FW-190 “Butcher Bird”

I am grateful to Wikipedia for this detailed information on the FW-190; 72 years later, most folks are simply unaware of the true intensity of the German defense to counter B-17 missions, which, after the disastrous Schweinfurt raid, nearly caused the allies to stop daylight precision raids altogether.

I did not edit any of the material you see here, I only used bold font to emphasize the armament these aircraft brought to bear on B-17 formations.  They were specifically designed for the role of bomber destroyers, and their heavy armament greatly compromised their ability to engage allied fighters.

Too many WWII accounts show Spanish Civil War era Bf-109’s, not the “E” or “G” models our bombers encountered. Also, the “G” BF-109’s were for the most part armed solely with the cowl mounted machine guns and a single 30mm cannon fired through the propeller shaft; the earlier “E” models having the cowl mounted machine guns, the  20mm cannon fired through the propeller shaft, and one 20mm cannon in each wing. You seldom if ever see any decent footage of any FW-190’s,  and none of the movies show that the dreadful combination included twin engine ME-110’s, which would stay out of machine gun range behind the bomber formations, and lob air to air rockets at them.  I was unable to find any photos of the FW 190A-5/U12, only models of the actual aircraft.

There were several previous, and later models of the 190; which can be seen at the Wikipedia site noted at the bottom of this post.

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The Fw 190 A-5 was developed after it was determined that the Fw 190 could easily carry more ordnance. The D-2 engine was moved forward another 15 cm (6 in) as had been tried out earlier on the service test A-3/U1 aircraft, moving the centre of gravity forward to allow more weight to be carried aft. 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.[21] 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 (550 lb) bomb, and wing-mounted racks mounted 300 L drop tanks. An EK16 gun camera, as well as landing lights, were fitted to the wing leading edge. The U2 was armed with only two 20 mm MG 151 cannon. 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 basic A-5 with the exception of the MG FF cannon. The A-5/U8 was another Jabo-Rei outfitted with SC-250 centreline-mounted bombs, under-wing 300-litre drop tanks and only two MG 151s; it later became the Fw 190 G-2. A special U12 was created for bomber attack, outfitted with the standard 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 and 20 mm MG 151 but replacing the outer wing 20 mm MG-FF cannon with two underwing gun pods containing two 20 mm MG 151/20 each, for a total of two machine guns and six cannon.

[Pictures – scale models of this variant not from Wikipedia]

fw190a548fw_0003

34

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 dipole antenna elements vertically mounted fore and aft of the cockpit and above and below the wings. Flame-dampening boxes were fitted over the exhaust exits. 1,752 A-5s were built from November 1942 to June 1943.[24]

A-6

The Fw 190 A-6 was developed to address shortcomings found in previous “A” models when attacking 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. The normal armament was increased to two MG 17 fuselage machine guns and four 20 mm 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 20 mm or 30 mm (1.18 in) ammunition boxes and for underwing 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.

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 from July 1943 ending in April 1944, according to Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports and Focke-Wulf production books. In late 1943, the Erla Antwerp factory designed a simpler rack/drop-tank fitting, which was more streamlined than the bulky ETC 501 and could be quickly fitted or removed. Several A-6s, A-7s and A-8s of JG 26 were fitted with these racks (one such aircraft was A-8 W.Nr.170346 Black 13 flown by Obstlt. Josef Priller during the Normandy invasion on 6 June 1944.)

A-7

The Fw 190 A-7 was based on the Fw 190 A-5/U9 prototype, and entered production in November 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 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131s, replacing the MG 17s. Because the larger-breeched 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 was manufactured. This left insufficient room for the three cowling toggle latches, which were moved to the side panels. The rest of the armament fit stayed the same as earlier versions; two wing root-mounted 20 mm MG 151s and two outer wing-mounted 20 mm MG 151s. The Revi gunsight was updated to the new 16B model. The additional weight of the new weapon systems required strengthening of the wheels, adding a reinforced rim to better deal with typical combat airfield conditions. The A-7 was usually outfitted with the centreline-mounted ETC 501 rack. There were several major Rüstsätze for the A-7, many including Werfer-Granate 21 WGr 21 rockets. A total of 701 A-7s were produced from November 1943 to April 1944, according to Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports and Focke-Wulf production books.[25]

A-8Fw_190_A-8

An Fw 190 A-8/R2 in American hands. “White 11” of 5./JG 4 was captured during Operation Bodenplatte after its engine had been damaged by American light flak.

Above pic:    “FW 190 A-8” by US Army Air Forces – http://www.warbirdphotographs.com/. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fw_190_A-8.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Fw_190_A-8.jpg

The Fw 190 A-8 entered production in February 1944, powered either by the standard BMW 801 D-2 or the 801Q (also known as 801TU). The 801Q/TU, with the “T” signifying a Triebwerksanlage unitized powerplant installation, was a standard 801D with improved, thicker armour on the front annular cowling, which also incorporated the oil tank, upgraded from 6 mm (.24 in) on earlier models to 10 mm (.39 in). Changes introduced in 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 outwardly bulged main canopy glazing format, more in the manner of a Malcolm hood rather than a bubble canopy, 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 115 L (30 US gal) was fitted behind the cockpit, which meant that the radio equipment had to be moved forward to just behind the pilot.

FW190_A8_3Seiten

Three-side-view of FW -190 A-8

Above photo:    “FW190 A8 3Seiten” by B. Huber – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FW190_A8_3Seiten.JPG#mediaviewer/File:FW190_A8_3Seiten.JPG

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 200 mm (8 in) 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 the Y-Verfahren was fitted as standard under the port wing, just aft of the wheelwell. Nearly a dozen Rüstsätze kits were made available for the A-8, including the famous A-8/R2 and A-8/R8 Sturmbock models. The A-8/R2 replaced the outer wing 20 mm cannon with a 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannon. The A-8/R8 was similar, but fitted with heavy armour including 30 mm (1.18 in) canopy and windscreen armour and 5 mm (.2 in) cockpit armour. The A-8 was the most numerous of the Fw 190 As, with over 6,655 A-8 airframes produced from March 1944 to May 1945. A-8s were produced by at least eight factories during its lifetime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Focke-Wulf_Fw_190_variants

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