Ju388 any good?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What's the assessment of the Ju388? It was a high altitude multi-role aircraft with a wooden pannier to expand the bomb bay. Would it have been any good as a high altitude bomber?
     
  2. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    I don't know, didn't the He 274 fit the bill as a high-alt bomber, and the Ju 288 was good for low-medium altitude? The Ju 388 in that sense, makes little sense as bomber.
     
  3. Just Schmidt

    Just Schmidt Member

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    The u 388 was developed as a reconnaisanse 388L), bomber (388K) and night fighter aircraft (388J). They were all ultimately developments of the Ju 88 (through the Ju 188). Only the 388L entered Limited service. Had the time been available, the 388 might have become a decent high attitude bomber (at least not needing engines that were patently impossible to mass produce), but that is besides the point. Germany had as an emergency ended (but symptomatically not entirely so) development and production of most other aircraft than fighters.

    Developing the 388 in diffrent roles from an Aircraft that Luftwaffe started the war With, points to most rational and planned aircraft development having collapsed years before. In this case specifically the bomber B programme, which lead to emergency attempts to wring the desired performance out of pretty much every design awailable. That meant a lot of duplicated effort that pretty much came to nothing.

    The night fighter Development of the Ju 388 is a case in point. I sometimes get the impressiont that EVERYTHING With 2 engines (and the Fw 189 actually made some sense) were developed into night fighters. The need was obvious, but the Ju 88 and He 219 (though this latter Aircraft might not have been as superp as detractors of Milch would have it), and even to some extent the Bf 110, were performing pretty well in this role, provided crews and fuel was awailable.

    The chaotic situation of course to a great extent stems from the fact that nothing could have been sufficient after at least 43. In that sense nothing the Germans could throw up was any good. Anyway a discussion of the Ju 388K's potential has to be largely theoretical, as the aircraft never became operational, and could have changed little in the relevant time line even if it had.
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Jun 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
    Don't think it would have been. Adding a bomb load would lower the service ceiling and it was intercepted once at 13,500 meters by a Spitfire and shot down in early 1945.

    Bringing it down a couple of thousand feet or more with a bomb load and lower speed would not have improved its chances at all. With the empty weight and fuel it carried, there wasn't going to be much of a bomb load anyway. Redesigning it FOR a bomb load would not result in a Ju 388, but a new airframe of lower performance ... but having a small bomb load.

    The last thing Germany needed was another foray into a useless prototype. Dropping a small bomb load anywhere in 1945 wasn't going to change a anything.

    Had it been available in 1942 would be a very interesting what-if because if it could have been operational during early 1942, maybe nothing could have reached it.

    Then again, the U.S.A. found out that bombing from 30,000 feet over Japan was so inaccurate due to winds aloft that they dropped the B-29's to 20,000 feet. If the Ju 388's of 1942 found out that same thing, therre would be virtually no gain and it would be unlikely to hit the desired target unless they were dropping Fritz-X bombs that early.

    Maybe it's not such a good what-if after all.
     
  5. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The jet stream over Japan doesn't exist over Europe, so higher altitude bombing shouldn't have been that big of an issue.
     
  6. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Question is, could it even be in service in early 1942, when the Ju 288 was still largely in development?
     
  7. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    If they don't opt to develop the Ju288 they could work on the Ju188 from the moment the Ju88 was finalized for production, rather than letting the Ju88B development languish:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_Ju_188#Background
    The 188 is the path to the 388 so while it might not be in service in 1942 it could probably be in service next to the 188 in 1943 while the 188 is in service in 1942.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Not with the planned engines which rather changes things. Airframe may have been build-able. Pressure cabin ? Without turbos the high altitude performance is going to be somewhat lacking. US was having trouble with turbos in 1942 and the US had built more turbocharged aircraft than the rest of the world put together (and then some) by 1941.
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I really don't think it could have been. The Germans, like everyone else involved in the war, were going as fast as they could in development and production. The only way to substantially change the timeline would be to drop some effort, and take those resources so freed-up and put them on the development you are concerned with.

    If the Germans thought that effort was so important in the first place, they would have done it on their own. So even if the resources WERE to be freed up, there is no guarantee they would be used for the new effort in any what-if. Instead they probably would have been reallocated to another effort not connected with the one proposed. Other than that, the only real way to change the timeline would have been for other people to have been in charge, and had there been farsighted people in charge, a LOT of things would have been done differently.
     
  10. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Between the Do 217 and Ju 88 derivatives (and practical bomber and night fighter needs of the war), there doesn't seem to be a whole lot the Ju 188, 288, or 388 had to offer to the point of meriting the development cost and (especially) shift in production.
     
  11. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    The night fighter version of the Ju 388 was motivated, at least in part, by the fear of high altitude operations by B-29s at night. This seems to have been the result of a very successful disinformation campaign.

    It would seem that considerable resources were expended without producing any useful operational capability. The weight of the pressure cabin and (for the versions with turbosupercharged engines) loss of exhaust jet thrust meant that there was no performance advantage over late model JU 88/188 versions at low and medium altitudes. The Ju 388 L/K might have been useful if developed earlier.
     
  12. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #12 Koopernic, Jun 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
    The Luftwaffe/RLM/Germans didn't have much choice I expect as they could scarcely afford to disrupt the production flow of the Ju 88/188/388 program for anything else as the planed replacements; the Ta 154 Moskito, Me 410 and He 219 had failed for either technical, planning, delays or political reasons or simply lack of resources and timing.

    The Ju388J, the fighter version, meant that the Luftwaffe would have a turbo-supercharged, pressurised aircraft with a service ceiling of around 45,000ft that was able to carry a crew of 3 or 4 along with a substantial load of radar, passive sensors and avionics along with a powerful gun armament to a high altitude. This would mean that a hypothetical B-29 night raid would not go unchallenged.

    The versions that saw troop testing had the BMW 801J1 engine which was a BMW801D2 with a turbo supercharger. (often called a 801TJ when delivered as a power egg) The BMW801J2 was already taking over in testing and had a substantially improved turbo charger. I doubt even this version would last long as the BMW801TQ (a BMW801E with the J2 supercharger) was inevitable as the E engine was already in production as the BMW801S (or TS) in its fighter version for the Fw 190A9.

    The Ju 388L was a recon, I would say suitable for maritime reconnaissance though one reputedly flew over the UK, the Ju 388K a bomber with a panier that cost about 8-10mph on the BMW801 powered versions.

    The Jumo 213E could also be used and this two stage intercooled engine gave slightly less service ceiling in return for slightly higher speed at lower altitudes.

    The Jumo 222 was scheduled to be placed in production from September 1944 (delayed till Feb 1945) and equipped with the Jumo 222E/F (a two stage intercooled engine) the Ju 388J3 would have been capable of 444mph. The first engine to enter service would have been the Jumo 222A2/B2 also with 2500hp (with only a single stage supercharger) followed by the Jumo 222A3/B3 (with improved supercharger) and the 222E/F (multi stage).

    Hence the Ju 388 might have done a reasonable job since every piston fighter such as the P-63 blackwidow or Dehaviland Mosquito were reaching fundamental limits at 440 mph.

    Interestingly we have Kurt Tanks opinion. The Focke-Wulf 190 and Ta 154 designer and Direktor of Fock-Wulf was asked by Adolf Hitler of his opinion and what he as Fuhrer, should do in terms of supporting which program.

    Kurt Tank replied in an unbiased way. He said the Ta 154 couldn't cope with the Mosquito, unless with the Jumo 213 engine but that it was too late, that Ju 388 couldn't cope with the Mosquito nor could the He 219 though it, the He 219, was faster than the Ju 388. Tanks advice was to stay with the Ju 388 as at least it was in mass production, obviously implying something radical like a jet was needed or the Do 335.

    One could argue with Tanks assessment if one assumes that the He 219 is issued with the Jumo 222 or more advanced forms of the DB603 engine such as the DB603LA used on the Ta 152C but over all he was trying to be realistic. He killed of his own Ta 154.

    That the Luftwaffe is left with a bomber than needs an external pannier to carry bombs is interesting since its Ju 88 fuselage had a subdivided bomb bay (due to wing spar) that was useless for bombs over 70kg.

    The Do 217 was killed of in 1944 and had an excellent bomb bay and with a 1750hp DB603A engine had a speed of 347mph. With an engine such as the DB603LA of 2260hp that had not only a higher power but a much higher critical altitude due to a two stage supercharger the speed would have been higher due to the power and less drag at altitide. The DB603L had an intercooler, 2400hp, and might have been better for a bomber since it didn't rely on water injection for sustained power. I would argue that the Luftwaffe/RLM felt it couldn't afford two types, they were running out of manpower and it seems a Ju 388 with a panier wasn't much faster than a Do 217 with similarly advanced engines. Direct comparisons are not entirely fair since the Do 217 had a full manned armament including a ventral maned bondola gun station whereas the Ju 388 only a remote controlled tail turret.

    In regards to allied disinformation promoting a fake 'planed' allied high altitude bombing campaign. It would be foolish not to prepare for such a campaign since aircraft such as the Wellington, Lancaster (As the extend wing Merlin two stage powered Lincoln) could be built and even B-24's and B-17's could operate at 30,000ft at night merely with crew retraining. The B-29 would have been more of a problem due to its greater speed.

    It might even have backfired had the Ju 388 moved faster. Imagine a strike package of Ju 388K bombers, Ju 388J radar equipped night fighters some with and some without bomb panniers turning up over Britain at 42000 to 45000ft at night or with a Ta 152H escort during the day. Even a Griffon spitfire or P-47 would be challenged at that altitude. There is a long time to climb, hardly any scope to manoeuvrer and speed is falling off to only slightly above the bombers speed. Accurate blind bombing bomb release is possible due to the long radar horizon. There German need to modify their EGON-II system to handle multiple bombers at once, which I think was happening with the replacement of the "Erstling" IFF with "Neuling" IFF.

    A bit of a chameleon was the Ju 488 which was made out of Ju 388 and 288 parts and fuselage and wing plugs. With BMW801TJ engines it was expected to have a service ceiling of 52500ft.
     
  13. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #13 GregP, Jun 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
    Don't believe the accurate blind bomb release part.

    They had bombsights and couldn't hit within hundreds of yards of known, visible factories at 35,000 feet. What would ever make you believe they could drop long-distance blind and do better from 10,000 feet higher?
     
  14. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #14 Koopernic, Jun 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
    I general I agree with you though as I will explain I was a little tricky with my language. A Luftwaffe high altitude raid against Britain was in a potentially better position than the B-29 raids against Japan. For instance they can use electronic blind bombing aids such as EGON-II which was roughly the equal of the first British Oboe. Radar timing circuits of the day were already very accurate and I bet they could release a bomb within 50m of a known location at day 250km from the radar ground station.

    I did say with slightly tricky language accurate bomb 'release' not that it would be accurate by the time it fell 13000m over a 40 second fall time. There are potentially massive cross and head winds, which could be measured, but those at intermediate altitudes would be much harder to measure.

    Still there are no 160kmh/100mph jet streams over Britain and they do have the advantage of potentially having ground based radar aids. Intermediate cross winds might be measurable, the Germans did have Doppler radar by then and perhaps a release of chaff would reveal cross winds and allow a correction. I'm no meteorologist though.

    The late ware German blind bombing aid was EGON-II combined with Nachtfee, a special jam resistant visual indicator to relay commands. It was a modification of the Erstling IFF transponder and the Gemse Interrogator (Erstling Gemse Offensive Navigation). Its tactical limitation would be that only one aircraft, as far as I can tell, could be guided at a time. I would regard visual bombing as pointless, day or night, and so even bombing of marker flares or incendiaries of little use. The Erstling IFF was being replaced by Neuling at the end of WW2 (A few Me 262 night fighter jets carried it) which apart from working with German air born radars also incorporated blind bombing ability and navigation. I would expect it capable of guiding multiple bombers at a time, I think 6.

    Supposedly one Ju 388L was shot down over the UK when it was intercepted by some unknown Spitfire. The story goes that the Spitfire couldn't reach the Ju 388 but by pitching up it could shoot at the Ju 388 and did so. I don't believe the story since no names, units or tail numbers are known. Also I expect the spitfire pitching up at its service ceiling to stall and perhaps even spin out of control for a few thousand feet? That's not a manoeuvre one would try if there were escorts around such as the Ta 152H. The Luftwaffe would have had its Ta 152H and Ju 388 technology working properly by mid 1945 so the questions would be could the Mk 22 spitfire or Mosquito cope with it.
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    OK, I'll buy the "release" part.

    The average winds over Tokyo in the last year are 13 - 14 mph. The average winds at London Heathrow are 10 - 12 mph.

    Don't see a lot of difference there and the USA dropped the bombing altitude from 30,000 to 20,000 feet to help accuracy during the B-29 raids. I'm thinking the jetstream isn't all that different over London and Tokyo, though I would expect it to be a bit more over Tokyo. But ... LOOK at the jetstream near London and Tokto. Isn't all the different to me.

    Live Jet stream wind map of world radiation Fallout USA Healthy Tips

    I can't find a jetstream map of WWII just now and the instruments weren't very available at the time anyway. So if there IS a jetstream map, how accurate is it? It was all an estimate by a scared guy in the nose of a bomber who wasn't a meterorologist. So, I'm betting the bombing accuracy would not be much from above 30,000 feet because it wasn't in real life ... not in a forum thread or a "what-if."

    That being the case, they very probably woundn't have done much damage with Ju 388's in a bomber stream over England.

    Just my opinion and yours may vary, like your real petrol mileage after you buy the car.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    The jet stream wanders all over the place.

    Jet_Stream_3.jpg
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Neither Tokyo nor London shows up on your map, Milosh, but the average winds in those cities are within 1 - 2 mph of one another over the last 2 years.
     
  18. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Ju 288 have had no connection with Ju 88/188/388 (apart from the company that was to design produce it, of course) - the fuselage was designed around a bomb bay and space for fuel tanks, the wing was new, pilot's cabin was new, as was the engine and armament. The engine was the main problem, Ju 288 won't work well without 2 x 2000 HP engines as designed, but the initial, smallish prototypes might prove a better base for DB 603-powered bombers than the Do 217.
     
  20. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Just showing that the jet stream moves around. The track the jet stream follows is variable.

    But since you want other areas,
    JetStream8.jpg
     

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