Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino

Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino

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Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino

This picture shows a Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino complete with its bomb load.

FW 190A-8, W.Nr. 175 140, &ldquoBrown 6&rdquo (or Blue six) of 7. or 8./JG 26, Melsbroek, Belgium, September 1944

This aircraft was found abandoned at Melsbroek airfield by the advancing British troops on 4 September 1944. Sometimes the color of the code marks are described as Blue six rather than Brown six.

FW 190G-3, W.Nr. 160016, &ldquoDN + FP&rdquo of 10./SKG 10, Montecorvino, Italy, August 1943

This aircraft was captured by Advancing Allied troops and was later shipped to the United States where it was assigned the US Foreign Evaluation number FE-104.​

FW 190G-3, W.Nr. 160022, &ldquoDN + FV&rdquo of 10./SKG 10, Montecorvino, Italy, August 1943

Arriving from Vicenza W.Nr. 160022 was assigned to 10./SKG 10. It was later reported destroyed by German troops, but was found by the Allies who reported it to have been in reasonably good condition.

FW 190D-9, W.Nr 211118 or 211918, "White 10", NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945

Two pilots were transferred from 5./JG 26 to NAG 6 in April 1945. As they moved, they took their aircraft with them. "White 10" one of the two aircraft to depart with the pilots is shown here as it seemed to appear in a B/W photograph taken after the surrender at Schleswig. The pilot remains unknown.

FW 190D-13/R11, W.Nr. 836017, "Yellow 10 and Bars", flown by Major Franz Götz, Geschwaderkommodore of JG 26, Flensburg-Weiche, May 1945

This aircraft took part in two mock dogfights with a Hawker Tempest Mk.V on July 25 1945. The Dora was flown by German pilots &ndash Maj. Heinz Lange (former Kommodore of JG 51, Ritterkreuz holder, 70 victories) a Oblt. Günther Josten (former Kommandeure of IV./JG 51, 178 victories).

The Leningrad-patrol

The skins in this pack are reconstructed from a well known color photo. Two JG 54 FW 190A-4 fighters flying high over Leningrad front in late spring or early summer 1943.

Aircraft flown by Walter Nowotny, circa 1941 - 1944

Major Walter &rdquoNowi&rdquo Nowotny was an Austrian-born German fighter ace of World War II. He is credited with 258 aerial victories in 442 combat missions. Nowotny achieved 255 of these victories on the Eastern Front and three while flying one of the first jet fighters, the Messerschmitt Me 262, in the Defense of the Reich. He scored most of his victories in the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and approximately 50 in the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

Focke-Wulf Fw-190D-13/R11

  • FHCAM photo.
  • Access panel on the tail fin for the tail wheel assembly and cable from the right landing gear strut.
  • Tail wheel retracting cable on the starboard main landing gear strut.
  • Fuselage extension in front of the tail fin.
  • Fuselage extension in front of the tail fin.
  • Wood flap.
  • Tail wheel retracting cable on the starboard main landing gear strut.
  • 20 mm cannon (FHCAM photo.)
  • 20 mm cannon between the pilot’s pedals. (FHCAM photo.)
  • Fuselage extension in front of the tail fin.
  • Model of tail wheel assembly with retracting cable from the starboard undercarriage.
  • Diagram of mechanical landing gear indicator.
  • 20 mm cannon in the nose.

Focke-Wulf Fw-190D-13/R11 Dora, Wk.-Nr. 836017, s/n 174013, “Yellow 10.” This particular aircraft is the sole long-nosed D-13 to have survived World War II. It was flown by Maj. Franz Götz (Knights Cross of the Iron Cross) after he was posted January 28, 1945 (his 32nd birthday) as the Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader (JG) 26 “Yellow 10” when the until was flying out of Feldflugplatz Fürstenau, a forward base southwest of Hamburg. I have gotten flak over this assertion but it seems that JG 26 was nicknamed the “The Abbeville Boys” or “The Abbeville Kids” by Allied pilots in reference to the unit’s involvement in the years following the re-occupation of the Rhineland on March 7, 1936 (Abbeville is a town in northeastern France). Götz’s aircraft had the “Pik-As” (Ace of Spades) insignia while with JG 53 (so this aircraft has this marking) and he was referred to by his unit as “Altvater” (Old Father). He was credited with 63 total victories in 766 combat missions. Among other missions while stationed at Fürstenau, JG 26 took part in Operation Bodenplatte, the air offensive during what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, and it flew missions over Brussels during that operation. JG 26 evacuated the base on March 25, 1945, to help defend the Fatherland (and from what I have seen, from bases everywhere from Celle – near Hamburg, where I have been – to north of Hamburg and to the Drope field (near Lingen). Note the JG 26’s black-white “Reichsverteidigung” (“RV” or Defence of the Reich) fuselage bands that were over-sprayed with camouflage on top of the fuselage to help hide it while hidden in forests including along the Autobahn). Unit markings appeared before of course, but on February 20, 1945, an order had been given by the Luftwaffe that all Jagdeschwaderen aircraft were to be painted with unit-specific colored bands around the fuselage – ahead of the tailfin – to aid in identification in an effort to avert friendly fire. In May 1945, Götz flew this aircraft to the Royal Air Force Base established at the Baltic town of Flensburg, Germany (which had been the location of the so-called “Flensburg Government,” the last Nazi government in the closing days of WWII and the headquarters of General Admiral Karl Dönitz). This aircraft was later sent to The Netherlands Cherbourg, France then crated onto the HMS Reaper and shipped to the U.S. It went through a list of private owners after which the Champlin Collection acquired it in 1972. I understand it was shipped to Germany for some restoration work with the assistance of Prof. Tank. While the Jumo engine was given some run-ups while part of the Champlin collection (during the 1980’s -1990’s), the aircraft has not flown since the war. Gosshawk Unlimited rebuilt it in 2001, and Vulcan Warbirds Inc. acquired it in 2007 for static display at Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum on Paine Field in Everett, Washington. It is listed on the FAA registry as an airworthy TA-152. My photos and here is my walk around link:

Here is the 1990 YouTube of the engine runup:

Referred to as Würger (Shrike or Butcher Bird) Langnase (Long-Nose), Fw-190’s were also referred to generally by Allied forces as the “Butcher Bird of Bremen.” The D-13 was fitted with a Junkers Jumo-213E1 1 inverted V-12 engine with an annular radiator driving a three-bladed paddle propeller. The large air scoop on the right side of the cowling feeds the side-mounted supercharger. Note the wooden flaps. With the inline engine, the Dora 190’s added an MG 151 20 mm cannon (in addition to the two in the wings) that fires through the propeller hub – the butt of the cannon extends back to a point between the pilot’s foot pedals. Earlier 190’s had a pulley device on the canopy to take up antenna slack as the canopy opened and closed, but later in the war this was expeditiously abandoned – hence the drooping antenna. The black and white Defence of the Reich bands at the aft end of the fuselage correspond to a 50 cm plug that added length to adjust the center of gravity and counteract the weight of the extended engine cowling. Like other 190’s and many other aircraft, it has a mechanical landing gear indicator rod that protrudes through the top of the wing and is a attached to the landing gear strut. There is a cable from the right landing gear strut to the tailwheel that retracts the tailwheel when the main gear goes up and there is an access panel on the left side of the tailfin to adjust the cable mechanism. The “Achtung” warning on the armor behind the pilot’s seat is a warning to ground crews that there is an explosive canopy released in place – due to the difficulty in removing it manually at speed. This Fw-190 version was very successful except that by the time of its introduction the shortage of good pilots and fuel meant its effectiveness was limited.

Focke-Wulf Fw 191

The Fw 191 was the Focke-Wulf submission to the German Air Ministry's "Bomber B" program of 1939. Authorities were sold on the concept of high-speed bombers ("schnellbombers") and envisioned fleets of these medium-class, multi-engined aircraft reaching targets all across England from German-held bases across the Channel and able to outrun and trailing adversary. The Fw 191 was certainly a sound design though issues with the required technology (many of its facilities were to be electrically-driven) and engines delayed the project before it was finally doomed altogether along with the Bomber B initiative itself. Only three prototypes were ever completed.

Several major German concerns were in play for the Bomber B requirement and these represented by Arado, Dornier, Junkers and Focke-Wulf. The Arado concept was dropped from contention while slow work was committed to the Dornier submission. Only the Junkers and Focke-Wulf proposals were seriously furthered. The German requirement called for a few specifics such as a pressurized cabin for the flight crew, remote-controlled armament, all-new engine designs (to be provided by either Junkers or Daimler-Benz), a top speed of 600 kmh, excellent endurance over land and water and an internal/external ordnance load of up to 8,800lbs. Focke-Wulf, largely remembered for their excellent Fw 190 single-seat, single-engine fighter of World War 2, proposed their Fw 191 - a twin-engined, multi-crew offering incorporating the many concepts the German Air Ministry sought.

Externally, the Fw 191 fielded a pencil-like, well-streamlined fuselage with its cockpit integrated into the airflow as seen in the German Heinkel He 111 medium bomber (and later in the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress). This allowed for an all-glazed nose section with no cockpit "stepping" to break up the design. Since the crew was amassed in the forward portion of the aircraft, this non-stepped cockpit approach made crew communication excellent and visibility out of the cockpit relatively good. The fuselage tapered at the rear and this was capped by twin outboard vertical tail fins. Wings were fitted at the center of the design and high-mounted for good ground clearance. Engines were fitted into streamlined nacelles along each wing leading edge, the nacelles running past the trailing edges. The undercarriage was wholly retractable to, again, maintain strong airflow about the aircraft. The configuration included two single-wheeled main legs and a single-wheeled tail leg. An internal bomb bay was situated at the center of the airframe while hardpoints inboard of each engine nacelle were considered. As defensive armament was intended to be largely remotely-controlled from within the fuselage, there was a dorsal and ventral turret as well as rear-facing guns at the aft section of each engine nacelle. A tail turret was imagined at the extreme rear of the airframe between the twin vertical fins to counter any pursuing threats. A chin-mounted turreted cannon was also optional and this woudl protect the vulnerable front from head-on attacks by the enemy. Armament would consist of a collection of 7.92mm MG 81 machine guns (2 x chin, 1 x each engine nacelle), 13mm MG 131 machine guns (2 x dorsal turret, 2 x ventral turret) and MG 151/20 cannons (1 x dorsal turret, 1 x ventral turret).

The Fw 191 airframe itself was a strong applicant for the Bomber B program exhibiting speed through its basic appearance. However, the required heavy use of electrics required equally heavy reliance on generators and motors. This not only added weight to the growing design but also made for a more complex engineering end-product. The design was eventually evolved through simplification processes that went on to include conventional manned gun positions (the nacelle guns were dropped altogether) and proven hydraulic and mechanical features began replacing the intended electronically-powered facilities. Despite a more lightened design, the aircraft still suffered from being underpowered - the Junkers Jumo 222 series engines not proving up to the task (the Daimler-Benz offering eventually went abandoned). These program limitations eventually netted just the three Fw 191 prototypes recognized simply as "V1", "V2" and "V6". Additional prototypes intended to solve several key issues were also envisioned though none of these came to pass. By this time in the war, the German situation had changed for the worse and commitments were given to other, more defensive-minded programs. With the end of the Bomber B program, the Fw 191 fell to the pages of military aviation obscurity - joining a plethora of other promising German designs of World War 2.

Performance estimates for the Fw 191 (prototype V6) included a top speed of 620 kmh with a range of 2,240 miles - both within the scope of the Bomber B requirements. The airframe would have featured a service ceiling of approximately 31,800 feet to which a pressurized cabin would have assisted the crew though a later project rewrite eventually dismissed the complicated pressurization equipment altogether. The Fw 191 was to field 9,240lbs of internal and external ordnance including conventional drop bombs and possibly torpedoes - the later for the maritime strike role over water.

Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino - History

One of the more important German types in service to the last day of the War.

Let’s take a look at a close support version of the famous fighter.

From the very start of the Second World War Germany was known for outstanding close support air units. At this point, most people would automatically think of the Stuka. But the Stuka was mostly organized in separate heavy dive bomber units dedicated Stukagruppen. There were broader Schlachtgruppen, or close support groups as well. At the start of the War these were mostly equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, classed as a light dive bomber. Over the course of the War these groups operated a wide range of types including Hs 129 and Me 262.

My source (the decal sheet!) assumes this Fw 190F-8 was converted from a Fw 190A-8 because it has a fighter style blown canopy and bulges for the outboard wing cannon, but no actual guns in place (they were deleted on the “F” so more payload could be carried). It could have been converted at a depot when sent back for maintenance or repairs, or even converted on the assembly line as needs changed.

Fighter bombers were considered a part of this formula from early on. Starting with Bf 109s, they provided the close support units with a high speed hit and run ability and some capability of providing their own fighter cover.

But close support units operate close to the front, often in very harsh conditions. So when Kurt Tank’s new Fw 190 entered service it was quickly appreciated for its rugged simplicity and ease of maintenance in crude conditions. And Focke-Wulf was quickly forthcoming with modifications to the basic fighter to optimize its performance in that role. Known as the “F” series, they included more armor around the engine and cockpit, and retuned the supercharging for maximum on-the-deck performance.
Early “A” model Fw 190s became “F-1” through “F-3” models but the most produced variant of family, the Fw 190A-8, became the most produced close support aircraft, the Fw 190F-8. Both types were built to the tune of over 6000 examples. With almost 1900 hp it could carry significant ordnance.

As War conditions turned increasingly against the Germans the Fw 190 became the dominant close support type. No doubt it the hardest widely available German type for any sort of air defense to bring down. Towards the end even the famous Stuka was being replaced by the Fw 190F-8.

This particular aircraft was found abandoned at War’s end in Czechoslovakia. It had been assigned to Schlachtgruppe 10 in the last months. I chose it purely for visual interest. It looks to have been originally painted in the standard RLM 74/75/76 camouflage (very grey!), but then had something darker sprayed over the sides, except for the markings were carefully masked around. I chose a light misting of RLM 02 which adds a slightly green cast to it. Then it had squiggles of RLM 83 (light green) applied to the upper fuselage. So a little more colorful (in a camouflage sort of way!) than factory standard.
This is the Tamiya kit with Eagle Strike decals. An easy and fun project.

A Fw 190 A-8 with the F-8. Either type could carry fuel or bombs at the center station, but the F-8 also carries bombs on the wings outboard of the landing gear. I don’t currently have a lot of Luftwaffe close support types! The Hs 129 would be better against armor, but is less survivable in contested airspace. Obviously the Fw 190F could target any ground target, but given the highly fluid War the Germans found themselves in during the last two years that would have overwhelmingly meant vehicle traffic of all sorts. Obviously the Germans weren’t unique in tasking fighters as close support aircraft. Allied types are bigger and more powerful, but not by a lot!


The SNCAC NC.900 was a French version of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, constructed from a number of abandoned Fw 190A-5 and A-8 airframes found in the former chalk quarry of Cravant after the Liberation of France.

The chalk quarry of Cravant was used for about 800 years for mining chalkstone, used in the construction of local buildings. After the quarry was abandoned in 1935, centuries of extractions of chalk had resulted in large underground caverns. During 1939, the French constructor Loire et Olivier became interested in the abandoned quarry, seeing the underground caverns as an ideal location to construct an additional aircraft factory. Before any airframe could be built at the Cravant installation, the Germans managed to occupy France, and for a couple of years, the installations at Cravant lay dormant. However, following the intensification of the Allied bombing offensive in 1943, the Germans started looking at alternative repair depots, and the installations at Cravant were reactivated. Following preparations, the repair facilities at Cravant were taken in use on February 6th 1944 as the Sonderreparaturbetrieb G.L & Elbag Lager 918 Auxerre, also known as the Frontrepareturbetrieb 918. Cravant soon became the main repair works for Focke-Wulf Fw 190s on the Western Front.

Over the next 6 months, about 163 Focke Wulf 190s were repaired at Cravant until the region was liberated by Allied forces on August 18th 1944. The German Forces tried to destroy the facilities before abandoning them by setting them on fire, however, according to local legends, the fire was asphyxiated through a lack of oxygen in the underground caverns. As such, when the factory was discovered by the Allied forces, they discovered 156 sets of wings and 112 fuselages of various marques of Focke Wulf Fw 190, including Fw 190 A-3s, A-4s, A-5s, A-6s, A-7s, A-8s, F-8s and G-3s. A large number of these fuselages were in a damaged state, either through pre-existing damage which had seen the aircraft end up at the facility in the first place or through damage caused by the fire set by the retreating German forces. After an inventory was made, it was found that of 112 fuselages about 70 to 75 were more or less in a useable state. With a large supply of available parts and a need for fighter planes, the decision was taken to rebuild a number of Focke Wulfs for use by French units.

Assembly of the airframes was started under the supervision of the Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique du Centre (SNCAC), and the French-built Fw 190s were given the new designation of NC.900. Despite using a mixture of A-5, A-6 and A-8 fuselages and wings, no separate designations were given to the two variants the main problem faced by the SNCAC was a lack of BMW 801 engines, necessitating the use of a large stock of engines built by the French Voisin factories. However, at the time it was not fully understood that these engines, built during the German occupation, had been subtly sabotaged by the French labourers, often in such a way that the sabotage could not be determined unless one knew where to look.

The first NC.900 flew on March 16th 1945, and the first aircraft was officially accepted by the French Air Force on May 11th 1945. The first unit which would be converted to the NC.900 was the Groupe du Chasse III/5 : the legendary Normandie-Niemen group which had arrived from the Soviet Union to France on June 20th 1945, and which in the first few months after its return had been flying the Yakolev Yak 3 with which the unit had returned from the Soviet Union. As spares for these aircraft were impossible to come by in France, and the unit's aircraft had one by one been cannibalised to keep them flying, the decision was made to assign the NC.900 to them first - and that could not have been a worse choice. After all, Normandie-Niemen had just spent three years on the Eastern Front, where they had fought intense battles against the Focke-Wulf Fw 190s of JG51 and had lost many of their comrades to the Butcher Bird's guns. As a result, the pilots hated the Fw 190/NC.900 and thoroughly disliked flying it. Despite their protests, the unit was officially converted to NC.900 on February 1st 1946.

Due to the way in which the NC.900s had been assembled at Cravant - using numerous parts of various variants without any real attempt at matching parts - the end result was that the NC.900 proved to be an unbalanced and unstable aircraft, with each separate airframe having distinctly different flying characteristics. Additionally, sabotage to both engines and individual parts meant that numerous incidents soon started happening with the NC.900s added to that the pilots of Normandie-Niemen had been used to flying the lighter and more nimble Yak fighters, and conversion to the 'hated' Butcher Bird proved more problematic than expected. A series of incidents, accidents and mechanical breakdowns - often due to failure of sabotaged parts or engines - soon gave the NC.900 a very bad reputation, and already two weeks after its official introduction into service, on February 18th, the decision was taken to end production of the type, with the type being grounded in April pending thorough inspections. This resulted in a partial lifting of the ban, and 9 airframes were greenlit for service in July of 1946, but only one of them appears to have flown until the NC.900 was permanently grounded on November 1st 1946. The circa 70 NC.900s built flew barely 100 hours in service between February 1st and November 1st 1946.

Following the permanent flight ban of the NC.900s, the remaining airframes were scrapped except for one which now stands as an Fw 190 at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at Bourget France's remaining stock of Focke Wulf spare parts was subsequently sold to Turkey to keep its remaining Fw 190A-3a's flying (they, in turn, were withdrawn from service towards the end of 1947).

Focke-Wulf FW 190 abandoned at Montecorvino - History

The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 was a World War II German high-altitude fighter-interceptor designed by Kurt Tank and produced by Focke-Wulf.

The Fw 190D was the third attempt to produce a high altitude version of the Fw 190. First came the Fw 190B, which used a turbo-supercharged version of the radial BMW 801 engine used in the Fw 190A. Second came the Fw 190C, powered by the inline Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine. Both of these variants suffered from problems with their turbo-superchargers, and work on them was soon abandoned because of the success of the Fw 190D.

The Fw 190D used the 1,750hp Jumo 213 A twelve-cylinder in-line liquid cooled engine. Some work on matching the Fw 190 to this engine began as part of the same programme as the Fw 190B and Fw 190C, with two versions suggested – the D-1 with a normal cockpit and the D-2 with a pressurised cockpit. Prototypes were allocated to both projects – V22 and V23 for the D-1 and V26 and V27 for the D-2. One Fw 190, V17, had already been given a Jumo 213 engine during 1942, and was flying by the end of the year. However the project really gained impetus early in 1944, during the development of the Focke-Wulf Ta 152.

"Your exciting Journey into digital world of aviation starts "

You are definitely intrigued to discover Fw-190D Long Nose .

By the time the FW-190D, the ‘Dora,’ came along in 1944, with the FW’s radial engine replaced by an inline, V-12 Jumo 213 of more than 1770 horsepower, the airplaneís primary target was the never-ending high altitude stream of B-17ís headed for Germany. Plus, German high command knew the B-29 was on the horizon and they had nothing that could get that high and fight effectively. With water/methonal injection, the FW-190Dís horsepower soared to 2240 hp at sea level (for ten minutes), which, combined with the supercharger, make the ìDoraî a real high altitude threat. The longer engine and its annular radiator necessitated a four-foot fuselage extension and eventually the type mutated into the super long wing, high altitude interceptor, the TA-152H.

Focke Wulf Fw-190D Long Nose

On 13-14 January 1944 Tank suggested producing an interim design, using as much as possible of the airframe from the Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 with the Junkers Jumo 213A engine. This option was expected to take less time to complete than any version of the Ta 152, and would also provide security against a shortage of the BMW 801 engines used in the standard Fw 190. This project was approved, as the Fw 190D-9 (to match the A-9, then under development). At some point the D-1 and D-2, and their main prototypes, were cancelled.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 175140 ɻrown Six'

Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 Wnr. 175140 of 7./JG26 based out of Melsbroek, Belgium, August 29th - September 3rd 1944. Flown by an unknown pilot.

The explosion had stunned them all. As the dust settled, dazed and confused servicemen crawled away, as others came running to their aid. Immediately it was clear that some of them were beyond help. Left and right fires were raging out of control. Confusion reigned - what had happened.

Little is known about the operational career of Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 175140, but for all that is known, it becomes apparent that its career must have been one of the shortest ones in the Luftwaffe. Part of a series of 300 aircraft built by Focke-Wulf in Cottbus, 175140 was delivered to the Luftwaffe sometime mid-August 1944, entering service at a time of great turmoil. Its arrival came at a moment when the Western Front was crumbling, and the Luftwaffe was hard-pressed to counter the Allied offensive driving into Northern France and Belgium.

In itself, 175140 was a quite interesting Focke-Wulf 190, as it clearly showed a Luftwaffe in transition. Contrary to earlier aircraft, typically camouflaged in the Luftwaffe 74/75/76 daytime fighter livery, it showed an interesting mix of colours: its wings and fuselage lower surfaces were finished in standard RLM 76 light blue, but its engine cowling was finished in a much paler variant of the colour. While its upper fuselage camouflage was finished in the typical 74/75 mix of dark and light grey, its wings were finished in a non-typical camouflage of 74/77 dark and pale grey. It was delivered at a moment the Luftwaffe was transitioning from its typical 74/75/76 'grey' camouflage pattern to a new 81/82/76 camouflage pattern mostly consisting of green shades of camouflage as such it appears that the aircraft's sub-assemblies were painted with left-over stocks of the earlier grey colours, with 77 substituting the usual 75 when the former ran out.

It is unknown when 175140 was delivered to JG26, where it assumed the identity of 'Brown Six', an aircraft of the 7th Staffel, part of JG26's Second Gruppe. On the morning of August 29th 1944, when preparing for their departure from their base in Rosières, France to the Brussels airports in Belgium, it reported its strength as follows: the Stab or Staff flight had just one aircraft and pilot the First Gruppe had 34 pilots but just 14 operational aircraft the Second Gruppe 43 pilots but just 28 aircraft and the Third Gruppe was down to 14 pilots and 13 aircraft. Later that day the Jagdgeschwader departed for their respective airfields: the Stab and First Gruppe relocated to the Grimbergen base north of Brussels the Second Gruppe to Melsbroek, and the Third Gruppe to Evere, both air bases just east of Brussels. Operating from these bases, JG26 was tasked with providing air support for the German withdrawal.

Barely 5 days after arriving at Brussels, the Allied advance was threatening their new bases, and JG26 once again moved. The Second Gruppe departed Melsbroek for Kirchhellen in Germany however in their wake they were forced to leave two of their aircraft behind. One of these was 'Brown Six', which had suffered a landing accident that left it standing on its nose, with a bent propeller and shock-loaded engine. In all, the two-week old aircraft could have mustered not more than a dozen of flying hours.

'Brown Six' had barely been left behind when the souvenir hunters came. The first to get their hands on the abandoned aircraft was a young teenager from a pub located near the now-abandoned airfield. Using a pen-knife, the young man managed to 'liberate' some of the instruments from the instrument panel, as well as the aircraft's batteries which could serve to power a friend's truck. Some sixty years later, in 2002, Ward Goossens donated the instruments of 'Brown Six' to the air base's museum.

Hours after the Luftwaffe left, the Allies liberated Brussels. 'Fliegerhorst Melsbroek' soon became 'RAF Melsbroek', with numerous Allied units finding their base there, from where they could fly missions to cover the continuing Allied advance. Among them was 440 (Canadian) Squadron, a unit flying the Hawker Typhoon, which arrived at Melsbroek on September 9th 1944. One of its pilots was Flight Officer - later Flight Lieutenant - Harry Hardy, whose war scrapbooks complete 'Brown Six's story. By the time his unit arrived at the airfield, the Focke-Wulf had become a popular attraction, becoming the subject of numerous pictures depicting it in its tail-up stance. While some were pleased enough with taking pictures of the stricken aircraft, others started looting the airframe, making off with components.

Eventually, some souvenir hunters decided to pull the aircraft back onto its wheels, so they could get to parts other souvenir hunters hadn't managed to dislodge yet. 'Brown Six' was about to show the parting gift the Luftwaffe had left behind.

After the dust had settled, little was left of 'Brown Six'. Her mangled remains were spread around a crater, and the explosion had left two among the souvenir hunters dead, and numerous others injured. It soon became apparent what had happened: 'Brown Six' had been booby trapped. Rather than burning or destroying the damaged aircraft when abandoning the base, some of the retreating Germans had realised that a wrecked aircraft would soon attract attention, and had made one large trap out of the aircraft. Below Brown Six' nose, a large, 250 kg bomb had been buried beneath the ground, on top of which a heavy anti-tank 'Teller-Mine' had been positioned. On top of that, the damaged Focke-Wulf's nose had been carefully positioned, depressing the trigger on the mine so it was armed: as long as the aircraft's weight rested on the detonator, the mine would not explode, but the moment pressure was released from the detonator.

In the month or so that 'Brown Six' had stood abandoned on its nose, dozens of RAF and RCAF servicemen had made pictures in and around the aircraft, posing themselves against or on top of the aircraft or even seated in its cockpit, unaware of the trap that had been set up for them. In his scrap-book, Harry Hardy noted that the incident made his Squadron very aware of booby-traps for the remainder of the War.


1/72 Airfix A55110
Additional parts: Airwaves photo-etch seatbelts Xtradecals Swastika decal Eduard service decals (surplus from a Fw 190A-5 kit)
Inventory number 1225 - purchased November 8th 2018
Twenty-fourth model completed in 2018
613 aircraft still on 'to do' list.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (“ shrike “), also called Butcher-bird, was a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft of Germany’s Luftwaffe . Used extensively during the Second World War , over 20,000 were manufactured, including around 6,000 fighter-bomber models. Production ran from 1941 to the end of hostilities, during which time the aircraft was continually updated. Its later versions retained qualitative parity with Allied fighter planes, but Germany was not able to produce the aircraft in enough numbers to affect the outcome of the war.

The Fw 190 was well-liked by its pilots, and was quickly proven to be superior to the RAF’s main front line fighter, the Spitfire Mk. V, on its combat debut in 1941. [1] [2] Compared to the Bf 109 , the Fw 190 was a “workhorse”, employed in and proved suitable for a wide variety of roles, including ground attack, night fighter-bomber, long-range bomber escort, and night-fighter.

In autumn 1937, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) or Reich Air Ministry asked various designers for a new fighter to fight alongside the Messerschmitt Bf 109, Germany’s front line fighter. Although the Bf 109 was at that point an extremely competitive fighter, the RLM was worried that future foreign designs might outclass it and wanted to have new aircraft under development to meet these possible challenges.

Kurt Tank responded with a number of designs, most incorporating liquid-cooled inline engines. However, it was not until a design was presented using the air-cooled, 14-cylinder BMW 139 radial engine that the RLM’s interest was aroused. At the time, the use of radial engines was unusual in Europe because of their large frontal area and the belief that they caused too much drag to allow for a competitive design. Tank was not convinced of this, having witnessed the success of radial engines as used by the US Navy , and designed a highly streamlined mounting for the engine. [4] Instead of leaving the front of the engine “open” to allow cooling air to flow over the cylinders, Tank used a very small opening between the engine cowling and an oversized propeller spinner to admit air. In theory, the use of the tight-fitting cowling also provided some thrust due to the compression of air at speed through the cowling. [5] It was also believed that because the Fw 190 used a radial engine it would not affect production of the Bf 109, furthering the RLM’s interest in the Fw 190. [4]

Another revolutionary aspect of the new design was the extensive use of electrically powered equipment replacing the hydraulic systems used by most aircraft manufacturers of the time. On the first two prototypes (described below) the main undercarriage was hydraulic. Starting with the third prototype the undercarriage was operated by push-buttons in the cockpit controlling electric motors in the wings, and was kept in position by electric up- and down-locks. [6] . Similarly the electrically operated landing flaps were controlled by buttons in the cockpit as was the variable incidence tailplane, which could be used to flight-trim the aircraft. The fixed armament was also charged and fired electrically. Kurt Tank believed that service use would prove the electrically powered systems would be more reliable and more rugged than hydraulics, as well as being much easier to service when needed and the absence of flammable hydraulic fluids and vulnerable piping, which was usually prone to leakage, would reduce the fire-risk.

Tank also designed an extremely clean cockpit layout, aided by the use of the electrical equipment. The cockpit had most of the main controls laid out in a logical pattern and incorporated into consoles on either side of the pilot, rather than being placed on the fuselage skinning. [7]

The first prototype, the Fw 190 V1, had its first flight on 1 June 1939 bearing the civil registration D-OPZE while powered by a 1,550 PS (1,529 hp, 1,140 kW) BMW 139 14-cylinder two-row radial engine. It soon showed exceptional qualities for such a comparatively small aircraft, with excellent handling, good visibility and speed (initially around 610 km/h (380 mph)). [8] The roll rate was 162 degrees at 410 km/h (255 mph) but the aircraft had a high stall speed of 205 km/h (127 mph). According to the pilots who flew the first prototypes, its wide landing gear made takeoff and landing easier, resulting in a more versatile and safer aircraft on the ground than the Bf 109. The wings spanned 9.5 meters (31 ft 2 in) and had an area of 15 m² (161.46 ft²).

Problems with the cockpit location, directly behind the engine, resulted in a cockpit that became uncomfortably hot. During the first flight, the temperature reached 55°C (131°F), after which Focke Wulf’s chief test pilot, Hans Sander commented: “It was like sitting with both feet in the fireplace.” [9] At first the V1 used a huge spinner, covering the whole area of the forward engine cowling, through which cooling air was ducted an additional small, pointed spinner fitted inside the duct was intended to compress and speed-up the airflow, in the hope that this would be enough to cool the engine. Flight tests soon showed that the expected benefits of this design did not eventuate, and, after the first few flights, this arrangement was replaced by a smaller, more conventional spinner which only covered the hub of the three bladed VDM propeller. In an attempt to increase airflow over the tightly-cowled engine a ten-bladed fan, geared to be driven at 3.12 times the engine speed, was introduced at the front opening of the redesigned cowling. In this form the V1 first flew on 1 December 1939 , having been repainted with the Luftwaffe’s Balkenkreuz and with the Stammkennzeichen (factory code [10] ) RM+CA. [11]

The Fw 190 V2 FL-OZ, (later RM+CB) first flew on 31 October 1939 and was equipped from the outset with the new spinner and cooling fan. It was also was armed with one Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.92 mm MG 17 and one 13 mm MG 131 in each wingroot. [11]

Even before the first flight of the Fw 190 V1 BMW were bench testing a larger, more powerful 14-cylinder two-row radial engine designated the BMW 801 . This engine introduced an engine management system called Kommandogerät: in effect a mechanical computer which metered fuel flow, throttle settings and the constant speed propeller .

Fw 190 V5k. This is the V5 with the original small wing. The 12 bladed cooling fan and redesigned undercarriage and canopy fairings can also be seen.

The RLM convinced Focke-Wulf and BMW to abandon the 139 engine in favour of the new engine. The 801 engine was similar in diameter to the 139, although it was heavier and longer by a considerable margin. This required Tank to redesign the Fw 190, as a result of which the V3 and V4 were abandoned and the V5 became the first prototype with the new engine. Much of the airframe was strengthened and the cockpit was moved back in the fuselage, which reduced the troubles with high temperatures and for the first time provided space for nose armament. A 12 bladed cooling fan running at three times the engine speed was adopted. The sliding canopy was redesigned with the replacement of the rear Plexiglas glazing with duralumin panels. The vertical tail shape was also changed and the rudder tab was replaced by a metal trim strip adjustable only on the ground. New, stiffer undercarriage struts were introduced, the retraction mechanism was changed from hydraulic to electrically powered, wheels of a bigger diameter were used and new fairings of a simplified design were used on the legs. At first the V5 used the same wings as the first two prototypes although, to make room for the bigger undercarriage, the wheel arches were enlarged by moving forward part of the leading edge of the wing root (in this form this prototype was called the V5k for kleine Fläche (small wing)). The V5 first flew in the early spring of 1940.

However, the weight increase was substantial, 635 kg (1,400 pounds), leading to higher wing loading and a deterioration in handling. As a result, following a collision with a ground vehicle in August 1940 that sent the V5 back to the factory for major repairs, it was rebuilt with a new wing which was less tapered in plan than the original design it had a larger area, 18.30 m² (197 ft²) and now spanned 10.506 m (34 ft 5in) (the aircraft was now called the V5g for große Fläche (large wing). This new wing platform was to be used for all major production versions of the Fw 190. [11]

Even with the new engine and the cooling fan, the 801 suffered from very high rear row cylinder head temperatures which, in at least one case, resulted in the detonation of the fuselage mounted MG 17 ammunition. One other shortcoming of the cockpit location was a poor over-the-nose view which lead to handling problems on the ground. More than one ground crash resulted from the lack of familiarity with the new aircraft.

Fw 190 A-0 were the pre-production series ordered in November 1940. 28 of these were built: because they were built before the new wing design was fully tested and approved, the first nine of the Fw 190 A-0 had small wings. All were armed with two fuselage-mounted 7.92 mm MG 17s , two wing-root mounted MG 17s and two outboard wing-mounted MG 17s. In detail they were different from later A-series Fw 190s: they had shorter spinners, the armoured cowling ring was a different shape, with a scalloped hinge on the upper, forward edge of the upper engine cowling and the bulges covering the interior air-intakes on the engine cowlings were symmetrical “teardrops’. Also, the panels aft of the exhaust pipes had no cooling slots. Several of these aircraft were later modified for testing engines and special equipment. [11]

Engine problems plagued the 190 for much of its early development, and the entire project was threatened several times with a complete shutdown. If not for the input of Oberleutnants Karl Borris and Otto Behrens, both of whom had enlisted in the Luftwaffe as mechanics, the Fw 190 program might very well have died before reaching the front lines. Borris and Behrens could see past the limitations of the Fw 190 and the 801 and see a formidable fighter. During several RLM commissions that wished to terminate the program, both men indicated that the Fw 190’s outstanding qualities outweighed its deficiencies. [12]

The first unit to be equipped with the A-0 was Eprobungsstaffel 190, formed in March 1941 to help iron-out any technical problems and approve the new fighter before it would be accepted for full operational service in mainstream Luftwaffe Jagdgeschwader. At first this unit, commanded by Oblt. Behrens, was based at Rechlin , although it was soon moved to Le Bourget . Some 50 modifications were required before the RLM approved the Fw 190 for deployment to Luftwaffe units.

Engine reliability problems, particularly overheating, continued to plague the Fw 190 until spring 1942 and the availability of the BMW 801 C-2 engine in the Fw 190 A-2. In fact, the problem was relatively easy to solve by rerouting part of the exhaust system, a method discovered by III./JG 26’s Technical Officer (“T.O.”) Rolf Schrödeter. To quickly implement the fix, it was found the rerouting could be done easily in Gruppe workshops. [12]

There were nine distinct production variants of the original Fw 190 A.

This version first rolled off the assembly lines in June 1941. The first few models were shipped to the Erprobungsstaffel (formerly from II./JG 26 Schlageter) for further testing. Following this testing the Fw 190 A-1s entered service with II./JG 26 stationed outside of Paris, France. The A-1 was equipped with the BMW 801 C-1 engine, rated at 1,560 PS (1,539 hp, 1,147 kW). Armament consisted of two fuselage-mounted 7.92 mm MG 17s, two wing-root mounted MG 17s and two outboard wing-mounted 20 mm MG FF/Ms . The new longer propeller spinner and the cowling bulges, which became asymmetrical “teardrops” in shape, remained the same for the rest of the A-series. The panel immediately behind the exhaust outlets was unslotted, although some A-1s were retro-fitted with cooling slots. A new hood jettisoning system, operated by an MG FF cartridge, was introduced. The pilot’s head armour changed in shape and was supported by two thin metal struts in a “V” shape attached to the canopy sides. There were 102 Fw 190 A-1s built between June and late October of 1941. The A-1 models still suffered from the overheating that prototype Fw 190s had suffered from during testing. After only 30 to 40 hours of use (sometimes less), soon after, many of these early engines had to be replaced

The first of these appeared in October 1941 and were equipped with the improved BMW 801 C-2 which was still rated at 1,560 PS (1,539 hp, 1,147 kW). The new re-routed exhaust system devised by Oblt. Schrödeter of II./JG 26 finally resolved most of the overheating problems. The addition of new ventilation slots on the side of the fuselage further aided cooling. The A-2 wing weaponry was updated, with the two wing-root mounted MG 17s being replaced by 20 mm MG 151/20E cannons. With the introduction of the new cannons, the Revi C12/C gun sight was upgraded to the new C12/D model. The introduction of the A-2 marked a shift in air supremacy from the British, with their Spitfire Mk. V, to the Germans. German production records make no real distinction between A-2s and A-3s, which were very similar aircraft: the total combined A-2 and A-3 production was 910 airframes built between October 1941 and August 1942 . [15] [14]

Production began in the spring of 1942. The A-3 model was equipped with the BMW 801 D-2 engine, which increased power to up to 1,700 PS (1,677 hp, 1,250 kW) at take-off by improving the supercharger and raising the compression ratio . Because of these changes the A-3 model required a higher- octane fuel —100 (C3) versus 87 (B4). The A-3 retained the same weaponry as the A-2. The A-3 also introduced the Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion sets. The U3 was the first of the Jabo ( Jagdbomber ), adding an ETC-501 centre-line bomb rack able to carry up to 500 kg of bombs or, with horizontal stabilising bars, one 300 litre drop tank. All Fw 190s which carried the centre-line racks had their inner wheel-bay doors removed and replaced by fixed fairings which were, in effect, a cut away door. These fixed fairings incorporated a raised deflector to prevent hot exhaust gases from the lower exhausts spilling over onto the tyres. When these fairings were used an additional small plate was fixed to the undercarriage leg doors. The U3 retained the fuselage mounted MG 17s and the MG 151 wing cannons. The U4 was a reconnaissance version with two RB 12.5 cameras in the rear fuselage and a EK 16 camera-gun or a Robot II miniature camera in the leading edge of the port wingroot. Armament was similar to the U3, however the ETC 501 was usually fitted with a 300-litre drop tank. The U1 and U2 designations were given to single experimental Fw 190s: U1 W.Nr130270 was the first 190 to have the engine mount extended by 15 cm. The U2 W.Nr 130386 was an aircraft which had RZ 65 73 mm rocket launcher racks under the wings with three rockets per wing. There were also a small number of U7 aircraft tested as high altitude fighters armed with only two MG 151 cannons, but with reduced overall weight. See A-2 for production numbers.

In Autumn 1942, a political decision diverted 72 new aircraft off the production lines for delivery to Turkey in an effort to keep this country friendly with the Axis powers. These were designated Fw 190 A-3a (a=ausländisch (foreign), designation for export models) and these were delivered between October 1942 and March 1943. The Turkish aircraft had the same armament as the A-1, four MG 17 machine guns and two MG FF cannon, There was no FuG 25 IFF device in the radio equipment.

Introduced in July 1942, the A-4 was equipped with the same engine and basic armament as the A-3. Updated radio gear, the FuG 16Z , was installed replacing the earlier FuG VIIa. A new vertical aerial mount was fitted to the top of the tailfin, a configuration which was kept through the rest of the production Fw 190s. In some instances pilot-controllable engine cooling vents were fitted to the fuselage sides in place of the plain slots. The A-4’s main improvement was the number of Umrüst-Bausätze versions. The U1 was outfitted with an ETC 501 rack under the fuselage all armament with the exception of the MG 151 cannons was removed. The U3 was very similar to the U1 and later served as the Fw 190 F-1 assault fighter. Some U3s used for night operations had a landing light, mounted in the leading edge of the left wing root The U4 was a reconnaissance fighter, with two RB 12.4 cameras in the rear fuselage and a EK 16 or Robot II gun camera. The U4 was equipped with fuselage-mounted MG 17s and MG 151 cannons. The U7 was a high-altitude fighter, easily identified by the compressor air-intakes on either side of the cowling. Adolf Galland himself flew a U7 in the spring of 1943. The A-4/U8 was the Jabo-Rei (Jagdbomber Reichweite, long-rang fighter-bomber), adding a 300-litre drop tank under each wing, on VTr-Ju 87 racks with duralumin fairings produced by Weserflug, and a centre-line bomb rack. The outer-wing MG FF/M cannons and the cowling-MG 17 were removed to save weight. The A-4/U8 served as the model for the Fw 190 G-1. A new series of easier to install Rüstatz field kits began to be produced in 1943. The first of these, the A-4/R1 was fitted with a FuG 16ZY radio set with a Morane whip-aerial fitted under the port wing. These aircraft were called Leitjäger or Fighter Formation Leaders that could be tracked and directed from the ground via special R/T equipment called Y-Verfahren. More frequent use of this equipment was made from the A-5 onwards. Some A-4s were outfitted with underwing WGr 21 rocket mortars these were designated Fw 190 A-4/R6. A total of 976 A-4s were built between June 1942 and March 1943.

The A-5 was developed after it was determined that the Fw 190 could easily carry more ordnance. The engine was moved forward by 15 cm, and the aircraft was equipped with the BMW 801 D-2 engine, rated at 1,700 PS (1,677 hp, 1,250 kW). Some A-5s were tested with the MW 50 installation: this was a mix of 50% methyl alcohol and 50% water which could be injected into the engine to produce a short-term power boost to 2,000 PS (1,973 hp, 1,471 kW) but this system was not adopted for serial production. New radio gear, including FuG 25a Erstling IFF and an electric artificial horizon found their way into the A-5. The A-5 retained the same basic armament as the A-4. The A-5 too, saw several Umrüst-Bausätze kits. The U2 was designed as a night Jabo-Rei and featured anti-reflective fittings and exhaust flame dampeners. A centre-line ETC 501 rack typically held a 250 kg bomb, and wing-mounted racks mounted 300-litre drop tanks. A EK16 gun camera, as well as landing lights, were fitted to the wing leading edge. The U2 was armed with only two MG 151 cannons. The U3 was a Jabo fighter fitted with ETC 501s for drop-tanks and bombs it too featured only two MG 151s for armament. The U4 was a “recon” fighter with two RB 12.5 cameras and all armament of the base A-5 with the exception of the MG FF cannons. The A-5/U8 was another Jabo-Rei outfitted with SC-250 centre-line mounted bombs, underwing 300-litre drop tanks and only two MG 151s it later became the Fw 190 G-2. A special U12 was created to fight American and British bombers, outfitted with the standard MG 17 and MG 151 but replacing the outer-wing MG-FF cannons by two underwing gun pods containing two MG 151/20 each for a total of two machine guns and six cannons. The A-5/U12 was the prototype installation of what was known as the R1 package from the A-6 onwards. The A-5/R11 was a night-fighter conversion fitted with FuG 217 Neptun (Neptune) radar equipment with arrays of three antennae vertically mounted fore and aft of the cockpit and above and below the wings. Flame dampening boxes were fitted over the exhaust exits. There were 1,752 A-5s built from November 1942 to June 1943.

The Fw 190 A-6 was developed to fix the shortcomings found in previous “A” models when fighting U.S. heavy bombers. Modifications of the type to date had caused the weight of the aircraft to creep up. To combat this and to allow better weapons to be installed in the wings, a structurally redesigned and lighter wing was introduced with the A-6. The normal armament was increased to two MG 17 fuselage machine guns and four MG 151/20E wing-root and outer wing cannon with larger ammunition boxes. New electrical sockets and reinforced weapon-mounts were fitted internally in the wings to allow the installation of either 20mm or 30mm ammunition boxes and for under-wing armament. Because the outer wing MG 151s were mounted lower than the MG/FFs new larger hatches, incorporating bulges and cartridge discharge chutes, were incorporated into the wing lower surfaces. It is believed the MG 17s were kept because their tracer rounds served as a targeting aid for the pilots. A new FuG 16 ZE radio navigation system was fitted in conjunction with a FuG 10 ZY. A loop aerial for radio-navigation, mounted on a small “teardrop” base was fitted under the rear fuselage, offset slightly to port, with an additional short “whip” aerial aft of this. These aerials were fitted on all later Fw 190 variants. In late 1943 the Erla Antwerp factory designed a new, much more simple rack/drop tank fitting, which was much more streamlined than the bulky ETC 501 and could be quickly fitted or removed prior to take-off. Several A-6s, A-7s and A-8s of JG 26 were fitted with these racks (one aircraft so fitted was A-8 W.Nr.170346 Black 13 flown by Obstlt. Josef Priller during the Normandy invasion on 6 June 1944 .) The A-6 was outfitted in numerous ways with various sets, Rüstsätze (field modification kits): more flexible than the factory upgrade kits for previous versions, these field upgrade kits allowed the A-6 to be refitted in the field as missions demanded. At least 963 A-6s were built between July 1943 ending in April 1944 according to RLM acceptance reports and Focke-Wulf production books . [14]

The Fw 190 A-7 was based on the Fw 190 A-5/U9 prototype, and entered production in November of 1943. The A-7 was equipped with the BMW 801 D-2 engine, again producing 1,700 PS (1,677 hp, 1,250 kW). Designed to combat the USAAF’s heavy bombers the basic armament was upgraded to include two fuselage-mounted MG 131s, replacing the MG 17s. Because the bulkier MG 131s had to be mounted further apart the upper gun cowling, just in front of the cockpit, was modified with faired bulges and a new upper engine cowling, with the gun blast troughs further apart, was manufactured. This left insufficient room for the three cowling toggle-latches which were moved to the cowling side panels. The rest of the armament fit stayed at two wing-root mounted MG 151s and two outer-wing mounted MG 151s. The Revi gun sight was updated to the new 16B model. The additional weight of the new weapon systems required the updating of the wheels, adding a reinforced rim to better deal with typical combat airfield conditions. The A-7 was usually outfitted with the centre-line mounted ETC 501 rack. There were several major Rüstsätze for the A-7 many including Werfer-Granate WGr 21 rockets. A total of 701 A-7s were produced from November 1943 to April 1944 according to RLM acceptance reports and Focke-Wulf production books.

The Fw 190 A-8 entered production in February 1944, it was either powered by the standard BMW 801 D-2 or the 801Q (also known as 801TU). The 801Q/TU was a standard 801D with improved, thicker armour on the front annular cowling, which also incorporated the oil tank, upgraded from 6 mm on earlier models to 10 mm. Changes introduced with the Fw 190 A-8 also included the C3-injection Erhöhte Notleistung emergency boost system to the fighter variant of the Fw 190 A (a similar system with less power had been fitted to some earlier Jabo variants of the 190 A) raising power to 1,980 PS (1,953 hp, 1,456 kW) for a short time. The Erhöhte Notleistung system operated by spraying additional fuel into the fuel/air mix, cooling it and allowing higher boost pressures to be run, but at the cost of much higher fuel consumption. From the A-8 on Fw 190s could be fitted with a new paddle-bladed wooden propeller, easily identified by its wide blades with curved tips. A new bubble canopy design, with greatly improved vision sideways and forward had been developed for the F-2 ground attack model, but was often seen fitted at random on A-8s, F-8s and G-8s. The new canopy included a larger piece of head armour which was supported by reinforced bracing and a large fairing. A new internal fuel tank with a capacity of 115l was fitted behind the cockpit, which meant that the radio equipment had to be moved forward to just behind the pilot. Externally, a large round hatch was incorporated into the lower fuselage to enable the new tank to be installed and the pilot’s oxygen bottles were moved aft and positioned around this hatch. A fuel filler was added to the port side, below the rear canopy and a rectangular radio access hatch was added to starboard. Other changes included an ETC 501 under-fuselage rack which was mounted on a lengthened carrier and moved 200mm further forward to help restore the centre of gravity of the aircraft. This fuselage would form the basis for all later variants of the Fw 190 and the Ta 152 series. The Morane “whip” aerial for Y-Verfahren was fitted as standard under the port wing, just aft of the wheel-well. Nearly a dozen Rüstsätze kits were made available for the A-8, including the famous A-8/R2 and A-8/R8 Sturmbockmodels. The A-8/R2 replaced the outer wing 20 mm cannon with a 30 mm MK 108 cannon , the A-8/R8 was similar but fitted with heavy armour including 30 mm canopy and windscreen armour and 5 mm cockpit armour. The A-8 was the most numerous of the Fw 190 A’s, with over 6,550 A-8 airframes produced from March 1944 to May 1945. A-8’s were produced by at least eight factories during its lifetime. [20] [14]

The Fw 190 A-9 was the last A-model produced, and was first built in September 1944. The A-9 was fitted with the new BMW 801S, called the 801 TS or 801 TH when shipped as a “power-egg”, or Kraftei, engine (an aircraft engine installation format embraced by the Luftwaffe for a number of engine types on operational aircraft, in part for easy field replacement) rated at 2,000 PS (1,973 hp, 1,471 kW) the more powerful 2,400 PS (2,367 hp, 1,765 kW) BMW 801F -1 was not available. The armour on the front annular cowling, which also incorporated the oil tank, was upgraded from the 6 mm on earlier models to 10 mm. The 12 blade cooling fan was initially changed to a 14 blade fan but it consumed more power to operate and did not really improve cooling thus BMW reverted back to the 12 blade fan. The cowling of the A-9 was also slightly longer than that of the previous Anton’s due to the use of a larger, more efficient annular radiator for the oil system. The bubble canopy design with the larger head armour was fitted as standard. Three types of propeller were authorised for use on the A-9: the VDM 9-112176A wooden propeller, 11′ 6″ in diameter, was the preferred option however many A-9s were fitted with the standard VDM 9-12067A metal propeller and some had a VDM 9-12153A metal propeller with external, bolt on balance weights. [21] The A-9 was also designed originally as an assault aircraft, so the wing leading edges were to have been armoured however this did not make it past the design stage in order to save weight. The A-9 was very similar to the A-8 in regards to the armament and Rüstsätze kits. A total of 910 A-9s were built between April 1944 and May 1945, mostly in Focke Wulf’s Cottbus factory. [22] [14]

In total about 13,291 Fw 190 As were produced in all variants. [23]

Against the RAF

For the first few months of the Fw 190’s combat career, the Allies , being entirely unaware of the new fighter, attributed pilots’ reports of a new “radial-engined fighter” to Curtiss P-36 Mohawks captured from the French. The new fighter outperformed the Spitfire Mk. V then in service with the RAF in all aspects except turning radius. As Allied fighter losses rose and local air superiority over the Channel front passed to the Luftwaffe, Allied plans were tentatively made to launch a Commando raid on a Luftwaffe airfield to steal an Fw 190 for evaluation. However, the British acquired an intact Fw 190 A-3 in late June 1942, when a Jagdgeschwader 2 pilot Oblt. Armin Faber landed on a British airfield by mistake. [24] Taking advantage of this, the RAF was quick to study the aircraft for any novel design elements. [25] In particular, the cooling system and installation of Fw 190’s radial engine was a direct influence on Hawker Siddeley’s Tempest II . The British confirmed that the Fw 190 could outperform, in most aspects, the then top-of-the-line Spitfire Mk. V. In terms of firepower, rate of roll and straight line speed at low altitude, the Fw 190 was considerably better, a discovery which prompted the rush development of the Spitfire Mark IX with the new two-stage supercharged Merlin 61 engine. In combat at low altitudes RAF pilots reported instances of Fw 190s diving straight into the ground after failing to pull up when following a diving Spitfire. It was thought that this was because the Fw 190 pilots had left the powerful, variable incidence tailplane trim mechanism in the “nose heavy” position, meaning that their aircraft could not recover from the dive in time. [26] Testing Faber’s Fw 190 against the then new Mustang IA (known as the P-51A Mustang in the USAAF), the P-51, like the Spitfire came up short when compared to the Fw 190, with the exception of performance at an altitude of 5000-15,000 ft. Further, as the Americans tested the Fw 190 (specifically the A-4/U8), the Fw 190 was found to be a superior performer in many aspects compared to the F6F-3 Hellcat and F4U-1 Corsair, with the exception of turning characteristics (there was no manoeuvre the pilot of the Fw 190 could fly that the two Navy fighters could not follow). [27] It was thought that this was due to the sudden aileron reversal and the stall characteristics of the Fw 190. On the whole, Allied pilots who flew the Fw 190 found it pleasant to fly, very responsive, and while the cockpit was small in comparison to most allied fighters, the cockpit was well laid out. Most pilots found the Fw 190’s Kommandogerat system (which automatically controlled the RPM, fuel mixture, ignition timing, supercharger switchover, and boost pressure) to be more of a hindrance than a help [28] .

The first significant operation in which Fw 190s played an important role was Operation Cerberus , the “channel dash” break-out through the English Channel and Dover Strait by the Kriegsmarine’s battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen , which took place on 12 February 1942 . Adolf Galland , who was now General der Jagdflieger (General of the Fighter Arm), insisted that the operation take place during daylight hours and accepted responsibility for devising a plan to provide continuous daylight fighter cover against the heavy attacks expected by the RAF . One Fw 190 unit, Major Gerhard Schöpfels III./JG 26, intercepted and broke-up the gallant attack by six Fleet Air Arm Fairey Swordfishes led by Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde . By the end of the day JG 26 had been credited with seven aerial victories and six probables for the loss of four Fw 190s and their pilots. Galland was to later call the success of this operation the “greatest hour” of his career. [29]

The Fw 190’s first significant mass engagement took place on 19 August 1942 , during Operation Jubilee , the Allied raid on Dieppe . Jagdgeschwaders JG 2 and JG 26 had recently converted from the Bf 109, fielding 115 fighter aircraft during the day’s fighting, including a small number of Bf 109 G models. The RAF committed over 300 fighter aircraft, consisting mostly of Spitfire VB models, with just six squadrons of Spitfire Mk. IXBs , and also some of the new Hawker Typhoons . In addition several squadrons of Hawker Hurricanes and RAF Allison engined Mustangs performed fighter-bomber and reconnaissance duties. During the action, the two Jagdgeschwader lost 25 Fw 190s to all causes, including crashes, but, in return, they claimed 106 Allied aircraft. Fighting over occupied territory, the RAF lost 81 pilots and aircrew killed or taken prisoner, against Luftwaffe fighter losses of 14 pilots killed. [30] [31] [12] During the engagement, the Fw 190 was also successfully used against Allied naval vessels as an attack aircraft. [32]

From the end of June 1942, the Fw 190 A-3/U3 Jabo (Jagdbomber, Fighter-bomber) equipped 10.(Jabo)/JG 2 and 10.(Jabo)/JG 26, which operated with considerable success attacking shipping and port towns around the south-eastern coasts of England. These high speed, low altitude attacks were almost impossible to defend against as the Fw 190s came in below effective radar coverage and were often gone before RAF fighters could intercept them. The most successful of these fighter-bomber operations was carried out on 31 October 1942 on Canterbury in retaliation for RAF bombing raids over Germany. In the largest daylight raid mounted by the Luftwaffe since the Battle of Britain , about 60 Fw 190s unloaded 30 bombs on the city, killing 32 people and injuring 116, as well as causing a lot of damage to residential properties and shops. Only one Fw 190 was lost over England. [33] [12] The most successful RAF fighters used to intercept these attacks were the Hawker Typhoons and the Griffon -engined Spitfire Mk XIIs , which were both fast enough to catch the Fw 190, especially at low altitudes. [34]

In April 1943, the two Jabo units were amalgamated into Schnellkampfgeschwader 10 ((SKG 10) which switched to night operations over southern England, a role in which the Fw 190 proved unsuccessful, taking heavy casualties from the de Havilland Mosquito night fighters. On the night of April 16/17, on this unit’s first operation, four Fw 190s which were attempting to attack London, got lost over Kent . Three of them attempted to land at RAF West Malling : Yellow H of 7./SKG 10, flown by Feldwebel Otto Bechtold landed and was captured, his Fw 190 later being evaluated by the RAE at Farnborough another Fw 190 of 5./SKG 10, flown by Leutnant Fritz Sezter landed several minutes later. When Setzer realised he had landed on an enemy airfield and attempted to take-off this aircraft was destroyed by an armoured car. Setzer surrendered to Wing Commander Peter Townsend . A third Fw 190 undershot the runway and was also destroyed, the pilot escaping with a concussion. The fourth Fw 190 crashed at Staplehurst , killing the pilot. [35]

Eastern Front

On the Eastern Front, the Fw 190 first entered service with Jagdgeschwader 54 in 1942. The Fw 190 never dominated the way it did in the West, mainly because it was in “the wrong time and place.” From 1943, tactical and numerical superiority was often in Soviet hands, while the Luftwaffe had lost many of its best pilots in 1941-1942 and was on the strategic defensive. Fw 190 units had an increasingly tough time against the numerous Soviet Lavochkin La-5 , Yakovlev Yak-9 and late-war Lavochkin La-7 and Yakovlev Yak-3 family of fighters. [36] The Fw 190 gruppen adhered to well-proven hit-and-run tactics, avoiding whenever possible any turning engagements or being caught in a position of inferior numerical advantage. These tactics were used by Bf 109 pilots as well, albeit “the lean” (the Soviet nickname for the Bf 109 series) was widely considered by Soviet airmen as a more agile and potent adversary than the Fw 190, which was viewed as “heavy and slow…” especially when climbing [37] [26]

Fw 190 A8/N reproduction by Flug Werk GmbH Germany in the colors and markings of Oberst Erich Rudorffer’s mount of JG 54 when stationed at Immola/Finnland.

The general rule for Soviet airmen in the latter war years was to take advantage of their superior turning ability, acceleration and rate of climb to force the adversary into entering a horizontal or vertical manoeuvre. Likewise, La-5FNs freely took up the challenge as an “energy or angles” fighter against all Fw 190As, and as “angles” fighters against the Fw 190 D, which was considered by the Soviet pilots as a fighter that “burned as well as other aircraft, and was easier to hit.” [38]

Erich Rudorffer , a 222 victory ace was the highest scoring � ace in the Luftwaffe. Rudorffer destroyed 138 aircraft flying the Focke-Wulf, 13 in 17 minutes on 11 October 1943 [39] .

The fighter-bomber and ground attack versions were introduced in increasing numbers on the Eastern Front throughout 1943, replacing the obsolete Junkers Ju 87 .

Defense of the Reich

As the USAAF’s daylight bombing offensive grew in size through 1943, the Fw 190 became a “bomber-destroyer” with ever heavier armament and armour fitted. The type’s performance above 20,000 feet dropped off considerably as a result, making the Fw 190 an increasingly vulnerable target for Allied escort fighters.

From mid-1943, Fw 190s were also used as nightfighters against the growing British bomber offensive. The first unit to use Fw 190s in this role was Stab/Versuchskommando Herrmann, a unit specifically set up in April 1943 by Major Hajo Herrmann . Herrmann’s unit used standard A-4s and A-5s borrowed from day fighter units to intercept bombers over or near the targeted city, using searchlights and other visual aids to help them find their quarry. The first use of “Window” by the RAF during the Battle of Hamburg in July 1943, rendered the standard nightfighter Himmelbett procedures useless and brought urgency to the development of Herrmann’s Wilde Sau (Wild Boar) technique, pending the development of new nightfighting strategies. St/V Herrmann was expanded to become JG 300 and JG 301 and JG 302 were also set up, all three units initially borrowing their aircraft from day fighter units. The day fighter units began to protest at the numbers of their aircraft which were being written-off because of the hazards of night operations the numbers soared with the onset of winter, with pilots often being forced to bail-out through being unable to find an airfield at which to land safely. “Crash-landings” were also frequent. Eventually all three Wilde Sau units received their own aircraft, which were often modified with exhaust dampers and blind-flying radio equipment. Another unit was Nachtjagd Gruppe 10 (N/JGr 10), which used Fw 190 A-4/R11s through to A-8/R11s Fw 190s modified to carry FuG 217 or FuG 218 radar equipment.

Even before the Fw 190 A was introduced into service it was obvious that the high-altitude performance of the aircraft left much to be desired. The BMW 139 (and the 801 that followed) had originally been designed as a high-power replacement for engines like the BMW 132 that were used primarily on low-altitude cargo aircraft and bombers, so the designers had not invested much effort in producing high performance superchargers for it. In contrast, the Daimler-Benz DB 601 engines used on the Bf 109 featured an advanced fluid coupled, single stage, single speed supercharger that provided excellent boost across a wide range of altitudes. As a result, the 190 could not compete with the 109 at altitudes above 20,000 ft, which is one of the reasons the 109 remained in production until the end of the war.

An attempt was made with the Fw 190 A-10, which was to have begun arriving in pilots’ hands by March 1945 and was to be fitted with larger wings for better maneuverability at higher altitudes which, due to internal space, could have allowed additional Mk 103 cannons to be fitted. The A-10 was to be powered by the 801 F engine. However, due to the priority given to the Dora’s and the new Ta 152, the A-10 never made it past the prototype stage. [40]

Tank started looking at ways to address this problem early in the program. In 1941 he proposed a number of versions featuring new powerplants, and to best the performance of even the 109, he suggested using turbochargers in place of superchargers. Three such installations were outlined the Fw 190 B with a turbocharged BMW 801, the Fw 190 C with a turbocharged Daimler-Benz DB 603 , and the Fw 190 D with a supercharged Junkers Jumo 213 . The aircraft would also include pressurized cockpit and other features making them more suitable for high-altitude work. Prototypes for all three models were ordered. [41]

Fw 190 V12 (an A-0, W.Nr. 00035) would be outfitted with many of the elements which eventually lead to the B series. As it was based on the same BMW 801 engine as the A models, airframe modifications were relatively minor. These included a pressurized cockpit, which doubled the panes of glass in the canopy so that hot air could be forced between them to prevent icing, the addition of the GM1 nitrous oxide injection system. Several problems were encountered during the machine’s flight and ground trials, mostly caused by the pressurization system for the cockpit and was dropped in late 1942. However trials continued in early 1943 when the first few Fw 190 A-1s (W.Nr. 0046 through 0049, and later 0055) were modified into testbeds. The same aircraft used for testing the pressurized cockpits were also used to test larger wings (218.5 sq/ft versus the standard 196.98 sq/ft wing), which seriously affected the studies on pressurized cockpits. Following these studies, one additional Fw 190 B was built, named the B-1, with W.Nr. 811. This aircraft was similar to the B-0s but had slightly different armament. In the B-1’s initial layout, it was to be fitted with four MG 17s and two MG-FFs. However, W.Nr. 811 was fitted with two MG 17s, two MG 151s and two MG-FFs. After the completion of W.Nr. 811, no further Fw 190 B models were ordered, leading to the assumption that the testing was unsatisfactory.

The C model’s use of the longer DB 603 required more extensive changes to the airframe. As the weight was distributed further forward, the tail of the aircraft had to be lengthened in order to move the centre of gravity back into a proper location relative to the wing. To experiment with these changes, several examples of otherwise standard 190 As were re-engined with a supercharged DB 603 to experiment with this engine fit, V13 (W.Nr. 0036) with the 1,750 PS 603A, the similar V15 and V16, a 1,800 PS 603 E being fitted to the latter after a time. With this engine the V16 was able to reach 725 km/h at 6,800 m (450 mph at 22,309 ft), a considerable improvement over the 650 km/h at 5,200 m (404 mph at 17,060 ft) of the basic A models. V18 followed, the first to feature the full high-altitude suite of features including the pressurized cockpit, longer wings, a 603G engine driving a new four-bladed propeller, and a Hirth 9-2281 turbocharger. Unlike the experimental B models, V18 had a cleaner turbocharger installation, running the required piping along the wing root, partially buried in the fillet, and installing both the turbocharger air intake and intercooler in a substantially-sized teardrop-shaped fairing under the cockpit. [42] The “pouch” led to the “Känguruh” (Kangaroo) nickname for these models. V18 was later modified to the V18/U1, with a “downgraded” 603A engine but a new DVL turbocharger that improved power to 1,600 PS at an altitude of 10,700 m (35,105ft). Four additional prototypes based on the V18/U1 followed: V29, V30, V32 and V33.

Like the C models, the early examples of the D models were built primarily to test fit the Jumo 213 engine to the existing airframe, as the D-0, with plans to move on to definitive high-altitude models later, the D-1 and D-2. The first D-0 prototype was completed in October 1942, consisting of an A-5 airframe with the Jumo 213A engine. Further examples followed, but like the C models the development was stretched out.

By late 1943 the US 8th Air Force was obviously gearing up for major operations to follow. At the altitudes the B-17 Flying Fortress operated at, generally around 25,000 ft, the 190 As were struggling while the 109 was simply too lightly armed to be very useful against these aircraft. The B had been abandoned by this point, leaving the C and D as potential solutions, but problems with getting the turbocharger to work reliably continued. Improvements using the mechanically supercharged versions of the engines was more than enough to field a competitive design at altitudes around 25,000 feet. The RLM became interested these simpler designs into production as a stop-gap measure. As the DB 603 was in high demand for various twin-engine designs like the Messerschmitt Me 410 , they selected the Jumo 213 for future production, and the D model became the next Fw 190.

Although this interim design was enough to produce a design capable of dealing with the B-17, by 1943 the Luftwaffe had become aware of the B-29 Superfortress , whose altitude performance was far beyond the capabilities of any existing design. A meeting was called at the Messerschmitt Augsburg factories, where it was decided to continue development of the high-altitude Fw 190s as the Ra-2 and Ra-3, as well as develop a new version of the 109 as the Messerschmitt Me 155 , later known as the Blohm & Voss BV 155. After renaming, The Ra-3 would become the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 .

The Fw 190 D (nicknamed the Dora or Long-Nose Dora, “Langnasen-Dora”) was intended to improve on the high-altitude performance of the A-series enough to make it useful against the American heavy bombers of the era. In the event the D series was rarely used against the heavy bomber raids as the circumstances of the war in late-1944 meant that fighter versus fighter combat and ground attack missions took priority.

The liquid-cooled 1,750 PS (1,726 hp, 1,287 kW) Jumo 213A could produce 2,100 PS (2,071 hp, 1,545 kW) of emergency power with MW 50 injection, improving performance to 426 mph at 21,650 feet. It should be noted, however, that this type of performance was achieved under test conditions. Many D-9s reached service without the MW50 installation and were unable to compete with the latest Allied fighters. Donald Caldwell:

The new airplane lacked the high turn rate and incredible rate of roll of its close-coupled radial-engined predecessor. It was a bit faster, however, with a maximum speed of 680 km/h (422 mph) at 6600 meters (21,650 feet).Its 2240 horespower with methanol-water injection (MW 50) gave it an excellent acceleration in combat situations. It also climbed and dived more rapidly than the Fw 190A, and so proved well suited to the dive-and-zoom ambush tactics favored by the Schlageter pilots. Many of the early models were not equipped with tanks for methanol, which was in very short supply in any event. At low altitude, the top speed and acceleration of these examples were inferior to those of Allied fighters. Hans Hartigs recalled that only one of the first batch of Dora-9s received by the First Gruppe had methanol-water injection, and the rest had a top speed of only 590 km/h (360 mph).

At the time it was expected the D models would replace the A series outright on the production lines, so the first version was called the Fw 190 D-9, the A-8 being the current production model. Supply problems with the Jumo 213 forced the A model to remain in production longer than expected, making this re-naming effort superfluous.

Due to the multiple attempts to create an effective next generation 190, as well as the comments of some Luftwaffe pilots, expectations of the Dora project were low. These impressions were not helped by the fact that Tank made it very clear that he intended the D-9 to be a stop-gap until the Ta 152 arrived. These negative opinions existed for some time until positive pilot feedback began arriving at Focke-Wulf and the Luftwaffe command structure. [45] Sporting excellent handling and performance characteristics, it became very clear that the D-9 was nearly the perfect response to the Luftwaffe’s need for an effective medium altitude, high-speed interceptor, although its performance still fell away at altitudes above about 20,000 feet. When flown by capable pilots, the Fw 190D proved to be a match for P-51s and Mk. XIV Spitfires . In most World War II pilot circles the D-9 and the similar Ta 152 were considered the pinnacle of German piston-engined aircraft.

In order to fit the new engine in the Fw 190 fuselage while maintaining proper balance and weight distribution, both the nose and the tail of the aircraft were lengthened, adding nearly 1.52 meters to the fuselage, bringing the overall length to 10.192 meters versus the 9.10 meters of the late war A-9 series. The lengthened tail required that an extra, straight sided bay, 30cm in length, was spliced in forward of the rear angled joint and tail assembly of the fuselage. To further aid balance the pilot’s oxygen bottles were moved aft and located in the new bay. This gave the rear fuselage a much “skinnier” appearance.

Furthermore, the move to an inline engine required more components to be factored into the design, most significantly the need for coolant radiators (radial engines are air-cooled). To keep the design as simple and as aerodynamic as possible, Tank used an annular radiator (the AJA 180 L) installed at the front of the engine, similar to the configuration used in the Jumo powered versions of the Junkers Ju 88 . The annular radiator with its adjustable cooling gills resembled a radial engine installation, although the row of six short exhausts stacks on either side of the elongated engine cowling showed that Jumo 213 was an inverted vee-12 engine. While the first few Doras were fitted with the flat-top canopy, these were later replaced with the newer rounded top “blown” canopy first used on the A-8 model. With the canopy changes, the shoulder and head armour plating design was also changed. Some late model Doras were also fitted with the Ta 152 vertical stabilizer and rudder, often called “Big Tails” by the Luftwaffe ground crews and pilots as seen on W.Nr. 500647 Brown 4 from 7./JG 26 and W.Nr. 500645 Black 6 from JG 2). The centre-line weapons rack was changed to an ETC 504 with a simplified and much smaller mounting and fairing.

As it was used in the anti-fighter role, armament in the “D” was generally lighter compared to that of the earlier aircraft – usually the outer wing cannon were dropped so that the armament consisted of two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns and two 20 mm MG 151/20 E wing root cannon. What little it lost in roll rate, it gained in turn rate, climb, dive and horizontal speed. The Dora still featured the same wing as the A-8, however, and was capable of carrying outer wing cannons as well, as demonstrated by the D-11 variant, with a three-stage supercharger and four wing cannon (two MG 151s and two MK 108s).

The first Fw 190 D-9s started entering service in mid-November 1944. One of the first units to convert to the new fighter from the A-8 was I./JG 26, starting 16 November .

Some Fw 190 Ds served as fighter cover for Me 262 airfields as the jet fighters were very vulnerable on takeoff and landing. These special units were known as Platzsicherungstaffel (airfield defence squadron). One unit in particular was created by Leutnant Heinz Sachsenberg at the behest of Adolf Galland , had the entire aircraft underside painted in narrow red and broad white stripes. The unique colour scheme helped anti-aircraft artillery protecting the airfields quickly identify friendly aircraft, and may have been based on the D-Day invasion stripes used by the Allied air forces. The unit, known as Würger-Staffel, guarded the airfield of JV 44 , operational late in the war, from about March 1945 to May 1945, and was used only to defend landing Me 262s and as such prohibited from chasing Allied aircraft.

17 Fw 190 D-11s were known to have been manufactured. This version was fitted with the uprated Jumo 213E series engine which was also used in the Ta-152 H series. Changes over the D-9 were the enlarged supercharger air-intake on the starboard side cowling and the use of a wooden, broad-bladed VS 9 or 10 propeller unit utilizing three 9-27012 C-1 blades with a diameter of 3.6 meters. The 13 mm fuselage guns were dropped, and the cowling redesigned, omitting the gun troughs and being changed to a to a flat profile. Two 30 mm MK 108 weapons were installed in the outer wings to complement the 20 mm MG 151s in the inboard positions. Of the 17 Dora-11s delivered, three can be accounted for. One, the best-known, was Rote 4 (red 4) of JV 44’s Platzschutz unit. Another, white chevron, was found at München-Riem , and may have served with JV 44 after serving at the Verbandsführerschule General der Jagdflieger (Training School for Unit Leaders) at Bad Wörishofen it is not known if it was actually used operationally. A third, “white <61,” was also found after the war at the Verbandsfuehrerschule General der Jagdflieger. [49]

While the D-11 was under manufacture, work stated on the Fw 190 D-12 and D-13 models. The D-12 and D-13’s were based on the D-11 design, however the D-12 and D-13 were fitted with nose cannons firing through the propeller hub (the D-12 would be fitted with a MK 108 30 mm cannon and the D-13 would be fitted with a MG 151/20 20 mm cannon). There were three test aircraft built for the D-12 line, V63, V64 and V65 but no production aircraft were built.

The Fw 190 D-13 started with the construction of two prototypes (W.Nr 732053 and W.Nr 7322054), and the MG 151/20 20 mm cannon was found to be quite suited for the aircraft and was already well known to be effective against allied bombers, as well as a decent ground support weapon. Thus the Fw 190 D-13/R11 was selected to enter production. The D-13/R11 was fitted with all weather flying equipment including the PKS12 and K-23 systems for steering and autopilot. The FuG 125 radio system, known as Hermine was fitted to the aircraft, as well as a heated windscreen. Pilots reported that due to the large amounts of torque produced by the engine, they usually used the steering system during the take-off run as it helped with the rudder movements. The D-13 also introduced a hydraulic boost system for the ailerons, which was later used on the Ta 152.

In all the RLM called for 820 D-11 airframes to be built by Focke-Wulf Sorau , stating in early 1945, Fieseler Kassel was tasked to build 1420 D-12’s starting in the same time frame and the manufacture of the D-13 was passed to Arbeitsgruppe Roland [50] tasked with the construction of 1,060 airframes starting again in early 1945. For some yet unknown reason, production of the D-12 was cancelled in favour of the D-13 model. From evidence from the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe General Quartiermeister document Nr. 2766/45 of April 1945, it was known that 17 D-13s were more than likely built, but only two were known to be in service. A D-13 (Wk. Nr 836017) flown by the Geschwaderkommodore of JG 26, Franz Götz , an ace with 63 kills, was captured intact by U.S. army personnel in May 1945. This aircraft is still in existence, painted in its original colour scheme as Yellow 10, is thought to be airworthy and is currently located in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. This aircraft is one of the few existing Fw 190’s with a history that can be traced back from its manufacture to the current date. [51]

While nearly all variants of the Fw 190 could carry bombs and other air-to-ground ordnance, there were two dedicated attack versions of the Fw 190. The Luftwaffe was looking for aircraft to replace the Henschel Hs 123 biplane, which were seriously outmatched in 1942, as well as the slow and heavy Junkers Ju 87 . The excellent low-level performance and reasonably high power of the Fw 190 suggested it would be a “natural” in this role. Two versions of the Fw 190 were eventually built, customized for this mission.

The Fw 190 F was started as a Fw 190 A-0/U4. Early testing started in May 1942. This A-0 was outfitted with centre-line and wing mounted ETC 50 bomb racks. The early testing was quite good, and Focke-Wulf began engineering the attack version of the Fw 190. New armor was added to the bottom of the fuselage protecting the fuel tanks and pilot, the engine cowling, and the landing gear mechanisms and outer wing mounted armament. Finally the Umrüst-Bausätze kit 3 was fitted to the aircraft by means of a ETC 501 or ER4 centre-line mounted bomb rack and up to a SC250 bomb under each wing. This aircraft was designated the Fw 190 F-1. The first 30 Fw 190 F-1s were renamed Fw 190 A-4/U3s however, Focke-Wulf quickly began assembling the aircraft on the line as Fw 190 F-1s as their own model with 18 more F-1s built before switching to the F-2. The Fw 190 F-2s were renamed Fw 190 A-5/U3s, which again were soon assembled as Fw 190 F-2s on the production line. There were 270 Fw 190 F-2s built according to Focke-Wulf production logs and RLM acceptance reports.

The Fw 190 F-3 was based on the Fw 190 A-5/U17, which was outfitted with a centre-line mounted ETC 501 bomb rack, and two double ETC 50 bomb racks under each wing. 432 Fw 190 F-3s were built.

Due to difficulties creating an effective strafing Fw 190 F able to take out the Russian T-34 tank, the F-4 through F-7 models were abandoned, and all attempts focused on conversion of the Fw 190 A-8.

The Fw 190 F-8 differed from the A-8 model with a slightly modified injector on the compressor which allowed for increased performance at lower altitudes for several minutes. The F-8 was also outfitted with the improved FuG 16 ZS radio unit which provided much better communication with ground combat units. Armament on the Fw 190 F-8 was two MG 151/20 20 mm cannon in the wing roots and two MG 131 machine guns above the engine. According to RLM acceptance reports at least 3,400 F-8 were built, probably several hundreds more in December 1944 and from February to May 1945 (data for these months is missing and probably lost).

Dozens of F-8s served as various testbeds for anti-tank armament, including the WGr.28 280 mm ground-to-ground missile, 88 mm Panzerschreck 2 rockets, Panzerblitz 1 and R4M rockets.

There were also several Umrüst-Bausätze kits developed for the F-8, which included: The Fw 190 F-8/U1 long range JaBo, outfitted with underwing V.Mtt-Schloß shackles to hold two 300-liter fuel tanks. ETC 503 bomb racks were also fitted, allowing the Fw 190 F-8/U1 to carry one SC 250 bomb under each wing and one SC 250 bomb on the centre-line.

The Fw 190 F-8/U2 torpedo bomber, outfitted with an ETC 503 bomb rack under each wing and a centre-line mounted ETC 504. The U2 was also equipped with the TSA 2 A weapons sighting system that improved the U2’s ability to attack seaborne targets.

The Fw 190 F-8/U3 heavy torpedo bomber was outfitted with an ETC 502, which allowed it to carry one BT-1400 heavy torpedo. Due to the size of the torpedo, the U3’s tail gear needed to be lengthened. The U3 also was fitted with the 2,000 PS BMW 801S engine, and the tail from the Ta 152.

The Fw 190 F-8/U4 created as a night fighter, was equipped with flame dampers on the exhaust and various electrical systems such as the FuG 101 radio altimeter, the PKS 12 automatic pilot, and the TSA 2 A sighting system. Weapons fitted ranged from torpedoes to bombs however, the U4 was outfitted only with two MG 151/20 cannon as fixed armament.

The Fw 190 F-9 was based on the Fw 190 A-9 but with the new Ta 152 tail unit, a new bulged canopy as fitted to late-build A-9s, and four ETC 50 or ETC 70 bomb racks under the wings. According to RLM acceptance reports 147 F-9 were built in January 1945, probably several hundreds more from February to May 1945 (data for these months is missing and probably lost).

The Fw 190 G was built as a long range attack aircraft (JaBo Rei, or Jagdbomber mit vergrösserter Reichweite). Following the success of the Fw 190 F as a Schlachtflugzeug (close support aircraft), both the Luftwaffe and Focke-Wulf began investigating ways of extending the range of the Fw 190 F. From these needs and tests, the Fw 190 G was born.

There were four distinct versions of the Fw 190 G: The Fw 190 G-1: The first Fw 190 Gs were based on the Fw 190 A-4/U8 JaBo Rei’s. Initial testing found that if all but two wing root mounted MG 151 cannons (with reduced ammo load) were removed, the Fw 190 G-1 as it was now called, could carry a 250 kg or 500 kg bomb on the centre-line and, via an ETC 250 rack, up to a 250 kg bomb under each wing. Typically the G-1s flew with underwing fuel tanks, fitted via the VTr-Ju 87 rack. The FuG 25a IFF (identification friend/foe) was fitted on occasion as well as one of the various radio direction finders available at the time. With the removal of the fuselage mounted MG 17s, an additional oil tank was added to support the BMW 801 D-2 engine’s longer run times.

The Fw 190 G-2: The G-2 was based on the Fw 190 A-5/U8 aircraft. The G-2s were similarly equipped to the G-1s, however due to wartime conditions, the underwing drop tank racks were replaced with the much simpler V.Mtt-Schloß fittings, to allow for a number of underwing configurations. Some G-2s were also fitted with the additional oil tank in place of the MG 17s, however not all were outfitted with the oil tank. Some G-2s were fitted with exhaust dampers and landing lights in the left wing leading edge for night operations.

The Fw 190 G-3: The G-3 was based on Fw 190 A-6. Like the earlier G models, all but the two wing root mounted MG 151 cannons were removed. The new V.Fw. Trg bombracks however, allowed the G-3 to simultaneously carry fuel tanks and bomb loads. Because of the range added by two additional fuel tanks, the G-3’s duration increased to two hours, 30 minutes. Due to this extra flight duration, a PKS 11 autopilot was fitted. Some G-3s built in late 1943 were also fitted with the a modified 801 D-2 engine which allowed for increased low-altitude performance for short periods of time. The G-3 had two primary Rüstsätze kits. The R1 replaced the V.Fw. Trg racks with WB 151/20 cannon pods. This gave the G-3/R1 a total of 6 20 mm cannons. When fitted with the R1 kit, the G model’s addition armor was typically not used, and the PKS11 removed. The G-3/R1 was used in both ground strafing and anti-bomber roles. The R5 was similar to the R1, but the V.Fw. Trg racks were removed, and two ETC 50 racks per wing were added. As with the R1, the additional armor from the base G model were removed, as was the additional oil tank. In some instances, the fuselage mounted MG 17s were refitted.

The Fw 190 G-8: The G-8 was based on the Fw 190 A-8. The G-8 used the same “bubble” canopy of the F-8, and was fitted with underwing ETC 503 racks that could carry either bombs or drop tanks. Two primary Rüstsätze kits were also seen on the F-8. The R4, which was a planned refit for the GM 1 engine boost system, but never made it into production, and the R5 which replaced the ETC 503’s with two ETC 50 or 71 racks. Due to the similarities with the F-8, the G-8 was only in production for a short amount of time. [ citation needed ]

Some Gs were field modified to carry 1,000 kg, 1,600 kg and 1,800 kg bombs. When this was done the landing gear was slightly improved by enhancing the oleo struts and using reinforced tires.

Approximately 1300 Fw 190 Gs of all variants were new built. Due to war conditions, the manufacturing environment and the use of special workshops during the later years of the war, the accurate number of G models built is next to impossible to determine. During the later years of the way, use of “composite” aircraft, for example, wings from a fuselage damaged aircraft, and the fuselage from a wing damaged aircraft were often reassembled and listed as a Fw 190G with a new serial number. The Fw 190 G-1 currently at the National Air and Space Museum is one of these “composite” planes, built from the fuselage of a Fw 190 A-7. [52]

As the Luftwaffe phased out older aircraft such as the Ju 87, and replaced them with the Fw 190, many pilots required flight training to make the transition as quickly and smoothly as possible. Thus was born the Schulflugzeug (literally “school airplane”) training version of the Fw 190. Several old Fw 190 A-5s, and later in 1944, A-8s, were converted by replacing the MW 50 tank with a second cockpit. The canopy was modified, replaced with a new three section unit, which opened to the side, similar to the Bf109. The rear portion of the fuselage was closed off with sheet metal. Originally designated Fw 190 A8-U1, they were later given the Fw 190 S-5 and S-8 designation. There were an estimated 58 Fw 190 S-5 and S-8 models converted or built. [53]

After the “D,” later variants of the 190 were named “Ta”, after Kurt Tank, when the RLM changed their naming to reflect the chief designer instead of the company he represented. This was a singularly rare honorific, Tank was the first engineer to be so honoured. The aircraft developed into something much different than earlier Fw 190 models. The most promising design was the Ta 152H the “H” model used the liquid-cooled Jumo 213E engine and possessed a much greater wing area for better high-altitude performance – to attack the expected B-29s. It was capable of speeds in excess of 700 km/h (435 mph) and had a service ceiling of around 15,000 m (49,200 ft). Armed with a single 30 mm cannon and two MG 151/20E guns, it was highly promising, but manufacturing problems, materials shortages and the disruption towards the end of the war resulted in very few Ta 152s of all types being built (no more than 150 in total). Effort was also diverted into further prototype work, the lower-altitude Ta 152 C with a DB 603 engine and five cannon [this possessed the noticeably shorter wing]. However as the last days of the war dawned, the rushed construction of the Ta 152 H and its engines became its undoing as failures and lack of spare parts affected the aircraft seriously enough to ground all H models, leaving only the two constructed C models flying at the end of the war.

Fw 190 As were also used to launch and control the unmanned Mistel guided bombs during the last days of the Western Front in the Second World War. Most of the Mistels used in combat were launched from Fw 190 motherships.


Between 1934 and 1935 the German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) ran a contest to produce a modern fighter for the rearming Luftwaffe. Kurt Tank entered the parasol-winged Fw 159 into the contest, against the Arado Ar 80, Heinkel He 112 and Messerschmitt Bf 109. The Fw 159 was hopelessly outclassed, and was soon eliminated from the competition along with the Ar 80. The He 112 and Bf 109 were generally similar in design but the 109's lightweight construction gave it performance edge the 112 was never able to match. On 12 March 1936 the 109 was declared the winner.

Even before the 109 had entered squadron service, in autumn 1937 the RLM sent out a new tender asking various designers for a new fighter to fight alongside the Bf 109. Although the Bf 109 was an extremely competitive fighter, the Ministry was worried that future foreign designs might outclass it, and wanted to have new aircraft under development to meet these possible challenges. [5] Kurt Tank responded with a number of designs, most based around a liquid-cooled inline engine.

However, it was not until a design was presented using the air-cooled, 14-cylinder BMW 139 radial engine that the Ministry of Aviation's interest was aroused. [6] As this design used a radial engine, it would not compete with the inline-powered Bf 109 for engines, when there were already too few Daimler-Benz DB 601s to go around. [7] This was not the case for competing designs like the Heinkel He 100 or twin-engined Focke-Wulf Fw 187, where production would compete with the 109 and Messerschmitt Bf 110 for engine supplies. After the war, Tank denied a rumour that he had to "fight a battle" with the Ministry to convince them of the radial engine's merits. [8]

Design concepts

At the time, the use of radial engines in land-based fighters was relatively rare in Europe, as it was believed that their large frontal area would cause too much drag on something as small as a fighter. Tank was not convinced of this, having witnessed the successful use of radial engines by the U.S. Navy, and felt a properly streamlined installation would eliminate this problem. [7]

The hottest points on any air-cooled engine are the cylinder heads, located along the outside diameter of a radial engine. In order to provide sufficient air to cool the engine, airflow had to be maximized at this outer edge. This was normally accomplished by leaving the majority of the front face of the engine open to the air, causing considerable drag. During the late 1920s, NACA led development of a dramatic improvement by placing an airfoil-shaped ring around the outside of the cylinder heads (the NACA cowling). The shaping accelerated the air as it entered the front of the cowl, increasing the total airflow, and allowing the opening in front of the engine to be made smaller. [9]

Tank introduced a further refinement to this basic concept. He suggested placing most of the airflow components on the propeller, in the form of a oversized propeller spinner whose outside diameter was the same as the engine. The cowl around the engine proper was greatly simplified, essentially a basic cylinder. Air entered through a small hole at the centre of the spinner, and was directed through ductwork in the spinner so it was blowing rearward along the cylinder heads. To provide enough airflow, a cone was placed in the centre of the hole, over the propeller hub, which was intended to compress the airflow and allow a smaller opening to be used. In theory, the tight-fitting cowling also provided some thrust due to the compression and heating of air as it flowed through the cowling. [10]

As to the rest of the design philosophy, Tank wanted something more than an aircraft built only for speed. Tank outlined the reasoning:

In contrast to the complex, failure-prone fuselage mounted main gear legs of the earlier Fw 159, one of the main features of the Fw 190 was its wide-tracked, inwards-retracting landing gear. They were designed to withstand a sink rate of 4.5 meters per second (15 feet per second, 900 feet per minute), double the strength factor usually required. Hydraulic wheel brakes were used. [12] The wide-track landing gear produced better ground handling characteristics, and the Fw 190 suffered fewer ground accidents than the Bf 109. The 109's narrow-track, outwards-retracting landing gear hinged on its wing root structure to help lower weight, but this led to inherent weakness and many failures and ground loops. [12] The retractable tail gear used a cable, which was guided over a set of pulleys located in the vertical fin, to pull the oleo strut upwards into the lower fuselage. On some versions of the Fw 190 an extended oleo strut could be fitted for larger-sized loads (such as bombs or even a torpedo) beneath the fuselage. [13]

Most aircraft of the era used cables and pulleys to operate their controls. The cables tended to stretch, resulting in the sensations of "give" and "play" that made the controls less crisp and responsive, and required constant maintenance to correct. For the new design, the team replaced the cables with rigid pushrods and bearings to eliminate this problem. [N 2] Another innovation was making the controls as light as possible. The maximum resistance of the ailerons was limited to 3.5 kg (8 lb) as the average man's wrist could not exert a greater force. The empennage (tail assembly) featured relatively small and well-balanced horizontal and vertical surfaces. [14]

The design team also attempted to minimize changes in the aircraft's trim at varying speeds, thus reducing the pilot's workload. They were so successful in this regard that they found in-flight-adjustable aileron and rudder trim tabs were not necessary. Small, fixed tabs were fitted to control surfaces and adjusted for proper balance during initial test flights. Only the elevator trim needed to be adjusted in flight (a feature common to all aircraft). This was accomplished by tilting the entire horizontal tailplane with an electric motor, with an angle of incidence ranging from -3° to +5°. [15]

Another aspect of the new design was the extensive use of electrically powered equipment instead of the hydraulic systems used by most aircraft manufacturers of the time. On the first two prototypes, the main landing gear was hydraulic. Starting with the third prototype, the undercarriage was operated by push buttons controlling electric motors in the wings, and was kept in position by electric up and down-locks. [16] The armament was also loaded and fired electrically. Tank believed that service use would prove that electrically powered systems were more reliable and more rugged than hydraulics, electric lines being much less prone to damage from enemy fire. [14]

As was the case for the 109, the 190 featured a fairly small wing planform with relatively high wing loading. This presents a trade-off in performance an aircraft with a smaller wing suffers less drag in most flight and therefore flies faster and may have better range. However, it also means the wing cannot generate extra lift as easily, which is needed for maneuvering or flight at high altitudes. The wings spanned 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in) and had an area of 15 m² (161 ft²). The wing was designed using the NACA 23015.3 airfoil at the root and the NACA 23009 airfoil at the tip. [17]

Earlier designs generally featured canopies consisting of small plates of perspex in a metal framework, and the fuselage running horizontally back from the top of the canopy frame. This design considerably limited visibility, especially to the rear. The introduction of vacuum forming led to the creation of the "bubble canopy" which was largely self-supporting, and could be mounted over the cockpit, offering greatly improved all-round views. Tank's new design included a canopy that used only a single perimeter frame — with only a single short centerline seam frame forward of the radio antenna fitting atop the canopy's highest point — where the three-panel windscreen and forward edge of the canopy met, just in front of the pilot.

The eventual choice of the BMW 801 14-cylinder radial over the more troublesome BMW 139 also brought with it a BMW-designed cowling "system" which integrated the radiator used to cool the motor oil. An annular, ring-shaped oil cooler core was built into the BMW-provided forward cowl, just behind the fan. The outer portion of the oil cooler's core was in contact with the main cowling's sheetmetal. Comprising the BMW-designed forward cowl, in front of the oil cooler was a ring of metal with a C-shaped cross-section, with the outer lip lying just outside the rim of the cowl, and the inner side on the inside of the oil cooler core. Together, the metal ring and cowling formed an S-shaped duct with the oil cooler's core contained between them. Airflow past the gap between the cowl and outer lip of the metal ring produced a vacuum effect that pulled air from the front of the engine forward across the oil cooler core to provide cooling for the 801's motor oil. The rate of cooling airflow over the core could be controlled by moving the metal ring in order to open or close the gap. The reasons for this complex system were threefold. One was to reduce any extra aerodynamic drag of the oil radiator, in this case largely eliminating it by placing it within the same cowling as the engine. The second was to warm the air before it flowed to the radiator to aid warming the oil during starting. Finally, by placing the radiator behind the fan, cooling was provided even while the aircraft was parked. The downside to this design was that the radiator was in an extremely vulnerable location, and the metal ring was increasingly armoured as the war progressed. [18]

Watch the video: Боевое применение Фокке-Вульф FW-190