Monday, May 4, 2015

A Group of Focke Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" Pilots Preparing for a Mission in 1940

 A group of Focke Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" pilots preparing for a mission in 1940. At the same time Condor operations started in the Atlantic, the strategic situation was changing for the Third Reich. Even in July and August 1940, with the Battle of Britain raging, Hitler had lost whatever enthusiasm he had for invading Great Britain, and was already dreaming of his next war, with the USSR. So when it was proposed that the Luftwaffe and Krigsmarine establish a total blockade against the British Isles, Hitler readily agreed, as it freed up the Weremarcht to get moving eastward. Hitler calculated that even if the blockade didn't knock Britain out of the war entirely, it would weaken it to the point the island nation would be unable to oppose his plans, and allow the Nazi war machine to deal with the Soviets without distraction. The key to this strategy would be cooperation between the German air force and navy – which (spoiler alert!) was never very good. In fact, at one point Nazi Germany would be waging no less than five campaigns against British supply lines, with very little coordination between any of them. The search method of the Fw 200, however, was excellent for bombing attacks: given the low visibility haze that usually obtained over the Atlantic, a Condor would be visible to a ship only for a minute or two before it was dropping its bombs. Condors until the C-4 had a very basic bomb-sight, so the attack method was a low level bombing run 'bracketing' the target with the Condor's bomb load. Initially attacking convoy stragglers, Condor crews soon learned that convoys away from land based air cover had no defenses at all against air attacks. So, even a glass bird like the Condor could be used as an effective low level bomber. Petersen, once he discovered this, knew he had found the Condor's niche. As the Battle of Britain ended and the Blitz began, the improvements made to the Condor with the C-3 began to pay dividends. The Germans had been caught off guard before the war began for the need of a maritime bomber; now it was Britain’s turn to be caught off guard. The picture presented here are from the book "Fliegende Front" by by Hauptmann Walter-Eberhard Alexander Albert Freiherr von Medem (4 May 1887 - 9 May 1945), published in 1942 by Verlag ‘Die Wehrmacht’ KG. in Berlin. The book must be regarded as typical propaganda material to show the German population how well the war was progressing. ‘Die Wehmacht’ published a series of other propaganda books during the war. They also released sets of photo postcards from the war

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