It’s the winter of 1940. You are a member of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), and your country just stopped a massive German assault in the most decisive air battle in history, the Battle of Britain. It’s now the summer of 1941, and Germany’s offensive in now directed far away towards Russia on the Eastern Front.
Troubling reports begin circulating that the Germans are about to introduce a new super fighter and station it just across the English Channel where British fighters are now patrolling with confidence. One report indicates the new fighter to have a top speed of 390mph, which if is true, would make it 20mph faster than the Spitfire.
The RAF’s worst fears began to unfold when the first batch of Focke Wulf 190’s began leaving the factory at Marienburg to the 6th Staffel at Jagdgeshwader 26 in Belgium.
RAF pilot’s began to encounter this new fighter and described it as being fast and maneuvered unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. The first contacts misreported it as being a German captured P36 with a radial engine, but top RAF officials knew this was nothing they produced; it was the mysterious new super fighter they have been hearing so much about. What they didn’t know was just how much of a shock the FW190 had in store for them.
Encounters over the coming months proved that this new German fighter could not only penetrate British airspace at will, but could cut their fighters down with a brutal efficiency. This reputation gave the Focke-Wulf the title, “Butcher Bird.” This isn’t to say the British were unable to defend or fight back, but things changed for even the Spitfire as it went from the role of hunter patrolling the Channel to the hunted. The FW190, with it’s faster speed, climb, and maneuverability could dictate when and where to fight and to disengage at will. Needless to say, this had British high command gravely concerned.
For almost a full year the Focke Wulf enjoyed this decisive edge. The Spring of 1942 was still a tough time for the RAF pilots as more Focke Wulf’s were being deployed each week. The British high command was concerned to the point of orchestrating an elaborate commando operation to hijack a Focke Wulf.