Junkers Ju 352 Herkules (Hercules)

The Junkers Ju 352 Herkules was a wooden version of the Ju 252 transport aircraft, itself developed in an attempt to replace the Ju 52/3m. The new aircraft was very similar to the Ju 252, with the same three engined layout and hydraulic loading ramp (Trapoklappe). The wooden wings were moved back, a new vertical tail was designed, and the semi-circular windows of the Ju 252 were replaced with square windows. Defensive firepower was provided by one 20mm MG 151/20 cannon mounted in an EDL 151 dorsal turret, while two 13mm MG 131 machine guns could be mounted in the cabin windows.

The V1 prototype made its maiden flight on 1 October 1943, followed quickly by the V2. Both were powered by three 1,000hp Bramo 323R-2 air-cooled radial engines, capable of providing 1,200hp when used with water-methanol injection. They were followed by ten A-0 pre-production (V3 to V12) and thirty three A-1 full production aircraft. Plans were in place to produce the B-1 and B-2, both of which would have been powered by 1,800hp BMW 801 radial engines.

The Ju 352 was used by I./KG 200 to drop agents and fly other special missions, and to the Grossraum-Transportgruppe, based at Tutow. The Ju 352's most dramatic mission came on the night of 26/27 April 1945, when one became the last aircraft to land at Gatow (Berlin) with reinforcements (twenty five rather unlucky sailors), before returning to base carrying wounded soldiers.

Engine: Three BMW-Bramo 323R-2 nine-cylinder radial engines
Power: 1,200hp each
Wing span: 112ft 2 ½ in (34.2m)
Length: 79ft 4 ¾ in (24.2m)
Empty weight: 27,562lb
Loaded weight: 43,041lb
Max Speed: 205mph at 13,124ft
Cruising Speed: 149 mph
Service Ceiling: 19,686ft
Range: 1,119 miles (normal), 1,852 miles (maximum)
Armament: One 20mm MG 151 cannon in HD 151/2 turret

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 (14 November 2009), Junkers Ju 352 Herkules (Hercules) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_junkers_ju352.html

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