Henschel Hs 124 as a light bomber

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #1 wiking85, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
    Looking at the Hs 124 as light bomber, it looks like with either DB605s, 603s, or BMW 801s it would be as good an option as the Me410 in terms of a light bomber. Does anyone have any idea what it would have been with even the Db601 engines? It looks like it would have been a solid strafer/ground attack aircraft too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel_Hs_124

    Henschel Hs 124-17.JPG Hs124_1939-1--1653.jpg hs124_3.jpg hs_12410.jpg
     

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  2. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    I'll post something from a what if I posted elsewhere:
     
  3. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    #3 kool kitty89, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
    It might have been more compelling if Henschel had applied their experience in wooden aircraft construction into developing a similar aircraft. As it is, it looks like something in-between the Bf 110 and Do 17/215, though earlier and more sensible than the likes of the Fw 57. (it might have been worth trying the higher powered Bramo 323s on it as well)

    Lack of an internal bomb bay would be unattractive and put it at less of an advantage compared to the Bf 110 (or at least potentially) but it might have had more appeal next to the Do 17, Do 215 and Ju 88, particularly with any conditions where resorting to carrying bombs externally would be necessary anyway. (and if wiki is accurate, the lack of bomb bay may have faciliated long range)

    It seems like it might have been able to out-shine the Blenheim as a pre-war fast-bomber if nothing else, while also sporting impressive range.
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The Hs124 did have internal bomb bay for 6x 100kg bombs, but could also carry a heavier load externally.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Could it dive bomb as accurately as Me-410? Did it employ an armored cocoon around aircrew as Me-410 did? Remote control MG barbettes to protect rear? Could it match Me-410 internal fuel capacity of 2,420 liters?

    These are the sort of details which separate an outstanding light bomber from a mediocre light bomber.
     
  6. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What's your obsession with dive bombing? Also the Me410 couldn't dive bomb.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The 124 was neither fish nor fowl. The was a 'school' in the early to mid 1930s that thought you could build twin engine multi-seat (3 seat or more) battle planes that could act as fighters, bombers, recon planes and more. Sometimes with minor modifications and sometimes without modification. It depended on the designer and the exact role (how many guns were needed for a fighter?) and how many/size bombs were needed for a "bomber".

    They were faster than regular bombers but not really fast enough, they carried a smaller bomb load than a real bomber. They were slower than a twin engine fighter using the same engines (even a twin engine fighter with 2-3 seats) due to the larger fuselage and often larger wing.

    2718L.jpg

    Sticking a pointy nose on it doesn't make it a fighter. It has 42% more wing area than a Bf 110, over 6 ft (2 meters) more wing span, A much deeper fuselage that is 2 meters longer than the 110s. The Version with radial engines weighed within 600lbs of a BF 110C despite using much lighter engines (no radiators).
    It might have handled well for it's size, and like a few prototypes, especially those with with low powered substitute engines, some of the handling (low wing loading?) might have gone away with heavier engines, armor, self sealing tanks and more guns.

    By the late 30s most countries/design teams had realized that such jack of all trades aircraft were truly the master of none and were paring down the number of different roles or designing more specialized variants of the same basic design.

    Trying to take a 1934/36 design and use it to compete against a 1938/41 design ignores all that was learned about aerodynamics/air flow and structure in the 4-5 years in between.

    Sometimes drawings/paintings can portray the subject as slimmer/more graceful than photographs. The Hs 124 was actually very close in size and weight to an early Do 17.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Accuracy about ten times as good as level bombing. Hence they can actually hit a military target using iron bombs.
     
  9. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    I think the Me 410 comparison is a bit out of place, the Hs 124 was a MUCH earlier aircraft, a contemporary of the Do 17 and perhaps best compared to it in both performance and bombload. (it appears to have been faster and much longer ranged, but with a more limited bombload -and on the whole, more akin to the Blenheim in loadout, engine power, and performance) It predated the Bf 110, Ju 88, and not only the Zerstörer and Schnellbomber requirements, but I believe the earlier Kampfzerstörer concept (which it was applied to and was obviously superior to Focke Wulf's offering while still fulfilling the bomber requirement the Bf 110 omitted).

    It was not a good competitor to the Bf 110, but alongside the Do 17 (and later Do 215 development) as well as the later Ju 88, it seems like there was a good deal more potential, and that includes using the same Bramo 323 radials the early war era Do 17Z adopted. (let alone DB-600, 601, or Jumo 211 engines)

    Again, it seems more along the lines of the Blenheim, so further development in the fighter/attack category may have fared more akin to that aircraft with the very significant exception that the BMW 801 offered less drag and better power (especially at altitude) than the Hercules and may have made for a far more effective bomber/attack and night fighter aircraft. Even with the Jumo 211, it may have had advantages over the fighter-bomber and night fighter variants of the Ju 88. (maybe more useful as an attack aircraft than the Ju 88 or Hs 129?)

    Any 'fighter' variants should have been stressed enough for maneuvering to also handle dive bombing (probably not vertical dives, but in the range of the Ju 88's capability would make more sense). In fact, adapting that aircraft to dive-bombing may have made more sense than applying those features to the Ju 88 itself. This may also have been a roll better left to the Bf 110.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Blenheim comparison is a bit off but may help those who think this was a Me 410 born a bit too soon. It was actually a bit larger than a Blenheim with 25% more wing area, about a meter more span and 1 1/2 meters more length.

    Compared to the Do 17 one has to very careful trying to compare figures. The Hs 124 is often listed with a tremendous range but that is because it could be fitted with a tank in the bomb bay replacing the six vertical 100kg bombs. Granted it could carry up to 12 50kg bombs outside but then we are back to the ongoing problem with German bombers of what the actual speed/range was with the external load creating drag.

    BMW 801 engines are hardly plug in replacements for DB 600/601 engines. They are several hundred pounds heavier than even a Bristol Hercules.

    We are also left wondering about the wing. What airfoil and what drag it may have caused? The Hs 124's wing was almost exactly the same area as the Ju 88A-4s wing and not the smaller wing used on the Ju 88A-1. but had a lower aspect ratio.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Much better to compare internal fuel capacity without auxiliary tanks.
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    With auxiliary fuel its range IIRC was about 2600 miles, but with normal fuel it was 1500 miles, better than even He111, though I imagine that was 'clean' without bombs. Probably for the recon variant. With bombs and cannons I imagine its probably closer to 1000 miles, which still is better than Bf110 and Do17. A V3 version with the four nose cannons and external bombs, but extra tanks in the bomb bay would probably be over 1000 miles, potentially 1500 or so. With 12 x 50kg bombs and four 20mm nose cannons and the ability to glide bomb it would be a highly formidable aircraft and get better lift than the Me410, which had serious problems with its low speed performance especially on landing due to small wings. Some wing reduction is certainly possible with better engines, which would make it quite the formidable night fighter/ground attack/light bomber/recon aircraft.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Can we have a reality check please. This thing was almost the size of Hampden. Wing had 88% of the area of the Hampton. Anybody think you could stick a pair of Merlins on a Hampden and turn it into super bomber? And the Hampden was a 1-2 year newer aircraft. The Luftwaffe had decided in 1935 that the specification to which the Hs 124 was built was NOT the way to go and split the requirement into the separate Schnellbomber and Zerstorer.

    Henschel designed the HS 127 to meet the Schnellbomber specification.
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    As interesting as the Hs124 is, it was a dead-end.

    Several things contributed to it's cancellation, first of which, it wore two many hats to qualify properly in any task (think of jack of all trades, master of none). The other thing was that when it was conceived, it was at a time when aircraft, particularly military, was evolving in application and roles. And as such, it's usefulness was bypassed even before it left the drawing board.

    If you look at aircraft development in the early-mid 30's, you'll see this happening quite a bit. There's a good number of American designs that were bypassed much like the Hs127 and the majority of those were of the "attack" role that the USAAC was infatuated with.
     
  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    What might have happened if the machine was lightened up and cleaned up. Maybe no guns, no bombs altitude optimised engines. The LW tended to rely on straight bomber conversions early in the war, or low quality obsolete types, and attrition of both genre was heavy, and often recon was not done well. A dedicated recon type, with high performance, good range and high altitude would have been a welcome addition to the LW inventoiry. Could a cleaned up version of this a/c have done much good?
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Trouble is the HS 124 was a 1934 design. Cleaning it up might very well entail a new airfoil, new flaps, smaller wing, different construction,etc. The First HS 124 prototype flew before the first Whitley. The British might have been able to "cleanup" the Whitley but at what cost? How much would be changed.

    A closer contemporary of the HS 124 was the Russian SB-2. The Russians tried to "clean it up" in a final version called the Arkhangelsky Ar-2 but it was replaced by the PE-2.

    Henschel went on to design and build the HS 127, the Hs 128 research aircraft and the the HS 130 high altitude planes. They used little, if any, of the structure of the Hs 124 even if they did use knowledge gained in the construction of the Hs 124.
     
  17. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    So was the Bf110, yet that soldiered on until 1943 (and really even later), while the Ju88 was a 1935 design and soldiered on with many redesigns through the end of the war. The He111 saw major redesigns and was fighting into 1944 with an even earlier design date.
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Lets see.

    Bf 110, Messerschmitt ignored the original specification and built a plane that ignored the bomber part of the original requirement. This allowed for a smaller fuselage and a smaller wing for a lot less drag using the same engines.
    Ju-88 was built to the requirement after the HS 124 so is later in timing, While it was later built/modified as a "fighter" it was not intended to be one in the first few years of development. The JU-88 also saw very few major modifications until the 188 and other modifications, it did get a lot heavier but the basic structure wasn't changed much except for beefing up. (longer wing tips?)
    HE 111. Major redesigns??? Changed nose/cockpit and straightened out the leading edge of the wing. Beefed it up to handle higher weight.

    The HS 124 as built had very low wing loading and some rather startling short field performance. One site claims the HS 124 could out maneuver Bf 109s in mock dog fights (type of 109 not given) but given a wing loading of around 27lbs/sq ft it does have some credence. required runway was given as 260 meters and to an altitude of 20 meters took 540 meters.
    It is these type of things that count against it's development however. A large, high lift wing means a lot of drag and simply installing bigger engines will not solve that. IF the Hs 124 was getting 800hp from each engine at 3,000 meters to do 410kph it would need about 1380hp from each engine to hit 492kph (305mph) with no change in drag. Granted the V-12s (either DB or Jumo) would have a lot less drag than the radials. To hit 330mph at 3000 meters you would need about 1750hp from each engine with no Change in drag.

    for the BMW engine wiki says : (779 hp) at 2,290 rpm at 2,900 m (9,515 ft)

    You might have been able to do something with the HS 124 but a substitute Me 410 it was never going to be.
     
  19. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Clearly there is a miscommunication here, I'm not saying the Hs124 was literally the Me410 come early, rather its a bomber in a similar role, minus the schnell part of it. Its relative lack of speed, but increased manueverability is actually a boon for tactical bombing/ground attack, as is the STOL capability. Rather than going for top speed to avoid enemy aircraft as a tactical bomber it wouldn't really want to be too fast, instead it would want to be able to be more accurate with a linger ability that its range and maneuverability allow. With improved wings it can get faster as needed later, which is that hard to do given how Ju88 wings continually lengthened, especially with the Ju188 variant, which got a new tail and nose too, but kept the core design of the Ju88. Getting wings like the A-26 would definitely be possible and improve performance with better engines.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is the last part that gets hard to swallow. "Getting wings like the A-26 " was certainly not impossible (in 1943 for production) but at that point you have a mostly new airplane. ALL new wing, bigger engines and engine nacelles, new landing gear. It is also a looong time to wait with the old wing. Using significantly more powerful engines may call for a larger tail too.

    1st part only needs almost total air superiority. It may or may not have been the goal of the original specification what with the 20mm guns in either a turret or limited traverse mount. It also needs the enemy ground troops to have a very poor AA capability. In other words after France in 1940 or Russia in 1941 it's usefulness diminishes rather rapidly. Large, rather slow Attack aircraft making nice AA targets even if they can turn well.
    Performance of the HS 124 prototypes is also without armor or protected tanks. The large tanks and long range/duration will be a thing of the past when the plane is brought up to combat standards of late 1940.

    JU-88 modified the wings from the break point between the flaps and the ailerons, including the JU 188. They kept the bulk of the structure of wing center section.
     
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