Focke-Wulf FW-190D-9 “Dora”

“I really felt comfortable in the Me 109, and this was the mainstay fighter. But the Fw 190 was truly a much better fighter. It was more powerful, stronger, built better, and was in its structure able to withstand more damage than a 109. The weapons platform was incredible, and you had a lot more firepower, especially when the A-6, A-8 and F models were built. Later the Dora was built, which was also faster, just as strong, but now had a liquid cooled engine, instead of the radial air-cooled engine.

I did in fact like the Focke-Wulf better than the Messerschmitt 109 or even the Me 262, as far as reliability. The only real advantage the 262 had was its speed, and the 30mm cannons were very powerful. Other than that, if the Fw 190 had had the speed of a 262 I would have stayed with the Focke-Wulf.”

— Hermann Buchner, German Luftwaffe fighter ace with 46 tank victories and 58 aerial victories.

 

Strengths:

Roll Rate – Although the Spitfire could out-turn the 190 on the level, the 190’s greater roll rate gave it the edge in maneuvering.

Weaknesses:

Turn Rate – With its high wing-loading the Dora can’t turn with planes like Spitfire or La-7.

A-series production was in full swing in 1942 when it was decided to find a solution to the Würger’s  poor high-altitude performance. The GM-1 nitrous system was able to boost performance up to about 26,000 feet, but there wasn’t enough nitrous to use it for more than a short time and the weight of the system was equal to the entire armament package!

Kurt Tank had always viewed GM-1 as a temporary measure and decided to re-engine the 190. He initially wanted to use the new Daimler-Benz DB-603 in-line engine, but it had been developed without official sanction and the RLM made it clear that they would view such a project with extreme disfavor.

Despite this unpleasant fact, the regard for Tank was so high that they allowed him to experiment with the engine, with the understanding that it would be thought of as a back-up measure only. Two other engine proposals were also considered, one using a turbo-supercharged BMW-801 and the other using the new Jumo-213 in-line.

The B-series designation was used for the turbo-supercharged BMW-801 installation. In addition to the turbo-supercharger, the B-series was intended to use a pressurized cabin and a new wing with 11% greater area. Unfortunately, BMW was nowhere close to releasing a turbo-supercharger, so this model was re-fitted with the DB-603A with an annular radiator. Although it was able to reach 39,000 feet, the requirement had been increased to 46,000 feet.

The C-series designation was reserved for the DB-603Aa installation with a large ventral turbo-supercharger. Despite the additional drag of the supercharger intake the prototype clocked in at 447 mph at 29,530 feet and 404 mph at 39,370 feet! The Focke-Wulf team felt this engine offered the best high-altitude performance, but engine availability was the primary operating factor and the C-series was abandoned.

The D-series was originally intended as a medium-altitude variation of the basic A-series 190 and was to use the new Jumo-213 in-line engine. Many pilots considered this engine to be nothing more than a bomber engine forced on the manufacturer by the RLM and Tank considered the Dora to be an “emergency solution” until his new Ta-152 could be delivered. However, the D-9 outperformed the A-8 at all altitudes and pilot misgivings were swept away.

The D-9’s armament consisted of a pair of 13mm MG-131s mounted in the cowl with 475 rpg and a pair of MG-151 20mm cannon with 250 rpg in the wing roots. The outboard cannon of the A-series was deleted to save weight and improve roll performance. With an ETC-504 rack under the fuselage and a pair of ETC-503s under the wing, the D-9 could carry a single bomb as large as 1,100 lbs. or up to three 550 lb. bombs.

 

Sources:
Green, William; Warplanes of the Third Reich; Doubleday and Company, Garden City, NY; 1970.

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