Picture of Focke Wulf FW-190 WW2 Fighter
In 1937 the German Reich Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium) asked for new fighter designs to potentially replace the existing Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was a precautionary measure to ensure German fighters would remain "state of the art". Focke-Wulf designer Kurt Tank responded to this request with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 design based around the 14-cylinder BMW 139 radial engine, the use of radial engines in European fighters had fallen out of favour as the large frontal area impeded streamlined design requirements, however Kurt Tank overcame this problem to a degree with a tight fitting engine cowl and a larger than conventional streamlined propeller spinner.
The RLM (Reich Air Ministry) was particularly attracted by the idea of using a different engine for it's new fighter design than it's existing Messerschmitt Bf 109 as there would be no no conflict with engine allocation allowing greater production rates than could be achieved if both fighters utilised the same engine.
The prototype Focke-Wulf Fw 190 first flew in June 1937 and proved to be an excellent overall design, the only serious problem being heat dissipation from the engine (initially the cockpit was almost oven like). From the start of Focke-Wulf Fw 190 production in 1941 to the end of WWII in excess of 20,000 Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters were produced. The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was officially called the Würger (shrike), but it's outstanding offensive performance soon led to it being referred to as the "Butcher-bird", it virtually rendered the RAF's Spitfire MkV obsolete overnight with it's high rate of roll and outstanding high altitude performance.
Focke Wulf FW-190 A-8 Armament:
- Twin 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns
- Four 20 mm MG 151/20 E cannons
In June 1942, following a dogfight over the Bristol Channel, a lost Luftwaffe pilot landed his Focke-Wulf Fw-190 at RAF Pembrey, he was promptly "captured" by the air traffic controller with the only weapon at hand - a very pistol. A captured Focke-Wulf Fw 190 gave the RAF an opportunity to test fly the aircraft against the Spitfire MkV, as already feared by the RAF the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was found to be superior in all but turn radius, as an interim measure to reduce the performance gap clipped wings were utilised on some of the existing Spitfire MkV's by unbolting their removable wing tips and replacing them with a blanking panel, true parity however only occurred with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 following the introduction of the later Supermarine Spitfire MkIX.
Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe in the later part of the war when the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was most needed, allied bombing reduced Focke-Wulf Fw 190 production to a relative trickle. The superb design was in part copied by other nations, some of the fastest and best propeller driven fighters produced, such as the Kawasaki Ki 100, Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat and the Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 were in part designed by reference to captured or donated late model Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8
Focke Wulf FW-190 A-8 Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot only
- Length: 9.00 m (29 ft 5 in) Wingspan: 10.51 m (34 ft 5 in) Height: 3.95 m (12 ft 12 in)
- Empty weight: 3,200 kg (7,060 lb)
- Loaded weight: 4,417 kg (9,735 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 4,900 kg (10,800 lb)
- Engine: Single 1,471 kW (2,000 hp) BMW 801 D-2 radial engine
- Maximum speed: 408 mph (657 km/h) with boost
- Range: 800 km (500 mi)
- Service ceiling: 11,410 m (37,430 ft)
- Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,560 ft/min)
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Focke Wulf FW-190 WW2 Fighter Picture and Information