Guest Post: Junkers 88G6 Nightfighter – Julian Evan-Hart

Tip of a propeller hub from a Junkers 88G6

In March and April towards the end of World War Two, the German Luftwaffe launched a hopeless last ditch effort to attack RAF and American bombers returning from raids. It was a foolish but nonetheless brave effort that involved ‘Junkers’ – twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that were super fast and versatile and could be used to attack any model of fighter plane. This artefact is the extreme tip of a spinner recovered from the Suffolk crash site of a Junkers 88G6, at that time Germany’s most advanced state of the art night fighter. 


This particular plane had vertically mounted 20mm cannons called “Schrage Muzik” that fired upwards into the belly of a bomber when the attack plane was positioned underneath. Most German pilots tried to aim for the wing situated fuel tanks, although this was a risky strategy, as often the target plane had a tendency to explode violently right above them.


In this particular case, the 29-year-old pilot of the Junkers made a serious mistake in attempting to fly underneath an American Liberator bomber. As the target Liberator was already coming in to land, and was only at around 60 feet, the German fighter misjudged the distance and met his end when the plane smashed into the ground. Even today small twisted pieces of metal can be seen in the spot – evidence of a wartime night that was crammed with violence resulting from the desperate acts of young men, most of whom were only in their early twenties.


With this particular plane, as it crashed, the guns of the German night fighter were still firing and a 20mm cannon shell smashed into and through a nearby bomber base building window exploding and killing a Sergeant who as a result became the last US serviceman to die on English soil in World War Two. The artefact shown here is the extreme tip of the propeller hub from that Junkers 88G6, and is a significant piece of history, no matter how bloody its origins.


About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

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