BELL016PZT - Heinkel He 219 Uhu – Night Fighters Over Germany – Hauptmann Paul Förster – Night Attack
The He 219 Uhu was one of the truly exceptional aircraft of World War 2. The aircraft came into being despite heavy opposition from Erhard Milch, who was head of all aircraft production and supply to the Luftwaffe in WW2. Once this much argued about aircraft flew, it was too late to have any real bearing on the air war, but it did contribute to the cause that was so obviously lost. Despite its title Uhu (“Eagle Owl”) the aircraft’s appearance was anything like an owl’s. Its futuristic insect like nose gave the aircraft a very sinister look. One if its many innovative features was its ejection seat, the first operational aircraft to have this feature. As a night prowler, the aircraft was fitted with a radar to find its prey in the dark. When it did find its prey, the He 219’s claws were deadly. Armed with two 20 mm MG 151 cannon in the ventral tray, two 20 mm 151 cannon in the wing roots, and two 30 mm MK 108 cannon in the Schräge Musik (“Jazz Music”) position. “Jazz Music” cannons were aimed at a 65-degree angle, this enabled the aircraft to go underneath its prey and shoot upwards. The He 219’s first operational sortie was flown on the 11-12 June 1943, when Luftwaffe pilot Major Werner Streib brought down five Lancaster bombers. In the next ten days the He 219s, in only six more sorties, accounted for a further twenty bombers, including six Mosquitoes. No Mosquitoes had ever been shot down at night before. The Uhu have proved to be a formidable weapon in the night air wars. This illustration shows night combat with a He 219 being flown by Hauptmann Paul Förster, attacking a British Lancaster bomber formation in June 1944. Paul Förster’s unit Stab I/NJG 1 was the only Nachtjagdgruppe unit equipped solely with the He 219. Despite their best efforts, and despite inflicting heavy losses on their opponents, there was little the German night fighter arm of the Luftwaffe could do to stem the tide of the British bomber formations. Only 195 He 219s were ever in Luftwaffe service. They accounted for 104 Allied heavy night bombers and countless other aircraft. A sole He 219 remains today and is being restored at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
Jigsaw size: 68.3cm x 48cm
Box size: 40cm x 27cm x 6.1cm