The Strange Looking FW 189 The Flying Eye of the Third Reich in Pictures

Focke-Wulf Fw 189

In the years leading up to WWII, the Focke-Wulf Company was at the very forefront of German aircraft design. It produced cutting-edge technology which would give rise to a war machine that would lead the Nazis in a string of victories during the first years of the war.

While the company is best known for manufacturing the iconic single-seat fighter, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, there were a number of other designs under its belt that proved very useful to the war effort.

Among them was the Fw 189 tactical reconnaissance aircraft, nicknamed the “Flying Eye.”

Fw 189 Uhu of the NAG 12 in flight 1942

This twin-engined, three-seat recon plane was first introduced in 1938. It entered service in 1940, just in time to prepare for the massive invasion of the Soviet Union.

Patroling the vast flatlands of Ukraine and Belarus, the Fw 189 would guide the artillery with surprising precision. Its cockpit enabled an all-around view while its light design proved excellent for maneuverability.

Close up view of an Ikaria-designed twin barrel machine gun mounting in the crew nacelle’s tail cone.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-605-1705-18A Kulbe CC-BY-SA 3.0

Referred to as “The Frame” by the Soviets due to its distinctive rectangular shape, the aircraft was capable of outmaneuvering enemy fighters by flying in a tight circle, which the attackers could not follow.

On the other hand, it was very lightly armored and couldn’t withstand much damage if it got hit.

Fw189 Uhu cockpit

For its own defense, the FW 189 was usually armed with two flexible 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine guns in the dorsal and rear positions, and one 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 17 machine gun in each wing root.

Besides from primarily serving as a spotting aircraft, the FW 189 also carried four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs, in case it had an opportunity to assume a bombing role.

Eastern Front, Focke-Wulf Fw 189.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-331-3034-13A Liedke CC-BY-SA 3.0

However, its primary weapon was its Riehenbildner aerial camera, which came in two variants: the RB 20/30 and the RB 50/30.

Around 864 units were produced, with production being halted in mid-1944. Used primarily by the Luftwaffe, the aircraft was exported to German allies as well, such as Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Owl) in flight

After the war, a number of FW 189 were included in the Norwegian Air Force, as they were left by the German occupying force after the retreat.

Only one FW 189 managed to survive to this day and is currently under private ownership, its whereabouts unclear.

ARGUS AS 410 (1938) used in Arado 96B, FW 189, SI 204 at Flugausstellung Hermeskeil


Focke Wulf Fw189 with crew


Focke-Wulf Fw 189 A of the 1.(H) 32 June 1943


Focke-Wulf Fw 189 code 6M+DH of the Aufklarungsgruppe 11


Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu code 5H+RK of the NAGr 16, Austria 1945


Focke-Wulf Fw 189A. The twin-fuselage Fw 189 was designed as a light-bomber but saw service mostly as a short-range reconnaissance and liaison aircraft on the Eastern Front.


Focke-Wulf Fw189 +EH Eastern Front


Focke-Wulf Fw189 with winter camo


Fw 189 A-1 code KC+JL from FFS A B 5 2


Fw 189 A-1 Uhu code KC+JL from Flugzeugführerschule A B 5


Fw 189 A-3 Uhu of the 1.(H) 32 V7+1J June 1943


Fw 189 Uhu Lesquin airfield near Lille


Fw 189 W.Nr. 2084 Eastern Front


Fw 189A used by Rumanian ground attack students as transition tool from single-engine to twin-engine airplanes. Eastern Front, Kirovograd, Summer of 1943.


Fw 189A-3 on a Finnish airfield in the summer of 1943


Fw189 Uhu crashed


Heavily armored ground-attack Focke-Wulf Fw 189 V6 prototype


The German light bomb and intelligence machine brings German war corpses.


The German light bomb and intelligence machine brings German war corpses. (The picture shows Focke-Wulf Fw 189A). Location- Tiiksjärvi

Read another story from us: Focke-Wulf Fw190 – 13 Facts

Fighter pilot of the 237th Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 220th Fighter Aviation Division of the 16th Air Army of the Stalingrad Front Sergeant Ilya Mikhailovich Chumbarev from the wreckage of the German reconnaissance aircraft Focke-Wulf Fw 189 shot down by him using the ram of the German reconnaissance aircraft Focke-Wulf Fw 189. 1942
© Copyright 2019 - War History Online