November 19, 2016

Twin Boom Aircraft Of WWII

Fw 189


But we did it better. Both planes were first flown within a year of each other. The Fw-189 in 1938 and the P-38 in 1939.

The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu ("Eagle Owl") was a very successful Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft used extensively in the Eastern Front. It was unarmed, could carry a 3 man crew, had a combat radius of 420 miles and top speed of less than 250 mph but was extremely maneuverable. It could avoid being shot down by Soviet fighters simply by flying in very tight circles. The Soviets called it "The Frame" because of it's box like silhouette in the sky. About 850 of these aircraft were produced. There is only one in existence today.

Lockheed's P-38 "Lightning" was a heavily armed, 400+ mph fighter. It could also carry two 1,000 bombs and with drop tanks it could be flown across the Atlantic, eliminating the need for transport by ocean born freight.The German Luftwaffe called it "Der Gabelschwanz Teufel" (The Fork-Tailed Devil). It was that good. It was the first USAAF fighter to be delivered to the RAF under its own power. With a range of 2,500 miles, it was the most important fighter in the Pacific Theater.

Japanese mastermind Adm. Yamamoto was killed by a P-38 that shot down his transport plane. Of course the US Navy had broken the Japanese military cypher codes by then so the P-38's had a good idea where he would be. Lockheed manufactured over 1,000  of these fighters in variants up to the P-38L. The Air Force retired the Lightning in 1949.


Doom said...

I thought I remembered it being pretty good. I guess I always wondered why more weren't made. Perhaps it was more expensive to build, or too technical... difficult to keep up. I probably looked at one time. I would now, but I'm not sure I trust history books so much these days... other sources even less. I knew of, but otherwise nothing about, the German plane. I might have heard that it was a bit of a dud and just let it go. Yeah, it had spunk, but spunk isn't what a teen boy is interested in.

Nice article. Now I'm going to be making fighter plane and propeller noises for the next week. Yeah... some kids never grow up. *bllllllllhhhh* *kchunk, kchunk, kchunk* *bomb whistle* (Sure, only German bombs really whistled, but hush.)

Kid said...

I know the P-38 pilots loved them.

And there is a documentary, Glacier Girl, where they pulled one out of the Greenland ice sheet and got it flying again.