Luftwaffe 1./LG 1, Tobruk, Libya, 1943
|Junkers Ju 88A-4||4"||5.5"|
The Junkers Ju-88 was a World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers in the mid 1930s, it became one of the most versatile combat aircraft. After the British unveiled their devastating 1000 bomber raids on Hamburg, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to retaliate, so Goering scraped together a force of 250 bombers and struck back. In October, 1943, the Luftwaffe launched the first of 29 raids, sometimes called the Little Blitz. Most raids were made at night and London was attacked on January 21, 1944. The last raid was in March 1944, which was the last German bombing offensive against Britain to include this Ju-88A.
The Ju 88 became successful as a bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, and heavy fighter. Like its British contemporary, the de Havilland Mosquito, a twin-engine configuration was a key to its versatility. Advancements in later versions included strengthened wings, dive brakes, an extended fuselage and a crew compartment that was fitted to the extreme forward portion of the thin fuselage, with glazed glasswork and accommodations for three to four personnel. With its BMW radial and Jumo 213 engines, the last versions of the Ju 88 were almost as fast as contemporary fighters and easily handled the violent aerobatics performed during combat.