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Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau
FormerlyBremer Flugzeugbau
Typefirst AG, later GmbH
FoundedOctober 24, 1923; 99 years ago (1923-10-24)
SuccessorVereinigte Flugtechnische Werke
Key people

Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG (German pronunciation: [ˌfɔkəˈvʊlf]) was a German manufacturer of civil and military aircraft before and during World War II.[1] Many of the company's successful fighter aircraft designs were slight modifications of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. It is one of the predecessor companies of today's Airbus.


The company was founded in Bremen on 24 October 1923 as Bremer Flugzeugbau AG by Prof. Henrich Focke,[a] Georg Wulf [b] and Dr. rer. pol. Werner Naumann.[c] Almost immediately, they renamed the company Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG (later Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH).[2]

Focke-Wulf merged, under government pressure, with Albatros Flugzeugwerke of Berlin in 1931. The Albatros Flugzeugwerke engineer and test pilot Kurt Tank became head of the technical department and started work on the Fw 44 Stieglitz (Goldfinch).

Dr Ludwig Roselius became Chairman in 1925 and handed over to his brother Friedrich in early 1933. In 1938 Roselius' HAG combine increased its shareholding to 46% and C. Lorenz AG secured 28%. The company was reconstituted as Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH and no longer had to publish its accounts. A substantial capital injection occurred at this time.[3]

In August 1933 Hans Holle and Rudolf Schubert were given power of attorney over the Berlin branch of Focke-Wulf. Then in October 1933, Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau A.G. Albatros Berlin was officially registered with the Department of Trade.[4]

Dr Roselius always remained the driving force of Focke-Wulf. He and his closest collaborator, Barbara Goette, often met with technical director Professor Kurt Tank. When Roselius died in May 1943, Heinrich Puvogel (later chair of Focke-Wulf) raised 4 million RM and continued handling the financial affairs of Focke-Wulf as chief of Seehandel A.G.[5]

Hanna Reitsch demonstrated the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first fully controllable helicopter (as opposed to autogyro), in Berlin in 1938.[6] The four-engined Fw 200 airliner flew nonstop between Berlin and New York City on August 10, 1938, making the journey in 24 hours and 56 minutes. It was the first aircraft to fly that route without stopping. The return trip on August 13, 1938, took 19 hours and 47 minutes. These flights are commemorated with a plaque in the Böttcherstraße street of Bremen.

The Fw 190 Würger (Shrike/butcher-bird), designed from 1938 on, and produced in quantity from early 1941–1945, was a mainstay single-seat fighter for the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Destroyed Focke-Wulf plant in Bremen (1945)

Repeated bombing of Bremen in World War II resulted in the mass-production plants being moved to eastern Germany and General Government, with AGO Flugzeugwerke of Oschersleben as a major subcontractor for the Fw 190. Those plants used many foreign and forced labourers, and from 1944 also prisoners of war. Focke-Wulf's 100-acre (0.40 km2) plant at Marienburg produced approximately half of all Fw 190s and was bombed by the Eighth Air Force on October 9, 1943.[7]

Many Focke-Wulf workers, including Kurt Tank, worked at the Instituto Aerotécnico in Córdoba, Argentina between 1947 and 1955. Others, like Henrich Focke, went to Brazil's Department of Aerospace Science and Technology, helping Brazil's effort to build Embraer.[8] Focke-Wulf began to make gliders in 1951, and in 1955, motorised planes. Focke-Wulf, Weserflug and Hamburger Flugzeugbau joined forces in 1961 to form the Entwicklungsring Nord (ERNO) to develop rockets.

ITT Corporation, which had acquired a 25% stake in the company prior to the war, won $27 million in compensation in the 1960s for the damage that was inflicted on its share of the Focke-Wulf plant by WWII Allied bombing.[9] Colonel Sosthenes Behn, Ludwig Roselius and Barbara Goette outfoxed Hitler in 1936 when he tried to have Roselius removed as a major stakeholder from Focke-Wulf A.G. and reconstitution followed resulting in the privatized company Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH.[10] Focke-Wulf formally merged with Weserflug in 1964, becoming Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW), which after several further mergers became the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS). EADS was later reorganised as Airbus.

In early 2021 Focke Wulf Aircraft was re-registered as a trademark across the EU, the UK and Australia as a retailer of aviation watches and associated official Focke Wulf merchandise.[11]


1932 – Focke-Wulf Fw 44
1939 – Focke-Wulf Fw 190
1943 – Focke-Achgelis Fa 330
Focke-Wulf Fw 30
Focke-Wulf Fw 61
Borgward Kolibri

Company designations[edit]

In alphabetical order:

RLM designations[edit]

Built under license[edit]

Planned/unfinished designs[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ In 1937, shareholders ousted Henrich Focke.
  2. ^ Georg Wulf died during a test flight 29 September 1927.
  3. ^ Dr. rer. pol. Werner Naumann is not to be confused with Dr. rer. nat. Werner Naumann, state secretary in Joseph Goebbel's Propagandaministerium.


  1. ^ Yenne, William (2003). From Focke-Wulf to Avrocar: Secret Weapons of World War II: The Techno-Military Breakthroughs That Changed History. New York: Berkley Books. pp. 281–283..
  2. ^ Initially, it produced several commercial aircraft, typically with thick wings mounted high over bulky fuselages."Focke-Wulf". Retrieved 2006-07-01.
  3. ^ Dieter Pfliegensdörfer; Volker Bergmann; Willi Elmers; Manfred Fittkau; Michael Jung; Michael Wolf; Wolfgang Günther. Wellblech & Windkanal. Arbeit und Geschäfte im Bremer Flugzeugbau von den Anfängen 1909 bis heute. Steintor, 1989, ISBN 3926028513
  4. ^ Thiel, Reinhold. Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau. Bremen, Verlag H.M. Hauschild GmbH, 2011. ISBN 9783897574892
  5. ^ Leidig, Ludwig. Bombshell. sbpra 2013. ISBN 978-1-62516-346-2
  6. ^ Hanna Reitsch “Fliegen, mein Leben” on p. 180–198. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt Stuttgart 1952
  7. ^ Gurney, Gene (Major, USAF) (1962). "The War in the Air: a pictorial history of World War II Air Forces in combat". New York: Bonanza Books: 219. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Forjaz, Maria Cecilia Spina (2005). "As origens da Embraer". Tempo Social (in Portuguese). 17 (1): 281–298. doi:10.1590/S0103-20702005000100012. ISSN 0103-2070.
  9. ^ Sampson, Anthony: The Sovereign State, Hodder and Stoughton, 1973, ISBN 0-340-17195-2
  10. ^ The Office of Military Government US Zone in Post-war Germany 1946-1949, declassified per Executive Order 12958, Section 3.5 NND Project Number: NND 775057 by: NND Date: 1977
  11. ^ "Global Brand Database". Retrieved 2022-12-08.

External links[edit]