One of the more important German types in service to the last day of the War.
Let’s take a look at a close support version of the famous fighter.
From the very start of the Second World War Germany was known for outstanding close support air units. At this point, most people would automatically think of the Stuka. But the Stuka was mostly organized in separate heavy dive bomber units; dedicated Stukagruppen. There were broader Schlachtgruppen, or close support groups as well. At the start of the War these were mostly equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, classed as a light dive bomber. Over the course of the War these groups operated a wide range of types including Hs 129 and Me 262.
Fighter bombers were considered a part of this formula from early on. Starting with Bf 109s, they provided the close support units with a high speed hit and run ability and some capability of providing their own fighter cover.
But close support units operate close to the front, often in very harsh conditions. So when Kurt Tank’s new Fw 190 entered service it was quickly appreciated for its rugged simplicity and ease of maintenance in crude conditions. And Focke-Wulf was quickly forthcoming with modifications to the basic fighter to optimize its performance in that role. Known as the “F” series, they included more armor around the engine and cockpit, and retuned the supercharging for maximum on-the-deck performance.
Early “A” model Fw 190s became “F-1” through “F-3” models; but the most produced variant of family, the Fw 190A-8, became the most produced close support aircraft, the Fw 190F-8. Both types were built to the tune of over 6000 examples. With almost 1900 hp it could carry significant ordnance.
As War conditions turned increasingly against the Germans the Fw 190 became the dominant close support type. No doubt, of the various types used by the Luftwaffe for close support, the Fw 190 was the most difficult type for any sort of air defense to bring down. Towards the end even the famous Stuka was being replaced by the Fw 190F-8.
This particular aircraft was found abandoned at War’s end in Czechoslovakia. It had been assigned to Schlachtgruppe 10 in the last months. I chose it purely for visual interest. It looks to have been originally painted in the standard RLM 74/75/76 camouflage (very grey!), but then had something darker sprayed over the sides, except for the markings were carefully masked around. I chose a light misting of RLM 02 which adds a slightly green cast to it. Then it had squiggles of RLM 83 (light green) applied to the upper fuselage. So a little more colorful (in a camouflage sort of way!) than factory standard.
This is the Tamiya kit with Eagle Strike decals. An easy and fun project.
Thank you sir!
I’m assuming the ground armor is in a different scale than the FW. Love the model and the write-up!
No, they’re all 1/48!
However, you can assume the ground armor is heavier!
Interesting. I find it difficult to put the FW in the same general class as the Thunderbolt and the Typhoon, but then the Thunderbolt wasn’t really conceived as a ground support fighter, which did become it’s most famous role. I’ll still think of the FW as primarily a fighter, but this does put a new perspective on it’s role and German strategy. I guess that the Allies used close air support so effectively towards the end of the war you never really consider the fact that it was, at the outset of the war, a German tactic too.
I think the Germans pioneered the concept, the Allies brought it to maturity with better command and control (especially the forward air controller).
It is interesting that none of those three types were meant specifically for close support work from the outset, but all three adapted to it pretty easily.