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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Henschel Hs 126 reconnaissance

Photos

  • Henschel Hs 126 reconnaissance
  • Henschel Hs 126 reconnaissance

Design

The Henschel Hs 126 was based on the Henschel Hs 122.

The Henschel Hs 126 was of all metal construction.

Wings

The high lift parasol wing was designed by Friedrich Nicolaus and this allowed the Hs 126 to use short and rough landing strips.

Cockpit

Access was via a ladder on the side.

The rear of the cockpit was open to the elements. The gunner/observer had a handheld camera and also operated a Zeiss Rb topographic camera that was located in a bay behind him. The canopy had deflector panels to shield the gunner's gun from the slipstream.

Undercarriage

The wheels had long struts which gave it a none high appearance on the ground. To reduce drag, spats were sometimes fitted.

Engine

Initially the plan was for the Hs 126 to be fitted with the Bramo Fafnir but with delivery problems it started out being fitted with a BMW 132Dc. The Hs 126B-1 was fitted with the Bramo Fafnir as deliveries improved.

Prototype

The Hs 126V1 prototype first flew in the autumn of 1936 (August 1936).

Production

Production of the Hs 126 ended in January 1941 as it was replaced by the Focke-Wulf 189. Around 800 were produced.

  • Prototypes: 3
  • Henschel Hs 126A-0: 10
  • Henschel Hs 126A and Henschel Hs 126B: 790
  • Henschel Hs 126: 803
    • Manufacturer: Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G.
    • Production: ? - January 1941

Variants

  • Henschel Hs 126V1: Powered by a Junkers Jumo 210C inline V 12 (600 HP).
  • Henschel Hs 126V2: New vertical tail. Had Bramo Fafnir 323 radial engine (850 HP).
  • Henschel Hs 126V3: New vertical tail. Had Bramo Fafnir 323 radial engine (850 HP).
  • Henschel Hs 126A-0: Service test variant.
  • Henschel Hs 126A-1: Had a BMW 132Dc Radial engine (880 HP). Went into service in 1938.
  • Henschel Hs 126B-1: Production version. Better engine and high altitude performance. Went into service in 1939.

Usage

Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece (16 Hs 126A-1), and Spain used the Hs 126.

The Hs 126 was sometimes used to bomb and strafe.

Spain

In 1938 six were delivered to the Condor Legion in the Aufklarungsgruppe 88. Five of these survived to be turned over to Spain.

Luftwaffe

The Luftwaffe first received Hs 126s in the spring of 1938 into the Aufklarungsgruppe 35.

Invasion of Poland

The Hs 126 supplied 13 squadrons in the invasion of Poland.

Invasion of Russia

In June 1941, there were 48 Staffeln that had Hs 126B-1s.

North Africa

There was on squadron of Hs 126s used in North Africa.

Gliders

From 1942 the Hs 126 was withdrawn from front line service and used to tow gliders. They were also used in anti-partisan duties in the Balkans.

Nighttime

In mid 1942 some special night units that specialized in close support operations were equipped with the Hs 126. These were the Nachtschlachtgruppen.

Specifications

  Henschel Hs 126
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: BMW 132Dc
Cylinders Radial
Net HP 850
Dimensions  
Span 47' 6", 47' 6.75"
14.5 m
Length 35' 7"
10.85 m
Height 12' 3.5", 12' 3"
3.75 m
Weight  
Loaded 6,800 lb
Performance  
Speed 220 mph
Range 680 miles
Armament  
Forward fuselage 1: 7.9 mm
1: MG
Rear cockpit 1: MG
1: 7.9 mm
Bombs 220 lb
Bombs - internal 10: 22 lb
10: 10 kg
Bombs - external 1: 110 lb
1: 50 kg
  Henschel Hs 126A-1
Engine (Type) BMW 132Dc
Cylinders Radial 9
Net HP 880
Propeller blades 3
  Henschel Hs 126B
Engine (Type) Bramo Fafnir 323A-1/Q-1
OR Bramo Fafnir 323A-2/Q-2
Cylinders Radial 9
Net HP A-1: 850
A-2: 900
Propeller blades 3
  Henschel Hs 126B-1
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Pilot, gunner/observer
Engine (Type) Bramo 323A-2 piston, BMW Bramo Fafnir 323, BMW Bramo 323 A-1
Cylinders Radial, Radial 9
Cooling Air
Net HP 850, 900
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 46' 6.75", 47' 6", 47' 7"
14.5 m
Length 35' 7"
10.84 m, 10.85 m
Height 12' 3", 12' 3.5"
3.73 m, 3.74 m
Wing area 340 ft2 , 340.14 ft2
31.59 m2 , 31.6 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,470 lb, 4,475 lb, 4,480 lb
2,030 kg, 2,032 kg
Loaded 6,813 lb, 7,209 lb
3,270 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 193 mph
310 kph
Speed @ 9,843' 221 mph
Speed @ 9,845' /
3,000 m
221 mph
356 kph
Speed @ 10,000' /
3,050 m
220 mph
354 kph
Speed @ 13,120' /
4,000 m
217 mph
349 kph
Cruising speed 168 - 189 mph
270 - 304 kph
Endurance 2' 15"
Climb to 1,968' /
600 m
3.5 minutes
Climb to 13,120' /
4,000 m
7.2 minutes
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
7.2 minutes
Service ceiling 26,900', 27,000', 27,232'
8,200 m, 8,230 m
Range 360 miles, 447 miles, 534 miles
560 km, 860 km
Armament 2: MG
Forward fuselage 1: 7.92 mm MG 17
Rear cockpit 1: 7.92 mm MG 17
Bombs 10: 22 lb
1: 110 lb
330 lb, 331 lb
10: 10 kg
1: 50 kg
150 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
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