Heavy Anti-tank Attack Aircraft
The interest of the Wehrmacht command in the creation of an anti-tank aircraft capable of hitting the armor of KV-1 and T-34 tanks forced them to look for an opportunity to install a 75-mm VK 7.5 cannon on the Ju-88. At the end of the summer of 1942, a decision was made on the advisability of converting a small batch of Ju 88A-4 bombers into anti-tank Ju 88P-1 bombers. In March 1943, the batch size was specified - 13 vehicles. A month later, the number of ordered P-1s was increased to 30 units, but by the beginning of June only six machines had been produced. Officially, the reason for such a low rate of conversion is the lack of scarce 75-mm anti-tank guns, but the likely reason should probably be considered that a smaller caliber gun was enough to penetrate the relatively thin upper armor of the tank. From the planned series of Ju 88Р-1 with 75 mm by September 1943, only 18 cars were manufactured.
The prototype Ju 88Р-2, which had the designation Ju88V57/1 (serial No. 140452), made its first flight on June 18, 1943. Unlike the first version of the anti-tank "eighty-eighth", this machine, similar to the Ju-87G, was armed with two cannons VK 3,7 (Flak 38) of 37 mm caliber (according to other sources, two 30-mm MK 103 cannons). After several flights in mid-July, it was decided to re-equip the aircraft once again, this time to the R-4 variant. The Ju88P-3 variant differed from the P-2 mainly in its enhanced armor protection. One prototype was built, but the aircraft was not produced in series.
The last modification of the anti-tank "eighty-eighth" was the P-4, the same Ju88V57/l, but with one 50-mm VK 5 cannon. During firing at captured T-34 tanks, the vehicle's speed was increased to 390 km / h, and the planning angle is up to 20 °.