View Single Post
Old 12th May 2019, 20:51
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 67
INM@RLM is on a distinguished road
Re: Published Accounts of the Fw 200 C-3 – A Critique on Water-Methanol Injection

Part 2 of 5 Explorations, Level One

Digging into the subject a little deeper, other interesting disconnects appear:
1. Sticking with Green's 'Warplanes of the Third Reich' as the baseline text, in addition to the Fw 200 C-3 the Bramo 323R-2 with water-methanol injection is also mentioned in the history of the Arado 232 B, however, it is NOT mentioned at all in the histories of the Do 24 T, Ju 252 and Ju 352, each of which also used the Bramo 323R-2. To keep this line of enquiry clear each of those quotations for evidence I will document in the separate Part 4 post.
So, in sum from Green's book, one might conclude that water-methanol injection was fitted to the 323R-2 in some multi-engine aircraft types but not in others, BUT it was always fitted in the Fw 200 C-3 and later Fw 200 C variants. Hardly a defining characteristic for this engine sub-type then, and also - viewed holistically - hardly logical or logistically likely.
2. Turning to the Fw 200 C-3 operating manual, one would certainly expect to find a diagram for the water-methanol injection sub-system as well as mention of the procedure to initiate injection before take-off and when to cut it out after take-off.
The Fw200 C3 Bedienvorschrift is downloadable gratis from or can be purchased as part of the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Kompendium DVD from Luftfahrt-Archiv Hafner.
Included in the drawings of the Bedienvorschrift immediately after the list of contents are those for the oxygen system and control system for triggering the fire extinguishers integral within each engine nacelle. There are also schematic diagrams for each the systems feeding fuel, oil and de-icing fluid to the engines. However, there is no such diagram for the feed of the water-methanol mixture to the engine superchargers, nor are any tanks for MW50 mixture evident in any of the diagrams.
In Flugbetrieb, Teil II of the Bedienvorschrift, the sections for Rollen zum Abflug and Abflug are both wholly innocent of any reference to the operation of water-methanol injection.
3. Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1945 edition, is a generally very reliable independent contemporary reference source. It has just this to say of the engines for the Fw 200 C:
POWER PLANT: - Four BMW 323 R-2 nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines, each rated at 940 h.p. at 12,000 ft. (3,660 m.). Three-blade VDM metal-blade airscrews.”
Leonard Bridgman: Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1945-46 (Issued February 1946) Part C p.(117c)
On the separate subject of injection boosting in German aircraft engines there is also this interesting separate note:
A pure water injection system had been used on the BMW 323 R and Jumo 213 A engines with air temperature above 0°C. The engines were checked after every 50 hours running time for signs of corrosion.
The Jumo 213 A, with a basic power of 1,610 h.p. in high supercharger gear and + 8 lb. boost pressure developed 1,650 h.p. with water injection and 1,670 h.p. with MW 50 injection. These figures apply only to the increase in power obtained by fluid injection with constant boost pressure. A greater increase in power was obtained when the boost pressure was also increased.”
Leonard Bridgman: Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1945-46 (Issued February 1946) Part D p.(59d)

4. Finally, looking at the broader history of engine boosting technologies deployed by the Luftwaffe, water-methanol injection was introduced to service on the DB 605 for the Bf 109 G-series during mid-1944. At that point, at the simplest level, the Bf 109 G-6 with DB 605A was transformed into the Bf 109 G-14 with DB 605AM and MW50 injection. (“In the interim, further modifications were introduced on the Bf 109G and, by the late summer [of 1944], yet another G-series variant, the Bf 109G-14, was rolling off the lines.” Green p.568-II See also:
So how credible is it that a technology introduced to only a few retrofits and partially to mainstream fighter production mid-way through 1944 could have actually seen first service use with the Fw 200 C-3s of KG 40 beginning in the last quarter of 1940? Clearly, not very, or – in plainer words – not at all, not even in the slightest degree.

The evidence from all four of these explorations leads in a single logical direction. All statements to the effect that the Bramo 323R-2 was fitted with water-methanol injection are quite simply wrong. This was a fabrication, seemingly manufactured in the 1950s, and just possibly built around the grain of truth mentioned in JAWA '45-46 of "A pure water injection system had been used on the BMW 323 R ..."
So what in fact was the true defining characteristic of the Bramo 323R-2? Here at least we can have clarity since the answer is definitively documented in the engine manual for the Bramo 323 R (BRAMO FAFNIR Baumuster 323 R, Betriebs- und Wartungvorschrift, Mit Anhang für die Baumuster 323 A, Q und P, Ausgabe 1941. This is available from Luftfahrt-Archiv as both part of the Fw 200 Kompendium and the Flugmotoren SAM 22 - 322, BRAMO 323 FAFNIR Techn. Kompendium. (See also the Team Condor page at https://fw200-restaurierung-bremen.d.../11/triebwerk/)
Part I. Beschreibung des Motors (Description of the Engine)
A. Allgemeine Kennzeichnung des Motors. (Overall distinguishing features of the engine)
The first three paragraphs of this introductory section provide the answer in a nutshell:
"Der Flugmotor BRAMO FAFNIR ist in den Jahren 1937 und 1938 als 9-Zylinder-Einsternmotor mit einem Hubraum von 26,82 Litern entwickelt worden.
Der technische Fortschritt dieses Motors ist gekennzeichnet durch die Einführung der Kraftstoff-Einspritzung an Stelle des Vergasers sowie die neuartige Bedienung des Motors mit Kommandogerät.
Die Kraftstoff-Einspritzung ermöglicht in allen Drehzahlbereichen eine vollkommen regelmäßige Kraftstoffzuteilung an die einzelnen Zylinder. Die dadurch erzielte gleichmäßige Zusammensetzung des Kraftstoff-Luftgemisches erlaubt eine Herabsetzung des Kraftstoffverbrauches bei gleichzeitiger Leistungssteigerung. Die bei Vergasermotoren bestehende Brand- und Vereisungsgefahr ist bei Einspritzmotoren weitgehend ausgeschaltet. Die Regelung der Leistung ist außerordentlich vereinfacht worden. Die Regeleinrichtung ist so ausgebildet, dass die den Zylindern zugeführte Luft- und Kraftstoffmenge und der Zündzeitpunkt von einem Hebel eingestellt werden kann. Hierdurch wird eine wesentliche Entlastung des Flugzeugführers, besonders in mehrmotorigen Flugzeugmustern, erzielt."

"The BRAMO FAFNIR aircraft engine was developed in 1937 and 1938 as a 9-cylinder, single-row radial engine with a displacement of 26.82 litres.
The technical improvements with this engine are the introduction of fuel injection in place of a carburettor and of a newly-designed engine control device.
The fuel injection allows a perfectly regular fuel allocation to individual cylinders in all engine speed ranges. The uniform composition of the fuel-air mixture thus achieved enables a reduction in fuel consumption while increasing performance. The risk of fire and icing in carburettor engines is largely eliminated in injection engines. The regulation of performance has been greatly simplified. The control device is designed so that amounts of air and fuel supplied to the cylinders and the ignition timing can be adjusted by a single lever. As a result, a significant relief of the pilot, especially in multi-engine aircraft designs achieved."
In other words, the Kommandogerät of the Bramo 323 performed the exact same function as the engine management device fitted to the Fw 190's BMW 801 engine. Instead of the pilot having to separately set and juggle rpm, mixture, boost and prop pitch, and whatever else (I'm not a pilot), everything was instead integrated and smoothly controlled by a single lever for each engine that automatically optimised all of these varied settings. What this delivered was a major reduction in pilot workload: instead of juggling a clutch of separate settings for each engine he could concentrate on what he needed to do with the aircraft.
For anyone that has read accounts of what it was like to fly Liberators (vide the excellent Colman: ‘Liberators Over the Atlantic’, 2017) and presumably also all other Allied four-engine aircraft, by comparison with the engine management overhead that an Allied pilot had to contend with, the use of a Kommandogerät dramatically simplified the pilot’s workload, especially in multi-engine aircraft like the Fw 200, Ar 234, Do 24 and Ju 352.
So, not even the merest hint in the Bramo engine user manual of methanol-water injection. :-)

In summary, the association of water-methanol injection (or methanol-water injection, if you will, to within half a percent the proportions were 50:50) with the Bramo 323 R-2 is a pure invention. A pure porky-pie fabricated by person or persons as yet unknown.
In passing, also noteworthy is that a vital position in the crew of the Liberator was the flight engineer in addition to the two pilots and a navigator. The crews of Fw 200s fitted with Bramo 323s did not formally include a flight engineer or Bordmechaniker. (Despite what has appeared on this in several published sources, both the FoWu Baubeschreibung and the Luftwaffe documentation are crystal clear that the Fw 200 C-3 crew was just these six: 2 Führer, 1 Funker, 3 Schützen in the Fw 200 C-3. The total went back to 7 again in the C-4 but this was accounted for by adding a second Funker. Long-range navigation in the Luftwaffe seems to have exclusively been by radio ranging. In contrast to the Allies no dead reckoning navigation and no astrodomes were ever fitted to any Luftwaffe aircraft.) After the change over from the BMW 132 H-1 to the Bramo 323 engine, the Kommandogerät of the Bramo 323 played the key part in reducing crew numbers from seven in the Fw 200 C-1 & C-2 to six in the C-3.

Interestingly, even after the C-3 entered service, Bordmechaniker continued to fly in the Fw 200 C-3 and later crews of KG 40. See the photo of Hptm. Fliegel’s crew for C-3 W.Nr. 0043 (all KIA on 18-Jul-41) on p.132(btm) of Goss’s Fw 200 Condor for Classic, where the BM seems to have acted as a Schütze. The crew lists of most other KG 40 Condor losses also include a Bordmechaniker. Very occasionally, however, say for a ferry flight, the crew comprised just a single pilot accompanied by a Bordmechaniker.
Reply With Quote