The Heinkel He 59 was a twin-engined German biplane designed in 1930, resulting from a requirement for a torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft able to operate on wheeled landing gear or twin-floats.
During the first months of World War II, the He 59 was used as a torpedo- and minelaying aircraft. Between 1940 and 1941 the aircraft was used as a reconnaissance aircraft, and in 1941-42 as a transport, air-sea rescue, and training aircraft. The trainer models survived slightly longer in service than operational models, but all had been retired or destroyed by 1944. Some aircraft were operated by the Condor Legion in Spain during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 as coastal reconnaissance and torpedo floatplanes.
As the air-sea rescue aircraft, despite carrying Red Cross markings, were being used for reconnaissance the British Air Ministry declared from July 1940 they were targets. Even before then some had been forced down by British aircraft.
The Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) rented four aircraft from Germany in August 1943. These were used to ferry long-range reconnaissance patrols behind enemy lines. They were returned to Germany four months later.