So, with confidence we can talk about the fatal for the Nazi regime, the underestimation of this aircraft, because if the German leadership decided to accelerate the introduction of the Ju-188 series and its release would begin not in the spring 1943 of the year, but in the spring of 1942, and if by the summer of the 1943, the Luftwaffe could have several thousand machines of this type, then at least the Axis forces Berlin-Rome "could reflect the landing of the Allies in Sicily, and perhaps even change the course of the Kursk battle.
Ju-188 during the night attack of the sea convoy against the background of the English destroyer.
Ju-188 was not remembered by Soviet soldiers in the same way as, for example, the Jo-87 or the frame (although numerically Ju-188 was produced even slightly more than Fw-189). FirstThis happened because airplanes of this type were massively used only in the last year of World War II, when the Luftwaffe no longer had air supremacy and these vehicles could no longer “hang” over the front line, carrying out reconnaissance or bombardment strikes as it was in 1941-1943. As you know, from the middle of 1943 until the end of the war, the only way of operating the German strike and reconnaissance aircraft (due to the sharply increased quality level of the Soviet Air Force) was to reach the given area as quickly as possible, to quickly drop bombs or make aerial photography, and return back to maximum speed. SecondThe Ju-188 was primarily required in the Mediterranean and Western European theaters, where the Western Allies air forces had a very large numerical and significant qualitative superiority (in particular, due to the use of automatic anti-aircraft fire control systems for air defense systems), and therefore only a small number of aircraft of this type were sent by the Germans to the Eastern Front.
It is also worth saying that on the Soviet-German front, the Air Forces of the Red Army had only numerical, but not technological superiority over the Luftwaffe forces, and, in addition, the Soviet air forces were even numerically smaller than the air forces of the Western Alliance, and operated mainly only in the front zone, without the risk of carrying out long raids deep into enemy territory after the bloody lessons of 1941. Thus, according to Nazi leaders, aviation The Soviet Union posed a relatively smaller threat than Anglo-American aviation.
At the same time, starting from 1942, the Western Allies launched a systematic strategic aerial offensive, launching missions against 1943 already against industrial centers directly of Germany itself, and as a result, 1944 achieved complete domination of Europe in the sky. All this forced the Germans to use technically less sophisticated or outdated aircraft models on the Eastern Front to a large extent than on the Western Front, which is why the high-speed Ju-188 was created and used primarily as a vehicle for opposing the Western alliance.
Ju-188 in their characteristic snake camouflage. Torpedoes are clearly visible at the base of the wings - in the variant of the marine base torpedo bomber this machine could take in overload not one, but two “fish” at once. In the nose of the fuselage visible antenna radar, used in marine navigation and to search for enemy ships.
The very first combat sorties of these vehicles were carried out as high-altitude sea reconnaissance and mine planters in the North Sea; acting on areas where, in the event of destruction in battle, a new type of aircraft would not have become an enemy trophy. And I must say that for combat reasons, during the first few months of 1943, not a single Ju-188 was lost during such missions, which was one of the proofs of the outstanding flight qualities of this model (although a certain number of cars were badly damaged and then written off however, they were not considered as combat losses). As for the bombers, their first combat mission carried out 18 \ 19 August 1943 on the night of August, successfully producing (by an experimental squadron together with other Luftwaffe units using other types of aircraft) the bombing of the city of Lincoln in the UK. Other raids followed, and although the damage inflicted on British industry was relatively small, these bombings showed that it was too early for the Luftwaffe to "write off".
Deserves special attention scheme used by the Nazis in the commissioning of the bomber. To retrain pilots to a new type of aircraft by the German command in the spring of 1943, a “special squadron 188” was created, through which the first pilots recruited from squadrons planned to be transferred to Ju-188, and who had instructor experience, passed work. Then, after some time of training, they were distributed back to the units, where they had already formed their “training squadrons” (mainly based on the “staff staff”) and transferred the experience to other pilots of the “group” or arriving newcomers, in parallel with new type of aircraft. A little later, several dozen vehicles of this type were transferred to flight schools for training pilot pilots to fly bomber, which they planned to make one of the main ones in the Luftwaffe.
Ju-188 A-3 - FuG 200 search radar antennas are clearly visible, although they lowered the speed characteristics, but allowed to navigate and search for targets at night or in poor visibility conditions. The British sailors complained very much that it seemed that when the weather or time of day allowed them to quietly follow their own course, fearing only mines and submarines, several of these dirty cars suddenly appeared because of low clouds or at night and released their torpedoes.
The first unit, completely re-armed with the Ju-188 bomber modification in the Nazi Air Force, became the headquarters detachment and then the II group of the 6 bomber squadron, followed by the IV and I groups of the same squadron, and then other units. For a number of reasons, primarily due to limited release, only three squadrons of the KG 1943, KG 1944 and KG 2 were armed with aircraft of this model from the end of 6 to the end of 26, and then not completely, but only some of their units. In addition, KG 66 had one squadron (4 Staffel) flying on Ju-188, as well as KG 200 also had a separate squadron operating on this type of aircraft.
The peak of using the Ju-188 as a night bomber fell on the first half of 1944 of the year, and in this role it proved to be relatively successful. However, after the landing of the Western alliance in Normandy, as a result of an incorrectly adopted operational decision of the Luftwaffe leadership, the extermination of the Ju-188 bomber formations literally took place. The fact is that, relying on high speed even with a bomb load and, as it was believed, sufficient defensive armament of these machines, the Nazi leadership ordered all the available forces to carry out massive Allied bombing attacks in the Normandy landing zone and ordered to carry out combat missions not only at night, but during the day. However, the Anglo-American air force over the English Channel in the summer of 1944 had an indisputable advantage over the Luftwaffe, as a result of which the German pilots found themselves in a situation in which the bomber units of the Red Army Air Force in the summer of 1941 had appeared: by direct order "from above" squadron Ju-188 and other attack aircraft rushed to attack the disembarkation zone with the highest concentration of air defenses, with the absolute domination of the forces of the Western alliance in the air, and were almost completely destroyed. Thus, instead of repeating the success of the French 1940 campaign, the Luftwaffe forces suffered a major defeat and seriously lost their combat capability.
As a result, some units of the German Air Force, who suffered huge losses in the fighting for several weeks and even days, refused to continue combat missions under the threat of armed insurrection, demanding a withdrawal to the rear of the re-formation, and in general the Luftwaffe leadership was forced to admit the fallacy of their actions and perform the demands of their pilots by transferring the remnants of the once strong Kampfgeshwaderes to the rear bases.
It is interesting to compare this situation with other countries of the war. It was probably an unthinkable situation for the Soviet air forces — pilots who refused to perform combat missions in wartime due to high unit losses would most likely be immediately shot by order of a quickly assembled troika ship (consisting of a unit commander, commissioner and a senior officer of the squadron), or, at a minimum, would have been penalized (for example, in the “air penal battalion” - with the same air gun on IL-2). At the same time, in the Anglo-Saxon Air Force, after achieving a loss level in 6-10% in the subdivision and even more so in 15-20% of the air crew, combat sorties were necessarily stopped, and part of it was retired to rest and replenish (thereby, unlike, unfortunately, from the Soviet Air Force, its combat effectiveness and the backbone of experienced veteran pilots remained).
Yu-188 in the version of the reconnaissance bomber goes to the target area for reconnaissance - the best time was considered a night flight, designed so that with the first rays of dawn to be over enemy territory, quickly reconnaissance and return at maximum speed there was less chance of falling victim to their anti-aircraft gunners or night fighters).
One way or another, it was precisely in the summer of 1944 that the remnants of the experienced pilots of the German bomber squadrons fell out of the sky over northern France, after which these once formidable units stopped creating a truly serious threat to the allies. They could not restore their former combat capability in the Luftwaffe - the shortage of trained pilots and the shortage of aviation fuel began to show, with the result that the last bombing raid against English cities using Ju-188 was fixed on 19 of September 1944.
The most Ju-188 effectively proved themselves as high-speed scouts. (recall that about half of the aircraft of this type produced were precisely reconnaissance variants). During the second half of 1943, these vehicles were put into service by four long-range reconnaissance units, and by the end of 1944, the Ju-188 (along with aircraft of other models) were already part of ten such units and were used in all theaters from Italy to Norway and from Belarus to France.
In particular, the long-range maritime reconnaissance detachment 1. (F) / 124, based in Norway, acted with the 26 units of the bomber squadron against the Allied ships following in the maritime convoys to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. For the first time, Ju-188 from distant high-altitude reconnaissance detachments appeared on the Soviet-German front in September of the 1943 year, and since then their number has steadily increased. It should also be noted that in most Soviet front-line units for almost a year they did not know about the appearance of a new universal strike aircraft with the enemy (although the British shot down the first Ju-188 on the night from 8 to 9 in October 1943 of the year, and after some time, after studying the trophy, reported in the USSR about a new type of German bomber), because air defense units and pilots of the Soviet fighter aircraft, apparently, took him for the well-known Ju-88 (by the way, really having a basis for this).
It should be noted especially the unique work of Soviet foreign intelligence, which, according to a number of researchers, at the very beginning of 1943 of the year (that is, when the Germans had just finished the final design improvements and barely started building the first small-scale copies of Ju-188) reported in the Kremlin about the appearance of a new type of bomber among the Germans and, perhaps, even provided partial copies of the design documentation. However, according to the testimony of Western authors, the Soviet side either did not attach any importance to the data received, or “modestly decided to keep silent” about the information received, but in one way or another, none of the information received came to London (perhaps this was due to the fact that in the opinion of the Soviet network of agents, the new bomber by the Germans was intended primarily for actions against England, and not against the USSR).
And until autumn 1943, i.e. until the British themselves got a copy of the downed Ju-188 as a trophy, the foggy Albion secret service remained in blissful ignorance for a new type of scout, target designer, torpedo bomber and night bomber. German car. When the British handed over to the USSR the first results of a survey of a captured aircraft, and then the Ju-188 began to be used in increasing numbers on the Soviet-German front (including becoming Soviet trophies), official instructions were developed in the Soviet Union an indication of the vulnerabilities of the new German aircraft, which were sent to the fighter units.
Ju-188, shot down over England during a bomber mission night fighter.
Despite a number of technical advantages, the Ju-188 on the Western Front did not show any particularly outstanding results as a bomber (especially during operations during the day), and the compounds reequipped on machines of this type also suffered almost the same losses as those used by Ju-88 and Do-217. Attempts by the Luftwaffe to use Ju-188 in daytime bomber missions against allies advancing in Italy, and later disembarking in France, were unsuccessful, and since the summer of 1944, all Ju-188 bomber units were used against the forces of the Western alliance exclusively at night.
At the same time, on the Soviet-German front, it was Ju-188 that quite successfully manifested itself throughout the year - from the 1943 fall to the 1944 fall, being used not only as a scout, but also as a bomber. In fact, due to its high speed and good altitude, as well as weak tactical interaction between various branches of the Soviet troops, and, one can say, due to the lack of developed night fighter aircraft from the Red Army air force, these aircraft became almost the only large-scale German bombers who were able to successfully complete not only night missions, but also day missions, and even in 1944-45.
According to the testimony of the Luftwaffe pilots flying the Ju-188, the most dangerous among the day fighters of the Western Front were considered American "Mustangs" and English "Spitfires", partly "Temposts" and "Lightnings", and among the day fighters of the Eastern Front - Yak-3 and to a lesser extent La-7, with high speed and good altitude. Among the Allied night fighters in the West German pilots were especially wary of high-speed, well-armed and equipped with the English Mosquito radar. At the same time the Germans noted that on the Eastern Front, Soviet night fighters could barely fear even in 1944, because it was only possible by chance that the Ju-188 pilot could become their victim (due to the extremely weak training of Soviet pilots of night fighter aviation, poor use of radar in the air force and the air defense forces of the Red Army, and also (according to the Germans) due to the absence of specialized night fighter models in the USSR ).
Knowing this, one can only marvel at the courage and long-suffering of the Soviet soldiers who fought in the ground forces, which even in 1944 had to withstand the attacks of German bombers. It would seem - “well, everything, the 1941-42 nightmare passed. The difficult and bloody 1943 ended, everything, we will drive the German to the west!”. However, the German designers developed, and the German industry began to produce another new type of bomber, which was so difficult for the Soviet aviation to shoot down that they could attack our troops with impunity in the conditions of the seemingly operational and tactical superiority of the Red Army air force. I don’t even want to talk about speed Ju-188 in reconnaissance variants: it seemed that Soviet troops had just got rid of the hated “frames” (Fw-189) that were so annoying in 1941-43, and “here you are” Germans appear qualitatively different magnificent scout with excellent quality camera equipment, which is not something that shoot down, but just to catch up even with the latest Soviet "hawks" was extremely difficult.
However, despite the good characteristics of Ju-188, since the fall of 1944, the bomber and later torpedo-carrying compounds were forced to curtail their activities. This happened due to the need for the Luftwaffe to concentrate all resources for Germany’s air defense, including due to the growing fuel shortage, and the adoption of the RLM program to stop the production of any aircraft other than fighters. In response to this, the German designers of the concern Junkers AG attempted to create a special modification of the Ju-188 R in the “heavy night hunter” variant, equipped with a radar and four 20 mm MG-151 guns or two XKNUMX mm MK30 guns located in the nose the aircraft. However, in the process of testing, it turned out that installing such strong weapons critically upsets the balance of the structure, making takeoff and landing extremely dangerous for poorly trained pilots, and the onboard weapons planned for installation had to be reduced. As a result, only a small part of this type of aircraft was used as heavy night fighters, having only a pair of 103 mm guns in the nose, which was, of course, extremely insufficient for fighting allied four-engined bombers, and it is logical that Ju-20 didn’t show itself.
The photo captured an extremely unpleasant moment for the Anglo-Saxon sailors: "The Avenger" on the combat course, already dropped a torpedo.
At the same time, as already noted, the reconnaissance Ju-188 modifications were very actively used by the Luftwaffe, and not only in the 1944 year, but even until the very end of the war, and this version of the high-speed high-altitude reconnaissance was almost the only saved not only in the autumn of 1944, but even in the spring of 1945 of the year.
It can also be noted that in the last months of the war part of the formations, equipped with both torpedo-bombing and reconnaissance modifications Ju-188, used as extreme supplies and even as a means of emergency evacuation of VIPs from a number of “boilers”. Almost all equipment and often armament were removed from airplanes intended for such missions in order to ensure maximum speed, while special bomb containers and sometimes on the external sling accommodated cargo containers dropped over the “boiler” territories. If there was a technical opportunity for landing and there was a task to take someone from the valuable "encirclement", then only the first pilot participated in the departure from the entire crew. Next was the landing on the territory occupied by German troops; For example, important Nazi party functionaries or valuable technical specialists were loaded into the cockpit, which were exported using Soviet terminology to the “mainland”. In particular, such missions were carried out in the "Ruhr cauldron" in the west, and in the east to Courland and East Prussia. At the same time, during such sorties, due to the good speed data, the Ju-188 suffered relatively small losses relative to other, less speed German aircraft of other types.
Due to the fact that the Ju-188 was adopted by Germany rather late, and began to be produced in large quantities when the Reich began to lose all its satellites, the Ju-188 was supplied only to Real Fuerza Aerea Hungaru (Royal Air Forces of Hungary) . In total, this country — the most faithful Hitler’s ally — received, according to various sources, from 12 to 20 or even to 42 Ju-188 of various modifications that were actively used in battles against the advancing Soviet forces, and later against Romania that had fallen to the side of the anti-Hitler coalition of Romania. In addition, according to some data, several copies of Ju-188 were transferred and used in the Air Force of the Italian fascist "Republic of Saló" (not to be confused with Svidomo "Republic of Sala"! ) and the Croatian Air Force.
Soviet fighter shot down U-188 in summer camouflage of the Eastern Front.
As a conclusion, we can say that, despite the fact that this plane was hardly remembered by the Soviet soldiers who fought on the fronts of World War II, and that even today it is known only to a small circle of aviation enthusiasts, the Ju-188 proved to be a good universal bomber, as a very formidable all-weather torpedo bomber and as an extremely difficult to shoot down high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft.
Yes, it was not some kind of masterpiece of the German aircraft industry, but, thanks to the deep processing of its predecessor Ju-88, this machine became a reliable “workhorse”, while “running very fast”, i.e. developing a very high speed for a 40-bomber bomber comparable in some modifications to the speed of many fighters of the anti-Hitler coalition countries.
If it were not for the number of organizational mistakes of the Hitlerite leadership, the Nazis could have a fleet of extremely difficult for interception strike aircraft in their hands, which would allow them to continue the aerial terror campaign in 1943-45, and perhaps even change the course of the war, but by Fortunately for all of us, this did not happen.
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