Junkers Ju 88

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Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
Type: Bombers and destroyers
Design country:

German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) German Empire



First flight:

December 21, 1936


September 1939

Production time:

1939 to 1945

Number of pieces:


The Junkers Ju 88 was a twin-engined aircraft with piston engines from Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM), which was produced from 1939 to 1945.

The Ju 88 was one of the standard combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe of the German Reich . Originally designed as a fast horizontal and dive bomber , it was used with various modifications as a long-range bomber, torpedo bomber , mine-layer, sea or long-range reconnaissance aircraft, for weather observation , as a destroyer , night fighter , tank destroyer or as a low-attack aircraft. With 14,882 machines built, the Ju-88 production was one of the largest armaments programs in the German Reich during World War II .

The aerial war theory of the 1930s


Under the impression of the costly position battles of the First World War, the Italian general published a. D. Giulio Douhet wrote his work “Il dominio dell'aria” in the 1920s. His guiding principle was the defensive on land and sea, but the offensive in the air. The air armada was supposed to decide future wars by bombing the enemy homeland on a large scale. Douhet: “To conquer the air means as much as to win! To be beaten in the air means to be hopelessly defeated! "


The French air war theorist Camille Rougeron published his work "L'Aviation de Bombardement" in 1937. Unlike Douhet, who advocated the heavy bomber, Rougeron saw the high-speed bomber as the main offensive weapon. This should, without defensive armament, and only protected by its superior speed, attack targets in enemy territory.

The fall fight thought

Due to the inadequate accuracy of the bomb target devices available at the beginning of the 1930s, the idea of ​​being able to drop bombs precisely at a target was obvious. A high hit rate enables the effective use of lighter bombers and reduces ammunition consumption.

Although work was being carried out on the development of better target devices for throwing horizontal bombs, it was concluded that the dive bomb attack was not only useful for tactical close-up support, but also against selected military and industrial targets such as docks, factories or ships. Ernst Udet , Head of the Technical Office in the Reich Ministry of Aviation (RLM), and Hans Jeschonnek , later Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force, saw the dive bomber as the most suitable attack weapon. At the time that was decisive for the planning of the future air force, this led to the requirement that every bomber should be capable of diving .

The development of bombers in Germany

In 1935, German Major General Walther Wever outlined his ideas for future wars in Gatow : The heavy bomber is the decisive weapon. Under his influence, the specifications for a four-engine bomber with a long range, the so-called " Uralbomber ", were sent from the Technical Office of the Reich Aviation Ministry to the Dornier and Junkers factories as early as 1934 . Around the same time, Boeing began developing the “Model 299” in the USA , which later became known as the B-17 (“Flying Fortress”). In Germany this led to the construction of the Dornier Do 19 and Junkers Ju 89 , both prototypes of four-engined strategic bombers. Since no powerful engines were available, the flight performance of these two machines was insufficient. In addition to the long-range bomber project, Wever advocated the construction of high-speed bombers .

After Wever's accidental death on June 3, 1936, the priorities changed in the German Reich: Due to a lack of industrial capacity, Hermann Göring called for the “Uralbomber” to be discontinued on April 19, 1937 in favor of a “fast, medium-sized combat aircraft ” that could be produced in large numbers : the Junkers Ju 88. At the same time, the air command office pursued the modern "Bomber-A-Project", which was to lead to the four-engined Heinkel He 177 heavy fighter aircraft, albeit with lower priority .

The fast bomber tender

In November 1935, the Reich Aviation Ministry issued the requirements for the future fast medium-sized combat aircraft to the companies Dornier, Henschel , Messerschmitt , Heinkel and Junkers: a twin-engine horizontal bomber with a three-man crew and light defensive armament, the 500 kg bombs with 500 km / h 2000 km should transport far. The RLM demanded a continuous speed of 450 km / h; the machine should be able to climb 7,000 meters in 25 minutes with a bomb load. With this concept, speed was paramount. The speed bomber should evade attacks by fighter planes . This meant that in favor of flight performance, armor , self-sealing fuel tanks and strong defensive armament should be dispensed with: only a MG 15 in caliber 7.92 mm for defense upwards was required.

Development of the Ju 88

Ernst Zindel, chief designer of the Junkers factories
Junkers Ju 88 A

The fast bomber

When the RLM announced the specifications for the new bomber, Junkers was already able to fall back on preliminary drafts for the EF 59 project by Junkers design manager August Quick and head aerodynamicist Sighard Hoerner from autumn 1935, which were created under Herbert Wagner, who was newly appointed in September of that year were. In competition, Messerschmitt derived the three-seater Bf 162 from the Bf 110 . Under the overall supervision of Junkers chief designer Ernst Zindel , Alfred Gassner as type manager and Heinrich Evers as its secretary - both had been employed by the Fairchild Aircraft Manufacturing Company in the USA until 1935 - from January 1936 developed a twin-engine low - wing aircraft with a retractable chassis and one-piece from the preliminary drafts Tail unit: the Junkers Ju 88. Alternatively, the Ju 85, a version with a two-part end disc tail unit was developed, but this concept was discarded due to the higher air resistance. In the first draft, Zindel envisaged a take-off weight of 8000 kg, with a wing size of 52 m² and a relatively high wing loading of 160 kg / m². The Technical Office considered the placement of small-caliber bombs in the fuselage sufficient to keep the fuselage cross-section of the machine small and to achieve good flight performance. In detail, an internal bomb load of ten SC-50 bombs and an additional fuel tank, or instead another eight SC 50 for short-range use, was required.

The first flight of the Ju 88 V1 test model took place on December 21, 1936. Since the company's own Jumo 211 engines were not yet available, the machine was equipped with DB 600 Aa carburettor engines, each with 1000 HP starting power. With a weight of 7000 kg, the aircraft reached 450 km / h with its aerodynamically favorable bow. The second prototype Ju 88 V2 had only a few changes and flew a maximum of 465 km / h. In 1937 Alfred Gassner left the country and with it the Ju-88 program and Heinrich Evers also finished his work in the field of detailed construction and switched to production preparation. In her place, Brunolf Baade took over the management of the program, initially as type manager and from 1938 as responsible for the overall design.

On September 13, 1937, the third test model V3 flew. She received the planned engines of the type Jumo 211 A with 1000 HP starting power. With a weight of 7000 kg, it exceeded the required values: unarmed, it could maintain a speed of 520 km / h for 30 minutes - the modern British hunter Hawker Hurricane only reached 508 km / h. Fully equipped with a flight mass of 8482 kg, it was still 450 km / h fast. The goal, the construction of a fast fighter aircraft that could avoid attacks by enemy fighters by its speed alone, seemed to have been achieved. The Ju 88 V3 should achieve the speed record of 1000 km with 2000 kg payload. On February 24, 1938, during a preparatory flight from Dessau to the Zugspitze , one of the engines failed. During the subsequent emergency landing in Fürth, the plane had an accident, the pilot and flight engineer were killed.

Change of concept

Ju 88 at night

There was still no decision about series production, but in August 1937 the General Staff demanded that the machine be capable of making oblique attacks against military point targets with a glide angle of 30 °. On December 23, 1937, Junkers was commissioned by the RLM to convert the Ju 88 from a high-speed bomber to a heavy dive bomber with a camber angle of over 60 ° and to prepare for series production. The Ju 88 V4 was tested on February 2, 1938. It was capable of diving, had a reinforced fuselage, dive brakes and a larger cabin designed for four men. The increased weight and the higher air resistance reduced the maximum speed to 450 km / h.

The Ju 88 V5 made its maiden flight on April 13, 1938. Their engines of the type Jumo 211 B with automatic controllable pitch propeller and gasoline direct injection had a starting power of 1220 hp each. With a small, aerodynamic cabin, it was able to set a world speed record: On March 19, 1939, it achieved an average speed of 517.004 km / h in a flight of more than 1000 km, and on June 30, 1939 with a payload of 2000 kg, it reached over 1000 km in Ernst Seibert and Kurt Heintz achieved an average speed of 500.786 km / h.

The Ju 88 V6 was with dive brakes and Abfangautomatik for the dive optimized for a load of ten G designed for catching. Under each of the inner wings it had two ETC bomb locks (ETC = electrical carrier for cylindrical external loads), a cockpit for a four-man crew, defensive armament consisting of three MG 15s of 7.92 mm caliber and a floor pan offset to the right. The take-off weight without bombs had increased to 10250 kg, the aerodynamics were worse than with the V3. Therefore, despite the increased engine power, it was about 40 km / h slower than the original high-speed bomber.


Fitters on the chassis of a Ju 88

The design of the Ju 88 was typical of the German fighter aircraft of the Second World War. The crew was grouped together in the “work space”, later also known as the “combat head”, generously glazed cabin in the front part of the fuselage. From there, all of the machine's aggregates and defensive weapons could be operated. It was not intended - and also not possible - to leave the work area and enter the rear part of the fuselage. Only small bomb calibres could be transported in the “cargo hold” of the narrow hull. From the beginning it was planned to carry heavy loads in bomb locks under the wings.

The older Heinkel He 111 deviates from this concept: here only part of the crew was housed in the glazed pulpit, the gunner had their stations above and on the sides of the voluminous hull, in which heavy bombs were also carried. The smaller Dornier Do 17 is similar to the Ju 88. The successor models Do 217 and Ju 188 retained the concept of a “combat head” and a narrow fuselage, as did the designs for the unrealized “Bomber B” and, to a certain extent, the Heinkel He 177.

The US and UK bombers had - similar to the He 111 - fuselage designs of large diameter that could be entered by the crews. It was not planned to place external loads such as bombs or drop tanks under the surfaces, as was the case with the German fighter planes. The types B-17 , B-24 , B-25 and B-26 as well as Lancaster and Halifax transported large amounts of ammunition and fuel internally. Their hulls had defenses - sometimes in the form of motorized turrets - on the top, on the sides, often also at the bottom, and always rear armament.

These design features made the Ju 88 lighter, smaller, faster, more manoeuvrable and flyable by a smaller crew than comparable Allied machines. The Ju 88 was able to carry a larger proportion of its flight mass as a payload, and it could be used for various operational profiles.

The disadvantage of this concept was the weak defensive armament. Although the number of machine guns was increased from three to four to seven at the end of 1940, there were no overlapping areas of fire in which the effects of multiple machine guns could be combined. The installation of a weapon stand in the stern was not possible. Therefore, only a single 7.92 mm MG could be aimed at an attacking fighter, so that the Ju 88 was very vulnerable to attacks by fighter planes. This disadvantage increased considerably in the course of the war, as the opposing fighter planes became faster and better armed.

According to the requirements of the RLM, the Junkers Ju 88 A was capable of diving up to 90 °. Similar to the smaller Junkers Ju 87 , it had dive brakes under the wings. A complex automatic interception system was built in to relieve the pilot. While cruising, the pilot actuated the dive lever to initiate the dive: this automatically extended the dive brakes, set the propellers to maximum speed for braking, preloaded the elevator trim tabs for interception, switched on a safety control against too hard interception, the radiator spreader flaps closed and the Hull bombs blocked and the engine loaders switched to low altitude. By triggering the bombs under the wings, the trim tabs were set to interception and the propellers set to normal speed. The aircraft now automatically intercepted with about three times the acceleration of gravity . In level flight, the pilot reset the dive lever: the machine was automatically set to cruise flight again. The procedure was modified a little later. The release now took place from a flatter dive of 50 ° at the moment of interception. This made it possible to use the bombs in the vertical magazines in the fuselage.

The destroyers and night fighters Ju 88 C, R and G, the reconnaissance aircraft Ju 88 D and T and the high-speed bombers Ju 88 S were not capable of diving.

Serial production

Hull construction at the
Aschersleben plant

The Ju 88 V6 was the sample machine for the pre-production version Ju 88 A-0, which went into production in September 1938 after the order for large-scale production had been placed with JFM. The Ju 88, as a "dive-capable glider bomber", was to become the standard fighter of the Air Force and replace the Ju 86, Do 17 and He 111. The actual series only started in mid-1939 with the Ju 88 A-1. The delivery schedule stipulated that JFM and affiliated licensed plants should produce 8,300 machines by March 1943. JFM General Director Heinrich Koppenberg thought 6,800 machines were realistic - a number that had to be reduced to 4,199 machines on April 11, 1939 due to a shortage of aluminum and a lack of skilled workers. Production was slow at first: in December 1939 only 27 Ju 88 A-1s were completed.

Halberstadt plant : wing production
Final assembly, presumably Bernburg plant ( Strenzfeld )

All JFM plants were involved in the production of the Ju 88: start-up and series production in the main plant in Dessau , final assembly and flight in: Bernburg ( Strenzfeld ), cell construction (fuselage): Aschersleben , wings: Halberstadt , tail unit and engine cowlings: Leopoldshall . Other manufacturers were quickly commissioned to manufacture the Ju 88 under license. These so-called replicas were Arado in Brandenburg / Havel (ArB), the Henschel Flugzeug-Werke in Berlin-Johannisthal (HFW) and the Dornier-Werke Munich (DWM), the North German Dornier in Wismar (NDW), the Heinkel-Werke Oranienburg ( HWO), the Allgemeine Transportanlagen-Gesellschaft in Leipzig (ATG) and the Siebel Flugzeugwerke in Halle (Saale) (SFH). Chassis and cell parts were also manufactured at the Volkswagen factory near Fallersleben and at Opel in Rüsselsheim.

The Jumo 211 engines were produced in the Junkers engine plants in Dessau, Magdeburg , Köthen , Schönebeck (Elbe) and Breslau . In addition, the Mitteldeutsche Motorenwerke in Taucha , which is part of the Auto Union Group, and a subsidiary of Stoewer-Werke in Stettin - Pommersche Motorenbau GmbH in Arnimswalde (now Załom ), founded in 1937 - manufactured the engines under license.

A total of about 9300 Ju 88 A bombers (including some S-3) and 1900 Ju 88 A, D reconnaissance aircraft (including some T-3) were built. The production of the destroyer and night fighter aircraft Ju 88 C, R and G amounted to about 3700.

In 1939 only about 100 Ju 88 A-1s were produced, in 1940 already about 2,400 Ju 88 A-1, A-5 and D, in 1941 there were about 2780 Ju 88 A-5, A-4 and D. In 1942 there were 2,270 Ju 88 A delivered, 1943 around 2160. Because of the losses due to enemy action, but also due to the high level of wear and tear, there were never more than a total of 1000 bombers available for all fronts, about half of them Ju 88s. On June 18, 1944, the order was issued to stop the production of combat aircraft. Hitler's order of September 1944 for the "immediate shutdown of combat units" ended the existence of the bomber units.

The production of destroyers initially remained at a low level: in 1940, 62 Ju 88 Cs were delivered, mostly Ju 88 C-2, in 1941 around 66, mostly Ju 88 C-4. As the war continued, as the Air Force was placed on the defensive, night fighter production increased. The last significant numbers rolled off the line in January 1945: 188 Ju 88s, almost exclusively G-6 night fighters; However, due to the destruction of the hydrogenation plants for the production of synthetic gasoline , the machines were hardly ever used due to a lack of fuel.

Construction figures of the Ju 88 up to March 31, 1945 :

A-1 234 157 171 130 96 160 160 162 1270 bomber
A-1 Enlightenment 115               115 spotter
A-5 86 192 169 140 174 258 258 53 1330 bomber
A-5 Enl. 298               298 spotter
A-6   122 131           253 bomber
A-4 372 1241 161 115   153 290   2332 bomber
A-4tp 672     1062         1734 bomber
A-4 / A-4tp         1435       1435 bomber
A-10       20th 20th       40 bomber
A-14 = A-4cuto   743             743 bomber
C-4 60               60 destroyer
C-6 835       65       900 destroyer
D-2 85               85 spotter
D-1 374               374 spotter
D-1tp 757               757 spotter
D-5 36               36 spotter
D-5tp 189               189 spotter
R-2 190               190 Night fighter
G-1 1242               1242 Night fighter
G-6 1280               1280 Night fighter
S-3   207             207 bomber
T-3   12             12 spotter
TOTAL 6,825 2,674 632 1,467 1,790 571 708 215 14,882

In February / March 1945 two reconnaissance aircraft and 77 night fighters were built. The numbers are assigned to T-3 and G-6 in the table. From April 1 to April 11, 1945, eleven night fighters were handed over to the Air Force. It is not known whether these were new aircraft, but it is likely.

The Ju 88 was used for a significant number of conversions. In addition to training aircraft, the A-17 torpedo aircraft and several versions of reconnaissance aircraft were built. In addition to the series builders, the Staaken shipyard of Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH), Blohm & Voss (BV), Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen (MNH) and Vereinigte Leichtmetall-Werke (VLW) in Hanover as well as the Junkers factories in Magdeburg and Leipzig were involved. The A-7 was also converted by various Luftwaffe repair shops.

Modifications of the Ju 88 by March 31, 1945 :

version out JFM JFMM JFML HFW ArB DLH BV WFG MNH VLW Repair shops TOTAL use
A-3 A-1         7th             at least 7 Trainer aircraft
A-7 A-5             149       134 283 Double tax
A-12 A-5   8th 307         2       317 Double tax
A-16 A-4     62                 62 Trainer aircraft
A-17 A-4                 364     364 Torpedo plane
C-1 A-1 20th                     20th destroyer
C-2 A-5 20th                     20th destroyer
C-4 A-5 60                     60 destroyer
C-5 A-5 1                     1-4 destroyer
D-6 D-1 6th                     6th spotter
H-1 D-1 10                     10 spotter
P-1 A-4   20th           18th       38 Attack aircraft
P-4 A-4                   25th   25th Attack aircraft
S-1 A-4 70                     70 Speed ​​bomber
S-3 A-4       146               146 Speed ​​bomber
T-1 D-1 50         32           82 spotter
T-3 S-3           36           36 spotter
TOTAL 237 28 369 146 7th 68 149 20th 364 25th 134 at least 1,547


Two Ju 88s of Reconnaissance Group 33, on March 21, 1942 over Aigues Mortes on the French Mediterranean coast

North Sea / Atlantic

When the Second World War broke out , only a few Ju 88 A-1 were available that were used by I./KG 30 (I. Group of Kampfgeschwader 30). On September 26, 1939, a small formation of nine He 111s of I./KG 26 and four Ju 88 A-1s of I./KG 30 attacked one of three recognized British naval formations in the North Sea. The He 111 reported two hits on a battleship, and the pilot of one of the Ju 88 A-1s, Carl Francke, believed he had hit an aircraft carrier with one of his SC-500 bombs. Shortly afterwards, when scouts could no longer discover an aircraft carrier near the ships, the high command concluded that the carrier, the HMS Ark Royal , must have sunk: a success that was celebrated in the propaganda. In fact, only the HMS Hood was hit by a dud , the HMS Ark Royal received only one close hit and was not damaged.

At the Weser Exercise company in April 1940, Ju 88 A des KG 30 were used against British ships off Norway. On April 9, 1940, the destroyer HMS Gurkha was sunk together with Heinkel He 111 and several cruisers and the battleship HMS Rodney were slightly damaged. On April 17th, the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk was badly damaged.

From 1940 Ju 88 A and C-2 flew from Stavanger in Norway to protect the coast.

From March 1942, Ju 88 A of the KG 30 flew from Banak in northern Norway from missions over the Arctic Ocean against the northern convoys of the Allies. On May 27, 1942, eleven Ju-88-A dive bombers and seven torpedo-carrying He 111s attacked convoy PQ 16 and sank five freighters, four others and one destroyer were damaged. The greatest success came against PQ 17 : because of the erroneous warning that a German naval unit led by the Tirpitz had left to intercept the convoy, it had broken up into single drivers (see company Rösselsprung ). 24 of the 33 ships were sunk by planes and submarines, a loss of 142,000 GRT . The next convoy, PQ 18 , was secured by the aircraft carrier Avenger in addition to the usual escort of destruction . On September 13, 1942, KG 30 and KG 26 attacked with He 111 and Ju 88 A. Seven freighters were sunk in the interaction of the torpedo and dive bombers, but the losses among the torpedo bombers were high. PQ 18 was the last convoy to Murmansk that was massively attacked by the air force, the units were relocated to other theaters of war.

In June 1942 the KG 40 received six, until July a total of fifteen Ju 88 Cs for long-range hunting against submarine fighters of the British Coastal Command , which had become a threat to the submarines in the Bay of Biscay . In September 1942 three squadrons with twelve Ju 88 C each were ready for action. These machines operated from Bordeaux and Lorient at the limits of their range over the high seas. From 1943 they encountered increasingly strong opponents: Type B-24 submarine fighters , twin-engine long-range fighters of the Bristol Beaufighter type , and from June 1943 also of the faster Mosquito type , and single-engine fighters that took off from catapult ships or auxiliary aircraft carriers. The main armament of the Ju 88 C, consisting of a MG FF with two 60-round drum magazines, was hardly suitable for fighting the B-24: fire resistance and ballistics were not sufficient. Since in the meantime a large part of the Ju 88 C went to the night fighter units, there was no improvement in equipment for the destroyer squadrons on the Atlantic coast. To ensure at least a numerical superiority, the Ju 88 now flew in groups of four or eight machines, which had to lead to a significant reduction in the number of missions. In 1944 the strength of the British Coastal Command had increased further, so that the few Ju 88 C flew only infrequent missions in formations of eight or sixteen machines.

In the West

Ju 88 A-1 of I. / KG 51 ("Edelweiss Squadron") on the Channel Islands occupied by the Wehrmacht , 1940

The first major use of Ju 88-equipped groups was occupied by the Dutch airfields to Dunkirk held to the Operation Dynamo , the return of the British Expeditionary Force to interfere. Individual Ju 88 mines the fairways of British ships in the English Channel .

In August and September 1940, the Ju 88 A, together with the Do 17 and He 111, flew daytime attacks against targets in England with a total of around 200 machines per mission. Despite hunting protection by Bf 110 and Bf 109 , the losses were high. In order to escape the British anti-fighter defense, night raids were mainly flown on English cities from October 1940, which were discontinued in April 1941.

Fast single-engine fighter-bombers of the type Fw 190 and Bf 109 took over day attacks on ships in the English Channel from airfields in France from the end of 1941. These units were relocated to the Mediterranean in late 1942 and mid-1943 to combat Allied landing operations.

While the Royal Air Force flew the "1000 bomber attack" ( Operation Millennium ) on Cologne on the night of May 30th to 31st, 1942 , the Luftwaffe, fighting on several fronts at the same time, was only able to attack at night in April / May 1942 Cities in southern England fly. In these so-called " Baedeker attacks " it used no more than 25 to 90 bombers. In 1942 3,600 tons of bombs fell on targets in England and 53,000 tons on targets in Germany.

The Luftwaffe's attack potential continued to decline. In January 1944, for the first time since the attacks in May 1942, over 500 bombers were drawn together for night raids on British targets, of which, however, more than 100 were withdrawn to combat the Allied landings in southern Italy and were no longer available. From January 21 to the end of May 1944, Junkers Ju 88s were deployed against London in Combat Squadrons 6 , 30 , 54 and 76 under the name of Operation Steinbock . Ju 88 S threw light bombs to mark the targets. The Western Allies had further increased their offensive power: in 1944 the RAF dropped around 525,000 tons of bombs over German cities, the USAAF even 600,000 tons.

Mediterranean Sea

Several Ju 88s in action over Astypalea

In November 1940, the X. Air Corps moved to Sicily to neutralize the British base of Malta . On January 12, 1941, about 60 Ju 88 A-4s and some Ju 88 D reconnaissance aircraft were ready. In addition to Malta itself, the machines attacked convoys with supplies for the island, but also British bases and ports in North Africa and ships in the Mediterranean.

After the raids on Yugoslavia and Greece on April 6, 1941, Ju 88 of the KG flew 30 attacks on Zagreb and Piraeus as well as against Allied ships near Crete . They sank and damaged many ships, with about 55 Ju 88s lost until the occupation of Crete.

From late 1941 to early May 1942, Ju 87 and Ju 88 escorted by Bf 109 F again flew attacks on Malta. The base was badly hit, with many of the defending Hawker Hurricane fighters destroyed. On March 17, 1942, the carrier HMS Eagle brought the first fifteen Spitfires to the island's defense, and on April 20, another 45 Spitfires took off from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp for Malta. Some of the new machines were destroyed in the hail of bombs as soon as they landed, but the others were a reinforcement of the defenders. After May 10, 1942, the bombing of Malta was stopped and the island was now to be cut off from their supplies.

On May 11, 1942, two waves of I./LG 1 with Ju 88 attacked a destroyer unit of the Royal Navy, which was supposed to intercept an Italian convoy to North Africa: HMS Lively , HMS Kipling and HMS Jackal sank, only HMS Jervis escaped with 630 survivors from the other ships on board.

Now the Ju 88 flew night attacks on British bases in North Africa - often attacked by radar-equipped RAF night fighters of the Bristol Beaufighter type - and during the day close support for the German Africa Corps . The attacks on supplies for Malta continued, the convoys “Harpoon” and “Vigorous” were almost completely destroyed. At the beginning of August 1942, under the code name Operation Pedestal, a convoy of thirteen freighters, the tanker Ohio and strong security forces made the breakthrough to the besieged island: nine freighters, a destroyer, two cruisers and the carrier HMS Eagle sank after attacks by all available Ju 88s and Hes 111, German and Italian submarines, an association of Italian cruisers and machines of the Regia Aeronautica . The Ohio reached Malta and was able to supply the defenders with much-needed fuel.

After the defeat of the German Africa Corps (DAK) at el-Alamein , the Ju 88 launched attacks against the British 8th Army . Although North Africa could no longer be held with the landing of the Anglo-American troops in Tunisia on November 8, 1942, the high command sent further troop transports across the Mediterranean. The Ju 88s were increasingly used to defend the convoys against enemy ships, but suffered heavy losses when attacked by hunters. After the fighting in North Africa had ceased after the surrender of the DAK, many units of the Air Force were relocated to the Eastern Front, others to Sicily and southern Italy in order to combat the allied landings that were now expected.

In the East

Exhibition of a downed Ju 88 of 2nd / Aufkl.Gr. (F) 122 (2nd season long-distance reconnaissance group 122) with the association number F6 + AK on Sverdlov Square in Moscow on July 25, 1941

No Ju 88s were used in the attack on Poland. The only unit equipped with a Ju 88 was the Erprobungskommando 88 founded in Rechlin in April 1939. The Ekdo 88 was renamed I./KG 25 in August 1939 - before the start of the fighting - and relocated to Jever . After the end of the campaign on October 22, 1939, 1./KG 25 became the staff of I./KG 30 in Greifswald. Before Operation Barbarossa , the attack on the Soviet Union, large parts of the air force were withdrawn from the west and relocated to the east. From June 22, 1941 on, Ju-88 units launched attacks on ports, airfields and armaments factories. The first bombing of Moscow took place on the night of July 21st to 22nd, 1941. In April 1942 massive attacks on Leningrad followed, in May on Sevastopol. Stalingrad was almost completely destroyed. In addition to these large-scale attacks, the Ju 88s were often used in smaller groups to provide close support to the ground forces. Individual machines flew missions to interrupt supply routes and railway lines. Since the distances were great, encounters with enemy fighter planes were initially less frequent than in the west.

Night hunting

Night fighter Ju 88 C with radar antennas in the Soviet Union (probably from NJG 100)
Ju 88 with radar antenna of FuG 202 "Lichtenstein"

The first British bombing raids at night on targets in Germany forced the Luftwaffe to set up night fighter units. In November 1940 the I./NJG 2 began to fly long-range night chases over eastern England in order to disrupt the operations of the RAF night bombers. Black painted Ju 88 C-2 and C-4, which did not yet have radar systems, were available for these missions. In October 1941 the long-distance night hunt over northern England was ended, the I./NJG 2 relocated to the Mediterranean. From October 1941 Ju 88-C-2 and C-4 night fighters of I./NJG 2 flew escorts for Mediterranean convoys and transport aircraft from airfields in Sicily.

The night-time bombing raids by the RAF, which began in 1942, required improved night hunting. Ju 88 C-6 were used as Nachtjäger and with the now in the form of the radio measuring device FuG 212 Lichtenstein C available radar technology equipped. The machines operating in the Mediterranean were also ordered back and placed under the defense of the empire.

Compared with the second widespread twin-engine night fighter, the BF 110 , the Ju 88 had the advantage of greater range and flight duration at the same speed and poor maneuverability. Therefore it was well suited for night chase: the ground penetrating radar guided it into the bomber stream and then used the on-board radar to search for its targets.

Last variant of the Ju-88 night fighter with fully disguised radar FuG 240 " Berlin "

On May 9, 1943, the Ju 88 R-1 D5 + EV, WNr 360043, took off from Kristiansand, Norway, and landed at the RAF base Dyce (today Aberdeen International Airport ) under unexplained circumstances . This machine of IV./NJG 3 was equipped with the radio measuring device FuG 202 Lichtenstein B / C. Investigating this enabled RAF technicians to develop effective jamming measures against the German radar.

Ju-88 night fighters expect to be scrapped after the end of the war

Conversely, a test model of an H2S radar was recovered from a British bomber that crashed near Rotterdam on February 3, 1943 . After examining the “Rotterdam device” , German technicians developed the passive FuG 350 “Naxos” , which responded to the waves of the H2S and led the night fighters directly to the bombers equipped with it. The FuG 227 "Flensburg" was also constructed, which targeted the British "Monica" rear warning radar. The RAF's losses increased. When on July 13, 1944 the Ju 88 G-1 4R + UR of the 7./NJG 2 - equipped with the night hunting devices FuG 350 Z, FuG 227 and the previously undisturbed FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN 2 - landed on the British base in Woodbridge , the RAF recognized how the night fighters were tracking the bombers and took countermeasures.

The latest generation of the four-engined British night bombers had become faster, the speed advantage of the Ju 88 C-6 was only slight at the end of 1943. An interim solution was the faster Ju 88 R-2, a real answer was then in mid-1944 the Ju 88 G-6 with the new on-board radar FuG 220 SN 2, which, however, was disrupted by the British from the end of 1944.

In the meantime, the night fighters had become the hunted: RAF long-distance night fighters of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito type, equipped with the most modern centimeter-wave radar systems, were hunting in the streams of bombers or lurking near the recognized air bases for landing machines.

In 1943 the night fighters Ju 88 and Bf 110 were also used during the day to defend the Reich. Their task was, among other things, to secure the borders outside the main entry routes of the Allied bomber streams in order to intercept scattered single planes on the return flight. Since the Luftwaffe tried to prevent the bombing of German cities at all costs, the night fighters were also used against bomber formations. During these unfamiliar missions, they suffered heavy losses and many of the crews specializing in night hunting were shot down. With the appearance of the USAAF escort fighters, casualties became too high and operations ceased.

Under the code name “Gisela Company”, parts of NJG 2, NJG 3, NJG 4 and NJG 5 started their last long-distance night hunt on the night of March 3rd and 4th, 1945. 99 to 142 Ju 88 G chased a formation of around 200 RAF bombers to their bases in England. Although radio silence was ordered during the operation, the RAF was aware of the preparations for the operation from decrypted reports. When the bombers landed, the Ju 88 dropped chaff to disrupt the British radar and shot down about 22 of the bombers. The losses suffered by the night fighters were unbearable: some Ju 88s hit the ground during the attacks at low altitude and shattered, at least three were shot down by British night fighters, others were lost on the return flight due to a technical defect or lack of fuel: 21 of the Ju 88s that had been launched did not return .

In the last months of the war, night hunting was hardly capable of meaningful operations: after the loss of France, the advance warning time from ground penetrating radar had become too short to direct the night fighters into interception position in good time, the RAF had perfected its radar jamming methods, and the lack of jet fuel made it impossible to use more than a small fraction of the machines available. In a desperate attempt to hinder the advancing Red Army , the Ju 88 G night fighters flew their last missions as night warplanes against ground targets in the east.

Mistletoe inserts

Piggyback designs were already in use in 1937 , for example the British Short Mayo flying boat with a float flying boat attached.

Based on an attempt by the German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS) from 1942, a combination of a Bf 109 E and a DFS-230 - Last glider developed by Dr.-Ing. Fritz Haber a team consisting of a Ju 88 A and a Bf 109 F. In this combination, also known as "father and son" or "Beethoven device", in which the smaller machine was placed on the back of the larger one with a braced bracket, the Bf 109 served as the lead aircraft, the Ju 88 as an unmanned explosives carrier. The pilot of the fighter should start the team, fly into the target area, steer towards the target, switch on the autopilot of the Ju 88, detach from the Ju 88 and return to the base. The Ju 88 was supposed to hold its course as a flying bomb with a 3600 kg warhead with more than 1000 kg of explosives instead of the pulpit and crash onto the ground or sea target.

The first enemy operation carried out the Kampfgeschwader 101 from Saint-Dizier on June 14, 1944 with an attack on the invasion fleet . The first victim of the mistletoe combination (Bf 109F / Ju 88) was Oberleutnant Albert Rheker. It was shot down by the crew of an RCAF aircraft - Mosquito MK XIII-0 - and hit southeast of Caen behind the German lines at 23:40 ; further attacks followed with more or less success.

After the operational combat squadron was disbanded, enough Ju-88 cells were soon available. However, brand new Ju-88-G night fighters and Fw 190 A were also made from mistletoe. At the end of 1944, 60 mistletoes were gathered in northern Denmark to strike the British Home Fleet in Scapa Flow - due to weather reasons, the operation did not take place. The planned use of 100 mistletoes against the Soviet armaments industry in March 1945, the so-called Eisenhammer company , did not take place: when the preparations were completed, the designated drop-off points were in the hands of the Red Army and the targets were thus out of reach. The 100 available mistletoe teams were now used in small groups to destroy bridges in order to stop the advance of the Allies. The missions were time-consuming and dependent on the weather, and, because of the long-lost superiority of the air, they were costly and often unsuccessful. Because of their high take-off weight of more than 16,000 kg, the teams needed concrete runways and could not operate from improvised places. Many of the "Beethoven devices", which are difficult to camouflage because of their size, were devastated by Allied fighter bombers.


Despite the powerful engines designed to carry large bombs and external loads, the flight characteristics were problematic if one engine failed: Continuing flight with one engine was only possible with a weight of less than 10,500 kg. In order to achieve this value, the fuselage tanks had to be emptied using the quick release valves and the bombs had to be released in the emergency release. To reduce air resistance, the bomb locks under the wings could be blown off. Parts of the armor and defensive armament also had to be dropped. If the controllable pitch propeller of the defective engine could be brought into the sail position and the radiator flaps could be closed, the Ju 88 remained airworthy with one engine and thus reached 240 km / h - sufficient to maintain the flight altitude. In this case, however, turning in using the stationary engine was very difficult: the service instructions only allowed turning using the running engine for landing.


From 1943, larger numbers of the Ju 88 were exported.

Finland : 24 Ju 88 A-4s were ordered and delivered in March 1943. Italy: In the second quarter of 1943 Italy received 26 used Ju 88s from the stocks of the Commander-in-Chief South as well as 19 new A-4s and two A-7 training aircraft by the beginning of September 1943. 24 A-4s were ordered; they were not completely extradited because of the Cassibile armistice .

Version overview

Junkers Ju 88 D reconnaissance aircraft

Over 50 versions of the Ju-88 were built.

Ju 88 A

Junkers Ju 88A-1, Stab / KG 51 , June 1940

Horizontal and dive bombers with Jumo 211 engines

  • Ju 88 A-0: pre-series machine with Jumo 211 A or B
  • Ju 88 A-1: ​​Horizontal and dive bomber with Jumo 211 B or G and 18.25 m wingspan
  • Ju 88 A-2: Modification of the Ju 88 A-1 with special equipment for catapult launch.
  • Ju 88 A-3: converted from the A-1, unarmed training aircraft with dual controls
Junkers Ju 88 A-4
  • Ju 88 A-4: Further development of the Ju 88 A-1 with initially increased wingspan to 19.95 m, then to 20.08 m, reinforced defensive armament and more powerful Jumo 211 F or J engines and Junkers VS 11 - Propellers.
  • Ju 88 A-4 trop: A-4 with tropical equipment, later renamed A-11
  • Ju 88 A-5: Airframe and airframe of the A-4 with Jumo-211-B / G engines of the A-1; Construction in front of the A-4, as the more powerful Jumo 211 F / J were not yet available
  • Ju 88 A-6: Ju 88 A-5 with profile tube construction in front of the wings and nose as a blocking balloon deflector, therefore 30 km / h slower
  • Ju 88 A-6U: Sea remote sensing device with FuG-200-Hohentwiel ship search device (radar) , conversion of the still existing ineffective A-6
  • Ju 88 A-7: converted from A-5, unarmed training aircraft with dual controls
  • Ju 88 A-8: like A-5 but with reinforced profiles on the wing leading edges and nose as a blocking balloon deflector
  • Ju 88 A-9: like A-1, but with tropical equipment
  • Ju 88 A-10: like A-5, but with tropical equipment
  • Ju 88 A-11: like A-4, but with tropical equipment
  • Ju 88 A-12: Training aircraft with double controls, serial conversion from the A-5, whereby the cabin was widened, no floor pan
  • Ju 88 A-13: Attack aircraft derived from A-4, without dive brakes, with reinforced armor and cluster bomb system
  • Ju 88 A-14: like A-4 but with reinforced profiles on the wing leading edge and nose as a blocking balloon deflector, also called A-4 cuto
  • Ju 88 A-15: Bomber with wooden bomb tray without bottom tray, 3,000 kg bombs
  • Ju 88 A-16: trainer aircraft converted from the A-4
  • Ju 88 A-17: torpedo bomber derived from A-4 without a floor pan and dive brakes

Ju 88 B

Further development of the Ju 88 A with a new, fully glazed pulpit and BMW 801 engines, prototype of the Ju 188

  • Ju 88 V 27

D-AWLN, model aircraft for B-series.

  • Ju 88 B-0: experimental bomber, only ten machines built
  • Ju 88 B-1: only dummy construction
  • Ju 88 V 25: model aircraft for B-3 (destroyer), only one machine built.
  • Ju 88 B-3: Destroyer version with two BMW 801 engines. Three MG 17s and one MG 151 were rigidly installed in the full-view cockpit . The B stand was equipped with a movable MG 81  Z (Z = 'two-way'), as was the C stand. Rb 50/30 or 20/30 series imaging devices could be carried along for educational purposes.

Ju 88 C

Heavy fighter / destroyer and night fighter without dive brakes developed from the Ju 88 A

  • Ju 88 C-1: Destroyer aircraft, developed from the Ju 88 A-1. Rigid armament in the glass bow: one 15 mm MG 151 and three 7.92 mm MG 17 . 20 machines converted from A-1.
  • Ju 88 C-2: Destroyer and night fighter / long-range night fighter without radar system, only modifications from A-5. Rigid armament in the metal bow: One MG FF / M and three MG 17. Defensive armament like A-5. As a night fighter, two MG FF / Ms in the floor pan, then no MG 15 in the C-stand.
  • Ju 88 C-3: like C-2, but BMW 801, no series production
  • Ju 88 C-4: similar to C-2, but both new and converted from A-5
  • Ju 88 C-5: fast destroyer with powerful BMW 801 engines, without a aerodynamically unfavorable floor pan, but with a small gun pan with two MG 17s under the front cargo area. 570 km / h at 5000 m. Only about ten machines were converted because the BMW engines were needed for other types such as the Fw 190 A.
  • Ju 88 C-6: destroyer and night fighter based on A-4. Offensive armament like C-2, defensive armament like A-4. When deployed at night like the C-4, two additional MG FF / Ms in the floor pan and no MG 81Z in the C-stand, later often two 20 mm MG 151/20 as weird music . As a night fighter with FuG-202, FuG-212 or FuG-220 radar system.
  • Ju 88 C-7: Project, according to the odd model number, with BMW engines, possibly built as Ju 88R. Often mentioned in the literature with widely differing specifications.

Ju 88 D

A-series reconnaissance aircraft with camera equipment, without dive brakes, up to 5,000 km range with 5380 l fuel (3580 l + two 900 l drop tanks)

  • Ju 88 D-1: remote sensing, developed from A-4, Jumo 211 J
  • Ju 88 D-2: remote sensing, developed from A-5, Jumo 211 B or G
  • Ju 88 D-3: tropical version of the D-1, also D-1 trop
  • Ju 88 D-4: tropical version of the D-2, also D-2 trop
  • Ju 88 D-5: like D-1, but VDM metal propeller
  • Ju 88 D-6: like D-1 and D-2, but with a BMW 801, top speed approx. 560 km / h after removing the floor pan

Ju 88 E

similar to the Ju 88 B, with BMW 801 ML, renamed Ju 188 E.

Ju 88 F

similar to the Ju 88 E, with BMW 801 ML, renamed Ju 188 F.

Ju 88 G

The first version designed purely as a night fighter, powered by BMW 801 or Jumo 213 engines and the larger vertical stabilizer of the Ju 188 . The forward armament, four MG 151/20 firing rigidly forward, was housed in a low-drag weapon tray in the front bomb compartment, the aerodynamically unfavorable floor tray under the cockpit was omitted. 500 l additional tank in the front bomb room above the weapon tray.

  • Ju 88 G-1: BMW 801 G-2 engines with 1700 HP takeoff power each, 680-liter additional tank or ten 50-kg bombs in the rear bomb room possible
  • Ju 88 G-6: Junkers Jumo-213-A-1 engines with 1750 HP takeoff power each, 1000 l additional tank instead of the rear bomb compartment
  • Ju 88 G-7: like G-6, but Jumo-213-E elevation engines with 1750 HP takeoff power each and wings of the Ju 188 with 22 m wingspan. With Morgenstern radar, disguised in the fuselage bow. Two prototypes were finally assembled in January 1945 (V112 and V113), but probably no longer flown.

Ju 88 H

Long-range fighters and reconnaissance aircraft, for use at sea, extended cell, BMW 801.

  • Ju 88 H-1: from the Ju 88 A-4 converted long-range reconnaissance aircraft with ship search radar for use over the Atlantic. The hull was lengthened to 17.88 m (according to other sources to 17.55 m) in order to accommodate two additional range containers of 1220 l each. This increased the maximum fuel quantity from 3,580 liters to 6,020 liters. In addition, one or even two 900-liter drop tanks could be carried. The take-off weight increased to 15,350 kg, so a reinforced landing gear was necessary. Fully fueled, without the possibility of carrying additional payload, flights of up to 4800 km at 380–400 km / h are said to have been achieved. Probably only eight machines were built, which were quickly lost because of the Allied air superiority.
  • Ju 88 H-2: "Atlantic destroyer" built according to the same concept as a long-range fighter to combat enemy submarine fighters. Probably only one model machine was built, the flight characteristics of which were unsatisfactory for destroyer use.

Ju 88 P

Tank fighter, later bomber destroyer, conversion of A-series bombers, with 3.7 cm, 5 cm or 7.5 cm cannon.

  • Ju 88 P-1: derived from the Ju 88 A-4, a 7.5 cm BK 7.5 on-board cannon under the fuselage. The load from the heavy weapon turned out to be too great for the machine.
  • Ju 88 P-2: derived from the Ju 88 A-4, two 3.7 cm BK 3.7 on-board cannons under the fuselage. The Ju 87 and Hs 129 machines equipped with the same weapon proved to be more suitable for fighting tanks at low altitude. A Ju 88 P-2 was tested as a night fighter: it received two limited pivoting 3 cm MK 103 cannons and a radar. This machine was probably used on the NJG 10, but has not proven itself.
  • Ju 88 P-3: like Ju 88 P-2, but with reinforced armor and Jumo 211 P; only a small series was used on the eastern front.
  • Ju 88 P-4: like Ju 88 P-3, but with BK 5 under the fuselage, developed from the 5 cm KwK 39. Probably 32 machines from Ju 88 A-4 were converted and used with some success for tank hunting on the Eastern Front. Test missions against four-engine bombers failed because the Ju 88 could not prevail against the Allied escort fighters.

Ju 88 R

Improved destroyer or night fighter with BMW 801 engines developed from the cell of the Ju 88 C.

  • Ju 88 R-1: original designation Ju 88 C-4 / R1; like C-4, but engine system BMW 801 ML with 2 × 1560 HP takeoff power in 0 m, as a night fighter with FuG 212
  • Ju 88 R-2: original name Ju 88 C-6 / R2; like C-6, but engine system BMW 801 TP with 2 × 1700 HP takeoff power in 0 m, as a night fighter with FuG 212 or FuG 220

Ju 88 S

High-speed bomber with a streamlined glass nose and without a floor pan, only a 13 mm MG 131 as defensive armament. The machine was intended for use over England and the Western Front; however, the promising speed in 1943 was no longer sufficient to avoid enemy fighters in 1944. At the same time, the jet engine technology was ready for series production, so only a small series of Ju 88 S were produced before the much faster Arado Ar 234 with air jet engines of the Jumo 004 type was used as a high-speed bomber.

  • Ju 88 S-1: BMW 801 G-2 with GM-1 system, maximum speed without bomb load approx. 600 km / h in 6000 m, with GM-1 approx. 610 km / h in 8000 m, available from autumn 1943
  • Ju 88 S-2: instead of GM-1 with engine system BMW 801 TJ with turbo charger, without GM-1 system, available from spring 1944
  • Ju 88 S-3: Jumo 213 A with GM-1 system, maximum speed without bomb load approx. 600 km / h in 6000 m, with GM-1 approx. 615 km / h in 9000 m, few machines available from late summer 1944

Ju 88 T

fast reconnaissance aircraft, derived from the Ju 88 S. Only a few machines were built, which were soon replaced by the faster Arado Ar 234 .

  • Ju 88 T-1 with BMW 801 G
  • Ju 88 T-3 with Jumo 213


The mistletoe (official code name: Beethoven) was also called father and son or piggyback. From mid-1944 about 250 Ju-88 cells were converted into unmanned flying bombs, which were to be steered towards the target by an attached guide machine. Shortly before the finish line, both machines should separate. The Ju 88 loaded with explosives was then supposed to crash into the target with the help of the automatic course control while the lead aircraft returned to the base.

  • Mistletoe M1 Ju 88 A-4 and Bf 109 F-4
  • Mistletoe M2 Ju 88 G-1 and Fw 190 A-6
  • Mistletoe M3A Ju 88 G-10 and Fw 190 F-8
  • Mistletoe M3B Ju 88 H-4 and Fw 190 A-8
  • Mistletoe M3C Ju 88 H-4 (the cockpit was replaced by a warhead with a shaped charge) and Fw 190 A-8
  • Mistletoe M4 Ju 188 and Me 262 (only planned)
  • Mistletoe M5 Ju 88 G-7 and Ta 152 H (trial only)


In addition, there were countless modifications. For example, armament was generally increased on the Eastern Front, although there was no uniform scheme.

Further developments

  • Ju 188 : Further development of the Ju 88 A with a BMW 801 or Jumo 213, fully glazed cockpit and larger wingspan, initially called the Ju 88 B. Over 1000 Ju 188s were built
  • Ju 288 : Junkers' contribution to the so-called Bomber B program. The required engines of the 2500, later the 3000 hp class, especially the Jumo 222, were never available. Therefore, the program was a total failure, which forced the further development and use of the types He 111, Do 217 and Ju 88 until 1945.
  • Ju 388 : Further development as a bomber / reconnaissance / night fighter for great heights. Only a few Ju 388s were still being made towards the end of the war.
  • Ju 488 : four-engined heavy bomber, project only


Cockpit of a Junkers Ju 88D

In the bomber version, the crew normally consisted of four men, in the destroyer / night fighter it was three men.


In contrast to previous bombers of the German Air Force such as the He 111, the Ju 88 was designed as a "pilot aircraft" in which the pilot commanded the aircraft and in principle could fly the aircraft alone. The pilot sat in an armored seat in the front left of the cockpit. Through the glazed cockpit he could look almost straight down, which was especially important before the attack. The control elements were designed to be very user-friendly for the time, for example the levers all had differently shaped handles so that they could be distinguished without looking. The pilot was usually also the commander of the machine, but this task could also be performed by the observer. In the German Air Force there were not only officers as pilots, but also NCOs and crew ranks. (For example, the flight engineer Carl Francke was only a private when he led the attack on the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal in September 1939 ). The pilot not only flew the aircraft, but was also responsible for aiming and dropping the bombs during the fall attack.


The observer was sitting on an unarmored folding seat to the right of the pilot . In previous bombers the observer was often the officer and commander of the aircraft. In the Ju 88, however, the observer was often only responsible for navigation. During the horizontal attack , he operated the plummet bomb targeting device (plumb telescope) and set off the bombs. He also used the forward-pointing machine gun, unless this was used as a rigid weapon with a special locking mechanism. In the case of the night fighter planes, he searched the airspace for enemy night fighters while the radio operator operated the radio measuring device.

Radio operator

The radio operator sat with his back to the pilot and operated the radio equipment that was built into the rear wall of the cockpit. He was not only responsible for communication, but also for navigation using radio direction finding. He used one of the two rear-facing machine guns when attacking the hunter, the other being used by the observer. In the case of the night fighter planes equipped with radio measuring devices, the radio operator guided the pilot to the target until visual contact.


The gunner was in the most uncomfortable position. He usually lay on his stomach for the entire flight in the ground mount ("bola") and operated the most important defense weapon, the machine gun pointing downwards. During the bombing raid, it was also his job to observe whether the bombs had hit and often to take photos with a camera he was carrying. He also had the function of an on-board mechanic. Since the least amount of training was required for this function, “unskilled” gunmen often flew with them as “guests”, such as ground staff, war correspondents or stage officers, who thus came to the front allowance. The gunner was omitted in the fighter versions, and the observer was also omitted in some versions without a ground mount.

Technical specifications

Side elevation of the Ju 88A

Ju 88 A-1 (1940)

  • Purpose: dive bomber
  • Span : 18.25 m
  • Length: 14.36 m
  • Height: 4.85 m
  • Wing area: 52.5 m²
  • Powerplant: two Junkers V12 engines Jumo 211 B-1 , each with 1,175 hp takeoff power
  • Fuel: four tanks in the wings with a total of 1680 l, optionally - instead of the bombs carried inside - one tank in the front cargo area with 1,220 l and 1 tank 680 l in the rear cargo area = maximum 3580 l
  • Top speed: 460 km / h in 5500 m, without bomb load
  • Service ceiling : 7500 m without bomb load
  • Range : 2030 km with 3580 liters of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks
  • Takeoff weight: up to 12450 kg
  • Crew: four
  • Armament:
    • an MG 15 machine gun in the cockpit, partially mobile, firing forward
    • a MG 15 in the rear cockpit, moving backwards and firing upwards
    • a MG 15 in the floor pan, moving downwards and firing
  • Bomb load up to 2,400 kg
    • internal bomb load up to 1400 kg (28 × 50 kg SC 50 bombs)
    • external bomb load up to 2000 kg (4 × 500 kg bombs of the SC 500 type)
    • two ETC 500 / IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one 250 to 1000 kg each bomb or LMA / LMB air mine , or two ETC 500/1000 XI, 250 to 1800 kg each
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one bomb each 250 to 500 kg
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the outer wings, one 250 kg bomb each on later models

Ju 88 A-5 (1940-1941)

  • Purpose: dive bomber
  • Span: 20.08 m, partly also 19.95 m
  • Length: 14.36 m
  • Height: 4.85 m
  • Wing area: 54.7 m²
  • Powerplant: two Junkers V12 engines Jumo 211 B-1 / G-1 , each with 1200 HP take-off power
  • Fuel: four tanks in the wings with a total of 1680 l, optionally - instead of the bombs carried inside - a tank in the front cargo area with 1,220 l and a tank with 680 l in the rear cargo area = maximum 3580 l
  • Top speed: 460 km / h in 5500 m, without bomb load
  • Service ceiling: 7500 m without bomb load
  • Range: 2030 km with 3580 liters of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks
  • All-up weight: 12450 kg
  • Crew: four
  • Armament:
    • an MG 15 machine gun in the cockpit, partially mobile, firing forward
    • two MG 15 machine guns in the rear cockpit, firing backwards and upwards
    • an MG 15 machine gun in the floor pan, firing movable downwards to the rear
  • Bomb load up to 2400 kg
    • internal bomb load up to 1,400 kg (28 × 50 kg bombs of the SC 50 type)
    • external bomb load up to 2,000 kg (4 × 500 kg bombs of the SC 500 type)
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one 250 to 1000 kg each bomb or LMA / LMB air mine, or two ETC 500/1000 XI, 250 to 1800 kg each
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one bomb each 250 to 500 kg
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the outer wings, one 250 kg bomb each

Ju 88 A-4 (1941-1944)

  • Purpose: dive bomber
  • Span: 20.08 m
  • Length: 14.36 m
  • Height: 4.85 m
  • Wing area: 54.7 m²
  • Powerplant: two Junkers V12 engines Jumo 211 J with 1420 HP takeoff power each, or two Jumo 211 F-2 with 1350 HP takeoff power each
  • Fuel: four tanks in the wings with a total of 1680 l, optionally - instead of the bombs carried inside - one tank in the front cargo area with 1220 l and 1 tank 680 l in the rear cargo area = maximum 3580 l
  • Top speed: 500 km / h without bomb load
  • Service ceiling: 7500 m without bomb load
  • Range: 2030 km with 3,580 liters of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks and two SD-1000 bombs under the surfaces; 3150 km with 3580 liters of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks as well as a 900-liter drop tank and an SC-500 bomb.
  • Max. Takeoff weight (overload): 13,750 kg, with start-up rockets 14,000 kg
  • Crew: four men
  • Armament:
    • an MG 81 machine gun (7.92 mm) in the cockpit, partially mobile, firing forward
    • two machine guns MG 81 or one MG 131 (13 mm) in the rear cockpit, firing backwards and upwards
    • a twin MG 81 Z machine gun in the floor pan, movable and firing downwards to the rear
  • Bomb load up to 3000 kg
    • internal bomb load up to 1400 kg (28 × 50 kg SC 50 bombs)
    • external bomb load up to 3000 kg (two SC 1000 and two SC 500 or six SC 500)
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one 250 to 1000 kg each bomb or LMA / LMB air mine, or two ETC 500/1000 XI, 250 to 1800 kg each
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the inner wings, one bomb each 250 to 500 kg
    • two ETC 500 IXd bomb locks under the outer wings, one bomb each 250 to 500 kg

Ju 88 B-0 (1940)

  • Only ten pre-series models built, prototype of the later Ju 188
  • Span: 20.08 m
  • Length: 14.45 m
  • Height: 4.45 m
  • Wing area: 54.7 m²
  • Powerplant: two 14-cylinder double radial engines BMW 801 A or B with 1560 HP take-off power each or two Jumo 213 A with 1600 HP take-off power each
  • Top speed: 540 km / h
  • Service ceiling: 9050 m
  • Range: 2850 km
  • All-up weight: 12470 kg
  • Crew: four men
  • Armament:
    • three MG 81 Z twin machine guns
    • up to 2500 kg bomb load

Ju 88 C-6 (1942-1944)

Purpose: night fighter / heavy fighter (destroyer)

  • Span: 20.08 m
  • Length: 14.36 m
  • Height: 4.85 m
  • Wing area: 54.7 m²
  • Wing loading at take-off weight: 191 kg / m², up to 234 kg / m² for overload
  • Wing loading at landing weight: 170 kg / m²
  • Powerplant: two Junkers V12 Jumo 211 J engines, each with 1,420 hp starting power
  • Takeoff weight: 10,490 kg with 1,680 l in the flat tanks, 11,390 kg with a 1220 l range container in the front cargo area, in the event of an overload with 1,220 l + 680 l + a dropping 900 l tank 12,830 kg.
  • Fuel: four tanks in the wings with a total of 1680 l and a tank in the front cargo hold with 1220 l = 2900 l, optionally, instead of the bombs or the oblique weapons, another 680 l tank in the rear cargo hold
  • Crew three men
  • Maximum speed in emergency service: approx. 500 km / h at 5000 m full pressure altitude
  • Speed ​​when climbing: approx. 480 km / h in 5 km, approx. 460 km / h in 5 km with SN2 radar antenna, approx. 445 km / h in 5 km with SN2 and flame suppressor on the exhaust
  • Summit height: 8000 m
  • Gradeability: 540 m / min
  • Range: 2300 km with 3580 liters of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks
  • Armament as a heavy fighter / destroyer
a 20 mm MG FF / M cannon and three MG 17 machine guns in the bow of the fuselage
two movable MG 81 or one MG 131 firing backwards for defense
a movable MG 81 Z for defense to the rear down

ten SC-50 bombs in the rear cargo hold as makeshift bombers

  • Armament as a night fighter:
one 20 mm MG FF / M cannon and three MG 17 in the nose of the fuselage
two 20 mm MG-FF / M cannons in the floor pan
from 1943 often two rigid 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the rear cargo area, firing ~ 75 ° forward and upwards as ( Schrämer Musik )
two movable MG 81 or one MG 131 firing backwards for defense
ten SC50 bombs in the rear bomb bay as makeshift bombers
  • Radar system of the night fighter Ju 88 C-6:
FuG 202 Lichtenstein B / C (late 1942), FuG 212 Lichtenstein C1 (mid / late 1943), FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN2 (early 1944)
FuG 350 Naxos-Z as a passive radar receiver

Ju 88 G-6 (1944-1945)

  • Purpose: night fighter
  • Length: 14.36
  • Height: 4.85 m
  • Span: 20.08 m
  • Wing area: 54.7 m²
  • Wing loading: 227 kg / m²
  • Powerplant: two Junkers Jumo 213 A-1 engines with 1750 hp each
  • Fuel: four tanks in the wings with a total of 1680 l and one tank in the front cargo hold with 475 l = 2155 l, with angled weapons set to the rear, another 680 l tank in the rear cargo hold
  • Top speed: 625 km / h in 5 km, without flame suppressors and radar antenna
  • Top speed: 580 km / h in 5 km, with flame suppressor and radar antenna
  • Summit height: 10,000 m
  • Gradeability: 500 m / min
  • Range: about 1700 km with 2835 l of fuel in the wings and fuselage tanks
  • Takeoff weight: 12,400 kg
  • Armament:
four 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in a weapon tray under the fuselage, firing rigidly forward
two rigid 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the rear cargo hold, firing ~ 75 ° forward and upwards as weird music
a MG 131 in the rear cockpit for defense, mobile, firing backwards and upwards
  • Radar (active):
FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN2 (standard), possibly some with FuG 228 Lichtenstein SN3 (late / very rare) or
FuG 218 Neptun V / R with reverse warning of enemy night fighters
very late models with FuG 240 Berlin (April / May 1945, about 30 built / converted)
  • Radar (passive):
FuG 350 Naxos-Z for locating H2S emissions
FuG 227 Flensburg for locating Monica radar emissions

Preserved machines

After the Allies' victory, the Ju 88s, mainly night fighters in 1945, were of no interest to the victors and were quickly scrapped - in contrast to the jet aircraft (see Messerschmitt Me 262 , Horten H IX ), many of which were destined for the USA, the USSR and beyond Great Britain evacuated and studied there.

For years there were only two surviving museum specimens: a Ju 88 D reconnaissance aircraft of the Romanian Air Force in the US Air Force Museum in Dayton (Ohio) and a Ju 88 R in the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon Airfield . Both machines fell intact into the hands of the Allies during the war. In the 1990s, some Ju 88s were salvaged from lakes and tundra in Norway and Russia , so that the total number of surviving machines is almost a dozen today, about half of which have already been restored.

In Germany there is a Ju 88 A in the Auto and Technology Museum in Sinsheim . During the restoration of this machine, missing parts were added as mock-ups, although unfortunately the proportions of the front part of the fuselage and the cabin were not successful. In addition, she received the fantasy mark HH + 4V.

The German Museum of Technology Berlin can be seen a Ju 88. It was assembled from parts of a Ju 88 A from Norway and a Ju 88 G recovered from Lake Balaton . On March 23, 2007, a specimen for the Museum of the Greek Air Force was recovered in Larissa Bay .

On June 15, 2012, a Bundeswehr spokesman confirmed that an aircraft wreck recovered from the Baltic Sea off the island of Rügen was not a Ju 87 , as originally suspected , but rather a Ju 88.


  • Hans-Jürgen Becker: Airplanes and helicopters of the Air Force, the Army and the Navy: 1933–1945. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-613-02524-8 .
  • Lutz Budraß : Entrepreneur under National Socialism. The "special representative of Field Marshal Göring for the production of the Ju 88". In: Werner Plumpe , Christian Kleinschmidt (Ed.): Companies between market and power. Aspects of German corporate and industrial history in the 20th century (= Bochum writings on corporate and industrial history, Volume 1). Klartext, Essen 1992, ISBN 3-88474-006-7 , pp. 74-89.
  • Roderich Cescotti : The German aviation - combat aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft. Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1989, ISBN 3-7637-5294-3 .
  • Helmut Erfurth: From the original to the model - Junkers Ju 88. Bernard & Graefe, ISBN 3-7637-6014-8 .
  • Olaf Groehler : History of the Air War 1910 to 1980. Military publishing house of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1981.
  • Friedrich König: The History of the Air Force. Rastatt 1980.
  • Rüdiger Kosin: The German aviation - The development of the German fighter aircraft. Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1990, ISBN 3-7637-6100-4 .
  • Sönke Neitzel : The use of the German air force over the Atlantic and the North Sea 1939–1945. Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 1995, ISBN 3-7637-5938-7 .
  • Krzysztof Janowicz: Junkers Ju 88 Vol. 1-3. Kagero, ISBN 83-89088-59-2 .
  • PW Stahl : Fighter aircraft between the Arctic Ocean and the Sahara. Motorbuch Verlag ISBN 3-87943-253-8 .
  • Wolfgang Wagner: Hugo Junkers aviation pioneer - his aircraft. From the series: German aviation. Volume 24, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-7637-6112-8 .


  • Airplane manual Junkers Ju 88 A-4 D (air) T 2088 A-4 (1942)
  • Airplane manual Junkers Ju 88 C-6 D (air) T 2088 C-6 (1942)
  • Airplane manual Junkers Ju 88 S-1 D (air) T 2088 S-1 (1944)

See also

Web links

Commons : Junkers Ju 88  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c BA / MA Freiburg, inventory RL 3, production programs
  2. Holger Lorenz: Junkers Ju 88. Part 1: V-pattern up to the A-5. In: Flugzeug Classic Extra , Geramond 2020, ISSN  2194-7120 , p. 11ff.
  3. cf. Ernst König: The History of the Air Force. Rastatt 1980, p. 148.
  4. Wolfgang Wagner: Hugo Junkers pioneer of aviation - his aircraft. From the series: German aviation. Volume 24, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-7637-6112-8 .
  5. www.architekten-portrait.de - Godber Nissen
  6. ^ Württembergische Landesbibliothek: Seekrieg 1940 , accessed on July 19, 2010
  7. Jürgen Rohwer , Gerhard Hümmelchen : Chronik des Maritime War 1939–1945, May 1942 , accessed on September 15, 2014
  8. RIA Novosti archive, image # 461 / Knorring / CC-BY-SA 3.0
  9. Service book Oblt. Albert Rheker
  10. Junkers Monthly Reports, National Archives , Washington, Reel T177
  11. Manfred Griehl: Night and Mosquito Hunters Ju 88 G-7. AIRPLANE No. 6, 1991, p. 20.
  12. Operating instructions for Lotfernrohr 7C (PDF; 5.4 MB)
  13. www.tagesspiegel.de
  14. http://www.spiegel.tv/