The FW 200 Condor began patrols from Bordeaux-Merignac airfield in western France in August 1940. Flying in wide sweeps out over the Bay of Biscay and into the Atlantic west of Ireland it would continue round the north of Britain and land in Norway, a route that encompassed most of the possible convoy routes. It proved highly effective not only because of its bomb load, but also in its capacity as a reconnaissance aircraft capable of calling in U-Boat attacks.
Often described as ‘the scourge of the Atlantic’, attributed to Churchill, in fact he said:
To the U-boat scourge was now added added air attack far out in the oceans by long range aircraft. Of these, the Focke Wulf 200, known as the Condor, was the most formidable.
The title now so widely used ‘The Battle of the Atlantic’ did not come into use until the 6th March 1941, when Churchill issued his Directive on giving the U-Boat menace high priority.
German newsreel footage of the Condor in action against merchant shipping: