Hs123 never leaves production

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Slightly different from this thread:
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/taking-hs-123-back-production-during-ww2-22035.html
    What if the Hs123 never left production and instead remained integrated in the German force structure from 1939-45? Historically there were about 40 left in service by 1940 and were worn away by January 1943, by which time it was requested to get them back into production. Assuming that they are kept in production, being super cheap and reliable, and are upgraded in 1940 to the C-series with armored enclosed cockpit and more powerful engine, how many could the Germans put into service. I don't think 200 front line units would be out of sorts and 4x the number historically available by 1941. What would that have meant to the campaign in the East to have these little bombers kept up throughout the war harassing Soviet forces from 1941-45 in all conditions like the Night Witches? Would 200 have been the limit or would these have been put up even higher in production come 1942 given the experience with conditions in the East in 1941? They could field rockets IIRC and bomblets too, which would make them useful even after the need for bigger cannons became apparent, as they were in use historically through 1944.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel_Hs_123#World_War_II_.28Eastern_Front.29
     
  2. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Not quite addressing the thread directly: but others have commented how an Hs123 would ultimately be shot down by fighters as they could climb after each attack and try again and again.

    However, the Hs123 operated right on the front line and any fighter making repeated attacks like this exposes itself to ground AA fire. In effect the Hs123 would be a bait to draw enemy fighters into light AA ground fire. Fighters, carrying bombs, found that they could only afford to make one high speed dive then hurry away. Coming back again to a pre warned set of light AA guns was suicide. Even in 1945 the Luftwaffe light AA could make approaches to fighter airfields so dangerous that they could give their own fighters a safe flak corridor to land that no allied fighter would dare to enter.

    The role of the Hs123 is more like a modern helicopter gunship than a ground attack bomber. Much as the Fairey Swordfish' later in the war, had more in common with a maritime helicopter than a land based shipping bomber. There would be an argument for it to be a Wermacht weapon rather than a Luftwaffe one. Not that politics would have allowed this to happen.

    But, had the production continued, it would make a valuable divisional level air support arm of service that could operate in worse weather than the Luftwaffe could in more sophisticated aeroplanes.

    Inevitably the Germans would try to improve it. The desire for a greater warload and protection could so easily cause it to become so much heavier that it compromised it's ability to operate from poor sites in bad weather which is it's raison d'etre. Digressing somewhat, we see the same in modern cars. A company will introduce a small base level model. Every so often they update it with a new version that is always bigger and faster until it becomes the medium size model and they have to introduce a new small model.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If you have historical data for Hs.123 production cost then please post it.
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Being a tiny aircraft with an popular engine that had been around for years certainly would keep the price down. It was of a simple construction, light, and didn't require much in the way of exotic metals or frills. How much could it have cost?
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea. That's why I make no claims about it being less expensive then newer aircraft such as Hs.129.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A rough estimate starts with airframe weight. Then take a look at wing size ( you have to rivet the wing surfaces on, some planes use large panels and some use small ones but even large panels are riveted on every rib.)

    Old engines are NOT cheap because they are old. The R&D costs ( and perhaps tooling) may be paid off but the raw materials and labor aren't any cheaper for an older design. Older engines by the time you get to 1940-45 don't require cheaper connecting rods or allow rougher finish in the bores than newer engines. Some of the Luftwaffe BMW 132 engines used multi-point fuel injection (9 pumps instead of 12 on the DB/Jumo engines) and not carburetors.

    The HS 123 is going to be cheaper because it is smaller and lighter than a JU 87 or HS 129 (one 9 cylinder engine is going to be a LOT cheaper than TWO 14 cylinder engines for instance). Scale of manufacturing and design of tooling can make a lot of difference. If you are going to build a LOT of planes you build jigs and fixtures ( and buy cranes) to handle large assemblies quickly and easily. If you are building only a few aircraft (or few dozen per month) you save money on expensive equipment even if the cost per plane (labor) goes up. Some planes were initially designed without much thought as to hard hard it was to assemble them ( small workers crawling into awkward spaces and working in cramped/weird positions vs being able to work standing or kneeling in the open and then joining major assemblies).

    How the Germans figured cost is also subject to question. In a peacetime set up the cost of heating and lighting the factory spaces get divvied up between the planes produced per month so higher production per month means lower costs. Not so important in California, more important in Buffalo NY or some German Factories.
     
  7. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    When did Ju 87 production cease?
    Perhaps if more Stukas were available there would have been less need for the Hs 123.
     
  8. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    1944; they filled different roles, so Ju 87s had no impact on the Hs123 from 1941 on; the Ju87 did replace it historically, but the Hs123 had different capabilities and uses, so they ended up filling different roles in practice; I'm suggesting that is recognized earlier so the Hs123 isn't taken out of production.
     
  9. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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  10. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    From Wikipedia: production of the type ended in October 1938 with around 250 aircraft in all series.

    Wonder if it would have been feasible to move production to one of Germany's allies?
    Hungary, Romania, etc.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It might have been but at the time (1939/40) it was viewed as obsolete. It's abilities to use really crappy front air strips wouldn't become important until later. With wheel pants removed to prevent clogging with mud it had a low wing loading and good power loading so it could operate in conditions that prevented Bf 109s and Ju 87 from flying. By the time they realized how good it was from BAD air fields the jigs and fixtures had been scrapped so setting up production anywhere was out of the question.

    Hungary, Romania would have been more interested in a more up to date and/or general purpose aircraft.
     
  12. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    The Bulgarians were still using Avia B534s in the close support role into 1945; but then they were using Dornier 17s in the advance to Austria in 1945 so it probably says more about their lack of aeroplanes than suitability for the task.
     
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