Junkers Ju 388 Close Up
by Charles Silverlight
Junkers Ju 388L-1
Close-Up View of
the Cockpit and Fuselage Details of the NASM Ju 388L-1
Ju 388L-1, W Nr
This aircraft was surrendered to US forces in at the Allgemeine Transport
Gesellschaft factory at Merseburg in in May 1945.
It was flown from Merseburg to Kassel/Waldau (Y-96) for servicing by the 10th
Air Depot Group on 20th May 1945. It was later, on 17th June, flown to
Cherbourg/Querqueville and taken to the USA aboard HMS Reaper. The Ju 388 was
taken to Freeman Field and, after reconditioning, made demonstration flights to
the press there in Sept 1945. By June 1946 it had returned to Freeman Field and
was held in flyable condition. Technical report F-TR-1138-ND was written on this
aircraft and issued in Oct 1946.
Although initially assigned to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, it was put into
storage at No. 803 Special Depot, Park Ridge, Illinois, on 26th Sept 1946. It is
at present in storage with the Garber facility at Silver Hill of the National
Air and Space Museum.
(From 'War Prizes', by P Butler - with permission)
Junkers Ju 388
Late in the war, the Ju 388 was developed from the existing successful Ju 188.
The Ju 388L was a long range reconnaissance version. Powered by two BMW 801 TJ
radial engines driving VDM-Dural 4 bladed props. Its cameras were housed in a
large wooden ventral pannier which also contained additional fuel. Its sole
defensive armament, 2x 13mm machine guns (600 r.p.g.) housed in a rear barbette,
were aimed by a PVE 11 periscope sight. This can be seen in the cockpit photo
(next page). 47 Ju 388L aircraft were delivered by the end on 1944 including 2
Ju388L-3, powered by the liquid cooled Jumo 213E V-12. Several Ju 388Ls were
delivered to 3.staffel of the Versuchsverband Ob. d.L late in 1944 but none of
the Fernaufklarungs-Stafflen designated to receive the aircraft completed
conversion in time to became fully operational.
The Ju 388K, a bomber version, was developed shortly after the Ju 388L. The
remarkable performance of this small but fast Schnellbomber would have posed the
Allies serious problems. As it was, apart from a few sorties by the
reconnaissance model, the Ju 388 failed to see combat.
(Information Souce source: 'War Planes of the Second World War' by William
Ju 388 Close
Up - The Images
In November 1997 I asked the Curator of German Aircraft at the NASM for
permission to see and photograph the last Ta 152 H-0 (see Ta 152 Web Page). In
the same storage shed at the Garber Facility the Ju 388 L was being worked on.
After taking some exterior shots of the fuselage, the restoration staff
allowed me to photograph inside the cockpit, entering via the hatch in the
bottom of the plane. The inside was in remarkable condition. Showing its age
admittedly, but with none of the damage seen in the Focke-Wulf Ta 152.The photos
are also available at higher resolution on my web site - Ju 388 L Page.
Like all the aircraft in storage, the Ju 388 was in a dismantled state. The
NASM staff were replacing the old wood supports which had become distorted and
could have damaged the plane. The photo on the right was taken looking up into
the fuselage and looks like a fuel tank.
Click the thumbnails below to view
the images full-sized.
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Inside the cockpit the plane looked almost untouched, all the instruments
were present and the paint looked new and crisp.
The remotely controlled FA 15 barbette at the rear of the fuselage, minus its
two 13mm MG 131 machine guns. Above the rear wheel, the horizontal stabiliser
has been removed revealing 02 primer. The stencilling is probably original, the
US authorities tended to apply their own stencils in English when required.
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Page Created 14 August, 2001
19 April, 2004
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