Fw 200 Condor Units of World War 2 Book Review
|Date of Review||January 2017||Title||Fw 200 Condor Units of World War 2|
|Author||Chris Goss||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
Originally designed as long-range, four-engine airliners by the legendary Kurt Tank, Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors forged fame as the Allies' main aerial menace during World War II's "Battle of the Atlantic".
Now Chris Goss recaps their actions in Fw 200 Condor Units of World War 2 – 115 in Osprey Publishing's "Combat Aircraft" range.
In response to Japan's order for a military version, Tank himself supervised conversion of the civilian version into an armed maritime reconnaissance bomber. And examples initially saw service during the 1940 Norway campaign.
With France's defeat that summer, England again faced strangulation by submarine. But to this "scourge", Churchill added air attack. And "most formidable", he warned, was Germany's Fw 200 maritime patrol and strike bomber.
Initial maritime operations with Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG 40) proved the aircraft's viability in anti-shipping roles. Condors also undertook limited bombing missions over the British Isles.
Contents course chronologically – year-by-year and month-by-month – beginning in 1940. And chapter headings suggest the type's inevitable decline
- 1941 - Early Successes
- 1941 - Happy Times
- 1942-43 - Beginning of the End
- 1944-45 - Nowhere left to go
Actions. Serviceability. Losses. Deployments. Personnel. And more. Operations over the Atlantic. The Mediterranean. And the Soviet Union. They're all here.
Osprey's account includes lots of surprises, too.
America's baptism of fire occurred, for instance, when 33rd FS P-39s downed an Fw 200 over Iceland in August 1942 – the first USAAF victory over the Luftwaffe in World War II. The unit added another Condor kill that October.
Accounts of air-to-air actions between Condors and Allied multi-engine aircraft – Whitleys, Sunderlands and B-24s, for instance – also proved intriguing. And Condors from the Greek island of Rhodes might have participated in a desperate, but ultimately aborted plan to attack the Suez Canal with Hs 293 missiles in early 1945.
By the end of 1943, "losses and unserviceability" had seriously depleted Condor strength. And after the 1944 Normandy invasion, Nazi Germany employed once-vaunted Condors "entirely in the transport role".
Churchill's "scourge" had – ironically – come full circle.
Liberally seasoned with absorbing anecdotes, Osprey's well illustrated account sports B&W photos, extended captions, appendices, selected bibliography and index – but, unfortunately, no annotations. Eleven pages of superb color profiles survey the sweep of Condor warpaint. Modelers will love them.
Get the story. Get this handy little handbook.
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!