Butcher Bird article and thanks, guys...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by nuuumannn, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Of late it's been a busy ol'e time here in the backabeyond and with the Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka looming (Easter w/end) I thought I'd write a piece on the Fw 190, an aeroplane you are all familiar with, since the Chariots of Fire Fighter Collection example, the first Flug Werk 190 built, will make its big airshow debut.

    Occasionally, largely to suppliment my meagre income fixing our national airline's broken regional airliners, I write articles for a national aviation magazine. Researching the Fw 190 was fun and I used this forum as something of an inspiration for my article, which focusses on the impact the '190 had on the RAF between its entry to service and when Arnim Faber landed at RAF Pembry in June 1942. The main inspiration I had was a thread that was opened here on which was the better fighter in 1941 - 1942, the Bf 109F or the Fw 190A, which raged on for a number of pages, with convincing arguments on borh sides. So, I'd like to thank those of you who inadvertently contributed to my article and increasing my knowledge of the '190.

    Here is a snippet from the article; I can't put too much here since the editor would be upset if it appeared anywhere else before it goes to print, but a couple of paragraphs won't go amiss. It's titled: "The RAF's Bogeyman; The Fw 190 Butcher Bird goes to war"

    "The new fighter's ascendency over its enemy began almost immediately, with Luftwaffe units equipping with Fw 190s devising tactics to take full advantage of their superior performance over the Spitfire V. Since the Spitfire's tight turning circle was well known, engaging the British fighter in the horizontal plane was dangerous and to be avoided. With superior dive and climb speed to the Spitfire, the Fw 190 was best flown in the vertical plane, diving upon enemy aircraft from altitude in high speed slashing attacks, followed by zoom climbs back to altitude. Best of all was the Fw 190's ability to out run its opponent, which gave its pilots the advantage of breaking off from combat at will.

    With the RAF's first encounter with Fw 190s in September 1941, which were tentatively misidentified in combat reports as a “Curtiss Hawk”, Fighter Command's fortunes reached a low ebb; the previous six months of cross-channel operations had seen losses soar to as many as 416 fighters during 20,495 sorties flown. Some 700 enemy aircraft were claimed in that period, but actual Luftwaffe losses were as low as 103 fighters.

    Occupying the job of Fighter Command C-in-C since Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh 'Stuffy' Dowding was ousted after the Battle of Britain, Air Marshal Sholto Douglas had initiated his squadrons' offensive charges into enemy territory, carrying out 'Circusses' and 'Rhubarbs', quaint code names for luring enemy aircraft into combat by attacking random targets of opportunity on the ground. Despite favourable reports however, losses suffered during these dangerous missions were taking their toll and the RAF was forced into the disagreeable situation of maintaining a more defensive stance by curtailing cross-channel ops. Once the Fw 190 arrived on the scene, the Air Staff issued a Directive on 13 November 1941 halting all RAF operations over northern Europe.

    Aircrew morale within Fighter Command plummeted. News of successful enemy action, such as the “Channel Dash” of 12 February 1942, where the Kriegsmarine battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and their destroyer escort steamed brazenly through the English Channel in broad daylight gave them even more reason to fret.

    Operation Cerberus-Donnerkeil was the first combined operation the Fw 190 was engaged in. Organisation of air cover was the responsibility of celebrated German fighter leader Oberst Adolf 'Dolfo' Galland, who had relinquished command of JG 26, the first Luftwaffe unit to convert to the new fighter, to become Inspecteur der Jagdflieger (Fighter Pilot Inspector). Paltry attacks by Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers, gallantly led by Lt Cdr Eugene Esmonde were violently opposed by JG 26's Butcher Birds, whose pilots found themselves frantically pushing buttons to lower flaps and undercarriage to slow their fighters to attack the antiquated biplanes. Sadly, all of Esmonde's charges were shot down and not a single torpedo struck home. Esmonde was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his unfailing courage during the hopeless attack.

    Throughout the first half of 1941, the Spitfire Mk.V fitted with a 1,230 hp single-stage supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin 45 proved a tractable fighter that was believed to be able to counter the new Messerschmitt Bf 109F adequately, despite the latter's superior altitude performance. It was minuted by the Air Staff that, "The aircraft has a superior initial climb and dive to that of the Spitfire, but it is considered that the Spitfire could easily out-turn the Me 109F, especially at high speed.". In practise however, the 'F model Messerschmitt was proving a headache and was largely responsible for the high losses of fighters in the first six months of 1941. The appearance of the Butcher Bird changed attitudes toward Fighter Command's failing cross-channel campaign, however."

    At 2,900 words its not overly long, but has to fit in the confines of what will be a busy magazine that month. It's going in print in the April issue.

    The Cof F FW 190, decorated in the markings of of 222 kills Ace Erich Rudorffer of II/JG 54. The aircraft wears the name Stahlgewitter, literally “Steel Storm”, the Grunherz (Green Heart) emblem of JG 54 and the coat-of-arms of Vienna-Aspern; the emblem of II Gruppe.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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  3. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    #3 FalkeEins, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013


    .. sounds good. a couple of points of interest. Weather conditions were poor over the Channel with sleet and snow showers and a cloud base not much more than 200 metres so much so that some of the German aerial escort , eg 4./JFS 5, failed in their attempts to locate their convoy of battle ships.. the Fw 190 pilots hugely over-claimed. While we know all six Swordfish were lost, II./ JG 2 claimed and was credited with no fewer than 8 Swordfish, while III./ JG 26 claimed three and the ships' anti-aircraft batteries were credited with a further four!

    FalkeEins - the Luftwaffe blog: Operation Fuller memorial unveiled on Dover's Marine Parade to commemorate the 'Channel Dash' - JG 2 and Donnerkeil
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff Grant! Do you write for 'Wings' or 'Classic Wings Downunder'?
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good one Grant.
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  7. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    Very nice. Bucket list. I would LOVE to see an FW190 fly at an airshow!!!! The photo you included is great.
     
  8. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Excellent stuff! Wonder how I can get a copy of the magazine when it comes out?
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, glad you like it.

    Evan, New Zealand Aviation News - the industry paper, not strictly speaking a magazine, but is oriented toward the aviation industry happenings as a whole, GA, airlines, warbirds with a bit of history stuff thrown in. Big seller. When the Anson Mk.I flew I bagged an interview with the guy who restored it, got the cover story and a two page spread with photos I'd taken and the editor who did the air-to-airs. We were the first to cover it in the aviation mags around the world! We also got the first Mosquito Day coverage last September since the event took place on the day before the paper went to print, so in a rush we sent articles and images off the next day. I didn't write the report, but I had images of the event with the article, which Editor wrote, but I wrote a piece on the origins of the Mossie in the November issue in support of a story on its restoration. All good fun. I'm currently doing a piece on the Sopwith Pup because there are now three flying reproductions in NZ, one of which belongs to Chariots of Fire and will make its debut at Omaka at Easter as well.
     
  11. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Nice article!
     
  12. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Good on ya mate!

    Haven't heard of that publication, though haven't seen kiwiland since '96... I presume this wasn't around then(?)

    Kiwi publications I was familiar with were NZ Wings, Classic Wings Downunder, RNZAFA (RNZAF Association) news, and the RNZAF 'Joe break' newsletters.
     
  13. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #13 nuuumannn, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
    Hey Evan, of that list of magazines, Classic Wings is still going (based at Omaka now, was over in Australia) and Air Force News, which is the RNZAF's own propaganda mag, but NZ Wings is now Pacific Wings and has seriously gone down in quality; its certainly not what it used to be. NZ Av News has been around for nearly 40 years, so not that new. Its editor used to write and photograph for NZ Wings in the '70s; he may have also been its editor at one stage. He also edits NZ Sport Aviator, which is a small mag dedicated to home built stuff - John's a real gent of the traditional sort and loves everything aviation. There's also another magazine whose name I forget that is orientated primarily on the GA industry, which is quite a good one; small and cheap too - Kiwi Flyer, just remembered.

    I don't buy so many mags these days; Aeroplane Monthly from Pommie land is still high on my list as I know the former editor - a real nice guy, I also used to know another popular British aviation mag that will remain nameless' lot, their editor used to come help us with our airshows and was having an affair with one of our office girls! I do get Australian mag Flightpath though.
     
  14. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Sad to hear Wings has gone under, was a good mag. Favourite was CWD though.
    Always thought Flightpath was a UK mag btw, bought a couple in the '80s. Have those rowdy Aussies taken it over, or just done their own edition?
     
  15. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Hi Evan, this Flightpath has always been an Aussie one; its been around since the late 80s, although one of its writers is a Pommie bloke who used to contribute to Aeroplane Monthly. There's the British magazine Flypast, is that what you mean?
     
  16. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Yep - Flypast is what I was thinking of! I do seem to remember there being a 'Flightpath UK' magazine though too, not sure which country I saw it in though. If so, the 'UK' presumably indicates a British edition of the Aussie mag then... (or my memory is really shot!?? :) )
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    11.1 inch guns do not make a battleship but 32,000 tons DO ... a battleship is an armored ship of 20,000 tons or more with large caliber armament. 11.1" is not very large in the company of battleships that go up to 18+" of shell diameter. They were really heavy cruisers but well respected by anyone including battleships. Lucky shots were always a possibility.

    The hit on HMS Hood's magazine by Bismark was not intended ... it was lucky or unlucky depending on which end of it you were at the time.

    Good post and the distinction between heavy cruiser and battleship is not all that important to a potential target. Both are lethal at LONG range.

    I think the real distinction starts with 12- 14 inch guns. Larger battlsehips had 16 inch guns and the Yamato had 18.1" guns ... and was sunk by aircraft and ships. It was hit by eleven torpedos and at least six bombs. The wreck has been found and is in two pieces on the ocean floor.
     
  18. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #18 nuuumannn, Mar 14, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
    I take it this is about the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, Greg? I thought for a minute you'd got the wrong thread. Well, the Germans actually always classified those two ships as "Battleships", because both were intended from the get go to be converted with the same twin 15-in gun turrets fitted to Bismarck and Tirpitz. Only the Allies classified them as battlecruisers, as you state, because of their 11-in armament - the first German battlecruisers before WW1 were also armed with 11-in guns.

    After the Channel Dash Gneisenau was put into dry dock because of mine damage and had her 11-in turrets removed to enable conversion into a 6 x 15-in gun armed battleship, but this never happened and she never sailed again owing to bomb damage in air raids forcing a move east. Her 11-in turrets still survive up a hillside in Norway.
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Evan, there's a 'Flightpath UK' who make and distribute photo-etch, white metal and resin airfield accessories in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales - maybe that's how the name sounds familiar?
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    As I recall, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau weren't fitted with the big guns because they weren't quiote ready and the Nazi leadership couldn't wait. Had they waited, both might have lasted longer.
     
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