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Junkers JU 88



The Junkers JU 88 was perhaps one of the most versatile aircraft to have ever flown. Its basic design was based on a passenger airliner and the rugged combat version was rushed into service just before World War II started and was to suffer numerous teething troubles before the definitive A 4 variant entered service during the Battle of Britain.

As with the Heinkel He 111 and Dornier Do 17, it was believed that the 88's speed would allow it to avoid interception and so it was initially given a very weak defensive armament. Designed in the mid 1930's this philosophy worked against the obsolescent opposition the 88 first encountered. However, against modern fighters, such as the Spitfire and Hurricane, the 88 would find itself vulnerable. Despite being used in smaller numbers it suffered higher losses than either of its stablemates the Heinkel 111 and Dornier 17 during the air fighting over Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain.

After the Battle of Britain the JU 88 continued to be built in huge numbers and as well as continuing in the bomber role also became by far the most successful of Germany's night fighter types. The JU 88 also served in many other roles including dive bomber, torpedo bomber, night intruder and tank buster. The night fighter variants were particularly successful; having radars, heavy cannon armaments and speeds of up to 400 mph and were responsible for destroying more allied night bombers than all other German fighter types combined.

The statistics given below are for the original bomber versions, the A4 which began to equip Luftwaffe bomber squadrons during the Battle of Britain.

Type: Medium Bomber
Crew: 3 (pilot, navigator/bombardier and radio operator)
Powerplant: 2 x 1,340 hp Junkers Jumo 211 inverted V12
Maximum Speed: 269 mph
Service Ceiling: 26,900 feet
Range: c 1,110 miles fully loaded
Armament: 2 x 7.92mm MG 81 machine guns in front cockpit
1 x 7.92mm MG 81 machine gun in upper rear cockpit
1x 7.92mm MG 81 machine gun in rear of under cockpit gondolier.
Up to 3,000 kg of bombs in internal bay and on wing racks.



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