization. Saddam Hussein, by contrast, reportedly ordered the executions of the head of Iraq’s Western Air Defense Zone and all of the command’s officers above the rank of major.

International reaction to the raid was overwhelmingly critical, even from Israel’s staunchest supporter, with the American ambassador to the United Nations likening it to the USSR’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. But much of the outrage was token: not many governments, including those of Iraq’s nominal Arab allies, were upset to see Saddam’s nuclear ambitions disrupted. And in Israel there was only satisfaction, with postmission intelligence revealing it was likely to be ten years before the reactor could be repaired.


As a military operation and statement of intent, the al-Tuwaitha raid was an unqualified success. The planning and execution were exceptional and the results decisive. If Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program did indeed constitute an existential threat to Israel, then it had been eliminated for about a decade; furthermore, the sheer brilliance and audacity of the operation burnished the IAF’s already imposing reputation. The raid thus served three of the Begin Doctrine’s objectives of counterproliferation, preventive strike, and deterrence.

It might seem contrary, therefore, to suggest that, as an exercise in airpower, the raid should be viewed with some caution. The issue is not the IAF but their Arab opponents. The fact that 14 hostile aircraft could spend 3 hours flying 1,500 miles over three enemy countries without being challenged beggars belief. That Iraq was already in a state of war, that the al-Tuwaitha reactor was a high-value target and had already been attacked, and that Israel’s policy of preemption was public knowledge merely compounded the offense. Given Egypt’s and Syria’s early success with GBAD in the 1973 October War, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the Baghdad area, including al-Tuwaitha, should have been defended by a 24/7 system.

As the sporting truism has it, we can only beat the opposition that takes the field. But when that opposition performs as badly as the Iraqis, it is necessary to ask: how would we have performed against someone else, against someone even moderately competent? Regardless of that, Operation Opera was an exemplary demonstration of playing to one’s strengths. In the Middle East, the Israeli model of airpower was supreme, and it made perfect military sense to use it preemptively and forcefully.

Once again, in the short term, Israel had thwarted a perceived threat to its existence, but also once again, the deeper strategic/political implications were less certain. According to the prominent American political commentators Bob Woodward and Richard Betts, the raid may have had the opposite effect to that intended. Looking back a quarter of a century after the event, Woodward reported that “Israeli intelligence were convinced that their strike in 1981 on the Osirak nuclear reactor . . . had ended Saddam’s program. Instead [it initiated] covert funding for a nuclear program . . . involving 5,000 people testing and building ingredients for a nuclear bomb.” Betts went even further, concluding that the additional resources Saddam allocated to Iraq’s nuclear program after the IAF’s raid “may actually have accelerated [Iraq’s nuclear program].” But probably neither of those opinions would have worried the IAF, whose masterful application of the Begin Doctrine had bolstered its standing as Israel’s weapon of first choice.

Cuxhaven Raid[s]

Short seaplanes taking off for the Cuxhaven Raid.

Photos of the December 25th Cuxhaven raid published in the Illustrated War News five days after.

The common story of Christmas 1914 is the Christmas Day truce, where soldiers on both sides stopped fighting to celebrate the holiday during World War I. While that was happening in the trenches, the British were conducting a historic airstrike on the German navy.

Intelligence reports showed that Cuxhaven had zeppelin sheds, where the giant airships were being kept. From the start of the war, zeppelins had menaced the British. No fighter planes could catch the airships, and they flew unmolested over UK airspace. Thus, the Navy hatched their plan: If they couldn’t destroy the airships in the air, they would destroy them on the ground.

Unfortunately, the sheds were out of range for ground-based airplanes. However, British commanders really wanted to raid the sheds, so they developed an imaginative plan to use sea-based airplanes. There was no such thing as an aircraft carrier at the time, but the British improvised. Using converted passenger ferries that could carry seaplanes, the British planned to move their naval forces as close to Germany as possible and then launch the seaplanes to bomb the zeppelin sheds.

The Royal Naval Air Service carried out the Cuxhaven raids with seaplanes carried in the converted cross-Channel steamers Engadine and Riviera. Those who regard the naval and military leaders of the First World War as hidebound, unimaginative, and unwilling to adopt new technology may be surprised to learn how comparatively early in the war aircraft were employed on imaginative endeavors such as this. One might say that imagination outran the technical ability to achieve results. Because of the limited range of the aircraft, the raids required an offensive sortie into the Bight by Tyrwhitt’s flotillas and Keyes’s submarines. The first attempt on 25 October was a failure, largely due to heavy rain, and four aircraft did not even get off the water. On 21 November the Royal Naval Air Service attacked the zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen with land-based aircraft. Three planes took off from Belfort in eastern France, one was shot down, and, contrary to what the British thought, the zeppelin under construction at the target was not damaged. The attacks with seaplanes were the most promising, but remained frustrating. The next attempt, on 23 November, was recalled after Room 40 intercepted signals indicating German cruisers might be out in the Bight in the area where the attack would be launched.

The Admiralty made a major attempt on Christmas Day 1914. This time three seaplane carriers were involved, the Engadine, Riviera, and Empress. The Germans were expecting an attack that day; they believed an attempt would be made to block the German ports with merchant ships. They also feared a repetition of 28 August, when the battle cruisers had overwhelmed their scouting forces, and therefore kept only submarines and their two available zeppelins out in the Bight. The result was the first significant encounters between aircraft and warships, a preview of the great air-sea battles of future wars. The zeppelin L.6 attacked the Empress, which had fallen behind because of condenser trouble. A pair of seaplanes from Borkum also made a second attack. The British launched their nine seaplanes a half hour before dawn, but two failed to get off the water. None of the remaining aircraft did any damage to the zeppelin sheds; in fact, only one plane even reached them, and then it failed to recognize the target because the pilots had been given the wrong location. The other aircraft dropped their bombs on different targets with little effect. One plane did fly over the German fleet in Schillig Roads, obtaining intelligence and creating considerable excitement, but accomplishing little else. This should not detract from the courage of these early pilots, who pressed on in their primitive aircraft in the face of quite often heavy fire.

The British ships were attacked by the zeppelin L.5 and seaplanes as they searched for their aircraft that had failed to reach the designated recovery positions. Only three of the crews were rescued by surface craft. Keyes’s submarines rescued another three and were attacked by the zeppelin Z.5 in the process. The seventh crew was picked up by a Dutch trawler, treated as “shipwrecked mariners,” and subsequently returned without being interned. None of the ships suffered serious damage from zeppelins or aircraft—a German submarine on the scene also failed to get into a firing position. The British, in fact, seem to have come to the conclusion that ships had little to fear from the air as long as they had sufficient room to maneuver. The Christmas Day air raid of 1914 should probably be treated as a learning experience that pointed the way to the future when technology and experience would make aircraft much more effective.

The boost to British morale provided by the Cuxhaven raid on Christmas Day was soon offset by another startling German submarine success. Early on the morning of New Year’s Day, the submarine U.24 torpedoed and sank the predreadnought Formidable of the Channel Fleet. Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, commander of the Channel Fleet, had been conducting tactical exercises, and the ships, in apparent disregard of the submarine danger, were steaming slowly without zigzagging. Although a predreadnought, this was the first battleship to be sunk by a submarine during the war, and the loss of life was high, only 233 out of 780 officers and men surviving in the rough seas. Bayly, who claimed the Admiralty had failed to warn him submarines might be found so far west in the Channel, was relieved of his command. He eventually redeemed himself with his successful command at Queenstown later in the war.

British seaplane carrier HMS ENGADINE at anchor.


Built by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company and completed in 1911, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty for naval service on 11 August 1914 and given temporary modifications in Chatham Dockyard to equip her as a seaplane carrier. She was commissioned on 1 September 1914 and allocated to the Harwich Force, taking part in a series of sweeps across the North Sea. On 25 December 1914 she launched aircraft against German Zeppelin sheds in the Cuxhaven Raid, in company with Riviera and Empress.

In February 1915 she was purchased outright by the Admiralty and taken in hand by the Cunard Steamship Company in Liverpool for improvements which included the fitting of a steel ‘box’ hangar aft with an operating platform and cranes positioned at the stern. After the modifications were completed in March 1915, she rejoined the Harwich Force and was based at Granton. In October 1915 she joined the BCF based in the Firth of Forth and carried out a series of tests to evaluate the high-speed towing of kite balloons attached to warships which proved the viability of the concept. She was present at the battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 and the aircraft she launched to locate the German fleet was the first ever to take part in a sea battle. Although the aircraft’s successful reports were received by Engadine, their rebroadcast was, unfortunately, not taken in by the C-in-C in his flagship Lion. After the battle she took the damaged cruiser Warrior in tow and rescued her survivors when she foundered. In 1918 she was transferred to the MF and operated from Malta until the end of hostilities. In December the Admiralty sold her back to her former owners and she returned to use as a cross-Channel ferry. In 1923, with the regrouping of Britain’s railways, her ownership transferred to the Southern Railway and in 1932 she was sold to a ship broker who sold her on to Hermanos Inc in the Philippines in 1933 and renamed her Corregidor. In December 1941, during the Japanese invasion, she was sunk by a mine in Manilla Bay, with heavy loss of life.


Built by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway and completed in 1911, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty with her sister ship Engadine on 11 August 1914 and given temporary alterations in Chatham Dockyard for use as a seaplane carrier. She joined the Harwich Force, together with Engadine, in October and took part in the Cuxhaven Raid on Christmas day 1914, together with her and Empress. She was fully converted into a seaplane carrier by the Cunard Steamship Company in Liverpool in February 1915, and on completion of the work she joined the Dover Patrol on 7 April 1915. Her seaplanes were used extensively to spot for the gunfire of monitors off the Belgian coast and other duties until 1918 when, with other early seaplane carriers, she transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet based in Malta. In 1919 she was sold back to her original owners and resumed duty as a cross-Channel ferry, transferring to the new Southern Railway in 1923. In 1932 she was sold to the Burns and Laird Lines and renamed Laird’s Isle.

In September 1939 she was requisitioned again by the Admiralty, this time under her new name, and used at first as a torpedo training ship and then as an ocean boarding vessel. After modifications in 1944 she was used as an infantry landing ship. In 1945 she was demilitarised and returned to Burns and Laird, who continued to operate her until 1957, when she was sold for scrap.


Built as a cross-Channel ferry for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway by William Denny & Brothers of Dumbarton, she was completed in April 1907 and requisitioned by the Admiralty on 11 August 1914. Until space was available in Chatham Dockyard for her modification she was used as a dispatch vessel for the RNAS, carrying the men and equipment of the Eastchurch Squadron to France. After 30 August she was fitted out as a seaplane carrier, and when the work was completed in September she joined the Harwich Force and took part in North Sea sweeps. On 25 December 1914 she joined Riviera and Engadine in launching aircraft against Zeppelin bases in the Cuxhaven raid.

In May 1915 she was taken in hand by the Cunard Steamship Company of Liverpool and given more extensive modifications to operate seaplanes, the work being completed in July.

On 18 July 1915 she was based at Queenstown in Ireland for patrol work which lasted until January 1916, when she sailed to join the East Indies and Egypt Seaplane Squadron based at Port Said. In April 1916 she was detached for operations off the Bulgarian coast, for which she was based at various ports in the Aegean Sea. In November 1916 she used her seaplanes to support operations ashore in Sinai and the coast of Syria. From January 1918 she was based in Port Said again and used her seaplanes for antisubmarine patrols over the eastern Mediterranean. Later in the year she was based in Gibraltar to support patrols in the western Mediterranean.

Empress was handed back to her original owners in November 1919. She was transferred to the Southern Railway in 1923 and later in the same year sold to the French Société Anonyme de Gérance et d’Armement. She was eventually scrapped in France in 1933.

Hasdrubal and Hannibal

Hannibal presented with the head of his brother Hasdrubal.

When Hannibal left Spain for Italy, he placed his younger brother Hasdrubal in command of the Carthaginian-controlled portion of the country. Hasdrubal was tasked with holding southern Spain, upon whose vast mineral wealth and manpower reserves Carthage depended to fuel the war against Rome. For ten years, Hasdrubal kept the Spanish tribes nominally under his control and the Romans at bay. Then in 208 B.C. Hannibal sent word to his brother to bring reinforcements to Italy. Hasdrubal was the equal of Hannibal in all respects: character, courage, skill, and ability to command. He was, as the Roman historian Livy commented, “a son of Hamilcar Barca, the thunderbolt,” and as dynamic and experienced a leader in battle as Hannibal. Hannibal in Italy was trouble enough for the Romans, but now the second son of the thunderbolt was about to bring another army of mercenaries and elephants over the Alps to reinforce his brother.

Polybius had similar praise for Hasdrubal, characterizing him as a brave man, to be admired for his abilities as a commander, and not dismissed out of hand because he lost and died at the battle of the Metaurus. Hasdrubal stands out because he kept the Romans at bay in Spain for ten years, brought his army over the Alps intact, increased its size with Gauls, and nearly reached his brother. He could see beyond the short-term rewards of victory in battle, glory, and profit and formulated a contingency if things, as they often do, should go wrong. This was something that Polybius found to be a rare and valuable characteristic in leaders of his day.

Both Polybius and Livy praised Hasdrubal for having made it over the Alps with his army—more rapidly than Hannibal, and with significantly fewer losses. It was an accomplishment on a par with Hannibal’s but has been overshadowed and relegated to the footnotes of history. Hasdrubal moved quickly through Gaul and over the Alps, due perhaps to better weather conditions. The Gauls probably allowed Hasdrubal, with nearly twenty thousand soldiers and a contingent of elephants, to move through their territory safely, but we do not know for sure if the passage was entirely without difficulties. Hasdrubal reached Italy more quickly than his brother had expected, which may account for the coordination problems that developed between them.

The Roman army was waiting for Hasdrubal at the Metaurus, a river that begins in the heights of the Apennine Mountains and flows east into the Adriatic Sea at Fano, just north of the modern-day port of Ancona. The Romans won that day and their victory was the turning point in the war. The Metaurus is one of the greatest battles in ancient history, yet it has been given remarkably little attention by scholars, overshadowed as it is by Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps, and his victories at Trasimene and Cannae. Hasdrubal’s defeat and death were significant because they sealed Hannibal’s fate in Italy and condemned him to lose the war. The Romans won at the Metaurus because of the competence and effective coordination of the two consuls in command, Gaius Claudius Nero and Marcus Livius Salinator. Of the two, Nero is probably the unsung hero of the battle, and, in some respects, of the Second Punic War. Because of his initiative, boldness, and drive, he turned the tide of the war in Rome’s favor and, like Hasdrubal, he has been relegated to history’s footnotes. Claudius Nero took a gamble and made a bold move, which deceived Hannibal and defeated Hasdrubal.

The Romans needed competent leaders, one to deal with Hannibal in the south and another to stop Hasdrubal in the north. Many of Rome’s most experienced commanders had been killed in prior battles, including the Scipio brothers in Spain. It was the law of Rome that one of the two consuls elected each year to command the armies of the republic had to come from the lower plebeian class and one from the aristocratic patrician class. The patrician candidate for office in 208 B.C. was Claudius Nero, whose descendant some two hundred years later would become the infamous Julio-Claudian emperor. Claudius Nero, whose cognomen or nickname can mean the powerful one or the dark one, depending on the context, was an experienced commander who had fought against Hannibal in Italy and Hasdrubal in Spain.

The plebeian candidate for the consulship was Marcus Livius Salinator, nicknamed the salt man. Salinator had commanded Roman forces in Illyricum but had been censured and then exiled for a term for using his position to enrich himself. Because Rome was critically short on experienced commanders, he was allowed to return and run for the consulship. The two men hated each other because Nero had been one of Salinator’s most vocal and strident accusers when he came to trial. After the election, when the senate awarded them their commands and sought to reconcile them, Salinator rebuffed the overture and commented it would be best if they remained enemies. The hope of Rome, now at its most perilous hour since Cannae, rested on two men who detested each other. Salinator took command of the forces in the north, tasked with blocking the Alpine passes through which Hasdrubal had to pass, while Nero was given command in the south against Hannibal. But Hasdrubal, in command of a force now estimated to have grown to some thirty thousand, had moved far more quickly than expected. He came down from the Alps and was on the plains of Italy before Salinator could put his own forces in place to stop him.

In the south, Nero moved his army of forty thousand to Venusia in Apulia, looking for Hannibal, who began playing a game of cat and mouse with his Roman adversary. There were minor skirmishes where Hannibal’s soldiers apparently suffered more casualties than the Romans. The fact that Hannibal avoided engaging Nero leads to speculation that his army may have been weakened considerably by this point in the war. Hannibal eventually retreated farther south on the Italian peninsula to Metapontum, where the ranks of his army were increased with new recruits from Bruttium enlisted by his nephew Hanno. Only when his army was reinforced did Hannibal move it back to Venusia, where he waited for Nero to make his next move. Hannibal had become uncharacteristically passive.

In the north, Hasdrubal avoided the Roman army, and instead of crossing the Apennine range by the same route Hannibal had taken earlier, he moved by way of Bologna, directly to Ariminum (Rimini) on the Adriatic coast. Ariminum had been established by the Romans in 268 B.C., shortly before the First Punic War, as the terminus for the recently completed Via Flaminia, an ancient version of a superhighway. The highway led from Rome, over the Apennine Mountains, to the east coast of Italy. At Ariminum, Hasdrubal posed a direct threat, as he was now, by way of the Via Flaminia, less than two hundred miles from the city. The Roman senate, on the advice of Nero, sent an army to block the route. As Hasdrubal moved south along the Adriatic coast looking for his brother, another smaller Roman army, led by the praetor Lucius Porcius Licinius, the pig man, moved into position and began to shadow him from the north.

Anxious to establish contact with his brother, Hasdrubal sent six horsemen south along the coast with orders to find him. Riding day and night, the couriers covered nearly four hundred miles from Ariminum to just north of Tarentum without being detected. Just short of reaching Hannibal, who had retreated to the coastal city of Metapontum, their luck gave out when they came upon a detachment of Roman soldiers who were foraging in the countryside for supplies. Captured, they were taken to Nero, who ordered them tortured until they revealed the details of their mission as well as the size, composition, and route of Hasdrubal’s army.

Nero was now faced with a dilemma. Could he trust the information that had fallen into his hands by luck—a gift from the gods—and act on it? Or was this a Carthaginian trick intended to lure him into the kind of trap Hannibal was famous for setting? While everything about these messengers seemed genuine, down to the fact that their horses were worn out from days of hard riding, the year before, a Roman force commanded by Marcellus, one of Rome’s best generals, was ambushed on the border between Apulia and Lucania. Marcellus was killed in the fighting, and Hannibal used the consul’s signet ring to forge documents in an effort to retake the city of Salapia. The attempt failed when the Roman garrison commander became suspicious about the authenticity of the documents.

Nero put his reservations aside and acted decisively to stop Hasdrubal from reaching his brother. Taking a portion of his army, essentially his best soldiers, he led them north in a forced march to reinforce Salinator at the Metaurus River. Nero’s plan was to quickly defeat Hasdrubal and return south before Hannibal even knew he had left. It was a bold gamble with high stakes. If Hannibal learned that Nero was gone and attacked his weakened army in the south, it would be a disaster. Then there was the question of whether Nero’s soldiers could be force-marched over such a long distance, fight a major battle, and then force marched back to fight again. How much could human endurance be taxed? Nero sent couriers to Rome to advise the senate to send a legion from Capua to reinforce the soldiers securing the Via Flaminia and then assembled his expeditionary force; six thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry. Marching them day and night, north from Tarentum, through the center of Italy, they arrived where the Metaurus River enters the sea at Fano.

Nero and his army covered the distance in a remarkable seven days. Each soldier carried only the bare minimum—mainly his weapons. Messengers were sent ahead of the army to mobilize the people who lived along the route to prepare food and provide supplies for the soldiers as they passed. In that way, the army could move without being encumbered by baggage, supplies, and camp followers. As Nero’s army moved north, volunteers along the route, moved by patriotism and caught up in the emotions of the moment, joined them, swelling their ranks. What Nero was doing went against Roman law. As a consul, he was forbidden to leave his assignment without senatorial permission. Recognizing the potentially devastating consequences of the Carthaginian brothers joining forces or attacking Rome from two different directions, and the need for decisive action, Nero circumvented the law and acted on his own volition.

Livius Salinator, on the other hand, was taking a very cautious approach relative to Hasdrubal and his army. He allowed the Carthaginian army to cross the river and move south along the coast, without engaging them. With the army of Licinius behind him, Hasdrubal camped just a half-mile or so to the north of Livius. Nero arrived with his army late at night and led his soldiers into the Roman camp quietly so as not to raise an alarm among Hasdrubal’s sentries. Nero was constantly worried about Hannibal, and despite a long and tiring march, he insisted on fighting Hasdrubal the next day so he could return south as quickly as possible.

The next morning, Hasdrubal awoke to find two Roman armies in front of him and one behind. Overwhelming forces were converging on him at the Metaurus, and this caused him to conclude that Hannibal might already have been defeated in the south. How else could the Romans have been able to bring together so many soldiers against him in the north? Hasdrubal remained safely within his camp and pondered his options. The rest of the day passed without event, as Salinator and Licinius, in spite of Nero’s pressure for them to engage in battle, refused to advance on Hasdrubal’s fortifications. Nero argued that they could not remain passive, waiting for Hasdrubal to make the first move. All three recognized the urgency of the situation and that time was crucial. Once Hannibal learned that the Roman army in southern Italy was without its commander and weakened in number, he was sure to attack it. The only option open to the Roman commanders was to move quickly against Hasdrubal, destroy him, and release Nero to return south.

Hasdrubal on the other hand had no desire to engage the Roman armies. His mission was to reach his brother with his army intact, so when nightfall came he led them out of camp with the intent of recrossing the river and retreating north as quickly and quietly as he could. Once safely over the Metaurus and well away from the Romans, Hasdrubal planned to try once more to establish communication with Hannibal even though he had only a vague idea of where he might be or even if he was still alive. As the night wore on, Hasdrubal’s problems multiplied. His local guides deserted him, leaving him lost in the darkness, trying to find a safe place for his army to cross the swiftly flowing river. A combination of melting snows from the nearby Apennines and spring rains had caused the river to flood, trapping his army on the south shore as his scouts frantically searched up and down the riverbank in the darkness for a place to cross. Many of the Gauls began drinking and in short order became disorderly. Like most Carthaginian armies, Hasdrubal’s was a mix of cultures and included the same Iberians, Ligurians, Gauls, and Africans as Hannibal’s army.

The first light of morning found Hasdrubal’s army in disarray. It was trapped with its back against the banks of the flooded Metaurus, and there were three consular armies converging on it. When the Roman commanders realized Hasdrubal was cornered, they moved their infantry up into position. Hasdrubal’s cavalry, the one section of his army that was superior to the Romans and on which he depended heavily, was essentially useless in the confined and hilly countryside around the Metaurus. In a bad position and with no alternative left, Hasdrubal gave up looking for a crossing point and ordered his army to turn and prepare to face the advancing Romans. How many soldiers clashed that day is uncertain, but numbers given by the ancient sources tend, as they usually are, to be underestimated, inflated, or contradictory. The Greek historian Appian, for instance, writes that the Carthaginian force numbered forty-eight thousand infantry, eight thousand cavalry, and fifteen elephants. Livy claims that there were more than sixty-one thousand slain or captured Carthaginian soldiers at the end of the battle and still more who escaped the slaughter. Those numbers indicate an army of far more than Appian’s fifty-six thousand. Polybius reported that ten thousand of Hasdrubal’s men were killed in the fighting versus only two thousand Romans.

Hasdrubal’s army probably numbered thirty thousand including his Gauls, and Livius had roughly the same number. The praetor Licinius commanded an additional two legions, probably ten thousand men, so between them the Roman army might have come to forty thousand including their Italian allies. However, the numbers of the allied contingents fighting with the Romans could have been lower, since some of the confederation members in central Italy, weary with the long and indecisive war against Hannibal, had begun to refuse Roman demands to provide auxiliaries and to pay additional war taxes. Adding Nero’s seven thousand troops to the Roman mix, what is certain is that Hasdrubal and his Carthaginians were outnumbered at the Metaurus.

When Hasdrubal’s army turned to face the Romans, his right flank, where he placed his best horsemen, was pressed against the river while his left flank was in hilly terrain, which proved to be a mixed blessing. Hasdrubal’s most experienced and reliable troops, his African and Iberian infantry, were placed on the right flank as well—the section of the battle line where Hasdrubal now placed all his hope for a victory. The center was composed of Ligurians, who, though not as skilled and well trained as the veterans on the right-flank, could be savage fighters in short bursts of combat. Hasdrubal intended for them to absorb the initial Roman assault and keep his center together until the Africans and Spaniards could turn the Roman flank and carry the day.

On his left, Hasdrubal placed the Gauls, his least reliable soldiers, who would be protected by a deep ravine in front of them and hills behind them. By this point, many of them were, according to Polybius, “stupefied with drunkenness.” Hasdrubal had ten elephants, which he used to reinforce the center. However, once the fighting began, the animals quickly became a liability. Frightened by the din of battle, many panicked, and while some charged the Roman line, others turned on their own soldiers. Six elephants were killed and the remainder ran off the field later to be captured or killed by the Romans.

Licinius deployed his infantry directly in front of Hasdrubal’s Ligurians, while Salinator took command of the Roman cavalry on the left flank and Nero positioned himself on the right facing the Gauls. The battle commenced with the Roman left flank charging the Carthaginian right, followed by the advance of the Roman center. The outnumbered Carthaginian horsemen fell back while their center held its ground. Finally, overcome by sheer numbers, the center began to give way. Nero tried to attack the Gauls, but the hilly terrain and the ravine made it difficult for his troops to reach them. Then he made a decision that changed the course of the battle. Taking roughly half a legion with him, Nero broke off the attack and led his troops behind the Roman center to strike hard at the Carthaginian right flank. The Carthaginians broke ranks under the assault, and, with Hasdrubal trying in vain to force them back into the fight, their line disintegrated. Panic ensued, followed by desertions. The Romans chased the fleeing Carthaginians, meeting almost no resistance, and according to the ancient sources this is where most of the casualties among Hasdrubal’s soldiers occurred. The Carthaginian center, now in disorder, faced a three-pronged attack: Licinius from the front, Livius and Nero from the right. Hasdrubal, seeing that there was nothing more he could do, and presumably doubtful of his own prospects of escape or simply unwilling to be taken captive, charged into the thick of the fighting to meet a warrior’s death.

The Romans severed Hasdrubal’s head from his body and brought it to Nero as a trophy. Nero ordered it placed in a sack and given to a courier with instructions to ride south, find Hannibal, and throw the head into his camp. This was barbaric and contrary to Hannibal’s honorable treatment of Roman officers who had died in battle at Trasimene, Cannae, and even in southern Italy. He had been scrupulous in his treatment of their bodies, giving the dead burial with full military honors and often sending their ashes and personal effects back to Rome. Nearly a decade had passed since Hannibal had last seen his brother, and when the head was brought to him, he recoiled at the sight and groaned. The severed head was the harbinger of worse things to come. The war had turned.

Nero ordered the Carthaginian prisoners executed except the most prominent among them, who could be held for sizable ransom. The success of the legions at the Metaurus filled the Romans with hope and gave them confidence that Hannibal could not remain in Italy much longer. Nero changed the course of the war, forcing Hannibal to retreat into the most southern portion of Italy, Bruttium (Calabria), where he remained isolated until he was recalled to North Africa four years later.

With Hasdrubal’s defeat, the war in Italy was essentially lost for Hannibal. Any chance he had of building a force strong enough to even bring the Romans to the conference table was gone. With a Roman naval presence off the coast of Sicily, Hannibal’s chances of reinforcements reaching him from North Africa by sea diminished, and the war in Italy became a sideshow compared to the larger conflict that was now being waged in Spain and soon to reach North Africa. With Hannibal confined to Bruttium, the next four years were ones of relative inactivity in Italy—except for a second attempt to reinforce Hannibal which occurred in in 205 B.C.

This attempt was made by Hannibal’s youngest brother, Mago, who, like Hannibal and Hasdrubal, was dedicated to the struggle against Rome. Mago was an experienced and competent commander who had crossed the Alps with Hannibal in 218 B.C. and was largely responsible for the victory over the Romans at the Trebbia. He distinguished himself at Cannae and later raised additional troops for Hannibal in Bruttium. Mago was sent to Carthage to report on the victory at Cannae and then to Spain in 215 B.C., where, along with his older brother Hasdrubal and another Hasdrubal, son of Gisco, he conducted the war against the Roman commanders Gnaeus and Publius Scipio (215–212 B.C.). When the Romans launched a major offensive in 211 B.C., Mago was instrumental in their defeat and the subsequent deaths in battle of both Scipios.

In the summer of 205 B.C., Mago left Spain for Italy. Instead of attempting another overland trek and Alpine crossing, he chose a sea route leaving a flotilla of some thirty warships and fourteen thousand soldiers on board. Since Hannibal was confined to the extreme tip of southern Italy on the Adriatic coast, reaching him by sea from Spain would have been nearly impossible. The journey would have been too long and dangerous, both because of the risk of storms and the patrolling Roman navy. Instead, Mago chose to hug the Ligurian coast and landed at Genova (Genoa). From there, he moved overland into northern Italy and, like Hasdrubal, recruited as many Ligurians and Gauls as possible to supplement his army. Since Roman armies controlled both sides of the Apennines and blocked the routes south, Mago and his army remained in northern Italy for the next two years, conducting largely guerilla operations. Then, in the summer of 203 B.C., outside of Milan, the Romans forced Mago into a decisive battle. With a force composed of Numidian and Spanish cavalry, infantry, and elephants, supplemented with Ligurians and Gauls, Mago engaged four Roman legions. During the battle, he was badly wounded in the thigh and retreated to Genova and the safety of the ships that awaited him there.

At Genova, messengers from Carthage were waiting with orders for him to return with his army to North Africa. Mago left behind an officer named Hamilcar with a small force to continue guerilla activities against the Romans in northern Italy. Mago died at sea from his wound, just as his fleet passed the island of Sardinia. Hannibal was confined to a narrow area in Bruttium between the Adriatic coast and what today comprises a series of Italian national parks known as the Sila. Crotone is where Hannibal chose to reside—a Greek city famous for philosophers like Pythagoras and athletes like Milo, the Olympic champion and most renowned wrestler in antiquity. In luxury, cultural refinement, and amusement, Crotone was the equal of Capua, and it was there that Hannibal spent the next two years, 205 B.C. until 203 B.C., while the Romans shifted the focus of the war to Spain and North Africa. Isolated, with one brother dead and another one about to die, his forces considerably diminished in numbers, and resources scarce, Hannibal was no longer driving the war but forced to sit on the sidelines and await developments.

To help keep Hannibal contained, a Roman army under the command of the young Scipio moved from Sicily across the Strait of Messina into southern Italy and captured the Greek port city of Locri, just south of Crotone. The port had been important to Hannibal earlier in the war, and even though he launched a counterattack, he was unable to retake the city. A few miles south of Crotone is Cape Lacinium, or as it is known today, Capo Colonna. Among the sparse ruins on its shores is a solitary marble Doric column that looks out over a vast and desolate sea and gives its name to the present-day cape. That column is all that remains of a once magnificent temple built by the Greeks to honor the goddess Juno Lacinia. Among the most prized treasures of the temple was a column made of gold, which Hannibal allegedly probed to determine if it was solid or merely coated. When he discovered it was solid, he contemplated having it melted and cast into ingots or bricks for his personal use until the goddess came to him in a dream and threatened to take away his one good eye if he dared to desecrate her temple.

It was at this temple, at the end of his campaign, that Hannibal allegedly had a bronze plaque erected. It was inscribed in Greek, the universal language of the ancient world at the time, and in Hannibal’s native Punic. On that plaque Hannibal recounted his exploits in crossing the Alps, his battles in Italy, the size of his army, and the numbers of men he had lost. Such tablets, or as the Romans called them, res gestae, were commonplace in the ancient world. They were personal monuments of sorts to the ambitions and egos of important men. While Hannibal’s tablet has never been found and there are only literary references to its existence, it has given rise to speculation that he had come to regard himself as a king, perhaps the regent of southern Italy, and the plaque was left behind so posterity would not forget his accomplishments, victories, and aspirations.

At the same time, that plaque can be interpreted as Hannibal’s tacit acknowledgment that the war in Italy had ended and he no longer had the manpower or the resources to take on the Roman armies. His Macedonian ally, Philip, had failed to deliver, and the last straw came when some eighty Carthaginian cargo ships trying to reach him with provisions were blown off course by a storm and captured by the Romans. The loss of those ships sealed Hannibal’s fate, and in 203 B.C. he was ordered to return to North Africa.

When the Carthaginian envoys arrived and relayed the order to return, Hannibal was barely able to contain his rage. He gnashed his teeth and cried out that he had been betrayed, defeated by the aristocratic faction in Carthage, led by Hanno, not by the Romans he faced on the battlefield. He bemoaned that he would fail in this war for the same reasons his father had failed forty years before—lack of support from home. Several towns in Bruttium, seeing the writing on the wall, deserted Hannibal and tried to make their peace with Rome. In response, he dispatched the weakest of his soldiers, those he classified as “unfit for duty,” to garrison some of them, which he now held, more by force than loyalty.

“The Carthaginian Wars 265-146 BC: • Samnite heavy infantryman • Campanian cavalryman • Lucanian heavy infantryman”, Richard Hook

In preparation for his return to Africa, Hannibal ordered timber cut from the forests of Bruttium and transported to Crotone for use in building ships. The completed transports would be escorted on their voyage home by a few warships from Carthage that had eluded the Roman navy and made it to Crotone. Hannibal carried out his preparations with “bitterness and regret.” He assembled the elite of his army, some twenty thousand of his veterans, who by this point must have been mostly Italians from Bruttium and Lucania, and announced their departure for North Africa. Their response bordered on mutiny. What the ancient sources refer to as a large number refused the order and barricaded themselves in the temple of Juno Lacinia, where they sought sanctuary. Confident that Hannibal would never violate the sanctity of a holy place, they misjudged the man who for his entire adult life apparently had no fear of the gods. Hannibal had the temple surrounded and, according to one of the sources, thousands of rebellious soldiers slaughtered along with horses and pack animals.

The scope of this massacre has often been regarded by scholars as an exaggeration in the ancient sources that probably stems from the reported slaughter of three thousand horses that could not be taken on board the ships to Africa. There certainly may have been mutinous soldiers at that point in the war, and Hannibal may well have had them executed. But the Italian contingents in Hannibal’s army were his core, his veterans, and he needed them. By this time, few, if any, of the mercenaries who crossed the Alps with him could have been left. It would be the Italians, those who had fought with him in southern Italy and who were prepared to accompany him to North Africa, who would prove to be his most reliable soldiers in the next and final stage of this long and destructive war.

Colonization and Rome’s Early Navy

In this period of political fragmentation amongst the Latins, marked by the rise of more powerful and cohesive polities, we also have some very intriguing developments in the area of colonization. As noted previously, early Roman colonization probably resembled the Greek practice in many ways. This was not because the Italian practice was in any way based on the Hellenistic model. In fact, the Italians had most likely been founding colonies before the Greeks arrived in the early Iron Age. There is a long tradition of Italic tribes, when their population reached a critical amount, splintering off to form new groups and settlements. This was sometimes accomplished with the splinter group sighting and following a particular animal, often a boar or a wolf, until the animal settled down, and then founding the new settlement at that location. This practice was naturally laden with ritual and religious connotations, but was also incredibly practical as the locations where these animals settled down were usually well away from existing populations and contained the basics needed for a small settlement, including food and water. This practice naturally became more formal and sophisticated as time went on, but the basic system of forming new colonies in order to keep a population within the carrying capacity of the land was one with which the Romans and Latins were very familiar. As with Greek colonies, these new settlements usually became entirely independent after they were founded, although they often maintained sentimental links with their mother community, in addition to the very real bonds of kinship and blood. Despite the anachronistic assertions of Rome’s late Republican historians, who viewed all colonization through the lens of ‘empire’, this more independent type of colonization probably typified the Roman practice during the Regal and early Republican periods. As a result, the concept of Roman or Latin colonies during this period is arguably inapplicable. Although possibly founded by Roman or Latin populations, or indeed jointly, the colonies would have effectively become new Latin settlements (based solely on culture and language) once they were founded, and would not have owed any real allegiance to their mother communities. Although there seems to have been a rough sense of Latin identity, there was no such thing as Latin ‘citizenship’ (and even Roman citizenship is problematic), even in the middle of the fifth century BC – ‘Latin Rights’ being likely based on cultural identity and not political affiliation. As a result, early colonization seems to have had the same fluid character as much of the rest of Latin society during this time.

With the advent of the fourth century BC and the rise of more cohesive urban polities, it seems that the community of Rome recognized that the old way of colonizing was no longer in the city’s best interests. The needs which drove colonization in the Archaic period were naturally still there. Rome had to be very careful that her population did not exceed the carrying capacity of the land around the community and indeed it is likely that she was pulling more and more resources from further and further afield in order to feed her growing citizen body. Additionally, the literary sources and archaeology are unanimous in suggesting a growing desire for and exploitation of land by the Romans in the fourth century BC. As already argued, this is one of the reasons behind Rome’s increasing bellicosity during the period, but it is likely that it would also have led to an increased desire to found new colonies – as this represented the traditional, and by far the easiest, mechanism for acquiring new land for poorer citizens. However, colonization would have also served to weaken Rome, taking citizens away from the community and spreading them across new lands, right when she was desperately attempting to increase her manpower reserves. As a result, although Rome founded four new colonies (Satricum, Sutrium, Nepete and Setia) in the 380s BC, she did not create any further colonies for an entire generation. Instead, Rome attempted a number of new ways to deal with this situation, including the creation of municipia, like that at Tusculum, and the increased use of ager publicus. It was only in the final decades of the fourth century BC that Rome returned to colonization as a viable option, when the city founded a series of new colonies along the coast. It is clear from the nature of these new colonies, however, that things had definitely changed during the intervening years. While Rome’s earlier colonies seem to have been independent, and indeed even the late foundation at Satricum (founded in the 380s BC) evidently had to be recaptured in 346 BC, these new colonies were ‘full citizen colonies’ and extensions of Roman military might. The colonists at these new foundations, dubbed coloniae maritimae (maritime colonies), all explicitly retained their Roman citizenship and association. Although limited in size, with only 300 initial colonists, these new foundations were also planned as part of a new, larger military strategy. This can be seen through their grant of sacrosancta vacatio militia, a military exemption supposedly held by all members of the coloniae maritimae which required them to stay on site at the colony but, evidently in recognition of their importance in guarding the coastline, exempted them from normal military obligations and duties. Between 340 and 240 BC, Rome founded ten of these colonies down the west coast of Italy (Ostia, Antium, Tarracina, Minturnae, Sinuessa, Sena Gallica, Castrum Novum, Pyrgi, Alsium and Fregenae) as part of a concerted pattern of expansion aimed at controlling the sea.

Rome’s apparent interest in naval affairs during this period might strike the casual observer as a bit odd. After all, Rome was supposedly a novice in naval combat in the First Punic War (264 to 241 BC), without a ship of her own and entirely reliant on her allies’ navies until stolen Carthaginian naval technology (the fortuitous wreck of a Carthaginian trireme which gave the Romans the plans for their construction) allowed the creation of her own fleet. Or at least that is the traditional narrative. There are some slight discrepancies to this story, however. The creation of the coloniae maritimae clearly signals an increased interest in at least controlling the coast from the late fourth century BC, although this was done from the land in what might be considered a more traditional Roman approach. Linked to this interest, however, was the creation in 311 BC of the duovir navalis, a team of two magistrates tasked with buying or building ships and conducting naval operations. This indicates that, contrary to the generally accepted narrative, Rome did in fact have at least a nascent navy active in the late fourth century BC, almost fifty years before the First Punic War. In fact the sources record that one of these new naval magistrates was active the year after the office’s creation, raiding near the Bay of Naples in 310 BC. So the Romans seem to have had a navy of their own from at least 310 BC, although how this is reconciled with Polybius’ claim that the Romans did not build their own ships until the 260s BC is uncertain. It is possible that the Romans actually purchased their ships in this early period, thus making Polybius technically correct in that they did not build them, or perhaps they utilized the more common, multipurpose ships during this time and did not have custom-built warships until the 260s BC.

The advent of Rome’s navy and the coloniae maritimae not only suggests that Rome’s interests were expanding beyond the confines of Central Italy and towards the Mediterranean more generally, but also an increasing strategic awareness and both the foresight and ability to invest in military infrastructure. The creation of both the coloniae maritimae and a fleet required a form of delayed gratification on the part of the Romans. With regards to the coloniae, despite the Romans’ evident desire to increase their military manpower during the fourth century BC, they granted the colonists sent to these new foundations an official exemption from service – provided that they maintained Rome’s naval security at these new coastal locations. This hints that the Romans recognized that the long-term control of the coast was a benefit which outweighed the short-term boost in manpower which these colonists would have provided. The creation of a fleet represents an even more extreme example of this. Roman warfare was generally a rather inexpensive enterprise; it was primarily about acquiring portable wealth as opposed to spending it. In the fifth and fourth centuries BC, Roman soldiers would supply their own equipment and often their own supplies, with some of this cost being offset by the stipendium collected from the populace. The army would then venture out, acquire wealth via either raiding or conquest in the fourth century BC, and then return home at the end of the campaigning season. The only costs for the community as a whole was therefore the stipendium, which was both limited and irregular. Instead, it was generally assumed that any costs of warfare incurred by the army would be taken out of the spoils of war, and the stipendium was supposed to have been refunded out of these – although how often this actually happened is debated. Indeed, the reason Roman soldiers fought during this period was unlikely to have been from either a sense of protonationalism or duty, or because of the limited stipendium, but rather from the desire for booty and spoils – this was the main motivator. Warfare was therefore something which occurred largely out of the civic sphere. The generals were elected by the community and the soldiers were associated with Rome, either as citizens or allies, and of course there was a stipendium available in case the war was unsuccessful or did not recoup its expenses. But once the army was in the field, it existed as a discrete and separate entity from the urban city of Rome and was generally supposed to earn its own keep. Navies, however, were very different creatures – particularly by the fourth century BC.

The earliest ancient navies, both in Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, seem to have followed roughly the same model as Rome’s early armies. In a time of need, wealthy individuals would lend their ships (and likely their crews) to the community for use in war. Many of these ships, although primarily used for trade, were eminently serviceable as warships as well – as noted before, the difference between an ancient merchant and an ancient pirate was often simply a question of opportunity. So although they were not custom-built for war, they could easily handle a complement of soldiers and were reasonably manoeuvrable and effective fighting platforms. From the seventh and sixth centuries BC, there was an incremental move in the eastern Mediterranean toward more purpose-built warships, most notably triremes (named because of their three banks of oars), although the cost and single function limited their popularity. Although triremes were incredibly effective in military situations, being far faster and more manoeuvrable than the multipurpose ships utilized before, it was hard to convince the wealthy citizens to invest in them. To build, equip, and staff one trireme seems to have cost between 10,000 and 12,000 drachmas, which was a significant outlay. While a multipurpose ship could be used for trade and other activities when the community was not at war, a trireme was suited for no other purpose and had to be carefully maintained (kept out of water in a ship shed) in order to maintain its seaworthiness. These ships were the high-end sports cars of their day – expensive luxury items which were not suited for everyday use. During the fifth century BC, however, the rise of the powerful Greek navies (like that of the Athenians) and the wars against the Persians changed the equation. In conflicts with these types of enemies, the old-fashioned, multipurpose ships were simply outclassed, although they did continue to play a role, and triremes were a ‘must-have’ item if one wanted to compete. As a result, communities like Athens and others around Greece poured immense amounts of state money into their navies – investing heavily in this technology. Moving away from privately-funded initiatives, Greek states built hundreds of triremes and their associated ship sheds, in addition to spending huge amounts on the salaries of rowers – in the case of Athens, effectively creating an entirely new class of citizen. This development turned warfare, or at least naval warfare, into an almost entirely state-based, state-centred activity. This would, eventually, have a knock-on effect on land warfare, which became increasingly mercenary in nature and which ultimately, by the fourth century BC, had also become effectively a state expenditure with the rise of professional and mercenary armies like those of Philip II and Alexander the Great of Macedon. This was the world of naval warfare into which Rome was venturing in the late fourth century BC – a world of highly professional and specialized fleets which required an enormous ‘buy in’ from the state in order to simply participate. Given this situation, it is no surprise that Rome took so long to get involved and, even once the city did, was not completely sold on the idea. The requirements of naval warfare went against many of the basic premises which underpinned Roman warfare to that point.

But in the late fourth century BC, Rome did slowly invest in naval infrastructure. Although the details are hazy to say the least, Rome’s duoviri navalis evidently acquired ships and were active in raids up and down the coast of Italy. So, although it represents an arguably minor and often ignored aspect of Roman warfare, it actually represents a significant turning point in Rome’s approach to war. It suggests that Rome was willing to invest a significant amount of state money, something which was limited given the absence of taxation at this time, in order to buy and maintain ships as part of a larger strategic plan. When this is combined with the contemporary construction of the Via Appia (Appian Way), a military road designed to move Rome’s armies south faster and more effectively, an entirely new phase in Roman warfare seems to have dawned. Gone were the days when warfare was expected to pay for itself, an activity which occurred largely outside of the state’s concern, and instead there existed a mindset where Rome was willing and able to invest state resources in military infrastructure to encourage and allow long-term success. Rome seems to have finally entered an era of truly state-based warfare.

Heinkel He 111

Although the Heinkel He 111 was designed ostensibly as a civil airliner for Lufthansa, its military potential was of a far greater importance. The first prototype of Siegfried and Walter Günter’s enlarged, twin-engine development of the remarkable He 70 was fitted with a glazed nose when flown at Rostock-Marienehe on 24 February 1935, in the hands of Flugkapitän Gerhard Nitschke. An all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane, it was powered by two 660-hp (492-kW) BMW VI 6,0Z engines and was followed by two further prototypes, each with shorter-span wings than those fitted on the first prototype. The third aircraft became the true bomber prototype and the second, which flew on 12 March 1935, was a civil version with a mail compartment in the nose and two passenger cabins, with seats for four and six passengers. After tests at Staaken this prototype eventually joined the Lufthansa fleet, although much of the development work on the civil version was carried out by the fourth prototype, the first to be revealed to the public and demonstrated at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport on 10 January 1936. Lufthansa received six He 111C 10-seat airliners during 1936, and these first entered service on the Berlin – Hannover- Amsterdam, Berlin-Nuremberg-Munich and Berlin-Dortmund- Cologne routes. Lufthansa received subsequently a number of He 111G-3 transports with 880hp (656-kW) BMW 132Dc engines and, later, a further generally similar batch under the alternative designation He 111L.

Development of the military counterpart continued with the manufacture of 10 He 111A-D pre-production aircraft, based on the third prototype, but with a longer nose and armed by three MG 15 machine-guns in nose, dorsal and ventral positions. Two were used for operational trials at Rechlin but poor handling, power deficiencies and inadequate performance resulted in rejection, and all 10 were later sold to China. The solution was the installation of two 1,000-hp (746-kW) Daimler-Benz DB 600A engines, first fitted to the fifth (B-series) prototype which flew in early 1936 as the forerunner of the first production versions built at Marienehe from the autumn of 1936. These comprised the He 111B-1 powered by the 880-hp (656-kW) DB600, followed by the He 111B-2 with 950-hp (708-kW) DB 600CG engines. The improvement in the performance of these aircraft resulted in the Reichsluftfahrtministerium placing such large orders that it was necessary to build a new He 111 construction facility at Oranienburg, near Berlin, this being completed in 1937.

The B-series was followed by the He 111D-1 with improved DB 600Ga engines, but the urgent need to divert DB 600 powerplant for fighter production meant that this version was built in only small numbers. This brought introduction of the 1,000-hp (746-kW) Junkers Jumo 211A-1, installed initially in an He 111D-D airframe to serve as the prototype of the He 111E-D pre-production series. In the initial production He 111E-1 bomber of February 1938 the bombload was increased to 3,7481b (1700 kg), but the He 111E-3 had another increase to 4,409 Ib (2000 kg), and the ensuing He 111E-4 could carry 2,205 lb (1000 kg) of this total on underfuselage racks; final sub-variant of the E-series, the He 111E-5 introduced an additional 183.7 Imp gal (835 litres) of auxiliary fuel carried within the fuselage. The next version into production was the He 111G which first introduced a new wing of simplified construction with straight, instead of curved taper. This was used first in the He 111G-3 civil transport built for Lufthansa, and there was some delay before it was approved by the RLM. Then followed the He 111G-1, basically similar to C-series aircraft but for the addition of the new wing, and the He 111G-4 which was powered by the 900-hp (671-kW) DB 600G engine; four He 111G-5 aircraft supplied to Turkey had Daimler-Benz 600Ga engines. Next came, unsequentially, the similar He 111F-1 powered by Jumo 211A-3 engines of which 24 were supplied to Turkey, and 40 virtually identical aircraft were built for the Luftwaffe in 1938 under the designation He 111F-4.

Developed in parallel were the H-series and P-series, the latter introducing in 1939 a major fuselage redesign which replaced the stepped cockpit by an extensively-glazed cockpit and nose section and, at the same time, moved the nose gun position to starboard to improve the pilot’s view. The pre-production He 111P-0 also introduced a revised ventral gondola, with the gunner in a prone position, and was powered by two 1,150-hp (858-kW) DB 601 Aa engines. Relatively few He 111Ps were built before this version was superseded by the H-series, the He 111P-1 which was virtually identical to the pre-production aircraft being delivered first in the autumn of 1939; the He 111P-2 differed only by having changes in radio equipment, and the He 111P-3 was a dual-control trainer. Heavier armour protection and up to six MG 15 machine-guns were introduced in the five-crew He 111P-4 which, in addition to carrying 2,205 Ib (1000 kg) of bombs internally had ETC 500 racks beneath the fuselage for a similar external load; the He 111P-6 had all-internal stowage for 4,409 Ib (2000 kg) of bombs, and later P-series conversions, for use as glider tugs with l,175-hp (876-kW) DB 60lN engines installed, were redesignated He 111P-2/R2.

The major production version, built in a large number of variants, was the H-series, the He 111H-0 and He 111H-1 pre-production/production batches being basically the same as He 111P-2s except for the installation of 1,010-hp (753-kW) Jumo 211A engines. The He 111H-2 which became available in the autumn of 1939 had Jumo 211A-3 engines and carried two additional MG 15 machine-guns, one in the nose and one in the ventral gondola, and the He 111H-3 introduced armour protection and armament comprising a 20-mm MG FF cannon and an MG 15 in the ventral gondola, two MG 15s in the nose, one dorsally mounted, and similar weapons in beam positions. The He 111H-4 introduced Jumo 211D-1 engines and was equipped with two external racks to carry a 3,968-lb (1800 kg) bombload that could include two 1,686-lb (765-kg) differed only by having increased fuel capacity. When He 111H-3 and He 111H-5 aircraft were later fitted with a nose-mounted device to fend off balloon cables they were both redesignated He 111H-8, and subsequent re-conversion for use as glider tugs was made under the designation He 111H-8/R2. Junkers Jumo 211F-1 engines with variable-pitch propellers, and a fixed MG 17 machine-gun mounted in the tail, identified the He 111H-6; and the He 111H-10 was developed and built in small numbers especially for the night bombing offensive against the UK, these being equipped with Kute-Nase balloon cable-cutters in the wing leading edges and additional armour protection. Armament changes and a fully-enclosed dorsal position accommodating an MG 131 machine-gun identified the He 111H-11, in which the nose position carried a 20-mm MG FF cannon and the ventral MG 15 was replaced by a twin-barrel MG 81Z; when the beam guns were later replaced by MG 81Zs these aircraft were redesignated He 111H-11/R1, and changed their designation yet again to become He 111H-11/R2 when adapted to tow Gotha Go 242 gliders. The He 111H-12 and He 111H-15 were both built in small numbers, without the ventral gondola, to serve as missile launchers for Henschel and Blohm und Voss weapons respectively. The first of the pathfinder versions had the designation He 111H-14, and when converted later to serve as a glider tug was redesignated He 111H-14/R2.

Built in large numbers, following introduction in the autumn of 1942, the He 111H-16 was generally similar to the He 111H-11, but equipped to carry a bombload of up to 7,1651b (3250 kg), although this necessitated the use of R-Geräte rocket-assisted take-off equipment; it was built in sub-variants that included the He 111H16/R1 which had a revolving dorsal turret with an MG 131 machine-gun, He 111H-16/R2 equipped for rigidbar towing of gliders, and the He 111H-16/R3 which carried additional radio equipment for use as a pathfinder. The ensuing He 111H-18 was also a pathfinder, with exhaust flame dampers to make it suitable for night operations, followed by the He 111H-20 built in sub-variants that included the He 111H-20/R1 carrying 16 paratroops, He 111H-20/R2 night bomber/glider tug, He 111H-20/R3 night bomber with heavier armour protection and improved radio, and the virtually identical He 111H-20/R4 with GM-1 power boosting equipment for the powerplant; when a 1,750-hp (1305kW) Jumo 213E-1 engine with two-stage superchargers was installed in He 111H-20/R3 aircraft they were redesignated He 111H-21. The He 111H-22 was equipped to carry a Fieseler Fi 103 (V-1) missile beneath each wing, and the final H-series variant was the He 111H-23 paratroop transport with 1,776-hp (1324-kW) Jumo 213A-1 engines.

Produced in parallel with the F-series, the He 111J-0 and He 111J-1 were intended as torpedo-bombers and powered by 950-hp (708-kW) DB 600CG engines, but the He 111J-1 production aircraft, of which about 8 were built, were equipped as bombers. A single prototype was built of a proposed high-altitude bomber under the designation He 111R, powered by two 1,810hp (1350-kW) DB 603U engines, but no production aircraft resulted. Final, and certainly the most unusual version, was the He 111Z (Zwilling, or twin), designed to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant transport glider. It comprised two 111H-6 airframes joined by a new wing centre-section which mounted a fifth Jumo 211F-2 engine. Two prototypes and 10 He 111Z-1 production aircraft were built during the winter of 1941-2.

First deliveries to an operational squadron were made late in 1936, to l./KG 154 at Fassberg, and in February 193730 He 111B-1s were sent to the Legion Condor bomber unit K/88 in Spain, following operational trials in which four of the pre-production He 111B-0s were flown by a flight of VB 88. The He 111 bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe’s bombing effort in early World War II: Poland in the autumn of 1939, Norway and Denmark in April 1940, France and the Low Countries in May and against British targets during the Battle of Britain. Large-scale introduction of the Junkers Ju 88, and the He 111’s vulnerability to British fighters, resulted in the Heinkel bomber being transferred to night operations and to a variety of specialised roles, as a missile-carrier, torpedo-bomber, pathfinder and glidertug. Transport duties were also undertaken, including operations to supply the beleaguered German army at Stalingrad between November 1942 and February 1943, and by the end of the war He 111s were virtually flown only in the transport role. Production of more than 7,000 German-built aircraft for the Luftwaffe was completed in the autumn of 1944. In addition to those manufactured in Heinkel factories at Marienehe and Oranienburg, He 111s were built by Norddeutsche Dornierwerke in Wismar, by Allgemeine Transportgesellschaft in Leipzig, Arado in Babelsberg and Brandenburg/Havel and at other centres. Some 236 He 111Hs were built by CASA in Spain during and after the war as the CASA 2.111, approximately 130 with Jumo 211F-2 engines and the rest with Rolls Royce Merlin 500-29s; some were converted later for transport and training duties.


He 111 A-0: 10 aircraft built based on He 111 V3, two used for trials at Rechlin, rejected by Luftwaffe, all 10 were sold to China”.

He 111 B-0: Pre-production aircraft, similar to He 111 A-0, but with DB600Aa engines.

He 111 B-1: Production aircraft as B-0, but with DB600C engines. Defensive armament consisted of a flexible Ikaria turret in the nose A Stand, a B Stand with one DL 15 revolving gun-mount and a C Stand with one MG 15.

He 111 B-2: As B-1, but with DB600GG engines, and extra radiators on either side of the engine nacelles under the wings. Later the DB 600Ga engines were added and the wing surface coolers withdrawn.

He 111 B-3: Modified B-1 for training purposes.

He 111 C-0: Six pre-production aircraft.

He 111 D-0: Pre-production aircraft with DB600Ga engines.

He 111 D-1: Production aircraft, only a few built. Notable for the installation of the FuG X, or FuG 10, designed to operate over longer ranges. Auxiliary equipment contained direction finding Peil G V and FuBI radio blind landing aids.

He 111 E-0: Pre-production aircraft, similar to B-0, but with Jumo 211 A-1 engines.

He 111 E-1: Production aircraft with Jumo 211 A-1 powerplants. Prototypes were powered by Jume 210G as which replaced the original DB 600s.

He 111 E-2: Non production variant. No known variants built. Designed with Jumo 211 A-1s and A-3s.

He 111 E-3: Production bomber. Same design as E-2, but upgraded to standard Jumo 211 A-3s.

He 111 E-4: Half of 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) bomb load carried externally.

He 111 E-5: Fitted with several internal auxiliary fuel tanks.

He 111 F-0: Pre-production aircraft similar to E-5, but with a new wing of simpler construction with a straight rather than curved taper, and Jumo 211 A-1 engines.

He 111 F-1: Production bomber, 24 were exported to Turkey.

He 111 F-2: 20 were built. The F-2 was based on the F-1, differing only in installation of optimised wireless equipment.

He 111 F-3: Planned reconnaissance version. Bomb release equipment replaced with RB cameras. It was to have Jumo 211 A-3 powerplants.

He 111 F-4: A small number of staff communications aircraft were built under this designation. Equipment was similar to the G-5.

He 111 F-5: The F-5 was not put into production. The already available on the P variant showed it to be superior.

He 111 G-0: Pre-production transportation aircraft built, featured new wing introduced on F-0.

He 111 G-3: Also known as V14, fitted with BMW 132Dc radial engines.

He 111 G-4: Also known as V16, fitted with DB600G engines.

He 111 G-5: Four aircraft with DB600Ga engines built for export to Turkey.

He 111 J-0: Pre-production torpedo bomber similar to F-4, but with DB600CG engines.

He 111 J-1: Production torpedo bomber, 90 built, but re-configured as a bomber.

He 111 L: Alternative designation for the He 111 G-3 civil transport aircraft.

He 111 P-0: Pre-production aircraft featured new straight wing, new glazed nose, DB601Aa engines, and a ventral gondola for gunner (rather than “dust-bin” on previous models).

He 111 P-1: Production aircraft fitted with three MG 15s as defensive armament.

He 111 P-2: Had FuG 10 radio in place of FuG IIIaU. Defensive armament increased to five MG 15s.

He 111 P-3: Dual control trainer fitted with DB601 A-1 powerplants.

He 111 P-4: Fitted with extra armour, three extra MG 15s, and provisions for two externally mounted bomber racks. Powerplants consisted of DB601 A-1s. The internal bomb bay was replaced with a 835 L fuel tank and a 120 L oil tank.

He 111 P-5: The P-5 was a pilot trainer. Some 24 examples were built. The variant was powered by DB 601A engines.

He 111 P-6: Some of the P-6s were powered by the DB 601N engines. The Messerschmitt Bf 109 received these engines, as they had greater priority.

He 111 P-6/R2: Conversions later in war of surviving aircraft to glider tugs.

He 111 P-7: Never built.

He 111 P-8: Its existence and production is in doubt.

He 111 P-9: It was intended for export to the Hungarian Air Force, by the project founder for lack of DB 601E engines. Only a small number were built, and were used in the Luftwaffe as towing aircraft.

He 111 H-0: Pre-production aircraft similar to P-2 but with Jumo 211A-1 engines.

He 111 H-1: Production aircraft. Fitted with FuG IIIaU and later FuG 10 radio communications.

He 111 H-2: This version was fitted with improved armament. Two D Stands (waist guns) in the fuselage giving the variant some five MG 15 Machine guns.

He 111 H-3: Similar to H-2, but with Jumo 211 A-3 engines. Like the H-2, five MG 15 machine guns were standard. One A Stand MG FF cannon could be installed in the nose and an MG 15 could be installed in the tail unit.

He 111 H-4: Fitted with Jumo 211D engines, late in production changed to Jumo 211F engines, and two external bomb racks. Two PVC 1006L racks for carrying torpedoes could be added.”.

He 111 H-5: Similar to H-4, all bombs carried externally, internal bomb bay replaced by fuel tank. The variant was to be a longer range torpedo bomber.

He 111 H-6: Torpedo bomber, could carry two LT F5b torpedoes externally, powered by Jumo 211F-1 engines, had six MG 15s and one MG FF cannon in forward gondola.

He 111 H-7: Designed as a night bomber. Similar to H-6, tail MG 17 removed, ventral gondola removed, and armoured plate added. Fitted with Kuto-Nase barrage balloon cable-cutters.[68]

He 111 H-8: The H-8 was a rebuild of H-3 or H-5 aircraft, but with balloon cable-cutting fender. The H-8 was powered by Jumo 211D-1s.

He 111 H-8/R2: Conversion of H-8 into glider tugs, balloon cable-cutting equipment removed.

He 111 H-9: Based on H-6, but with Kuto-Nase balloon cable-cutters.

He 111 H-10: Similar to H-6, but with 20 mm MG/FF cannon in ventral gondola, and fitted with Kuto-Nase balloon cable-cutters. Powered by Jumo 211 A-1s or D-1s.

He 111 H-11: Had a fully-enclosed dorsal gun position and increased defensive armament and armour. The H-11 was fitted with Jumo 211 F-2s.

He 111 H-11/R1: As H-11, but with two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 81Z twin-gun units at beam positions.

He 111 H-11/R2: As H-11, but converted to a glider tug.

He 111 H-12: Modified to carry Hs 293A missiles, fitted with FuG 203b Kehl transmitter, and ventral gondola deleted.[68]

He 111 H-14: Pathfinder, fitted with FuG FuMB 4 Samos and FuG 16 radio equipment.

He 111 H-14/R1: Glider tug version.

He 111 H-15: The H-15 was intended as a launch pad for the Blohm & Voss BV 246.

He 111 H-16: Fitted with Jumo 211 F-2 engines and increased defensive armament of MG 131 machine guns, twin MG 81Zs, and a MG FF cannon.

He 111 H-16/R1: As H-16, but with MG 131 in power-operated dorsal turret.

He 111 H-16/R2: As H-16, but converted to a glider tug.

He 111 H-16/R3: As H-16, modified as a pathfinder.

He 111 H-18: Based on H-16/R3, was a pathfinder for night operations.

He 111 H-20: Defensive armament similar to H-16, but some aircraft feature power-operated dorsal turrets.

He 111 H-20/R1: Could carry 16 paratroopers, fitted with jump hatch.

He 111 H-20/R2: Was a cargo carrier and glider tug.

He 111 H-20/R3: Was a night bomber.

He 111 H-20/R4: Could carry twenty 50 kg (110 lb) bombs.

He 111 H-21: Based on the H-20/R3, but with Jumo 213 E-1 engines.

He 111 H-22: Re-designated and modified H-6, H-16, and H-21’s used to air launch V1 flying-bombs.

He 111 H-23: Based on H-20/R1, but with Jumo 213 A-1 engines.

He 111 R: High altitude bomber project.

He 111 U: A spurious designation applied for propaganda purposes to the Heinkel He 119 high-speed reconnaissance bomber design which set an FAI record in November 1937. True identity only becomes clear to the Allies after World War II.

He 111 Z-1: Two He 111 airframes coupled together by a fifth engine, used a glider tug for Messerschmitt Me 321.

He 111 Z-2: Long-range bomber variant based on Z-1.

He 111 Z-3: Long-range reconnaissance variant based on Z-1.

CASA 2.111

The Spanish company CASA also produced a number of heavily modified He 111s under license for indigenous use. These models were designated CASA 2.111 and served until 1975.

Specifications (He 111 H-6)

General characteristics

Crew: 4 (pilot, navigator/bombardier/nose gunner, ventral gunner, dorsal gunner/radio operator)[82]

Length: 16.4 m (53 ft 9½ in)

Wingspan: 22.60 m (74 ft 2 in)

Height: 4.00 m (13 ft 1½ in)

Wing area: 87.60 m² (942.92 ft²)

Empty weight: 8,680 kg (19,136lb lb)

Loaded weight: 12,030 kg (26,500 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 14,000 kg (30,864 lb)

Powerplant: 2× Jumo 211F-1 or 211F-2 liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 986 kW (1,300 hp (F-1) or 1,340 (F-2)) each


Maximum speed: 440 km/h (273 mph)

Range: 2,300 km (1,429 mi) with maximum fuel

Service ceiling: 6,500 m (21,330 ft)

Rate of climb: 20 minutes to 5,185 m [83] (17,000 ft [83])

Wing loading: 137 kg/m² [83] (28.1 lb/ft² [83])

Power/mass: .082 kW/kg [83] (.049 hp/lb [83])


Guns: ** up to 7 × 7.92 mm MG 15 or MG 81 machine guns, some of them replaced or augmented by

1 × 20 mm MG FF cannon (central nose mount or forward ventral position)

1 × 13 mm MG 131 machine gun (mounted dorsal and/or ventral rear positions)

Bombs: ** up to 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) carried internally (eight 250 kg max), or:

up to 2,500 kg (5,512 lb) on two external racks

Variant Detail

He 111A/A-0

Following unsatisfactory tests of 10 pre-production He 111A-0 bombers, all were sold to China.

He 111B/B-1/B-2

Testing of the fifth prototype with 746 kW (1,000 hp) DB 600A engines led in 1936 to the production He 111B-1 with 656 kW (880 hp) DB 600C engines, followed by the He 111B-2 with the 708 kW (950 hp) DB 600CG.

He 111C

Six 10-passenger airliners for Lufthansa.

He 111D

An improved version with DB 600Ga engines and auxiliary wing radiators deleted; production was discontinued in favour of the He 111E.

He 111E/E-0/E-1/E-3/E-4/E-5

The shortage of DB 600 engines brought installation of 746 kW (1,000 hp) Junkers Jumo 211A-1 engines in an He 111D-0 airframe; the resulting He 111E-0 pre-production prototype had increased bombload; production He 111E-1 bombers were delivered in 1938, followed by the He 111E-3 and He 111E-4 with further increase in bombload and He 111E-5 with fuselage auxiliary fuel tank.

He 111F/F-1/F-4

The new wing of the He 111G and Jumo 211A-3 engines characterised the 24 He 111F-1 bombers supplied to Turkey; the Luftwaffe received 40 similar He 111F-4 aircraft in 1938.

He 111G/G-1/G-3/G-4/G-5

First version with the new straight-taper wing which, incorporated on the He 111C, brought redesignation He 111G-1; the He 111G-3 had 656-kW (880-hp) BMW 132Dc engines, the He 111G-4 671-kW (900-hp) DB 60OGs, and four He 111G-5 aircraft for Turkey had DB 600Ga engines.

He 111H/H-0/H-1/H-3/H-4/H-5/H-6/H-8/(H-8/R2)/H-10/H-11/(H-11/R1/R2)/H-12/H-15/H-14/(H-14/R2)/H-16/(H-16/R1/R2/R3)/H-18/H-20/(H-20/R1/R2/R3/R4)/H-21/H-22/H-23/

Developed in parallel with the He 111P series, the He 111H-0 and He 111H-1 were basically He 111P-2s with 753 kW (1,100 hp) Jumo 211A engines; the He 111H-2 of 1939 had improved armament; the He 111H-3 introduced armour protection and a 20-mm cannon; the He 111H-4 had Jumo 211 D-1 engines and two external racks for bombs or torpedoes, and the generally similar He 111H-5 had increased fuel capacity; the He 111H-6 introduced Jumo 211F-1 engines and machine-gun in the tailcone; He 111H-8 was the redesignation of He 111H-3s and He 111H-5s following installation of fenders for balloon cables, most of them being converted later to He 111H-8/R2 glider tugs; the He 111H-10 for night bombing of UK targets had additional armour, reduced armament and wing leading-edge balloon cable-cutters; the He 111H-11 and He 111H-11/R1 had revised armament, the last becoming He 111H-11/R2 when converted later as a glider tug; the He 111H-12 and He 111H-15 were missile-launchers, the He 111H-14 a pathfinder version and the He 111H-14/R2 a glider tug; introduced in 1942, the He 111H-16 was a major production variant similar to the He 111H-11 but able to carry a 7,165 lbs (3250 kg) bombload with the use of rocket-assisted-take-off gear. The He 111H-16/R1 had a revolving dorsal turret, the He 111H-16/R2 was for rigid bar towing of gliders and the He 111H-16/R3 was a pathfinder version as was the He 111H-18 with exhaust flame dampers. Four versions of the He 111H-20 comprised the He 111H-20/R1 capable of carrying 16 paratroops. The He 111H-20/R2 night bomber/glider tug, the He 111H-20/R3 with increased armour protection and the generally similar He 111H-20/R4 which introduced GM-1 power boost equipment. A version of the He 111H-20/R3 with 1,750 hp (1305 kW) Jumo 213E-1 engines and two-stage superchargers was designated He 111H-21. The He 111H-22 was a missile carrier and the He 111H-23 was a paratroop transport with 1,776 hp (1324 kW) engines.

He 111J/J-0/J-1

A torpedo bomber version of the He 111F series, the He 111J-0 and He 111J-1 both had 950 hp (708 kW) DB 600CG engines.

He 111L

The alternative designation for the He 111G-3 civil transport.

He 111P/P-0/P-1/P-2/P-3/P-4/P-6

In 1939 the He 111P series introduced a major fuselage redesign, the stepped cockpit being replaced by an asymmetric glazed cockpit and nose. The He 111P-0 introduced a prone position ventral gondola and was powered by two 1,150 hp (858 kW) DB 601Aa engines. First being deliveries of the He 111P-1 began in late 1939. The He 111P-2 was similar but for radio revisions. The He 111P-3 had dual controls and the five crew He 111P-4 had more armour and armament. The He 111P-6 had 1,175 hp (876 kW) DB 601N engines and its 4,409 lbs (2000 kg) bombload stowed vertically in the fuselage; when later converted as a glider tug the He 111P-6 became the He 111P-6/R2.

He 111R

A single prototype of proposed high altitude bomber.He 111Z/Z-1

The He 111Z (Zwilling, or twin) combined two He 111H-6 airframes, joined by a new wing centre-section to mount a fifth Jumo 211F-2 engine; designed to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant transport glider; two prototypes and 10 He 111Z-1 production aircraft were built.

Specifications (Heinkel He 111H-16)

Type: Four or Five seat medium bomber (Later used as a torpedo bomber, glider tug and missile launching platform)

Design: Ernst Heinkel AG

Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel AG, SNCASO (France), Fabrica de Avione SET, CASA (Spain), Romania.

Powerplant: Two 1,350 hp (1007 kW) Junkers Jumo 211F-2 12-cylinder inverted Vee piston engines.

Performance: Maximum speed 227 mph (365 km/h) at sea level; service ceiling 21,980 It (6700 m).

Range: 1,212 miles (1950 km) with full bombload.

Weight: (Z-2) Empty equipped 19,136 lbs (8680 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 30,865 lbs (14000 kg).

Dimensions: Span 74 ft 1 3/4 in (22.60 m); length 53 ft 9 1/2 in (16.40 m); height 13 ft 1 1/4 in (4.00 m); wing area 931.11 sq ft (86.50 sq m).

Armament: One 20 mm MG FF cannon, one 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine gun and three 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 81Z machine guns, plus a normal internal bombload of 2,205 lbs (1000 kg). Could carry up to 7,165 lbs (3250 kg) of bombs (most externally) with the use of rocket-assisted-takeoff-gear (RATOG).

Variants: He 111A, He 111B/B-1/B-2, He 111C, He 111D, He 111E/E-0/E-1/E-3/E-4/E-5, He 111F/F-1/F-4, He 111G/G-1/G-3/G-4/G-5, He 111H/H-1 to H-6/H-8, He 111H-8/R2, He 111H-10, He 111H-11, He 111H-11/R1/R2, He 111H-12/H-15 (missile launchers, He 111H-14 (pathfinder), He 111H-14/R2 (glider tug), He 111H-16 (major production version), He 111H-16/R1/R2/R3, He 111H-18, He 111H-20/R1/R2/R3/R4, He 111H-21, He 111H-22, He 111H-23, He 111J/J-0/J-1, He 111L, He 111P/P-0/P-1/P-2/P-3/P-4/P-6, He 111P-6/R2, He 111R, He 111Z/Z-1 (Zwilling).

History: First flight (He 111V-1 prototype) 24 February 1935, (pre-production He 111B-0) August 1936, (production He 111B-1) 30 October 1936 (first He 111E series) January 1938, (first production He 111P-1) December 1938, (He 111H-1) January/February 1939, final delivery (He 111H-23) October 1944, (Spanish C2111) late 1956.

Operators: Germany (Luftwaffe, Lufthansa), China, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Turkey.