Profile Publications No. 148 The Junkers Ju 88 Night Fighters

The Oerlikon-typc MG FF 20 mm. cannon note that litis weapon was drum-fed and it was one o f the tasks o f Ju 88 flight engineers to replace empty drums during combat. THE ADVENT O F RADAR The system of ground controlled night fighting worked well on moonlight nights, but General Kammhuber had foreseen that the time would come when the bombers would attack on dark nights, too. In anticipation of this he had asked the Telefunken company to build a radar set small enough to befitted into a night Infighter. July 1941 the set—the FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC—underwent its first flight trials. The radar worked on a frequency of 490 megacycles it had a maximum range of two and a half miles and a minimum range of 200 yards. In February 1942 the first Lichtenstein equipped fighters arrived at Leeuwarden, for service with N.J.G. I. The new airborne radar gained immediate unpopu­larity amongst night fighter crews: the set had its fair share of the teething troubles inseparable from any new electronic device moreover, the cumbersome aerial array clipped 5 m.p.h. ofT the top speed of the Ju 88. In time the “bugs" were ironed out of Lichten­stein BC and by the autumn of 1942 the majority of German night fighters were fitted with it, or its simplified mass produced version, the FnG 212 C-l. At the end of 1941 the Ju 88C-6 appeared, the first of the fighter variants to be produced in any quantity. The C-6 was armed with a forward firing armament of three MG FF 20 mm. cannon and three 7-9 mm. machine guns. There was provision for a rearward firing armament of two machine guns, one above and one below the fuselage, but most night fighters flew without these weapons. Power was from two Jumo 211J engines. The C-6a was the day fighter version while the C-6b was the night fighter, fitted with Lichtenstein radar. A total of 257 Ju 88C-6s were built during 1942 production averaged a little over twenty machines per month, a rate which did moreno than makeup for service attrition. By the 31st December 1942 a total of 385 Ju 88 fighters had been built. Of these a mere 65, of nl! types, were in service with the front lir.e units. On the same date the German night fighter force comprised 389 serviceable aircraft, the great majority of them Bf 110's. In December 1942 the R.A.F. began jamming the wireless communications between the Hinunelbett A J ii 88C-6I) with Flensburg homing device and Lichtenstein BC radar. (Photo: Imp. War. Mus. HU2864) This Ju 88R-I is preserved at R.A.F. Biggin Hill, Kent, U.K. there is some evidence to suggest that it is the machine originally brought to England by German defectors in 1943. control stations and the night fighters. Initially this jamming caused difficulties, but from April 1943 night fighters were equipped with the FttG 16 radio in addition to the FuG 10 set previously used the FuG 16 operated on frequencies between 38 and 42 mega­cycles, apart of the spectrum not covered by the British jamming. The first BMW powered Ju 88 fighter variant to sec service was the Ju 88R, which appeared in 1943. Apart from the air-cooled motors, which were enclosed in cowlings almost exactly the same as those of the liquid-cooled Jumo 2M*s, the Ju 88R-1 was identical to the C-6b. 5
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