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Henschel Hs 123

Nazi Germany (1936)

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



  Henschel Hs 123  
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.

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).
Henschel Hs 123a-1 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Nazi Germany
Year: 1936
Type: Dive Bomber / Close-Support Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. - Germany
Production: 250
Supported Mission Types
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
Structural
Crew: 1
Length: 27.33 ft (8.33 m)
Width: 34.45 ft (10.50 m)
Height: 10.50 ft (3.20 m)
Empty Weight: 3,307 lb (1,500 kg)
MTOW: 4,883 lb (2,215 kg)


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

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 211 mph (340 kph; 184 kts)
Maximum Range: 531 mi (855 km; 462 nm)
Service Ceiling: 29,528 ft (9,000 m; 5.59 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,950 ft/min (899 m/min)


Armament
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).


Operators List
China; Nazi Germany; Spain

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.


Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition