The Henschel Hs 123 was a ground attack aircraft that was used by Germany during World War II.
The first and only production model of the Hs 123 series was designated A-1, fitted with a BMW 132Dc Engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 341 kilometres per hour. The operational range of the Hs 123 was around 860 kilometres while its service ceiling was limited to about 9,000 metres.
The armament of the aircraft meanwhile consisted of either two 7.92mm machine guns and two 20mm MG FF autocannons in place of the centerline bomb depending if field modifications were applied. The bombload consisted of up to 450 kilograms, with one SC 250 Bomb underneath the fuselage, and four SC 50 Bombs under the wings. The total weight of the aircraft was about 1,500 kilograms while its total length was approximately 8.3 metres. While the Hs 123 at first sight appeared to be very much an outdated aircraft to use during the Second World War, it quickly proved its reliability and durability during both the Spanish Civil War and the Invasion of Poland. It was well liked for its ability to return to base with critical damage and its dive bombing accuracy was very good.
The Henschel Hs 123 was initially created in 1935 as a stop-gap aircraft to equip the German Luftwaffe while the Junkers Ju 87 was still being developed. As such, the aircraft entered service in 1936 and first saw combat during the Spanish Civil War, becoming so successful that it was kept in service despite the appearance of the Junkers Ju 87. Even with a single unit being equipped with the aircraft in Poland, it proved to be one of the most successful aircraft fielded. After proving itself, it was once again brought into service in France, though its range meant that it could not operate over Britain in the ensuing campaign. However, even though the Hs 123 was deemed successful, its production was limited,[N 1] so as the war went on, Hs 123s were slowly relegated to secondline service if not being destroyed entirely. In total, some 600 production examples had been made during the aircraft's service life.
- A demand by General von Richthofen that production be resumed, which he made on 16 January 1943, proved to be impractical, as all the tools and jigs for the Hs 123 were scrapped in 1940.
- Kay, Antony L and J R Smith. German Aircraft of the Second World War. Putnam Aeronautical Books. 2002. ISBN 0 85177 920 4 Page 164