Henschel & Son

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Henschel works

legal form Corporation
founding 1810 as Henschel & Sohn
resolution 1957 as a family company, 1964 as an AG
Reason for dissolution Merger, later dissolution
Seat Kassel , Germany
Branch Mechanical engineering, vehicle construction, defense industry

Henschel & Sohn (from 1957: Henschel-Werke ) was a machine, vehicle construction and armaments company based in Kassel . The company was founded in 1810 as a piece foundry and was at times one of the most important manufacturers of locomotives in Europe. At times, armaments such as tanks , aircraft engines , airplanes and guided missiles were also produced. The company became known as a manufacturer of trucks and buses as well as internal combustion engines , which were produced from 1925 to the 1970s. The decline of the Henschel Group began in the 1960s, but numerous successor companies still exist today.


Gun of the princely piece caster Henschel, cast in 1803, in front of the entrance to the Rudelsburg

Founding and development in the 19th century

Georg Christian Carl Henschel came to Kassel from Gießen in 1777 and was initially a journeyman, then a son-in-law and partner in the princely gun caster Anton Storck, who cast cannons and bells. As the successor to his father-in-law, he took over his position as a princely piece caster at the end of the 18th century, from which he was released for three years during the time of the Kingdom of Westphalia after disputes with the French city commander from 1810 to 1813. During this time, together with his son, the bell caster and sculptor Johann Werner Henschel , he founded the Henschel & Son foundry , which also produced guns and is one of the oldest German armaments companies.

First Henschel steam locomotive " Drache " from 1848 as a stamp motif in 1975
The Devil's Bridge in Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, cast by Henschel & Sohn in 1826
Transport of a Henschel locomotive through Untere Königstrasse to the Lower City Railway Station from the Henschel factory on Möncheberg in Kassel (1865)

Henschel & Sohn started producing steam engines in 1816 . Johann Werner's older brother Carl Anton Henschel , who became a partner in the company from 1817, had a second plant built in 1837 on Holländischer Platz , the current location of the University of Kassel .

After the death of the founder Georg Christian Carl in 1835, the company experienced a strong boom under the management of Carl Anton's son Oscar Henschel . Oscar concentrated production on the rapidly growing needs of the railways . On July 29, 1848, the first steam locomotive built by Henschel was delivered to the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Nordbahn , founded in 1844 . The Northern Railway presented its " kite ", which can reach speeds of up to 45 km / h , to the public on August 18, 1848.

On October 4, 1860, the 50th delivered locomotive could be celebrated. When Oscar Henschel died in 1894, over 4,000 locomotives had already been delivered. The number of employees had exceeded the limit of 500 in 1865; in 1894 it was 1600. The founding crash of 1873 was survived - albeit with losses in sales and layoffs. After the death of Oscar Henschel, his son Karl Anton Theodor Ferdinand Henschel (born October 3, 1878 in Kassel; † December 11, 1924 there) became head of the company; Oscar's widow Sophie Henschel took over the business until he came of age . From July 1, 1900, Karl was, along with his mother, a company partner and sole company director.

year Employees
1837 0200
1865 0500
1873 1400
1894 1600
1904 3000 and 1600 on the
Henrichshütte near Hattingen, which belonged to the factory from 1904

Locomotive delivery:

date milestone
July 29, 1848 Delivery of the first locomotive
0October 4, 1860 0050th locomotive
August 19, 1865 0100th locomotive
May 21, 1873 0500th locomotive
April 12, 1879 1000th locomotive
July 25, 1886 2000. locomotive
0February 1, 1890 3000th locomotive
January 18, 1894 4000th locomotive
1899 5000th locomotive
until March 15, 1905 over 7000 locomotives

Company history in the first half of the 20th century

Partial bond for 1,000 marks from Henschel & Sohn from February 1920
“Tiger I” tank 1942 being loaded onto a wagon at Henschel; on the right in the background a "panther"
Nameplate of a locomotive built in 1948

The first electric locomotive was built in 1905 and the first Henschel locomotive with a carburettor engine in 1910. At the beginning of the 20th century, Henschel was one of the largest locomotive works in Germany alongside Borsig and was converted into a GmbH in 1920 . In 1918, Henschel Antriebstechnik began producing gearboxes in the Kassel-Mittelfeld plant. In the following years Henschel took over the locomotive production of the Magdeburg R. Wolf AG (1928), the Linke-Hofmann (1930 together with Krupp in equal parts), and that of the Hanomag (1931). A merger with the JA Maffei locomotive factory in Munich failed in 1929. Under license from David Brown Ltd. the first worm gearboxes were built in 1933 . In January 1925, Henschel & Sohn began building trucks and buses (see below) .

In the mid-1930s, a six-pointed chrome-plated star with a large “ H ” placed in the middle appeared as the company logo, which adorned commercial vehicles and industrial locomotives until the end of the 1960s.

Henschel was already producing armaments during the First World War . During the Nazi era , the company was gradually converted to production that was important for the war effort. Numerous suppliers were expropriated or " Aryanized " and included in the company complex. During the Second World War up to 6000 forced laborers were employed; The Rampe memorial on the university site , where the main factory was located, is a reminder of this today . On June 14, 1941, the Kassel locomotive factory Henschel & Sohn delivered the 25,000th locomotive to the Deutsche Reichsbahn .

With the production of war locomotives ( class 52 emissions ), trucks , tanks and artillery (see table), Henschel & Sohn was one of the most important German armaments centers and an important target of the Allied air war . Kassel was repeatedly the target of air raids, especially during the air raid on Kassel on October 22, 1943 , the city and the plants were badly hit (see also Kassel Mission ).

Tank and gun production at Henschel & Sohn from 1934 to 1944:

year tank Guns
1934 6th -
1935 60 15th
1936 153 86
1937 260 70
1938 270 76
1939 210 130
1940 164 406
1941 334 910
1942 597 1928
1943 850 2636
1944 1000 1701
total 3904 7958

As a former important armaments manufacturer of the Nazi state, the almost completely destroyed factories were initially only given permission by the Allies from 1946 to manufacture smaller industrial locomotives and to repair existing damaged or worn trucks. It was not until 1948 that larger locomotives were built again.

Company history in the second half of the 20th century

One of the last of the German Federal Railways introduced steam locomotive series was in the 1950s, the DB Class 23 of Henschel
Henschel road roller (1964)
HMB 2, the forerunner of the Transrapid
DB locomotive series 101
Henschel & Sohn GmbH

In 1953, Henschel took over the bankrupt WUMAG Hamburg and incorporated it into the company as Henschel-Maschinenbau . The company suffered from high development costs and undesirable developments. The previous Henschel & Sohn GmbH got into a crisis in 1957 due to sales difficulties in the truck sector, delays in armaments orders from the German Armed Forces ( HS 30 ) and the switch to diesel and electric drives in the locomotive program that was initiated too late, which resulted in the owner Oscar R. Henschel handed over the management, a change of name to Henschel-Werke GmbH took place and the company went into the settlement .

Henschel-Werke AG

In 1958, the Henschel works, which had been family-owned until then, were sold to new shareholders. With the license production of the HS-30 armored personnel carrier, Henschel went back into the production of weapon systems in 1959 . In 1961, Henschel took over some of the diesel locomotive production from the Esslingen machine factory , and the last steam locomotive was built in the same year. By 1962, the industrial manager Fritz-Aurel Goergen, appointed to the board in 1959, had developed from a partner to a majority owner. In 1962 he converted Henschel into an AG and became the main shareholder; an IPO was planned. In 1963, the production of buses was given up. From then on, production shifted to heavy machinery and machine tools, plus a significant part of armaments.

Rheinstahl-Henschel AG

In 1964, the Rheinische Stahlwerke took over the shares in Henschel-Werke , which changed its name again from 1965 and was now called Rheinstahl-Henschel . - The main shareholder Fritz-Aurel Goergen , who was also active in the management and who led and restructured Henschel from the severe crisis of 1957/58, was arrested in 1964. Free again on bail, Goergen, who was in poor health and mental health, sold his majority stake to Rheinstahl. It was not until 1971 that the judiciary was ready to see that the allegations made against Goergen were unfounded.

In 1969, diesel locomotive production was taken over by Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz (KHD) in Cologne-Deutz , and the truck division was spun off into Hanomag-Henschel -Fahrzeugwerke GmbH (HHF for short). After the takeover of HHF by Daimler-Benz in 1971, the truck production of Hanomag-Henschel and Mercedes-Benz was initially merged and discontinued in 1974 under the brand name Hanomag-Henschel. Production in the former Henschel truck plant in Kassel was converted from Mercedes-Benz to commercial vehicle axles; in this area it is the largest plant in Europe.

Thyssen Henschel

Rheinstahl AG itself became part of August Thyssen-Hütte in 1976, now the locomotive works in Kassel was called Thyssen Henschel . The traditional name Henschel on the locomotives was retained. Together with ABB , ABB Henschel was established in 1990 , based in Mannheim.


In 1995, ABB and Daimler-Benz agreed to merge their traffic technology divisions worldwide under the name ABB Daimler Benz Transportation ADtranz . With that, on January 1, 1996, the name Henschel as a vehicle manufacturer finally disappeared . Rail vehicle construction continued under the name ADtranz , a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DaimlerChrysler group at the time. In Kassel mainly electric and diesel locomotives are manufactured and modernized. The electric locomotive series 101 , 145, 146 and 185 , among others, were and are being manufactured for Deutsche Bahn . Marketing the Transrapid turned out to be difficult, but participation in the development of the ICE proved to be successful; the power cars of the first and second generation ICE trains were manufactured in Kassel.


In 2001 ADtranz was sold to Bombardier Transportation , in 2009 the company still had 900 employees in Kassel.

Parts of the former Henschel works in Kassel now belong to TKTR (Thyssen-Krupp Transrapid), the former Henschel-Wehrtechnik has belonged to Rheinmetall since the end of 1999 with the companies Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Rheinmetall Landsysteme .

Other former Henschel divisions also continue to exist as independent companies with the old brand name.

The most important parts of the company

Henschel as a locomotive manufacturer


OMEG No. 41 narrow-gauge locomotive (Henschel & Sohn, Kassel, 1912/10721), monument in Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Egyptian Henschel AA22T locomotive
202 004-8 (Co'Co ', de, Thyssen-Henschel, BBC, 1973/31405, DE 2500, "Blauer Bock") on a rental basis at the Hersfeld Railway in Ransbach
141 228-7 (Bo'Bo ', Henschel, BBC 30431)
DSB ME 1502 on October 17th, 2006 in Nykøbing Falster

The Henschel works dealt with the development and manufacture of steam locomotives from an early stage , advanced to one of the leading German manufacturers in the 19th century and remained so until the end of steam locomotive production. Henschel also excelled in the development of special steam locomotive designs such as the condenser locomotive and the steam engine locomotive . The first electric locomotive was built by Henschel as early as 1905 . In 1910, the ten thousandth locomotive was built at Henschel. For a long time, Henschel was, alongside companies such as Siemens , AEG , Krauss-Maffei and initially Borsig, one of the main suppliers of locomotives for the Deutsche Reichsbahn and later the Deutsche Bundesbahn .

For the Otto-Scharf mine in Köttichau , which was the most modern open-cast mine in the world before the Second World War, the Henschel works delivered 150 tE locomotives with a 25 t axle load in 1939 , which were the heaviest and most powerful German electric locomotives at the time .

Immediately after the Second World War, production in the heavily destroyed Henschel plant could not be resumed; initially under the supervision of the United States Army Transportation Corps and later as a private repair shop, repairing locomotives damaged in the war was carried out. The E 03 and 103 series, which were developed from the mid-1960s , were largely co-designed and built by Henschel. From the mid-1950s, Henschel built diesel locomotives under license from General Motors Electro-Motive Division . The largest customer was the Egyptian state railway.

Types of private railway locomotives

During the Second World War, Henschel had experience with diesel-hydraulic locomotives when building the Wehrmacht WR 360 C 14 locomotive. Based on this, similar locomotives were offered from 1949.

First generation

The first locomotives DH 100 , DH 200 , DH 360 and DH 550 were still very similar to the Wehrmacht type.

Second generation

From 1955 the driver's cab was in the middle of the locomotive. The stems were quite rounded. The variants DH 240 , DH 360 , DH 390 , DH 440 , DH 630 , DH 875 , DHG 630 and DH 500 were built .

Third generation

In 1958, Henschel developed a series with a uniform driver's cab and, depending on the type, varying front end lengths. These were bevelled towards the end and had rounded edges. These locomotives ex-works had two horizontal silver stripes running along the stems. From the two-axis models DH 120 B , DH 180 B , DH 240 B , DH 360 B , DH 500 B , the three-axis models DH 360 Ca , DH 440 Ca , DH 500 Ca , DH 600 Ca , DH 700 Ci , and the four -axis models Types DH 360 D , DH 700 D and DH 850 D a total of 318 copies were built, the last in 1971. The machine of the type DH 1200 D remained a one-off .

Fourth generation

The superstructures were taken over from the third generation, but from 1962/1963 onwards the locomotives got a cardan shaft instead of the coupling rod drive via a jackshaft. The DHG 500 C and DHG 700 C locomotives had three axles ( wheel arrangement C), the four-axle DHG 1000 BB and DHG 1200 BB had two bogies (wheel arrangement B'B '), and they also had two engines. For export, meter-gauge four-axle single-engine locomotives with closed locomotive bodies DH 1100 BB and DH 1200 BB were built, which were sold to Thailand , Spain and Togo .

Fifth generation

From 1973 the constructions were revised. The specifications of the Federal Association of German Railways were largely implemented, the cab and stems of the DHG 700 C , DHG 700 CF , DHG 800 BB and DHG 1200 BB were now angular.

Sixth generation

In the early 1980s, the locomotives were revised again. The Henschel DHG 300 B and DE 500 C were created .


The DHG 160 B , DHG 200 B , DHG 240 B , DHG 275 B and DHG 330 C locomotives were developed by the Esslingen machine factory , but were taken over by Henschel in 1961 and produced in Kassel.


The DHG 625 C was built as SJ V4 and SJ V5 for export to Sweden , the DH 600 C for export to Ghana and Sudan, and the NY5 , NY6 and NY7 for the Chinese state railways .

At the end of the 1980s, the manufacture of industrial locomotives at Henschel was given up.

Henschel as a commercial vehicle manufacturer

Before and during World War II

Henschel 40 S 1 Bj. 39 with "kidney" radiator mask, 95 HP diesel engine
Wehrmacht Henschel truck in Italy 1943

When a slump in the world economy was foreseeable in the mid-1920s, Henschel considered building up another line of business in order to no longer be so dependent on locomotive construction. So the decision was made to enter the already rapidly expanding field of commercial vehicle production. 1925 began the production of trucks and buses - chassis , first already very advanced 3-and 5-ton truck based on a license from the Swiss manufacturer Franz Brozincevic & Cie (FBW) (300 vehicles).

In the following years Henschel developed its own trucks and buses with gasoline - and diesel -Drive and its own engines. At the end of the 1920s, experiments were also carried out with steam-powered trucks and vehicles (including buses) with wood gasifiers , but both remained in very small numbers. At the beginning of the 1930s, commercial vehicles with a payload of two to twelve tons were on offer. In 1932 the first Henschel-Lanova diesel engines appeared based on a process developed by the technician Franz Lang , which enabled smoother combustion compared to previous diesel engines. Some of these engines were also used in locomotive and bus construction. The Lanova injection process remained in Henschel trucks until the early 1960s. In the 1930s, Henschel made a name for itself in the commercial vehicle sector, above all as a manufacturer of heavy bus and truck chassis . Henschel heavy trucks were used many times during World War II. The factory facilities were badly destroyed during the war, and truck production came to a standstill.

Truck production at Henschel & Sohn from 1933 to 1944:

year Truck production
1933 135
1934 733
1935 1833
1936 1994
1937 3048
1938 3033
1939 2702
1940 1954
1941 2066
1942 953
1943 548
1944 55
total 19054

After the Second World War

The six-pointed star , trademark of Henschel and Son
HS 160 of the Trier municipal utility

In 1946, the facilities were repaired to the extent that, with the approval of the Allies, repair operations for the heavily worn and partly war-damaged trucks that were still in existence could be resumed. Later, American military trucks that had previously run on gasoline were equipped with Henschel diesel engines in large numbers. The name Henschel, which was too heavily burdened with armaments production in World War II, was initially blocked by the Allies, so that the plant temporarily operated under the name Hessia as a derivative of Hesse . The name Henschel did not return until 1948.

After this was allowed in 1946, urgently needed trolleybuses were built again . In the 1950s, Henschel was the largest German supplier of trolleybus chassis. As was customary at that time, Henschel also subsequently produced bus chassis derived from trucks, which were often bodyworked by body manufacturers to make touring vehicles. 1955 appeared with the type HS 160 a new type of line bus , a front control vehicle with a new type of shell construction . This model, available as a diesel and trolleybus, was initially a considerable sales success both as a solo and articulated vehicle . It was already constructed in a modular design (to be called a “platform vehicle” according to today's terminology) and had an aluminum car body . Nevertheless, the production, which had become unprofitable, was stopped in 1963. Remarkable constructions of the company Henschel in the trolleybus area were also the type II 6500, derived from the "war unit trolleybus", of which there is still a copy in Eberswalde , and the type Uerdingen / Henschel ÜHIIIs , the mostly built O with 212 copies -Bus type of West Germany.

A special feature was the Henschel Bimot , which was only produced in small numbers in 1950 and 1951 and was powered by two engines, since the Allied Control Council had limited the output to 150 hp per engine by 1951 .

It was not until 1950, far after the most important competitors , that the company's own trucks were offered again. First the heavy type Henschel HS 140 appeared for a payload of 6½ tons. The name of the truck, initially designed as a hooded car , came from the engine output of 140 hp, and the model was equipped with a long, narrow engine hood and free-standing headlights for the time. More powerful sister models appeared later, including the HS 170 with 170 hp. From 1953 forward control vehicles with a rounded cab design were also available on a technically largely identical basis . The basic models of the hooded wagons such as the forward control remained in the program until 1961. In 1951, the truck range was expanded downwards with the introduction of the HS 100. This short hood model was the starting point for an entire family of models which, with constant further development but with an almost unchanged design, remained in the range until the end of the 1960s. The engine output started at 100 hp and increased to 180 hp by the end of production, for example the 16- ton, three-axle all-wheel-drive tipper HS 3-180 TAK with a displacement of 11,045 cubic centimeters presented at the IAA in 1955, and from 1957 20-tonne three-axle all-wheel- drive tipper.

New truck program

At the IAA 1961 a new truck program was presented, new type designations were introduced for all truck models and the cooperation with the French manufacturer Saviem , a subsidiary of the Renault group, was announced. The new cubic cabs , designed by the French designer Louis Lucien Lepoix , were built in a modular system and were available as forward control with a tram driver's cab (T) and hooded trucks (H). The front control cabs were available with both a local driver's cab and a long-distance driver's cab. The two-axle HS 14 and HS 16 with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14 and 16 tonnes, respectively, was followed in 1962 by the HS 12 T with a gross vehicle weight rating of 12 tonnes, which was only offered as a forward control. The old medium-weight hoods from the earlier HS 100/120 series continued to be offered under the name HS 12 H. Also from 1962 a loaded HS 14 was offered with the HS 15, which was equipped with the engine of the HS 16 and was particularly popular as a semi-trailer. The HS 19 was also available for export from 1962.

At the IAA 1963, the three-axle HS 22 and HS 26 followed with a gross vehicle weight rating of 22 and 26 tonnes respectively (limited to 22 t in Germany) as forward control and hooded vehicles.

At the beginning of 1965 the round headlights were replaced by oval ones. At the IAA 1965, all models were given a larger Henschel plate on the front, the additional Saviem Renault plate had already been omitted at the end of 1962. The biggest innovation, however, was that, with the exception of the HS 12 T, the forward control long-distance driver's cab was now designed to be tiltable. The entire driver's cab was moved forward by 20 centimeters. The tilting driver's cab on the roof attachment and the front headlights placed in the bumper were externally recognizable.

At the 1967 IAA, the Rheinstahl subsidiaries Hanomag and Henschel appeared together for the first time and used a uniform designation scheme. Instead of the letters HS, an F for forward control or H for hooded trucks has been added and the type number has been supplemented by a third. The forward control local traffic driver's cab was now partly available as tiltable, although the non-tiltable front control local traffic driver's cabs were still offered, especially for construction and municipal vehicles. The tipping cabins have been optically revised. The front window was extended downwards, the paragraph referred to by mockers as a window sill was omitted and the front was smoothed. Also from 1967 three-axle semitrailer tractors with two steering axles (F 201 or 221 S-2) were offered, whereby the central second steering axle could be ordered optionally with a drive (F 201 or 221 S-2A).

In April 1969 the Hanomag-Henschel -Fahrzeugwerke GmbH (HHF) was founded, in which Daimler-Benz held a majority stake. All vehicles now bore the uniform "Hanomag-Henschel" logo on the front, the Henschel star was omitted. In the course of 1974 the Daimler-Benz group, now the sole owner of HHF, gave up the “Hanomag-Henschel” brand. The HHF became part of Daimler-Benz in 1978 and the GmbH was therefore dissolved.

At the beginning of the 1980s, vehicle production in the former Henschel truck factory ended and axles for Daimler-Benz commercial vehicles, semi-trailers , trailers and vans as well as commercial vehicle cardan shafts and differential gears for cars have been manufactured there. The Kassel plant has been part of Daimler Truck AG since the end of 2019 .

Henschel as an aircraft manufacturer

Until 1945

Hs 126
Hs 117 "butterfly"

In the early 1930s, Henschel made some unsuccessful attempts to gain a foothold in aircraft construction . Negotiations about a partnership with Junkers , Arado , Bayerische Flugzeugwerke and Rohrbach did not lead to any result.

After the intercession of Erhard Milch , Henschel Flugzeug-Werke AG (HFW) was finally founded in Kassel on March 30, 1933 . In May of the same year, Henschel concluded a usage contract with the body shop company Ambi-Budd for their premises in Schönefeld at today 's Berlin-Schönefeld Airport ; On July 17, 1933, buildings were added to the Johannisthal airfield in Berlin. The first aircraft types were the Hs 121 fighter and the Hs 125 school single- seater , but they remained prototypes. As under license Henschel manufactured in small series, the Junkers W34 .

In October 1934, Henschel took over the land of the Karl Wrede manor that had been expropriated in the interests of "national defense" in Schönefeld and expanded it until 1936 to become the main aircraft factory. In 1936 the first 24 Do 23 aircraft were built there under license . In the same year, Henschel's first successful aircraft, the Hs 123 dive fighter, appeared . As a subsidiary of the Flugzeugwerke, Henschel Flugmotorenbau GmbH (HFM) was founded in 1936 , which built a completely new production facility in the Lohwald near Altenbauna (today Baunatal ). The former “Lohwerk” became the Volkswagen factory in Kassel at the end of the 1950s .

Due to the lack of suitable skilled workers, a training complex for metal aircraft builders was built in Schönefeld in 1937, at that time one of the largest in the German Reich . In 1938, serial production of the Hs 126 reconnaissance aircraft began in Plant 2 in Johannisthal . In 1938, license production of the Do 17Z and Ju 88 bombers and parts for the Bf 109 fighter began .

In 1940, the development of remote-controlled missiles was started in Department F, for example the glide bomb Hs 293 or the anti-aircraft missile Hs 117 "Butterfly" . In the same year, the first deployment of forced laborers from Poland, Czechoslovakia and France took place.

In 1944, the Henschel Flugzeug-Werke comprised eight main operations in Berlin and Kassel with 17,100 employees as well as offices in six European capitals. As part of the Total War , further production complexes were built, including as a branch of the Ravensbrück and Mittelbau-Dora concentration camps .

On April 22, 1945, the production complex in Schönefeld, which had been badly damaged by bombing, was occupied by the Red Army .

The most important Henschel aircraft were the Hs 123 , a dive fighter aircraft , the Hs 126 , a close-up reconnaissance aircraft and the Hs 129 , a twin-engine attack aircraft .

In addition, several prototypes and experimental aircraft were produced, but they did not go into series production.

After 1945

In 1956, Henschel founded Henschel Flugzeugwerke AG (HFW) in Kassel as a subsidiary to look after helicopters of the German Armed Forces of the Alouette II SE 3130 and Sikorsky S-58 / H34 types . The company with a shipyard, hangar and spacious helicopter landing pad was initially based in the Henschel plant in Kassel-Mittelfeld. A branch was located near Kruft on the Hummerich, an approximately 300-meter-high elevation that has since fallen victim to lava mining. Later, the support of border patrol and police helicopters was added and the German general agency of Piper Aircraft was set up at the old Kassel-Waldau airfield . In these heyday the company had up to 450 employees and also developed test stands for helicopter gears based on the tensioning principle and rotor test stands.

In 1970, the United Flugtechnischen Werke (VFW) acquired a majority stake in HFW, which then also took care of the gearboxes and rotor heads of the Sikorsky CH 53 Bundeswehr helicopters . The branch on the Hummerich was closed around 1970. As a result, the HFW plant was relocated from Kassel-Mittelfeld to the new Kassel-Calden airport . In 1981 Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm took over VFW. As a VFW share, MBB removed the helicopter care activities from the HFW and added them to the MBB helicopter division. The remaining shares in transmission support were sold by Henschel as their share in ZF Friedrichshafen . The Piper activities were taken over and continued by employees.

Today there are three independent companies at Kassel-Calden Airport that have their origins in the Henschel Flugzeugwerke:

  • ZF Luftfahrttechnik (helicopter gearbox construction from ZF Friedrichshafen)
  • Airbus Helicopters Germany (helicopter support - part of the Airbus Group )
  • Piper general agency Germany

Henschel as a tank manufacturer

With the armament of the Wehrmacht in the second half of the 1930s, Henschel also began to re-enter the arms business. The company became a major producer of tanks and armored vehicles. For this purpose, Plant III in Kassel-Mittelfeld was greatly expanded. The following tank models were assembled at Henschel:

In addition, Henschel also appeared as a co-producer of the 8.8 cm PaK 43 and the 2 cm Flak 38 . During the Second World War, the Kassel plant suffered considerable damage, but was still able to maintain production at a relatively high level. Due to an instruction from 1943, in contrast to the customary war production in the Reich, the employment of foreign foreign workers without permission was expressly prohibited in the manufacture of the complicated and valuable Tiger tanks.

At the end of the war, armaments production at Henschel also ended, but was resumed after the establishment of the Bundeswehr . Henschel was involved in various armaments projects, including the Kanonenjagdpanzer , the reconnaissance tank "Luchs" and the armored personnel carrier "Marder" . Henschel also applied for the production of the " Leopard 2 " battle tank , but lost the competition against the Munich competitor Krauss-Maffei . In 1999, Henschel's defense technology division was taken over by the Rheinmetall Group.

The name Henschel today

Companies bearing the name Henschel still exist today. After KERO took over the areas of mixing technology, handling technology and drive technology from ThyssenKrupp , three independent companies were created in 2003 that keep the name Henschel and the star alive. The handling technology and the drive technology became economically and legally independent through sale in 2006. The handling technology is managed by VF Capital and the drive technology was taken over in 2006 through a management buy-out of the two managing directors.

  • The start of gearbox production by Henschel in Kassel in 1918 is counted as the hour of birth of today's Henschel drive technology . In 1933 the first worm gears were still under the name of Henschel under license from David Brown Ltd. built. Under the company names Rheinstahl Henschel (1964), Thyssen Henschel (1976) and TGW (Thyssen gear and clutch works) (1981), gears and gears are produced in a long tradition , such as:
  • After sustained growth, the activities were placed under the umbrella of a holding company. The following subsidiaries have been operating under the name HENSCHEL GmbH since 2013 :
    • HENSCHEL Antriebstechnik GmbH based in Kassel
    • HENSCHEL Fertigungstechnik GmbH based in Heilbad Heiligenstadt
    • HENSCHEL ExtruTec GmbH based in Heilbad Heiligenstadt
    • HENSCHEL America Inc. based in Green Bay WI, USA
    • HENSCHEL Power Transmission Technology Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China

(On February 14, 2017, Henschel GmbH and its German daughters filed for insolvency)

  • The range of Reimelt-Henschel mixing systems includes not only various mixer types but also special expertise in mixing processes.
  • The Henschel Industrietechnik provides products for foundries, forges and other metalworking industries ago. One of the main products are manipulator systems . With over 600 installed systems, the company is the market leader in this segment. Today's product range includes:
    • Manipulators for foundries and forges
    • Shot hammer
    • Circuit breakers
    • Grinding manipulators
    • Special machines (e.g. manipulators for radioactive environments with an external control station)
  • The Kassel-based company Akros Henschel went to the Italian Danieli in 2012 . She specializes in the construction of scrap shears and scrap balers and has been renamed Danieli Henschel .

In 2003 the Henschel Museum found its place in the former factory premises in Kassel-Rothenditmold on Wolfhager Strasse. In the immediate vicinity, a walk-in museum depot of the Technik-Museum Kassel opened in September 2009 , where trucks, steam rollers, fire engines and rail vehicles such as the "Drache" or the Transrapid forerunner HMB-2 and the prototype of the Transrapid 05 are on display.


  • 125 years of Henschel locomotives (1848–1973) . In: Wolfgang Messerschmidt (Ed.): Locomotive magazine . No. 59 . Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, W. Keller & Co. , 1973, ISSN  0458-1822 , p. 92-124 .
  • Peter Engelhard: I have a reputation for being a brutal dog. Fritz-Aurel Goergen and the Henschel Works; a biographical sketch. Lechner-Verlag, Calden 2010, ISBN 978-3-9813522-3-8 .
  • Horst Materna: The history of Henschel Flugzeug-Werke AG in Schönefeld near Berlin from 1933 to 1945. Rockstuhl Publishing House, Bad Langensalza 2011, ISBN 978-3-86777-049-1 .
  • Thomas Vollmer, Ralf Kulla: Panzer from Kassel - The armaments production of the companies Henschel and Wegmann . Prolog-Verlag, Kassel 1994, ISBN 3-89395-004-4 .
  • Klaus Wartmann: Henschel aircraft 1933–1945 , Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza 2011, ISBN 978-3-86777-407-9
  • Peter Zander: Rail vehicle construction in Kassel . In: Lutz Münzer (Ed.): From the dragon to the RegioTram. Railway history in the Kassel region . Euregioverlag, Kassel 2014. ISBN 978-3-933617-56-9 , pp. 132–142.


  • The Henschel story - locomotives for the world. Documentary, Germany, 2010, 45 minutes, book: Ulrich Schaffrath, director: Jens H.Waechter, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , series: Made in Hessen, first broadcast: August 10, 2010, table of contents and online video .

Web links

Commons : Henschel vehicles  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Panzer from Kassel , page 71
  2. ZVDEV:  Secret of Commerce Karl Henschel †. In:  Die Lokomotive , year 1925, No. 1/1925 (XXII. Year), p. 1 f. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / Lok.
  3. ↑ Daily entries for June 1941 at chroniknet.de
  4. ^ Panzer from Kassel , page 81
  5. ^ A b c Jürgen Nautz, in Christoph Siepermann, Michael Eley: "Logistics: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow". P. 46.
  6. ^ Panzer from Kassel , page 94
  7. HENSCHEL: Cheap daughter . In: Der Spiegel . No.  33 , 1964 ( online - Aug. 12, 1964 ).
  8. Gerhard Mauz: "MY GELBTE HENSCHELEI" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1971 ( online - Feb. 8, 1971 ).
  9. a b Jürgen Nautz, in Christoph Siepermann, Michael Eley: "Logistics: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow", p. 49.
  10. ^ Rheinmetall locations , accessed on October 7, 2012.
  11. Kurt Ewald: 20,000 written sources on railway customers. Henschel and Sohn GmbH Springer-Verlag, 2013, p. 14.
  12. ^ Karl-Heinz Sauer: A new series of diesel-hydraulic Henschel locomotives . In: Glaser's annals . tape 88 , no. 11 , 1964 ( pdf [accessed September 14, 2013]). pdf ( Memento of the original from February 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vulkan-express.de
  13. Journal: Lastauto Omnibus - 100 Years L + O, page 118.
  14. ^ Panzer from Kassel , page 78
  15. ↑ Articulated large-capacity bus. In: Motor vehicle technology 10/1958, pp. 382/383.
  16. Walter J. Spielberger: The Panzerkampfwagen Tiger and its varieties , Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-87943-456-5 , p. 133.
  17. Henschel is now called Danieli HNA from April 25, 2012.

Coordinates: 51 ° 19 ′ 55.2 ″  N , 9 ° 29 ′ 4.2 ″  E