Aviation Archive Issue 25 - 2016 UK

(Jacob Rumans) #1


development of a specialised Ju 88 night-
fighter model was now necessary to restore lost
performance and safe handling. Consequently,
the G-series appeared from mid-1944 and was
the first purpose-built for the specialist role.
The G-1 possessed more powerful armament
and used a pair of BMW 801 radial engines.
Electronic equipment consisted of the then-
standard FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2, which
could include fitment of the borderline-SHF-
band FuG 350 Naxos radar detector with
its receiving antenna housed in a teardrop-
shaped streamlined fairing above the canopy,
or FuG 227 Flensburg radar detector homing
devices that had their own trio of twin-dipole
antennae, one on each wing leading edge
and one under the tail. The supremacy of the
Ju 88 as a night fighter was effectively ended
when a Ju 88G-1 of 7. Staffel/NJG 2 was flown
by mistake to RAF Woodbridge in July 1944,
giving the RAF its first chance to check out the
radar and provide effective countermeasures
(window) that effectively blinded the German
night fighters. Although new radar systems
were introduced, the German night fighter units
were soon hit by a series of blows from which
they never recovered. The invasion of France
and the Allied advance towards Germany saw
large parts of their radar network captured and
fuel shortages began to limit the amount of
time the night fighters could spend in the air.
As the US escort fighters began to destroy the
Luftwaffe’s day fighter forces, night fighter units
were ordered to join in the fight against the 8th
Air Force, suffering heavy losses.
Desperate measures were called for and in
the last few months of the war a number of
G-1 airframes were converted to act as the
warhead portion of the Mistel flying bomb.
A Focke-Wulf FW 190 was mounted above a
pilotless Ju 88 packed with explosives to guide
it towards the target, before releasing at the
last moment. Some isolated successes were
scored in attacking bridges.
Testimony to the success of the Ju 88, the
assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945.
Of the overall production run of 14,676, nearly
4,000 were completed as fighter or ground-
attack variants.

Left: The menacing black shape of a Ju 88C
night fighter is prepared for a sortie, under the
watchful eye of an armed guard.

Below left: Crews liked the Ju 88 not just because
of its speed and agility, but also because of the
innate strength of the airframe, put to good test
here in this crash landing of a 9.NJG 2 Ju 88C
(R4+MT) in Belgium in 1942.

Right: Specialised for ground attack duties was
the Ju 88P, which began to appear in 1942 and
featured a large conformal gun pod under the
fuselage. The Ju 88P-2 variant was armed with
two fearsome Bordkanone 3.7cm guns, whose
high muzzle velocity proved useful against
Russian tanks in the Eastern Front. In this role it
was used by Erprobungskommando 25.

Right: Solid-nose Junkers Ju 88Cs of KG 40
prepare to depart for a patrol from western
France from where they harassed Allied anti-
submarine and other aircraft operating over the
Bay of Biscay. On one such sortie, a BOAC DC-
on a scheduled flight from Lisbon to London was
shot down, killing famed actor Leslie Howard. It
has been claimed that the Germans thought
that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
was on board.

Free download pdf