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"The Junkers (Ju) 88" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   Intelligence report on the Luftwaffe's Junkers Ju88 bomber, from the U.S. Intelligence Bulletin, December 1942.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy tactics and equipment published for Allied soldiers. In most cases, more accurate data is available in postwar publications.]



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 purpose.

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 Ju88, German Luftwaffe bomber and fighter]
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.

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