Focke-Wulf Fw 200...

 

...The Luftwaffe's Long Range Maritime Bomber, from Frontline Books

 

Title: Focke-Wulf Fw 200

Author: Chris Goss

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-84832-487-9

During WW2 the Luftwaffe did not operate many large, four-engine aircraft, but perhaps their most famous has to be the Condor. Designed as an airliner in the 1930's, capable of long distance passenger flights, which it did to places such as Tokyo and New York. When it came to war, this large, elegant aircraft continued to provide VIP passenger transport for the Nazi leaders as well as more general passenger and cargo duties. It's long range also made it ripe for conversion to a maritime patrol aircraft, with a carrying capacity for a useful bomb load.

The book starts off with a couple of pages of introductory text which provides the background story, and the rest of the 156 pages are split into 4 parts, which give the story of the Condor in a chronological format, of 1939-1940: 1941: 1942-1943: and finally 1944-1945. These are all filled with an excellent selection of archive photos, all with the extra information provided in the captioning. The Condors based in Western France and in Norway had a significant role in the Battle of the Atlantic, against the Allied convoys. Their initial successes however were reduced as allied countermeasures began to take their toll. We see photos of the Condor in flight as well as on the ground, under maintenance or damaged thanks to combat or technical failures.

For aviation historians and modellers there is a lot in here to like, with plenty of detail, including crew uniforms. There is a lot to pick out in the book, but the one I find especially impressive has to be the sight of a Condor parked between the huge wooden splinter walls at a base at Merignac, France, in early 1941. With some good model kits on the market these days, it would certainly make an impressive diorama.

In the final short section of the book, at the end of the war, a number of Condors were found parked up at a variety of places around Europe. One on Rhodes is heavily camouflaged while another is seen wearing RAF roundels. This is another very good addition to the Air War Archive with author Chris Goss, and one that deserves to be popular.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin