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Junkers Ju 86

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As the Luftwaffe secretly expanded during the 1930s, the German air ministry (RLM) and the national airline, Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH), collaborated in preparing a specification for a dual-purpose medium bomber for the Luftwaffe and a 10-seat transport for Lufthansa's high-speed routes. Heinkel and Junkers were asked to prepare designs to meet this demanding specification. They were, respectively, the He 111 and Ju 86.

Heinkel's He 111 was produced to the same specification as the Ju 86 and served throughout World War II. The Ju 86, on the other hand, was obsolete by 1939. The Ju 86 was a twin-engined, low-wing monoplane of stressed-skin construction, powered by two Junkers Jumo diesel engines.

On 4 November 1934, the first Ju 86 (VI) bomber took to the air. Early flights revealed stability problems which were cured by a new wing and in 1936 Ju 86A-1 bombers entered Luftwaffe service. DLH took delivery of Ju 86B-0s about the same time.

Five Ju 86D-1s (with modified tail cones to cure persistent control problems) were evaluated by the Condor Legion. Weaknesses of the Jumo diesel were confirmed and the Ju 86E-1 entered services in 1937 with BMW 132 radials.

Meanwhile, Junkers was developing the Ju 86 as a high altitude reconnaissance bomber. The Ju 86P prototype with supercharged Jumo 207s and a pressurised cabin, first flew in February 1940.

Prototype flew unchallenged on high altitude sorties over Britain in the summer of 1940. Ju 86Ps (converted from Ju 86Ds) were later active over the Soviet Union also.


Junkers Ju 86

Junkers Ju 86 goes to war English raider for the Junkers Ju 86 Four-seat medium bomber of the Junkers Ju 86
Early operations by the Luftwaffe utilised massed formations of bombers working in concert with ground forces. One of the specialised variants was the high altitude Ju 86P-1, used to raid Britain. They achieved little success, although were a nuisance to RAF fighters. Though an advanced bomber for its day, the Ju 86 in Luftwaffe service was found to be unreliable.

Junkers Ju 86 (Technical Specification)
Role Four-seat medium bomber
Manufacturer Junkers
Maximum Speed 325 kmh (202 mph)
Maximum Range 1,500 km (932 miles)
Ceiling 5,900 meters (19,360 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

5,150 kg (11,354 lbs)
8,200 kg (18,078 lbs)
Wing Area

22.50 meters (73 ft 10 in)
17.87 meters (58 ft 8 in)
5.06 meters (16 ft 7 in)
82.00 square meters (883 sq ft)
Engines Two Jumo 205C-4 six-cylinder diesel engines each providing 447-kW (600-hp)
Armament Three 7.92 mm (0.31 in) machine gun in the nose, dorsal and ventral positions
A bomb of 800 kg (1,764 lbs)

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