Aviation of World War II

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Hs 123
Dive bomber and attack aircraft

Hs 123

In 1934, the Luftwaffe launched a two-stage dive bomber program. The first stage provided for the solution of primary tasks, the second stage involved the use of new technologies. Henschel and Fieseler were given the task of developing the aircraft in accordance with the first phase of the plan and using the BMW 132A-3 radial engine. Both samples took off in early 1935, with the Hs 123 VI demonstrating complete superiority over the Fi 98 from the very beginning of flight tests.

The Hs 123 VI was a bulky biplane with a box of wings without braces, the main part of the load was carried by two large external inclined struts. The V2 prototype featured a shorter chord and smaller diameter bonnet with 18 fairings over the cylinder heads. The V3 was similar, except that the two-bladed variable-pitch propeller was replaced with a three-bladed one from its predecessor. All prototypes were tested in Rechlin, where within three weeks two of them were lost due to the destruction of the upper wing, so a reinforced center section was installed on the V4. This allowed him to show acceptable characteristics, including when exiting a steep dive.

Specification Hs 123 A-1
Crew 1
Upper wing span, m 10.50
Lower wing span 10.50
Length, m 8.38
Height, m 3.76
Wing area, m² 24.85
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 1420
Load weight 2175
Gross weight 2350
1 PE BMW 132 Dc, power h.p. 880
Maximum speed/H, km/h /m 340/1200 m
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 900
Cruising speed, km / h 315
Service ceiling, m 9,000
Service range, km 815

Armament: two MG 17 7.9 mm machine guns above the cockpit; underwing holders for four 50 kg bombs, two containers with 92.2 kg fragmentation bombs or two nacelles for MG FF 20 mm cannons

Hs 123A-1 . The first deliveries of serial Hs 123A-1s began in the summer of 1936, the aircraft entered service with the 1st group of dive bombers of the 16th squadron "Immelman". A BMW 132 Dc was used as the power plant, and the armament consisted of two MG 17 machine guns mounted above the cockpit. A 250-kilogram bomb was suspended between the front landing gear, and four 50-kilogram bombs could be carried on the underwing pylons.

Powerplant. 9-cylinder BMW 132 Dc radial engine with takeoff power of 656 kW (880 hp) and 649 kW (870 hp) at 2500 m.

Five Hs 123A-1s were sent to Spain for combat evaluation on the side of the Spanish nationalists, but after their debut in early 1937 they were mainly used to engage ground targets. The aircraft have proven themselves well in this role, providing substantial support to the ground forces and despite the lack of any communication with them. Spain purchased all five aircraft and ordered eleven more.

Photo Description

Drawing Hs 123 A-1

Hs 123 V5 Prototype

Hs 123 at East Front


  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/