Focke-Wulf Fw 189

Focke-Wulf Fw 189

Focke-Wulf Fw 189

Summary: Focke-Wulf Fw 189 is a reconnaissance aircraft serving in the Luftwaffe during World War II. Focke-Wulf Fw 189 was the Luftwaffe’s most famous spy plane with superior performance, excellent mobility and was difficult to be shot down. In the Eastern Front, it played an important role. Focke-Wulf Fw 189 was produced a total of 800 or more, not only in Germany itself, but also in German-occupied France and the Czech Republic it was also produced.

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The Focke-Wulf Fw-189 was a twin-engine reconnaissance short-range low-wing produced by the German Focke-Wulf in the forties and mainly used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

Configuration characterized by a double tail boom and the fuselage equipped with large windows turned out to be one of the best devices used in the conflict in this role.

History of the project

In February of 1937 the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, the Reich Air Ministry) issued a specification for a new reconnaissance aircraft on the battlefield, with which to replace the Henschel Hs 126, which had just started testing with a type more powerful and advanced. The specification provided for a crew of 3 people, more speed and the ability to carry 200 kg of bombs. The invitation to submit projects was addressed Arado and Focke-Wulf but was also informed the Hamburger Flugzeugbau group Blohm + Voss. The Arado elaborated the ‘Ar 198, a single-engine fixed gear, with abundant glass surfaces, the Hamburger Flugzeugbau, however, offered a completely unconventional solution: l’ “asymmetrical” has 141 technical director Richard Vogt, characterized in cockpit a gondola straight from the right wing, which had larger opening than the left.

The Focke-Wulf proposed the project that won the designation Fw 189, prepared under the guidance of technical director Kurt Tank and Dipl. Ing E. Kosel. With its formula beamed tail and two engines of small power, it was absolutely Tank innovative but went further, suggesting the adoption of fuselages second interchangeable roles, from training to the support tactical, while maintaining the rest of the cell, the engines and the carriage. Of course, by the RLM there was some resistance to the adoption of a car so unorthodox, conservatives argued that the solution would have favored the double girder warping under the stress of violent maneuvers, which would not have had the strength of wing single engine high and could never compete with them as slow-flying and maneuverability at low altitude. Instead, the Fw 189 Ar 198 surpassed significantly the competitor, giving reason progressive wing of the Technisches Amt, the technical department of the RLM. April 1937 had been allocated to Arado and Focke-Wulf contracts for the production of three prototypes each, but Ernst Udet, who was in charge of the experimental programs of the Technisches Amt, encouraged the company from Hamburg, who shortly thereafter became der Abteilung Flugzeugbau Schiffwerft Blohm und Voss (aeronautics division of the shipyards Blohm und Voss), to proceed in the development of what will be redesignated BV 141.

The Ar 198, quickly dubbed Das fliegende Aquarium (German aquarium steering wheel), V1 prototype flew in the spring of 1938, beaten to the punch by Ha 141-0 February 25, 1938. The Fw 189 V1 followed them in July 1938, in Bremen, driven by the same Kurt Tank. The Ar 198 was ignored while the Bv 141 still went forward, but without going into series production. The Fw 189 was called Eule (Owl) from Tank but the Luftwaffe was always known as Uhu (eagle owl). The Russians called it “rama” (“frame”) for the rectangular shape of its double tail boom.

Operational use

The plane earned its name of “owl” when he served on the Russian front, even as a night fighter in 1944 and in January-February, 1945, with Telefunken radar FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 and installation Schräge Musik with a gun Mauser MG 151/15 or 15mm MG 151/20 20mm.At least 30 Fw 189A-1, A-2 and A-4 were so modified and worked with the Stab / NJG 100 or the NJG 5.The production aircraft began to enter service in Aufklärungsstaffeln (reconnaissance squadrons) in the summer of 1941, but they were still operating on the staff of the Luftwaffe when, on June 22, took the attack to ‘Soviet Union. The Fw 189 worked mainly on the Soviet and with remarkable distinction, proving to be able to carry out the missions even in the most adverse conditions and presenting maneuverability that allowed him to escape the attacks of the less experienced fighter pilots.

The Eule proved able to withstand several shots Hit, remaining in the air, a specimen was even the subject of an attack Taran (ramming) by a Soviet fighter, but was able to return to the base, while devoid of part of plans tail.Since 1942 the Hs 126B totally replaced with Nachtaufklärungsgruppen (groups reconnaissance at night) on the Russian front, working with all NAGr from 1 to 16.On the same front Fw 189A-2 different departments of Romanians and Slovaks were captured by the Soviets and flown with the colors of the V-VS, and may have inspired the Sukhoi Su-12 or RK which, however, was only ready to war over and was not followed.Bulgaria also received some Fw 189A to equip the reconnaissance units, these aircraft operated on the Russian front during 1943.The Fw 189 was also sold by the Luftwaffe Aviation of Romania, which was used to train pilots to the survey, initially based in Galac.L ‘training procedure was completed in Kirovograd, where the Grupul 8 assault operated from May to August 1944 all aircraft engaged maintained codes and German signs.In summer 1944 he began training to reconnaissance flights in Arad and night but Tecuc August 23, 1944 these airports were occupied by Soviet troops.

Slovakia received 14 Fw 189A-1 and A-2, also in this case for use on the Russian front, in 1942 and 1943, the Uhu anti-partisan missions took place mainly in the summer of 1944 but Krim departments were ordered to return to the basics of departure.On 31 August 1944 the last six airline flight activity resumed with the Russians.Even the ‘Hungary was one of Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe who received the scout.During the spring of 1943, the ‘Hungarian Air Force had 20 or 30 between Fw 189A-1 and A-2, who carried out reconnaissance and light attack with the 3./ 1 Squadron, on the Russian front, since March 1943, April 1944 began the training in night operations and in September 1944 all aircraft were returned to Budapest and were returned to the Luftwaffe.


The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 was built, including prototypes and production aircraft, in three factories: in Bremen in Germany from 1938 to 1944 in 217 copies, in Prague, Czechoslovakia from 1941 to 1943 in 337 copies and, by the end of 1941, in occupied France, the Breguet in Bayonne built the outer part of the wings, the SNCASO Bordeaux-Begles the rest of the structure, while the assembly and flight tests were in Bordeaux-Merignac, with a production up to 1944, of 310 specimens.The total was 864 aircraft as follows: 6 in 1939, 38 in 1940, 250 in 1941, 237 in 1942, 226 in 1943 and 17 in 1944, more prototypes and pre-series aircraft.

•Fw 189 V1 prototype, first flew in July 1938 with Eng. Tank at the controls, about 15 months after the conclusion of the contract had two-bladed fixed pitch propeller and was unarmed.

•Fw 189 V2 second prototype, armed with three machine guns Rheinmetall MG 15 7.92 mm: one in the nose, one on top of the cabin, one in the tail cone, plus two MG 17 7.92 mm in the wings; assayed under each wing two SC 50 bombs attacks to 50 kg.

•Fw 189 V3 third prototype, new Argus variable pitch propellers; without weapons.

•Fw 189 V4: fourth prototype, was used as a demonstrator for the Fw 189A version, with redesigned engine cowlings with side air intakes, wheels, bumper tailwheel largest, only two weapons MG 15 PTZ; was used to test in every ala S125 a container for the production of smoke screens or for spraying with chemical agents.

•Fw 189 V5 prototype for the Fw 189B by training, he flew the beginning of 1939, as amended by reducing the transparent fuselage, dual controls and no weapons.

•Fw 189 V6: the end of 1939 the Fw 189 V1 was withdrawn from testing and converted as air assault and tactical support, and all the interior was modified with a housing smaller, streamlined, heavily armored for single pilot operations and the gunner, sitting back to back, the weapon was a MG 15.It was destroyed during a demonstration flight and replaced by another prototype that was to anticipate mass production FW 189C.

•Fw 189 V7: Last prototype product at the end of 1938; similar all’Fw 189 V5, it was a seaplane with two floats, the project was abandoned and the aircraft completed as Fw 189B-0.

•Fw 189A-0: In the spring of 1940 there was an order for 10 aircraft pre-series, 5 were delivered to the Staffel 9 (H) / LG 2, a unit that was already using some addestrativa Fw 189B, in the fall of 1940.

•Fw 189A-1: at the end of 1940, 20 aircraft were ordered to series.The Fw 189A-1 was based sull’Fw 189 V4, with some modifications to the aerodynamics and engine cowlings without side air intakes, the armament was two MG 17 on the leading edge of the wing and two 15 Mg, an upper and a rear; under the outer part of the wings there were two attacks ETC 50/VIII for bombs SC 50 from 50 kg.There was a pointing device to release GV 219d horizontally and beaten; preparation for the possible coupling under the wings of a S125.The reconnaissance was a camera Rb 20/30 plus other additional features such as Rb 50/30, Rb 21/18 or Rb 50/18; also the crew could use cameras manuals or 12.5 HK HK 19.For night missions the plane could carry bombs enlightening.In the spring of 1943, factories in France took over the entire production FW 189, after the close of the assembly lines of Bremen and Prague.

•189A-1/U1 Fw: construction which led under the wings ETCs 50/VIII.

•189A-1/U2 Fw: Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring’s personal aircraft.

•189A-1/U3 Fw: personal aircraft of Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek.

•189A-1/Trop Fw: Fw 189A-1 for some operations in North Africa and anti-sand filters were mounted amenities of survival.

•Fw 189A-2: In 1941, after changing a Fw 189A-1, which became the Fw 189 V9, began production of the FW 189A-2, the only difference was represented dall’armamento which replaced the MG 15 in the fuselage with the Mauser MG 81Z, which were two MG 81 side by side.It was produced only in Bordeaux-Merignac in 194 specimens in 1943 and 12 more in 1944.

•189A-2/U1 Fw: planes that carried under the wings of the ETC 50/VIII.

•Fw 189A-3: subversion that flanked the production FW 189A-2; was an unarmed dual-control trainer, built in small numbers, all for converting Fw 189A-0 and Fw 189A-1.

•Fw 189A-4: at the end of 1942 some Fw 189A-1 were converted to this standard, with weapons wing guns replaced by Ikaria (Oerlikon) MG FF 20mm and with armored plates under the engines in the fuselage and under the tanks, for low-level reconnaissance and tactical support.

•189A-4/U1 Fw: planes that carried under the wings of the ETC 50/VIII.

•Fw 189B-0 and B-1: The prototype Fw 189 V5 served as the basis for the version Fw 189B trainer, the fuselage was completely redesigns, without the glazing to the front and rear, replaced by a metallic coating; had five seats, dual controls and was unarmed.For training in the night hunting the amenities included radio equipment and detection for each position of the students.

•Fw 189C: expected version assault and tactical support prefigured by the prototypes Fwe 189 V1b and V6.In September 1940, although he had revealed some of the best feature direct competitor Henschel Hs 129, the latter was chosen for production, and the version Fw 189C was abandoned.

•Fw 189d: amphibious version with floats based on the FW 189 V7.Without follow-up.

•Fw 189E: it was considered to be the possibility to mount two Gnome-Rhone radial engines GR.14M 4/5 to 700HP and a Fw 189A-1 was converted in Chatillon-sur-Seine from SNCASO, becoming Fw 189 V14.The plane was moved to Germany in early 1943 for the feedback, but during the transfer, rushed to Nancy.The version was not followed up.

•Fw 189f-1: version with two engines Argus As 411MA-1 600CV, a prototype was converted from a Fw 189A-2 and became the Fw 189 V15; Bordeaux-Merignac were built 17.

•Fw 189f-2: proposal for a sub-version with additional armor and increased capacity of the tanks, cart with electric control rather than hydraulic, and there were 4 prototypes, all converted by Fw 189A, Fw 189 V10, V11, V13 and V14.Without follow-up.

•Fw 189G: project for a version with big structural changes, new engines Argus As 402 from 950CV, maximum speed 435 km / h at 4500m, the unavailability of the engines put an end to this program.


BGR 1908-1946

•Vazhdushnite na Negovo Velichestvo Voiski

DEU 1933-1945


SVK 1939-1945

•Slovenské vzdušné zbrane

HUN 1940-1945

•Magyar Honved Királyi Légierő


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Military aircraft of World War II

Military aircraft 1931-1945

German military aircraft

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