[Lone Sentry: WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"German Sub-Stratosphere Planes" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. intelligence report on German high-altitude aircraft was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 9, Oct. 8, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The German Air Force has devoted considerable attention to specialized high-altitude aircraft. Several years ago a two-engined monoplane built by Junkers broke the world's altitude record. Since then the Junkers concern has continued its experiments, taking out a number of patents on devices in connection with sub-stratospheric flying.

Development of the German high altitude plane is exemplified by the Ju-86, P1 and P2 types. Both of these planes, the former a bomber and the latter a reconnaissance plane, follow the proven Junkers Ju-86 design, being two-engined, low-wing, all-metal monoplanes fitted with the typical "double wing" flaps and ailerons, but having twin fins and rudders.

Both types have a clear-visioned, transparent, short-nosed cabin. In appearance they are somewhat similar to the Ju-88 and at high altitudes have been mistaken for this plane.

The Ju-86 P types are powered with two Junkers Diesel Jumo 207 A/1 liquid-cooled engines of approximately 1,000 horsepower each. The structure of these planes is quite light, particularly as to the wings, and pilots are therefore prohibited from stunting them or pulling quickly out of dives.

These planes are fitted with sealed pressure cabins housing the pilot and one observer or bomber. Within the heated and oxygen-equipped cabin the air pressure is controlled by a contact altimeter which automatically maintains inside pressure conditions equivalent to an approximate altitude range of 10,000 to 11,500 feet.

If, owing to leaks or other causes, the cabin pressure falls or rises beyond either of the above limits, the pilot is warned by means of a light signal above the altimeter and the sounding of a horn.

The pilot and his observer or bomber wear extra-heavy flying suits and gloves. For bailing out at high altitudes, parachutes are generally provided with oxygen-breathing apparatus. If, however, this equipment is lacking the crew are instructed to make a "free fall" and not to open their parachutes until reaching an altitude of about 13,000 feet.

The speed of the Ju-86 P types is estimated to be approximately 220 mph up to 20,000 feet and approximately 185 mph above this altitude. Ranges of 1,400 to 1,750 miles are believed possible.

While no definite ceiling has been established, it is thought that the Ju-P1 is able to attain an altitude of approximately 39,300 feet with full bomb load, and that the Ju-P2 can reach a considerably higher altitude. Very recently an aircraft believed to be a Ju-86 P2 was intercepted at approximately 43,000 feet altitude.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Web LoneSentry.com