The He111H-16 seems like a carbon copy of the earlier H-6 variant so what makes it a unique aircraft and what does it add to the IL-2: Battle of Kuban mix?
A slightly better He111?
The last patch brought with it both the FW190A-5 and the He111H-16 and while I was eager to fly the FW190A-5 I felt no such affinity with the He111. Bombers like the Ju88 and A-20 I’m excited about but the He111 is so much less exciting as a medium bomber almost exclusively devoted to that role.
The He111H-16 is certainly distinct from the H-6. While the two have virtually identical profiles from afar there are some key differences up close that you need to pay attention to – both as the pilot/crew and as an attacking interceptor.
There are some interior differences where the gunner arrangements are as well as in the cockpit. The forward view is far better in the H-16 as the pilot has a nearly unobstructed forward view.
Superior defensive firepower
The H-16 packs much more in the way of defensive firepower with all of the gun emplacements being fitted with more capable weaponry. Let’s compare!
- Nose: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 600 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Top: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 1125 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Belly-backward: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 1200 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Belly-forward: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 675 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Left: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 450 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Right: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 15”, 450 rounds, 1000 rounds per minute
- Nose: 20mm gun “MG FF”, 240 rounds, 540 rounds per minute (modification)
- Belly-forward: 20mm gun “MG FF”, 330 rounds, 540 rounds per minute (modification)
- Nose: 20mm gun “MG FF”, 240 rounds, 540 rounds per minute
- Top: 13mm machine gun “MG 131”, 1000 rounds, 900 rounds per minute
- Belly-backward: 2 x 7.92mm machine guns “MG 81”, 850 rounds, 1600 rounds per minute
- Left: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 81”, 500 rounds, 1600 rounds per minute
- Right: 7.92mm machine gun “MG 81”, 500 rounds, 1600 rounds per minute
Both H-6 and H-16 can be equipped with a forward firing MG-FF (standard on the H-16) but what really brings things up a notch are the top, ventral, and waist gunner stations.
On the top station, we have a fixed mount MG 131 heavy machine gun. The MG 131 is an excellent weapon and one that many Bf109 fans are hoping to use in a future Bf109G-6 variant. In the ventral station, we have a MG 81Z. This gun is essentially two MG 81 machine guns fitted together. The MG 81 is far superior to the MG 15 adding an extra 600 rounds per minute fire speed. The waist positions on the left and right of the aircraft also have a single MG 81.
With heavier and faster firing machine guns, the He111H-16 lays down a hail of fire compared to the poor showing from the slow firing MG 15. When attacking an H-6 I feel only a small amount of danger but going against any bomber or attack plane with the MG 81/81Z is a much more difficult proposition.
The fact that these guns are belt fed rather than fed by small ammunition drums means that defensive fire is not only more deadly but it can be sustained for longer periods of time (overheating becomes a greater issue) without the need for a lengthy reload.
One loss is the forward firing gun from the earlier model. The modified MG-FF open opened up some limited strafing possibilities which are no longer possible on the He111H-16. I don’t think this is a huge loss as such operations in a large bomber are risky to begin with – staying high and dropping bombs from altitude is what this plane is best at.
As an interceptor pilot , the bottom line here is that you need to reconsider your tactics when flying in a scenario or multiplayer server where the H-16 is an option – until you get closer you just won’t know which variant you’ll be up against. That in some ways makes the H-6 more fearsome by association.
The He111H-6 has an extra fuel tank in place of the port-side bomb bay but on the He111H-16 this bomb bay is restored. Some of the bomb loadouts are doubled so instead of 16 SC 50s you can equip 32 for carpet bombing or even eight SC 250 bombs.
The largest bomb option is the SC 2500 or a pair of SC 1800 heavy bombs which applies to both versions of the bomber. The H-16 lets you carry even more bombs but the SC 2500 is already an overload so the extra loadout seems extreme.
A better bomber
Overall the He111H-16 is basically the same bomber as the earlier H-6 model but the differences it does come with are important. The aircraft is limited to level bombing only and it is out performed in some ways by the more flexible Ju88A-4, but, when comparing He111 models the H-16 does come out ahead having virtually the same performance but with a far greater defensive setup and with the possibility to carry a much larger payload.
Its just as vulnerable to interception by enemy fighters as the earlier model but it does offer greater protection when those fighters get into range.
This is an aircraft that fits well into the series, into the historical period, but it does feel mostly like the earlier bomber. The interior is quite different with the revised gun setup and the modified cockpit so this was not a quick copy and paste job by the developers but a painstaking process to recreate this version of the infamous Heinkel bomber. Lovingly recreated but already very familiar to bomber pilots – and that is not a bad thing.
- Impressive upgraded defensive firepower
- Both bomb bays are available leading to a doubling in available bombloads
- Easy transition from H-6 to H-16 model for bomber pilots
- Can carry the massive SC 2500 bomb
- Performance remains mediocre making for an easy interception by increasingly powerful fighters
- Durability is good but the vulnerability to battle damage is unchanged