Fw 190 at RAF Cosford

This Fw 190 was on display at RAF Cosford.

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (“Shrike”) was a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank at Focke-Wulf in the late 1930s and widely used during World War II. Along with its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force) of the Luftwaffe.

The twin-row BMW 801 radial engine that powered most operational versions enabled the Fw 190 to lift larger loads than the Bf 109, allowing its use as a day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and to a lesser degree, night fighter.

The Fw 190 entered Luftwaffe service in August 1941 and quickly proved to be a formidable opponent for Allied aircraft. It was faster, more manoeuvrable, and had a heavier armament than the Spitfire V, which was the RAF’s main frontline fighter at the time. The Fw 190 also had a longer range, which allowed it to escort bombers deeper into enemy territory.

The introduction of the Fw 190 forced the RAF to upgrade its fighter fleet. The Spitfire IX, which entered service in July 1942, was a much-improved version of the Spitfire V and was finally able to match the Fw 190 in terms of performance. The arrival of the Spitfire IX helped to turn the tide of the air war in the Allies’ favour.

The Fw 190 continued to be used by the Luftwaffe until the end of the war. It was a versatile and effective aircraft that played a major role in the conflict.

One of the more unusual roles for the Fw 190 was as part of the twin-aircraft drone combination, code-named mistletoe or Mistel. A single engine fighter was mounted on top of a twin engine bomber, and on lining up with the target the fighter detached itself, leaving the bomber, packed with explosives, to impact the target.

Cosford’s Fw 190 is a unique survivor of a Mistel combination. Surrendered in Denmark in May 1945, the Fw 190 was part of a combination with a Junkers Ju 88, and assigned to a unit which trained Mistel crews. Flown to Germany as a twin combination, the Fw 190 was then split from its Ju 88 in order to be ferried to the UK for examination. The Ju 88 half never reached the UK, and it is assumed it was scrapped.

Other photographs of the RAF Cosford Fw 190 from earlier visits to RAF Cosford.

Photographs of the two seater Fw 190 at RAF London.

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