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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Focke-Wulf Ta 152 high altitude fighter

Design

Kurt Tank designed the Ta 152.1,3,5 The Ta 152 was based on the abandoned Fw 190C high altitude fighter.2

Starting in 1940 Focke Wulf was working on different versions of the Fw 190.3 The main problem was finding an engine that would perform better at very high altitudes.3 Both Daimler Benz and Junkers worked on engine designs, even more urgently starting in 1942 when intelligence of the Boeing B-29 bomber that could fly even higher than the operational Allied bombers of the time.3 The Air Ministry asked Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf to submit designs.3 Focke Wulf submitted two designs of Kurt Tank, the Fw 190 Ra-2 and Fw 190 Ra-3 that were based on the Fw 190D.3

Cockpit

The cockpit was pressurized for the high altitudes it was intended to fly at.1,3 The Ta 152C developmental prototype flew on November 19, 1944.1 There was an autopilot as the plane was complex and stressful to fly at high altitudes.1

Engine

There was an air intake on the right side that fed the supercharger.1

Used Water methanol (MW 50) injection on take-off to boost the power up to 2,050 hp.1

Tail Wheel

The Ta 152H-1e had the tail wheel fully retracted and stored behind two doors.1

Prototype

At Cottbus, in October 1944, the first 20 pre-production Ta 152s flew.1
The first prototype flew in November 1944.2

The Ta 152C developmental prototype flew on November 19, 1944.1

The Erprobungskommando 152 conducted trials of the Ta 152 at Rechlin.1

Production

  • Focke Wulf Ta 152H-0: 202
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152H-1: ~1503, ~1702
    • Production: January 1945 - ?3
  • Total: 2002
    • Manufacturer: Focke Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH3

Variants

  • Focke Wulf Ta 152A: Pressurized cabin.2
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152B: Pressurized cabin.2,3 Normal wing span.3
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152C: Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine.2 First production model.5
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152E: High altitude reconnaissance.5 Was to have gone into production in March 1945.5 Used MW 50 injection.5
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152H: High altitude reconnaissance.5 Jumo engine.2 Longer wings.2,3 Pressurized cabin.3
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152H-0: Pre production.2
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152H-1: Production.2 Some had GM1 nitrous oxide boost.2
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152E: Reconnaissance version.1,2
  • Focke Wulf Ta 152S: Two seat trainer.2
  • ??: Photo reconnaissance version.1 Never became operational.1
  • ??: Attack version.1

Usage

Was intended to fly at high altitudes to intercept bombers, but often the Ta 152 pilots fought at low altitudes where the FW 190D-9 performed better.1

The Ta 152s were used to protect Me 262s bases.2,3

Outracing Mustangs

Two P-51 Mustangs intercepted Kurt Tank when he flew a Ta 152H from Lagenhagen and Cottbus in December 1944.3 To escape Kurt Tank opened up the throttle and sped away.3

Specifications

  Focke-Wulf Ta 1522
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Jumo 213E/B4
Performance  
Speed 472 mph4
760 kph4
  Focke-Wulf Ta 152A
Engine (Type) Jumo2, Jumo 213 A 5
  Focke-Wulf Ta 152B
Engine (Type) Jumo2, Jumo 213 E5
Performance  
Speed at 36,800' /
11,225 m
428 mph5
685 kph5
  Focke-Wulf Ta 152C
Engine (Type) Daimler-Benz DB 603LA2, Daimler-Benz DB 603L5
Cylinders Inverted V 122
HP 2,1002
HP with MW50
water methanol boost
2,3002
Propeller blades 32
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"2
11 m2
Performance  
Speed at 35,000' /
10,680 m
467 mph5
747 kph5
  Focke-Wulf Ta 152E-1
Engine (Type) Jumo 213 E5
Performance  
Speed at 31,000' /
9,450 m
463 mph5
741 kph5
  Focke-Wulf Ta 152H-1
Type Fighter3, High altitude fighter1
Crew 11,3
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 213E piston1,2, Junkers Jumo 213 E-33
Cylinders Inverted V 121,2, V 123
Cooling Liquid3
HP 1,7501,3
HP with MW50
water methanol boost
2,0502
Propeller blades 31,2
Dimensions  
Span 47' 4"3, 47' 4.5"2, 48' 6"1,5
14.44 m2, 14.5 m1, 14.8 m5
Length 35' 1"3, 35' 1.5"2, 35' 5"1
10.71 m2, 10.8 m1
Height 11'3, 11' 1"2, 13' 2"1
3.38 m2, 4 m1
Wing area 253 ft2 1
23.5 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 8,624 lb1, 8,887 lb2
3,920 kg1, 4,031 kg2
Loaded 10,450 lb1, 10,472 lb2,3
4,750 kg1,2
Maximum load 11,502 lb2
5,217 kg2
Performance  
Speed at sea level 350 mph2
563 kph2
Speed at 29,860' /
9,100 m
with MW50 boost
465 mph2
748 kph2
Speed at 30,000' /
9,150 m
with MSW50 boost
465 mph5
744 kph5
Speed at 30,000' 470 mph3
Speed at 40,000' 475 mph3
Speed at 41,000' /
12,500 m
471 mph1, 472 mph3
760 kph1
Speed at 41,000' /
12,500 m with MW50
or GM1 boost
472 mph2,5
755 kph5, 760 kph2
Cruising speed 311 mph2
500 kph2
Climb 3,445'/minute1,2
1,050 m/minute1,2
Service ceiling 48,550'1,3, 48,556'2
14,800 m1,2
Range 745 miles1, 755 miles2,3
1,200 km1, 1,215 km2
Range with drop tanks 1,250 miles2
2,011 km2
Armament  
Propeller 30 mm Mk 1081
30 mm2,3
90 rounds1
Wing 2: 20 mm MG 151/201
20 mm2
2: 20 mm3
175 rounds1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site