The Henschel Hs 129 fighter-bomber was built to a 1937 German specification for a twin-engine close-support aircraft with considerable armor protection for pilot and crew and the ability to field twin 20mm cannons at least. The resulting competition left a Focke-Wulf design (the Fw 189C) and the Henschel Hs 129 design as finalists with the nod going to the Henschel firm.
The Hs 129 was by far a perfect aircraft for close-support duty. It was relatively underpowered - even with the twin Gnome-Rhone radial engines - and the cockpit small enough to cram just one person. Visibility was reported to be far from superior though something about the overall design likened the Reichsluftahrtministerium to it. Armament consisted of two nose-mounted MG FF 20mm cannons and two MG 17 7.92mm machine guns. The Hs 129V-1 prototypes gave birth to ten Hs 129B-0 developmental models which, in turn, produced the initial Hs 129B-1 production series. The Hs 129 was immediately fielded to the Eastern Front to take on the divisions of Russian armor in force.
By 1942, the Hs 129B-2 came about as a need to "up-gun" the existing Hs 129B-1 production models. The B-2 became a series that varied in armament provisions that would include the R1, which was fielded with 2 x 20mm cannons and 2 x 13mm machine guns, and the R3 which removed the machine guns in favor of a larger caliber 37mm gun along with the standard twin 20mm cannons. The B-3 model series would produce 25 or so with the larger 75mm gun system and would become the final production Hs 129 systems in service.
The Hs 129 was fielded in the East against the might of the Soviet Union by design, though later they were consequently fielded throughout North Africa and Europe (post D-Day) by necessity. By all accounts, performance results of the system proved sublime, with the Hs 129 accounting for the destruction of hundreds of Soviet tanks, particularly at the Battle of Kursk in 1943. The Hs 129 proved to be a viable asset in the close-support role, capable of engaging even the most stubborn of Allied armor with an array of cannons, machine guns and bombs.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
32.0 ft (9.75 m)
46.6 ft (14.20 m)
10.7 ft (3.25 m)
8,400 lb (3,810 kg)
11,266 lb (5,110 kg)
+2,866 lb (+1,300 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Henschel Hs 129B-1/R2 production variant)
2 x Gnome-Rhone 14M-4/5 14-cylinder radial engines developing 700 horsepower each driving three-bladed propeller units.
2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons
2 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns
Up to 900lb of conventional drop ordnance OR 1 x 30mm MK 191 gun pod.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 8
Hs 129V-1 - Prototype Model
Hs 129B-0 - Developmental Model; fitted with 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons and 2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns; ten such models produced.
Hs 192B-1 - Initial Production Model
Hs 129B-2/R1 - Fitted with 2 x 20mm cannons and 2 x 13mm machine guns.
Hs 129B-2/R3 - Fitted with 2 x 20mm cannons amd 1 x 37mm BK 3.7 cannon.
Hs 129B-3 - Final Production Variant Model; 25 such models produced; fitted with electro-pneumatic 75mm BK cannon.
Hs 129C - Proposed improved form; never completed nor produced.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (253mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Henschel Hs 129B-1/R2 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (865)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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