Friday, July 22, 2016

The Friday Flyby - July 2016

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8 / R1, II. Gruppe, Schlachtgeschwader 2
While visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA back in November of '14, I came across this beauty depicted above tucked away in the hangar. This is what the Smithsonian's website had to say about this particular aircraft -
Nicknamed the Würger (Butcher Bird*), the Fw 190 entered service in 1941 and flew throughout World War II on all fronts. It was the only German single-seat fighter powered by a radial engine and the only fighter of the war with electrically operated landing gear and flaps. Some served as fighter-bombers with ground attack units, but the Fw 190 is best known for defending against Allied daylight bombing attacks.

This Fw 190 F-8 was originally manufactured as an Fw 190 A-7 fighter. During 1944 it was remanufactured as a fighter-bomber and issued to ground attack unit SG 2. After Germany's surrender it was shipped to Freeman Field, Indiana, then transferred to the Smithsonian in 1949. Its 1980-83 restoration revealed a succession of color schemes. It now appears as it did while serving with SG 2 in 1944. (Source)
Juvat's latest post had a nice photo of the Fw 190 D, nicknamed Dora by the Luftwaffe, and a couple of the comments reminded me of just how much I liked the Fw 190. As I mentioned, she wasn't particularly pretty, but she packed a punch.

Note the landing gear...

I may have mentioned before that I had a run-in with a scout master back in the day over a model I had built of the Fw 190. He said the landing gear was wrong. I said, no, it wasn't. Long story short, I mentioned that he couldn't build a fire by rubbing two brain cells together. He was "miffed," I was pissed off and decided that perhaps scouting wasn't for me.


Note how the gear struts are canted inwards, that's the part my scoutmaster claimed that I "got wrong," he said that the struts should be straight and wouldn't listen to reason, or superior knowledge of the subject in question.

Yes, I do bring this up from time to time as it still rankles, some fifty years after the event.

Another comment indicated that the 190 had a "long nose," the Dora version, shown below, was mentioned as having an even longer nose. Well, yes, the Dora did have a long nose, much longer than the A-series of the Fw 190. The Fw 190 D-series were powered by the Junkers Jumo 213A 12-cylinder inverted-V piston engine which was introduced in the Fw 190 D-0 prototype.


The Jumo 213A was also used in the following aircraft -
  • Heinkel He 111
  • Junkers Ju 88
  • Junkers Ju 188
  • Junkers Ju 388
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 152
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 154
  • Messerschmitt Me 209-II
The A-series aircraft (known as Anton) was powered by the BMW 801 D-2 radial engine, rather shorter than the Jumo 213A. I guess if you say the nose is the bit of the aircraft forward of the cockpit, then yes, all Fw 190s had long noses. I only count the nose as the bit forward of the wing leading edge. Which is where the engine is. A minor quibble I suppose, but after listening to lawyers all week (with the requisite apologies to those friends and readers who actually are lawyers) I find myself quibbling a lot lately. It seems to be what litigators do. (It's not "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin," but it's close.)

Oh yeah, the BMW 801 D-2 was also used in these aircraft -
  • Blohm & Voss BV 141
  • Blohm & Voss BV 144
  • Dornier Do 217
  • Focke-Wulf Fw 191
  • Heinkel He 277
  • Junkers Ju 88
  • Junkers Ju 188
  • Junkers Ju 288
  • Junkers Ju 388
  • Junkers Ju 290
  • Junkers Ju 390
  • Messerschmitt Me 264
In most cases above the two engines mentioned mostly powered multi-engine aircraft, some of which never went into production. The Germans loved to tinker and experiment rather than stick to a proven design. I'm not gonna say that's why they lost the war, but it didn't help. Not at all. They just didn't have the industrial resources to waste/expend on experiments and prototypes. We did.

The Ta 152 listed as using the Jumo 213A looked a lot like the Fw 190 D (oh yeah, the Germans also called that bird the Langnase Dora, "Long nosed Dora").  But rather than have an "Fw" designation, the Ta 152 was designated after its designer, Kurt Tank. The aircraft was built by Focke Wulf. Now Herr Tank also designed the Fw 190, which was built by Focke Wulf. Why Ta 152 and not Fw 190? I don't know, might be an interesting story...

Focke Wulf Ta 152 H (Source)

She looks like a Focke Wulf with a passing resemblance to her Fw 190 sisters, but she looks "odd" for some reason. A glance at a plan view shows a number of differences which makes her look "odd."

Ta 152 H (Source)

Longer fuselage, longer wings, longer nose. Wikipedia has this to say about this bird -
The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 was a World War II German high-altitude fighter-interceptor designed by Kurt Tank and produced by Focke-Wulf. The Ta 152 was a development of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 aircraft. It was intended to be made in at least three versions—the Ta 152H Höhenjäger ("high-altitude fighter"), the Ta 152C designed for medium-altitude operations and ground-attack using a different engine and smaller wing, and the Ta 152E fighter-reconnaissance aircraft with the engine of the H model and the wing of the C model. (Source)
Fw 190 A-3
Fw 190 D-13/R11

Having flown one in simulation, I had the impression that they were very maneuverable. You could do an aileron roll just by thinking about it (almost).

A feared "target."

Yes, the engine sounds like a tractor. Don't let that "tractor" get on your Six though, she wasn't called the Butcher Bird for nothing...


Of course, Scott's comment below got me to thinking (and to Googling). Couldn't find a color photo but found this (along with a great website!)

The Gerbini Focke–Wulf  Fw 190, flying unmolested above the United States. It was shipped to the United States in January 1944, where repairs were made. It was test flown at NAS Anacostia, then moved to NAS Patuxent River in February. It should be noted that the USN seemed impressed enough by this aircraft that they encouraged development of the F8F Bearcat, which was clearly and visually inspired by the tough fighter. Photo: US Navy

Great article on captured warbirds over at Vintage Wings of Canada. A great site, check it out!

* Würger is the German word for a shrike, sometimes known as the "butcher bird," a most interesting wee bird noted for impaling its prey. No, seriously. There is a Navy strike fighter squadron named for the shrike. Yup, the Shit Hot World Famous Orange Tailed Shrikes of VFA-94. Lex's first command. Just thought I'd mention that...

F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-94


  1. Eric Brown said that a competently flown Hellcat should be able to handle an Anton, but the Hellcat should find somewhere else to be, should it turn out that the FW is a Dora.

    I have seen photos of a Anton that was flown by the USN, after it's capture. The Navy wanted no mistakes made as to the ownership of the FW-190A, so it was in tricolor, with big stars and bars. It looked Tres Chic in tricolor.

    1. I need to track down that picture. Has to be almost as disconcerting as seeing that Zero pulled out of the mud in the Aleutians in olive drab with bug white stars on it.

  2. Note to self: If discussing historical trivia, and Sarge says something, bet the bank on it being true. Wonder why the engineers built the gear to cant inward?

    "...he couldn't build a fire by rubbing two brain cells together."
    THAT's gonna leave a mark. Well done. Had a principal here once that I was pretty sure only had two brain cells. One controlled breathing in, one controlled breathing out. Nothing left over for any other thought processes.

    1. Well, I'm not always right...

      Heh, one brain cell for breathing in, one for out. I've known guys like that.

    2. Now THAT recalls an amusing sea story...

  3. LOVE that Chantilly FW-190. That's one of the ones that I most wanted to sneak out for a quick test flight.

    It's also one that got me in trouble at work as I had it's picture as my screen-saver at my last job (took the pic when we were there together) and a spineless little pussy that I'd just given a bad performance review to complained to the EEO office that I had a picture of a "Nazi" airplane and he felt offended.


      I have it on firm authority that aircraft were barred from membership in the National Socialist German Workers Party. Therefore the Chantilly Fw 190 cannot be a "Nazi" aircraft, it is simply a German aircraft. Now it may have been flown by a Nazi pilot but there are no pilots in the photo.

      (Yup, I've been around lawyers all week...)

  4. It is interesting the way those airplanes were manufactured. Much like the British Mosquito, in hundreds of scattered workshops with components brought together for final assembly.

    1. Well, we were going out of our way to make manufacturing in Germany a hazardous occupation.

    2. Objection!!!!
      We were not going out of our way to make manufacturing in Germany a hazardous occupation. We were ON our way to Germany to make manufacturing there a hazardous occupation.

    3. Overruled.

      But point taken counselor, I'll choose my phrasing more carefully in the future. (Semantics. Sigh...)

  5. Nice post and pictures, thanks.

    Paul L. Quandt

  6. The Dora was different from other 190's in rather the same way the Dog was different from other Sabre variants. One of the cool things about evolving airplanes. A-36 and P-51 come to mind, Blinder and Backfire, many of the Spit and Hurri marks...

    1. Like a species, aircraft must evolve, or become obsolete.

      If not extinct.


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