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Henschel Hs 123

Nazi Germany (1936)
Picture of Henschel Hs 123 Dive Bomber / Close-Support Biplane Aircraft

The Henschel Hs 123 was quite successful during its limited service run, eventually being supplanted by the highly-effective Junkers Ju 87 Stuka series of monoplane dive bombers.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Henschel Hs 123 Dive Bomber / Close-Support Biplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/16/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Henschel-produced Hs 123 aircraft became the last operational biplane adopted by the German Luftwaffe heading into World War 2 (1939-1945). Born from a 1933 German requirement for a dive-bomber, several Henschel Hs 123 test aircraft would fly by 1935 (two would be lost to dive accidents in the process). Five such aircraft were then "tested" by the Condor Legion of Germany during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) which produced refinements in the design. the biplane aircraft would eventually see combat during the German invasions of Poland, Belgium, France, and the Soviet Union under the banner of the Luftwaffe.

Like many of the single-seat military aircraft appearing in the early-to-middle part of the 1930s, the Henschel Hs 123 showcased some of the traditional design characteristics of World War 1 aircraft - fixed undercarriage, biplane wing arrangement, open-air cockpit. The series was initially fielded through the pre-production Hs 123A-0 designation and these were used by the Luftwaffe to evaluate the design. Initial production models became the Hs 123A-1 and these arrived with 2 x forward-fixed 7.92mm machine guns while being driven by a BMW 132Dc radial piston engine. The dive bomber also was given provision for an under-fuselage external fuel tank or conventional drop bomb and four additional hardpoints were had to each wing element (two per wing).

Performance-wise, the aircraft could manage a top speed of 211 miles per hour and range out to 533 miles with the drop tank installed. Its service ceiling reached 29,530 feet and rate-of-climb was 2,950 feet per minute.

The success of the Hs 123 with the Condor Legion in Spain eventually offered up some minor modifications to the base design. The proposed Hs 123B mark was canceled in favor of the developing Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive-bomber detailed elsewhere on this site. With the Hs 123 making its appearance in 1936, the impressive Stuka followed in 1937 and snuffed out any remaining future the Hs 123 may have had in Luftwaffe service.

Additional combat actions were had by the Chinese who purchased a stock of twelve biplanes and used these against Japanese naval targets during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The series saw action up until 1944 before being fully withdrawn from frontline roles but continued into 1945 playing important secondary roles, particularly over the Eastern Front. Amazingly, the Spanish Air Force stock soldiered on into 1953.

Any available statistics for the Henschel Hs 123 Dive Bomber / Close-Support Biplane 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 (211mph).

    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 123a-1's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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
250
250


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1936
Type: Dive Bomber / Close-Support Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. - Germany
Production: 250
Global Operators:
China; Nazi Germany; 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 123a-1 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.33 ft


Meters
8.33 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
34.45 ft


Meters
10.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.50 ft


Meters
3.2 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,307 lb


Kilograms
1,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
4,883 lb


Kilograms
2,215 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x BMW 132Dc radial piston engine developing 880 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
211 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
340 kph


Knots
184 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
531 mi


Kilometers
855 km


Nautical Miles
462 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
29,528 ft


Meters
9,000 m


Miles
5.59 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,950 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
899 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (5):

STANDARD:
2 x 7.92mm machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

OPTIONAL:
Maximum bomb load of 992 lb across five total hardpoints (four underwing and a single centerline).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Hs 123A-1 - Initial Production Model
• Hs 123B - Prototype Models intended as successor to Hs 123A series, though cancelled with the arrival of the effective Ju 87 "Stuka"; fitted with BMW 132K 960hp engine; Two such prototypes produced; second with 4 x 7.92mm machine guns and an all-enclosed cockpit.
• Hs 123C - Variant armed with 20mm cannon.