The C-series was the first version of the Ju 88 to be produced as a fighter aircraft. Work on converting the Ju 88 into a fighter began with the seventh prototype in 1938. This involved replacing the glazed nose of the bomber with a solid nose containing fixed forward firing guns. The resulting aircraft could match the speed of the Bf 110, with three times the range of that aircraft, but production did not become a priority until 1943, by which time the C-series had been replaced by more modern versions.
C-1 and C-3
The C-1 and C-3 were planned versions powered by BMW 801 radial engines. These were in short supply, as they were used in the Fw 190A, so neither of these models entered production.
As a result the first production fighter version was the C-2. This was powered by two 1,200hp Jumo 211B or G engines, and were based on the Ju 88A-1 bomber, featuring the same short span wings as that aircraft. They carried three MG 17s and one 20mm MG FF in the solid nose. They could also carry 1,100lbs of bombs in the internal bomb bays. These aircraft were used by I./NJG 2 and carried out intruder mission over Britain during most of 1941.
The C-4 was a fighter variant of the A-5, featuring the wider wings introduced in that aircraft. It carried the same four forward guns as the C-2, was powered by two Jumo 221G or 221F engines, and carried extra armour plating for the crew. The C-4 joined I./NJG 2 in time to take part in the operations against Britain. Production was still limited, and the Bf 110 was preferred in both the heavy fighter and night fighter roles.
Ten C-5s were produced, powered by BMW 801A engines. These were used as research aircraft. The main innovation introduced with the C-5 was the replacement of the ventral gondola with a weapons pod that could carry two 7.92mm machine guns, mounted under the front bomb bay. The BMW engines improved the top speed of the aircraft to 354mph.
The C-6 appeared in early 1942. It was based on the improved A-4, and was powered by 1,400hp Jumo 211J-1 or J-2 engines. It carried the same forward firepower as the C-4, along with rear firing dorsal guns and ventral guns. The rear firing ventral gun could be replaced by more forward firing cannon. Production was still limited, but this variant saw wider service, equipping night fighter units and special Zerstörer staffeln in bomber units. The C-6 had a top speed of 310mph, significantly down on the BMW powered aircraft.
A number of Ju 88C-6s were equipped with early radar equipment from late in 1942. Early aircraft used the FuG 202 Lichtenstein BCradar set, followed by its mass production version, the FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1. Later the more advanced FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar was used. The C-6 was the first version of the Ju 88 to be an important night fighter, but it was still second to the Bf 110.
The C-7 did not enter full production. Various sources describe it as powered by either the Jumo 211J or BMW 810D engines, and being with or without radar. The only common feature of the different reports is that the C-7 was a more streamlined aircraft than earlier C-series aircraft. Production moved onto the R series, powered by BMW engines.
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