Q: Ju 88 as a dive-bomber? Units at Sola, Norway 1941

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67SATisfaction
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Q: Ju 88 as a dive-bomber? Units at Sola, Norway 1941

Postby 67SATisfaction » 08 Jan 2018 16:47

Good morning all,

1.) I'm seeking any information or knowledge about missions or operations where the Ju 88 was used as a dive-bomber, and I'd love to have any references, comments or quotes from aircrews who used the Ju 88's as a dive bomber and the use of its automatic dive bombing flight controller..

2.) I'm also seeking any information of Ju 88 units and types (A-1, A-2?) deployed (under KG 30?) to Sola or Forus Airfields near Stavanger, Norway from April 1940 to roughly April 1942.

BACKGROUND:
I am a hobbyist, and I'm researching the use of the Ju 88's dive-bombing-controller for a local museum exhibit. My family is loaning the museum an example of the automatic dive bombing controller. My stepfather "recovered" the controller from Sola Airfield when the war was over. My research so far indicates the dive-bombing-controller wasn't used much operationally because the Ju-88 was so good at operations more important than dive-bombing.

Thank you,
- Art
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Knouterer
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Re: Q: Ju 88 as a dive-bomber? Units at Sola, Norway 1941

Postby Knouterer » 08 Jan 2018 19:51

The Ju88 was certainly often used as a dive bomber. To mention just one mission, an attack on Portsmouth during the Battle of Britain:

As related by P. Jenkins: Battle over Portsmouth, a City at War in 1940 (1986):

On August 12th 1940, some 70-80 Ju 88s of KG 51 flew through the gap in the balloon barrage at the mouth of the harbour and proceeded to bomb the dockyard and the southern part of the city. Some, deterred by the AA barrage, remained at a respectful altitude but others delivered their attacks from as low as 1000 feet. The battleship Queen Elizabeth (under repair) attracted some attention but was not hit, although a floating crane alongside was badly damaged. One bomb ripped up railway tracks and severed all the water, hydraulic, air and gas mains. Other dockyard installations were damaged as well although casualties were light: 3 dockyard workers killed and 17 injured. Again, the civilian areas took the brunt of the bombing. This raid cost the LW 12 Ju88s, although mostly brought down by fighters and not by the AA guns.

"The Luftwaffe Bombers' Battle of Britain" (Chris Goss, 2000). Page 70, interview with Oberleutnant Eberhard Wildermuth, KG 51:

"In the morning of 12 August 1940, III/KG 51, then stationed at Etampes-Montdesir, received orders to attack shipping in Portsmouth Harbour (...) There was not a cloud in the sky when at midday, we approached Portsmouth across the Isle of Wight (...) there was a thick layer of smoke caused by the Flak - incredibly, we flew at an altitude of 4,000 m right through a witch's cauldron of exploding shells. We had orders to dive down on targets in the harbour and not to level out higher than 1,200 m, which meant that we had to dive in between the barrage ballons at 2,000 m, keep the target in our sights and at 1,200 m press the button which pulled us out of the dive and released the bombs at the same time. The plane then carried on falling to about 700 m - during the dive, the plane was under heavy attack from the Flak and shaken by the explosions all around. I had dropped the bombs and pulled back the plane to about 1,500 m when suddenly, I lost all feeling in the stick - the controls had gone and the plane went into a dreaded spin."
Wildermuth and his crew baled out, landed in the harbour and were taken prisoner.

The Ju88A1 as used in 1940 had internal bomb bays to carry 23 X 50kg bombs but it is my understanding that this space was generally used for additional fuel tanks while the bomb load was carried on four hardpoints under the wings, inboard from the engines. The plane could carry 2,000 kgs of bombs but then needed a long concrete runway to get airborne, which was not always available. Four 250 kg bombs was the usual load apparently.

A little diagram showing the tradeoff between bombs, fuel and range:
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67SATisfaction
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Posts: 11
Joined: 25 Jun 2009 19:48
Location: USA & Norway

Re: Q: Ju 88 as a dive-bomber? Units at Sola, Norway 1941

Postby 67SATisfaction » 09 Jan 2018 04:07

Knouterer wrote:The Ju88A1 as used in 1940 had internal bomb bays to carry 23 X 50kg bombs but it is my understanding that this space was generally used for additional fuel tanks while the bomb load was carried on four hardpoints under the wings, inboard from the engines. The plane could carry 2,000 kgs of bombs but then needed a long concrete runway to get airborne, which was not always available. Four 250 kg bombs was the usual load apparently.

A little diagram showing the tradeoff between bombs, fuel and range:


Thanks for the useful book excerpts with references. Yes my understanding is the same: The internal bays were seldom used for bombs. The Ju 88 developed quickly from the A-1's. In Norway the Ju 88 quickly began anti-shipping patrols. I'd love to find out if the Ju 88 used dive-bombing vs level bombing against shipping. Ships are relatively small targets where dive-bombing could be the best method of attack: Put extra fuel in the bomb bays and carry your bombs externally for dive-bombing (... thinking here of the many instances of the shorter-range Ju 87's attacking shipping in the English Channel, and the successes of US Navy dive-bombers against the IJN). Then came the Ju 88A-17 rigged for two torpedoes, also deployed to Northern Norway against convoys.

Thanks, - Art


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