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Henschel Hs 126

Nazi Germany (1937)
Picture of Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft

The Henschel Hs 126 served the German Luftwaffe of World War 2 well in the early-going but was superseded by the more impressive Fieseler Fi 156 before the end.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/16/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Aerial warfare in the 20th Century involved active use of very-light aircraft as the type typically provided excellent short-field performance and were generally of inherently rugged design. This gave them the ability to operate near contested frontlines and provide priceless observation or artillery-direction capabilities to the Army. The category was evolved considerably heading into World War 2 (1939-1945) where several classic designs ultimately emerged. During the pre-war period, the German Luftwaffe invested in the Henschel Hs 126 for the role and this series was officially introduced in 1937 and saw production into 1941. Other operators of the design included Croatia, Estonia, Greece and Spain.

The Hs 126 was designed with a braced high-wing monoplane and its undercarriage was fixed while sporting spatted wheels. The crew of two sat in tandem under a framed canopy offering generally excellent views (the rear position was open-air). The fuselage was tubular, no thicker at any part than the Bramo 323 series 9-cylinder radial piston engine of 850 horsepower fitted to the nose and driving the three-bladed propeller. If armed, the Hs 126 typically carried a fixed 7.92mm MG 17 machine gun operated by the pilot and a trainable 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun managed by the observer. In addition to this, a modest bomb load of 330 lb was also possible.

Performance included a maximum speed of 220mph with a range out to 620 miles and a service ceiling reaching 28,000 feet. This gave the aircraft good range and vision over-the-horizon. The high-mounted wing appendages aided short-field operation and the basic arrangement of the main landing gear legs gave them good rough-field performance.

Design-wise, the Hs 126 was influenced by the earlier Hs 122 offering. As was the case with other hopeful Luftwaffe designs during the late-interwar period, the Hs 126 had a test form constructed for evaluation by the air service. Three prototypes were completed, mainly due to inadequacies of their earlier counterparts, and this ultimately led to a ten-strong pre-production order for 1937. Service entry followed in 1938 and the type was fielded as part of the German "Condor Legion" contingent in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) where it was effectively trialled under operational conditions (as were other German weapons).

In service, the Hs 126 gave excellent short-ranged reconnaissance performance in the early-going of World War 2 (some were used in direct strafing actions when needed). However, the series was ultimately superseded by the more-capable Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch" detailed elsewhere on this site. Despite losing its frontline duties by 1942, the Hs 126 was retained in secondary roles like target-tugging and nocturnal light attacker and flew for a while longer.

Any available statistics for the Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (221mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Henschel Hs 126's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
100
100


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1937
Type: Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. - Nazi Germany
Production: 100
Global Operators:
Croatia; Estonia; Nazi Germany; Greece; Spain
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Henschel Hs 126 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
35.76 ft


Meters
10.9 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
47.57 ft


Meters
14.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.47 ft


Meters
3.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,475 lb


Kilograms
2,030 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,834 lb


Kilograms
3,100 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Bramo 323 9-cylinder radial piston engine developing 850 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
221 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
356 kph


Knots
192 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
621 mi


Kilometers
1,000 km


Nautical Miles
540 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
27,986 ft


Meters
8,530 m


Miles
5.30 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,800 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
549 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

OPTIONAL:
1 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting.
1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun on trainable mounting.

Up to 330lb of conventional drop stores.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Hs 126 - Base Series Designation
• Hs 126A-1 - Major production model