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Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber) Long-Range Heavy Bomber / Transport (1943)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/29/2015

The Junkers Ju 390 multi-engine long-range heavy bomber was to strike at the heart of major American cities - changing German wartime fortunes ultimately revised this need.

The German Junkers Ju 390 long range heavy bomber was intended to be able to strike far-off locations along the American East Coast during World War 2 - the German effort to bring the war to the doorstep of the United States. The Ju 390 was a further development of the earlier proposed multi-engine Junkers Ju 290 heavy bomber of which 65 were ultimately built. The Ju 390 was developed to fulfill several other roles beyond strategic bombing such as maritime patrolling/reconnaissance and long range transport. The Ju 390 - also known as the "New York Bomber" - was only ever completed in two working prototypes - V1 and V2. Its development made the idea of transatlantic bombing a theoretical possibility the Luftwaffe but became nothing more than another failed submission in the "Amerika Bomber" projectthen under consideration by the Germans. This project included the Messerschmitt Me 264 and Focke-Wulf Ta 400 designs.

Interestingly, the Junkers Ju 390 heavy bomber came along during the war when the German effort and philosophy was still generally concentrated on use of medium bombers and various fighter-bomber hybrids. As such, full developmental resources for the Ju 390 were never really realized and the entire program floundered as a result. With origins in the Ju 290 airframe, the Ju 390 was essentially the same aircraft with wings lengthened via extensions to help accommodate additional engines (three engines were fitted to a wing for a total of six). The fuselage was also lengthened for the long-range bombing role. Defense was supplied by a pair of 13mm machine guns in a ventral gondola position as well as 2 x 13mm machine guns at beam (waist) positions. A pair of 20mm cannons would have been mounted in a dorsal turret and a single 20mm cannon would have been installed in the tail. The operating crew complement was to number ten between the required flight crew and dedicated gunners. The heavy transport form was given the designation of Ju 390A-1 while the maritime patrol and long-range heavy bombers were known under the Ju 390B and Ju 390C designations respectively.

Power for the Ju 390V1 prototype was through 6 x BMW 801D radial piston engines delivering 1,700 horsepower each. This provided for a maximum speed of 315 miles per hour and an operational range of 6,030 miles. The aircraft's service ceiling reached just 19,700 feet. Empty weight was listed at 87,100 lb while Maximum Take-Off Weight reached 166,400 lb. Structurally, the Ju 390 featured a length of 112 feet, a wingspan of 165 feet, and a height of 22.6 feet.

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Specifications for the
Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber)
Long-Range Heavy Bomber / Transport

Focus Model: Junkers Ju 390 V1 (New York Bomber)
Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Junkers - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1943
Production Total: 2

Crew: 10

Length: 112.20 ft (34.2 m)
Width: 165.03 ft (50.30 m)
Height: 22.60ft (6.89 m)
Weight (Empty): 87,083 lb (39,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 166,449 lb (75,500 kg)

Powerplant: 6 x BMW 801G-2 radial piston engines developing 1,700 horsepower each.

Maximum Speed: 314 mph (505 kmh; 273 kts)
Maximum Range: 6,027 miles (9,700 km)
Service Ceiling: 19,685 ft (6,000 m; 3.7 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)

Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
2 x 13mm MG 131 machine gun in gondola
2 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns in waist beam positions.
2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons in dorsal turret
1 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannon in tail gun position

Unknown internal bomb-carrying capability.

Ju 390 - Main Series Designation; two examples completed.

Ju 390 V1 - Initial Prototype Model

Ju 390 V2 - Second Completed Prototype

Ju 390A-1 - Proposed heavy transport model.

Ju 390B - Proposed maritime reconnaissance model.

Ju 390C - Proposed long-range bomber variant.

Nazi Germany