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Junkers Ju 88 Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber (1939)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/7/2012

The Junkers Ju 88 was a mainstay of the German Luftwaffe bombing campaigns.

The Junkers Ju 88 represented one of the better and more successful bomber designs attributed to the German Luftwaffe. The system performed on a variety of levels, achieving success with most every role and saw production reach totals well past 15,000 examples. Though operating for a nation whose bomber squadrons are rarely the cause for general discussion of the air war in World War 2, the Junkers Ju 88 stands out as a formidable and successful flyer that provided German warplanners with a versatile performers and equally terrified the leaders of opposing countries.

At its core, the Ju 88 was simple twin-engine monoplane system built around a thin pencil-like fuselage with a single vertical tail surface. The crew compartment was fitted to the extreme forward portion of the fuselage and held accommodations for up to four personnel under glazed glasswork. The Ju 88 had provisions for an internal and (later models) external bomb loadouts along with a defensive array of machine guns of various types.

The initial Ju 88V-1 prototype first as early as 1936, though it accommodated just three personnel and was fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 600A series engines of 1,000 horsepower each. Production models entered service by the end 1939 as the Ju 88A-1 and in time for the full-swing of the Second World War. Most notably, the Ju 88 series took part in the 1940 summer offensive against England in the famed "Battle of Britain", serving the gamut of roles in varying forms - some featuring rocket-assisted take-off for quick action response.

The Ju 88 proved to be a versatile component to the Luftwaffe arsenal. It represented the fastest of the German bombers available and much was made with its advantage in speed. The system would go on to be fielded on every front that Germany was fighting on and was also well-noted for its anti-shipping capability against the Allied convoys thanks to several conversion models fitted with specialized radar and anti-ship munitions. As prized as the platform was, its final claim to fame would be recognized in the use of the Ju 88's bomb-laden fuselage as part of the Mistel - a fighter aircraft/Ju 88 combination where the piloted fighter (various were considered including the Fw 190, Me 262 and Me 109 platforms) would be mounted atop a crewless, yet bomb-laden Ju 88 fuselage, component which would later be jettisoned onto a target. Another in the seemingly long line of ingenious - yet desperate and ill-fated - concoctions related to the Luftwaffe and the closing months of World War 2 but such was the end for this fine machine.

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Specifications for the
Junkers Ju 88
Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber

Focus Model: Junkers Ju 88A-4
Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Junkers - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1939
Production: 15,000

Crew: 4

Length: 47.24 ft (14.4 m)
Width: 65.62 ft (20.00 m)
Height: 15.91ft (4.85 m)
Weight (Empty): 21,738 lb (9,860 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 30,865 lb (14,000 kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Junkers Jumo 211J-1 OR 211J-2 series V12 engines generating 1,340hp.

Maximum Speed: 280 mph (450kmh; 243 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,696 miles (2,730km)
Service Ceiling: 26,903 ft (8,200 m; 5.1 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 770 feet per minute (235 m/min)

Hardpoints: 2
Armament Suite:
7 x 7.92mm MG15 OR MG81 type machine guns in nose, dorsal and ventral gun positions.

Up to 7,935lbs of externally and internally carried stores.

Ju 88V-1 - Prototype Model; three seat crew compartment; fitted with Daimler-Benz DB600A V-12 1,000hp engines; total of ten prototype produced.

Ju 88A-0 - Pre-Production Model Designation

Ju 88A-1 - Initial Production Models; Series A Subvariant.

Ju 88A-2 - Series A Subvariant; fitted with rocket-assisted take-off.

Ju 88A-3 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-4 - Series A Subvariant; Fitted with Junkers Jumo 211J-1 or Junkers Jumo 211J-2 class engines; increased wingspan; reworked and strengthened landing gear.

Ju 88A-5 - Series A Subvariant; similar to the Ju 88A-4 model series.

Ju 88A-6 - Series A Subvariant; fitted with a balloon cable fender.

Ju 88A-6/U - Long-Range Maritime Bomber; fitted with FuG 200 search radar and applicable equipment.

Ju 88A-7 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-8 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-9 - Series A Subvariant; tropicalized version of the Ju 88A-1 model series.

Ju 88A-10 - Series A Subvariant; tropicalized version of the Ju 88A-5 model series.

Ju 88A-11 - Series A Subvariant; tropicalized version of the Ju 88A-4 model series.

Ju 88A-12 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-13 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-14 - Series A Subvariant; anti-ship strike platform.

Ju 88A-15 - Series A Subvariant; increased bombload capacity through an added buldge in fuselage bomb bay area.

Ju 88A-16 - Series A Subvariant

Ju 88A-17 - Series A Subvariant; anti-shipping torpedo bomber.

Ju 88S - Secondary Production Model; produced in three subvariants; fitted with BMW 801G 1,700hp engines; redesigned nose assembly; reduced bomb load reflected in improved performance.

Ju 88T - Reconnaissance Model

Ju 88H - Long-range Derivative

Ju 88C - Heavy Fighter Version developed from the Ju 88A model series; fitted with BMW 801A radial engines; solid designed nose for improved offensive armament; spawned nightfighter variants.

Ju 88G - Definitive Nightfighter Service Model

Ju 88R - Improved Ju 88C Model

Ju 88D - Long-range Reconnaissance Model

Ju 88P - Anti-Tank Model

Ju 188 - "High Performance" Model

Ju 388 - "High Altitude" Model

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