Perhaps, in terms of the number of different types of equipment used during World War II, only armored vehicles can be compared with aviation. And the intentions of the Germans to destroy it using the same aircraft seems absolutely logical. Here are just the attack aircraft developed for these purposes, which was supposed to become an anti-tank "panacea", in reality turned into a real failure.
The German engineering concern "Henschel" even before the start of the war managed to release more than one successful modification of various weapons. There were also planes among them. And when their Hs 123 dive bombers performed well on the Western Front, the company received an order for the serial production of another promising aviation unit - the Hs 129 attack aircraft.
An interesting fact: in the Luftwaffe the plane came up with an original nickname - "Can opener"
Initially, the plane showed great promise. Taking into account the experience of the single-engine German Ju-87 (Ju 87) and the Soviet Il-2, two engines were installed on the new aircraft. Such an upgrade, in the event of a failure of one of the engines, made it possible to keep the car in the air. So the plane acquired additional protection against light artillery, which was very important for the "work" of aviation against ground targets.
We can say that the Hs 129 was supposed to be the first step towards the realization of the German dream - to create a "flying tank". In previous modifications of the attack aircraft, small-caliber 38-mm automatic cannons were used, which could not penetrate the armor of the same T-34 from a height, and they had to dive.
The "Can opener" was equipped with 75-mm KvK-40 tank guns with automatic reloading. For one approach to the target, it was possible to shoot at it 3-4 times. In theory, the presence of such a large-caliber automatic cannon should have made it possible to hit tanks from a distance of up to 1000 meters.
However, on this, as it turned out, the advantages of the hopes of the aviation of the Third Reich ended. Neither the armor nor the powerful armament of the aircraft lived up to expectations. As a result, during the entire production period of Hs 129, less than a thousand units were produced. The main reason for this disappointment was the poor performance of the aircraft itself.
The large-caliber KvK-40s turned out to be too heavy for the aircraft's low-power engines. And the guns themselves did not become effective enough: the pilots were unable to hit targets during the flight from the distances that the guns could allow them.
Moreover, the gun gave too much recoil, and the aircraft could not cope with the vibration. In some cases, such a "shake-up" even knocked the attack aircraft off course. It turned out that relying on the powerful weaponry of the Hs 129 was a mistake.
The aircraft that turned out to be super-heavy, as it became clear already during its operation, had a number of design flaws, which finally nullified the advantages of the "Can opener". For example, it was equipped with strong 75-mm bulletproof glass, which provided additional protection, but at the same time made it difficult for the pilot to see.
Another problem with the equipment of the Hs 129 was the lack of a gunner in the tail section. This made the aircraft vulnerable to enemy attacks and of little use without being accompanied by fighters when performing combat missions.
But the biggest trouble was with the "heart" of the Hs 129. The French engine proved to be quite sensitive to dirt and dust. This became disastrous for the aircraft, and it required re-equipment. But even these measures did not save the situation: a large number of machines of this modification were sent to North Africa, where an arid climate and huge amounts of sand in the air led to a number of can opener crashes. As a result, the formation of assault detachments on the basis of Hs 129 was deemed inappropriate by the command.
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