Heinkel He 112 B-2/U-2 single-engine front-line fighter, 1939 series
He 112 B-2/U-2 fighters were fitted with Junkers Jumo 210 Ga fuel-injected engines. The only external difference in this variant was the modified shape of the engine side cowlings, due to individual exhaust pipes being installed instead of a general exhaust manifold.
Most production machines had lugs fastened under the centre wing section, from which six aerial fragmentation bombs could be suspended.
As a result of the He 112B's tests, the Romanians decided to reassign their Heinkels as ground-attack fighters, as had happened during the Spanish Civil War. The plane's relatively powerful armament favoured that decision, too. He 112Bs began the war with the Soviet Union as ground-attack aircraft. At that time, 28 combat-capable He 112Bs remained in service with the Romanian Air Force.
All of them were quite extensively used in the combat operations in the south of the Eastern Front in Moldavia and Ukraine from June to September 1941. According to official data, it was the He 112Bs that gained the first two air victories of the Romanian Air Force in World War II.
The combat service of He 112Bs with the Romanian Air Force was complete by September 1942. Those machines that had survived became training planes. The last of the Romanian Heinkels was discarded in 1947.
Romanian pilots did not rate the He 112B highly as a combat aircraft, which can be partially explained by the specifics of its combat assignments. The planes were without armour and fuel tank covers and yet had to assault ground targets. As a result, they took heavy losses.
The situation was aggravated by the high vulnerability of the planes' liquid-cooled engines, plus the installation of fuel tanks in the wings, which increased the chances of them being hit by ground fire. When air duels took place, Heinkels proved themselves roughly equal to the Soviet fighters, but it should be kept in mind that their opponents were the extremely obsolescent I-16s.
In summary, it can be said that the He 112 was far from the worst combat fighter of its time, but selecting the Messerschmitt Bf 109 as the Luftwaffe's main fighter was the right decision. The Heinkel He 112 played a walk-on part but remained forever in the shadow of its more successful rival.
A combined total of 68 He 112s were built, including all variants.