Henschel Hs 123

The Henschel Hs 123 was a single-seat, single-engine biplane that was used as a light dive bomber and attack aircraft.


In February 1934, wrote at the instigation of Ernst Udet, who was able to observe the successful attempts of the dive bomber principle in the early 1930s in the U.S., the Heereswaffenamt a Design Contest in which a light, single-seat dive bomber was required. At the competition in addition to the Henschel aircraft-Werke AG nor the Hamburger Flugzeugbau, a subsidiary of Blohm & Voss, Fieseler and were involved, all three companies were awarded the contract for the construction of prototypes. Richard Vogt developed by the Hamburger Flugzeugbau Ha 137, a monoplane with articulated wings and fixed landing gear and the Gerhard Fieseler Fi biplane 98th Henschel’s chief engineer Friedrich Nicolaus also designed a biplane whose dummy was shown in June 1934. The Hs 123 V1 prototype was on 1 April 1935 prepared its first flight with the civilian registration D-ILUA was completed on 5 April, 1935.

Udet personally tried the machine on 8 From May 1935. In the June 1935 to January 1936 following tests of the three types of competition in Rechlin, the Hs 123 proved superior to their competitors and was the winner of the competition. The series production was launched in 1936.


The prototype “Hs 123 V1” was a beautifully Anderthalbdecker with fixed landing gear, open cockpit and Normalleitwerk all metal construction, a monocoque fuselage and executed in the BMW 132 engine. The gerückte far back cockpit offered a good view up and down. The two-part, partially covered with fabric down the wing was associated with a wide I-beam with the small lower wing and had balanced ailerons on the bottom wing spreading flaps. Even the oars were all covered with fabric. Particularly striking was the aerodynamically smooth clad, oversized NACA bonnet.

Due to the lack of an engine brake, the motor came on in steep dives About Tours and turned over so that a camber angle limit was set at 70 °. Also proved that the fumes came into the pilot cockpit to tail through the slots of the control cables. Therefore, the second prototype V2 was the striking new NACA hood with dimples for the cylinder heads of the Wright R-1820-F52 Cyclone radial engine with 770 hp starting power, but was converted to a landing accident on the BMW 132A and the Hs 123 V8 as a model of mass production. More prototypes followed, the V4 engine was used to pattern the A series. The V5 engine with BMW 132K and VDM propeller aircraft became a model for the B-series. This aircraft took part in 1937 in the International Flight Meeting in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Finally, the V6 followed as a pattern aircraft for the C-series. The planned development with enclosed cabin, powerful engine with BMW 123K 960 hp starting power and a powerful armament was abandoned in favor of the Ju 87th.

Fitted with a BMW 132 Dc-nine-cylinder engine machines of the A-1 series reached a top speed of 345 km / h, a climb rate of 900 m / min with a service ceiling of 9,000 m and a range of 850 km. The armament consisted of two MG 17 and up to 200 kg of bombs. The machines were 8.3 m long, 3.2 m high and had a wingspan of 10.5 meters. They weighed 1504 kg empty, maximum operating weight was 2217 kg. The B-series differed only by increased planking of the upper wing.

As the Air Ministry in 1936 finally invited tenders for a dive bomber, the Hs 123 was already no more attention, as a modern cabin monoplane was demanded. The call for tender for a heavy, two-seat dive bomber, the Arado Ar for 81, the Heinkel He 118 and the Junkers Ju 87 developed, so has nothing to do with the 123 construction of Hs. Both processes but are often jumbled in the literature. However, the Hs 123 was a major help to convince the concept of the dive bomber.

Until the expiry of the production in mid-1937 250 Hs 123 were built (seven prototypes, 16 A-0 pre-production aircraft and 229 series machines A-1 and B-1.

Five Hs 123 were tested in the Spanish Civil War of the Condor Legion. The machines (Spanish nickname “Angelito”) were initially used as a fighter bomber but soon replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and used as a dive bomber. The Spanish Air Force received 16 aircraft later Hs 123 A-1. More 12 Hs 123 A-1 in 1938 sold to the Nationalist Air Force.

With the publication of the Junkers Ju 87, the Hs 123 was indeed viewed as a dive bomber as obsolete, they proved to be particularly efficient in combat use. The simple technology and a robust design allowed use of advanced airfields and close touch with the rapidly advancing ground troops of the Wehrmacht. While the Ju 87 was used as a tactical bomber in the hinterland against important point targets, was set up with the one remaining Hs 123 ground attack group was mandated to intervene directly in the fighting of the infantry on the ground. The Hs 123 came in 1939 with the occupation of the so-called remainder of Czechoslovakia and Poland campaign to use, and they proved it so that the aircraft was also used in the Battle of France, for as equipped with the Hs 123 II.Schlacht / LG 2, which was instrumental in crossing the Meuse at Sedan. Then the remaining Hs should be given to the 123 flight schools.

Even when following the Balkan campaign came in Landserjargon “One Two Three” or “Corporal” said machine to use and there was also often the brunt of the battle flying. The Hs 123 of II Schlacht / LG 2 were rolling use often throughout the day in 1941, the use and type of aircraft with the most combat. On the eastern front the type was used for Erdkampfeinsätze night and battle missions, especially with the nuisance raids were flown. Compared to their European Soviet counterpart in that role, the lightweight trainer aircraft Polikarpov Po-2, Henschel Hs 123 was about far more powerful. She was also extremely maneuverable, and so robust that she was inserts also under heavy fire. In 1942, she was the main type of the newly formed melee air formations. On the eastern front, they remained in use until 1944. Your new building was required by the troops, but this was no longer possible due to the scrapping of 1938 led jigs and tool sets.


Hs 123 V1Prototype (D-ILUA, works number 265) with 725 hp BMW 132A engine and 3-blade propeller Hs 123 V2Prototype (WkNr. 266), first with 770 hp Wright Cyclone R-1820-G-F-52 engine, with 725 hp BMW after accident 132A (Hs 123 V8)Hs 123 V3Prototype (D-ikou, WkNr. 267), with 660 hp BMW 132A engine Hs 123 V4Prototype (D-IZXY, WkNr. 670), with 660 hp BMW 132A engine, model aircraft for the A-0 series Hs 123 V5Prototype (D-INRA, WkNr. 76), first with 830 hp BMW 132G engine, 910 hp BMW then 132J, then 960 hp BMW 132K V109A and 3-blade propeller Hs 123 V6Prototype (D-IHDI, WkNr. 797), 910 hp or 960 hp BMW 132J and 132K BMW 3-blade propeller, closed cockpit, armed with four machine guns, greater internal fuel capacity, bomb load up to 500 kgHs 123 V7Prototype (D-IUPO) V110 with BMW 132K engine Hs 123 A-0Pre-production aircraft, 16 built WkNr. 628-635 and 788-795Hs 123 A-1/B-1Production version, 229 built (100 by Henschel, 129, AGO)Hs 123Cplanned production version of the Hs 123 V6, not built

Technical specifications

Henschel Hs 123 A-1



Length     8.33 m

Wingspan     10.50 m above

8.00 m below

Wing area     24,85 m²

height.      3.20 m

drives    132Dc a BMW radial engine with 647 kW (880 hp)

Maximum speed     340 km / h at 1200 m altitude

Reach     855 km (with additional 150l tank)

Service ceiling     9000 m

Empty weight     1500 kg

All-up weight     2215 kg

Weapons     Two 7.92-mm MG 17, up to 450 kg of bombs, alternatively up to 200 kg of bombs and auxiliary fuel tank

Comparable types

• Hawker Fury

• Dewoitine D.501, Dewoitine D.510, Loire 46

•Curtiss SBC Helldiver

•Fiat CR.42

•Heinkel He 50

•Junkers Ju 87

•Henschel Hs 129


•Michael Sharpe: double decker, triple-decker & Seaplanes, Gondrom Verlag, Bindlach 2001, ISBN 3-8112-1872-7

•Olaf Groehler: history of the air war from 1910 to 1980, Military Publishing House of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1981

•Heinz J. Novarra: The German air armament 1933-1945 Volume 3: Henschel aircraft – Messerschmitt. Revision. Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz, 1993, ISBN 3-7637-5467-9, p.22


Military Aircraft

Aircraft of World War II

Aircraft of the Armed Forces

Single-engine aircraft

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