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Junkers Ju 188 Rache (Avenger)

Nazi Germany (1943)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Junkers Ju 188 Rache (Avenger) Reconnaissance / Medium Bomber.

 Entry last updated on 4/24/2011; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Junkers Ju 188 Rache (Avenger)  
Picture of Junkers Ju 188 Rache (Avenger) Reconnaissance / Medium Bomber

The Junkers Ju 188 Rache was a solid design and good performer, though appearing several years too late to make an impact.

When the new Junkers Ju 288 - a design meant to replace the Junkers Ju 88 series of bombers - ran into developmental issues with its engines, Junkers set about producing an in-between utilizing the Ju 88's airframe. The Ju 88B and Ju 88E were converted test frames (with an increased wingspan and new fuselage) that would eventually lead up to the development of the Ju 188 Racher (or "Avenger") series - a high performance aircraft that differed little in the aircraft it was meant to replace. Production would be limited to just over 1,000 examples.

With the prototypes ready and flying, it would only be a short time later before the production Ju 188s would see operational service in 1943. In an attempt to avoid previous issues with powerplant acceptability, the Ju 188 was specifically designed to take on both Jumo and BMW type engines without any modification needed to the airframe. The Ju 188 crew comprised of four personnel.

Design was of a typical Dornier twin-engine layout with the BMW or Jumo series engines fitted to the low-wing monoplane. The cockpit and nose were of the greenhouse type design with a 15mm autocannon protruding from the nose. A top turret featured a single 13mm machine gun while a 7.92mm machine gun was situated in a rear-facing ventral gondola. Some models carried an additional machine gun in a dorsal rear-facing gondola position as well. Internal and external bomb load was limited to around 6,600lbs of stores.

The Ju 188 was primarily a reconnaissance platform though it did fulfill the bomber and nightfighter roles to some extent. The Ju 188E-2 existed as a torpedo bomber while the Ju 188D-2 came on as a naval reconnaissance variant fitted with specialized radar in the nose. The nightfighter derivative was the Ju 188R-0, which were modified from the Ju 188E models and were given 4x 20mm or 2 x 30mm cannons along with the standard radar system. A series of high altitude performance models also appeared in the form of the Ju 188J, Ju 188K and Ju 188L that warranted an all new Ju 388 designation. These three additional were proposed designs that would have been comprised of a heavy fighter, bomber and reconnaissance type respectively.
Junkers Ju 188E-1 Rache (Avenger) Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Nazi Germany
Year: 1943
Type: Reconnaissance / Medium Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Junkers - Germany
Production: 1,076
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 5
Length: 49.21 ft (15 m)
Width: 72.18 ft (22.00 m)
Height: 14.44 ft (4.40 m)
Empty Weight: 21,826 lb (9,900 kg)
MTOW: 31,967 lb (14,500 kg)

Installed Power
2 x BMW 801D-2 14-cylinder radial engines delivering 1,730 horsepower each.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 310 mph (499 kph; 269 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,361 mi (2,190 km; 1,183 nm)
Service Ceiling: 31,168 ft (9,500 m; 5.90 mi)

1 x 20mm MG 151/20 autocannon in nose
1 x 13mm MG 131 machine gun in dorsal turret
1 x 13mm MG 131 machine gun in trainable rear cockpit position.
1 x 7.92mm MG 81Z OR 13mm MG 131 machine gun in rear-firing ventral gondola position.

Up to 6,608lbs of external and internal stores.

Operators List
France; Hungary; Nazi Germany; United Kingdom

Series Model Variants
• Ju 88B - Prototype test bed of existing Ju 88 bomber.
• Ju 88E - Prototype test bed of existing Ju 88 bomber.
• Ju 188 - Base Series Designation developed from the Ju 88B and Ju 88E test bed.
• Ju 188A - Fitted with Jumo series engines.
• Ju 188A-1
• Ju 188A-2 - Fitted with Jumo MW50 methanol-water injection engines.
• Ju 188E - Fitted with BMW series engines.
• Ju 188E-1
• Ju 188E-2 - Torpedo Bomber
• Ju 188C - Modified A-1 model; FA 15 powered turret fitted to tail with 2 x 13mm MG131 machine guns; single example produced.
• Ju 188D-1 - Reconnaissance Version; similar to A-1 model.
• Ju 188D-2 - Reconnaissance Version; fitted with nose radar for maritime reconnaissance.
• Ju 188F-1 - E conversion models
• Ju 188F-2 - E conversion models
• Ju 188G-2 - BMW 801 engines; increased internal bomb bay; never produced; manned rear turret.
• Ju 188H-2 - BMW 801 engines; reconnaissance platform version of the Ju 188G-2 model; never produced.
• Ju 188R-0 - Modified E models as nightfighters; radar fitted along with 4 x 20mm OR 2 x 30mm cannons in nose; never produced.
• Ju 188J - Proposed high altitude heavy-class fighter platform; sans bottom gunner position.
• Ju 188K - Proposed high altitude bomber platform; sans bottom gunner position.
• Ju 188L - Proposed high altitude reconnaissance platform; sans bottom gunner position.
• Ju 188S - Longer wings; redesignated as Ju 388 series.
• Ju 188T - "intruder" Variant; longer wings; redesignated as Ju 388 series.
• Ju 388 - High-Altitude Variant Series; limited production quantity.

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon