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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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

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

Postby 67SATisfaction » 09 Mar 2018 03:28

The research so far has paid off.
I found excellent resources on http://www.germanluftwaffe.com

We knew the Ju 88 was used against many anti-convoy operations over the North Atlantic. It turns out not to have been very hard to confirm the Ju 88 was used as a dive-bomber in this role. Regarding the specific project I'm working on - it was important to find out how long and to what extent the Ju-88 was used for dive-bombing...

It is clear the Luftwaffe remained very confident in the efficacy of dive-bombing throughout WW2... Why? Because the LW kept dive-bombing ability firmly in the specifications as one of the main modes of ordinance delivery for the Ju 88A-4 and A-5, the Ju 188, Do 217, He 177, and Me 410.

Furthermore, the LW developed a sophisticated continually-calculating dive-bomb targeting system called the BZA-1, to improve the accuracy of dive-bombing, installed or intended to be installed in each of the above bomber types.

Anecdotally (I haven't confirmed this in an official reference) I was told Ernst Udet was a particular fan, and insisted all LW bombers have dive bombing capability. In perspective this was probably a reasonable position, given the nature and objectives of the LW's missions:
- Sink convoy or combat ships.
- Attack specific ground targets.
- Tactical battlefront operations in support of the army.

The BZA-1 system used an onboard analog computer, the IVR-1, to provide continuous targeting solutions delivered to the pilot via either a Stuvi-5 or PV-1-B heads up display. It looks to be remarkably sophisticated.. the IVR-1 computer compensated for crosswind, target altitude, air density, air speed, pitch (dive) angle, and angle of attack. Targeting solution was calculated and displayed via the HUD such that the pilot could see a continuous readout thru the HUD of where his bomb was calculated to hit at any given moment during the dive.. all he had to do was put or get the 'pipper' on the target and release the bomb(s).

The IVR-1 computer is the artifact we have and will display in our exhibit.

A complete BZA-1 system was about 100lbs worth of instruments, sensors and accessories distributed around the airframe. The IVR-1 accounted for 50lbs of that. As far as Ju 88's are concerned, the system was deployed on the A-4 and A-5 variants - which is the aircraft our IVR-1 computer came from - and most likely used the PV-1-B HUD, not the older Stuvi-5.

The IVR-1 was only deployed in A-4 and A-5 version of the Ju-88. These were later variants, which indicates the Ju 88's role as a dive-bomber did not diminish during the war, but was strengthened.

Our research is now moving on to Ju 88 units deployed to Sola Airfield later in the war - 1944-1945 - flying the A-4 or A-5 variants.
Cheers, - Art

Thanks,
- Art

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

Postby Urmel » 10 Mar 2018 07:23

Knouterer wrote:The Ju88 was certainly often used as a dive bomber.


Seems to have been a completely standard practice:

https://rommelsriposte.com/2012/02/26/l ... 19-jan-42/
The excellence of [German] forward repair and recovery organisation gives us a salutary lesson in this respect. 7 Armoured Division report, Sept. 1941

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle in the Desert 1941/42


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