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Weapons of World War Two

Focke-Wulf Fw 190

Version depicted: Ta 152C

Focke-Wulf Ta 152C

The 1st June 1939 it was happily effectuated the first test flight of the new model of single-seat fighter which Focke Wulf had designed by request from the Luftwaffe. The weapon led by Goering, despite having in service excellent aircraft as the famous Me Bf 109, had thought to order another type of fighter of performance at least equal to that of the fighter built by Messerschmitt. The order, accepted by the company, had been examined and prepared by Kurt Tank, engineer of well proven competence and experience, and in that last summer of peace the prototype gave good proof of itself in the German sky.

The aircraft was actually rather different, because of the aerodynamic profile of the nose and the propulsion system, of which would be later the series product, but after few months the new Focke Wulf 190 was ready. Basic characteristic of this aircraft was the modern conception of the production phase. In other words, this small aircraft was built in "blocks", easily replaceable without causing long and complicated reparations which, for example, could not be effectuated in peripheral airfields. Besides, this system allowed the German war industry to order spare parts simultaneously to several subsidiary factories, to be later assembled with great advantage in the quickness of realization and, very important thing, in the safety of the productive flow which, departing from many streams instead of a sole source, hardly could be radically interrupted.

The main gifts of the new aircraft were an exceptional smoothness and response vivacity on the controls, a notable acceleration, an armor protecting the cockpit which was wisely distributed, offering good safety, and an excellent visibility on the 360 degrees around the horizon. This latter diminished a bit during the landing phase, but this was a very tolerable inconvenience. The propulsion plant was initially a radial engine of 1700 horsepower, but circa the early 1942 it started the serial production of a new model fitted with an inline engine of better performance, which further elongated and sharpened the silhouette of the fighter. From this new model (the series D) would be born the new family of "long nose" Focke Wulf, as the one depicted in the illustration, belonging to one of the last series, the Ta 152.

Structurally, the Fw 190, of which more than 20000 exemplars would be built between 1939 and 1945, was a single-engined low-winged monoplane, of entirely metallic construction, with landing gear of rear tricycle type. The protection of the pilot was entrusted to an armored windshield and some armored plates placed in the sides, behind the cockpit and in the fore part of the engine cover. Specially comfortable was the position of the pilot, with the feet very raised, which allowed him to withstand perfectly the negative effects on the human body of the centrifugal forces during the maneuvers at high speed. The aircraft was fitted with bottles for breathing oxygen at high altitude, and if necessary the cockpit canopy could be jettisoned by means of two explosive charges.

The Fw 190 would be used during the entire war in diverse missions, from fighting to reconnaissance and stratosferic missions for the composite weapons of the series Mistel, and fighter-bomber. Appreciated by its pilots and respected and feared by its enemies because of its qualities, it was precisely an aircraft whose characteristics revealed themselves, over time, as distinctly superior to those of the Me Bf 109, to the point of allowing it, at least in the last series, to compete in equal conditions with the famous P51 Mustang, the best American fighter of the war.

Focke-Wulf Ta 152C
Designer: Engineer Kurt Tank

Entry into service: Autumn of 1941 (Fw 190 A-3); autumn of 1944 (Fw 190 D-9)

Wingspan: 10.50 meters (Fw 190 A-3 and Fw 190 D-9); 11 meters (Ta 152 C-1)

Wing area: 18.30 square meters (Fw 190 A-3 and Fw 190 D-9); 19.50 square meters (Ta 152 C-1)

Length: 8.80 meters (Fw 190 A-3); 10.20 meters (Fw 190 D-9); 10.83 meters (Ta 152 C-1)

Height: 3.95 meters (Fw 190 A-3); 3.36 meters (Fw 190 D-9); 3.38 meters (Ta 152 C-1)

Full load/Empty weight: 3980/3225 kilograms (Fw 190 A-3); 4300/3450 kilograms (Fw 190 D-9); 4834/4014 kilograms (Ta 152 C-1)

Payload/Crew: 755 kilograms/1 (Fw 190 A-3); 850 kilograms/1 (Fw 190 D-9); 820 kilograms/1 (Ta 152 C-1)

Engine: BMW 801 D2 of 1700 horsepower (Fw 190 A-3); Junkers Jumo 213 A1 of 1800 horsepower (Fw 190 D-9); Daimler Benz 603 LA of 2100 horsepower (Ta 152 C-1)

Maximum speed: 673 kilometers/hour (Fw 190 A-3); 685 kilometers/hour (Fw 190 D-9); 702 kilometers/hour (Ta 152 C-1)

Service ceiling: 10600 meters (Fw 190 A-3); 12000 meters (Fw 190 D-9); 12300 meters (Ta 152 C-1)

Defensive armament: Four 20-millimeter cannons and two 7.92-millimeter machine guns (Fw 190 A-3); two 20-millimeter cannons and two 13-millimeter machine guns (Fw 190 D-9); one 30-millimeter cannon and four 20-millimeter cannons (Ta 152 C-1)

Drop armament: 500 kilograms of bombs (Fw 190 D-9)

Operational range: 800 kilometers (Fw 190 A-3); 835 kilometers (Fw 190 D-9)

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