Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Reviews > Books and Magazines

Books and Magazines Please use this forum to review or discuss books and magazines.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12th May 2019, 20:45
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 67
INM@RLM is on a distinguished road
Published Accounts of the Fw 200 C-3 – A Critique on Water-Methanol Injection

Part 1 of 5 The Challenge

This is a series of five posts exploring the minor mystery that in published works, methanol-water injection is not infrequently described as the defining characteristic of the Bramo 323R-2 engine. This engine was introduced to Luftwaffe service in late 1940 and was first fitted in the Fw 200 C-3. As a consequence it played a small but key role in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Bramo had replaced the commercial BMW 132 H-1 engines carried over from the original Fw 200 civil design and used to power the preceding Fw 200 C-1 and C-2 examples supplied to the Luftwaffe.
In effect, each post forms a little chapterlette in its own right. They are posted here for peer review and because the findings and corrections identified here may be wider interest. Also there are the hopes that there may be further information out there still to be discovered, and of attracting assistance in tracking down additional published source references as well as contributions that address the loose ends remaining. Any of those would be most welcome.
There are several interleaved threads here, each interesting in their own right. Taken together they do logically lead to a definitive resolution which is solidly based on primary source evidence. For clarity this exploration will use the Fw 200 C-3 as the thread around which everything else will be tied.

In his classic text published in 1970, 'Warplanes of the Third Reich', William Green wrote:
“By the summer of 1941, the improved Fw 200C-3 began to reach KG 40, this embodying major structural strengthening of both the rear spar and the fuselage, although the Condor was still to suffer structural failures, and the Focke-Wulf concern never succeeded in entirely eradicating the problem. In order to maintain the performance of the Condor despite the substantially increased structural and equipment weights, the Fw 200 C-3 received four BMW-Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir nine-cylinder radials which, rated at 1,000 h.p. at sea level, offered 1,200 h.p. for take-off by means of methanol-water injection.” (p.227)
This was consistent with at least one of Green’s earlier statements, an identical sentence appearing in the 1967 William Green volume, 'Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume 9: Bombers and Reconnaissance Aircraft, Germany Part Two' (at page 78-II).
The current Wikipedia article in English on the Bramo 323R-2 also follows this interpretation. "The final versions, P, R and T, featured a two-speed supercharger for better all-around performance. This allowed it to generate 1,000 PS at sea level as in the C/D models, but improved altitude performance considerably, delivering 940 PS at 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The R-2 subtype added MW 50 water-methanol injection for added low-altitude performance, boosting power to 1,200 PS at 2,600 rpm.”
Even the notionally authoritative Bernard & Graefe volume in their ‘Die deutsche Luftfahrt’ series, subscribes to this view: “Die Varianten Bramo 323 C, D, M und T waren Bodenmotoren mit der Laderübersetzung 9,52, die Bramo 323 A-, B-, J-, Q-Höhenmotoren mit den Laderübersetzung 11,4. Mit Zweigang-Einstufen-Ladern (Übersetzungen 9,6 und 12,4) waren die Baureihen Bramo P, R, S, N ausgerüstet und der N- sowie der R-Motor mit Methanol-Wasser-Einspritzung versehen." Kyrill von Gersdorff, Helmut Schubert, & Stefan Ebert: Flugmotoren und Strahltriebwerke; Bernard & Graefe; 4. Auflage 2007, pp.48/49.
There is, however, also a second, differing interpretation extant which simply identifies the Fw 200 C-3 as a strengthened design now powered by Bramo 323R-2 but limited to only 1,000 h.p. for take-off. Unfortunately, so far as I can discover, nowhere does this second school of interpretation actually include any statement as to the defining characteristic of the 323R-2. Rather a typical presentation is this from the 1972 Smith+Kay: 'German Aircraft of the Second World War':
"The first really major modification to the aircraft was in the Fw 200 C-3 which appeared during the summer of 1941. This was structurally strengthened and powered by four 1,000 h.p. Bramo 323R-2 radials and normally carried a load of four .... " (p.203)
[The wording in the 2002 Kay+Smith: Putnam German Aircraft of the Second World War at p.109-III is identical.]
The current Wikipedia article in English on the Fw 200 follows this second interpretation.
Almost finally, there is a sub-school close to but preceding the Smith and Kay position. This is represented in the biography of Kurt Tank by Heinz Conradis with appendices on the development history of the designs associated with Tank. As a close co-worker with Tank, Conradis knew more than a little about the Fw 200 and its powerplants. This biography was first published in English in 1960, in the wake of the second German edition of 1959, the first having appeared in 1955.
“It [the Fw 200 C-3] was powered by four BMW/Bramo 323R-2 radial engines each rated at 1,200 h.p. for take-off, and these provided a maximum speed of 240 m.p.h. at 13,120 feet, a cruising speed of 220 m.p.h. at the same altitude, and a normal range of 2,200 miles.” (p.232) This is the Smith and Kay picture linked to the higher engine performance data given by Green.

Note in passing, that the summer 1941 date given by both schools of interpretation is actually way too late. The Bramo 323 R-2 was actually introduced to Luftwaffe service with the Fw 200 C-3 around November of 1940. The Bedienvorschrift-Fl for the Fw 200 C-3 sub-type is dated Februar 1941, and the first recorded loss of a Fw 200 C-3 was on 23-Nov-40 in the RAF bombing of Bordeaux-Merignac airfield. That was W.Nr. 0027, the third C-3 built.

More recent publications are divided approximately equally between the two main interpretations. Along with William Green, the believers in water-methanol injection 323 R-2s are:
Jerry Scutts: 'The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor', published 2008, p.51 "The Bramo 323 R-2 Fafnir engines of the Fw 200 C-3 onwards were rated at 900hp with two-speed superchargers designed to automatically cut in at 3,000 revolutions. Three-blade propellers became standard with this powerplant and for all subsequent aircraft. Water-methanol injection increased available power to 1,200hp, this figure usually being quoted as standard for the C series." (The same claim is repeated in the Specification for the Fw 200 C-3/U4 given in Appendix III on p.215.)
Juan-Carlos Salgado: Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor - The Airliner that went to War' also published 2008, pp.53/4 "The next step for the Focke-Wulf engineers consisted of the strengthening of the rear wing spar and the fuselage tail section, but the solution to this serious problem was never found, although it justified a new designation, C-3, which embodied another fundamental change: the introduction of the nine-cylinder BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 engines, affording 1,100 hp which water-methanol injection could boost briefly to 1,200 hp at 2,600 rpm."
More recently, approximations of the Smith and Kay position (in these instances without any mention of engine performance) have appeared in Chris Goss's 2016 'Fw 200 Condor Units of World War 2' (at p.25 and Appendix 6, p.90) and p.8 of his 2017 'Fw 200, The Condor at War 1939-1945' for Classic.

Interestingly, in this matter Heinz Nowarra is completely inconsistent. His very useful 1988 Bernard & Graefe German book on the Condor has no mention of methanol-water in connection with the Fw 200 C-3 (across pp.64/7 & p.134), and the same treatment applies to the Fw 200 C-3 in Teil 2 of his 'Die deutsche Luftrüstung 1933-1945'. (pp.100 & 102: "Treibwerk: Vier BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 luftgekühlte Neunzilinder-Sternmotore mit 4 x 1000 PS Startleistung.") However, when it comes to coverage of the Bramo 3213 R-2 in the engine section of Teil 4 of the same work, the Bramo 323 R version is now uniquely characterised by water-methanol injection. "Bramo 323 R Musterausführung des Bramo 323 P für Wasser-Methanol-Einspritzung. Durch konnte die Startleistung auf 1200 PS erhöht werden." [Nowarra: Die deutsche Luftrüstung 1933 - 1945 Band 4, MIAG - Zeppelin etc., p.97 (Bernard u. Graefe Verlag, 1993).

To summarize this first post, there are three schools of thought regarding the Bramo 323R-2:
For Green, Scutts, and Salgado (and sometimes Heinz Nowarra) the 323R-2 engine is characterised by methanol-water injection;
But according to Smith and Kay, and Chris Goss (and sometimes Heinz Nowarra) this engine was not defined by methanol-water injection (although quite what uniquely distinguished the Bramo 323R-2 from all of the other many versions of the 323 is never actually stated). Mysterious.
Whilst for Heinz Conradis the Bramo 323R-2 is also without methanol-water injection but uncannily has the same take-off power as the Green engine with methanol-water injection.
So this is the challenge to be resolved.
Reply With Quote
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
Old 12th May 2019, 20:56
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 3 of 5 Explorations, Level Two, A second Finding

Returning briefly to the baseline text, Green's 'Warplanes of the Third Reich', on page 513 in the section on the Ju 352 are the intriguing words on operating with the Bramo 323 R-2 “an auxiliary fuel system was used to supply C3 fuel (96 octane) instead of the normal B4 (87 octane), resulting in 1,200 h.p. for take-off and emergency use.”

In fact, this feature was not unique to the Bramo 323 R-2 installation in the Ju 352 but would seem to have been generic to all 323 R-2 installations.
In the fuel system for the Bramo-engined Fw 200 C-3 (and so all subsequent sub-types and variants), each wing contained two small fuel tanks outboard of two larger fuel tanks in the inner wing. Each of the smaller tanks had a standard capacity of 260 litres. In the Bedienvorschrift-Fl for the Fw200 C3 these smaller, outer tanks are described as Startbehälter. (The larger inner wing tanks are each 380 litres and are described as Reisebehälter.)
The Bedienvorschrift-Fl for the Fw200 C-3 clearly mandates that all tanks be filled with Fliegerbenzin A2, Oktanzahl 87. However, the equivalent document for the Fw200 C-3/U4, the initial VLR Fernaufklärer variant of the Fw 200 C that was built in an unbroken sequence of 25 examples from W.Nr. 0070 to 0094, includes these additional words in the engine section “Startleistung mit Krafstoff Oktan 100 4 X 1100 PS = 4400 PS.” Also included in the text is this statement “Für den Start wird aus den Startbehältern Kraftstoff mit 100 Oktan und für den Reiseflug A 2 Treibstoff mit 87 Oktan verwendet.” ("For the take-off, 100 octane fuel is used from the start tanks and 87 octane A 2 fuel is used for cruising.")
[I am much indebted to the public sharing of this document at]
From this we can conclude that as combat loads increased, and as C3 fuel became more widely available (which was not the case when Fw 200 C-3 was introduced to service in late-1940) this nominally 100 octane fuel was used in the wing starter tanks to boost take-off power.
This may have only begun with the Fw200 C-3/U4 variant, indeed this facility may have been limited only to use with the Fw200 C-3/U4, since Ladeplan 8-200 000-7043 b of 15-Jul-42 (reproduced on p.99 of Nowarra) specified B4 fuel for ALL tanks of the following Fw 200 C-4 sub-type.
The use of C3 fuel from the Startbehälter increased the take-off power of each 323 R-2 engine from 1,000 PS to 1,100 PS. (Note, however, this is still only half the increase to 1,200 hp that was quoted by Green above.)

So the water-methanol fabrication does have a second and larger grain of truth in that the Bramo 323 R-2 installation specified by the RLM had always included provision for the possible use of a higher grade fuel for take-off.

Taking a step back for a moment, this is a remarkable coda to the story of the Bramo 323 in Luftwaffe service. By lineage, the Bramo 323 was a very old engine design indeed, having its origins in the Bristol Jupiter of the 1920s. When it came to the choice of what engines should be used to power the last generation of Do 17s in 1936/7 the Bramo 323 was selected for the bomber Do 17 Z versions. However, the 323 was simply too thirsty to meet the range requirements of the recce version and instead the BMW 132 was chosen for the Do 17 P. (In parallel the earlier versions of the Fw 200 also used a version of the BMW 132, the BMW 132 H-1 “Schnellwechseltreibwerk”, a 132 sub-type that was available for civil commercial export.)
So perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this tale is that an engine design with too poor a specific fuel consumption to be fitted to a strategic recce aircraft in 1936/40 was transformed by the addition of a Kommandogerät into the supremely useful and economical engine of a maritime patrol bomber and recce aircraft that routinely flew sorties in excess of twelve hours.

There are several loose-ends here that would be interesting to cooperatively explore further:

What other citations from the Green interpretation can be traced in German and English sources published before 1970? (Just now my copies of Green's 'Famous Bombers of the Second World War' and the Kens+Nowarra 'Die deutschen Flugzeuge 1933-1945' volume from the 1960's are in boxes somewhere and I know not which.)

Might it be possible to trace the source that Green used as evidence for his water-methanol statements? (What happened to Green's papers after his death?)

Could a poisoned source have been involved? At least one confirmed 'poisoned' source has been traced. This is for the He 219: an undated, unreferenced typed document packed with fantastical details. (See the four-page 'Entwicklung der He 219 Baureihen' reproduced in full across pages 42 & 43 in Nowarra: "UHU" - He 219, Band 73, Podzun-Pallas 1982.) The account of the He 115 also shows traces of a poisoned source having been used: too many specious details that do not stack up with what has subsequently come to light.

Are there some broader lessons-learnt here? A few fairly obvious points suggest themselves:
If the statement is about technology and the known use of this technology dates to a much later period, then the statement needs to be double-checked. [Was this usage only in engine bench testing or restricted to trials aircraft or documented as a very limited initial release? What hard contemporary evidence is there for actual unit service use at the earlier date? Literally thousands of people were involved in building the BMW 323R-2 at BMW Zühlsdorf, or maintaining and flying the aircraft fitted with these engines in Luftwaffe and French post-war service. Someone would have been able to offer something relevant.]

If the statement covers something that can be checked in the Jane's AWA 1945-46 edition and there is no evidence in AWA to support it then it would be prudent to check further.

If the statement is general to a type or sub-type and the aircraft handbook and/or operating manual does not support the statement, then the probability is it is most likely wrong, possibly even completely incorrect.
Contemporary aircraft and engine handbooks and/or operating manuals are generally ultra-reliable guides. Some contain a very few errors but these are usually no more than minor differences in dimensions.

At the general level, perhaps also this: not all evidence is of equal weight. Indeed some of it may have been deliberately falsified by individuals whose motivations are now unfathomable. (I have my own hypothesis about this might have come to pass in immediate post-war Germany.)

And there may be some other points worth learning from this tale that have just slipped by me.

Reply With Quote
Old 12th May 2019, 20:58
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 4 of 5 – Now you see it and now you don’t: supporting quotes on other aircraft designs fitted with the Bramo 323 R-2 in Green’s Warplanes of the Third Reich - provided only for ease of reference.

Part A: Our Bramo 323 R-2s ARE fitted with water-methanol injection
Arado 232 B
The third prototype, the Ar 232 V3 (VD + YC) with four lower-powered engines, had been completed and flown in May 1942, by which time work was well advanced on the first genuine B-series airframes. The first eight pre-series Ar 232B-0 transports were also allocated Versuchs numbers, and thus the first of these, the Ar 232B-01, was considered as a prototype and was also known as the Ar 232 V4. To accommodate the additional pair of engines, the wing centre section was elongated by 5 ft. 7 in., but few other modifications to the structure were found to be necessary. The four BMW-Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir engines were each rated at 1,200 h.p. for take-off and emergency with water-methanol injection, and performance proved closely comparable with that of the A-series prototypes.”
William Green: Warplanes of the Third Reich, page 47

Part B: But our Bramo 323 R-2s ARE NOT fitted with water-methanol injection
Do 24 T
Available stocks of Cyclone R-1820-G102 engines were limited, however, and a suitable German power plant had already been selected for use as soon as supplies of the American engine became exhausted, this being the BMW-Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir nine-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,000 h.p. for take-off and 940 h.p. at 13,120 ft., and already in production for the Fw 200C Condor. Sufficient Cyclones were available for 11 Do 24N-1s, the last of which was accepted in November 1941, in which month the first two Fafnir-powered examples were also accepted. With the BMW-Bramo engines the flying boat was redesignated Do 24T-1, and although equipment remained unchanged and the aircraft was still considered primarily as an air-sea rescue machine, it was now allocated secondary transport and maritime patrol roles.”
Ju 352 A
“During the late spring of 1942, the Junkers-Dessau project office was instructed by the RLM to investigate the possibility of redesigning the structure of the Ju 252 transport to make maximum use of Jumo 211 engines (production of which could barely keep up with the demands of combat aircraft) with BMW-Bramo 323R-2 radials. The result, to which the designation of Ju 352 was assigned by the RLM, and the appellation Herkules given unofficially by its manufacturer, followed closely the aerodynamic design of the Ju 252 but was, from every other aspect, an entirely new aircraft.
The BMW-Bramo 323R-2 nine-cylinder radial engines were each rated at 1,000 h.p. at 2,500 r.p.m. for take-off and 1,040 h.p. at 2,950 ft., but an auxiliary fuel system was used to supply C3 fuel (96 octane) instead of the normal B4 (87 octane), resulting in 1,200 h.p. for take-off and emergency use.”
William Green: Warplanes of the Third Reich, pp.512/3
Note that – as mentioned in Part 3, the Bedienvorschrift-FL Fw 200 C-3 (Februar 1941) actually explicitly specifies the normal fuel as Fliegerbenzin A2, Oktanzahl 87. This fuel, slightly lower in grade than B4, was routinely used in Luftwaffe training and transport aircraft. However, by the time the Fw 200 Ladeplan 8-20 000-7043 b (reproduced p.99 of Nowarra) and issued on 15-Jul-42, B4 fuel was being specified for ALL tanks of the Fw 200 C-4. The consensus seems to be that during the course of the war, production was simplified so only B4 and C3 fuels were then produced in quantity.

There was also this brief reference to the Bramo 323 R in the account for the Ju 252
“Although Junkers had proffered the Ju 252 as a production successor to the ageing Ju 52/3m, proposing an unpressurized version with interchangeable wheel, float or ski undercarriages, the situation did not permit any disruption of the existing transport production lines, and the RLM was of the opinion that any replacement for the Ju 52/3m must make minimum demands on supplies of strategic materials and utilize power plants not required by combat aircraft. Junkers was therefore instructed to investigate the possibility of redesigning the aircraft in order that a considerable proportion of wood could be included in its structure, simultaneously examining the feasibility of replacing the Jumo 211 liquid-cooled engines with BMW-Bramo 323R-2 air-cooled radials of which surplus stocks existed.”
William Green: Warplanes of the Third Reich, p. 493
Actually, rather than a matter of surplus stocks, the case seems to have been one of excess Bramo 323 engine production capacity having been put in place during 1941.
Reply With Quote
Old 12th May 2019, 21:00
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 5 of 5 – Now you see it and now you don’t, part two. For a last interesting comparison, here also are the supporting quotes from Kay+Smith’s Putnam German Aircraft of the Second World War on other aircraft designs fitted with the Bramo 323 R-2 – again for easy reference.

The key points of note here are two:
Even though there is no mention of water-methanol injection in the account for the Fw 200 C-3 in Kay+Smith, there is such a reference in the account here for the Ju 352,
although in this work (in direct contrast to Green’s Warplanes) the Ju 352 A is supposedly fitted with water-methanol injection, now the Ar 232 B is NOT fitted with water-methanol injection. That becomes the third contradiction in Kay+Smith of the equivalent statement in Green.

Clearly this is a point that has had authors at sixes and sevens for quite a while now.

Part A: Our Bramo 323 R-2s ARE fitted with water-methanol injection
Ju 352 A
“This aircraft [the Ju 353 V1] and the Ju 352 V2 were each powered by three 1,000 hp Bramo 323 R-2 air-cooled radials which could be boosted to 1,200 hp by water-methanol injection”
Kay+Smith’s Putnam German Aircraft of the Second World War, p.221-I
The only mention here of the main production subtype, the Do 24 T-3, is limited to the sale of the twelve examples to Spain in 1944.

Part B: But our Bramo 323 R-2s ARE NOT fitted with water-methanol injection
Do 24 T
“Both T-1s and T-2s were produced, with differences in internal equipment, and both used the 1,000 hp BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 radial engine (later redesignated BMW 301R).”
Kay+Smith’s Putnam German Aircraft of the Second World War, p.70-III
I can find no evidence in support of this claimed later engine designation.

Arado 232 B
“Eventually it was decided to replace the two BMW 801s with four 1,200 hp BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 radials, but this decision came too late to influence the first two prototypes, the Ar 232 V3 being the first to have the BMW 323 engines.”
Kay+Smith’s Putnam German Aircraft of the Second World War, p.29-III
However, note that the stated power output is that of the allegedly water-methanol boosted engine.

[Finally and incidentally, an ex-RAF flight engineer flying in Handley Page Hastings and Sunderlands in the 1950s told me that even then no such engine management device was fitted in any RAF four-engine plane that he ever crewed or knew of. Also, his immediate comment was that had this been the case, it would most probably have done him out of a job.]
Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2019, 11:43
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 968
Jukka Juutinen is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Published Accounts of the Fw 200 C-3 – A Critique on Water-Methanol Injection

Jane's 1945/46 reprint states in the engine section that the R-2 subtype had water/methanol injection giving 1200 hp at 2600 rpm/1.64 ata on take-off.
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)
Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2019, 14:32
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

Well spotted, Jukka! Many thanks for this input.

You're absolutely correct, that's exactly what it says on page (44d) of my copy of JAWA 1945-46 also, and I have the original edition. So imo that identifies the original published source of this myth.

On this point the JAWA 45/6 engine section is incorrect.

It also modulates one of the the lessons learnt. That needs to become:
Where relevant, perform a consistency check between the aircraft description and the engine description in JAWA 1945/46. If there is a clear contradiction then the point definitely requires further investigation.

Last edited by INM@RLM; 13th May 2019 at 14:34. Reason: Expansion
Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2019, 16:14
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

I located a copy of William Green's 'Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Second Series', published in 1960. The coverage there of the Bramo 323 R-2 in the Fw 200 C is on page 79 and runs:
“In order to maintain the performance of the Condor despite the increased structural weight, the Fw 200C-3 received four BMW-Bramo 323R-2 nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines with methanol-water injection which offered 1,200 h.p. at 2,600 r.p.m. for take-off and emergency.”
As you would expect, this is entirely consistent with what Green published subsequently in 1967 & 1970, and was set out in post #1 of this thread. ("He would, wouldn't he?" as a certain Miss Rice-Davies is reported to have said)

As just one example of how myths from the specialist publications spread into the wider world of the general reader, this quote comes from Kenneth Poolman's 'Focke-Wulf Condor: Scourge of the Atlantic', published in 1978:
“Everett’s Condor was one of the new Fw 200 C-3s, which had begun to reach KG40. The fuselage and the rear spar in the wing, which had been found weak, had been strengthened, and the C-3 had new engines, the 9-cylinder air cooled BMW – Bramo 323R-2 Fafnirs with methanol-water injection.” The point is not developed, it is simply dramatic enough to get a mention on p.108 in coverage on the introduction of the Fw 200 C-3. Chronologically in the text this is positioned in the summer of 1941. So this was a completely faithful representation of the errors in the specialist literature.
Poolman was ex-Royal Navy and published some twenty pretty good books for the general reader between 1954 and 1999, all on naval history, most of them relating to an aspect of WW2.

One wonders how many hundreds of web sites in scores of different languages will still go merrily marching on for decades 'informing' their readers that the Bramo-powered Condor used water-methanol injection. LOL

Now Part #6 of 6 - Where MW 50 actually did get a mention in the Condor Story
The only contemporary reference I have traced to the proposed possible use of MW50 with the Condor is in the Focke-Wulf company document 'Focke Wulf Fw 200 F Fernaufklärer mit erhöhter Reichweite, 11 Mai 1943'. This is a proposal from Focke-Wulf in response to a RLM contract, setting out seven alternative options for developing an extended range update of the Condor. Parts of this document were used out of context to pad out Nowarra's account of the Condor (Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, Bernard & Graefe, 1988). However and most graciously, the full 41-pages of this very useful document are freely downloadable from the web at

The introductory statements to these proposals include this on Blatt 1:
“Zur Verkürzung der Rollstrecke beim Start wird die Startleistung des Motore durch Methanolbetrieb auf 1200 PS je Motor erhöht. Kommt eine Verwendung von Methanol nicht in Frage, so ist mit der normalen Startleistung bei entsprechen großen Flugplätzen ein Start immer noch durchführbar.”
"To shorten the length of runway required for take-off, the take-off power of the engine is increased by use of methanol boosting to 1200 hp per engine. If it is not possible to use methanol, it is still feasible to operate with the normal take-off performance from large airfields."

In addition, each of the short descriptions for a particular option - or set of options - within the seven proposals, ends with the words:
"Bei Einbau de Methanolanlage erhöht sich das Flugzeuggewicht um etwa 50 kg." = "When installing the methanol equipment, the weight of the aircraft increases by about 50 kg."
However, no MW50 tanks are shown in any of the many drawings forming part of this document.

As negative evidence goes, these mentions that the Fw 200, at some point in the FUTURE yet to be determined, MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be RETROFITTED with MW50, look to be about as conclusive as it is possible to get in respect of confirmation that by May 1943 water-methanol had never yet been fitted in any Fw 200.

Perhaps there is other evidence on this point out there? Advice of any other finds will be very much appreciated.

In passing, for those who like William Green believe there never, ever was a Fw 200 C-5 sub-type (or like Heinz Nowarra, at least on p.100 of his book on the Condor, believe there was but a single example each of the C-5 & C-5/U1), it is worth noting that this same May'43 proposals document for a Fw 200 F states that a Ladeplan for the Fw 200 C-5 was already in issue but there was not as yet one available for the C-6. See this very explicit reference from Blatt 8 of the document:
Für die beabsichtige Umrüstung kommt bezüglich Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der endgültige serienmaßige Ausrüstungszustand, d.h. die C-6 Serie als Grundlage in Frage. Diese unterscheidet sich von der C-4 und der C-5 Serie nur in der Abwehrbewaffnung. Da ein Ladeplan für die C-6 im Augenblick noch nicht vorliegt, wird diese Ausführung aus den Unterlagen 8 – 200000 – 7043 (Ladeplan für C-4) und 8 – 200000 – 7049 (Ladeplan für C-5) zusammengestellt."

With respect to equipment and armament for the intended retrofit, the final series build level is used, i.e. the C-6 series forms the baseline for this study. This differs from the C-4 and the C-5 series only in the defensive armament. Since a load plan for the C-6 is not available just yet, one for this version has been compiled from documents 8 - 200000 - 7043 (load plan for C-4) and 8 - 200000 - 7049 (load plan for C-5)."

Finally, it occurs to me that someone quickly and only reading posts 6 & 7 above might think that this is no more than a difference of opinion between Jukka and myself. To be completely and crystal clear, that is not the case. The statement that the Bramo 323 R-2 was fitted with water-methanol injection is purely and simply a fantastical fabrication. What Jukka's find showed was that this invention happened right back in the immediate post-war period.
The evidence is incontrovertibly that the claimed use of water-methanol in the Condor is and always was preposterous, and complete and utter nonsense. One of more than a few invented fairy tales about the Condor that have severely distorted the published accounts in both German and English.
The evidence for why we can be sure that water-methanol injection was not fitted to the Bramo 323 in the Condor are set out in post #2 here, and the actual method of boosting take-off performance of the Bramo 323 R-2 by using C3 fuel in the starter tanks is evidenced in post #3 of this thread.

To summarize in one place the various figures for the take-off power of the Bramo 323R-2:
1,000 h.p = take-off power using Oktan 87 fuel (i.e. B4 or A2 fuel - maybe B4 yielded a bit more but I'm not aware of any documented 323R-2 power comparisons of the two fuels)
1,100 h.p. = take-off power using Oktan 100 fuel (i.e. C3 fuel which seems in 1940 to have been only Oktan 96 but was subsequently upgraded - presumably much as the fuel for Allied fighter was upgraded from 100-octane to 150-octane during 1944)
1,200 h.p. = estimated take-off power using MW50 injection (presumably with B4 fuel)

It may seem surprising, but until Jukka's post I had never actually looked at the engine section of JAWA 1945/6. The reason being that for the relatively small number of engines standardized by the RLM far better contemporary sources are readily available in the engine manuals and service cards. [I should have thought to check this section of JAWA though and I didn't. Mea culpa.]
Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2019, 18:47
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 968
Jukka Juutinen is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Published Accounts of the Fw 200 C-3 – A Critique on Water-Methanol Injection

This discussion shows how poorly German piston engines are covered in literature, including apparently German literature. "Vacuum cleaners" (=jets) get extremely detailed coverage, yet far more important piston egines get third-rate research.

To nitpick the above post, it contians an error far too many people make and that is the referral to 100+ octane fuels that never existed as the maximum octane rating possible is 100. Any ratings above 100 are expressed in Performance Numbers (PN). The difference is very significant for the PN is liner while octane number is not. I.e. a fuel with a PN of 200 (there is a formula to convert octane numbers to PN) is 100 % more effective in suppressing detonation than a 100 PN fuel while a 100 octane fuel vs. 50 octane the difference is not 100 %.
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)
Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2019, 21:04
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
Alter Hase
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 3,640
edwest2 is on a distinguished road
Re: Published Accounts of the Fw 200 C-3 – A Critique on Water-Methanol Injection


Which piston engines are you referring to?

Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FW 200 Interceptor Units Mark McShane Allied and Soviet Air Forces 9 26th August 2008 00:50
Fw 190, Fw 200, He 111, Si 204 and Fw 189 photos Roger Gaemperle Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 3 7th November 2007 10:06
Errata for Sea Eagles 1 & 2 Chris Goss Books and Magazines 9 19th February 2007 11:34
Fw 200 versus allied convoys 1941 cz_raf Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 4 18th January 2007 20:37
Fw 200 of KG 40 Hohentwiel Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 0 3rd August 2006 22:41

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:38.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018,