WI the Hs 129 is given higher priority?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by SunDeep, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. SunDeep Banned

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    A WWII ground attack aircraft, arguably possessing better armor and better armament than its Soviet equivalent the IL-2, and one of the main inspirations for the American A-10, the Henschel Hs 129 was effectively crippled in the development stage IOTL by the insistence that it be powered by 'unimportant', underpowered and obsolete engines, and was never really mass produced. However, WI in an ATL Hitler decides to prioritize the big, bad Hs 129 in the same way as his opposite number Stalin did with the Soviet Union's IL-2, powering it with higher performance Argus As 411 instead of As 410 engines, up-arming it early (maybe even fitting it with Nebelwerfer rocket launchers, as well as a BK-37 autocannon, which would be developed earlier ITTL specifically for this aircraft) and ramping up its production to carry out a heavy ground attack, close support tank-busting role across the Eastern Front from the start of Operation Barbarossa? How much of an impact could it have had if it had been given a chance?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  2. KACKO Well-Known Member

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    It had not just engine problems but also poor handling. Also how well could they defend themselves against fighters? Soviets found out its better to add crew member.
     
  3. wiking Member

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    http://www.amazon.com/Hs-129-Panzer...d=1396628095&sr=8-1&keywords=pegg+panzerjager
    Fighters were the least concern of the Hs129; it was so slow and low flying that it rarely had issues with enemy fighters, as the detailed loss records indicate in the above book. The major problem was ground fire and the Hs129 was poorly designed to resist it due to engine placement and certain exposed oil/fuel lines.
     
  4. miketr Member

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    Did the Germans have anything else in the pipeline that was more durable for the ground attack role?
     
  5. wiking Member

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    Not that I'm aware of, though they did propose an early version of the A10 with turbofans, but they couldn't get the engines to work:
    http://www.luft46.com/junkers/jugap.html

    Really the other options were the Ju87G and Hs123. Frankly the latter should never have been cancelled and would have been extremely useful in the East in greater numbers and cheap as dirt due to the mature engine design, small size, and limited material cost.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel_Hs_123
    The Hs123C, the proposed upgrade with armored cockpit and uprated engine, would have been even better.
     
  6. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    The engines were ex-French, unreliable and underpowered. Better engines were a must...

    I don't believe so. There was a ground-attack version of the Ju-88 (the Ju-88P) and of course the Ju-87G. The only other ones I can think of came later: a ground-attack version of the Ju-388, the Henschel Hs-132 (basically a larger dive-bomber version of the He-162 Volksjager) and the Ju-248; an enlarged V-1 with a pilot and either bombs or rockets. Still powered by a pulse-jet, I don't think it would have worked very well...
     
  7. wiking Member

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    Interesting comparison in terms of performance:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel_Hs_123
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyushin_Il-2#Specifications_.28Il-2M3.29
     
  8. SunDeep Banned

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    Well, of course you'd expect that, given that one of them was virtually shunted aside at the development stage, and the other was emphasised by Stalin to be as 'important as air and bread' to the Soviet war effort, with its production and development emphasised over that of all other soviet aircraft during the war. And the Il-2 stats are for the upgraded design which was only produced from 1943 onwards. Between the prototypes' specs, there wasn't really that much in it- certainly, nothing that better engines and greater emphasis on the aircraft's importance to the German war effort couldn't have solved. And it's probably more in keeping with Hitler's character to support this project than it would have been for him to support other lines of German aircraft development, such as jet fighters; after all, given his well-known personal fetish for bulking up weapons platforms to the max, it shouldn't be too hard to pique his interest in a stronger, more powerful Hs 123, which is basically the closest thing to a Nazi flying tank that they could have conceivably mass-produced (and it's also worth bearing in mind that they could have easily started doing so prior to the outbreak of WW2, rather than during the dying stages of it)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  9. wiking Member

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    The point I was making was that the Hs123 with less than half of the HP of the IL-2 was still close in terms of firepower and payload to the late war model of the Il-2; the Hs123C would have closed the gap even further. Frankly the IL-2 is overrated and its loss rates were appalling. Its saving grace was the volume of units in the field and high tolerance for casualties of the Soviet system, especially as LW ability to fight back degraded by 1943.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyushin_Il-2
     
  10. Just Leo Curmudgeon with a heart of gold

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    For an aircraft to be called a tank destroyer, it should be able to fly, be relatively tough, and carry weapons and munitions which have a relatively good percentage of probability of achieving the destruction of a target tank. Being able to fly, and being tough isn't enough.
     
  11. SunDeep Banned

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    So the BK-37 autocannon couldn't cut it when it came to destroying tanks? I think Hans-Ulrich Rudel would have disagreed with you on that one...
     
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  12. Just Leo Curmudgeon with a heart of gold

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    First of all, name the second most famous Stuka-G tank killer.

    Secondly, the HS-129 could carry one on centerline for greater accuracy. What was the best, most effective anti-tank weapon carried by aircraft in WWII?

    Are you suggesting that the production of the Ju-87G should have been expanded and more crews trained in their use? The Soviets produced over 30,000 IL2s. Should, or could Germany have out-produced them?
     
  13. SunDeep Banned

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    Firstly: What about Theodor Nordmann, Anton Hubsch, Alois Wosnitza, etc etc? True, none of them were really in Rudel's league when it came to tank kills, but they got the job done well enough.

    Secondly: I don't know- the free-fall bomb, perhaps, on the number of kills? But was it the most effective because of its actual effectiveness compared to other weapons, or just because of the sheer number of them which were produced and dropped on the battlefield? Because you know that if you're talking about weapons 'which have a relatively good percentage of probability of achieving the destruction of a target tank', then a single bomb in free-fall isn't going to cut it, not by a long way.

    Thirdly, I'm suggesting that if greater emphasis could been placed on the Hs 129 at the development stage, an equivalent to the BK-37 would have probably been custom designed for this aircraft at an earlier stage in the war, maybe even before Barbarossa get underway. And while the Germans would probably find it impossible to match the Soviet's production of the IL-2, the Hs 129 could have had a significant impact on the Eastern Front, perhaps even extending the duration of the European Theatre in WW2 by a few months, turning the tide of a few key battles (Kursk, perhaps)- and while extremely unlikely, perhaps even preventing the tide of the war itself from turning against the Axis.
     
  14. wiking Member

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    The spec for the Hs129 wasn't issued until 1937 based on experience from the SCW, so it wouldn't have been fully combat operational until it could get its hands on the French engines that made it operational IOTL, which wouldn't happen until about July 1940; after that you'd need at least a year or more to test the redesigned HS129, which puts operational status back beyond Barbarossa. Which is exactly why it didn't appear prior to 1942 IOTL; then it had to be redesigned based on combat experience, as the Hs129 wasn't designed to operate in the rough field conditions in the East, so it wasn't really until 1943 that it really began to appear in numbers. Its really hard to move up the development cycle of the Hs129 due to lack of suitable engines. The Argus 411 for instance wasn't available until after 1941 AFAIK, so it doesn't help you meet the June 22nd 1941 deadline you'd like to see. You'd be better off suggesting an early Ju87G, which was more effective at tank busting AFAIK than the Hs129 and was in fact the basis for the A10, rather than the Hs129. But the Ju87G was based IIRC on the experience with the IL-2, so like the Panther, it requires confrontation with the Soviets to even develop the concept, so you logically cannot move it up unless you suggest the Western Allies have something along those lines for the Germans to copy. As it was the Ju87 and Hs123 were sufficient for 1941, they just needed more of them.
     
  15. KACKO Well-Known Member

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    I believe I do have your mentioned book somewhere in my library but as I am in the process of remodelling (and creating my den ;) I will not find it so easiely).
    Well there were not so many of them after all. find the needle in the hey. However I remeber one of the Soviet aces, I believe Skomorochov writing about shooting some down. not such a hard job according to him.

    As to their speed. It was close to Il-2. As I said there were not so many of them so their tactics went from them. If Germans somehow manage more of them it will be different story. But what they will need to drop?
     
  16. wiking Member

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    It was actually quite a bit slower than the IL-2, due to the cannon it carried; the M3 IL-2 had a stop speed of 273mph, while the clean Hs129 B2 had a speed of 253mph; note that that was for the clean, non-gun carrying version, so the actual speed was quite a bit slower due to the weight and drag of the gun pod, which was worse as the 50mm and 75mm pods were introduced.

    I'm not sure how much that took off, but the less draggy and heavy AI radar sapped ~20mph off of night fighters, so I imagine we are looking at a 30mph speed penalty for using a gun pod.
     
  17. KACKO Well-Known Member

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    Actually for Il-2M3 I have speed 414 km/h which is 253 mph. HS 129 b2 had 407 km/h. 7 km/h difference. For Il-2 was it speed with full armament or max speed without bombs or rockets? I am inclined to believe second.
     
  18. SunDeep Banned

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    So, let's say that it would have been about 50mph slower than the IL-2. With the engines it used IOTL, even in the B2 version, it still only possessed 80% of the IL-2's HP (I suggested As 411s simply because they were the next engines in the series after the As 410s, the engines it used IOTL, and there would have been plenty of them to go around. They wouldn't have been a massive improvement on the radial Gnome-Rhone 14M engines used in the B2 version of the Hs 129, but they would have still been an improvement. If you can think of better alternatives though, which would have been available without cutting into wartime production of other front-line aircraft, why not?). If it's supplied with decent engines from the prototype stage though, why shouldn't it be capable of equaling the performance of the IL-2 at the same stage, at least with regards to its straight-line speed?

    edit: actually, looking at the figures again like KACKO did, there is only 7kph difference between the two of them. So with roughly equivalent HP, the Hs 129 would almost certainly be the faster of the two.