The name Junkers (Ju) 88 denotes one of the most widely used types of
aircraft in the German Air Force, and should be thought of as applying
to a whole family of airplanes. Each model is adapted for a specific
The Ju 88 is a cantilever low-wing, twin-engine monoplane, which was primarily
designed as a bomber. For its size and wing load, the plane is regarded as
highly maneuverable. Its controls are light and positive, and it can take
quite violent action, even at the end of a dive. Except for the use of short
or long wing-spans, the basic construction of the Ju 88 has not been changed
since it first came out. Succeeding types, designated by series and numbers
(for example, A1, A2, B1, and so on) now total 28 or more improved, specialized models.
The "A" series alone comprises 13 or more types, of which 9 are used primarily
for bombing. Three types in this series are equipped with balloon-destroying
apparatus. There are two trainer types, one with a short wing-span and the
other with a long wing-span. Two tropical bombers and a plane which may be
equipped with skis also belong to this series.
|Junkers (Ju) 88.|
The planes of the "B" and "C" series are essentially fighters, while the
"D" series aircraft are used principally for reconnaissance and photographic
missions at high altitudes. Some planes of these groups are equipped with
mechanisms for rocket-assisted take-off. Bombers and reconnaissance types may be
adapted for long ranges by the addition of detachable or auxiliary fuel tanks.
Apparently there is no standard practice as to the number, type, or placement
of armament, since each type has different requirements. All aircraft have
armor protection, but the low-level attack planes are especially protected
from ground fire.
Machine guns are usually found in the nose, on top, and at the beam positions, but
may also be found in the belly of the plane. Most machine guns are of the
7.9-mm (approximately .31 caliber) flexible type, but heavier
guns, both fixed and flexible, and 20-mm cannons have also been used.
While the normal bomb load is believed to be more than 2,200 pounds, over
6,000 pounds may be carried by sacrificing fuel reserves or other
weight. Torpedoes and mines have also been used instead of bombs.
The average crew of a Ju 88 consists of three or four men; however, only
two men usually serve on the fighter type.
The Ju 88 bomber is encountered in every theater of operation and under all climatic
conditions. These planes often constitute the backbone of German bombing assaults, as
was particularly the ease in the intense and prolonged attack on Malta early this year.