Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Elegant and useful Condor - Focke Wulf Fw200. Part 2. German Dzib - Compiler-


Fw 200 V1 - First prototype.

Fw 200 V10 - Military prototype designed for Japan.

Fw 200 A-0 - Pre-production batch of fourth to ninth prototypes.

Fw 200 B-1 - Transportation aircraft fitted with four BMW 132Dc engines.

Fw 200 B-2 - Transportation aircraft fitted with four BMW 132H engines.

Fw 200 C-0 - Pre-production batch of 10 aircraft, structural strengthening, the first four were
manufactured as unarmed transports, the remaining six were fitted with armament.

Fw 200 C-1 - First military production version, BMW 132H engines, lengthened ventral gondola, increased defensive armament, provisions for four 250 kg (550 lb) bombs.

Fw 200 C-2 - Similar to C-1, but featured a "cutaway" outboard engine nacelles which reduced drag and could carry a 250 kg (550 lb) bomb or a 300 L (80 US gal) drop tank.

Fw 200 C-3 - Structurally strengthened, fitted with Bramo 323 R-2 radial engines.
Focke Wulf Fw 200C-3

Fw 200 C-3/U1 - Featured an increased defensive armament, a 15 mm MG 151 cannon in a powered dorsal turret, the 20 mm MG FF replaced by a MG 151/20 cannon.

Fw 200 C-3/U2 - Fitted with original dorsal turret, and had the 20 mm MG 151/20 replaced with a 13 mm (0.5 in) MG 131 machine gun, which allowed space for the installation of a Lotfe 7D bombsight.

Fw 200 C-3/U3 - Fitted with two additional 13 mm MG 131s.

Fw 200 C-3/U4 - Had 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 15 machine gun replaced by 13 mm MG 131s and carried an extra gunner.

Fw 200 C-4 - Similar to C-3, but carried FuG Rostock search radar, late production aircraft used FuG 200 Hohentwiel radar.

Fw 200 C-4/U1 - (Werk-Nr 137) High-speed transport aircraft, only one example built. Used to transport Adolf Hitler. Heinrich Himmler and Karl Dönitz.
Focke Wulf Fw 200C-4/U1

Fw 200 C-4/U2 - (Werk-Nr 138) High-speed transport aircraft, with accommodation for 14 passengers, only one example built.
Focke Wulf  Fw200C-4 U2
Focke Wulf  Fw200C-4 U3

Accidents and incidents

On 27 September 1944, a Deutsche Lufthansa Fw 200, registration D-AHML, was shot down by an RAF fighter and crashed off Dijon, France, killing all nine on board.

On 29 November 1944, a Deutsche Lufthansa Fw 200, registration D-ARHW, was accidentally shot down by a German patrol boat and crashed off Måkläppen, Sweden, killing all ten on board.

On 21 April 1945, a Deutsche Lufthansa Fw 200KB-1, registration D-ASHH and named Hessen, crashed near Piesenkofen, Germany, killing all 21 on board. This crash is the worst-ever accident involving the Fw 200.

On 4 September 1946, a Danish Air Lines (DDL) Fw 200A-5, registration OY-DEM and named Jutlandia, crashed at Northolt Airport after landing in crosswinds; there were no casualties, but the aircraft was written off.

On 13 December 1946, an Aviaarktika Fw 200C, registration CCCP-N400, force-landed off Ostrov Litne due to engine problems; all 21 on board survived, but the aircraft was written off.

On 8 March 1947, a Cruzeiro do Sol Fw 200A-0, registration PP-CBI, was struck by a Panair do Brazil Douglas DC-3 that was landing at Santos-Dumont Airport, there were no casualties, but the Fw 200 was written off.

On 23 April 1950, a Aviaarktika Fw 200C-4, registration CCCP-N500, overran the runway and crashed at Yakutsk Airport due to crosswinds; there were no casualties, but the aircraft was written off.

Surviving aircraft
Only one relatively complete Fw 200 exists today. This aircraft was raised from the Trondheimsfjorden in Norway in 1999.(11) Despite disintegrating on recovery, the remains were transported to the German Museum of Technology in Berlin to be rebuilt there. A request from the museum for a set of separate wings to be recovered from the Kvitanosi mountain near Voss in Norway to complete the rebuild was at first denied, because the local population wanted the wings to be left in situ as a war memorial. A compromise was reached in 2008 where parts not needed for the restoration would be left on the mountain. During autumn of 2009 parts were moved down by helicopter and made ready for transport to the Museum of Technology. (12)

Artillery: MG 151 cannon

MG 151/20
The MG 151 (MG 151/15) was a 15 mm aircraft-mounted autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser during World War II. Its 20mm variant, the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon, was widely used on German Luftwaffe fighters, night fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers and ground-attack aircraft. Salvaged guns saw post-war use by other nations.

Development and wartime history (MG 151/20)

The pre-war German doctrine for arming single-engine fighter aircraft mirrored that of the French. This doctrine favored a powerful auto cannon mounted between the cylinder blocks of a V engine and firing through the propeller hub, known as a motet-canon in French (from its first use with the Hispano-Suiza HS.8C engine in World War I, on the SPAD S.XII) and by the cognate Motorkanone in German by the 1930s. The weapon preferred by the French in this role was the most powerful 20mm Oerlikon of the time, namely the FFS model, but this proved too big for German engines. Mauser was tasked with developing a gun that would fit, with a minimum sacrifice in performance. (As a stop-gap measure, the MG FF cannon was developed and put in widespread use, but its performance was lackluster.) (13)

Production of the MG 151 in its original 15 mm calibre format began in 1940. After combat evaluation of the 15 mm cartridge as the main armament of early Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 fighters, the cannon was redesigned as the 20 mm MG 151/20 in 1941 to fire a 20 mm cartridge. Combat experience showed that a more powerful explosive shell was preferable to a higher projectile velocity.(14) The MG 151/20 cartridge was created by expanding the neck of the cartridge to hold the larger explosive shell used in the MG FF cannon, and shortening the length of the cartridge case holding the longer 20 mm shell to match the overall length of the original 15 mm cartridge.(14) These measures simplified conversion of the 15 mm to the 20 mm MG 151/20 simply by changing the barrel and making other small modifications. A disadvantage of the simplified conversion was reduction of projectile muzzle velocity from 850 meters per second (2,800 ft/s) for the 15 mm shell to 700 metres per second (2,300 ft/s) for the larger and heavier 20 mm shell.(15) With an AP projectile the new 20mm cartridge could only penetrate around 10-12mm of armor at 300m and at 60 degrees, compared to 18mm penetration for its 15mm predecessor in the same conditions, but this was not seen as a significant limitation.(14) The 20 mm version thus became the standard inboard cannon for the Bf 109F-4 series onwards.(14) The 20 mm MG 151/20 offered more predictable trajectory, longer range and higher impact velocity than the 580 metres per second (1,900 ft/s) cartridge of the earlier MG FF cannon.(15) The MG FF was retained for flexible, wing and upward firing Schräge Musik mounts to the end of the war.(16)
The German preference for explosion rather than armor penetration was taken further with the development of the Minengeschoß ammunition, first introduced for the MG FF (in the Bf 109 E-4), and later introduced for the MG 151/20 as well. Even this improvement in explosive power turned out to be unsatisfactory against the four-engine bombers that German fighters were up against in the second part of the war. By German calculations, it took about 15-20 hits with the MG 151/20 ordnance to down a heavy bomber, but this was reduced to just 3-4 hits for a 30 mm shell, from the shattering effects of the hexogen explosive in the shells used for both the long-barreled MK 103 and shorter barreled MK 108 cannon. Only 4-5 hits with 20 mm caliber cannon were needed for frontal attacks on four-engines bombers, but such attacks were difficult to execute. 

The 30 mm MK 108 cannon thus replaced the MG 151/20 as the standard, engine-mount Motorkanone centre-line armament starting with the Bf 109 K-4, and was also retrofitted to some of the G-series.(17)
Eight hundred MG 151/20 exported to Japan aboard the Italian submarine Cappellini in August 1943 were used to equip 388 Japanese Kawasaki Ki-61-I Hei fighters.(18) The 20 mm MG 151/20 was also fitted on the Macchi C.205, the Fiat G.55 and Reggiane Re.2005 of the Regia Aeronautica (19) and IAR 81B and 81C of the Romanian Royal Air Force.(20)

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