Hs 123 was a single-seat biplane dive bomber and ground-support attack aircraft, designed in 1933.
In the early 1930s, Luftwaffe’s command began to take an interest in planes capable of bombing from a diving flight. She therefore asked the German factory to design such an aircraft. This demand was responded to by Gerhard Fieseler GmbH of Kassel, which presented the design of Fieseler Fi 98 and Henschel Flugzeugwerke A. G. from Schönefeld, Berlin, which presented the design of the Henschel Hs 123 aircraft. The Luftwaffe command chose the Henschel Hs 123 aircraft design.
Henschel Hs 123 diving bomber was designed by Friedrich Nicolaus, chief factory designer. It was a biplane with all-metal construction, with an uncovered pilot cabin, a fixed undercarriage, armed with machine guns and bombs.
The first prototype labeled Hs 123V-1 with the BMW 132A-3 radial engine was successfully piloted by Ernst Udet on 8 May 1935. Two further V-2 and V-3 prototypes, which were armed with 2 machine guns, were tested at the Rechlin Experimental Centre and were destroyed during these trials. The cause of the accidents was too weak airframe construction, center-wing deformation and wing detachment. After strengthening the airframe, the fourth prototype V-4 was already performing superbly, performing almost vertically diving flights.
Prototype V-4 became the reference aircraft for the mass production of the Henschel Hs 123A aircraft, which began in 1936.
The serial production of the Hs 123A aircraft was completed in October 1938, during which 255 aircraft of this type were built.
In the autumn of 1936, Henschel Hs 123A planes were introduced to the Luftwaffe diving bombers units.
Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, then commander of Condor Legion, who took part in the civil war in Spain, heard positive feedback about this aeroplane and asked Luftwaffe’s command to send several planes to check them in the battlefield conditions. This proposal was accepted and in December 1936 the Condor Legion received 5 Henschel Hs 123A. The commander of Condor Legion, started to use them to support ground troops as assault planes. The aeroplane in assault operations confirmed its combat values, impressing with its effectiveness in destroying targets. Due to the achievements of these aircraft during the fighting, the Frankist air force ordered such aircraft, and in 1938 they received 11 aircraft of this type.
Following the Spanish fighting experience, the Luftwaffe command began using Henschel Hs 123A aircraft primarily as assault planes. In August 1938 two newly formed assault units were armed in airplanes of this type.
During campaign in September 1939, 40 Hs 123A aircraft were used, which were part of the 4th Air Fleet. During these fights, 3 aircraft of this type were destroyed and several were damaged.
These aeroplanes were also used in 1940 during fighting in Belgium and France. They survived on the eastern front until mid-1944, when they were completely destroyed in the battles.
12 machines were purchased by the Government of the Republic of China and were used during the Sino-Japanese war.
|wingspan (m)||10,50 and 8,00|
|wing area (m2)||24,85 (16,24+8,61)|
|wheel base (mm)||2342|
|empty weight (kg)||1420|
|normal take-off weight (kg)||2175|
|wing loading (kg/m²)||87,4|
|engine||BMW 132Dc, 9-cylinder radial engine, 880 hp|
|propeller||two blade, 3,10 m|
|engine oil (l)||48,7|
|max speed (km/h)||285 at 0m, 290 at 2400 m, 278 at 4000 m, 265 at 5000 m, 240 at 7000 m|
|cruising speed (km/h)||260 at 2000 m|
|diving speed (km/h)||550|
|landing speed (km/h)||100-105|
|range (km)||325-750, 855 with 150l external fuel tank|
|rate of climb||9 m/s|
|bombs (kg)||max 450|
|armament||2 x 7,92 mm MG 17, 1000 rounds|
- Robert Panek: Henschel Hs 123, Mushroom No 8115
- Marek J. Murawski: Henschel Hs 123, Kagero Monographs 48
- Peter W. Cohausz: Deutsche Flugzeugcockpits und Instrumentenbretter Teil 6. Zweiter Weltkrieg Heinkel – Junkers, Cockpit Profile 6 (german)
- Rudolf Höfling: Henschel Hs 123 – Flugzeug Profile 42 (german)
- Uwe Feist, Mike Dario: Luftwaffe II, Waffen-Arsenal Band 13 (german)