Originally built as an airliner that could carry passengers across the Atlantic for Deutsche Lufthansa, the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor developed into the Luftwaffe’s principal long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. It was used in the North Sea and in the Atlantic, searching for Allied convoys and warships, passing on information to waiting U-boats. The Fw 200 was also capable of carrying a bomb load of up to 2,000kg, and it was claimed that Condors sank more than 300,000 tons of Allied shipping. By September 1940, one unit, KG 40 based at Bordeaux-Merignac in Occupied France, had sunk over 90,000 tons of Allied shipping. For the next three years the C-series Condors were described by Winston Churchill as ‘the scourge of the Atlantic’, eventually being overcome by the introduction of long-range Coastal Command aircraft, escort carriers and the deployment of Catapult-Armed Merchantman vessels. The Fw 200 also used as a troop transport, capable of carrying thirty fully-armed soldiers. one Fw 200 was even converted into a luxury, two-cabin airliner for use as Hitler’s personal aeroplane. In this selection of unrivalled images collected over many years, and now part of Frontline’s War in the Air series, the operations of this famous aircraft are portrayed and brought to life through the first-hand accounts of the pilots who flew them and those that fought against them.
FOKE-WULF FW 200 The Luftwaffe Long Range Bomber
From the invaluable “Air War Archive” series, covering an impressive range of Luftwaffe aircraft, in the vein of the ‘Images of War’ series, this focusing on the The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, the German all-metal four-engined monoplane originally developed by Focke-Wulf as a long-range airliner.
A Japanese request for a long-range maritime patrol aircraft led to military versions that saw service with the Luftwaffe as long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping/maritime patrol bomber aircraft.
It achieved success as a commerce raider until mid-1941, by which time it was being harried by long-range RAF Coastal Command aircraft and the Hurricane fighters being flown from CAM ships.