"In 1942, I flew my first Fw 190; I was thrilled with this machine. During the war I flew the Fw 190A, F and G models, and also the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The difference between the Fw 190 and the Bf 109 was that there was more room in the Focke-Wulf's cockpit and the controls were simpler; for example, landing flaps and trim were electric."- Fritz Seyffardt, a Luftwaffe lieutenant, talking about the Focke Wulf 190
The Focke Wulf Fw 190 or "Wurger" was built as an interceptor fighter to complement the already successful Messerschmitt Bf 109. The first production model of the series was the Focke Wulf Fw 190A-1. It had an air-cooled BMW 801C-1 Engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 655 km/h. The armament of the Focke Wulf A-1 consisted of four 7.92mm MG 17s and two 20mm MG FF (20mm) autocannons.
The Focke Wulf also had a service ceiling of about 10,600 meters and a maximum range of about 804 kilometers. It also featured a wingspan of 10.4 meters and a total length of 8.8 meters. The total combat weight of the Fw 190 was about 3,978 kg and the landing gear were retractable.
The cockpit was very similar to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and it even sported a primitive computer that could automatically set propeller pitch and the air-to-fuel mix in the engine. The Fw 190 however was easier to fly due to simpler controls and it had a larger cockpit for the pilot.
The first variant of the Fw 190 series was Fw 190A-2 which was fitted with a brand new BMW 801C-2 Engine and two additional 20mm autocannons that were mounted in the wings. The new armament consisted of two 7.7mm MGs and four 20mm autocannons. The A-2 was soon followed by the A-3 which also featured a new engine, this time it was the BMW 801D-2 Engine and in addition to this, it also featured a bomb rack. The next variant, the A-4, had better radio equipment installed, but was fundamentally the same as the A-3.
One of the few special modifications made to some A-4s was the ability to carry several Werfer-Granate 21 rockets under its wings. The A-4 had five sub-variants that were not modified from the original model significantly. The A-4/U1 had a bomb rack, the U-3 was a night fighter, the U-4 was a reconnaissance plane, U7 was a high altitude variant, and the U-8 had the capability to have a drop tank along with bombs. The A-5 had several new improvements such as a longer nose that helped to restore its center of gravity and had some new radios. Like the A-4 it had the ability to carry rockets under its wings.The A-5 model was successful enough that it even had its own line of mission-specific sub-variants that could perform an assortment of tasks. The first was the Fw 190A-5/U2 which only had two 20mm auto cannons and was a nightfighter. The A-5/U3 and A-5/U8 were also nightfighters. They both featured the ability to carry drop tanks and bombs along with having an armament of only two 20mm auto cannons. The U4 was simply fitted with cameras for reconnaissance duty while the U12 was a bomber interceptor fitted with two MGs and six 20mm autocannons.
The next major variants in the A series were the A-6, A-7, A-8, and A-9 variants. The A-6 featured an additional two 20mm cannons for a total armament of four cannons and two MGs and had a modified wing design for better aerodynamics. The A-7 model had a new BMW 801D-2 Engine and two 13mm cannons that replaced the original 7.92mm MG 17s. The A-8 had better armor protection and a larger fuel supply. The final A series variant was the A-9 model which did not see any service. It had armored wings to ram Allied bombers and a BMW 801TS Turbo Charged Engine.
Following the full development of the A series, problems were encountered and so the B and C series began development to counter these problems. The B and C series were only experimental, but they had pressurized cabins so that they could operate at high altitudes. The D series got much closer to fixing these problems until the next operational variant went into service, the D-9. The D-9 had a Junkers Jumo 213 Engine and a lengthened nose. D-11, D-12, and D-13 were all very similar in that they all featured ramped up weaponry. The D-11 was a prototype model that featured two 30mm auto cannons mounted in the wings to the already existing 20mm armament. The D-12 had an additional 30mm auto cannon mounted in its nose plate and the D-13 had an additional 20mm auto cannon mounted in its nose plate.
The next variant series of the Focke Wulf Fw 190 was the F series and the first model in this series was the Fw 190F-1. This variant was a ground-attack version and it had the capability to carry bombs. It also had increased under-armor, most likely to prevent too much damage from ground units while attacking. The F-2 was based on the Fw 190A-5/U3 model while the F-3 had two 30mm auto cannons mounted under its wings. The final major variant in the F series was the F-8 which had newer radio equipment, a modified compressor for additional speed, and an armament of two 20mm cannons and two 7.92mm MGs.
The F-8 had several sub-variants that were modified to carry torpedoes. They were designated the F-8/U2 and F-8/U3. The final variant series was the G series and the first model of the G series was the G-1. The G series was meant to serve as a long-range fighter and was produced in large numbers. The G-1 model was based on the A-4/U8 and the G-2 was based on the A-5/U8. The G-3 was based on the A-6 model and the G-4 was based on the A-8 model. The only other variants in the Fw 190 series were several fighters that were modified to be trainer aircraft.
The Focke Wulf Fw 190's development began in 1937, with the first prototype flying in 1939. It was an all-metal airplane with a stressed all-duraluminum metal skin. Instead of using the Daimler-Benz DB601 in-line engine used in the Bf 109, Focke-Wulf's technical director, Kurt Tank, chose the BMW type 13918-cylinder radial engine, at that time in the development stage. It was also given a wider undercarriage giving the plane better stability during take-off.
Three prototypes were built, the first flying on June 1st 1939.
The Focke Wulf Fw 190 first entered service in 1941 with some German Luftwaffe units on the Western Front. At first it wasn't as effective as first thought, but after the increase in firepower was implemented, the Fw 190 was more than a match for the British Spitfires. It was later adopted by more and more units until it began its service on the Eastern Front. In terms of combat effectiveness, the nickname "butcher bird" alone proves its impact. The Focke Wulf immediately scored many aerial kills and over time its reputation grew. It was at prime effectiveness when operating at low and medium altitudes. The Fw 190 was used throughout the war and on every front that German troops were involved in. The Focke Wulf Fw 190 is often considered equal or better in performance to the P-51 Mustang in most respects. The Fw 190 took on many roles such as ground attack missions, fighter missions, and bomber interception. In 1944, American and British bombing raids had become increasingly frequent and to combat this, Fw 190 pilots had developed a special tactic that would overwhelm the rear gunners. A line of Fw 190s would form up behind the formation and open fire all at once, making it hard for the gunners to pick an individual plane.
- ↑ http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/aircraft/fighters/focke-wulf-fw-190a.asp
- ↑ http://acepilots.com/german/fw190.html
- ↑ http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=95
- ↑ http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/focke_wulf_190.htm
- ↑ Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 193
- ↑ http://www.aviation-history.com/focke-wulf/fw190.html