Focke-Wulf FW-200C-6 Condor

In the mid-1920s, two former German military pilots Henrich Focke and Georg Wulf founded an aeronautical firm in Bremen, the main purpose of which was to create passenger aircraft, since at that time, according to the Versailles agreements, Germany was not allowed to have armed forces as well as aviation. In the mid-1920s and early 1930s, the company managed to build several successful types of aircraft, but with the rise to power of the National Socialists, a gradual withdrawal from the conditions of Versailles began, with the tacit agreement of the former victorious states.

In the mid-30s, passenger air travel began to boom and the leading German airline, Lufthansa, certainly did not want to lose the lead it had already gained in this area. In 1935, a 4-engine passenger aircraft project was commissioned that could carry at least 25 long-distance passengers. The winner was Focke-Wulf with its Fw 200 project, developed by Chief Engineer Kurt Tank. In 1937, a prototype was built, which successfully passed its tests and the type soon began its commercial activities.

The Second World War, which began on the 1st of September, 1939, immediately set before the German command the urgent task of a complete blockade of Great Britain, which depended heavily on foreign supplies from the colonies and dominions of the Empire. In September 1939, the military inspected Focke-Wulf's production facilities and came to the conclusion that the Condor (as the airplane was officially known) could be quickly converted into a maritime patrol aircraft for various missions over the sea. Thus began a new page in the story of the one time air transport.

The first 20 airframes which received the C-1 designation were, in fact, converted B variant machines, which participated in the German invasion of Norway in the spring of 1940. The C-1 was followed by the C-2 and C-3 variants, which had enhanced armament and extended range. From the mid-1940s, they launched a campaign of terror over the seas surrounding the British Isles, hunting not only convoys of ships but also single marine vessels. Following the assimilation of various European countries, the opportunity arose to equip bases for the Condor in France, Denmark and Norway. The planes could range up to 4,000 km and return to any of the bases in the event of a technical malfunction or damage following an encounter with an enemy in the air. The co-operative tactics of the Condors working with the Krigsmarine submarines proved to be very effective when the reconnaissance planes reported to the Wolf Packs the coordinates of convoys and large military transport vessels.

The situation changed radically in mid-1943, when the British were able to confront the Condor not only with enhanced anti-aircraft firepower on warships, but also new long-range aircraft that could patrol the sea for extended periods, searching for the sinister Condors in the sky. Fw 200 losses increased substantially and it was therefore decided to change their tactics. The aircraft were to conduct aerial reconnaissance, mount increased weaponry for protection from all hemispheres, as well as gain the ability to conduct a remote attack from the air using the latest development - Hs 293 guided bombs. The aircraft would also be equipped with the FuG 200 Hohentwiel radar. This version was designated the C-6 and was used for a limited period during 1944, since the Hs 293 ​​bombs were not sufficiently proven yet to be effective against enemy targets.
Overall, the role of the Fw 200 in the early years of World War II was very important. Their close co-operation with the submarines almost led to the fall of Great Britain. The aircraft had certain design flaws, which were due to its civilian lineage, and which were fairly quickly identified by enemy pilots. However, the Fw 200 Condor can definitely be called one of the most significant aircraft types of the Second World War.



  1. Fw 200 Condor



Performances

Wingspan, m

32,85

Length, m

23,45

Height, m

6,3

Wing area, sq.m

116

Empty weight, kg

13310

Max. take-off weight, kg

24160

Max. speed, km / h

360

Flight range, km

4600

Service ceiling, m

5900

Engine

4 Bramo 323K Fafnir of 1200 hp each

Armament

MG-131 13mm machine guns, 20mm cannon MG-151. Bomb loading up to 2100 kg, possibility of hanging guided bombs Hs-293 ​​one under each wing

Crew

7 persons