Hs-129: asset or liability; alternatives?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A spin off from another thread. How much the Hs-129 was important to the German war effort? How well/bad is fares against other assault aircraft? Was it the best the Germans were capable for in 1941-44 time frame? Was the lack of rear gunner a shortcoming?
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Hs129 was a very effective weapon against ground targets. The Gnome-Rhône 14M engines may have been a little bit underpowered for the platform, but it proved it's worth many times over, like at the battle of Kursk, for example.
     
  3. at6

    at6 Well-Known Member

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    Given proper German engines, it would have probably decimated Russian tank columns even more so than the JU-87G which in the right hands was formidable.
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Liability overall IMHO, but so low resource costing that there are good points to having it. Basically it was really only useful by 1943 to stop breakthroughs of Soviet armor or even offensively against Soviet armor reserves massing at places like Kursk provided there is enough air support. It doesn't replace the Ju87G, but neither aircraft were really ideal; the best option given the technology of the time would have been Fw190Fs with R4M/Panzerblitz rockets but that didn't develop until 1945. Had it been an option, which technologically it would have been possible by 1943 had the concept been arrived at, it would have been as good or better than the Ju87G/Hs129 combo.
    Ideally to me there would have been no end of Hs123 production and in fact a 123C with fully enclosed, armored cockpit and have it use the Panzerblitz rocket when it became available. Having several hundred Hs123Cs instead of all the Hs129s would have been more effective IMHO, as they were cheaper, lighter, easier to fly, and more useful in the East. Having 300 operational at any one time would be a good start, though more are better, especially as they can be used at night as a harassment bomber (alongside the Ju87R).
     
  5. Siddley

    Siddley Active Member

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    The Argus engined A series weren't very popular with pilots, to say the least ( Cpt Eric 'Winkle' Brown said that when he asked a HS-129 pilot about the A series the guy shuddered and called it " a monster " ) ...but the B series was very much better.

    One of my personal ways to judge an aircraft is by it's service life, and the HS-129 B series had plenty of that, and plenty of tank kills.

    With a couple of 801's it could have been something quite special. Maybe, anyway :)
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Just so we are all on the same page (or at least the same chapter) the HS 123 stopped production in late 1938. There were only 10 of the Argus powered H2 129s ever built and they never saw combat, two of them went back to the factory to become prototypes for the Gnome-Rhone powered B series. Bomb loads I gave earlier were for the early B series aircraft. Later B series aircraft lost the 7.9mm MG 17s to provide more weight and space for ammo for the 30mm/37mm gun.

    There was NO "proper" German engine that the airframe could use. The Gnome-Rhone was a 18.9 liter 14 cylinder engine of only 950mm diameter that weighed around 420kg. The German 9 cylinder radials were much larger in diameter and much heavier. Sticking BMW 1000kg BMW 801s on the small airframe just wasn't going to happen.
     
  7. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Scavenge R-1820's and R-1830's?
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Still hundreds of pounds heavier and in the case of the R-1820 really bigger in diameter. Early R-1820 537kg, 30 liters, 1378mm in diameter. Will also need bigger propeller. R-1830 is only 1220mm in diameter but even heavier than the R-1820s. The German 9 cylinders radials were fairly close to the R-1820 in diameter and weight.
     
  9. Siddley

    Siddley Active Member

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    They were investigating a scheme to re-engine the HS-129 with BMW 801's but I can't give you anything more definitive than that because I read it in a book on the 129 which I no longer have.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    OK

    henshel129.gif
    19bab31820c65501ba24e856e36dc45f.jpg

    They can investigate all they want. it comes down to how practical it was. The Me 209 II was supposed to use a large amount of Bf 109 parts, tooling, etc and be an easy way to get a higher performance fighter. Not only was performance lower than expected but common parts/assemblies had fallen to 30%.

    Doubling the weight of the powerplants that are that far forward is going to need some revision to the rest of the airframe. Lets not forget that the Gnome-Rhone engines used in the B series Hs 129 were already about 100kg heavier than the Argus 410 engines the plane was original designed for and that is dry weight. The Argus 410s used 2 bladed propellers.

    You could certainly build a close support plane using a pair of BMW 801s, you could base it off of the HS 129 and call it the Hs 129C or D or the Hs 229 or what ever. The Germans (and others) certainly did that with a number of other aircraft ( Do 17 and 217 share next to no parts) or look at the changes from a B-17D to a B-17E (almost a new plane from the radio compartment aft).

    A Hs 129 only weighed 4000kg empty, adding 1000kg worth of engines is going to call for some major revisions.
     
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  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Merlin Whrilwind was probably a far more a realistic thing than Hs-129 with BMW 801 engines.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    There were two proposed types:
    The Hs129C was intended to use an Italian based V-12 engine, but it never happened.

    The Hs129D was projected to have either the Jumo211 or BMW801 but this was nothing more than a proposal.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    At least the Hs 129C was only trying to jump the weight of the engines by about 100kgs each and not around 500kg each like going to the BMW 801s.
    Of course it wasn't going to get a big boost in power either.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    And that was only ever a long shot. A Merlin XX powered Whirlwind was actually proposed by Sir Eric Mensforth directly to Fighter Command (unwisely short circuiting the usual channels through the Air Ministry) in a letter to Sholto-Douglas of 21st January 1941.

    There were many problems. Not least the Merlin used an up draught carburettor which would occupy much of the space at the lower rear of the engine installation normally occupied by Whirlwind's main undercarriage mounting. No one seems to have had a solution to this and unlike people writing on modern forums nobody suggested that Rolls Royce make any changes to the engine's layout to accommodate the airframe.
    The nacelles were also too close to the fuselage to allow a larger propeller which would be needed for the more powerful Merlin, though Petter proposed a smaller four bladed propeller. It never amounted to more than a proposal.

    It was all a moot point as Tizard, the chairman of the Joint Development and Production Committee, noted in February 1941 that the Whirlwind used two engines that had no other use and consumed 50% more material than a Spitfire to do the same job less efficiently. In fact a Whirlwind consumed nearly three times as much alloy as a Spitfire! This was why Tizard endorsed the cancellation of the project (on 3rd February) and only 114 Whirlwinds were ever produced.

    Again, compare this ruthless drive to get the most out of the British aircraft industry, taking the hard decisions, with the endless prevaricating, cancellation and then countermanding orders, typical of the RLM's management of its programs.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah but they should have compared the Whirlwind to the Typhoon instead of the Spitfire ;)

    Empty weight: 8,310 lb vs Empty weight: 8,840 lb and two 12 cylinder engines that had no other use vs one 24 cylinder engine that had no other use (although they wanted to)

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing :)
     
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  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The fact that the Hs129 was a purpose-built ground attack aircraft does show that the Luftwaffe was looking in the right direction for a dedicated Ground Support platform.

    Unlike the Hs123, which was adapted for the role, or other aircraft that followed suit, the Hs129 was designed from the start for close support with it's heavy armor and air-cooled engines. However, it was under-powered and much like the Ju87, needed the protection by means of air supremacy in order to operate un-molested.

    What it did accomplish on the battlefield (even in the small numbers that were built), however, was proof that it was a sound concept.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Earlier Dowding did, although the 'Hawker fighter' he referred to was not yet the Typhoon. He noted that the Whirlwind used two engines to lift the same four 20mm cannons as the 'Hawker fighter' would. At the time (July 1940) he was prepared to give a limited reprieve as the only viable cannon armed fighter available. He did however conclude that 'we shall be glad enough to drop them when the Hawker fighter comes into heavy production'.

    Neither Dowding, nor Tizard had the benefit of hindsight. They both concluded that a twin engine cannon armed fighter was not the most efficient use of available materials and production capacity. The Whirlwind only ever had a limited reprieve (the 114 finally ordered) after Newall's axe initially fell because Aberconway and Mensforth successfully argued that not only the jigs but parts already produced for about one hundred aircraft would be wasted. The Supply Committee also established independently that a 'substantial number' of part finished Peregrine castings and forgings were available. In the end only around 300 Pregrines were built (I can't find the exact number) a paltry amount in the scheme of WW2 aero engine production.

    114 aircraft and around 300 engines makes the Whirlwind/Peregrine combination little more than a foot note in aviation history. It was a program that was rightly terminated when it was. It wasn't allowed to drag on for years and it wasn't allowed to compromise production of other types by Westland and that included the Lysander which was specifically mentioned in this context by Freeman.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    #18 gjs238, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
    Wonder what Tizard thought (or would of thought) of the P-38...
    :rolleyes:
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Dave - what the Hs 129 accomplished on the battlefield?
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-87D/G can do everything Hs.129 can do only better and for lower cost.
     
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