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Henschel Hs 117

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Title: Henschel Hs 117  
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Henschel Hs 117

The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (German for Butterfly) was a radio guided German surface-to-air missile project developed during World War II. There was also an air-to-air version, the Hs 117H.[1]

The operators used a telescopic sight and a joystick to guide the missile by radio control, which was detonated by acoustic and photoelectric proximity fuses, at .[2]


  • History 1
  • Variants 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 1941, Professor Herbert A. Wagner (who was previously responsible for the Henschel Hs 293 anti-ship missile) invented the Schmetterling missile and submitted it to the Reich Air Ministry (RLM), who rejected the design because there was no need for more anti-aircraft weaponry.

However, by 1943 the large-scale bombing of Germany caused the RLM to change its mind, and Henschel was given a contract to develop and manufacture it. The team was led by Dr. Herbert Wagner, and it produced a weapon somewhat resembling a bottlenose dolphin with swept wings and cruciform tail.[3] There were 59 experimental firings, of which 34 failed.

In May 1944, 59 Hs 117 missiles were tested, some from beneath a Heinkel He 111; over half the trials failed.[4] Mass production was ordered in December 1944, with deployment to start in March 1945. Operational missiles were to be launched from a 37mm gun carriage.[5]

In January 1945, a prototype for mass production was completed, and production of 3,000 missiles a month was anticipated,[6] but on 6 February, SS-Obergruppenf├╝hrer Hans Kammler cancelled the project.


The Hs 117H was an air-launched variant, designed to be launched from a Dornier Do 217, Junkers Ju 188, or Junkers Ju 388.[7] This version was designed to attack enemy aircraft up to above the launching aircraft.

See also

Related lists


  1. ^ Christopher, John. The Race for Hitler's X-Planes (The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2013), p.127.
  2. ^ Christopher, pp.126-7.
  3. ^ Christopher, p.126.
  4. ^ Christopher, p.127.
  5. ^ Christopher, p.126.
  6. ^ Christopher, p.126.
  7. ^ Christopher, pp.127-8.

External links

  • Henschel Hs117 Schmettering (Butterfly) - Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford (UK)

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