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Henschel Hs 126

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As well as providing the right combination of performance and handling characteristics, the Hs 126 was well equipped for its role. The sliding canopy over the cockpit incorporated deflector panels to shield the observer's gun from slipstream, while a bay in the rear fuselage could carry cameras or ten 10 kg (22 lbs) bombs. Deliveries to the Luftwaffe started in the spring of 1938 and in September 1939 a total of 13 tactical reconnaissance squadrons operating the Hs 126 took part in the invasion of poland. They were used for ground attack, as well as reconnaissance missions and with little opposition their losses were light.

By mid 1940 over the Western Front, life was growing harder for the Hs 126. Production ended in January 1941 as deliveries of its replacement, the Fw 189, got under way. Most of the operational units had been transferred to the Eastern Front by June 1942, though one squadrons operated the Hs 126 in North Africa.

Although it was used mainly as a glider tug after mid 1942, the Hs 126 was also used to equip several units specializing in night time, close support operations.

Henschel's 126 was based on an earlier company design for an army co-operation and short range reconnaissance aircraft. The Hs 122 had proved its ability to operate from short strips and at low airspeeds, but was too slow. With a more powerful engine and refined wings to improve performance, the resulting Hs 126 became the Luftwaffe's standard tactical reconnaissance aircraft in the early years of World War II.


Henschel Hs 126

Henschel Hs 126 in the eyes of the Wehrmacht Henschel Hs 126 with high lift wing Henschel Hs 126 two-seat tactical reconnaissance aircraft
Armed with a single 50 kgs (110 lbs) bomb fitted to an optional fuselage side rack, an Hs 126 prepares for takeoff. The Hs 126's parasol wing provided excellent lift, allowing the aircraft to operate from short strips close to the front line. Large flaps allowed the Hs 126 to land and take off at low speeds. Over the battlefield, the Hs 126 was aerial eyes of the Wehrmacht. Leaning over the side of the fuselage a gunner photographs enemy positions.

Henschel Hs 126 (Technical Specification)
Role Two-seat tactical reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Henschel
Maximum Speed 354 kmh (220 mph)
Ceiling 8,200 meters (26,900 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

4,470 lbs
3,270 kg (7,209 lbs)
Wing Area

14.50 meters (47 ft 7 in)
10.85 meters (35 ft 7 in)
3.73 meters (12 ft 3 in)
31.59 square meters (340 sq ft)
Engines One BMW Bramo Fafnir nine cylinder air-cooled radial engine which provides 671-kW (900-hp)

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