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Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl) - Nazi Germany, 1940

Detailing the development and operational history of the Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl) Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 1/7/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl)  
Picture of Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl)

The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Owl was utilized in the reconnaissance and the nightfighting role, particularly on the Eastern Front.

The Focke-Wulf brand Fw 189 Uhu (translated to "Owl") was of the most peculiar aircraft design for the German Luftwaffe in the Second World War, but by no means made less lethal by its appearance. The system accounted for a successful operational run across the Eastern Front against the Russians, where it was used in a short-range tactical reconnaissance role with limited usage in a nightfighting capacity. In all, the 848 examples would produce several variants, each with specialized changes and modifications to suit required roles.

The Fw 189 was of a twin-engine design, made up of a long-spanning wing element and twin booms. The Fw 189 system was crewed by three personnel (consisting of the pilot and two gunners) positioned in a cockpit sitting high above and between the engine booms featuring a nearly all-glazed greenhouse-type design. The three crew consisted of the pilot and two gunners - one gunner manning a twin barrel dorsal machine gun mounting and the other a twin-barrel machine gun mounting in a tail cone turret assembly. An additional 441lbs of external stores were afforded the system.

The real dedicated role of the Fw 189 was as a reconnaissance aircraft and the systems were fielded en masse against the Soviets. Though range limited the system to just 416 miles, no fewer than 30 Fw 189's were converted to the nightfighter role to combat light Soviet fighter incursions occurring on a regular basis along the front. In all, the Fw 189 system maintained a successful service record and played an important - albeit limited role - in the Eastern Front offensives.

Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl) Specifications

Service Year: 1940
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Type: Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Focke-Wulf - Germany
Total Production: 848

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 3
Overall Length: 39.47 feet (12.03 meters)
Overall Width: 60.37 feet (18.40 meters)
Overall Height: 10.17 feet (3.10 meters)

Weight (MTOW): 9,193 lb (4,170 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 2 x Argus As 410A-1 12-cylinder engine developing 465 horsepower each.

Maximum Speed: 189 knots (217 mph; 350 kph)
Maximum Range: 362 nautical miles (416 miles; 670 km)
Service Ceiling: 23,950 feet (7,300 meters; 4.54 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 7.92mm machine guns (in wing roots)
2 x 7.92mm twin-barrel machine gun (in dorsal gun position)
2 x 7.92mm twin-barrel machine gun (in tail turret cone position)

Maximum bomb load of up to 441lbs.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Nazi Germany

Model Variants

Fw 189A - Base Production Model Designation
Fw 189A-2 - Improved defensive armament
Fw 189A-3 - Trainer with dual-control arrangement.
Fw 189A-4 - Tactical Attack Model with improved underside armoring and 20mm cannon.

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