Even the most faithful of Me109 pilots that also flew the Focke-Wulf Fw190 grudgingly admitted the well-proportioned and aesthetically pleasing Fw190 was the finest single-seat fighter in the Luftwaffe’s armory during World War II. Soon after its arrival on the Channel Front in 1941, when initial bugs were ironed out, this superb fighter came close to fighter design perfection by the standards of the day. JUst as the Mark IX Spitfire held the mantle as Britain’s most outstanding combat fighter of the war, so was the Fw190 regarded by experienced Luftwaffe pilots. Within months of its operational debut the Fw190 was causing widespread consternation among RAF pilots, the new fighter equal to the Mk IX Spitfire in all but its ability in the tightest of turning circles.
By 1944 the technically superb Fw190 came into its own in the great air battles against the USAAF’s massed daylight raids. The defense of the Reich’s western airspace rested on the shoulders of a few Jagdgschwarden who, against steadily increasing odds, were tasked with interception and destruction of the attacking American heavy bombers. Flying alongside the two established Channel fighter wings JG2 “Richtofen” and JG26 “Schlageter,” equipped with Fw190s and led by the great fighter ace Oberst Walter Oesau, JG1 joined the battle in defense of Northern Germany.
Nicolas Trudgian’s painting Storm Chasers depicts the Fw190A’s of I./JG1, distinguished by their distinctive black and white striped cowls, scrambling from the snow-covered Dortmund airfield on February 10th, 1944 to intercept another inbound American daylight raid. Nick’s dramatic view of this technically supreme fighter conveys its true class as it hurtles over the airfield, its undercarriage retracting as the Fw190 accelerates into the climb. Below, sharing the airfield with I./JG1 are the Fw190s of the newly formed Sturmstaffel 1, identified by their black-white-black tail bands, seen taxiing out to join in the interception. Despite bad weather conditions the Luftwaffe’s defending fighters scored heavily that day, inflicting severe losses on the Americans, claiming 29 bombs and 8 fighters shot down in the action.
THE FIGHTER PILOTS EDITION
This print has been signed by FOUR eminent Luftwaffe Fighter Aces who all flew the Fw190 in combat during the “Defense of the Reich.”
Leutnant HUGO BROCH
Unteroffizier GUSTAV DREES
Oberfeldwebel WILLI RESCHKE
Oberleutnant ERNST SCHEUFELE