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Old 27th May 2019, 08:41
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
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Fw 200 C-6/U2 - any other photographs of this aircraft ever published? (Or seen but as yet unpublished?)

In Chris Goss's Fw 200 Condor Units of WW2 (Osprey Combat Aircraft #115) there is a gem of a photograph at the top of page 85. This shows Speer's Fw 200 C-6/U2 transport. It's a good clear shot, properly (professionally?) exposed so that details in the underside areas can be clearly distinguished. Osprey and /or Chris Goss are to be most warmly congratulated on turning up this photograph.
Unfortunately it is captioned here as "Fw 200 C-6/U2 Wk-Nr 0216 TA+MR in the winter of 1942-43." That's three errors in one short line, so the caption-writers weren't excelling themselves that day.

The aircraft in the shot can be deduced as actually being Fw 200 C-6/U2 W.Nr. 0230 DP+OR. The first Fw 200 C-5, W.Nr. 0201 was not delivered any earlier than March 1943 and the first two neubau C-5s only entered service with III./KG 40 in April 1943. The delivery rate was around six Fw 200s per month, so doing the math, the 1942-43 dating here is clearly impossible. Likely we are looking at Aug/Sept-43 for the initial delivery of W.Nr. 0230.
We know the C-6/U2 was Wk-Nr 0230 (and not 0216) because it is explicitly documented as the former in both:
the Flugzeug-Programm (Umbau) LP 225, Blatt 5 von 10 (g.Kdos.Nr. 18390/43 dated 1.12.1943) - see BA-MA RL 3/1035 - as "C6U2 für Generalstab W-Nr. 230"
and
the Umbau-Sonderausschuß-Programm LP 226/1 vom 30.9.44, Blatt 5 von 5 (g.Kdos.Nr. 1321/44) - see BA-MA RL 3/1040 - as "C6U2 Umbau f. Gen.Stab Werk-Nr. 230".
The earlier document also confims this example had been delivered sometime before 31-Oct-43.

As highlighted in both documents Fw 200 C-6/U2 W.Nr. 0230 was a unique singleton machine. It had first been the Fw 200 C-6 Pattern aircraft (see Nowarra: Fw 200 Condor p.111 "Musterflugzeug für die neue Serie C-6 wurde Werknr. 0230, DP+QR, ..." altho' here +QR is a typo, and +OR is meant). Subsequently it was converted to become the C-6/U2 variant for use by the F.d.F. (Presumably here the /U2 sub-variant designation is not because there had first been an earlier C-6/U1 but signifies that this aircraft was fitted out as a bewaffnetes Führerbegleitflugzeug, as compared to the /U1 bewaffnetes Führerflugzeug cabin configuration.)
Only a limited conversion was carried out in that this example retained the long, standard version of under-fuselage gondola (clearly seen in this shot). Retention of the basic C-6 designation also identified that the D-Stand fitted was that with a MG 131 mounted in the centre of the Linsenlafette (Lens-shaped gun mounting) and - on the underside of the gondola - with the prominent external channel to guide ejected shell cases away from the bombsight. Again both characteristics are clearly visible on the gondola nose in this photo, although for reasons that are self-evident the bombsight fairing that was otherwise standard with this gondola design has been deleted from this aircraft. (There is a single good close-up photograph of this final design of gondola nose for the Fw 200 C. It has been reproduced in: Ries: Bild 3 p.115(top), Salgado p.96(top), Scutts p.89(btm). It is not included in either of the Osprey or Classic books on the Condor from Goss.)

There are three points where I would much appreciate help:
1. Is the first character of the Stammkz. actually distinguishable on the underside of the starboard wing in the original print of this photograph?
[On this aircraft the undersides of the engine nacelles and the whole of the inner underwing areas - but not the fuselage underside - appear to be painted in a very dark colour (RLM 22?). However, the undersides of the outer wings have the usual light tone (RLM 65 presumably).]
2. Are there any other photographs of W.Nr. 0230? Published or unpublished?
3. If so, do any of the other photos of this aircraft show the B-Stand (upper rear fuselage) gun position? (It is not visible in this photo.)
[The C-6 was apparently distinguished from the C-5-Serie by the fitting of a DL15/131 turret in the B-Stand. The DL15/131 was a streamlined, rotating, plexiglass turret with a mushroom-top profile, mounting a single MG 131 with 1,000 rounds. Confirmation of the shape and the mounting can be found in the side-view drawings of the Focke-Wulf company document 'Focke Wulf Fw 200 F Fernaufklärer mit erhöhter Reichweite, 11 Mai 1943'. (Generously made available and freely downloadable from the web at http://www.deutscheluftwaffe.com/arc.../Dokumente.htm) The photo at Ries: Bild 3 p.115(btm) seems to show this turret fitted to a Fw 200, although this photograph was erroneously captioned by Ries as "Bei der FW 200C-4/U3-Serie wurde statt des hohen B-1 Turmes mit MG 151 ein flacher Drehturm mit einem MG 131 eingebaut." (In the FW 200C-4 / U3 series, instead of the tall B-1 turret with MG 151, a flat revolving turret with a MG 131 was installed.) As is evidenced in this photo, the guards to protect the tailplane are now effected electrically and are internal to the turret. ("Zum Schutz der in diesen Richtbereich liegenden Flugzeugteile ist der Drehlingslafette eine elektrische Schußsperre eingebaut.” = "To protect aircraft parts situated in the line of fire, the rotatable gun mounting is fitted with an electrical lock.")
It would seem that it was the inability to source this turret in any quantity that resulted in no Fw 200 C-6 entering operational service until May-44. Thus all Fw 200 C-6s were retrofit conversions delivered sometime after production of the Condor had ended. It is pretty unlikely then that these conversions all fell into the single uninterrupted W.Nr. sequence of 0235 to 0247 - as proposed by Nowarra (p.111) - since those aircraft would have been delivered in the quarter from August to October 1943. Besides which, within this sequence W.Nr. 0240 is confirmed as the final Fw 200 C-4/U1 in the Umbau-Sonderausschuß-Programm LP 226/1 vom 30.9.44, also on Blatt 5 von 5. (In all, III./KG 40 received just fourteen examples of the C-6, all in the three months from May to July 1944. Monthly figures summed from Michael Holm's Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen and gratefully acknowledged.)
The DL15/131 turret had been fitted in both the A- and B-Ständer of the Fw 200 C-4/U1 & /U2, and can be seen here plainly in the A-Stand of the C-6/U2. So there is a strong likelihood that this same turret was also retained in the B-Stand of the C-6/U2. It would be good though to determine photographically one way or the other the actual form of the B-Stand on the C-6/U2.]

Last edited by INM@RLM; 27th May 2019 at 11:44. Reason: expansion - W.Nr. 0240 point missed and now added
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Old 29th May 2019, 11:08
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
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Re: Fw 200 C-6/U2 - any other photographs of this aircraft ever published? (Or seen but as yet unpublished?)

One other point on the Speer fast transport Condor.

My recollection was that C.G. Sweeting: 'Hitler's Squadron' had no specific information on the C-6/U2. However, I dug through my boxes to recheck the reference and found that although Sweeting could not even identify this aircraft by any of the sub-type, W.Nr. or Stammkz. he did have this to say in his table on p.71 "Albert Speer. Received new Condor with extended range."
Fuel tankage of each of the C-3/U9, C-4/U1 and C-4/U2 transport conversions was reduced to just a single 1,100 litre tank in the fuselage plus the eight wing tanks. So even though the C-3/U9 was fitted with a full-length under-fuselage gondola no fuel tanks were installed in the vacant space that would have otherwise been used for the two bomb bays.

When the C-4 was introduced to production, the forward of these two gondola (Rumpfwanne) bays was fitted with a 540 litre fuel tank as standard. (See the Ladeplan for the C-4.) However, both the C-4/U1 and /U2 were only fitted with the short-design gondola so had no space for a Rumpfwanne tank. The C-4 gondola fuel arrangement was doubtless carried over into the Fw 200 C-5, which in turn formed the baseline for the C-6 conversion. (As yet no Ladeplan for either the C-5 or the C-6 seems to have been discovered.)

It would appear then that the case of the C-6/U2 was different to all earlier armed fast transport Fw 200s in that now one and possibly two of the 540 litre Rumpfwanne fuel tanks were fitted into the gondola bays on this example. (If it was a case of two Rumpfwanne fuel tanks being fitted in the C-6/U2 then this was the same gondola fuel installation that was subsequently standardized in the C-8 maritime recce conversion.) Perhaps someone else is able to throw rather more light on this other aspect of the C-6/U2? Günther Ott maybe?
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