The He 111P saw the final major redesign of the aircraft, and gave it its most familiar profile. The biggest problem reported with the earlier models was that the pilot had poor downwards visibility at all times and poor forward visibility when on the ground. In order to solve this problem Heinkel created a new all-glazed nose, containing the pilot’s and navigator/ bombardier’s positions in a single open cockpit. The pilot sat to the left (port) in a raised position. The seat could be further raised to allow the pilot access to a hatch in the canopy roof that further improved visibility, especially on the ground. The navigator/ bombardier’s position was in the base of the nose, which was offset to the right (starboard) to further improve the pilot’s visibility. The bombsight was located in the floor of this position, with the forward firing machine gun located in the tip of the nose. The navigator/ bombardier would slide forwards in his compartment to fire the gun. The new nose improved visibility and aerodynamics, as well as reducing the length of the aircraft to 53 feet 9.7 inches.
The dorsal and ventral gun positions were also modified. The open dorsal gun position was enclosed in a canopy and widened. The retractable ventral “dustbin” position was replaced by a permanent gondola below the aircraft. This caused less drag than the “dustbin”, and was later able to carry extra forward firing guns. However, the new aircraft still only carried three 7.92mm machine guns, each with a restricted field of fire.
The pre-production P-0, powered by two 1,150hp DB 601Aa engines, was produced late in 1938. They were the first of over 800 He 111Ps produced before production switched to the 111H. The P-0 retained the standard four bay internal bomb bay used in earlier models of the He 111.
Shortages of the DB 601Aa engine meant that the 68 P-1s were powered by the DB 601A-1, but the type was otherwise the same as the P-0.
The P-2 was similar to the P-1 but with better radio (FuG 10 instead of Fug III). Seven hundred and forty nine were produced.
The P-3 was a duel-control trainer produced by converting existing P-1s and P-2s. The work was carried out by Blohm & Voss, who produced 48 P-3s.
The P-4 was introduced after the fighting in Poland. It featured extra armour protection, and at least three extra guns. One forward firing MG 15 was added to the ventral gondola. Another MG 15 was placed on each side of the aircraft, and an extra crewman was added to fire these two extra beam guns.
The P-4 saw the internal bombs replaced by external bombs carried on either two PVC 1006 bomb racks, capable of carrying 1000kg/ 2204lbs of bombs each, or one ETC 2000 electrically operation bomb rack, capable of carrying one 2500kg/ 5511lb SC 2500 bomb. An extra fuel tank was placed in part of the internal bomb bay. While these external bombs did not increase the payload of the aircraft, they did allow the use of a wider variety of bombs and were common on later He 111s.
The P-5 was a dual control trainer built directly by Heinkel. Twenty four were built during 1939.
The P-6 was powered by two 1,175hp DB 601N engines, increasing top speed to 273 mph, although decreasing range. Defensive firepower was again increased, with twin barrelled MG 81Z machine guns used in the dorsal and ventral positions. The P series was then abandoned in favour of the N series, powered by the Jumo 211 engine, which was in less demand than the DB 601.
Development - Combat - He 111A - He 111B - He 111C - He 111D - He 111E - He 111F - He 111G - He 111H - He 111J - He 111P - He 111R - He 111Z