Focke Wulf   Fw 190 A-8 /F

Die Focke-Wulf Fw 190 war eines der berühmtesten Jagdflugzeuge des 2. Weltkrieges.

Es war wahrscheinlich die erfolgreichste Kolbenmotorentwicklung, die während des Krieges entstand. Die Fw 190 flog zum ersten Mal im Juni 1939. Trotz einigen Mistrauens des RLM in Bezug auf luftgekühlte Sternmotoren wurde der BMW 139 14-Zylinder Doppelstern-Motor in den ersten Prototypen sehr erfolgreichen Flugversuchen unterzogen, und die Fw 190 wurde Deutschlands erster von einem Sternmotor angetriebene Jagdeindecker. Ihre späteren Flugleistungen hätten sicherlich alle Zweifel des RLM zerstreut, aber man war beim anfänglichen Einsatz des Musters vorsichtig, und so wurde die Maschine nicht vor August 1941 über England gesichtet. Die ursprüngliche Serie Fw 190 A wurde mit dem leistungsstärkeren BMW 801 Doppelsternmotor ausgerüstet. Die Nachfolgemuster unterschieden sich hauptsächlich in der Feuerkraft und bildeten gemeinsam mit der Me 109 das Rückgrat der deutschen Luftwaffe.

Fw 190 A-3 

Spannweite 10.52m; Höhe 3.96m; Länge 8.85m
Höchstgeschwindigkeit 715 km/h
Dienstgipfelhöhe 11400m
Reichweite 800 km
Bewaffnung: vier 20mm MG 151 Kanonen und zwei 13mm MG 131 Maschinengewehre

Martin Villing mit seinem Fw 190 und seine Warte


Villings Fw 190                                                                                                                      Fw 190´s - fertig für Alarmstart

Deutsche Jagdflieger
v.l.n.r.: Scharf, Faulhaber, Müller, Velba, Baumgart, Klein
Dänemark 1941-1942
s/w Bilder via Villing

Die Geschichte der FW 190



The design of the Focke-Wulf 190 began in 1937 as a backup to the Messerschmitt 109 that had been selected as the standard German fighter. The design concept was entirely different and featured an air-cooled BMW radial engine and a wide-track, inward-retracting landing gear. The first flight of the Fw 190V-1 prototype was on June 1, 1939, but production models weren't in combat until September 1941.

As a fighter, the Fw 190A outperformed the older British Spitfire V's that had surpassed the contemporary 109s. The Spitfire didn't catch up to the Fw 190A until the July 1942 appearance of the Spitfire IX. Although it was designed as a fighter, the Fw 190 was readily adaptable to many other missions. It reached the -10 variant, with many subvariants that carried special equipment for specialized missions. These included aerial cameras for reconnaissance, batteries of up to six 30mm cannon for use against tanks and naval torpedoes for attacks against ships. There were even two-seat trainer versions.

The Focke Wulf FW190 is a legendary German aircraft of the second world war which proved to be a deadly foe to Soviet, British and American airforces. When it was first introduced into operation in the autumn of 1941, this aircraft could out-run, out-climb, and out-dive the best fighter the Royal Airforce had - the Spitfire V.

There were many versions of this aircraft, but its most successful role was that of a fighter. It was also used for ground attack however and in fact, was the only reliable light attack bomber that the Germans had in numbers.

The basic layout of the Focke Wulf 190 was entirely conventional, being a monoplane with a nosemounted engine driving a tractor airscrew. The mainplane was fully cantilever and was fitted with split flaps of metal construction. These were operated by means of three electric push buttons situated in the cockpit. A low wing gave adequate housing for the retractable undercarriage which meant that the legs could be kept short, optimising pilot vision. This was further enhanced with a large frameless bubble canopy, which when first introduced, was quite an innovation.

The A-8 version was powered by the BMW 801D-2 engine, which was a very rugged air cooled radial. There were fittings under the fuselage to enable it to carry bombs or a jettisonable fuel tank of 300 litres capacity.

In the cockpit 80 levers, slide controls, dials and buttons were divided into two instrument panels and three consoles. Amongst the apparatus on board, was the RM 16B sighting mechanism which permitted precise weapons aiming to a range of 900 meters. It could also be used with a night filter (fig.5.). In the rear section of the fuselage was found the FuG 25a radio installation which also served to identify friend and foe.

No less than nine model designations were assigned to the Fw 190A-8, most of these being based on varying armament configurations.

History of the Plane

In 1942 and 1943, twin-engine German bombers had difficulty in reaching targets in England, so some Fw 190A-5s were fitted with bomb racks and auxiliary fuel tanks. Normal bomb load was one 500kg (1,100 pound) bomb under the fuselage and two 250kg (550 pound) bombs under the wings, but some could carry a single 1,000kg (2,200 pound) bomb. This was so close to the ground that the lower fin of the bomb had to be clipped for the plane to take off. These long-range fighter/bombers were very successful in penetrating British defenses and completing effective raids.

By June 1944 the German airforce was significantly weakened. When the Allied invasion of France began on 6th June 1944, the German fighter forces were in no way prepared.

The allies had mastery of the skies. It has been estimated that they could muster 4,190 fighters to meet a total 425 Luftwaffe fighters, of which only about 250 were serviceable on any one day. Thus at this time only few German planes could manage to get off the ground and attempt engagement with the Allied bombers and their escorts, which were now flying over France daily. It is during this period that a German plane crashed into the Loiret river, a tributary of the Loire, near a small settlement known as Port Arthur.

On the morning of 15th June 1944 at 0625 hrs, German fighters from the II and III/JG 26 and the III/JG 54 squadrons, took off from Guyancourt, situated a few kilometres south-west of Versailles, on a mission of free chase. It occurred that the Commander of the JG 26 squadron was Oberstleutnant Joseph Priller, aged 26, who was credited at that time with 99 kills (fig. 3.). Among them also was Alfred Gunther of the II/JG 26, flying a Focke Wulf 190A-8.

Oberstleutnant "Pips" Priller, the Kommodore of the JG26...

Oblt Priller

servicing a/c

...being helped from his aircraft during the battle for France in the summer of 1944.

His aircraft being serviced by ground crew.

At 0650 hrs they were 100 kilometres south of Chartres. The German pilots noticed a formation of 70 to 80 allied bombers flying at an altitude of between 6,000 and 7,000 metres. They were identified as being B17 Flying Fortresses and B24 Liberators, heavily escorted by American fighters. These formed part of the 1,361 bombers that the 8th airforce had in the air that day. A little before 0710 hrs, a B24 Liberator became the 100th victim of the ace 'Pips' Priller. Some minutes later the B24 was observed falling south-west of Chartres. Shortly after, the Luftwaffe fighters began their return, passing over Chartres at 0735 hrs, from where they set course for home, arriving at Guyancourt at 0840 hrs.

Oberfeldwebel Alfred Gunther, flying his Focke Wulf FW190-A8, failed to return and although German planes returned to the area the following day, his fate remained a mystery until recently. Locals of the region always had stories of a German plane which crashed into the river around that time, at a site known as 'Port Arthur'. It was not until a team of divers from the 'Club Subaquatic Orleanaise' discovered and salvaged a BMW 801D-2 engine and other associated artefacts, that a positive identification could be made. The plane was certainly that flown by Alfred Gunter. Most of these recovered items were eventually entrusted to Groupe Valectra for stabilization treatment.


The BMW 801 twin row radial engine formed the basis of the Focke Wulf fw190 design. This engine has the reputation as being among the better engine designs of WW2 regardless of limitations in German supercharger technology which lead to some failings at high altitude. It also powered many other Luftwaffe aircraft, from the Arado Ar 232A to the Junkers Ju 390.

The Bayerische Motroen Werke (BMW) based in Munich, were manufacturing Pratt and Whitney radials under license in the 1930's and used this experience to develop its own twin row engine. Despite this, it can be considered an original design incorporating fuel injection and other German features.

A remarkably compact installation, adequate cylinder cooling was obtained using pressure baffling augmented by a magnesium alloy fan geared to turn at 1.72 times engine RPM (3 times propeller speed). An oil tank and cooler are positioned in the nose bowl and are armour plated. The engine mount ring is a sealed unit of square cross-section and also acts as a hydraulic fluid reservoir. Additional streamlining was achieved by the introduction of drag-inducing cowl flaps.

The BMW 801D-2 (fig.6.) was fed by methanol-water injection. Most revolutionary however, was the Kommandogerat. This hydraulicelectric 'brain' unit was operated by a single control which was the pilot's throttle lever. It automatically adjusted fuel flow, mixture strength, propeller pitch setting and ignition timing. It also cut in a second stage of the supercharger at the correct altitude. The pilot could, if required, manually set the propeller pitch without altering any of the other settings.

The BMW 801D-2 radial aero engine.

bmw engine 1

bmw engine2

The entire unit had a dry weight of 1,228 kg and an overall diameter of 1,270 mm. With a displacement of 41.8 litres and both a bore and stroke of 156 mm, this 'square' engine could develop 1,730 hp at take off.

There were a couple of minor differences between the A-0 and the A-1 models: the A-1 had heavier toggle latches to lock the cowl in place, and it also had a cartridge system to help jettison the canopy when flying at more than 250mph.

The armament differed greatly in fighter versions, from the initial four 7.9mm machine guns (two in the nose and two in the wings), to a standard of two nose guns and a variety of up to four wing guns or four 20mm wing cannon. For attacks on Allied bomber formations, some Fw 190A-5/R6s were fitted with underwing pods for 210mm rockets.

Improved versions of the Fw 190 were tested with such features as cabin pressurization and a water/methanol injection that increased the normal 1,600hp of the engine to 2,100hp for brief periods. Other engines were tried: the 109's 1,750hp Daimler-Benz DB 603, used in the experimental Fw 190C, and the 1,776hp Junkers Jumo 213A, used in the production Fw 190D. Later Fw 190D variants were so extensively altered from the short-nose, radial-engine Fw 190A series that they were redesignated Ta-152 (for designer Kurt Tank). Altogether, some 20,000 Fw 190s were built in six Focke-Wulf plants, two Arado plants, one Ago and one Fieseler plant.

(courtesy of FlightJournal)


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