Aviation of World War II

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Hs 126

Reconnaissance and observation aircraft



Henschel Hs-126, a close reconnaissance and artillery fire spotter, was also used for night bombing.

The Hs-126 aircraft as part of the Condor legion took part in the Spanish Civil War, were actively used for close reconnaissance at the initial stage of World War II, however, the low speed and the almost complete absence of armor protection forced these aircraft to be re-targeted for night reconnaissance and performing tasks such as fighting partisans and towing cargo gliders.

The total number of aircraft of this type produced before 1941 was approximately 810 machines. And although it was discontinued in January 1941, it was used by various units of the Luftwaffe almost until the end of the war.

Performance Hs-126
with Bramo 232
with BMW-132Dc
Wingspan, m 14.50
Length, m 10.85
Height, m 4.30
Wing area, m² 31.6
Empty weight, kg 2,160 2,050
Loaded weight, kg 3220/32841 3150
Power, hp/at altitude, m 780 / 4300 790 / 2900
Max speed at sea level, km/h 307 -
Max speed, km/h / at altitude, m 370 / 5,000 355 / 3000
Cruise speed, km/h / at altitude, m 314 / 4,000 300 / 3000
Max diving speed, km/h 480 480
Landing speed, km/h 90 95
Time to level, min / at altitude, m 11.7 / 6,000 13.5 / 6000
Service seiling, m 8,050 8,900
Radius at cruise speed, km 1,000 950
Taking - off, m 294 -
Run, m 415 -

1- In numerator - Reconnaissance aircraft; in a denominator - light bomber

Photo Description
Drawing Hs.126A-1

Drawing Hs.126A-1

Henshel Hs-126

Henshel Hs-126

The aircraft could be successfully used as a tactical day and night close-range reconnaissance aircraft, an artillery fire spotter, a light bomber and an attack aircraft, perform communications missions and send saboteurs to the enemy's near rear. This concept of a universal machine for interaction with ground forces became widespread in the air forces of many countries before the start of the Second World War. One of its brightest representatives, for example, can be the English Lysander aircraft, which is similar in many respects (from the design scheme to the functions performed) to the Hs 126.

In July 1938, the first copies of the new aircraft began to enter the Luftwaffe close-range reconnaissance detachments to replace the outdated He 45 and He 46. The mastering of the Hs 126 by the flight crew proceeded smoothly and without serious problems - a simple and very reliable aircraft turned out to be quite accessible even to yesterday's graduates of German flight schools Air force. On September 20, 1938, the combat units had 42 Henschel reconnaissance aircraft (of which 35 were serviceable).

The combat debut of the 126th took place in the late autumn of 1938. Six copies of the A-1 modification were sent to Spain, where at that time there was a bloody Civil War. They joined Recon Squadron 5.AU88 of the Condor Legion to replace the He 45 and took part in the final phase of the conflict, successfully operating as reconnaissance aircraft and light bombers.


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