As a result of the RAFs first bombing raid against Berlin on 25th August 1940 and incorrectly assuming that Fighter Command were all but knocked out of the war, the Luftwaffe were directed to leave Britain’s fighter stations alone and concentrate their efforts against London. In a period which became known as the Blitz, from October 1940, British cities were targeted by German bombers on a nightly basis and whilst these raids had a devastating effect on the civilian population, it allowed Britain to galvanise its defences and re-equip its battered fighter squadrons.
Arguably the most effective bomber available to the Luftwaffe during WWII was the Junkers Ju88, a pre-war ‘Schnellbomber’ which proved to be both capable and adaptable, seeing service throughout WWII and produced in significant quantities.For the switch to night bombing operations over Britain, most of III./KG51s Ju88s benefited from some field applied camouflage modifications, which helped to make the aircraft less visible to British defences.
The under-surfaces of the aircraft were given a black paint wash, which effectively masked all national insignia and fuselage markings were similarly blacked out. Only the top wing balkenkreuz was retained, presumably to aid with friendly unit recognition and to avoid incidents of friendly fire losses. It is interesting to note that of the many KG51 Ju88s lost over Britain during the night Blitz offensive, one machine lost during November 1940 was thought to have been the first victim of a radar equipped Bristol Beaufighter nightfighter. Unfortunately, many more aircraft on both sides would be lost before the war was over.
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