Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor
1937
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Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

Designed originally as a 26-passenger airliner for Deutsche Luft-Hansa, the first prototype Condor made its maiden flight in July 1937. Various pre-production and Fw 200B-series production aircraft were operated as commercial transports by Deutsche Luft-Hansa, Det Danske Luftfartselskab and a Brazilian operator from the latter half of 1938, the B version powered by four 648kW BMW 132H engines. With the outbreak of World War II, Luft-Hansa's Condors were impressed into the Luftwaffe as transports, while a small number being built for the Japanese Army (including a maritime reconnaissance conversion) were also taken over.

Interest in the Condor as an interim reconnaissance bomber for the Luftwaffe led to contracts for the Fw 200C, starting with a small number of pre-production aircraft of basically commercial type. The Fw 200C-1 introduced the long bomb-bay gondola beneath the fuselage, slightly offset to starboard. This contained a bomb aimer's position at the forward end and gun positions at both the forward and aft ends. The guns were placed on hemispherical mountings with restricted movement. Total defensive armament comprised, according to sub-variant, one 7.9mm machine-gun, 15mm or 20mm cannon in a power-operated turret above the pilot's cabin, one 13mm machine-gun in an aft dorsal position, two-four 7.92mm machine-guns for lateral fire, one 20mm cannon in the nose of the gondola and one 7.92mm or 13mm machine-gun or 20mm cannon in the tail of the gondola. Power was provided by four BMW 132H-1 engines in the Fw 200C-1 and C-2 versions and 700kW Bramo Fafnir 323R-2s in the C-3 and later aircraft. A total of 263 production aircraft were built. Operated in small numbers against Allied shipping during 1940, as well as for maritime reconnaissance and mine-laying duties, the Condor really came into its own in 1941. From then until the summer of 1944 it was used extensively against convoys and for U-boat cooperation. However, as early as 1943 purpose-designed maritime reconnaissance aircraft began replacing the Condor, whose activities had been somewhat curtailed by the introduction of Allied CAM merchant ships carrying expendable Hurricane fighters, long-range Beaufighters and Liberators. Thereafter the Condor reverted to transport duties. Interestingly, in the early stages of the war experiments had been made to use the Condor as a barrage-balloon destroyer, while a few special Condors were delivered for the use of Hitler and his staff.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor


Specification 
 MODELFw 200C-3/U4
 ENGINE4 x Bramo 323R, 895kw
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight24520 kg54058 lb
    Empty weight17005 kg37490 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan32.85 m108 ft 9 in
    Length23.45 m77 ft 11 in
    Height3.3 m11 ft 10 in
    Wing area119.85 m21290.05 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed360 km/h224 mph
    Cruise speed335 km/h208 mph
    Ceiling6000 m19700 ft
    Range3560 km2212 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 13mm machine-guns, 1 x 20mm cannon, 4 x 250kg bombs

3-View 
Focke-Wulf Fw 200 CondorA three-view drawing (1000 x 744)

Comments
Steven Carleton, 25.08.2017

I guess in retrospect (reading Milch's account) the Luftwaffe was so tragically committed to the He-177 that nothing else was seriously considered. Sad. Germany had some amazing aerospace talent, as evidenced by their jet planes and helicopters.

Steven Carleton, 25.08.2017

Can't understand why the Luftwaffe (RLM) couldn't convert this design to a real heavy bomber similar to the B-17, B-24, Lancaster. Wouldn't have this been far easier than the whole silly 'Amerika Bomber' concept? It seems to have had the correct dimensions, and of course would've needed a strengthening of the airframe. I seem to recall the B-17 was actually designed in the mid-thirties.

Franco, 30.01.2015

From the Bedienvorschrift C-3
weight empty equipped bomber configuration 14.2 ton, max 22,7
range with 8060 liter of fuel 3550 km at 365 km/h at 4,4
defence weapons 5-7,92, 1-20
bomb load: bomb bay 1000 kg, wing racks 2x1800 kg and 2x1400kg
max bomb load 5400 kg (using only wing tanks, 2560 liters of fuerl)
with all tanks full (8060 liter) 1250 kg bombs (5x250 o 1x500 +3x250)

Ludwig Leidig, 27.04.2013

Hi,I am currently writing a book on my mother's life and I would like to include an image of the FW 200 Condor? Please let me know if I can use one of your pictures. Thank you,
Ludwig

Klaatu83, 06.01.2013

The FW 200 was an airliner that was converted for the long-range maritime role mainly because the Germans had nothing else better reconnaissance and strike role. Unfortunately, converting an airliner directly into a bomber is rarely straightforward, and a lot of compromises had to be made. They were successful mainly because, at first, little defense was available for use against them. However, once they began to encounter viable opposition, form increased ship-board AA firepower as well as enemy aircraft, their weaknesses became apparent. Of course, the biggest problem was that there were simply never enough of these airplanes to do the job, especially as many of the relatively few production examples kept getting diverted for other purposes, including as VIP transports.

Dirk, 06.10.2012

Are there any of these still around? respond to my email please.

Richard Kirschenbaum, 25.09.2012

In the 1944 Warner Bros. movie Passage to Marsailles, there is a Condor attack on a Free French freighter shortly after the 1940 surrender. Humphry Borgart a Devils Island escapee who is rescued by the ship's crew shoots down the giant bomber and proceeds to massacare the surving crew left standing on a wing. The attack is a nice combination of what I believe actual footage and models. Worth watching because the FW 200 is depictedly consistantly through out the attack not like some wartime films that hack footage of various aircraft together.

damn, 18.06.2011

DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE 14 FW-200D CONDOR HEAVY BOMBER WERE PREPPARED TO TAKING PART IN THE OPERATION EISENHAMMER IN 1944 TO ATTACK SOVIET INDUSTRIAL SITES BEHIND THE URAL MOUNTAINS.

, 18.06.2011

t shirts

Ben Beekman, 27.02.2011

A message for "Van", who in 10.09.2008 requested details of the FW200 varients: try Wm. Green's book "Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Vol. 2", published by Hanover House (1960). Green covers this airplane thoroughly, including seventeen photographs as well as a large 3-view illustration describing the finish and insignia. He also shows us some 13 side view drawings ranging from the early Fw 200V-1 commercial version to the Fw 200C-6 fully militarized model. Of course you can also use the web for additional information if you haven't already.

Rafe C., 19.01.2011

One FW 200 was pulled out of a lake in Norway and is currently under restoration in Germany. The engines have been restored by BMW. Although the plane's wings were virtually a heap of scrap, it should be completed fairly soon. Google FW 200 restoration.... I would also like to know what happened to the Brazilian Condors....

GEOFF, 23.01.2010

Anyone heard of any of these a/c still in existance, let alone flying? There were not many to begin with, but I would love to see one up close. I agree with VE5RWD. I always loved the lines of this bird.

VE5RWD, 03.10.2009

Always loved this aircraft. It has beautiful lines. Very nice
looking.

leo rudnicki, 09.04.2009

Where does this stuff come from? the Condor regularly carried 3ooo lbs, and was noted for breaking in half when carrying more. It had a gondola, not a turret and if Dolfo theorized 262's as escorts, when two could only fly together in the loosest deuce and no practical throttle control and the speed difference with the Condor, and an attack on the Urals would have allowed the Soviets to unleash the MiG7 along with all the rest. The FW300&400 may have bombed strategic targets but remained lines on paper. The FW400 was assigned to France along with the HE274, but only the Heinkel flew, post-war.

Karl, 08.03.2009

The belly turret in the bomber version is very interesting. (check out "'Luftwaffe' From the Formerly secret British Intelligence Files".

Van, 10.09.2008

Does anyone know details of the FW200 variants? I believe that there were 234's built and maybe one other updated model.

Peter, 16.10.2007

Good three-drawings are extremely hard to find.1/48 is minimum.

Tim, 08.08.2007

In the memoirs of Generaljagdflieger Adolf Galland, he theorizes
that this aircraft, escorted by the unhampered "Schwalbe" version of the ME-262, could have easily succeeded in the strategic bombing and crippling of the UK that escaped the HE-111/ BF-109 combination.

STEVEN, 16.06.2007

DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE 14 FW-200D CONDOR HEAVY BOMBER WERE PREPPARED TO TAKING PART IN THE OPERATION EISENHAMMER IN 1944 TO ATTACK SOVIET INDUSTRIAL SITES BEHIND THE URAL MOUNTAINS.

STEVEN, 26.05.2007

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE FW 200D CONDOR HAS BEEN BUILT AS A TRUE HEAVY BOMBER WITH BOMB RACK, THIS CONDOR COULD CARRY 4.500 KG OF BOMBS (SAME AS THE AMERICAN B-17 )

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FACTS AND FIGURES

The sleek airliner design was soon encumbered by gun turrets, a ventral gondola and in some cases radar aerials.

The Condor had an unusual forward-retracting main undercarriage with double wheels. This would lock into place with air pressure when loaded.

Some Condors were equipped to carry the Hs 293 anti-shipping missile under the outer engines. Otherwise they carried up to 2100kg of bombs.



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