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Junkers Ju 352 (Herkules) - Nazi Germany, 1943

Detailing the development and operational history of the Junkers Ju 352 (Herkules) Tri-Motor Utility Transport.

 Entry last updated on 1/26/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Junkers Ju 352 (Herkules)  
Picture of Junkers Ju 352 (Herkules)

Some fifty of the Junkers Ju 352 Herkules transports were produced during the fighting of World War 2.

While the Junkers Ju 252 had proven itself the expected improvement over the original Ju 52 tri-motor transport, it arrived at a time when the German war effort was in full swing. Restrictions on use of war material meant that only fifteen of the Ju 252 would see the light of day as attention shifted to development of the Ju 352 "Herkules" of similar form and function - though using far less needed war material in its construction.

Design of the Ju 352 came directly from German Air Ministry authorities who understood the value of the preceding Ju 252 but not its total material commitment. Junkers was approached in early 1942 just as the Ju 252 program was picking up steam. Much of the metalworks of the Ju 252 was replaced by wood and the important Junkers Jumo 211F engines were given up for the readily available BMW Bramo 323R radial instead. The wing mainplanes were shifted further aft as the aircraft began to take on something of an all-new appearance when compared to the original Ju 252. The powered rear loading ramp featured in the Ju 252 - which leveled the aircraft fuselage by raising the rear off its tailwheel support - was retained in the Ju 352. Defensive armament would become 1 x MG 151 cannon fitted to a dorsal turret as well as 2 x MG 131 machine guns at beam positions (one unit per window).

First flight of a prototype occurred on August 18th, 1943 and ten pre-production aircraft were ordered and built. This was followed by thirty-three production-quality Ju 352A models until the German attention was off of transport types and onto fighters and more advanced jet-powered aircraft. Just fifty Ju 352s were competed in all. One was built by Letov in the post-war years for the Soviet Union and another operated with the Czech Air Force.

The Ju 352 proved better armed than the proposed Ju 252 but it lacked in performance. Maximum speed was 230 miles per hour with cruising at 150 mph. Comparatively, the Ju 252 demonstrated speeds nearing 275 miles per hour and could cruise in the 210 miles per hour range.

Junkers Ju 352A (Herkules) Specifications

Service Year: 1943
Type: Tri-Motor Utility Transport
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Junkers - Nazi Germany
Total Production: 50

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 3
Overall Length: 80.71 feet (24.6 meters)
Overall Width: 112.20 feet (34.20 meters)
Overall Height: 18.83 feet (5.74 meters)

Weight (Empty): 27,558 lb (12,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 43,211 lb (19,600 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 3 x BMW Bramo 323 R-2 Fafnir 9-cylinder radial piston engines (one in nose and one at each wing) developing 986 horsepower and 1,184 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 200 knots (230 mph; 370 kph)
Maximum Range: 972 nautical miles (1,118 miles; 1,800 km)
Service Ceiling: 19,685 feet (6,000 meters; 3.73 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

1 x 15mm MG 151 cannon in dorsal turret
2 x 13mm MG 131 heavy machine guns in waist positions.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Czechoslovakia (post-war); Nazi Germany; Soviet Union

Model Variants

Ju 352 - Base Series Designation
Ju 352A - Main production model

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