ADVANCED HENSCHEL GUIDED WEAPONS

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Research was conducted at Henschel to the end of the war on more advanced variants of the Hs-293. The “Hs-293A-2” was a production change on the A-1 variant, involving a spoiler control system, and the A-2 was used in action.

The success of the Allies in jamming the Kehl-Strassburg system led to the “Hs-293B”, which featured the “Dortmund-Duisburg” wire guidance system. The Hs-293B had a range of range of 30 kilometers (19 miles), with wire spooling out from both the bomb and the launch aircraft. 200 Hs-293Bs were rebuilt from Hs-293A production, and were used in limited numbers in the Mediterranean by bombers flying from northern Italy at the end of the war.

Hitler had ordered that the glide bombs not be used against land targets, in fear that the Allies might be able to recover a dud and learn the secrets of the technology. With the Allies closing in, the order was lifted, and in April 1945, Hs-293Bs were used on attacks on bridges over the river Oder in vain hopes of slowing down the Soviet advance on Berlin.

  • The Hs-293 was a reliable and mature weapon, so it was used as the basis for a wide range of other weapon concepts, none of which saw operation, and many of which were never more than paper projects:

The “Hs-293C” had a warhead in the shape of a long, tapered cone that could “fly” underwater and operate as a “rocket torpedo”. The wings were designed to shear off when the weapon hit the water. Only a few were ever built.
The “Hs-293D” was a TV-guided weapon, using either a radio or wire link. The Hs-293D was tested in 1942, but the TV system was simply not ready for combat.
The “Hs-293HV” and “Hs-293V” series were test items to evaluate different weapon structures, fuzing schemes, and so on. They were never intended to be production weapons.

The “Hs-294” was another “rocket torpedo” design similar to the Hs-293C, but with an even more tapered warhead and two Walter rocket motors. Development of the Hs-294 actually proceeded roughly in parallel with that of the Hs-293, but production was delayed by Luftwaffe indecision. First the weapon was redesigned to use wire guidance, then TV guidance, and finally was stopped for good by the uninvited arrival of Allied forces.

The “Hs-295” and “Hs-296” had armor-piercing instead of high-explosive warheads. Both had twin Walter rocket motors. The Hs-295 had a 1,000 kilogram (2,200 pound) warhead, while the Hs-296 had a 1,400 kilogram (3,100 pound) warhead. Small quantities of both were built, but records of tests are sketchy, and they certainly did not go into production and were not used in combat. Other versions studied included delta-winged weapons; a missile intended to blast apart enemy bomber formations; and next-generation supersonic missiles. These weapons were more or less “paper projects”.