Friday, December 25, 2009
The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' Junkers company in the mid-1930s, 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. Affectionately known as The Maid of all Work, the Ju 88 proved to be suited to almost any role. 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 as a flying warhead during the closing stages of conflict. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. There were 15,000 Ju 88s built during World War II, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period.
Developed from a 1938 design by the Messerschmitt company, the Me 262 Schwalbe (swallow) was the world's first operational turbojet aircraft. First flown under jet power on July 18, 1942, it proved much faster than conventional airplanes. Development problems (particularly its temperamental engines), Allied bombings and cautious Luftwaffe leadership contributed to delays in quantity production.
On July 25, 1944, an Me 262 became the first jet airplane used in combat when it attacked a British photo-reconnaissance Mosquito flying over Munich. As a fighter, the German jet scored heavily against Allied bomber formations. U.S. Army Air Forces bombers, however, destroyed hundreds of Me 262s on the ground. Of the more than 1,400 Me 262s produced, fewer than 300 saw combat. Most Me 262s did not make it to operational units because of the destruction of Germany's surface transportation system. Many of those that did were unable to fly because of lack of fuel, spare parts or trained pilots.
Posted by Udo at 11:10 AM