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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Junkers Ju 90, Junkers Ju 290, and Junkers Ju 390 reconnaissance

Photos

  • Junkers Ju 90 transport
  • Junkers Ju 90 transport
  • Junkers Ju 290 reconnaissance
  • Junkers Ju 290 reconnaissance
  • Junkers Ju 390 reconnaissance

Design

The Junkers Ju 90 was a transport plane that were to be used by Lufthansa and the South African Airways. It was developed in 1936 to meet an Air Ministry specification for a long range bomber. The Junkers Ju 90 was an all metal aircraft with low wings.

The Junkers Ju 290 was basically an armed Ju 90 that was designed in 1940. The Ju 290 was also bigger than the Ju 90. The Ju 290 was touted as a replacement for the Fw 200 Condor. However it was never produced in enough quantities to replace the Condor.

In 1943 the Fw 200 was needing to be replaced quickly. The Ju 290 had additional armament installed. Radio equipment and radar were also added. This became the Ju 290 A-2.

Fuselage

There was a gondola that contained a 20 mm MG 151 and 13 mm MG 131.

There was a Trapoklappe, a hydraulically operated ramp, that was in the rear fuselage and could be opened in flight or if used on the ground could lift the plane for loading.

Undercarriage

The Ju 290 had very sturdy undercarriage.

The Ju 390 had two additional undercarriage units due to its size.

Fuel Carriers

In early 1944 some of the Ju 290s were modified to carry 6,000 gallons of fuel.

Prototype

The Ju 290V1 prototype first flew in early 1939 / 1941/ August 1942.

The Ju 290A-0 pre production model first flew in 1941.

The Ju 390 first flew in 1943.

Production

Approximately 40 Ju 290s were produced with half being built by Letov in Czechoslovakia.

In late 1944 construction was terminated.

  • Junkers Ju 290 Prototype: 1
  • Junkers Ju 290A-0: 2
  • Junkers Ju 290A-1: 5
  • Junkers Ju 290A-2: 3
  • Junkers Ju 290A-3: 3
  • Junkers Ju 290A-4: 5
  • Junkers Ju 290A-2, Junkers Ju 290A-3, Junkers Ju 290A-4: 13
  • Junkers Ju 290A-5: 29
  • Junkers Ju 290A-6: 1
  • Junkers Ju 290A-7: 12, 13
  • Junkers Ju 290A-8: 1
  • Junkers Ju 290A-9: 3
  • Junkers Ju 290B: 1
  • Junkers Ju 290: 66
    • Manufacturer: Junkers Flugzeug und Motorenwerke A.G.

Variants

  • Junkers Ju 90: Transport.
  • Junkers Ju 90 V8: First prototype to be armed.
  • Junkers Ju 90 V1: Prototype lost in accident in February 1938.
  • Junkers Ju 90 V3: Prototype lost in 1938.
  • Junkers Ju 90 V5: This prototype, D-ABDG, was modified to become the Ju 290.
  • Junkers Ju 90S: Schwer (heavy). Carried 40 passengers.
  • Junkers Ju 290: Maritime reconnaissance.
  • Junkers Ju 290V1: Prototype. Based on Ju 90 with a new wing. Used BMW 801 engines.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-0: Transport aircraft.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-1: Transport aircraft. Deliveries started in early 1943. Used in the Mediterranean.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-2: Maritime reconnaissance. Carried more fuel. Additional defensive armament was added. Radar installed.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-3: Used BMW 801D engines.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-4: The gun turrets were revised.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-5: Maritime reconnaissance. Had FuG 200 search radar in nose. Could detect up to 50 miles / 80 km. Armor protection was increased. The defensive armament was improved.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-6: Transport. Was intended to be personal transport for Adolf Hitler. Could carry 50 passengers.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-7: Reconnaissance bomber. Armed with Henschel Hs 293, Hs 294, and "Fritz" missiles. Had Hohentwiel radar. Had a glazed nose. 20 mm was installed.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-8: Reconnaissance. Modified Ju 290A-7. Armed with two Hs 293 missiles to be used against ships.
  • Junkers Ju 290A-9: Long range reconnaissance. Carried more fuel. Armament was removed.
  • Junkers Ju 290B: Bomber version. High altitude.
    Not produced.
    One built in 1944.
  • Junkers Ju 290B-1: High altitude bomber. No rear loading ramp. Fully pressurized. Additional defensive armament added. Project abandoned.
  • Junkers Ju 290C: Transport/reconnaissance version. Not produced. Transport version didn't have loading ramp.
  • Junkers Ju 290D: Bomber version. Not produced. Second fuel tank removed. Could carry Hs 293 missiles.
  • Junkers Ju 290E: Night bomber. Bomb bay added under fuselage. Fuselage fuel tanks removed.
  • Junkers Ju 290G: Was to have recoilless 35.56 cm gun that could be lowered out of the bomb-bay and rotated for firing. Shell weighed 1,540 lb / 700 kg and could be fired at 1,640'/sec. It could penetrate 13.5 - 15.75" of armor.
  • Junkers Ju 290MS: Mine clearing. Not produced.
  • Junkers Ju 390: 6 engines. Prototype flew to within 12 miles / 20 km of United States' coast (not verified). Four sets of landing gear under the four inside mounted engines.
  • Junkers Ju 390 V2: Was largest conventional aircraft built by Germany.

Usage

Germany was the only country that used the Ju 290.

Ex Airliner

Eleven of the Ju 90s that were in service with Luft Hansa were converted into military service at the start of World War II.

Stalingrad

Two Ju 290A-0s and five Ju 290A-1s were used during the encirclement of Stalingrad.

Atlantic

The 1./FAGr 5 was the first to use the Ju 290 over the Atlantic on October 15, 1943.

Flying to Japan

Three Ju 290A-5s were stripped and used in transport missions to Japan. They would fly military material to the Japanese in exchange for precious metals and rubber.

Escape to Spain

In April 1945 it is reported that a Ju 290A-6 flew some of the escaping German leadership and flew them to Spain. These were used by the Spanish air force until the 1950s.

Specifications

  Junkers Ju 90
Type Troop transport
Crew 3
Passengers 40
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 132
4: BMW 132H
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Net HP 830 each
880 each
Dimensions  
Span 115'
Length 86' 3"
Height 20'
Weight  
Loaded 50,600 lb
Performance  
Speed 215 mph
Range 1,300 miles
  Junkers Ju 290
Type Transport, Reconnaissance bomber
Crew 3, 4
Pilot, co-pilot, radio operator
Passengers 50
40 fully armed troops
Freight 22,000 lb
10,000 kg
Engine (Type) 4: Bramo Fafnir
4: BMW 801 L2
Cylinders Radial
BMW: Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,000 each
Fuel Capacity 4,620 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 123', 138'
42 m
Length 86' 3", 92' 6"
28.2 m
Height 21' 3"
Wing area 2,210 sq ft
205.3 sq m
Weight  
Loaded 55,000 lb, 88,000 lb
39,950 kg
Performance  
Speed 250 mph
Speed at 18,000' / 5,490 m 280 mph
448 kph
Climb to 6,500' at 99,000 lb / 45,000 kg 10 minutes
Service Ceiling 19,700'
6,010 m
Range 1,300 miles
Range at Maximum Economical Cruising Speed and Fuel 3,785 miles
6,060 km
Range at Maximum Economical Cruising Speed and 17,600 lb / 8,000 kg Freight 2,490 miles
3,985 km
Armament  
Tail 1: MG 151/20
Turret - Dorsal 1: MG 151/20
Ventral Blister Twin MG 81
  Junkers Ju 290A
Type Transport, Reconnaissance, Anti-Shipping
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 801L
OR 4: BMW 801D
Cylinders Radial 14
Net HP L: 1,600 each
D: 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Junkers Ju 290A-1
Type Reconnaissance, Transport
Crew 7 - 9
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 801 D, BMW 801 L
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,600 each
Dimensions  
Span 137' 9"
Length 93' 11"
Height 22' 5"
Weight  
Loaded 90,323 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 19,030' / 5,800 m 273 mph
Service ceiling 19,685'
Range 3,820 miles
Armament 1: MG
6: 20 mm
  Junkers Ju 290A-5
Type Maritime reconnaissance
Crew 9
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 801D
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 137' 8", 137' 9.5"
42 m
Length 93' 11", 93' 11.5", 94'
28.64 m, 28.65 m
Height 22' 4.75", 22' 5"
6.83 m
Wing area 2,195.9 sq ft, 2,213 ft2
203.6 m2 , 204 sq m
Weight  
Empty 61,067 lb, 90,134 lb, 90,323 lb
27,700 kg, 40,970 kg
Loaded 98,934 lb, 99,140 lb
44,970 kg
Loaded - Maximum 99,206 lb
45,000 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,000' / 5,800 m 273 mph
440 kph
Speed at 19,030' / 5,800 m 237 mph
381 kph
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 273 mph
440 kph
Cruising speed 224 mph
360 kph
Climb to 3,281' / 1,000 m 4.2 minutes
Climb to 6,070' / 1,850 m 9.8 minutes
Climb to 6,090' / 1,855 m 9.8 minutes
Service ceiling 19,685', 19,700'
6,000 m
Range 3,785 miles, 3,813 miles, 3,822 miles
6,090 km, 6,150 km
Armament  
Two dorsal turrets 1: 20 mm each
1: 20 mm MG 151 each
2: 20 mm MG 151/20
Tail 1: 13 mm MG
1: 20 mm MG 151/20
Waist positions 2: 13 mm MG
2: 20 mm
2: 20 mm MG 151/20
Ventral gondola 1: 13 mm MG
1: 20 mm MG 151/20
  Junkers Ju 290A-7
Armament  
Bomb load 6,614 lb
3,000 kg
OR  
Missiles - air to surface, external 3: Hs 293
OR 3: Fritz X
  Junkers Ju 290B
Type Long Range Bomber
Weight  
Loaded - Takeoff 109,000 lb
49,500 kg
Performance  
Speed at 18,000' / 5,490 m 280 mph
448 kph
Range with 10,000 lb / 4,540 kg Bombs / 4,000 gallons Fuel 3,500 miles
5,600 km
Armament  
Nose 4: MG 131
Tail 4: MG 131
Turret - Aft Twin MG 151/20
Turret - Dorsal Twin MG 151/20
Ventral Twin MG 151/20
  Junkers Ju 290C
Type Long range reconnaissance, Transport
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 801E
Armament  
Turret - Aft Twin MG 151/20
Turret - Dorsal Twin MG 151/20
  Junkers Ju 390
Type Transport
Dimensions  
Span 165'
50 m
Length 192'
31.1 m
Wing area 2,728 sq ft
254.4 sq m
Weight  
Loaded - 22,000 lb / 10,000 kg Cargo / 7,500 gallons Fuel 161,000 lb
73,150 kg
Loaded - 48 Passengers, 4,400 lb / 2,000 kg Cargo / 6,000 gallons Fuel 148,300 lb
67,420 kg
Performance  
Speed - Transport - At 18,700' / 5,700 m 280 mph
448 kph
Speed - Passengers - at 18,700' / 5,700 m 285 mph
456 kph
Climb - Transport 690'/minute
210 m/minute
Climb - Passengers 788'/minute
240 m/minute
Range - 7,500 gallons Fuel - 205 mph / 328 kph - 6,500' / 1,980 m 4,970 miles
7,950 km
Range - 6,000 gallons Fuel - 217 mph / 347 kph - 6,500' / 1,980 m 4,040 miles
6,460 km
Armament  
Dorsal - Aft Twin MG 151/20
Dorsal - Forward Twin MG 151/20
Nose Twin MG 151/20
Tail Twin MG 151/20
Ventral Twin MG 151/20

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site