Henschel HS 129 in Action (Aircraft number 176)
By Denes Bernad
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc. 2001 52 Pages
PDF 19 MB
The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was an ideal testing period for Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union to evaluate new weapons and tactics for air and land combat. This testing included the new concept of close air support for friendly troops or against enemy forces. The task of destroying fixed or slowly moving targets with pinpoint accuracy was assigned to dive bombers such as the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka (Sturzkampffltigzeug: Divc-Bombing Aircraft). The Germans supporting the Spanish Nationalists found obsolescent biplanes like the Heinkel He 51 and Henschel Hs 123 were unsatisfactory in attacking small, fast, and maneuverable targets. These targets included tanks, other armored vehicles, and troop concentrations. The He 51 and Hs 123 were unarmored, lightly armed, slow, and vulnerable to ground fire. The experience in Spain highlighted the Luftwaffe's clear need for a well-protected and heavily armed Schlachtflugzeug (Ground Attack Aircraft).