Focke-Wulf Fw 200

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Herroberst, Apr 4, 2006.

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  1. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    Focke-Wulf Fw 200, an effective aircraft your opininon? What would have been an alternative? Should it have been used by the Fallschirmjäger for transport?
     
  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    From what I understand, it had quite a range, but was a converted civil airliner, so it didn't have much of a cargo of bombload capacity. The Germans did use them as cargo carriers in the airlift to Stalingrad, mostly out of desperation.
     
  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Fw200, the first prototype flew on 27th July 1937. At the time it was the best long range airliner in Europe if not the world. It was intended to replace the Ju52/3m as the chief on trunk routes. The Japanese had great interest in this aircraft.
    The normal crew was five. There was never enough FW200s to go round, by the termination in Feb 1944 only 252 Cs were built.
    The first missions were flown from Danish bases from 8th April 1940 against British ships.
    In early 1943 some Fw200c-3s were modified to launch and guide the Hs 293A anti-ship missile.
    It was often urgently called to undertake transport duties in various theatres, including Stalingrad.
    It suffered from bad serviceability and not enough numbers, maybe that was why it was not used for special forces.
    I think if they had given it more interest earlier then this aircraft could have been very good for the German war effort. :)
     
  4. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Fw200 Condor.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Focke-Wulf Fw 200, an effective aircraft your opininon? What would have been an alternative? Should it have been used by the Fallschirmjäger for transport?

    The design was taken from a civialian aircraft and converted to suit the military. Because of that, it was not really strengthened to take the various stresses imposed by its military role.

    Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3/U4 Specification<O:p</O:p
    Power Plant: Four BMW-Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines each rated at 1,200 hp at 2,600 rpm with methanol-water injection for take-off and emergency, 1,000 hp at 2,500 rpm at sea level and 940 hp at 2,500 rpm at 13,125 ft (4 000m)<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Performance: Max speed, 190 mph (306 km/h) at sea level, 224 mph (360 km/h) at 15,750 ft (4 800 m); max continuous cruise, 172 mph (277 km/h) at sea level, 208 mph (335 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4 000 m); econ cruise, 158 mph (255 km/h); range at econ cruise (with standard fuel — 1,773 Imp gal/8 060 1), 2,210 mis (3 556 km), (with overload fuel - 2,190 Imp gal/9 955 1), 2,760 mis (4 440 km); service ceiling, 19, 030 ft (5 800 m). Weights: Empty equipped, 28,550 Ib (12 950 kg); max loaded, 50,045 Ib (22 700 kg).<O:p></O:p>
    <O:p</O:p
    Dimensions: Span, 107 ft 8 in (32,84 m); length, 76 ft 11^ in (23,46 m); height, 20 ft 8 in (6,30 m); wing area, 1,270-14 sq ft (118,0m<SUP>2</SUP>).<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Armament: (Defensive) One 7,9-mm MG 15 machine gun with 1,000 rounds in hydraulically-operated Fw 19 forward dorsal turret, one 13-mm MG 131 machine gun with 500 rounds on flexible mount in aft dorsal position, two 13-mm MG 131 machine guns with 300 rpg firing from aft beam hatches, one 20-mm MG 151 cannon on flexible mounting with 500 rounds in forward ventral position and one 7,9-mm MG 15 machine gun with 1,000 rounds in aft ventral position. (Offensive) Maximum bomb load of 4,630 Ib (2 100 kg) comprising two 1,102-lb (500-kg), two 551-lb (250-kg) and 12 110-lb (50-kg) bombs.<O:p</O:p

    To assess the Condor's value to Germany as a war machine is not difficult because, in concert with the u-boat, it so nearly brought Britain to her knees in 1940-41, but as a fighting machine the Condor possessed all the shortcomings that were to be expected of a converted commercial airliner, a fact which only became obvious after the Allies had taken the measure of this aeroplane. its lack of armour and the fact that all the fuel lines were all underside of the aircraft rendered it extremely vulernable but to counter the inherent weakness it was armed to the teeth and was so defensively potent. If not the perfect lady then her lines had suggessed to me that day at templehof in 1937, the Condor was a throughly competant aeroplane, and the fact that a relatively small number of condors created such havoc is surely a tribute to the effciency of the adaptation of the airliner for the large-range maritime reconnaissance - bomber role"

    Taken from Eric Browns book Wings of the Luftwaffe.
     
  6. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member

    Deriving Maritime Patrol aircraft from civilian airliners is something that has been done ever since the war [Nimrod, P3 Orion, Il-38; and the replacement for the P3 will probably be a derivation of the Boeing 767]. So not a bad idea in itself, and the Germans can be said to be the pioneers of this.
    One weakness of the FW200 was outer wing panels which were liable to shed their plywood skins under violent manoeuvers.
    Basically, it was too complex for easy mass production; the JU52 was simpler to build, maintain and fly, so continued as the Luftwaffe's primary transport.

    Adrian
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Fw200 Condor.

    I forgot to ask Gage.

    How did you pick up Gnomey's picture?

    It tricks me everytime.
     
  8. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I forgot to ask Gage.

    How did you pick up Gnomey's picture?

    It tricks me everytime.

    Gnomey was good enough to let me have it when he changed his sig. I've always liked it, so he obliged me, which was really good of him.:)
     
  9. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    Deriving Maritime Patrol aircraft from civilian airliners is something that has been done ever since the war [Nimrod, P3 Orion, Il-38; and the replacement for the P3 will probably be a derivation of the Boeing 767]. So not a bad idea in itself, and the Germans can be said to be the pioneers of this.

    It may work for long range Maritime Patrol aircraft, as they don't carry too much (ie. aren't specifically bombers) and have a long endurance as a major requirement. But generally conversions from aircraft designed as civilian aircraft to military types aren't all that successful.

    Good military aircraft need to be designed from the start as military aircraft in order to be ready for the riggors of dog fights, carrying large bomb loads, carrying the appropriate cargo loads, good downward observation for recce etc.

    There are of course some notable exceptions which throw a spanner into the works of my theory, like the Spitfire which originated from the design of a racing plane and the Dakota which nobody in their right mind would say that it wasn't a good military aircraft.
     
  10. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    I'm not an aircraft designer but I would say it might be easier modifying a production airframe to a military standard. Thought it was an impressive looking plane. Could have been a standard type bomber, marine patrol, cargo/carrier had they stuck with and modified...upengined the aircraft. Of course large numbers would have to had been produced for effectiveness.
     
  11. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member

    Since WW2, deriving Maritime Patrol Aircraft from airliners was a way of keeping costs down (relatively speaking). But as Plant-Pilot says, it only works for Maritime Patrol Aircraft (and light transports), as any other type of military aircraft would be too specialised. (And I meant to say that the B737, not 767, will be the basis of the P3 replacement).

    But the Germans had a particular situation in the 1930's - the need to develop military aircraft which had to be first introduced as civilian types in order to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles which prohibited them from having military aircraft. This deception started before the Nazis came to power (e.g. in the case of the He70, predecessor of the He111) and it was about 1935 before they were confident enough to openly declare the existence of the Luftwaffe. (Incidentally, military crew training in that period was carried out on Russian territory). Thus, most pre-war German types had civilian and military versions - the FW200, He70, He111, Do17, Do23, Do18, Ju86, and perhaps most notably the Ju52 which in its bomber version carried out the bombing of Guernica.

    On a lighter note: during the war, a FW200 Condor was shadowing a British convoy and circled them continously in a clockwise direction for an hour or so. The Convoy Commodore arranged for a signal to be flashed by Aldis lamp to the Condor:
    "Can you please circle the other way, you are making us giddy?"
    The Condor duly about-turned and circled anti-clockwise.

    Adrian
     
  12. MikB

    MikB Senior Member

    Well the Condor did what it did, but didn't really compare with the capability of a Catalina, less still a Sunderland, for Maritime patrols. Contrary to what's been said, such patrolling is demanding and the plane that can carry equipment and weaponry is the one that does the job best.

    Regards,
    MikB
     
  13. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member

    Well the Condor did what it did, but didn't really compare with the capability of a Catalina, less still a Sunderland, for Maritime patrols. Contrary to what's been said, such patrolling is demanding and the plane that can carry equipment and weaponry is the one that does the job best.
    MikB

    But if you look at Morse's figures above, the Condor could carry 4600 lbs of bombs. The Sunderland and Catalina could only carry 2000 lbs. The Condors defensive armament was also considerable; certainly more than a Catalina's. Later Condors could carry the Henschel 293 anti-shipping missile.

    The Sunderland was of course also derived from an airliner (the Short C class "Empire") and could be considered over-complex for its job; certainly it did not lend itself to mass-production.

    Adrian
     
  14. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    Thanks Adrian, It slipped my mind about the Versaille restrictions. An interesting way of skirting the Allies before the conflict.
     
  15. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  16. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Some more images of the FW200 (including some color ones)

    Rod's WarBirds
     
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  18. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Certainly the Condor was not an unattractive aircraft but she does look delicate compared to say the B-17 or the Halifax .
     
  19. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    As I mentioned earlier on the Ju 390 thread where the FW 200 was mentioned.
    The FW 200 was designed purely as a passenger plane and when pressed into Luftwaffe service they performed good service for long range maritime patrols.

    They were not designed for rugged conditions and as such many fell foul of broken backs during heavy landings.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    They were not designed for rugged conditions and as such many fell foul of broken backs during heavy landings


    They would break in TWO places - just behind the main wingspar, and just in front of the tail...occasionally - both!

    When the airframe was later strengthened, weight was already SO critical already that only 29lbs of extra alloy bracing could be put into the aircraft!!!

    Another very major problem was the wheelhubs were very badly designed. The cams opening the brake shoes would over-centre and lock up and not release if parked on the brakes overnight...and thus the liners burst into flame on landing if overused....OR if they'd seized overnight....burst into flame on takeoff and be raised into the engine nacelles....on fire!

    If you can find the film of Hitler landing in Helsinki and greeting Mannerheim on his birthday....you'll see smoke blowing in from the right of the film! That's Hitler's Condor's wheelhubs on fire! You can VERY briefly see LW "black man" running in with a fire extinguisher!!!
     

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