Junkers Ju-188

The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-up to the Ju 88 with better performance and payload. 


Ju 188 A & E

The Ju 188 was designed to be fitted with either the 1,750 PS (1,290 kW; 1,730 hp) Jumo 213A or 1,700 PS (1,250 kW; 1,680 hp) BMW 801 G-2 engines without any changes to the airframe, with the exclusion of the re-design for Jumo-powered examples, of the annular radiators from their Jumo 211 layout for the A-series to better match the more powerful 213’s cooling needs, while using similar broad-chord three-blade propellers as the A-series did.

It was intended that both would be known as A models but the naming was later changed: the Ju 188A model powered by the 213 and the Ju 188E by the 801.

The first three production Ju 188 E-1 machines were delivered with BMW engines in February 1943, followed by another seven in March and eight in April.

A conversion testing unit was formed up in May and after testing were attached to an operational unit, with the first mission, an attack by three Ju 188E-1s on a factory in Lincoln, Lincolnshire taking place on 18 August 1943.

By the end of the year, 283 Ju 188s had been delivered (including Ju 188Fs) and two new factories were added to the production effort.

Most operational machines differed from the prototypes only in having a 20 mm (0.787 in) MG 151/20 cannon in the nose and dorsal turrets in place of the 13 mm (0.512 in) MG 131.

The MG 131 I was intended to be used in the Ju 188 E-1 or the G-2 but the heavy armament in the A and E series was the MG 151/20.

The Ju 188 E-2 was built as a torpedo-bomber but was identical to the Ju 188 A-3.

Although the A and E models were to have been delivered at the same time, the Jumo engine was still not ready; the first Jumo powered Ju 188 A-1 versions were shipped only shortly after the BMW versions, albeit at a much slower rate.

By the time deliveries were finally picking up in late 1943, the Jumo was available in a new MW 50 methanol-water injection “boosted” version that delivered 1,648 kW (2,241 PS; 2,210 hp) for takeoff.

With this engine, the planes were known as the Ju 188 A-2 and started deliveries in early 1944.

A modified version mounting a small, low-UHF-band FuG 200 Hohentwiel sea-search radar set under the nose and shackles for a torpedo for naval strike missions was delivered as the Ju 188 E-2, and with the Jumo as the Ju 188 A-3.

The only other difference was the removal of the outer pair of wing bomb shackles.

For all its good points, the Ju 188 was only a small improvement over the Ju 88.

The bomb load and bomb bay was no larger than the earlier aircraft; although a larger load could be carried externally, it reduced performance.

Even then the performance was rather poor considering all the effort – only 523 km/h (325 mph) or less.

The dorsal turret had only one gun, yet the type retained the single-gun flexible position only a few centimetres away from it; various projects finally to provide the 188 with tail armament were abandoned.

Delivery problems of the Jumo 213 were never entirely solved and the only model to be built in large numbers were the E series with the BMW 801.

Even then so few were available that they were generally given out to Ju 88 units, who flew them on “special” missions where the longer range or better performance would be helpful.

Some 500 Ju 188A and E variants were produced before production ceased in the summer of 1944.

Ju 188C

It was planned all along to skip over a “B model” to avoid confusion with the original Ju 88 B but in the original plan the A and E models would be called As and the Ju 188 C would be the next model.

The C series was built to the extent of a single example, by modifying one of the few A-1 machines.

A new power-operated, remotely operated FA 15 turret was mounted in the tail and had two 13 mm (0.512 in) MG 131s, aimed with a double-periscope (top and bottom) system mounted in the cockpit.

This modification would have greatly improved defensive firepower, always lacking on German designs but reliability was so poor it was decided to abandon the system.

Ju 188D & F

In early 1944, it was decided to focus on reconnaissance versions of the A and E models.

The airframe was modified with the removal of the bomb

aimer and forward gun and additional fuel cells were added to extend the range to 3,400 km (2,100 mi). The Ju 188 D-1 was otherwise similar to the A-1 and the Ju 188 D-2 had nose radar for naval reconnaissance.

Similar conversions of the E models were the Ju 188 F-1 and Ju 188 F-2.

Ju 188G & H

One problem with the Ju 88 that carried into the 188 was the lack of internal room for bomb storage.

Both carried the majority of their bomb load on racks under the wing, where it greatly affected performance.

This was to have been addressed in the G and H models, which extended the fuselage downward for more room with the addition of a wooden pannier.

The modification also left enough room at the tail to fit a manned turret in place of the C model’s remote-control one but this system proved to be just as limited as the remote-control FA 15.

It was so small that only the smallest men could fit into it and left them with no room to escape in an emergency.

The RLM rejected the manned turret and planned on mounting the FA 15 even if it were unreliable.

Oddly, the designs still possessed the Bola under nose feature for a rear-facing gunner, when this would no longer be needed and its removal would have greatly streamlined the aircraft.

With the Jumo 213s now being sent to fighter production, the Ju 188G-2 was to use the BMW 801 only, with the reconnaissance conversion known as the Ju 188 H-2.

Neither entered production before the war ended; the Ju 188G remained at the prototype stage.

Tail empennages of the few Ju 188G prototypes built were used in construction of the first two Ju 287 prototypes.

Ju 188 R

In the summer of 1944, three E models were modified as night fighters with the addition of radar and either four 20 mm MG 151/20s or two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannons in the nose.

The better visibility of the 188 was not useful in night fighting and because the added drag of the radar washed out any speed difference, the Ju 188 R-0 was not ordered.





14.948 m (49 ft 0.5 in)


22.00 m (72 ft 2 in)


4.45 m (14 ft 7 in)

Wing area

55.99 m2 (602.7 sq ft)

Empty weight

21,737 kg (47,922 lb)

Gross weight

14,510 kg (31,989 lb)


2 × BMW 801D-2 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,300 kW (1,700 hp) each for take-off

1,070 kW (1,440 hp) at 5,700 m (18,700 ft)


3-bladed constant-speed propellers


Maximum speed

499 km/h (310 mph, 269 kn) at 6,000 m (19,685 ft)

Cruise speed

375 km/h (233 mph, 202 kn) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)

Service ceiling

9,347 m (30,665 ft) with 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)

Time to altitude

6,100 m (20,000 ft) in 17 minutes 42 seconds

Wing loading

258.9 kg/m2 (53.0 lb/sq ft)


0.175 kW/kg (0.106 hp/lb)



1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) MG 151/20 cannon

3 × 13 mm (0.512 in) MG 131 machine guns


3,000 kg (6,600 lb).



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