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Focke Wulf Fw 190: Volume One 1938-1943

Focke Wulf Fw 190: Volume One 1938-1943 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2012 Title Focke Wulf Fw 190: Volume One 1938-1943
Author J. Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek Publisher Classic Publications
Published 2012 ISBN 978-1906537296
Format 336 pages, hardbound MSRP (BP) £50.00


CLASSIC – an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing – midwifed another masterpiece on German WWII aviation from authors J. Richard Smith and Eddie J. Creek.

First installment of a projected trilogy, Focke-Wulf FW190: Volume One 1938-1943 brilliantly details the design, development and initial service of this legendary Luftwaffe weapon.

The whole cast of Act 1 takes stage.  After an extended introduction on the company's aircraft designs, the libretto leaps from concept to prototypes through production variants – including relevant "A", "F' and "G" fighter and attack types.  All Umbau and Rüstsatz conversion packs take bows.  And "B" and "C" efforts to boost the Würger's high-altitude performance share spotlights.

Opening scenes distill the aircraft's rather torturous gestation – including inchoate issues with BMW power plants.  Combat coverage details actions at Dieppe, against Viermot ("four-engine") American strategic bombers, throughout the Mediterranean, and over the USSR.  Scintillating sidebars, charts and anecdotes augment accounts.

The ongoing Kabuki dance of evolving German and Allied technologies predictably plays major parts.  And the authors preen the plot with fascinating details of dissimilar combat tests between Fw 190s and adversary aircraft – like Spitfires, P-38s and La-5s.

Hundreds of photos and drawings spice Smith's and Creek's story.  And Janusz Swiation's outstanding color profiles – all with reference shots – certainly provide colorful modeling inspiration.

Some gremlins skulk this superb study.  This admirably annotated effort really craves an index.  And a glossary would utterly aid novitiates.  That's "yellow 13" – not "3" – on Heinzeller's Fw 190 A-3.  And didn't Su-2s – not Su-6s – join Il-2 attack regiments by mid-1942?

But I nitpick.  CLASSIC is plainly producing the standard for Würger histories.  And I thoroughly enjoyed this ripping read.  Get Focke-Wulf FW190: Volume One 1938-1943.  Then stand in line behind me for volumes 2 and 3!

Rabidly recommended.

With thanks to Ian Allan for the review copy.