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The Ta 152H. The Best Luftwaffe fighter?

The Ta 152H (picture) was a development of the Fw 190D that entered service in March 1945. The war would last only eight more weeks.

Luftwaffe pilots that flew this model consider it the best propeller-driven fighter deployed by the Luftwaffe during the war. Only 67 units of this powerful fighter were manufactured and only two units received it: the Stabschwarm of JG 301 and III./JG 301. The latter never received its full complement of aircraft and only flew two missions with the type.

The Ta 152H provided superior performance. When comparing it with the Fw 190D-9 it was much faster (752 vs 650 km/h), it could climb higher, its climb rate was much better (1320 vs 1015 m/min), it was more maneuverable (better acceleration and turn radius, and only slightly inferior in PWR-WGT ratio), and its firepower was formidable.

It was the only Focke Wulf aircraft that was equipped with a gun firing through the propeller hub (the hard-hitting 30mm MK-108 cannon). It also boasted one 20mm MG 151/20 cannon in each wing.

Although the Ta 152 and Fw 190D look similar, the former is a bigger aircraft: 3928 vs 3589 kg of empty weight, 0.5m longer and it boasted a huge wing (14.40 vs 10.51 m).

Despite fighting under conditions of numerical inferiority, the Stabschwarm JG 301 claimed 9 victories for two losses. Obfw Josef Keil became the sole Ta 152 ace by shooting down 5 allied aircraft (1 B-17, 1 P-51, 1 P-47, and two Yak-9). During his career Keil shot down 17 aircraft in total.


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