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The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 was a German twin-engine, twin-boom tactical reconnaissance and army liaison aircraft. It first flew in 1938, entered service in 1940, and was produced until mid of 1944.
The Fw 189 had a crew of three consisting of a pilot and 2 observers, who served as gunners for the defence of the aircraft, as well. The distinctive, greenhouse-type cockpit was positioned high above and between the engine nacelles allowing best possible all-around view.One of the observers/gunners operated the dorsal machine gun, while the other manned a machine gun position in the tail cone of the crew gondola. Arguably the best reconnaissance aircraft of World War II, the Fw 189 was produced in large numbers: A total of 864 aircraft were produced in a number of variants.
Operational history: The Fw 189 was one of the most peculiar designs of the Luftwaffe in World War II. The A-variants were successfully used in short range tactical reconnaissance role, but had limited night fighting capability as well. The Fw 190 A-2 sported improved armament by replacing the MG 15s of the A-1 variant with the twin barrelled 7.92mm (.312in) MG 81Z. The plane was predominantly used on the Eastern Front. Even though hampered by slow speed the design of the Fw 189 often allowed the pilot to out-manoeuvre opposing fighter forces and endure heavy damage.
Specification (Fw 189 A-1) General characteristics:
Crew: 3 Length: 12.03m (39ft 4in)
Wingspan: 18.4m (60ft 4in)
Height: 3.7m (12ft Oin)
Weight emply/loaded: 2.680kg (5,920Ib) / 3,950kg (8.7081b)
Power plant: 2x Argus AS 410 inverted air-cooled V12 aircraft engine, 342kW (465PS "C 459hp) each
Performance: Maximum speed: 357km/h at 2,600m (222mph at 8350ft
Range: 670km (416mi)
Service ceiling: 8, 400m (27. 550ft Rate of climb: 8.3m/s (1,640ft/min)
Armament: 2x7.92mm (312in) MG17 machine guns mounted in the wing roots, firing forward 2×7.92mm (312in) MG 15 machine gun in dorsal position and tail cone. *fiexible mount, firing rearwards later replaced by twin 7.92mm (.312in) MG 81Z machine guns 4×50kg (119lb) bombs