Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Ju-390 long range bomber

Discussion in 'Axis Bomber Planes' started by Class of '42, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2020
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    212
    I have seen shows about Hitler's quest to develop a long-range heavy German bomber to reach and bomb New York City and return back home. Several different bids were put forth and the Junkers Ju-390 was selected and production began on some prototypes for testing purposes. Rumors still persist today that indeed one such long distance flight was accomplished in secrecy but by then material and resources were running low for Germany and his squadrons of heavy bombers over NYC never materialized.

    Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber) Long-Range Heavy Bomber / Transport Aircraft Prototype
    Amazing wartime story of the Ju 390 and the Ju 290 - JunkersJu390
     
  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    888
    When it comes to military history online a good rule of thumb is to ignore anything that starts with "amazing wartime story". It's click-bait.
     
    Carronade likes this.
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    This story is real controversial. From what I've read, the story originated from a PoW interview when a member of the German long-range recon group told an interrogator that this happened. It caused quite a stir in American command circles but there has been no evidence to back up that claim. Most historians believe that the German being interrogated was lying.
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    1,833
    Hmmm...the idea was born pre-war...bids were put out, and designs submitted...The Me264 was one such aircraft...Looking a bit like a B-29
    [​IMG]



    And I thought i'd add this, the sound is cool...


    Other concepts:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
    Class of '42 likes this.
  5. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2020
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    212
    It would of been quite the shock if indeed a small squadron of Ju-390's had bombed NYC say in '44..sorta like the Doolittle raid against Japan...combat range: 9,254 km (5,750 mi; 4,997 nmi) with 1,930 kg (4,255 lb) bomb load...it was possible.
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    1,833
    Something I previously wrote about the subject:

    Talked about before...resources may have been put into defence...also imagine carpet bombing New York from angels 15? The outcry!

    But a better ' what if ' to my mind would be submarines built to launch small V2 missiles capable of 150 to 200 clicks at most, low tragectory? Launched from the sail of the sub...the missiles stored without a weapon head...this could be attached once moved to the sail...one could wait till dark, quickly surface, launch, and be back below the surface moving with speed and depth to the next launch location...lurking 50 - 150km from the coast it could rain regular terror (each sub only launching two times a night) on cities like New York.

    If a bomber couldn't hit a target like New York city I would forget the whole bomber theory of existence. No need for strategic target BS...its the psychological effect of hitting such a city with indiscriminate bombing...you aim for the guts of the city (I don't know NY) but lets say you make the Empire State building or the Chrysler building your target...many bombs will fall short, still destroying and damaging many buildings...many bombs will overshoot, still destroying and damaging many buildings...this is a psychological bombing, if its strategic then the strategy is to keep weapons and troops in the US and to sway public opinion...ironically studies have shown that the opposite may well occur...further strengthening the US's resolve, possibly the BEST reason this did not happen. As for the bomber station? Bombers could use Greenland simply as a refuelling stage point...a submarine surfaces, gives fuel and the bombers carry on to Europe...(or even Ireland - did I go there!!?)
     
    Class of '42 likes this.
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,821
    Likes Received:
    613
    I've read the explanation, probably here, but can't locate it right now. There were only 2-3 Ju-390s actually built, and none of them were in France at the time suggested.
     
  8. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    While it was theoretically possible to get a bomber, or 50, to NYC, it's doubtful that they could get all the way back without some form of air-to-air refueling. The Germans did some experimenting with this idea but didn't follow up. There just wasn't the political will to make this whole idea happen. Hitler was too continental-minded. A lot of fuel is consumed in taking off, climbing to altitude and forming up. Air2air refueling, both going out and perhaps coming back, would allow the bombers to carry a useful bomb load and return safely.

    Random bombing of the Five Boroughs would be counter-productive. It would enrage Americans without doing anything to hinder our war-making ability. Instead, targets in the NYC area would include the docks and ships in the harbor (they might be able to catch troop ships loaded with soldiers), chemical plants just across the East River in NJ, the Bronx Naval Yard as well as the financial area near The Battery. So, if they could hit NYC then they could also reach NJ, MA, CN, etc. with all their factories and munitions plants. Ouch!

    To make this work the Germans would have to start husbanding POL stocks from about 1942 onward, have a workable A2A refueling system-with tanker aircraft, be able to make the bombers without Allied intelligence getting wind of it, and train the crews in long-distance navigation using a polar route. Coming down through Canada would probably be the safest bet.

    Best time to start: Right around D-Day.

    Reasons for doing this: 1) Deny the USA security of base. 2) Force the Allies to confront a new threat just as their forces were totally dedicated to making the Invasion work. 3) Throw a few "monkey wrenches" into the Arsenal of Democracy.

    Reasons for not attempting it: 1) It would use too much gas at a time when German supplies were low anyway. 2) Drain on aircraft production and pilots right at the time when they needed to get more fighters into the air.

    Possible? Probably, but not for sure.
    Would it help the German war effort? Also probably but how much is the question.
     
    Class of '42 likes this.
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    888
    It would be even neater if they used the flying saucers from their sekret Antarctic base...or built a million ton unsinkable battleship to do the bombardment or built a causeway across the Channel to invade England, both of which have been recent, serious, what-if arguments at other sites.
     
  10. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    Obvious question would be what were they planning on using for fighter escorts? The great circle route from, say, Bordeaux, to New York takes them right down the north east coast crossing over land near Boston, down the north side of Long Island Sound and approaching the city from the NNE. (This also kind of shoots in the foot the off-the-coast-fan-boy-artist-renditions of one of the these beasts over water approaching from the east.) The whole stretch of coastline from Maine on down was rife with USAAF airfields and USN air stations with some healthy populations of day and night fighters most of whom, at least the USN VF and VF(N) squadrons, were practicing their trade over water and not to mention radar installations for control of same which would certainly pick up a lumbering beast like a 390. And, oh yeah, the distance, one way, is some 5800 km and a goodly portion out-bound, even on a good day, against some hefty prevailing westerlies. And whomever would really have to watch his altitude lest he run afoul the jet stream which would even more seriously impinge on westward flight.

    But, hey, who cares about realities.

    Someone apparently looked at a map flat on a table & drew a nice straight line from Bordeaux to New York . . . a nice east approach . . . but nobody flies a distance like that, a rhumb line, because that is the longest way to go. Real navigators use great circles, the shortest distance. Rhumb line distance Bordeaux to New York is about 6025 Km bearing about 266 degrees.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,821
    Likes Received:
    613
    Until there was wartime experience, people had grossly exaggerated ideas of both the physical and moral impact a few bombers could achieve. Turns out it took thousands of sorties, thousands of tons of bombs, and repeated reattacks to have a significant impact. And it mostly made people more determined to beat the so-and-sos who were bombing them.

    Another point about weather, patterns move generally from west to east. Forecasters in England, with information from all across the Atlantic, couldn't guarantee good weather when the bombers got to targets in Germany. The Germans in 1944 had almost no weather reporting to the west, their few weather ships and stations had been wiped out, so how well could they predict the weather over New York fifteen hours after takeoff? For that matter, what if unexpected winds increase fuel consumption? At best, you abort the mission, at worst..... Would Amerika bombers fly high enough to discover the jet stream like the B-29s did?

    And how would you like to fly home across the Atlantic in even a slightly damaged airplane?

    A thought about aerial refueling, assuming it could be developed; planes could fly together on the outward leg, perhaps even with some of the tankers refueling others, but it would be just about impossible back then for a returning bomber to rendezvous with a tanker in mid-ocean. I think the bomber would need to reach the target with enough fuel on board to get all the way home.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    Just curious, what would be the great circle route from central or northern Norway?
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    Pick a spot, but the tall tale specifically stated an airfield near Bordeaux..Woulda's coulda's don't count.
     
  14. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    Good points. Designated U-Booten could pick up splashed crews at predetermined points, augmented by emergency beacons in the bombers emergency gear. However, these would be "volunteers only" missions but Germany was full of Death or Glory guys so crewing probably wouldn't be a problem.

    Like I said, possible but difficult. However desperate times need desperate measures.
     
  15. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    You'll need a big airfield. How about Oslo? Great circle route is 5935 Km and that route takes you over land beginning in New Brunswick, all the way to New York.

    How about Bergen? 5620 Km and the same problem, overland the whole way from the north coast of New Brunswick to New York.

    Trondheim? 5810 Km. Narvik? 5895 Km. And in both cases the same overland problem.

    And the fighter escorts are coming from, where?

    The USN and USAAF fighters are already there and operating. Now there is this insertion of this single (remember there were only 2 Ju390's and only one was very briefly with an active unit) into their midst.

    And just how many bombs, what tonnage, is the plan? On what target? Something Important I would hope.

    And let us not go off with German A-Bombs, because they didn't have any - - except for the ones on board the flying saucers based at the South Pole.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    One? One is useless! Gruppe strength at least. To get this strength the whole program would have to have started in the beginning of '42 or before and be backed with the political will of the Fuhrer ("This is what I want! This is what I will have!") To make this worthwhile each bomber would have to carry 2-3 tons of bombs. Targets? NYC and Newark, NJ were full of worthwhile targets! See my post #8. Fighter escorts? All the way was impossible then but they could escort the bombers out to the tanker rendezvous and then pick them up on the way back in. I'm not sure what fighter units were stationed in the USA but if surprise was complete then they should get through. I think most fighter units in the USA were training units. At least that's the impression I get from my parents who were both in the USAAF at that time. Remember, both Britain and Germany had troubles finding bombers and they had a much smaller coastline to defend than the USA/Canada. One also needs ops/tracking rooms and I don't think we had them-especially on our north border.
    Would it win the war for them? We know from hindsight that almost certainly it would not but the Germans wouldn't have the advantage of hindsight.
     
  17. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    You're back to woulda's and coulda's. Yes, yes, yes, we all know that the Germans shoulda and coulda and woulda while everyone else just stands around with their collective thumbs up their bums. Granted, the USAAF is not one of my particular areas of interest so my knowledge might be lacking, but I can assure you that from NAS Atlantic City NJ north to NAS Brunswick Me was a primary training area for both new and, importantly, reforming veteran USN fighter squadrons, with a heavy concentration of night fighter units in Rhode Island, home of the NACTULant. One of those skills practiced to death by all these squadrons was the radar guided interception problem . . . kind of important in the carrier business. No, they were not standing still and the thought that one 390, much less a miraculously created from thin air gruppe, was going to make it from New Brunswick all the way to New York City or Newark NJ without an over whelming interception is, I'll be nice, dreaming. I count by the end of January 1944, when the miracle flight supposedly occurred, about 15 to 19 (depending on readiness) USN squadrons that could be thrown into the interception problem, anywhere from 18 to 36 planes per squadron. And the numbers go up from there. The very concept of this great raid, by whatever number of Luftwaffe raiders, is almost as funny as the Graf Zeppelin. Aerial refueling??? oh, please.

    And we all know what happens to bombers without escorts . . . again, where are the escorts? The mentioned escorting them out over the eastern Atlantic, whoopee-do, it does nothing except add to operational fighter losses as the inevitable five, six, or ten get lost, or manage fuel poorly, or any number of over water mishaps the could occur even with experienced over water fliers, and end up dropping into the sea. Over water navigation, rendezvous and operations were not a Luftwaffe fighter specialty. And, of course, there would still be no protection at the end of the trip where it would mattered.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  18. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    1,833
    IMO the interception problem is one of the smaller ones...bombers could come from a number of directions, drop from height into a very large city...height is the key here to success...scrambling units would not have the time to gain altitude to intercept. The bombers then fly back at a ceiling that most fighters would struggle to reach, in pressurised aircraft.
    Probably the only genuine sticking point in this plan is the route back...and back to where? Fuel is the key (as the Doolittle raid illustrated). I would only ever deploy this plan as a short term mission, with sporadic follow up hits. Once the enemy is prepared the tide would turn. So, if I was cornered, I would say temporary refueling stations could be created, with substantial help from the submarines to ship a good part or perhaps all the equipment and of course fuel to make a refuelling point. As this is short term, and capable of being packed up and moved relatively quickly to a new position...many different locations could be used, even areas still owned by the enemy, but remote enough that no one would know.
    Certainly, Europe showed that continental bombing can work. If Germany had used the first twelve months pushing over England and as far west as possible...this may have been inevitable.
    A three month terror campaign would be all I would advocate for...with sporadic attacks to continue to keep what elements i had kept in the US there for as long as possible.
    And/or my submarine mini V2 idea... : )
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    326
    You're right CAC, the "interception problem", as you state could be overcome. Bombers coming in over up-state NY at low altitude, under the radar, would be hard to intercept by fighters based close to the coast of Maine. When they got closer to NYC they could climb to perhaps 10,000 ft. and then go into a shallow dive, coming in fast over the city at altitude 5,000ft. which would make for good bombing accuracy.

    I don't know where you'd put a refueling station that could handle heavy bombers though. A2A refueling would be easier, especially if the airborne tankers put out a homing radio signal so that the returning bombers could find them.

    I disagree with terror bombing though. As pointed out above, terror bombing didn't work, especially with small numbers of planes. FDR would then have the option of telling NYC and other north-east metropolises, "Suck it up! We're doing much worse to them. Just hunker down and take it because they're really not hurting us! Diverting assets to counter random bombs would play into the enemy's hands." No, important targets would have to be hit to make this huge effort worthwhile.

    The real big problem for the Germans would be: how much defensive armament and armor do you put on? The more of one thing you have, takes away from something else. Lots of armor and guns takes away from fuel and bomb load. the more turrets and guns you have sticking out increases drag and fuel consumption while decreasing speed and range. Messerschmitt's answer was to put in NO defensive armament, which made for a very streamlined and efficient design that would have been a death trap if and when they were intercepted.
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    888
    upload_2020-5-1_9-1-21.jpeg

    For when you can't believe this is still going on and a single or double facepalm just isn't enough...
     

Share This Page