Profile Publications No. 99 The Focke-Wulf Fw 200

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 An Fw 200C-2 inflight over the North Sea. This machine was flown by the StafielkapiUin o f 1st Staffel. KG 40 it was lost during a mission over the British Isles on July 20th 1940. (Photo: via Hans Oberl) “To the U-boat scourge was now added air attack far out on the oceans by long-range aircraft. Of these, the Focke W ulf 200, known as the Condor was the most formidable” .So wrote Sir Winston Churchill in his History o f the Second World War when describing the part played in the Battle of the Atlantic by the Focke W ulf Condor. The Condor was designed in the spring of 1936 purely as a commercial airliner for use by Deutsche Lufthansa whose Ju 52/3m was loosing ground to the American Douglas DC-3. The Condor, like the famous Fw 190 of later years, was designed by Dipl.Ing. Kurt Tank, Technical Director of the Focke Wulf Flugzeugbau G.m .b.H. The aircraft was to abe twenty-six seat low wing monoplane powered by four 720 h.p. B.M.W. 132 G-l nine cylinder radial engines and possessing a retractable undercarriage. The R.L.M .,at Tank's instigation, allocated the machine the “8" series number “200” (a much higher number than had previously been used) as it was felt that this designation would be easily remembered. The first prototype, the Fw 200 VI, later registered D-ACON and named “Brandenburg” ,made its initial inflight July 1937 with Kurt Tank himself at the controls. This was exactly twelvemonths and eleven days after the initial contract had been placed, but those eleven days were to lose Tank abet, ashe had promised delivery of the first machine within a year! Following minor re-design to the tail fin and rudder, D-ACON and the V2 (D-AERE “ Saarland” )embarked on a series of long distance flights. The first of these was made on 27th July 1938 when the Fw 200 V2, piloted by Kurt Tank, flew from Berlin to Cairo via Salonica. On 10th August 1938, the Fw 200 V1 piloted by Herren Henke and von Moreau, took off from Berlin to fly non-stop to New York, a distance of 4,075 miles. Exactly 24 hours and 55 minutes later, D-ACON touched down at Floyd- Bennett aerodrome, New York, having covered the distance at an average speed of 164 m.p.h., and against strong headwinds. The return journey was made in 19 hours 47 minutes an average speed of 205 m.p.h. Perhaps the most notable long-distance flight of the Condor was made by the Fw 200 VI on 28th November 1938. Piloted by the same crew that flew heron the trans-Atlantic flight, D-ACON took off from Berlin-Templehof to fly to Tokyo. The route, which was to avoid crossing Russian territory, was to include three re-fuelling points at Berne, Karachi and Hanoi. The flight was made in less than 48 hours including stops for fuel, and the landing was accom­panied by scenes of wild enthusiasm. The return flight was not so successful however. Two engines failed as the aircraft was approaching Manila, and owing to incorrect action taken by the pilot, the machine had to be ditched in the sea. Following the success of these demonstration flights, Finnish and Danish AirLines and the Brazilian Sindicato Condor Liniitada placed orders for the aircraft. The two aircraft for Danish AirLines (D.D.L.) were registered OY-DAM and OY-DEM and were of the Fw 200A production scries. The two machines for the Condor Syndicate were of the Fw 200B series and were delivered in August 1939. The Fw 200 V3, initially registered D.2600 and named“ Immelmann III” was built as a personal transport for use by Adolf Hitler. The machine, which was later camouflaged and registered 26+00, was fitted with a special armoured seat with escape hatch and parachute pack. The Fw 200 V4 was also delivered to the R.L.M .and was modified for use by Hitler’s personal staff. Five further Fw 200A machines were delivered to D.L.H., these also bearing Versuchs (experimental) numbers they were D-AETA “ Westfalen” , D-ACUH “ Grenzm ark”, 3
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