FOCKE WULF Fw 190A8
by Michael Wooten
Print Size: 28" x 17"
Designer Kurt Tank nicknamed it the "Wurger" or Butcher Bird. It was the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and by the end of the war it was probably one of the finest propeller driven fighter planes ever developed. Plagued at first by engine overheating problems, the plane nevertheless displayed capabilities of speed and handling that encouraged improvement and development.
In September of 1941 the Wurger made its debut in the skies over Dunkirk where four Fw 190-A1s of 6/JG 26 engaged a superior force of Spitfires, downing three of them without loss to themselves. In September of 1942, in the new role fighter-bomber or "Jabo," Fw 190A4s, each carrying up to 2200 pounds of bombs, effectively hampered British amphibious operations in the Dieppe raid. Throughout the remainder of the year and in 1943 they tied down large numbers of British fighters in low level bombing raid on coastal targets. Modifications also permitted long range night attacks. On the 14th of October 1943, in the most costly bombing raid of World War II, the USAAF lost 62 bombers when Fw 190s of JG 1 and JG 26, armed with wing-mounted mortars, broke up the tight bomber formations attacking Schweinfurt. This permitted swarms of fighters to attack and shoot down individual bombers. Over 60 of the remaining bombers returned so badly damaged they could not be put back into service.
The last production version of the aircraft was the Fw 190A-8, which appeared in 1943. A number of these were used in Rammjager or Sturmstaffel groups, Volunteers formed these home defense units and each pilot swore an oath not to return from a mission without downing an allied bomber, even if, as a last resort, ramming was necessary. Attrition eventually took its toll on the Luftwaffe. Despite its superior capabilities, the Fw 190 could not lack of fuel, inexperienced pilots, and overwhelming numbers of capably manned Allied fighters. In the end the "Butcher Bird" became the prey.
Michael Wooten’s exquisite print shows the "FOCKE WULF Fw 190A8" in the markings of IV (Sturm)/JG 3 surrounded by the squadron insignias of nine different Luftwaffe units – II/JG I, III/JG 2, I/JG I, IV (Sturm)/JG 3, II/SG I, JG I, I/NJG 10, I0 (Jabo)/ JG 2, and I/SG 4 – with a brief history of the Focke Wulf beneath.
Signed by the artist.