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Junkers Ju 88

With the exception of close dogfighting there's hardly a military role that the Ju 88 wasn't adapted for during World War II. Originally conceived as a fast medium bomber and dive bomber, many tasks were added on over the years including long-range escort, night-fighting, intruding, tank-busting, anti-ship attack, anti-submarine, supply dropping, towing, training, transport, reconnaissance, torpedo bombing, close support, pathfinding and pilotless missile attack. The first Ju 88 prototype was flown in December of 1936, and its first combat was against British shipping in September of 1939. Since then it was successfully employed on all other fronts throughout the war, including major roles in the Battle of Britain. 14,980 Ju 88s were produced during the war of all variants. The Ju 88G had a top speed of 389 mph and a range of 1,400 miles. Night fighter Ju 88s were fitted with a variety of Lichtenstein airborne radars and other sensors used to home in on night-flying Allied bombers. From 1943 on, Schräge Musik, upward, oblique-firing 20-mm cannons were used with devastating effect in conjunction with the airborne radar. Unlike the Ju 88A bomber and Ju 88C variants which used Junkers Jumo 12 cylinder inline engines, the Ju 88G6 used BMW 801D air cooled radials.


Sources: Donald, David, Ed. Warplanes Of The Luftwaffe. Westport CT: AIRtime Publishing, Inc., 1994.
Wilson, Stewart. Aircraft Of WWII. Fyshwick, ACT: Aerospace Publications, Pty Ltd., 1998.