When the Focke Wulf Fw 190 first became operational in the autumn of 1941 it gave its enemies a nasty shock. The new German fighter could out-run, out-climb and out-dive the Spitfire Mk V, the best machine the RAF then had available. The only aspect of combat performance in which the Spitfire had the edge was its tighter turning circle, which was countered by the German fighter’s better rate of roll. So great was the superiority of the new German fighter that RAF personnel of all ranks ascribed to it an excellence even greater than it merited. In June 1942 an Fw 190 pilot became disorientated during combat over England and made a successful wheels-down in South Wales. This was a valuable prize indeed. The aircraft was put through a series of comparative fighting trials and revealed the weaknesses of the craft that could be exploited in future combat. The Luftwaffe came under increasing pressure during the final eighteen months of the war, and Fw 190 units suffered heavy losses. Yet the very sight of an Fw 190 in position to deliver an attack was enough to strike fear in the hearts of its opponents.