Original German WWII Luftwaffe Target Map of Gas Tank in Sheffield from Downed He 111 - Battle of Britain
Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a fantastic piece of WWII History! The "Battle of Britain" was the period from July 1940 to June 1941 when Germany launched repeated air attacks against Britain. It was basically the Luftwaffe versus the Royal Air Force, with the goal of both destroying Britain's manufacturing capability, as well as their morale during the later attacks of "The Blitz".
This is a wonderful framed 1939 dated Luftwaffe target map, which was recovered from a downed German Henckels He 111 Medium Bomber. The map itself is not large, measuring 13 1/2" W x 12" H, which in the frame is 20 1/2" W x 16 1/2" H. However the information it contains is listed in the upper left corner as Geheim (Secret). The top of the map indicates the area is Sheffield, England, with reference number GB. 529c on the left side.
Under the location, it gives the specific target information:
Ferngasbehälter NNW East Hecla Works
There are also more specific coordinates and measurements given under the marking. This indicates the target is a Gas Tank located North / Northwest of East Hecla Works. This is one of the factories for Hadfield Steel, and can be seen at the bottom of the map, just to the right of center. Above this, slightly to the left, is a black circle with Tank marked above it, circled in red. This is right above "Meadowhall Iron Works", and would have been a good target for bombing. We have not been able to find out whether this particular tank was bombed, but we can be sure that the He 111 that carried this map never made it home, regardless of the outcome.
A great piece of history from the Battle of Britain. Ready to display!
More on the HE 111:
The Heinkel He 111 was designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter for dual roles, as a high-speed transport and as a bomber for the still-secret Luftwaffe. In one form or another, the He 111’s service career extended more than thirty years, an outstanding tribute to the design, evolved by the Günter brothers.
Design work began early in 1934, the machine owing much to the single-engined Heinkel He 70 which had captured several international records. The Heinkel He 111 was considerably larger than the He 70, but retained much of that aircraft’s beauty of line. Of the original four prototypes, the first was flown on 24 February 1935, and the second and fourth were completed ostensibly as civilian transports. Bomber production was heralded in the summer of 1935 by the He 111V4 and a pre-series batch of He 111A-0s, but their BMW engines provided insufficient power, and the first major type was the He 111B, with DB 600-series engines.
Anxious to test the aircraft under operational conditions, the Luftwaffe sent a batch of thirty Heinkel He 111B-1s to Kampfgruppe 88 in Spain in February 1937. Forming the bomber component of the Condor Legion, K/88 undertook its first operational sortie on 9 March when it bombed the Republican airfields at Alcala and Madrid-Barajas.
On 10 May, 1940, German forces invaded France and the Low Countries. Operations against the Netherlands began with an attack by the He 111s from KG 4 on Amsterdam and Rotterdam Airports and Ypenburg airfield. Following the Dutch refusal to surrender Rotterdam on 14 May, one hundred Heinkel He 111Ps from Kg 54, under Oberst Lackner, took-off from Delmenhost, Hoya-Wester and Quakenbrück to bomb the city. German sources have subsequently stated that an attempt was made to recall the aircraft, but 97 tons of bombs were in fact dropped on Rotterdam.
Before the beginning of the Battle of Britain the Heinkel He 111H had almost entirely replaced the He 111P series (although most staff crews still flew the older aircraft, and it was in a He 111P that Oberst Alois Stoeckl, commanding KG 55, was shot down and killed near Middle Wallop on 14 August 1940). From the outset the He 111H, with its 435 km/h (270 mph) top speed, proved a difficult aircraft to shoot down (compared with the Dornier Do 17), and showed itself capable of weathering heavy battle damage.
By the time the Stalingrad campaign ended on 2 February, 1943, the units of Lufttransportführer 1 (joined on 1 January by III./KG 55) had lost no less than one hundred and sixty-five Heinkel He 111s, more than half the aircraft committed. The Kampfgeschwader were never to recover from this blow.
Total Heinkel He 111 production was about 7,000.
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