Focke-Wulf Fw 42

          After receiving mostly positive results with his F 19 and F 19a "Ente" (Duck) light transport aircraft, Focke proceeded to design a twin-engined "Ente" (Duck) bomber for the fledgling Luftwaffe in 1931. This aircraft went through several design changes (January 13, 1932 - December 25, 1933), mainly concerning the placement of the front horizontal tail (canard) and the rear vertical tail. The first design placed the forward canard above the fuselage, and there were two fins and rudders mounted on the each wing end, with two more fins along the wing trailing edge outboard of the engine nacelles. Windtunnel tests showed that directional stability was only slightly better with the four fins than a large single vertical fin and rudder. Therefore, the decision was made to go with the single large fin, due to the lower component cost and ease of construction. Also, the forward canard was moved down to the fuselage bottom, thus improving the pilot's view and the forward gunner's field of fire. On all versions, the fuselage was narrow and long, with open MG firing stations in the extreme nose and tail. Two BMW VIu 12 cylinder engines (750 horsepower for takeoff) were mounted beneath each wing, and were provided with a four bladed propeller of 3.8 m (12' 6") in diameter. The landing gear was retractable and the cockpit was located approximately mid-fuselage, with the forward fuselage stepped down in front of the cockpit. A crew of 6 was to man the Fw 42.
          A full sized mock-up was built for the Fw 42, which was equipped with MG stations and control units. It was visited by the Russians and/or Japanese, for possible export license or production purchases. Although good results were reported from the windtunnel tests, a construction contract was not issued, so all work ceased on the Fw 42, which would have certainly been one of the most unusual bombers ever constructed.
          As a historical note, almost the entire story of the Fw 42 would have been unknown except for a series of fortuitous events. In 1945, the Fw 42 file was forgotten in the evacuation of a shelter where Focke-Wulf had stored many of their documents. Moments later, this shelter was blown up in an attempt to hide any other data which could not be carried away. When the ruins of this shelter were being cleared 24 years later, Georg Graf zu Dohna, arranged with the excavators to pay attention in case anything of interest was uncovered. Incredibly enough, a file was soon uncovered which contained all the Fw 42 data, including photos and 12 windtunnel reports, and were almost completely undamaged, even though they had lain under the  rubble for several decades!

Focke-Wulf Fw 42 Dimensions 
(main wing)
Length Height 
Height @ 
forward fuselage
Height @ 
Wing Area  
(main wing)
Wing Area  
25 m 
9.25 m / 10.1 m 
30' 4" / 33' 2"
17.7 m 
58' 1"
4.3 m 
14' 1"
1.65 m 
5' 5"
2.35 m 
7' 9"
108 m² 
1162.5 ft²
15.1 m² / 17.3 m² 
162.5 ft² / 186.2 ft²
Focke-Wulf Fw 42 Weights
Empty Equipped Takeoff Bomb Load
5600 kg 
12346 lbs
6500 kg 
14330 lbs
8500-9000 kg 
18739-19842 lbs
1000 kg 
2205 lbs
Focke-Wulf Fw 42 Performances*
Max. Speed Cruising Speed Landing Speed Ceiling Range
300-310 km/h 
186-193 mph
260 km/h 
162 mph
85 km/h 
53 mph
5000-6000 m 
1200-1800 km 
746-1118 miles
* Performance information from two different sources
are included, as they differ appreciably
Focke-Wulf Fw 42 Models
There are no scale models of the Fw 42

   The F 19a "Ente" (Duck) light transport aircraft, built in late 1930.  Although it had an unblemished flying record, no production orders were recieved, and the only example was used as a test vehicle by the DVL at Berlin-Adlershof until 1939. The forward canard is similar to the first design of the Fw 42.

     The first design of the Focke-Wulf Fw 42, with the forward horizontal tail above the fuselage and four small rudders attached on the rear wing. Factory photo number 666

        Another view of the original configuration of the Focke-Wulf Fw 42. Factory photo number 667

An amended wind tunnel model of the Fw 42, showing the forward canard has now been moved beneath the fuselage, although the four vertical fins remain at this time. Factory photo number 670

     The final version of the Fw 42, now showing the large, single vertical fin and ruddwr. Factory photo number 669

     Another view of the final windtunnel model of theFocke-Wulf Fw 42, the very narrow fuselage nose can be seen clearly here. Factory photo number 668

The Focke-Wulf Fw 42, with open and enclosed machine gun stations
Top illustration: Luftfahrt International #16
Bottom illustration: Geheimprojekte der Luftwaffe: Band II Strategische Bomber 1935-1945