Though an aging warrior, the Heinkel 111 played an active role on the Russian Front from 1941 to 1945. The twin-engined bomber carried out strategic bombing missions, CAS strikes, minelaying and torpedo-bomber ops along with pitch-hitting as a transport when needed. John Weal summarizes the He 111's war record in HE 111 KAMPFGESCHWADER ON THE RUSSIAN FRONT. A 2013 Osprey release, it's #100 in their 'Combat Aircraft' series.
By June 1941, the He 111 was being steadily replaced by Junkers' twin-engined jack-of-all-trades, the Ju 88. Nevertheless, the 200-odd Heinkels operated by KG 53, 55, 4 and 27 launched devastating attacks on Russian airfields and other targets on 22 June. Moving forward as the German blitz plunged further and further into Russia, they ably supported the Nazi advance. And when the tide turned, they lent valauble support to the comrades retreating back to the Reich or to those surrounded by Russian forces. Ironically, the last missions flown by Russian Front Heinkel crews were supply drops to the last fortress of the Reich - Berlin!
Given the broad canvas of the Russian Front, Weal does a workmanlike job of describing the combat ops of the various Heinkel units. Including wartime reminiscences by various He 111 aircrew made for a more lively narrative. However, there's a fair amount of ink given over to recounting the to-ing and fro-ing of He 111 KGs as they relocated from Front to Front to lend their much-needed services. Weal also devotes 2 1/2 pages to the He 111 campaign against the Arctic convoys, which, to my mind, isn't directly Eastern Front activity. I'd have preferred he featured more Eastern Front bomber ops material instead.
The book is illustrated with over 70 b&w photographs and 30 striking, color He 111 side-profiles done by Weal. Mark Postlethwaite's cover artwork - of an I-16 ramming a He 111 - is absolutely first-rate, one of his best artworks yet!
Luftwaffe enthusiasts and bomber buffs will enjoy HE 111 KAMPFGESCHWADER ON THE RUSSIAN FRONT. It provides a broad-based and nicely-illustrated overview of Heinkel's warbird earning new battle honors over the steppes of Russia. Recommended.