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Junkers Ju 88

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The Junkers Ju 88A was one of the most versatile warplanes in history. No match for a fighter in a dogfight, it could nevertheless perform just about every other military mission. Ju 88s were employed as bombers, escort-fighters, night-fighters, tank busters, torpedo-bombers, transport and reconnaissance platforms and in many other roles. Fast, tough and reliable, by the middle of World War II it had become the Luftwaffe's most important tactical bomber.

Brought into service after the invasion of Poland, the Ju 88 was one of the few bombers used in Germany's attack on Britain which stood much chance of getting away from a fighter. But the Ju 88 was more than a survivor. Fighting in all conditions from the desert to the Arctic, it proved itself in combat roles as diverse as reconnaissance and night-fighting.

Even when Germany had all but lost the war, Ju 88 bombers were still flying lone-wolf raids against English cities. Endurance, performance and a wealth of new electronic gadgetry made fighter and bomber variants of the Ju 88 tremendously successful.

In its ability to fly and fight, the Ju 88 was the best ship in its class. Most Ju 88s had a four-man crew in a cramped flight compartment, more men than needed in a craft of this size. Even three-man versions were far from comfortable, but the Ju 88 had plenty of power and was responsive enough in almost any situation.


Junkers Ju 88

Mainstay of the Junkers Ju 88 The Junkers Ju 88 shipping attack Close quarters of the Junkers Ju 88
The glazed nose of the Ju 88 gave the crew an excellent view, essential for accurate bombing. Formations of Ju 88 bombers wreaked havoc among Allied convoys, from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. The crew were tighthly grouped in the Ju 88: good for morale, but it made them more vulnerable when the aircraft was shot at.

Junkers Ju 88 (Technical Specification)
Role Four-seat medium and dive-bomber
Manufacturer Junkers
Maximum Speed 440 kmh (280 mph)
Maximum Range 1,800 km (1,200 miles)
Ceiling 8,200 meters (27,000 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

8,000 kg (17,600 lbs)
14,000 kg (31,000 lbs)
Wing Area

20.13 meters (60 ft 3 in)
14.40 meters (47 ft 1 in)
4.85 meters (17 ft 6 in)
54.50 square meters (587 sq ft)
Engines Two Junkers Jumo 211J 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engines each providing 1000-kW (1,200-hp)
Armament Two 13 mm (0.51 in) machine guns
Four 7.92 mm (0.31 in) machine guns and 3,000 kgs (6,600 lbs) of bombs

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