The German Henschel Hs.129 was a single-seater twin-engine attack aircraft built for combat with tanks.
For the designers of the Henschel firm, which specialized in the manufacture of armored vehicles for the Army, the most difficult challenge was aircraft survivability. They sought to protect the pilot and the most vulnerable components of the aircraft. Their desire to keep mass as low as possible led them to build a cockpit encased in 75 millimeters of glass. The design was very cramped and poorly regarded. Among other inconveniences were the tiny control panel and short control stick.
During flight testing, it was found that the aircraft could not dive, since any angle greater than 30 degrees resulted in the pilot being unable to control the aircraft. In addition, it was found that the Hs.129 could not fly well on one engine. This fact, combined with the reasoning that the plane could land using the other engine should its partner fail, led to the plane’s twin-engine design.
Despite the plane’s shortcomings, the Luftwaffe desperately needed aircraft for the assault of 1940, and in the winter of 1940, Henschel received an order for a series of Hs.129 planes. With the occupation of France, a large number of Gnome-Rhone 14M engines were confiscated, each running at 700 hp. Experiments with installing more powerful (albeit unreliable) engines led to the creation of the Hs.129, which had superior specs to the original Hs.129 and could return all the way to base if forced to fly with only one engine.
Serial production of the Hs.129B-1 began in 1941, and May of the following year saw the launch of the modified Hs.129B-2, which had a modified fuel system (along with several other minor changes).
All in all, 878 Hs.129s were produced.