What was better, the A-26 or Ju88?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Which Ju-88?

    The 1940 one or the 1944 one to compete with the 1944 A-26.
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The Ju 88 A-4 had two 1400 HP engine, could make 317 mph without external racks, and could haul about 3100 pounds of bomb. It COULD haul up to 300 pounds externally but performance was greatly impaired if this was done. They built 15,183 of them and they6 entered service in 1939.

    The Douglas A-26 had two 2000 HP engines, could make 355 mph clean, and could haul about 6000 pounds of bombs … 4000 internally and 2000 externally. As with the Ju 88, performance suffered if much was carried externally. They built about 2,452 of them and it entered service in Aug 1943. It first saw combat in the Pacific on 23 Jun 1944.

    Compared one on one, I’d take the A-26 any time of the day and twice on Sunday. It was faster, carried more bombs, and could really hit hard when equipped with a lot of MGs or cannons. It was very much a good-flying platform that was well loved by its pilots.

    Taken as a weapon system during WWII, I’d take the Ju 88 any day and twice on Sunday. It was there for the entire war, and they built slightly more than 6 times as many Ju 88s as A-26s. Part of the reason why was the end of the war.

    So the Ju 88 only carried about 77% of the bomb load about 35 or so mph slower. It also had a LOT more time and sorties in which to deliver said ordnance. The Ju 88 was easily the more demonstrably versatile of the two, having adapted for a myriad of roles. It is possible the A-26 could have been adapted for all these roles as well, but it got into the war too late for that to have been necessary, and when the war is over, seeing how many missions a plane can be adapted for is not high on anyone’s priority list or budget.

    Taken as a whole, the Ju 88 was one of the great planes of the war, and probably ranks with the Mosquito and C-47 as the three “immortal” twin-engine aircraft of that war. If I HAD to choose ONE of these, the mission would dictate the choice. If I had to haul freight, the C-47 gets the nod. If I had to choose a combat twin for the entire war then I’d likely take the Ju 88 since they built about twice the number of Ju 88s as Mosquitoes, and sheer numbers would dictate the choice. To be fair, there was probably no mission the Ju 88 could fly that the Mosquito could not fly. But twice as many is a tough thing to pass up if you are going INTO a war and don't know what will happen.

    There are a large number of Ju 88 variants, and I know I chose an early version, but you have to choose SOMETHING on which to start the war ... and later versions were not yet built. So the early Ju 88 had a 5-year head start on the A-26 as a combat player.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Once the A-26 is available, it was certainty a better bomber/ground attack aircraft. It sported a proper bomb bay (for up to two torpedos!), better performance, heavier gun armament.
    Where the Ju-88 was better were the night fighter versions, the A-26 never moved above prototype stage (if so much?) for that duty.
     
  5. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    #5 davparlr, Feb 6, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
    Kind of an unfair comparison, especially with the examples shown in reference. The Ju 88 was an early war design and the A-26 was a late war design. In fact, the Ju 88A-4 first saw combat in 1940, where as the A-26 first saw combat in the fall of 1943. If we compare a late war Ju 88, the S-1, to the late war A-26B-45-DL we will give a better comparison.

    Ju 88S-1

    Weight Empty, lbs, 18, 250

    Weight Gross, 30,400

    Top Speed, 379 mph

    Ceiling, 38k

    Range, 1100 miles, unknown load

    A-26B-25

    Weight Empty, 22,352

    Weight Gross, 40,015

    Top Speed, 371 mph

    Ceiling, 21.8k

    Range, 966 miles/4000 lb bombs

    This comparison shows quite similar performance. The Ju 88 has a much better ceiling (due mainly to different mission requirements), and the A-26, a much better load. The fact that the Ju 88 was an early design but maintained effectiveness throughout the war is impressive. The effectiveness of the A-26 in the war and following Korean War, and the following Vietnam War, is also impressive.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The A-26 is my personal favorite medium bomber, but it DID show up late in WWII. It might be argued that the entire US effort showed up late, but we were there pretty quickly after war was declared, considering the logistics that had to be worked out.

    Some decades later it took the British awhile to work out the logistics for the Falklands conflict, too. Just like the US faced in WWII, the Falklands were a long way from the UK to deploy an effective force. They did it as we all expected they would, but not "overnight."

    The only successful "overnight" long deployments are the ones that have been planned, staffed, and made ready before the order is given.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    and here we hit the Ju-88 listed performance snag once again.

    If you want the 379mph speed you need the GM-1 system. And that is without external load.
    If you want the 38,000ft ceiling you need the GM-1 system.
    Trouble is the GM-1 system sucks up the space in one of the bomb bays (the rear).
    Range on normal fuel (369imp gal, no bomb bay tanks) is just under 800 miles at 289mph.
    Forward bay holds 14 143lb bombs.
    Now if you want more range you can fit a 268imp gallon tank in the forward bay but then you are limited to two external bomb racks and the speed goes to pot.
    You can get the Ju 88S-1 to go 1140 miles or so at 328mph at 18,000ft but that requires no outside bombs and no GM-1 system and no inside bombs because both bomb bays are full of fuel tanks. Max speed is now 340mph with out the GM-1 system.

    The JU-88S-1 has quite a variety of options but because it is a smaller plane it really has to trade one option against another.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    As a bomber, the Ju 88 vs. A-26 has the similar problem as P-38 had vs. Mosquito: too much of the payload need to be 'outside' of the aircraft, if one wants a decent bomb load to be carried into meaningful distances. Suspended payload cuts both speed and range/radius vs. the all-internal payload.

    The Ju-88S have had also the defensive armament cut from what usual Ju 88 carried, and those were already on a light side.
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Great points Shortround.

    I like the A-26 much better overall for most missions, assuming I had a choice between the two. My choice above was purely one of having thousands of Ju 88s in service years before many fewer A-26s.

    I think specifications can be very misleading. As I've said many ntimes before in here, top speed is for test pilots. Combat pilots usually never see it unless they were in a dive because their plane had to get them home again and they wanted to take care of it, if possible. Flogging your steed unnecessarily hard when 600 miles from home is a very good way to have a LONG walk back, possibly at the cost of a new steed or a stay in a POW camp that had, as a side attraction, facing questioning from a friendly SS interrogator with you best interests not really very high on the priority list.

    We'd be better off looking at an average bombing (or other) mission rather than a max-performance sprint becasue that's what usually happened to the planes in service.
     
  10. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the Do-217 would have been a better comparison with the A-26. Would the A-20 have been a better comparison to the Ju88?
     
  11. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Good comments. Too often people do not understand the trade off of fuel vs. weapons load nor the impacts of external weapons load on aircraft performance.
     
  12. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    While I am a big fan of the A-20, a very potent attack plane early in the war, I think a better comparison with the Ju 88 would be the B-25 and possibly the slightly larger B-26. Also, the excellent Mosquito, which tended to be a bit small for this application. I think these comparison have been covered in other threads.
     
  13. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I go for the 88 for one reason. Pilot view on the A26 even with the later Clamshell canopy was poor compared to a lot of aircraft. Whoever allowed the original canopy to go into service should have been courtmartialled for the death of a number of aircrews. Two A26s from the 641st Squadron collided and crashed near RAF Warton in Fylde Lancashire in November 1944 and poor pilot visibility is blamed for the crash. Bombers in the Marsh
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    David - the Mosquito was maybe small in statue, but not in anything else :)

    The Ju 88 and A-20 were more evenly matched. The internal fuel (wings only) was 1680 vs. 1477 liters, max internal bomb load being 1400 kg vs. 1810 kg (Ju 88 vs. A-20 respectively). Some targets will be beyond the capability of the 50 kg bombs the Ju 88 carried internally. Max cruising speed on lean mixture being listed at ~435 for the A-20, on mean weight; the Ju 88A-4 (with inter-cooled engine) was doing 425 km/h on 'norm power'. I don't know the speed on 'norm power' setting of the A-20. Range was listed at 960 km vs. 1140 km (A-20 on most economic speed of ~340 km/h), but for the Ju 88 was at much higher power setting speed.
    The payload range capabilities of the Ju 88 were greatly increased when external racks were used. That also meant the bomb bays can contain extra fuel tanks. Price was the loss of performance, eg. the speed on 'normal power' was cut down to 410 km/h when two drop tanks were carried. How much with 4 extra bombs? OTOH, the Ju 88 was been able to lug really big bomb around (1800 kg, almost 4000 lbs), far beyond what A-20 managed (max size was 1000 lbs?). The Ju 88 could also carry two torpedos, A-20 only one. The Ju 88 can dive bomb, the A-20 not so much.
    Mid- and late versions of the A-20 got more fuel, up to 3300 liters internally, enabling them to carry 910 kg of bombs over 2520 km range.

    My pick - Ju 88 would be a better bomber, with a caveat that it would need fighter escort more than it was the case for the A-20.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-88 dive bomber could place 50% of iron bombs within a 50 meter circle.
    Ju-88 dive bomber grouped aircrew within an armored cocoon.

    What sort of accuracy was achieved by A-26 using iron bombs?
    What sort of armor protection did A-26 aircrew have against ground fire?
     
  16. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    No A-20 could load 4000lbs internally, max was 2000 + 2000 external in later versions (earlier versions might be restricted external). Earlier versions had 4x500, later versions 2x1000 as max bomb size. The A-20 had additional fuel cells above the bomb bay and they could be used with internal bombs, introduction in A-20C if my memory serves right.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Indeed, you're right that only 2000 lbs was for internal carriage.
    The bomb bay fuel tank was introduced by 'C' variant, for 144 US gals. Three tanks, for total 325 US gals, were introduced with later 'G' dash numbers, early 'G' dash numbers were still introduced with 144 gal tank.
     
  18. dedalos

    dedalos Member

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    I would like to note that from time scale point of view the Ju88 family member that should be compared with the A26 should be the JU388K, with which, generally have similar performance.
     
  19. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I just can't see a Ju 88 or any of its variants operating as a COIN aircraft in the sky's of SEA.
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Ju88 was a great aircraft of it's day. By 1945 it was OBSOLETE just by it's tail dragger configuration (I don't want to rant about that). The B(A)-26 did improve in the post war years and served into the early 1970s. Even if the outcome of WW2 played out differently, I don't see the Ju88 serving 30 years despite wartime improvements and statistics about it's accuracy.

    Factsheets : Douglas B-26K (A-26) Counter Invader

    Factsheets : Douglas B-26K
     
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