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Henschel Hs 123

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This exceptional dive-bomber and close support machine was a sesquiplane, or 'one and a half wing' aircraft, rather than a true biplane. With its strut-braced wings, fixed undercarriage and two bladed propeller, the HS 123 proved itself in the Spanish Civil War. It demonstrated that it could be extremely effective in the close-support role, operating in the thick of the fighting and surviving multiple direct hits.

Nevertheless, production ended in 1938 and there was only one Hs 123 Gruppe in service by t he time of the invasion of Poland in September 1939. This unit achieved such remarkable results, both in Poland and again during the invasion of France in May 1940, that it was still flying its old biplanes during the May 1941 invasion of Russia.

On the Eastern Front the Hs 123 again proved its worth as a close-support aircraft and as a result, additional units were formed using retired aircraft. There was even a move to resume production in 1943, but the tooling had been destroyed.

Dive-bombers were an essential element of the German Blitzkrieg concept of warfare. Therefore, in 1933, Henschel was asked to design an interim machine for use until the Ju 87 was ready for service. Although regarded as obsolete by the late-1930s, the Hs 123 proved to be a rugged and reliable close-support aircraft. After being scheduled for retirement in mid 1940, it fought on for another four years until the last examples were lost in action.


Henschel Hs 123

Henschel Hs 123 dive-bomber Further developments done on Henschel Hs 123 Henschel Hs 123 close-support aircraft
Demonstrating a three-colour splinter camouflage scheme, this HS 123A-1 flies without the armoured headrest. In 1938 Henschel flew the Hs 123 V5 prototype. Powered by a 716-kW (960-hp) BMW 123K radial, the aircraft was the prototype for the cancelled Hs 123B. Wearing the badge of the Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen, this Hs 123A has the standard weapon load of four 50 kgs (110 lbs) bombs.

Henschel Hs 123 (Technical Specification)
Role Dive-bomber and close-support aircraft
Manufacturer Henschel
Maximum Speed 341 kmh (211 mph)
Maximum range 860 km (533 miles)
Ceiling 9,000 meters (29,500 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

1,505 kg (3,311 lbs)
2,217 kg (4,877 lbs)
Wing Area

10.50 meters (34 ft 5 in)
8.33 meters (27 ft 4 in)
3.22 meters (10 ft 6 in)
24.85 square meters (267 sq ft)
Engines One BMW 132Dc nine cylinder air-cooled radial engine which provides 649-kW (870-hp)
Armament Two 7.9 mm (0.31 in) MG 17 machine guns in forward fuselage
Two 20 mm (0.79 in) MG FF cannon or up to four 50 kg (110 lbs) bombs under wings

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