The Focke-Wulf 190 F-8
with Luftflotte 4, 1944-1945
The Focke-Wulf 190 F-8 was a vital German weapon on the Eastern Front in the final year of the Second World War,
and nowhere was this more evident than during the fighting in Hungary in late-1944 and early 1945. Under German air
force command Luftflotte 4, units such as Schlachtgeschwader 10 and Hans-Ulrich Rudel’s Schlachtgeschwader 2
flew thousands of sorties against the Red Army, trying to hold back the Soviet tide. Their efforts were inevitably to no
avail, but the men flying the Fw 190 F-8 performed valiantly against great odds. Not only did they face strong Soviet
aerial opposition and ground fire; they also had to fly and fight in horrendous winter weather conditions.
itself would become fierce in late-October 1944, and the Fw 190 F-8s
By the late-summer of 1944, the war on the Eastern Front had turned of Luftflotte 4 would be heavily involved.
firmly against the Germans, and they were on the defensive everywhere. Things had been relatively quiet on the southern sector of the Battling for Budapest
front for several months, but the Germans knew that the situation The primary objective for the Red Army was the Hungarian capital,
in Romania would soon change. The Luftwaffe headquarters in that and in October and November 1944, the Soviet 2. and 3. Ukrainian
sector was Luftflotte 4, under Generaloberst Otto Deßloch 1), and Fronts did their utmost with tired and weakened forces to capture
ground-attack units were a primary component of Deßloch’s com- the city. On 16 October, Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy was arresmand. Schlachtgeschwader 2 and Schlachtgeschwader 10 had been ted, and a hard-line right-wing party took over, ensuring Hungavital units for Luftflotte 4 throughout 1944, and that would remain the ry would help the Germans resist the Soviet advance. While those
case until the end of the war. By August 1944, most components of high-level actions were taking place, I. Fliegerkorps – a subordinate
those two Schlachtgeschwader were equipped with the Focke-Wulf command of Luftflotte 4 – was operating on a daily basis against the
190 F-8, the highly capable fighter-bomber version of Kurt Tank’s fa- Soviet advance around Debrecen, to the east of the Hungarian capital.
Amongst the active I. Fliegerkorps units equipped with the Fw 190 F-8
I./SG 2 was relatively late in receiving the Focke-Wulf 190: it gave up were I./SG 2, the Geschwaderstab, I. and III./SG 10, and 5./SG 77 with
its Ju 87s and took on its first Fw 190 F-8s at Görgényoroszfalu (mo- its Panzerschreck-equipped Fw 190 F-8s based at Sárospatak, to the
dern Solovăstru, Romania) in July 1944. The situation in the Luftflotte north of Debrecen. 2)
4 sector was not so critical in July and the first three weeks of August, The Panzerschreck rocket was a new and very effective airborne anso conversion training could proceed peacefully for Hptm. Kurt Lau’s ti-tank weapon, based on the infantry weapon of the same name, and
unit, with just the usual training mishaps occurring.
5./SG 77 had been trained in its usage at the Luftwaffe evaluation
When I./SG 2 returned to action with its new aircraft, in mid-August and testing airfield at Udetfeld (modern Zendek, Poland) in Septem1944, Luftflotte 4 was about to face the biggest challenge of its exi- ber. The 1. Staffel of SG 10 undertook frontline conversion to Panzerstence, as Germany’s Romanian allies switched their allegiance, and schreck Fw 190 F-8s in Hungary in early November, but this was not
the Soviets began a rapid advance through Romania towards Hunga- considered very effective in comparison, as a German wartime report
rian territory. I./SG 2 flew its new Fw 190 F-8s into action and suffe- noted:
red some losses after the Red Army’s Iasi-Kishinev offensive began “In October/November 1944, an attempt was made by Luftflotte 4 to
on 20 August 1944. In the wake of that offensive, other Fw 190 F-8 equip and deploy Schlachtfliegerstaffeln with Panzerschreck without
equipped Gruppen were transferred to Romania, Hungary and Yugo- special training. Training was to take place in the field. The success of
slavia, including the Geschwaderstab, I., II. and III./SG 10, plus the Ju the Staffeln was extraordinarily low, with high fuel and ammunition
87s of III./SG 2. During late-August, September, and October 1944, the consumption, although they were old, proven Fw 190 Schlachtstaffeln.
Red Army drove the Axis forces of Heeresgruppe Süd out of Roma- The reason was the low marksmanship of the pilots.”
nia and across the Carpathian Mountains, penetrated Bulgaria, and The Panzerschreck-equipped Fw 190 F-8 Staffeln of Luftflotte 4
advanced onto the plains of eastern Hungary. The battle for Budapest would operate on many days during October 1944, including sixteen
INFO Eduard - May 2021