Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Feldwebel Konrad Bauer II./JG 300 - power boost in the BMW 801



Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J27642, Jagdflieger Feldwebel Konrad Bauer

5./ JG 300 ace Konrad Bauer seated on the cockpit sill of his Fw 190 A-8 'Red 3' WNr. 171 641. This aircraft was delivered by Focke-Wulf on 27 July 1944. The photo is dated 18 September 1944 and captioned as 'one of our successful fighter pilots'. However Bauer had been shot down in 'Red 21' on 11 September in combat with P-51s (he claimed three of them). He made a successful belly landing but was wounded after being strafed by P-51s while trapped in his cockpit - losing two fingers from his right hand. His injuries put him out of action until early 1945. 'Kornjarck' - the inscription under the cockpit- was a reference to his favourite alcoholic tipple. By all accounts he liked a drink! This probably accounts for his lowly rank for such a high scoring ace. I am reliably informed that this is the only image from the leading Jagdgeschwader in the Reichsverteidigung to appear in the Bundesarchiv.

 Note the yellow 'ring' on the cowl cover just forward of the windshield indicating a machine fitted with the erhöhte Notleistung emergency power boost system. The term "erhöhte Notleistung" (augmented emergency power) only applied to the BMW 801 (as far as this blogger is aware) and denoted the highest power without any special injection - "dry" power in US jargon. That just meant that the boost (manifold pressure in US terms) was increased beyond the normal rated boost, to 1.58/1.65 ata instead of the usual 1.42 ata. This differs from "Sondernotleistung" (special emergency power) which denotes the use of MW 50 or GM-1 to increase power. This is "wet" power in US jargon - these were basically aids to more effective combustion. GM-1 was used above engine critical altitude to increase supercharger efficiency and MW 50 below it. GM-1 provided oxygen for more efficient combustion while cooling the cylinder allowing greater pressure, delaying the onset of uncontrolled detonation. The main benefit of MW 50, a methonal/water mix, was detonation control, although charge cooling was a (useful) secondary effect. The same technology was simply called "water injection" in the US though they actually used a water-alcohol mixture like the Luftwaffe.



Above, a nice clear view of Fw 190 A-8 'Red 3' Werk Nr. 171 641 at Erfurt- Bindersleben during September 1944. Konrad Bauer can be seen here on the right of picture. The machine is undergoing weapons harmonisation - note the wide open field, cleared of agricultural workers before any firing testing could begin..Note that during September 1944, II./ JG 300 was not yet at Löbnitz.

Standing on the port wing and operating the firing button is Bauer's erster Wart, Ogfr.Josef Plum. On the far left is Unteroffizier Wilhelm Ladner, a 5 Staffel mechanic. Click on the image to view large..