Henschel Hs 129


The Luftwaffe had taken an early interest in ground attack aircraft, 
producing the first armoured ground attack plane during the 1914-1918 
War. The Ju 87 was developed in the enthusiasm of the 1930s for dive 
bombers and its primary purpose was close support for Panzer formations 
advancing more rapidly then artillery.

Reviews
Aerospace & Defence
Nighthawk
Firetrench Directory

NAME: Henschel Hs 129

CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1602
DATE: 070410
AUTHOR: Denes Bernad
PUBLISHER: MMP
BINDING: Soft back
PAGES: 160
PRICE: GB 17.99
GENRE: Non fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, 1939-1945, North Africa, desert warfare, aviation, Eastern Front, 
Russian Front, ground attack, tank buster, Luftwaffe, models, plans
ISBN: 978-83-89450-46-3
IMAGE: B1602.jpg
LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/ 
DESCRIPTION: This is another great value book from MMP in their Orange Series. 
The production follows their high standards for images, both photographs and drawings, 
including some excellent colour drawings. As one objective of the Orange Series is to 
produce detailed information to assist model makers and model engineers, there are 
1/72 scale plans of the subject aircraft in the body of the book, but loose inserted 
at the front of the book is large (A3 ish) sheet that carries on both sides high 
quality 1/48 scale plans that will be much appreciated by modellers. Having said that 
the production quality of the book is excellent, it remains to confirm that the contents 
are equally good. The author has carried out diligent research and produced what is 
probably the definitive history of an unusual aircraft. The Luftwaffe had taken an early 
interest in ground attack aircraft, producing the first armoured ground attack plane 
during the 1914-1918 War. The Ju 87 was developed in the enthusiasm of the 1930s for 
dive bombers and its primary purpose was close support for Panzer formations advancing 
more rapidly then artillery. Essentially it was used as a flying field gun, but using 
iron bombs as its main weapon augmented by two rifle calibre machine guns with a third 
gun for defence as a flexible mount in the rear of the glasshouse. It was soon appreciated 
that heavier guns would be more effective than bombs in attacking armoured vehicles and 
the Ju 87 was to be fitted with two 20 mm cannon in the wings in place of the machine 
guns, and later with two 40 mm guns in under-wing pods. As an adaptation, the Ju 87 was 
to continue surviving through the 1939-1945 War and achieving considerable success against 
Russian tanks. The top pilot Oberst Rudle achieved a score in excess of 1,000 Russian 
tanks and probably scored many more because Hitler ordered him to stop flying. Rudle 
continue to fly combat missions even after losing a leg, but his kills were credited to 
other pilots under his command to conceal the fact that he was ignoring orders. It was 
therefore only natural that the Luftwaffe should think of a ground attack aircraft with 
heavier guns, twin engines and an ability to carry bombs. The result was the Hs 129 that 
started with the impediment of two Argus engines and was then given Gnome-Rhone 14M 
radials in its B form. The initial armament was to be twin heavy machine guns and twin 
20 mm cannon, mounted on either side of the pilot. There were some field modifications 
that have not been well documented, but official armament included a four machine gun 
belly pack, a single 30 mm cannon in a belly pack, and 75 mm cannon in a large belly 
pack. For the Hs 129, the heavy guns became the main armament and the 75 mm cannon 
ersion was in several respects equivalent to the British Mosquito in its 57 mm Molins 
gun form. Where the Mosquito was an attempt at an anti-ship aircraft, the Hs 129 was 
used against tanks in very low level attacks. The difficulty with mounting heavy 
anti-armour guns was that only a small quantity of ammunition could be carried. 
Particularly in the closing stages of the war, it was not unusual for Ju 87 and 
Hs 129 aircraft to take off, attack tanks approaching their airfields and then return 
to rearm as the tanks reached the airfield perimeter. Where the Germans continued to 
use heavy guns in aircraft, the British switched to using unguided rockets and that 
became the standard approach to anti-armour ground support, developing into guided 
bombs and rockets in the years after 1945, the exception being the American 
Thunderbolt II with its 30 mm Gatling gun firing depleted Uranium shells, introduced 
on the experience of providing close support in conditions of air superiority. The 
Hs 129 introduced not only heavy guns, but also considerable armour protection. The 
casualties were still very high and relatively small numbers of Hs 129s were built, 
but they did achieve some high kill rates against Russian tanks. The author has 
captured this well and the book will be another Orange Book series title that 
sells well to modellers but also well to aviation enthusiasts.

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