|Manufacturer||Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH|
|Maiden Flight||7 July 1943|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseProduced in small numbers the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 was an improved version of the excellent Fw 190D fighter intended for use as H√ľhenjagen (altitude fighter) to counter high flying American bombers, but also to fulfil the role of Begleitj√§ger (escort fighter). Structurally similar to the Fw 190D, the Ta 152 differed mainly in having the electrically activated flaps and undercarriage replaced by a hydraulic system. The designation Ta 152 was assigned in recognition of the work of Chief designer, Professor Kurt Tank.
ww2dbaseWork on the planned Ta 152A and Ta 152B, powered by the Jumo 213A and Jumo 213C engines respectively commenced during the summer of 1944; the new aircraft would feature a new wing centre section matched to the standard Fw 190A-8 outer wings. A prototype powered by a Junkers Jumo 213E powerplant and high aspect ratio long span wings emerged in the autumn but after a crash on 8 October its replacement in the Ta 152H test programme, while retaining the Jumo engine, reverted to standard Fw 190 wings. Four Fw 190 prototypes were rebuilt to participate in the Ta 152H development programme followed by three genuine H-series prototypes. These would become the first of a batch of twenty-six pre-production Ta 152H-0 machines built at Focke-Wulf's factory at Sorau, Mark Brandenburg, Germany. A further batch of twenty Ta 152H-0 aircraft (mostly rebuilt from Fw 190A-1 airframes) were assembled at the Cottbus factory during October following which work commenced there, from 21 November 1944, on manufacture of the Ta152H-1 production model.
ww2dbaseThe Ta 152H-1 was powered by a Junkers Jumo 213E-1 twelve-cylinder engine rated at 1,750-horsepower for take-off (2,050-horsepower with MW50 - a 50-50 mixture of methanol and water sprayed into the supercharger). It employed an entirely new long-span wing of structural design that was unusual in that, whereas the main spar extended outboard as far as the main undercarriage anchorage, the rear spar extended over the whole span, the necessary rigidity being obtained by the use of close-set ribs and numerous lateral stringers reinforcing the stressed skin. A pressurised cockpit was provided for the pilot. Armament consisted of an engine-mounted 30-millimeter MK 108 Motokannon and two 20-millimeter MG 151 cannon in the wing roots. For its high altitude missions nitrous oxide (GM 1) would be injected into the aircraft's supercharger, which boosted the fighter to 443 miles per hour at 44,300 feet.
ww2dbaseService trials were conducted by Erprobungskommando 152 at Rechlin in Pommern (English: Pomerania) before the Ta 152H-1 became operational with Jagdgeschwader JG 301. This unit was tasked with the protection of bases used by the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, which were particularly vulnerable to attack during take-off and landing. A small number of the 150 plus fighters were completed at Cottbus from January 1945, before the factory was overrun by Soviet forces in April. The Ta 152H-2 was a later version with a FuG 16ZY VHF radio replacing the FuG 15 set which had been cancelled in December 1944 due to problems in service trials.
ww2dbaseSeveral developments of the Ta 152H were contemplated, including the H-10 high-altitude photo-reconnaissance model with a single RB 20/30, 50/30 or 75/30 camera aft of the cockpit, and the Ta 152R-2, an experimental long-range version of the H-1 with increased fuel capacity. Projected developments included the Ta 152S tandem two-seat conversion trainer; a low-altitude fighter version powered by a 3,000 h.p Jumo 222A-3 engine, and a radial-engined sub-type which, with a four-stage supercharged 2,000-horsepower BMW 801 engine was expected to have an estimated maximum speed of 442 miles per hour at 38,400 feet. None of these appear to have gone much beyond design studies by the time hostilities ended.
ww2dbaseThe second planned production version was the Ta 152C. This had a similar airframe but was powered by the liquid cooled Daimler-Benz DB 603LA twelve-cylinder inverted-Vee engine with methanol-water (MW 50) power boost which raised take-off output to 2,300 hosepower. The Ta 152C, classed as a medium-altitude fighter, had a lengthened fuselage (with the cockpit relocated 40-centimeter further aft in relation to the wing) to compensate for the extra length of the DB 603 engine's installation, enlarged vertical tail surfaces, and a modified wing structure which permitted an increase in internal fuel capacity from 165 imperial gallons to 231 imperial gallons. Armament was standardised as four (two fuselage and two wing) 20-millimeter MG 151 cannons and one engine mounted 30-millimeter MK 108 cannon.
ww2dbaseThe Fw 190 prototype V21, rebuilt as V21/U1, was completed on 3 November 1944 as the first C-series prototype, and made its maiden flight on 19 November. It was anticipated that the first Ta 152C-1s would leave the production line in April 1945 but, in the event, only three rebuilt Fw 190 prototypes and two Ta 152C-3 prototypes were actually completed, as production precedence was allocated to the Ta 152H. The Ta 152C-3 differing only in having a 30-millimeter MK103 cannon in place of the Mk 108). Proposed variants, the C-2 and C-4, were planned to have FuG-16ZY radios in place of the FuG 15 set installed in the C-1.
ww2dbaseEmploying the same airframe as the Ta 152C, but powered by the Jumo 213E engine, the Ta 152E was a photo-reconnaissance model. This entered production in March 1945, with plans calling for the delivery of 630 aircraft by the end of the year, but few were actually delivered, and the type did not become operational. The Ta 152E-1 carried a vertically-mounted RB 20/30, 50/30 or 75/30 camera aft of the cockpit (the Ta 152E-1/R-1 had an obliquely mounted camera) and armament was reduced to two MG 151 cannon. Maximum speed was 428 miles per hour at 35,000 feet, and range was 775 miles at 385 miles per hour at 35,000 feet.
ww2dbaseA parallel project was the DB 601 powered Ta 153 high-altitude fighter. Built only as a development prototype, this differed appreciably from the Ta 152, embodying an entirely new high-aspect-ratio wing of increased span, together with revision of the fuselage structure, trail surfaces and internal systems. The various features of the Ta 153 were flight tested by several Fw 190 prototypes, but as the fighter called for many new jigs and tools whose provision would have seriously disrupted production of the Fw 190 at a critical phase of the war, the Ministry of Aviation (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, abbreviated RLM) instructed Professor Tank to abandon the Ta 153 in favour of the Ta 152 which, in its original form, at least, adhered much more closely to the basic Fw 190 design. No true Ta 153 was ever flown.
ww2dbaseHad it been built in enough numbers and been flown by expert pilots the Ta 152 might have taken its place alongside the Messerschmitt Me 262 as a near unbeatable air superiority fighter and bomber killer. Unfortunately excellent fighter design could not compensate for poor production standards, lack of fuel, poor pilot training and overwhelming Allied numerical superiority. The lower altitude version, the Ta 152C, barely made it out of the test phase before the war ended. Total Ta 152 production (including pre-production aircraft and prototypes) would barely exceed 200 aircraft, and only a few Ta 152Hs, and possibly just fewer Ta 152Cs, became operational. One Focke-Wulf Ta 152H-0 is known to have been shipped to the United States after the war for evaluation.
William Green: War Planes of the Second World War - Fighter, Volume One (Macdonald, London, 1960)
David Mondey: Axis Aircraft of World War II (Chancellor Press, 1984)
World Aircraft Information Files, File 894/32 (Aerospace Publishing Periodical)
William Green and Gordon Swanborough: The Complete Book of Fighters (Salamander, 1994)
Jeffrey L. Ethell: Aircraft of World War II (Harper-Collins Publishers, 1995
Last Major Revision: Jun 2021
Ta 152 Timeline
|7 Jul 1943||The first Ta 152A prototype aircraft took flight.|
|8 Oct 1943||Kurt Tank, designer of the Ta 152 aircraft, asked the German Air Ministry to give the development of Ta 152 priority; the request was denied.|
|23 Nov 1943||The second Ta 152B prototype aircraft took flight in Germany.|
|7 Dec 1943||The order for six prototype Ta 152 aircraft was issued in Germany.|
|20 Dec 1943||Kurt Tank, designer of the Ta 152 aircraft, again failed to convince the German Air Ministry to give the development of Ta 152 priority.|
|8 Oct 1944||A Ta 152H prototype aircraft with a Jumo 213E engine crashed.|
|3 Nov 1944||Fw 190 prototype aircraft V21 completed its rebuilding as the first Ta 152C prototype.|
|19 Nov 1944||The Ta 152C prototype aircraft took its first flight.|
|Machinery||One Junkers Jumo 213E-1 12cyl inverted-V liquid cooled engine rated at 1,880hp (2,250hp with MW50)|
|Armament||1x30mm MK 108, 2x20mm MG 151, optional 2x20mm MG 151, optional 1x1,800kg bomb|
|Wing Area||23.30 m²|
|Weight, Empty||4,031 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||5,217 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||744 km/h|
|Rate of Climb||17.50 m/s|
|Service Ceiling||14,800 m|
|Range, Normal||1,520 km|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939