Morton Book's FW-200 Condor
|$22.50 from Casemate
|146 pages, softbound, photos and color profiles. ISBN 978-1-911658658
A nice addition to their somewhat recent 'Eagles of the Luftwaffe' series is this on on the FW-200. Originally developed as an airliner, its long range capabilities were not overlooked once Germany went to war in 1939. Thanks to the short-sightedness of the upper echelons of the German military, the nation went to war without a long range bomber or reconnaissance aircraft. While Junkers eventually produced the four engine Ju-90/290, it was a long time before it saw any sort of widespread service, especially since they were busy with the Ju-88 family of aircraft.
Initially, most extant airframes were used in the recon role and under the Navy's purvey, however, this was short lived and the type was taken over by the Luftwaffe and put into the transport role during the Norway campaign. Here it proved itself to be quite capable so the decision was made to arm the aircraft for use in the maritime patrol role.
Operating out of Bordeaux against north/south convoys leading to and coming from the Mediterranean, the type saw considerable success against convoys that had little to do real defense against it. Their low level attacks were quite devastating especially when they worked in concert with u-boats. Eventually, increasing the AA armament on merchant ships, the use of catapult ships with Hurricanes and finally the addition of small aircraft carriers pretty well stifled the Condor's maritime success.
Still, through the rest of the war it operated in the recon role as well as serving as a transport, mostly on the Eastern Front. It also served as Hitler's personal aircraft and was appropriately appointed.
The author does a superb job of telling the story of this interesting aircraft. The book is well researched and provides insights into the the development and subsequent issues with each of the variants. As with every military weapons system, there was some political wrangling within the service concerning the usefulness of the aircr. When one adds in the great pilot stories, excellent choice of period photos and the nicely done full color profiles, you have a book that is a must for the enthusiast and modeler alike.
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