The He 177 was conceived by Germany before World War Two as a strategic heavy bomber. Chris Goss discovers why it never made a telling impact.
Political and military interference, technical problems and engine fires all contributed to the failure of the four-engined Heinkel He 177 to fulfil its potential. High fuel consumption grounded the aircraft at just the moment when all its problems seem to have been ironed out.
When war began in September 1939, the Luftwaffe had no long-range bomber, even though the feasibility of such an aircraft had been under consideration since 1936.
It was November 1939 before the He 177 Greif (Griffon) made its maiden flight, but it would be another three years before a full operational debut.