Ju 388 file photo [5694]

Ju 388 Störtebeker

Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight22 December 1943


ww2dbaseThe Ju 388 Störtebeker aircraft were developed from the Ju 88 and Ju 188 line of bombers by Junkers. When German intelligence learned the altitude capabilities of a new American heavy bomber design (which was eventually designated the B-29 Superfortress), there were thoughts that this path of Ju 188 development were originally branch off to potentially intercept such American bombers. Just as B-29 bombers were never deployed against Germany during WW2, Ju 388 development never moved toward that direction, either; only three night fighter variants were actually built. Instead, most of the about 100 total Ju 388 Störtebeker aircraft built were capable long range reconnaissance aircraft; a small number of them were built as high altitude bombers. In early 1945, a Ju 388 Störtebeker aircraft, flying at the altitude of 13,410 meters over the English Channel, was shot down by a Spitfire fighter flying at a lower altitude; this engagement is said to be the highest altitude shoot down of WW2. In 1945, a Ju 388L-1 aircraft was captured at the Junkers Merseburg plant in May 1945, which was tested in Germany and the United States; this aircraft now belongs to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the United States, awaiting restoration.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2008


Ju 388J
MachineryTwo BMW 801J 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 1,810hp each
Armament2x20mm MG 151 forward cannons, 2x30mm MK 103 or MK 108 forward cannons, 2x13mm MG 131 remoted controlled tail machine guns
Span22.00 m
Length16.29 m
Height4.35 m
Wing Area56.00 m˛
Weight, Empty10,400 kg
Weight, Maximum14,675 kg
Speed, Maximum616 km/h
Speed, Cruising540 km/h
Service Ceiling13,440 m


Ju 388L aircraft at an airfield, date unknownCaptured Ju 388L-1 aircraft in US markings, post-WW2

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Alan says:
4 Mar 2008 02:41:26 AM

I have reservations about the statement that the Ju388 was developed to counter the American B-29 (An aircraft that was not deployed in Europe until after the war). The first Prototype was converted from the airframe of a Ju.188. This was followed by some 10 Ju.388K-0 pre-production and 5 Ju.388K-1 bombers, 47 Ju.388L Photo-Reconnaissance aircraft and 3 Ju388J All weather fighters.
2. Simon says:
1 Feb 2013 06:32:21 AM

I have reservations about the claimed shoot down: no squadron or aircraft tail number is given for either side. A sign of fishiness. It's likewise with claims of shoot downs of Ju 86R by Spitfire V; it never happened. Apart from the BMW 801TJ engine there was the even more powerfull BMW 801TQ.

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Ju 388 Störtebeker Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
Ju 388L aircraft at an airfield, date unknown
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