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Focke-Wulf Fw 200

...from Tempest Books

Title: Focke-Wulf Fw 200
Author: Matthew Willis
Publisher: Tempest Books
ISBN: 978-1-911658-65-8

Number 2 in the Eagles of the Luftwaffe series from Tempest Books covering the subject of the Focke-Wulf Fw 200, the Condor. A 146-page soft-cover book by author Matthew Willis.
Originally developed as an airliner for Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH), the large 4-engined aircraft was developed into a long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. However, as the book explains, it was also so much more. The 5 main chapters cover the story of the Condor in a chronological sequence, starting from 1936-1939, then 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943-45, all rounded off with a Conclusion at the end, along with an extensive table of aircraft specifications. Starting with the early development story, and planned sales to foreign airlines in both China and Finland, though these airframes were taken over by the Luftwaffe once war broke out. I suspect that many of us think of the Condor largely as a long range reconnaissance aircraft that would shadow Allied convoys far out over the Atlantic, guiding in U-Boats to attack them, and on the Arctic convoys heading to Russia. What this book explains is all that and so much more. There are the personal customisations to make a personal transport for Hitler, torpedo bomber, weather reconnaissance and as a cargo transport, in the Mediterranean, part of the supply lift into Stalingrad and then by itself taking supplies into the Kuban Bridgehead and on return flights, evacuating the wounded. So much to the story, aside from their core employment by KG 40, based at Bordeaux-Merignac.
The Condor was not built in large numbers, just 280 in all, and with plenty of modifications introduced during its' service career, which are detailed in the book, thanks to some fine archive research. In addition to the text there is great support from such a large collection of archive images, plus 8-pages of colour profile artwork. While it wasn't without some issues it had an impact on Allied strategy as they developed not only the CAM (Catapult Armed Merchantman) and then escort carriers, to enable convoys to carry their own fighter protection to counter these aerial observers. An elegant design I think, and this offers an interesting read on the development and service career, even if by the end of the war the aircraft were too vulnerable and were being withdrawn from service, and indeed being prepared to finally go into service with DLH. A great book for Luftwaffe aircraft enthusiasts, and a lot in both the profile artwork and the photos which was attract plenty of modellers as well.
Thanks to Tempest Books for the review copy.


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