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The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-up to the famed Junkers Ju 88 with better performance and payload. It was produced only in limited numbers, due both to the presence of improved versions of the Ju 88, as well as the deteriorating war condition and the resulting focus on fighter production.


In 1936, Junkers submitted proposals for the Ju 85 and Ju 88 into competition for the new standardized Luftwaffe high-speed tactical bomber, known as the Schnellbomber (fast bomber). The two designs were almost identical, differing only in that the Ju 85 used a twin-rudder and the Ju 88 a single fin. At the same time, they offered modified versions of each as the Ju 85B and Ju 88B, again similar to the original designs but using an "egg shaped" stepless cockpit forward fuselage design that was a large window, another example of the "bullet-nose" design philosophy that almost all new German bomber designs exhibited, from the time of the Heinkel He 111P. The new nose design for the Ju 88B also tightly integrated the forward end of the undernose Bola ventral gondola defensive gun position into the newer nose design, when compared to the "added-on" Bola unit pioneered on the Ju 88 V7 prototype. This meant the Ju 88B offered somewhat lower drag and better visibility. At the time, this was considered too radical and the Ju 88A with its simpler fighter-like "stepped" cockpit won the contest.

By 1939, the original Ju 88 had evolved with considerably more window area but in a fashion that was not well streamlined, with a "beetle's eye" faceted bombardier's glazed nose and a well-framed two-part "greenhouse" canopy for the cockpit, the two assemblies of well-framed cabin glazing separated by the sheetmetal of the upper fuselage nose. The Reich Air Ministry (RLM) was in the process of ordering a "second generation" bomber in a project known as "Bomber B" but this was extensively delayed due to the non-delivery of the large 2,500 PS (1,840 kW, 2,470 hp)-class engines, like Junkers' Jumo 222 inline engine, that the designs would rely on. Although Junkers' Ju 288 was leading the contest, there was no delivery date on the engines and the Ju 88B project was re-submitted as a stop-gap. For this version, they used the latest short-wing Ju 88 A-1 airframe as a baseline with the new stepless cockpit design, with the new Junkers Jumo 213 engine, which had recently started bench testing and was expected to deliver 1,500 PS (1,100 kW, 1,480 hp) and required a redesigned annular radiator system for engine and oil cooling.

The RLM also stipulated that the aircraft should also be able to accept the BMW 801 radial engine in a Kraftei (power-egg) unitized installation, with no modification to the engine nacelles.[2] The RLM was not impressed with the new design, as it offered only small improvements over the Ju 88A model in service but suggested that Junkers continue with the prototype work anyway and that they consider fitting the design with the BMW 139 radial. This engine was cancelled only a few weeks later and all designs based on it moved to the newer and more powerful BMW 801.[1]


  • French Air Force (Postwar)
    • Aviation Navale operated several captured Ju 188s post war.
  • Germany
    • Luftwaffe
  • United Kingdom
    • Royal Air Force operated at least two captured machines post war, an A-2 and A-3 (Wrk Nr 190335 of 9./KG 26). The A-3 surrendered to British forces after landing at Fraserburgh on 2 May 1945[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. Dressel, Joachim and Manfred Griehl. Bombers of the Luftwaffe. London: DAG Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-85409-140-9., p.95.
  3. Dressel and Griehl 1994, p. 99.

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