Junkers Ju 388

The Ju 388 was developed as a high speed high altitude bomber based on similar aircraft in the Ju 188 series. Work began on the Ju 388 in the autumn of 1943, with three versions being developed. The Ju 388 was powered by two BMW 810TJ turbo-supercharged radial engines, although it was hoped to use more powerful engines as they became available.  Development work was quickened by the use of existing Ju 188S and T airframes and the aircraft was ready to enter mass production in 1945, but by then bomber production had been cancelled. A small number of pre-production aircraft and an equally small number of production aircraft were built, with the reconnaissance versions even seeing limited service.


Three night-fighter prototypes were constructed, starting with the Ju 388 V2. The later prototypes were armed with two 20mm MG 151 and two 30mm MK 108 cannon in a ventral tray and equipped with FuG 218 Neptun radar.


Plans of the Junkers Ju 388 and Junkers Ju 390
Plans of the Junkers Ju 388 and Junkers Ju 390

The Ju 388K was the bomber version of the aircraft. It could carry a 6,615lb bomb load in a ventral gondola. Ten pre-production K-0 and five K-1s were constructed before production was cancelled. By the time they were complete, the Luftwaffe had grounded its bombers to save fuel.


The Ju 388L was the reconnaissance version of the aircraft. It had a top speed of 400mph and carried a variety of cameras in a ventral gondola. A small number were produced, with the pre-production L-0 entered limited Luftwaffe service in August 1944.

Stats L-1
Engine: 2 x BMW 801TJ radial engines
Horsepower: 1,890hp
Span: 72 ft 2 in
Length: 49ft 10.5in
Max Speed: 382 mph at 40,300ft
Ceiling: 44,095ft
Range with full fuel load: 2,159 miles
Armament: One tail barbette with two 13mm MG 131 machine guns

Aircraft of the Luftwaffe 1935-1945, Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage. Combines a good background history of the Luftwaffe with a comprehensive examination of its aircraft, from the biplanes of the mid 1930s to the main wartime aircraft and on to the seemingly unending range of experimental designs that wasted so much effort towards the end of the war. A useful general guide that provides an impressively wide range of information on almost every element of the Luftwaffe (Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 June 2007), Junkers Ju 388, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_ju388.html

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