In early 1941 the
appearance of the Focke Wulf 190 in the skies over Europe
came as a very nasty surprise for allied pilots. Although
known as Wurger (Shrike) to the Germans, allied pilots soon
coined the term Butcher Bird to describe their lethal new
opponent. With a supercharged engine and emergency boost systems
the new FW 190 was faster, more manoeuvrable and more heavily
armed than the latest Spitfire V at most altitudes. It was
also smaller, making it a smaller target and yet retained
a sturdy air frame able to absorb a good deal of punishment.
Only the introduction of the Spitfire IX, with its supercharged
engine, redressed the balance.
Designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930's, production of the
FW 190 commenced in 1941 and continued until the end of the
war in 1945. In total over 20,000 190's were built. The FW
190 can be counted amongst the greatest aircraft types ever
built and also proved to be one of the most versatile, serving
as an air superiority fighter, bomber interceptor, night fighter,
fighter bomber and ground attack aircraft.
Over twenty FW190's survive as museum pieces including examples
at the RAF Museum, Hendon and Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
The details below are for the original Fw 190 which caused
such a stir when it was first encountered by Allied pilots
in the skies over Europe
Type: Single Seat Fighter
Powerplant: 1,730 hp BMW 801 D-2 radial with emergency boost
to 2,000 hp
Maximum Speed: 408 mph (428 mph with boost)
Service Ceiling: 37,400 feet
Range: c 600 miles
Armament: 2x 13mm MG131 Machine guns
4x 20mm MG151 cannon