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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor reconnaissance bomber

Photos

  • Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C Condor reconnaissance
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C3
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200K2 Condor
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200K2 Condor

Design

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor started out as a 26 passenger commercial airliner that had many long distance flights and records. It was originally designed by Kurt Tank in 1936.

The fuel connections were on the underside of the wings which made the Fw 200 vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire. Throughout it's operational life the Condor was plagued by structural weaknesses.

Many of the Fw 200 Condors had radar installed with the antennas in the nose and wings. The most command was the FuG 200 Hohentwiel.

Prototype

First flew after 12 months of development.

The Fw 200 prototype flew on July 27, 1937, and was piloted by Kurt Tank. It was powered by four BMW 139 (license built Pratt & Whitney Hornet) engines.

The Fw 200C prototype first flew in January 1940.

Production

  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-0: 10. Delivered in September 1939.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200: 252, 263, 276
    • Manufacturer: Focke Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH
    • Production: 1940 - 1944

Variants

  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-0: Pre-production model
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-1: Used BMW 132 H / BMW 132 H-1 engines (830 HP each). Carried four 551 lb / 250 kg bombs. Operational in the middle of 1940.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-2: Used BMW 132 H-1 engines.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-3: Used Bramo 323R-2 engines (1,000 HP each). Operational in the middle of 1941. Fuselage made stronger.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-4: Had radar and antenna in the nose. Operational in early 1942.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-6: Could carry two Henschel Hs 293 missiles with a FuG 203b control radio.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 200C-8: Had a longer ventral gondola with an accurate bombsight. Could carry two Henschel Hs 293 missiles with a FuG 203b control radio.
  • Focke Wulf Fw 300: Design only. Span 152' / 46.4 m, length 102' / 31 m. Was to use four Jumo 222 or DB 603 engines.
  • Focke Wulf Ta 400: Design only. Was to be built in France. It would have had six engines. Could carry 22,000 lb / 10,000 kg of bombs. Could go 3,000 miles / 4,800 km. Sixteen guns would provide defense.

Usage

In 1938 a Fw 200 took 42 hours and 18 minutes to fly from Berlin to Tokyo. Once seen by the Japanese they asked for a military version of the Condor.

The last Lufthansa airline flight was from Barcelona to Berlin on April 14, 1945.

Finland and Brazil each received one Fw 200. Japan ordered five but they were never delivered. Denmark and Brazil each received two of the pre-production models.

Personal Transports

Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler each used a Fw 200 as a personal transporter. The third prototype was called the Immelmann III and became Adolf Hitler's personal plane.

Early Use

In 1940 the I./KG 40 received some Fw 200Cs.

Some Fw 200C-1s were used for mine laying in English waters in 1940. They could deploy two 2,205 lb / 1,000 kg mines per mission.

Stalingrad

Eighteen Fw 200s were used by the Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Venwendung 200 to flying into Stalingrad.

Churchill

Winston Churchill called the Fw 200 "the scourge of the Atlantic."

Specifications

  Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor
Type Reconnaissance bomber, Transport
Crew 4, 6
Passengers 30
Engine (Type) 4: BMW
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Net HP 720 each
Dimensions  
Span 108' 3"
33 m
Length 78' 3"
23.85 m
Height 20', 20' 8"
6.3 m
Weight  
Loaded 32,100 lb
Performance  
Speed 230 mph
Range 775 miles
Armament 1: 20 mm
4: 13 mm MG
1: 7.9 mm MG
Bombs 3,307 lb
1,500 kg
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200C Condor
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 8
Pilot, co-pilot, engineer, observer / forward dorsal gunner, rear dorsal gunner, ventral gunners (2)
Engine (Type) 4: BMW Bramo Fafnir 323R-2, BMW 323 R-2
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling Air
Net HP 940 each, 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each, 3 blade VDM metal
Dimensions  
Span 108' 3"
33 m
Length 78' 3"
23.8 m
Height 23' 4"
7.1 m
Wing area 1,290 sq ft
120 sq m
Weight  
Empty 31,020 lb
14,070 kg
Loaded 50,045 lb
22,700 kg
Armament  
Turret - Above Cabin 1: 20 mm MG 151/20
Lateral 2 or 4: MG 81 or MG 131
Bomb Bay - Nose 1: MG 151/20
Bomb Bay - Tail 1: MG 81 or MG 131 or MG 151/20
Bombs 3,300 lb - 11,800 lb
1,500 kg - 5,360 kg
  Focke Wulf Fw 200C-1 Condor
Type Reconnaissance bomber
Crew 5
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 132 H, BMW 132 H-1
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling Air
Net HP 830 each
Dimensions  
Span 107' 9"
Length 77'
Height 20' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 50,045 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 15,400' 224 mph
Service ceiling 19,000'
Range 2,206 miles
Armament 3: 7.92 mm
4: MG
1: 20 mm
Nose 1: 20 mm
Bombs 2,755 lb
4: 551 lb
4: 250 kg
OR  
Mines 2: 2,205 lb
2: 1,000 kg
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor
Type Maritime reconnaissance bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 4: BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 Fafnir, Bramo 323R-2
Cylinders Radial
Net HP 1,000 each, 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 107' 9"
32.85 m
Length 77'
23.45 m
Height 20' 8"
6.3 m
Wing area 1,290 ft2
119.85 m2
Weight  
Empty 28,000 lb
13,000 kg
Loaded 50,000 lb, 51,000 lb
22,700 kg, 23,000 kg
Performance  
Speed 220 mph
360 kph
Speed at sea level 190 mph
306 kph
Speed @ 13,000' /
3,960 m
240 mph
386 kph
Speed at 13,120' /
4,000 m
240 mph
384 kph
Cruising speed 155 mph
250 kph
Cruising Speed at 13,120 ' /
4,000 m
220 mph
352 kph
Endurance 9.75 hours
Climb 656'/minute
200 m/minute
Service ceiling 19,000', 19,030'
5,800 m, 6,000 m
Range 2,700 miles, 2,759 miles
4,400 km, 4,440 km
Range with 1,770 gallons of fuel 2,200 miles
3,520 km
Armament  
Dorsal and beam 4: 13 mm MG 131 MG
Ventral gondola 1: 13 mm MG 131 MG
OR
1: 20 mm MG 151
Bombs in gondola and under wings 4,600 lb
2,100 kg
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3/U4 Condor
Type Maritime reconnaissance bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 4: BMW-Bramo 323R-2 piston
Cylinders Radial
Net HP 1,000 each
Dimensions  
Span 107' 9.5"
32.84 m
Length 76' 11.5"
23.85 m
Height 20' 8"
6.3 m
Wing area 1,290 ft2
118 m2
Weight  
Empty 37,478 lb
17,000 kg
Loaded 50,044 lb
22,700 kg
Performance  
Speed at 15,420' /
4,700 m
224 mph
360 kph
Service ceiling 19,685'
6,000 m
Range 2,211 miles
3,560 km
Armament  
Dorsal - forward 1: 7.92 mm MG
Dorsal - rear 1: 13 mm
Beam 2: 13 mm
Ventral 1: 20 mm
Ventral - aft 1: 7.92 mm
Bombs in gondola and under wings 4,630 lb
2,100 kg
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-6 Condor
Armament  
Missiles 2: Hs 293
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-8 Condor
Armament  
Missiles 2: Hs 293
  Focke-Wulf Fw 200K2
Type Mine layer, Commerce raider
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 801
Net HP 1,320 each
Dimensions  
Span 108' 6"
Length 78' 3"
Height 23' 4"
Weight  
Loaded 44,100 lb
Performance  
Speed 280 mph
Range 2,300 miles

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  7. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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