The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engined multirole combat aircraft. Designed by Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) in the mid-1930s to be a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") which would be too fast for any of the fighters of its era to intercept, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early operational roles, but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and even, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb.
Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945, and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout the production, the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchangeD
The Ju 85 was a twin-engined bomber aircraft prototype, designed by Junkers in 1935. The Reich Air Ministry requested the aircraft, which differed from the Ju 88 due to the use of a twin fin tail unit. The aircraft was never put into service.
In August 1935, the German Ministry of Aviation submitted its requirements for an unarmed, three-seat, high-speed bomber, with a payload of 800-1,000 kg (1,760-2,200 lb). Junkers presented their initial design in June 1936, and were given clearance to build two prototypes (Werknummer 4941 and 4942). The first two aircraft were to have a range of 2,000 km (1,240 mi) and were to be powered by two DB 600s. Three further aircraft, Werknummer 4943, 4944 and 4945, were to be powered by Jumo 211 engines. The first two prototypes, Ju 88 V1 and V2, differed from the V3, V4 and V5 in that the latter three models were equipped with three defensive armament positions to the rear of the cockpit, and were able to carry two 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) bombs, one under each inner wing panel.
The first five prototypes had conventionally operating dual-strut leg rearwards-retracting main gear, but starting with the V6 prototype, a main gear design debuted that twisted the new, single-leg main gear strut through 90° during the retraction sequence, much like that of the American Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter. This feature allowed the main wheels to end up above the lower end of the strut when fully retracted [N 1] and was adopted as standard for all future production Ju 88s, and only minimally modified for the later Ju 188 and 388 developments of it. These single-leg landing gear struts also made use of stacks of conical Belleville washers inside them, as their main form of suspension for takeoffs and landings.
By 1938, radical modifications from the first prototype began to produce a "heavy" dive bomber. The wings were strengthened, dive brakes were added, the fuselage was extended and the number of crewmen was increased to four. Due to these advances, the Ju 88 was to enter the war as a medium bomber.
Uploaded: Sep 21, 2015