The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

Germany
Germany

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

Sir Winston Chrchill called the Condor "The Scourge of the Atlantic ". He came to this because of the enormous ranges that this aircraft could fly, spotting merchant convois of the Allies. It then could either subsequently attack the convoi with its boms and rockets, and/or could call in the position to direct German Wolf-packs (groups of hunting U-boats) to the ships.
Starting out as a civil 26-passenger transport, meant for the Atlantic route, it was designed in 1936 with advanced features and performance. Japanese interest in the aircraft resulted in the first semi-military aircraft, and the need for reconnaissance bombers just before the outbreak of the Second World War made the Luftwaffe look into the direction of the Condor. The first aircraft were delivered in september 1939, and the first operational sorties followed in April 1940 during the invasion of Norway.

Versions:

Further pictures:

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor in full flight
The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor in full flight

 

Technical data on the Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor
Powerplant 4 × BMW-Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir radial, for take-off with MW 50 methanol/water injection, rated at 1200 hp (894.59 kW) each Role during war
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
  • Reconnaissance Aircraft
Length 76 ft 11.5 inch Height 20 ft 8 inch
Empty weight 31020 lb Operational weight 50045 lb max
Wing Span 107 ft 8 inch Wing Aspect ratio 9.14
Wing Area 1270.14 sq ft Service ceiling 19685 ft
Maximum speed 224 mph at 15750 ft Cruising speed 208 mph at 13125 ft
Initial climb rate unknown Range 2209 miles typical,
2759 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 1,773 Imp gal (2,129.25 US gal) plus provision for up to 416.8 Imp gal (500.6 US gal) of auxiliary fuel in fuselage tanks Fuel capacity external up to 264 Imp gal (317 US gal) in 4 × 66 Imp gal (79.25 US gal) drop tanks carried in place of the bombs
Machine guns
  • 1 × 0.51 in MG 131 trainable rearward-firing gun in the rear dorsal position, 500 rounds
  • 2 × 0.51 in MG 131 trainable lateral-firing guns in the beam positions, 300 rounds each
  • 1 × 0.312 in MG 15 trainable rearward-firing gun in the rear ventral gondola position, 1,000 rounds
  • 1 × 0.312 in MG 15 trainable gun in the power-operated Fw 19 forward dorsal turret, 1,000 rounds
Cannons 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 trainable forward-firing cannon in the forward ventral gondola position, 500 rounds
Bomb load Up to 4,630 lb, in a ventral gondola weapon bay rated 1,323 lb and on four hardpoints (two under the outboard engine nacelles, each rated at 1,102 lb and two under the outer wing panels each rated at 551 lb). Normal load-out:
  • 2 × 1,102 lb SC-500 bombs under the outboard engine nacelles
  • 2 × 551 lb SC-250 bombs under the outer wing panels
  • 12 × 110 lb SC-50 bombs in the ventral-gondola weapon bay.
Torpedoes/rockets 2 × Henschel Hs 293 guided missile (on C-6 and C-8), one under each wing
Crew 6: pilot, co-pilot/bombardier, radar operator/gunner, radio operator/gunner, and two gunners Naval or ground based Ground and Naval
First flight (prototype) 27 July 1937 Operational Service September 1939 - May 1945
Manufacturer Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau G.m.b.H. Number produced 276 total, this version unknown
Metric system
Length 23.46 m Height 6.3 m
Empty weight 14071 kg Operational weight 22700 kg max
Wing Span 32.82 m Wing Aspect ratio 9.14
Wing Area 118 m² Service ceiling 6000 m
Maximum speed 360 km/h at 4801 m Cruising speed 335 km/h at 4000 m
Initial climb rate unknown Range 3555 km typical,
4440 km max
Fuel capacity internal 8.060 liters plus provision for up to 1.895 liters of auxiliary fuel in fuselage tanks Fuel capacity external up to 1.200 liters in 4 × 300 liters drop tanks carried in place of the bombs
Machine guns
  • 1 × 13 mm MG 131 trainable rearward-firing gun in the rear dorsal position, 500 rounds
  • 2 × 13 mm MG 131 trainable lateral-firing guns in the beam positions, 300 rounds each
  • 1 × 7,92 mm MG 15 trainable rearward-firing gun in the rear ventral gondola position, 1,000 rounds
  • 1 × 7,92 mm MG 15 trainable gun in the power-operated Fw 19 forward dorsal turret, 1,000 rounds
Cannons 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 trainable forward-firing cannon in the forward ventral gondola position, 500 rounds
Bomb load Up to 2100 kg, in a ventral gondola weapon bay rated 600 kg and on four hardpoints (two under the outboard engine nacelles, each rated at 500 kg and two under the outer wing panels each rated at 250 kg). Normal load-out:
  • 2 × 500 kg SC-500 bombs under the outboard engine nacelles
  • 2 × 250 kg SC-250 bombs under the outer wing panels
  • 12 × 50 kg SC-50 bombs in the ventral-gondola weapon bay.
Torpedoes/rockets 2 × Henschel Hs 293 guided missile (on C-6 and C-8), one under each wing

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 200  Condor
Focke-Wulf Fw 200B-1 and Fw 200B-2 The Fw 200B were transports ordered by Japan, but impressed into military service by Germany. The two versions were almost equal, the main difference being the powerplant: 4 × BMW 132Dc radials, rated at 850 hp (634 kW) each for the Fw 200B-1, and 4 × BMW 132H radials, rated at 830 hp (619 kW) for the Fw 200B-2.
Number built: 4
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-0 The Condor was a civil mail/26-passenger aircraft, and already had seen some changes. The first military version was the Fw 200C-0 pre-production series. The first 4 aircraft were built unarmed as a reconnaissaince/evaluation aircraft, the last 6 were fully armed.
Number built: 10
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-1 The first real production series. Powered by 4 × BMW 132H radial, rated at 830 hp (619 kW). Armed with 1 × 20 mm MG FF trainable forward-firing cannon in a position at the front of the lengthened ventral gondola, 1 × 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 trainable machine guns in the forward dorsal position, rear dorsal position and a position at the rear of the ventral gondola. Bombload was 4 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bombs. Two of these bombs or alternatively two 66 Imp gal (79.25 US gal; 300 liter) drop tanks were carried under the lengthened inboard engine nacelles, and the other two weapons on racks under the outer wing panels. Optionally it could be used as a mine layer with 2 × 2,205 lb (1.000 kg) mines.
Number built: unknown
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-2 The first definitive version of the Condor featured a further strengthened airframe, an uprated powerplant, an additional crew member, the defensive firepower increased by the addition of two 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 trainable lateral-firing machine guns in new beam positions, and the offensive armament boosted to a maximum of 4,630 lb (2100 kg) (see details above). Some Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets) existed.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Fw 200C-3/U1 The original forward dorsal gun position was replaced by a hydraulically operated Fw 19 turret fitted with 1 × 15 mm MG 151 trainable cannon and the MG FF cannon in the front of the ventral gondola replaced by a faster-firing 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon
Fw 200C-3/U2 This version retained the original type of forward dorsal machine gun position and the MG 151/20 cannon was replaced by a 0.51 in (13 mm) MG 131 trainable forward-firing gun. This was done to provide space in the forward part of the ventral gondola for the "Lofte 7D" bomb sight whose inclusion removed the need for the concrete aiming bomb, which was used in the older versions.
Fw 200C-3/U3 The forward dorsal position with its 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 gun was replaced by an electrically operated EDL 131 turret with 1 × 0.51 in (13 mm) MG 131 trainable gun, the 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 guns in the rear dorsal position was replaced by 1 × 0.51 in (13 mm) MG 131 gun
Fw 200C-3/U4 The Fw 19 forward dorsal turret was restored and the 2 × 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 guns in the two beam positions were replaced by 0.51 in (13 mm) MG 131 guns. An additional gunner was provided


Number built: unknown
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-4 Equal to the Fw 200C-3, but with improved equipment and armament. The primary equipment change was the adoption of FuG Rostock air-to-surface radar, later replaced by the FuG 200 Hohentwiel air-to-surface search radars that allowed blind bombing attacks to be made. These radars were also retrofitted in most of the surviving Fw 200C-3 aircraft.
Each of the variants below were built to the extent of just one high-speed transport with a shortened ventral gondola and a defensive armament of 4 × 0.312 in (7.92 mm) MG 15 guns carried in the two gondola positions and in Fw 19 and Fw 20 forward and rear dorsal turrets.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Fw 200C-4/U1 Fitted with accommodation for 11 passengers, and used as the personal transport of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS organization.
Fw 200C-4/U2 Fitted with accommodation for 14 passengers


Number built: unknown
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-6 Conversion from the Fw 200C-3/U1 and Fw 200C-3/U2 to act as launch platforms for two Henschel Hs 293 guided anti-ship missiles carried under the wings and controlled by means of the FuG 203b Kehl III transmitter unit.
Number converted: unknown
Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-8 This was the new-build counterpart of the Fw 200C-6 conversion. The Fw 200/Hs 293 combination was not notably successful after its introduction in December 1943, and by June 1944 most of the surviving Fw 200s had been withdrawn from service as maritime patrol bomber and missile launch platforms for use as transports.
Number built: unknown

Remarks:

In the beginning of the war the Condors were almost untouchable, being able to fly out of range for interceptors. The first real operations began in June 1940, and within the span of 3 months already sank more than 90,000 tonnes (91.440 metric tonnes) of Allied shipping. When the Allied had fighters with a greater range the Condors became less successful.
The name of the Condor pops up in a number of notable events: The third prototype was converted and used as Hittler's personal transport; The first unpowered Fi 103 test vehicle (V1 or Doodle-bug) was air-launched from a Condor in December 1942; The first kill of a Catapult-launched Hurricane ‘Hurricat’ was achieved in August 1941, when a Sea Hurricane Mk IA shot down an Fw 200 after being launched from the CAM-ship Maplin; And a Condor was the first German aircraft shot down by the US Army Air Forces (in August 1942) by an Iceland-based P-38F.
A few Condors remained operational to the last days of the war, in the end mostly being converted and used as transports. Deliveries of the military Condor amounted to 262 aircraft (10 in 1939, 26 in 1940, 58 in 1941, 84 in 1942, 76 in 1944 and eight in 1944), and these were supplemented by four impressed Fw 200B airliners.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00