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(1939-1945) WWII
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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3404
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/11/2020 8:37:58 PM

Most dabblers in WW2 military history recognize some familiar aircraft, names like Lancaster, B-17, Heinkel, Stuka, Mosquito, Dornier, Mustang, Spitfire and the like. And most of us recognize that a relatively few companies built a vast majority of the various a/c flown by each side during the war.
Today, I stumbled upon what was for me new information about a German aircraft I thought was obsolescent at the outbreak of WW2, not being used much after the Polish campaign. The plane was the Junkers Ju-86.


Germany was disallowed an air force under Treaty of Versailles sanctions. But they were not denied civilian aircraft for commercial purposes. So many early German a/c between the wars were commercial. And however cynical one might be about its motives, Germany created sophisticated means of directing aircraft, finding cities, flying in inclement weather and a host of navigation and direction-finding skills. As early as 1926, Lufthansa (then, I believe, Luft Hansa) was being established for regular passenger and mail service. Two suppliers of a/c to the fledgling company were Dornier and Junkers.

Junkers first offered (in 1930) the Ju-52 (affectionately, the “Tante Ju”), a twin-engined aircraft that could be configured for passengers or Mail. Hitler used a Ju-52 to campaign during the elections of 1932, and after his accession to power flew in an often-Nazi-marked Ju-52 to rallies and party gatherings. Kind of an Air Force One with a Teutonic twist. Leni Rieffenstahl used the concept to stunning effect in her Triumf des Willens.

In 1934, Junkers introduced the Ju-86. It too was a civilian aircraft – the Luftwaffe would not officially come into being until March 1935 – but with the birth of the Luftwaffe it appeared in a military version. It was tested under actual war conditions during the Spanish Civil War, and was evidently rated poorly. And in that incredibly rapid period of aircraft development, I thought it was increasingly phased out, as Dornier introduced its adaptable Do-17, Heinkel developed the He-111, and by early in the war the first Ju-88s became available. After Poland, the Ju-86 was withdrawn from front-line units.

Except, according to the video offered below, it wasn’t. It was converted into a high-altitude bomber and recon unit, extending its life at least two full years. Was this as significant as the link below suggests? I think not. The Ju-86 had a small bomb load capacity, so could do little major damage as a bomber. But in a reconnaissance role it could be deadly.

I assume the the bombing and reconnaissance raids by Ju-86’s was part of the retaliation called the “Baedeker Raids”. By any means of comparison, RAF pounding of Lübeck and Rostoff were massively more impactful than the Luftwaffe raids against British cultural landmarks.

But, IIUC, the RAF Mosquito – which could have been adapted to reach the Ju-86’s altitude – played the same high-altitude role to more effect, less than a year afterGermany withdrew the Ju-86 from active service over GB.

[Read More]

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan
MI USA
Posts: 6051
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/12/2020 10:28:38 AM

Hi Brian,

Interesting take on those Luftwaffe Bombers getting through the net!
But what were the German Battleships portrayed as, Cruise Ships?

Stay the hell away from Covid!

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Brian W
Atlanta
GA USA
Posts: 953
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/15/2020 10:57:21 PM


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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3404
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/17/2020 9:00:21 PM

Brian W, thanks for that drawing of the Ju-86.

That’s gotta be an early mark of the Ju-86. The design of both the upper gun and the lower “basket” gun suggest that. And I would guess that, were the same gun positions still in existence at 44,000’, a lot of gunners would have died rapidly.

Cheers. And, please, continue to stay safe.
bg
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
RichTO90
Bremerton
WA USA
Posts: 566
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/27/2020 1:04:21 PM

Quote:
Brian W, thanks for that drawing of the Ju-86.

That’s gotta be an early mark of the Ju-86. The design of both the upper gun and the lower “basket” gun suggest that. And I would guess that, were the same gun positions still in existence at 44,000’, a lot of gunners would have died rapidly.

Cheers. And, please, continue to stay safe.
bg


Yep that is a very early version depicted. D-AZYN was the RLM code for the Ju 86 A0, pre-production bombers and was one of 13 built. The only aircraft earlier built were the five prototypes.

The high-altitude reconnaissance bomber, the Ju 86P1, and the high-altitude photo-recon plane, the Ju 86P2, had a distinctive glassed in nose for the pilot and copilot/observer, as well as very distinctively different engine nacelles for the Jumo 207A-1 turbocharged diesel engines, and greater wingspan. The small pressurized cabin in the nose was the only crew position and there was neither a dorsal or ventral gun position, which were faired over.
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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3404
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/27/2020 7:00:54 PM

Rich, thank you for that information, particularly your “D-AZYN was the RLM code for the Ju 86 A0, pre-production bombers and was one of 13 built. The only aircraft earlier built were the five prototypes.”

To my shame, I’m very lacking in the reading of aircraft coding or marking. Maybe you could offer me some sources, if/when you have the time. For now, I’m going to make a WAG about what RLM might mean. Given the time we’re talking, I’m going to assume the R might be “Reich”, and the L “Luft”. If I’m even close with the first two initials, I would expect the M to reflect “mark” or “model”.

Cheers, Rich. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
RichTO90
Bremerton
WA USA
Posts: 566
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/27/2020 9:31:18 PM

Quote:
To my shame, I’m very lacking in the reading of aircraft coding or marking. Maybe you could offer me some sources, if/when you have the time. For now, I’m going to make a WAG about what RLM might mean. Given the time we’re talking, I’m going to assume the R might be “Reich”, and the L “Luft”. If I’m even close with the first two initials, I would expect the M to reflect “mark” or “model”.
Cheers, Rich. And stay safe.
Brian G


No problem.

RLM = Reichsluftfahrtministerium = Imperial Air Ministry. One good source for the codes is http://www.designation-systems.net/non-us/germany.html
Another is http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_D-a4.html

Happy New Year!
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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3404
Air battle at 44,000 ft.
Posted on: 12/30/2020 9:29:29 PM

Rich, thank you for the info. I am developing a set of crib notes on ancillary war information. This will fit it perfectly.

Cheeers, and all the best in the new year.
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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