Henschel Hs-306 Turbinenbehelfsschlachtflugzeug
When in 1943 Willy Messerschmitt told Hitler that the Me-262 would also be able to carry bombs Hitler decided that the Me-262 was to be produced only as a Schnellbomber and not as a fighter. This caused great consternation in the Luftwaffe as they saw the Me-262 as a pure fighter.
Various attempts were made to get Hitler to change his mind but none was successful. Hitler insisted on a Schnellbomber. In a desperate attempt to offer an alternative the Luftwaffe generals came up with a plan to convert old Junkers Ju-87 Stuka airframes to a jet bomber.
The Stuka was very outdated by 1943 and an easy prey for enemy fighters. As the Junkers factory was already very busy with the Ju-287 and EF-127 designs, the Henschel factory was approached with the idea.
In 20 days’ time Henschel designed a jet engined Stuka by adding 2 overwing Jumo 004 engines. The piston engine was removed from the nose and a new cockpit section added to the front. This cockpit was taken from the Henschel Hs-129 aircraft.
The characteristic separated flaps of the Ju-87 were converted into more conventional flaps and ailerons that produced much less drag. Interestingly the fixed undercarriage was retained as fitting a retractable undercarriage would need an extensive redesign of the wing.
A prototype was converted from a war weary Stuka in November 1943. Early tests showed that the jet engines caused damage to the tail planes which was then moved to the top of the rudder.
The aircraft was presented to Hitler in January 1944 as the “New Stuka”. The idea appealed to him and he authorized full production immediately. From all over the Reich old Ju-87 airframes were gathered and brought to the Henschel factory for conversion. The type received the RLM designation Hs-306 and was called the “Turbinenbehelfsschlachtflugzeug” or interim jet ground attack aircraft.
The first units reached the front in the summer of 1944.