The Henschel Hs 123 

Germany
Germany

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

During 1934, Germany decided that a dive-bomber or ground attack aircraft would be best suited to support the army's Blitzkrieg tactics. It wanted an advanced design, but because of they also wanted a short-term solution accepted bi-planes as well. Two contenders offered their design: Fieseler and Henschel. Fieseler's Fi 98 biplane was obsolescent already, with numerous braces and wires to support the wing cellule, but Henschel had almost none of these. Both companies created their first prototype powered with a BMW132A-3 radial engine, and the first trials proved that Fieselers design was completely outclassed.
Four prototypes were produced, of which 2 were lost in high-speed dives. Both were lost while trying to recover from the dive, so the fourth prototype had strengthened upper wings.
After operational tests in the Spanish Civil War it was taken out of production because it was obsolescent compared to the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

Versions:

Further pictures:

Henschel Hs 123's in full flight (bad picture)
Henschel Hs 123's in full flight (bad picture)

 

Technical data on the Henschel Hs 123A-1
Powerplant 1 × BMW 132Dc radial, rated at 880 hp (656.03 kW) Role during war
  • (Ground) Attack Fighter
  • Close Support Attack Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
  • Dive Bomber
Length 27 ft 4 inch Height 10 ft 6.33 inch
Empty weight 3316 lb Operational weight 4888 lb typical
Wing Span 34 ft 5.33 inch Wing Aspect ratio Bi-plane
Wing Area 267.48 sq ft Service ceiling 29525 ft
Maximum speed 212 mph at 3940 ft Cruising speed 197 mph at 6560 ft
Initial climb rate 2,953 ft per min Range 534 miles max
Fuel capacity internal unknown Fuel capacity external 1 droptank with unknown capacity
Machine guns 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 fixed forward-firing in upper nose Cannons In stead of bomb load optionally 2 × underwing pod with 1 × 20 mm Oerlikon FF cannon each
Bomb load Up to 992 lb carried on 5 hardoints, fuselage hardpoint rated at 551 lb, inboard underwing hardpoints rated at 441 lb each, outboard underwing hardpoints rated at 110 lb each. General load consisted of:
  • 1 × 551 lb and 4 × 110 lb bombs, or
  • 4 × 110 lb SC-50 bombs, or
  • 2 × container with 92 × 4,4 lb fragmentation bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) Late spring 1935 Operational Service 1936 - 1944
Manufacturer Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. Number produced 610 total, 604 this version, remaining 6 prototypes.
Metric system
Length 8.33 m Height 3.21 m
Empty weight 1504 kg Operational weight 2217 kg typical
Wing Span 10.5 m Wing Aspect ratio 1
Wing Area 24.85 m² Service ceiling 8999 m
Maximum speed 341 km/h at 1201 m Cruising speed 317 km/h at 1999 m
Initial climb rate 900 m per min Range 859 km max
Fuel capacity internal unknown Fuel capacity external 1 droptank with unknown capacity
Machine guns 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 fixed forward-firing in upper nose Cannons In stead of bomb load optionally 2 × underwing pod with 1 × 20 mm Oerlikon FF cannon each
Bomb load Up to 450 kg carried on 5 hardoints, fuselage hardpoint rated at 250 kg, inboard underwing hardpoints rated at 200 kg each, outboard underwing hardpoints rated at 50 kg each. General load consisted of:
  • 1 × 250 kg SC-250 and 4 × 50 kg SC-50 bombs, or
  • 4 × 50 kg SC-50 bombs, or
  • 2 × container with 92 × 4,4 lb fragmentation bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Henschel Hs 123 
Henschel Hs 123A-1 First and only production version. It was based on the V4 prototype, but had another powerplant. See details above.
Number built: 604

Remarks:

The Hs 123 was a remarkable plane. It was tested in War conditions during the Spanish Civil War, and was moderately succesfull. It was very accurate and effective in the (very) close ground support role. At the end of the Spanish Civil War the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka was operational already, and was more promissing. It was taken out of production and first-line service in the fall of 1938. 1 Geschwader (Lehrgeschwader) was still operational at the outbreak of the War in 1939, and the aircraft were used once more. Their usefullness continued until 1944, in the campaigns against Poland, North-West Europe, the Balakn, and Russia. It became so popular that there were demands to reinstate production, even in 1942.
At the end of it's long life there were just too many damaged and destroyed aircraft, and the last few aircraft were taken out of service in 1944

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 12/11/00