highlever monoplane, smooth metal, designed by Hertel
The history of the Ju288 could be traced back to 1937, when the EF73 project was started at Junkers. Compared to the Ju 88 the EF73 showed better aerodynamics and it got stronger engines like the Jumo 222. In July 1939 a special request of the RLM was placed for the "Bomber B Programme". At Focke-Wulf the Fw191 was a parallel design for that request. Due to this request, Hertel returned to the EF73 design. The rear fuselage and tail is completely taken from the Ju88, as well as the wing. The forward fuselage is a new developement. Two of the Ju88 prototypes (V2, V5) were equipped with this new forward section and became the initial test aircraft for the EF73, which was now designated Ju288. The first real Ju288 prototype should be ready in autumn 1940 and the serial production was planed for 1942. But Hertel's design asked for the Jumo 222, which did not reach serial production stage early enough. Therefore the complete Ju288 programme fall behind the planned dates.
The initial Ju288V1 was first flown on November 29th 1940. But this aircraft was still equipped with the BMW801 engine, which was not strong enough for the Ju288. The following three aircraft were also equipped with this engine. The first aircraft with the new Jumo 222 became the Ju288V5, which flew first October 8th 1941, one year after schedule. But the new engine had a lot of problems and the Ju288 developement had to wait for an improved Jumo 222A, which was first used on the Ju288V8 Again problems came up, this time caused by the design modifications of the Ju288A.
A new start was made with Ju288V9, which was the prototype for the Ju288B series. But still the Jumo 222 remained the major problem. Just Ju288V11, which was equipped with the DB606 engine, showed satisfying results since July 1942. In late 1942 the C-series was started. These aircraft were equipped with the DB610, which also showed more reliability than the Jumo 222. During 1943 the Ju288 reached serial status. The start of a serial production of the Ju288 was planned at Letov in Prague for summer 1944. But then the complete programme was stopped in advance of the fighter programme by the RLM and the Ju288 programme was stopped.
When the delays of the Ju288 programme became obvious in 1940, the the Ju188 was developed as an intermediate step, which became available in 1942. The Ju388 was a further improved version, which came up in 1943.
Ju288A prototype series with 2 x BMW801 and later 2 x 1470kW Jumo 222, 8 built since 1940
Ju288B with larger cockpit, new wing and tail since 1942, 6 built
Ju288C with 2 x DB610, longer nose section and strengthend structure since October 1942, 11 built
Further Reading at other Sites:
Luftwaffe 39-45 (Brazilian site with images, data)
Lastdingo's Archive Files (photos, characteristics)
Lexikon der Wehrmacht (production list and lots of details in German)
Unsere Luftwaffe (images/text about Ju288)