Focke-Wulf Fw 190A/F/G Luftwaffe (Aircam Aviation 44)
By Christopher Shores
Publisher: Osprey 1974 52 Pages
PDF 11 MB
In the early autumn of 1941 the pilots of Spitfire 5 fighters of the Royal Air Force's Fighter Command, reported meeting small numbers of a new German fighter during their regular forays over the coastal region of North-Western France. The new aircraft was considered unusual at that stage in that it was powered by a radial engine, at a time when the world's best fighters were virtually all seen to feature the "pointed*' nose of the more streamlined inline power plant. Initially the Intelligence authorities suggested that these surprise new opponents might be Curtiss Hawk 75As captured from the French in 1940, and now pressed into service by the Luftwaffe. This theory quickly fell by the wayside, for it was at once apparent from early reports that the fighter possessed a performance in many ways superior to both the Messerschmitt Bf I09F, and the Supermarine Spitfire 5, the then-current equipment of the major combatants.
In fact the mystery fighter was a completely new aircraft, the existence of which had completely escaped the attention of Allied Intelligence. Indeed, development and production of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190A had already been delayed during 1940 due to the belief in high places in Germany that the war would be swiftly won, and that no other lighter than the Bf 109 would be necessary for the task then facing the Luftwaffe.
The failure of the Luftwaffe's day and night assault on England, and of the attacks on Atlantic shipping by U-boats and surface raiders, in their efforts to bring the stubborn British to sue for peace, caused a distinct upset to the German plans. The subsequent appearance over France and the Low Countries of the RAF, aggressively bringing the war home to the Luftwaffe in the occupied countries, coupled with Hitler's plans for an invasion of the Soviet Union in summer 1941, led to a complete rethink, and development of the Fw 190 was then pressed ahead with all speed.