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Junkers Ju-88

The Junkers Ju-88 is said to have been the second most versatile aircraft of the war, just after the British Mosquito. It was designed in 1935 as a replacement for the He-111 and Do-17. It was a sleek design which utilized two powerful inline engines which actually looked like radial engines. The crew was located in the front of the aircraft to allow for easier communication and better morale. The Ju-88 was armed with several 7.92mm macine guns that were manually operated. Two of these guns were in the upper rear of the crew compartment, one in the lower rear of the crew compartment, one in the nose, and one operated by the pilot. It was found, like all German bombers, to be vulnerable to fighter attack because of it's small defensive armament. Still, the 88 operated throughout the war as the main German bomber. Many versions of the 88 were developed, from nightfighter to guided bomb. The first nightfighter variant was the Ju-88C. The addition of nightfighting equipment added drag, thus an improved nightfighter version was developed. That was the Ju-88G. Like the Bf-110 nightfighters, it utilized the 'Lichtenstein' radar in the nose and the 'shrage Musik' armament of two 20mm cannons pointed upward. This was very effective because all the pilot had to do was sit under athe target bomber and blast away, usually aiming for the engines and fuel tanks. There were also many reconnaissance versions of the 88. The most unusual variant of the Ju-88 was that of a guided bomb. A warhead was fitted in the nose, either a Fw-190 or a Bf-109 was attached to the top, and the controls of the bomber were controlled by remote. The pilot sat in the fighter which sat on top of the Ju-88 and flew both planes to the target. When the pilot had the target lined up, he would disconnect his fighter from the bomber and guide the bomber into the target. This setup was used several times, mostly on the Eastern Front against bridges. It was a sad ending for the famous Ju-88.

The Ju-88 was a fine tactical bomber, but it didn't have the range, protection, or bomb carrying ability to be successful in the strategic bombing role, which the Germans often used it in. This example was captured and tested by the Americans.

This example is a speedy, late-war variant of the Ju-88. It has a smaller glass nosecone and less defensive armament.

These are early-war Ju-88s. They have the large glass nosecones and larger defensive armaments. The 'bug's eyes' machine gun positions can be seen on the rear of the canopy.