Luftwaffe
Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft
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Henschel Hs 126, 130

Taking to the skies for the first time in 1936 the Henschel 126V1 was in fact a conversion from the earlier Hs 122. The first true production models was the Hs 126A-1 and they started to be delivered to the squadrons in 1938.  Six A-1s were sent to Spain, for use by the L�gion Condor for assessment under combat. One was lost during the Civil War and the other five remained in Spain after the hostilities finished. Designed for the roles of Army co-operation, battlefield reconnaissance and artillery spotting, the observer would operate the camera from the rear Thirteen squadrons were employed during the campaign in Poland in 1939. Also it saw action in France in 1940, but by this time the Hs 126 was an easy target for allied fighters and the last airframe was delivered in 1941. However, some units remained in service until the end of the war.


Five Henschel Hs 130A-0's were first built and then delivered in early 1941, they were fitted to carry in a rear bay two Rb 75/30 cameras. One Hs 130A-0 was modified and renamed as Hs 130A-0/U6 this variant featured a greater wingspan and also had fitted under-wing drop fuel tanks. However, his model and the other four A-0's never flow operationally. The next reconnaissance variant was the Hs 130D, however it like  lot of other aircraft, never left the drawing board. Then came the Hs 130E, this was a re-work of the early A-0s. With a wing span of just over 108ft (33m) it could obtain an altitude of 49,500ft (15095m) and when fitted with drop-tanks, a range of 1,860miles. They were to carry three cameras in a rear bay. The first prototype flow in 1943, however, again dogged by mechanical problems, the project was cancelled in 1944.

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Junkers 86, 88, 118, 388

The Junkers Ju 86 started life in the early 1930s, designed to be an airliner and a military bomber. The airliner variant, the Ju 86K, was exported to a number of overseas customers. A number of the bomber variants, the Ju 86D were sent to Spain during the Civil War. However, they proved to be inferior to the Luftwaffe's other bomber the He 111.
In 1940, the prototype of the Ju 86P first flow, designed to be a high altitude aircraft, it was found that during trails it could reach a height of 39,000ft (12000m). The Luftwaffe pleased with this new variant, ordered forty of the older models to be converted to the Ju 86P-1 bomber and Ju 86P-2 reconnaissance versions (top & middle images). The P-2 had its cameras installed in the bomb-bay and was used immediately on reconnaissance missions over the England at heights of 41,000ft (12500m). During this time they remained totally undetected. Even sorties over the Home Fleet anchorage of Scapa Flow were completed. Because of the height in which they could fly, the Ju86Ps were immune to fighter attack, that was until a specially modified Spitfire Mk V shot one down north of Cairo, Egypt. A single aft-firing machine gun was quickly installed, this however, did not stop another two aircraft being shot down. In 1943 Ju 86Ps were withdrawn from service.
Converted from the P variant, the Ju 86R-1 was the next reconnaissance model. With a 105ft (32m) wing span it could reach a altitude of 47,250ft (14400m).  This variant was fitted with just two cameras. These remained in service flying reconnaissance missions until the summer of 1944.

Ju 86P
Ju 86P
Ju 86P Camera Layout
Diagram of the camera layout within a JU 86P
Ju 86R Aircraft
Junkers Ju 88R


Ju 88D-1 Reconnaisance aircraft
Ju 88 D

Ju 88 D-2 with drop tanks, the three camera ports can be seen in the fuselage

Early Ju 88D-2 camera layout

Ju 88 T-1

In 1935 there was a requirement for a multi-purpose aircraft for use by the Luftwaffe. The Junkers Ju 88 was selected and in May of 1936 three prototypes were produced. The various variants of the Ju 88A were used mainly in the bombing role. The first reconnaissance variant was the Ju 88B-0 of which ten pre-production models were produced in 1940. It had the bomb sight removed, a 268 gallon fuel tank installed in the front bomb-bay and a 150 gallon fuel tank fitted in the rear bomb-bay. The fitting of drop tanks under the wings was provisioned and of course, cameras were fitted.
Junkers then produced a range of reconnaissance aircraft with the designation Ju 88D. The crew complement was design for four members and armament was three MG15 machine guns. Provision was made to have either two or three cameras fitted. The standard set up of cameras was an Rb 50/30 for altitudes up to 28,000ft and an Rb 20/30 which was not intended to be used above 6,500ft.
The different versions were:
Ju 88D-0
Fitted with Jumo 211B-1 engines and fitted with a large camera installation.
Ju 88D-1
Not Built.
Ju 88D-2
Had fitted Jumo 211B, 211G or 221H engines and external racks for bombs or drop tanks.
Ju 88D-3
A tropical version of the D-1.
Ju 88D-4
A tropical version of the D-2
Ju 88D-5
A standardised layout of three cameras.
Late in 1942 a requirement for a ultra-long range reconnaissance variant to undertake missions over the Atlantic, lead to the development of the Ju 88H. It was developed by using major parts from other variants of the Ju 88, along with two new sections being added to the fuselage, giving an overall length of just under 58ft. This allowed more internal fuel tanks to be added, giving an internal capacity of 1,424 gallons. With external drops tanks fitted, the Ju 88H had a range of 3,200miles. The H-1 was fitted with the FuG 200 radar in the nose and a set of three cameras in the rear fuselage. The planned H-3 reconnaissance variant was to be similar to the H-1, it never reached operational service.
The last true reconnaissance variants of this aircraft was to be the Ju 88T-1 & T-3. Various camera fits were available, but most carried an Rb 20/30 and either an Rb 50/30 or an Rb 75/30 camera. Three crewmembers were carried and three machine guns were fitted for defence. Plans for full scale production were stopped in favour of the Me 410.

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By late 1942 seriously delays were foreseen with the development of the Ju 288 replacement for the Ju 88. So a Ju 88 E-0 was converted and renamed as the Ju 88 V44. Later to be renamed Ju 188V1.
The Ju 188 could be fitted either with the Jumo 213 or the BMW 801G engines, and this was without any changes to the main airframe. It was planned to have both versions listed as Ju 188A, however, aircraft fitted with the 213 engine became the Ju 188A, and those with the 801G became the Ju 188E. In 1944 development of reconnaissance variants of the A and E models started. The airframe was modified by removing the bomb aimer and the forward gun and additional fuel cells were added to push the range to 2,110 miles. The Ju 188D-1 was similar to the A model, with the Ju 188D-2 having a nose radar installed for naval reconnaissance. The same conversions were carried out on E models and the they were classed as Ju 188 F-1 and Ju 188 F-2.
One problem in which the Ju 88 and the Ju 188 had in common was the lack of internal storage for bombs. This was to be address with the development of the G and H models. With the reconnaissance version known as the Ju 188H-1, However, it did not enter production before the end of the war.
There were plans to completely re-design the aircraft, adding even more wing area and a pressurized cockpit.


Ju 188


Ju 288 Prototype


Ju 388L-1


Ju 388

At a period in time when the Luftwaffe lacked a strategic bombing doctrine for the Ju 288 coupled with the technical difficulties with the aircraft, Junkers turn to the development of the Ju 388. The first prototype a long-range reconnaissance variant was the Ju 388L-V1, it was completed in late 1943. Convert from the Ju 188S, ten pre-production aircraft were produced as the Ju 388L-0. The first aircraft entered Luftwaffe service in mid 1944. At about the same time, L-1 variant was also going into production. There were a number of differences between the L-0 and the L-1, the wooden three blade airscrews had been replaced with four blade versions, a tail warning radar system was installed and a long with a wooden ventral  pannier was fitted. This was used to hold both cameras and a jettison-able 198 gallon fuel tank. The standard crew size was three, however, a forth member was added, to man a rear facing machine gun. This variant was designated Ju 388L-1/b. The cameras that could be carried were the Rb 35/25, 50/30 or the 75/30. If tasked for night sorties the NRb 35/25, 40/25 or the 50/25 were carried. The Ju 388L-3 was another variant, having up-rated engines, fitted with 4 blade airscrews. Around forty-seven Ju 338Ls were produced by December 1944, but because of the reduced requirement for reconnaissance aircraft with the changing nature of the war, production of this aircraft was stopped.


 

 

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