Junkers Ju 188

The RLM specification for the Ju 188 required it to be capable of acting as either a level or dive bomber. It was to carry the same dive-brakes and automatic pull-out gear as the Ju 88A. It was to be capable of being powered by either Jumo 213 (A series) or BMW 801 (E series) engines, built into a “power egg” that would allow either engine to be installed on the production line. The most obvious change made to the Ju 188 was in the cockpit. The stepped nose of the Ju 88 was replaced by a single canopy that began under the nose then curved up and over the cockpit, ending at the rear dorsal gun position, giving the new aircraft the profile of a tadpole. Changes were also made to the wings, increasing the wingspan by three feet while the tail was also enlarged and the fin made larger. The Ju 188 entered service in May 1943 with Erprobungskommando 188, a specialled service test unit, and with KG 6. I./KG 6 would be the first unit to go operational, on 20 October 1943, acting as a pathfinder unit. Only two bomber units (KG 2 and KG 6) would convert entirely to the Ju 188, which was also used by some elements of KG 26 and KG 66. Half of the 1,076 aircraft produced were reconnaissance aircraft, and the type was used by ten reconnaissance units. The Ju 188 appeared too late to make any significant impact on the war. Of the total production, 283 were built in 1943 and 793 in 1944, by which time the German bomber forces were shrinking. From the summer of 1944 they almost completely disappeared in response to the fuel shortage caused by Allied heavy bombing. Allied control of the air meant that the Ju 188 was unable to achieve much as a reconnaissance aircraft either – the Luftwaffe would be essentially blind until the jet powered Arado Ar 234 entered service. In a somewhat unexpected twist, the Ju 188 was used by the French naval air arm (the Aéronavale) in the immediate post war era. Source: Info: History of War Profiles Top: Wings Palette Profile Bottom: German Warplanes of World War II Published by Temple Press/Aerospace.

Junkers Ju 188
Roelf, Feb 1, 2010
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