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on 5 January 2012
The rugged Fw 190 was one of the most successful fighters of the Second World War. This book covers the type from its creation up to the Fw-190A-6 in 1943 and is the first of three, possibly four, looking at the aircraft up to the Fw 190D at the end of the war.

It starts with a history of the Fw company and its founders as well as Kurt Tank, the aircraft's designer. It then describes how the Fw 190 prototype created. Tank wanted to create a strong, tough fighter rather than a 'racehorse' like the Bf 109. Initially provided with a large propeller boss and tapered wings it bore a passing resemblance to the Japanese Nakajima Ki 44. The BMW 801 engine and its history are also covered.

The middle chapters look at the Fw 190's introduction into service and initial operations in 1941. The Fw 190A-1, A-2 and A-3 models quickly followed each other, and their differences and numbers produced are all covered. Smith and Creek quote the famous British evaluation of a captured Fw 190 to show how the aircraft out-performed its main opponent, the Spitfire V, in almost every way. But it also suffered from severe engine problems and Fw and BMW seem to have had a very difficult relationship with each blaming the other for faults.

Operations up to the middle of 1943 in Russia, North Africa and against the increasing American bomber offensive are described in varying depth (with few aircraft in North Africa Smith and Creek give an almost day by day account of their very successful fighter-bomber operations there). This is followed by descriptions of the A-4 and A-5 models and their variants. By now even Fw was having trouble keeping track of all the versions proposed or in production.

The last chapters describe attempts to create models with better altitude performance, the Fw 190B with a turbo supercharger and pressurised cockpit and the more successful re-engined Fw 190C. The creation (but not service) of the A-6, F and G models is also covered.

Smith and Creek have produced a thorough history of the early years of the Fw 190 in this book. There is much detail about the different prototype aircraft, variants derived from them, performance data and numbers produced. Their coverage of Fw 190 operations is naturally less detailed given the numbers which saw service but provides a good summary.

Physically the book is a heavy, well produced hardback. It is profusely illustrated, many pages being devoted to photographs which are clearly reproduced and informatively captioned, as are copies of original Fw documents. Many are half or full page. A few colour profiles are provided, usually illustrating aircraft shown in photographs. Unusually for a Classic book there are a few poorly proof-read paragraphs towards its start and unfortunately no index - hopefully there will be one covering all volumes in the final book.

This is a very good book and I will certainly pick up the subsequent volumes if they are up to this standard. Recommended.

(Potential reviewers should also note that amazon's filters will not allow the first name of the Fw company!)
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on 23 December 2011
I ordered this book when it became available on pre-order based on the strength the Author's Me-262 books. This new FW-190 book is simply superb. Some will compare it to Jerry Crandall's FW 190 books but this different, giving more detail on the design and development of the 190. Some of the photos have been seen before but there is a lot of new stuff too and it is all very nicely reproduced in print. There are also high quality colour artworks which would not look out of place in Jerry Crandall's books.

This is an essential reference work for all Luftwaffe aviation enthusiasts and modellers, I cant wait for the next two volumes and hope that there is enough enthusiasm from the readers to persuade the authors to produce the hoped for 4th volume in the future.

It was interesting to read the reviews from the States where a number of copies had been damaged in transit. My inital copy was also ruined in transit, it was bent and creased which takes some doing to a hardback book. Amazon replaced it with a new copy and this one arrived fine.
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on 21 December 2011
I was always going to buy this book and waited patiently for it to appear in print.
Massively well illustrated with excellent photos and line drawings the authors have done an excellent job. The full text needless to say hot of the press it has not been possible to read it all but what I have read reads well and like most who this series of books appeal to the FW190 is no real stranger to me and I am impressed by the quality of the research and thought which has gone into this project.

The large format presents well , it is easy to read tells you what you need to know about the fighter its development and the operational application of the fighter. Having seen smaller scale works on the same aircraft there is simply no comparison to make this is the book you should be buying.

This book covers 1938-43 and it would appear that a second volume will conclude the history of the aircraft sign me up for a copy here and now.

This book deserves to sell well and IMO it does Kurt Tank's fighter a fair and balanced review of what was one of the outstanding aircraft to come out of WW2.
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on 25 July 2013
The 2 volumes have been such a great disappointment. I was so eager to receive them as I was led to believe would be the definitive work on the FW190 however, I am left dissatisfied as there are so many questions left unanswered.
Now I don't wish to be to critical of Messer's Smith & Creek as I am quite sure they put an enormous effort into these 2 volumes but I can't help feeling they wasted an opportunity at producing a great work.

As a production and operational history it is quite thorough and the pictures are generally really good but where I feel the work is really let down, apart from some repetition for example the info about the ducted and non ducted spinner on Pg45 and again on Pg60, is the detail on the design and construction of this great aeroplane. Whilst some mention is made of them the points I would observe are as follows:

*No mention is made of the air induction system ,so how did the aeroplane breathe ? The pics of the high alt and trop versions show the air intakes outside the cowl but how and why did they do this in the standard versions, considering the British, Americans, Japanese etc stuck their intakes out in the breeze to minimise friction and take effect of ram air. So why did they not do this ?

*Same with the exhaust system , pics clearly show that there were 4 ejector stacks on each side which is 8 cylinders but there are 14 in the BMW where are the others and how was it arranged ? Now in 1938 individual ejector exhausts was an innovative thing as other nations generally exhausted into an exhaust ring . So why did FW and BMW do this and why wasn't a picture or at least a diagram of the set up included?

*The oil cooler appears to be in the nose ring but how did it work ? Surely some description should have been included.

*The wing tips are said to have been moulded , so why and, why were they angled and not parallel to the fuselage ?

*The pitot tube was moved to the outboard of the wing on the A-8 why ?

*The blown hood and it's internal construction in the later model FW190's are not mentioned and no pics even , so why ?

I could go on with more but this is lengthy enough. It is a pity that more effort was not put into describing what were really innovative features in this truly great aircraft . Perhaps if they left the Jumo and Benz info when they were talking about the high altitude 190A's to the 3rd volume about the FW190D where it would have been more appropriate ,they would have had the room to discuss the design and construction of the BMW FW190A,Fand G series in more detail.
However despite all this , I would still recommend the books.
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on 17 February 2012
This is the first volume of a three- or four-part history of the second-best-known German fighter of the WWII.

As far as I can tell, nothing is missing. The volume is picture-heavy as can be expected, but still packs a lot of facts, both technical and operational. Reading the operational summaries gets a bit repetitive after a while, but it didn't really bother me. The occasional first-person narrative enlivens the text rather well.

However, the book could have benefited of some last-minute editing. Early in the book one can find some redundancies that should really have been edited out (the part about Kurt Tank's early life is the most blatant example) and there are slightly more typos than one would expect. Also I would have wished for a table showing the differences between all the models and sub-models mentioned in the book - now one has to look throughout the book to check these facts. Perhaps a comprehensive table will be included in the last volume?

Despite these minor gripes, this is an excellent book, a must have for anyone interested in the air war the Luftwaffe waged!
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on 13 May 2013
This is an exhaustive and definitive history of one of the most exciting airplanes ever. The Fw 190 is put into historical context. I especially liked comparisons with other fighter planes of the era by different pilots of not just the Focke-Wulf company, RLM and the Luftwaffe but RAF as well. Not all photos contribute much, but many do and some are quite breathtaking in the large size afforded by the layout. My only complaint is that I can't find a single mention of the Kommandogerät, the advanced control system that made the Fw 190 pilot's life a lot easier and was ahead of it's time. Arguably the device was an extension of the BMW 801 engine rather than a Focke-Wulf innovation. Yet that omission reduces my stars from 5 to 4.
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on 28 April 2012
I'm not an authority on the FW-190 so am not in a position to say if it is an accurate and definite work. However, the authors are well known in undertaking their research thoroughly. This 'review' is just to mention a little quibble.

As with another review here I have to agree that it needed better proof-reading. There are a number of aspects which were repeated and, as already mentioned, the section on Kurt Tank is a very 'good' example of this. I've had to drop a star because of it.

Nonetheless, the book is well laid out and, repetition aside, a good easy read for such a technical subject, unlike some books I can mention.
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on 1 February 2012
This is THE book for all FW190 fanatics.
What a wonderful photographs.Wonderful!
All so clear.
I do miss some nice drawnings with colourful camo schemes.
Thats all.
Can't wait for the second volume.
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on 16 February 2015
A very detailed book on the type, from the test and development, parallel to frontline experience and pilots opinion, a must have to any Fw190 fan.
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on 4 January 2012
The pictures are great but did anyone read the text before it went to print. It gets very repetitive. This is a book that could have done with an editor. Read the Kurt Tank page and you will see what I mean.
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