Profile Publications No. 148 The Junkers Ju 88 Night Fighters

his head in unnatural and uncomfortable positions in an attempt to keep the bomber silhouette in the most favourable panel. The left hand front panel is the most satisfactory, but it is small, and is partially obstructed by the sight. Failure to keep the silhouette in this panel results in temporary loss of the visual while it passes behind a ‘prison bar’, and often in permanent loss if the range is long. The limitations of vision and the positioning of the sight close to one of the ‘prison bars’ will make deflection shooting, particularly in right hand turns, even harder than is usual at night.” Jackson found the Lichtenstein BC radar to be roughly comparable with the British A.I. IV, though the more cumbersonc aerial system used with the German set produced a narrower beam, which made it easier to follow small movements by the target. The Himmelbett system of night fighter control took a heavy toll of the raiders until the night of 24th July 1943, when the R.A.F. started using “Window”. “Window” was the code-name given to the bundles of strips of metal foil, cut to one half the wavelength of both Lichtenstein and the German ground fighter control radar. Dropped at a rate of one per minute from each aircraft in the attacking force, the bundles broke up to form clouds of radar reflective strips the “clouds” combined to form a “smokescreen”, in which radar controlled interceptions were im­possible. “Window” paralysed the Hinunelbett system, but the Luftwaffe evolved new defensive tactics remark­ably quickly. From August 1943 the German night fighter force abandoned the idea of the barrier in front of industrial areas, and instead concentrated all available aircraft over the target itself. At the target light from fires, target markers and searchlights combined to produce near-daylight conditions. Their prey thus illuminated, the fighters attacked visually. Instead of the previous, rather gentlemanly methods, Luftwaffe crews now ranged the length and breadth of Germany after the bombers. It became almost commonplace for fighters based in Denmark to engage raiders over southern Germany when the fuel ran low the fighters landed wherever they could. The tactics bore the apt code-name Wilde Sau (Wild Boar). 4R +UR, a Ju 88G-1 o f 7/NJG 2, pictured after its inadvertent landing at Woodbridge in Essex during the early hours o f 13ili July, 1944. This aircraft furnished the R.A.F. with vitally important information about the SN-2 radar installation and the Flensburg homing device. (Photo: Imp. War Mus. HU2735) The Bf 110 was not well suited to the new methods. It lacked the necessary endurance, and many of these aircraft crashed simply because they outran of fuel. Far more Ju 8S night fighters were now needed. At the end of August 1943 the type equipped only a small fraction of the night fighter force. Just one Gruppe, IV./N.J.G.3,* based at Luneburg and Kas- trup, was fully equipped with the Ju 88. Other units partially equipped with it were IV./N.J.G. 1 at Leeuwarden, Stab/ and I./N.J.G. 2 at Nellingen, I./N.J.G. 3 at Vechta, II./N.J.G. 3 at Wunstorf and 1./N.J.G. 100, I./N.J.G. 200 and II./N.J.G. 200 on the Eastern Front. *With 27 aircraft. NEW ARMAMENT AND RADAR ]To meet the new requirement the production of Ju 88 night fighters was stepped up during the second half of 1943, and during the year 706 C Rand models were built. Many of the aircraft now coming ofT the pro­duction lines were fitted with a Schrage Musik installation, consisting of a pair of 20 mm. MG 151 cannon mounted mid-way along the fuselage, arranged to fire upwards and forwards. Sighting was by means of a reflector sight attached to the roof of the cockpit above and slightly in front of the pilot’s head. The angle to which the guns were set depended, within (continued on page 10) One o f the more famous air-to-air views o f the Ju 88G, this photograph shows 4R +UR during its flight trials with the R.A.F. A t this stage the machine wore British roundels these have been retouched out on the print and replaced by spurious Luftwaffe markings. One piece o f evidence is the aerial o f the British V.H.F. radio mounted on the fuselage behind the cockpit. (Photo: Imp. War Mus. HU2736) 7
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