Cabin of a Junkers Ju 88a1 Bomber Aircraft, Germany

Cabin of a Junkers Ju 88a1 Bomber Aircraft Technical Specifications

  • Crew – 4 people
  • Engine-Jumo 211 In-1
  • Power-1200 hp
  • Wingspan-18.4 m
  • The wing area is 52.5 sq. m
  • Empty aircraft weight-7700 kg
  • Maximum take-off weight-10,400 kg
  • Maximum speed at altitude/near the ground-450 / 350 km / h
  • Practical ceiling – 9800 m
  • Maximum range-1690 km
  • Armament: 3×7. 92 mm MG 15 machine guns
  • Maximum bomb load – 2400 kg.

Ju 88a1 Bomber Aircraft Details

The German Junkers Ju 88 medium bomber is one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War. This aircraft was created as one of the most important tools for conducting the German “lightning” war (blitzkrieg).

In October 1935, the German Air Ministry issued a technical specification to Junkers Flugzeug-und Motorenwerke AG for the development of a high-speed twin-engine bomber with a crew of three. The aircraft was supposed to reach a maximum flight speed of 500 km / h and carry a bomb load of 500 kg for a range of up to 2000 km. It was assumed that its defensive armament would consist of two 7.92-mm machine guns, one fixed-in the nose of the fuselage and one turret-in the cockpit. All work on the creation of a new bomber was carried out by Junkers designers under the leadership of E. Zindel.

The first flight of the Junkers Ju 88V1 bomber took place on December 15, 1936, but it entered service with the Luftwaffe only in September 1939. Its design was significantly improved over three years of operation, so the Junkers bomber had very high flight performance characteristics for its time. When designing it, the rich experience gained by Junkers designers in creating the Ju 86 and Ju 87 bombers was used. So, the fuselage of the Junkers Ju 88, by analogy with the Ju 87, was assembled from the upper and lower halves. In the front part of the fuselage there was a cabin covered with a lantern, where the entire crew of the aircraft was located: the pilot, the navigator-bombardier, the lower rear gunner and the radio operator gunner. Such placement of the crew made it possible to replace a retired crew member and provide mutual assistance. In the cockpit, armor protection was mounted, the total weight of which was approximately 110 kg: the pilot had an armored back made of six flat steel plates 4 -10 mm thick at the back, and an armored seat. The lower gunner, serving in the prone position a machine-gun mount mounted in a gondola under the fuselage, was located in an armored pallet consisting of separate 4-mm armored plates. In addition, another shield made of bulletproof armored glass was mounted above the machine gun. In front of the rear upper gunner (radio operator), who was located with his back to the pilot, a articulated composite 7-mm armored plate was installed. In the rear part of the gunner’s lantern, bullet-resistant armored glass 50 mm thick was mounted above the machine gun. To the right of the shooter, an additional 4-mm armor plate was attached to the folding side of the lantern, and his seat was protected by an armored cup assembled from five separate 5-mm plates. In the metal wing of the semi-coffered type, ailerons and slotted flaps were mounted on the rear plane. Cylindrical motor nacelles were attached to the wing’s power elements. In their front part, engines were installed, and behind them, the landing gear struts were removed in flight. Most of the production aircraft were equipped with Jumo-211 liquid-cooled engines of various modifications with capacities from 1200 to 1400 hp, but some Junkers Ju 88 aircraft also received DB-801 (1700 hp) and Jumo-213 (1750 hp) engines. Depending on the engine type, the maximum speed was between 470 and 570 km/h. Fuel reserves also depended on the modification of the aircraft. So, for the Ju 88A-5, they were 3580 liters, placed in four wing and two fuselage protected fuel tanks. The armament of the Ju 88 aircraft was constantly improved-from model to model. If the Junkers Ju 88A-1 serial bomber had three magazine-fed 7.92 mm MG 15 machine guns as defensive weapons, then the first experience of its combat use, obtained in the skies of England in 1940, showed that the fire power of the installed small arms was insufficient and it was poorly protected from enemy fighter attacks. Therefore, to strengthen the armament, four 7.92 mm MG 15 machine guns were additionally installed on the sides of the fuselage, designed to fire at the upper and lower parts of the rear hemisphere, and, in addition, another machine gun was designed to fire at the lower part of the front hemisphere. Thus, the German designers managed to achieve that the Junkers bomber of the Ju 88A-4 model (which received 7 firing points installed on the principle of the” fire hedgehog”) significantly reduced the non-bulletable space, especially on the sides. Along with the improved placement of weapons, this aircraft received new 7.92-mm MG 81 machine guns with belt power. However, the heavy losses during the fighting, which continued to be borne by German Junkers Ju 88 bombers, proved that these measures were clearly not enough. The installation of large-caliber artillery and small-arms aircraft weapons on enemy fighters and the strengthening of their armor required the installation of similar defensive weapons on the Ju 88. Therefore, in the Ju 88A-6 armament was strengthened – in the nose of the fuselage in the lower plane in a fixed installation mounted 15-mm heavy machine gun MG 151/15, and in the upper plane-on a mobile installation-13-mm machine gun MG 131. Even more powerful weapons were installed on the Ju 88C-4, which was intended for use as an attack aircraft, for example, three 20-mm Oerlikon MG FF guns and three 7.92-mm MG 17 machine guns were mounted in its bow, and it received two 7.92-mm MG 81 machine guns to fire at the upper part of the rear hemisphere. But even these weapons proved to be ineffective in the fight against armored vehicles, so soon various versions of the Ju 88 Junkers appeared, modified as “tank destroyers” (for example, the Ju 88 P – Panzerjager modification), and armed with 37-to 75-mm anti-tank guns suspended in ventral fairings. Bomber armament in Junkers Ju 88s weighing up to 2000 kg was placed both in the fuselage bomb bays and on external bomb racks. So, on the Junkers Ju 88A-5 bomber (which had fuel tanks mounted in the bomb bays), aerial bombs were suspended on four ETC-500/IX bomb holders or two 1000 bomb holders installed under the wing consoles, which made it possible to hang aerial bombs with a total weight of up to two tons: 4×500 kg; 4×250 kg; 1×1800 kg; 2×1000 kg and 2×500 kg. Since the Junkers Ju 88 aircraft fully corresponded to the concept of “lightning war”, it could carry out bombing both from horizontal flight and from a dive. Moreover, to ensure dive bombing, aerodynamic brakes (grilles) were mounted under the wing consoles, which were automatically deflected for entering and withdrawing from the dive, and equipment for automatic flight control during a dive. When bombing from horizontal flight, Lotfe-7a; Lotfe-7b; BZG-2L; BZG-2E or GV-219d sights were used, and dive bombing was carried out using BZA-1, Stuvi-5, Revi-c12 sights.

To ensure flights and combat use on Junkers bombers, the necessary radio-communication, navigation and sighting equipment was installed. For example, on the Ju 88A-5 bombers were installed: an onboard receiving and transmitting radio station FuGX; a direction finder ReilG-5; equipment for blind landing FuVl-1 and an on-board intercom EiV.

The first production version of the Junkers Ju 88A-1 bomber was put into production in 1939. In August of the same year, these aircraft entered the specially created aviation bomber group 1 / KG30, which a month later, on September 26, 1939, was first used to raid British ships. By the time of the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, seven groups of LG 1, KG30 and KG51 squadrons had already received Ju 88A bombers. They performed well in the defeat of France in May of the same year, and soon these aircraft took an active part in the “Battle of Britain”. Production of the Junkers Ju 88 at the Junkers Flugzeug – und Motorenwerke AG plants in Schoenebeck, Halberstadt, and Aschersleben had reached 300 vehicles per month by this time (50 of them in the form of spare parts), and to fulfill such a colossal order, 36 more major aircraft and engine-building plants were involved, as well as more than 3,500 supply companies.manufacturers of components.

In the summer of 1940, new production Ju 88B vehicles with more powerful VMW 801MA engines began to descend from the assembly line, which were used as long – range reconnaissance aircraft, and soon another version of the Junkers Ju 88C was developed, equipped with radar. It entered service with the group of long-range night fighters II / NJG 1, designed to repel night raids by British bombers on Germany. In the same year, the Ju 88D scout appears as part of long-range reconnaissance groups, which received in return weapons – automatic aerial cameras – Rb-50/30 for working at altitudes up to 8500 m and Rb -20/30 for working at altitudes below 2000 m. In addition, an additional fuel tank was installed in the front bomb bay of this model of aircraft and the air brakes were removed.

On June 22, 1941, 7 Luftwaffe bomber squadrons KG1, KG3, KG30, KG54, KG90, KG91 and KG92 participated in Operation Barbarossa, which included 493 Junkers Ju 88 bombers. High speed characteristics, good maneuverability and a large bomb load made it possible to use it to perform a variety of combat missions, and the high combat survivability of this aircraft was achieved by sealing and protecting fuel tanks, duplicating gas lines and steering rods. Just a month after the start of the war on the Eastern Front, in July 1941, 130 Junkers Ju 88 bombers from KG3 and KG54 made the first massive raid on Moscow.

Surpassing the other German Dornier Do-17 bombers in payload capacity and the Henkel He 111 in speed, the Junkers Ju 88 soon became the Luftwaffe’s most massive bomber. Along with the fighting on the Eastern Front, a large number of these aircraft from the KG26 and KG30 air bomber squadrons were used in 1941-1942 to attack Allied convoys in the Arctic, in total they sank 27 merchant ships and 7 warships. However, already in 1943, the Junkers Ju 88 was significantly inferior in speed not only to enemy fighters, but also to many other twin-engine bombers. By this time, the German aviation industry focused its main efforts on increasing the production of fighters and was no longer able to master the mass production of a new bomber. Therefore, the Junkers designers made a compromise: for the sake of increasing the speed in the new modification of the Ju 88S aircraft, they sacrificed other flight-technical qualities. The radically upgraded Junkers Ju 88S lost its air brakes and automatic entry and exit from a dive and could only be used for horizontal strikes. Its crew was reduced to three people; only one 13-mm MG 131 machine gun remained for firing back; all armor was removed, except for the pilot’s armor plate and the air gunner’s armor glass.

To improve aerodynamics, the flat glass panels of the nose, which do not give optical distortion, were replaced with streamlined double-curvature windows and external bomb holders were eliminated. On the internal suspension could be mounted 18 bombs of 50 kg caliber. The Ju 88S received more powerful VMW 801 engines with a nitrous oxide injection system to boost power at altitude. As a result, the weight of the empty aircraft decreased from 9870 to 8290 kg, and the maximum speed increased to 545 km/h (with afterburner – up to 605 km/h).

Constantly improving the design of this aircraft, strengthening the armament and installing new avionics, German designers managed to maintain the production of the Ju 88 at a fairly high technical level until the very end of the war, but already in 1944-1945 in Germany, based on Junkers, mainly night fighters and reconnaissance aircraft were produced. In total, more than 3,000 changes were made to the design of this bomber in the period from 1937 to 1944, which made it possible to create six main modifications and more than 60 variants, of which the most massive was the Ju 88A-4 bomber, and the total number of aircraft produced of this type exceeded 15,100 pieces.

The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War exhibits a mock-up of the Ju 88A-1 bomber’s cockpit, which uses authentic Junkers fragments discovered by the Avia-Murman search party in the Murmansk Region. According to the tail number of this aircraft, it was established that this bomber from the 51st Edelweiss squadron, KG51, was shot down by Soviet fighter aircraft near Murmansk in May 1942. Fragments of the Junkers Ju 88A-1 aircraft were handed over to the museum on May 25, 2002. Restoration and restoration works were carried out in 2005 by Aviation and Restoration Group LLC.

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