Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5

Place in history: The Focke-Wulf 190 was the most advanced radial engine fighter in the world when it entered combat.

Its appearance in the fall of 1941 was a rude awakening for Allied designers and pilots. The new German plane was an ideal dogfighter – fast, light, and small. It was more than a match for contemporary versions of the British Spitfire. The Focke-Wulf 190 was also heavily-armed and immensely strong, giving it the ability to fly in ground attack roles as well.

Forever compared to the Messerschmitt Bf 109, many German fighter pilots considered the Fw 190 the better plane at medium to low altitudes. Later in the war, improved versions of the Focke-Wulf fighter were designed to perform at heights above 20,000 feet.

This aircraft: This Fw 190 was built in 1943 and factory-modified for ground attack duties. Fighting on the Eastern Front, the aircraft was assigned to Jagdgeschwader (fighter wing) 54 near Leningrad. On July 9, 1943, while attacking a Soviet supply train, the plane crashed. The pilot became a prisoner in Russia, but his plane remained untouched and hidden by acres of impassable wetland and a growing forest of young saplings.

The amazingly intact plane was discovered by a warbird hunter in the late 1980s and was carefully dismantled and airlifted with a helicopter. In England and later in the U.S., the fighter underwent an extensive restoration process. Today, the plane is the only original flyable Focke-Wulf 190A fighter to take to the skies with a genuine BMW 801 engine.

Fact: The Germans called the Fw 190 Würger or "Butcher Bird."

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