Ju88 South - Malta

The plane

The Junkers Ju88 is considered to be one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the Second World War. They were operated by the German Luftwaffe throughout the conflict and across all fronts. The first prototype, a civil endeavour, was airborne in December 1936. It attracted military attention immediately, with the Ju88 entering service with the Luftwaffe in late 1939 as a tactical medium-range bomber. The aircraft was produced by Junkers Fluqzeug und Motorwerke AG, with production dispersed amongst 14 factories. By the end of the war, they produced approximately 15,000 units. The most widely used variant of the Ju88 was the Ju88 A-4, which was operated by a crew of four; a pilot, a bomb-aimer, an engineer and a radio operator, all of whom were placed in the glazed cockpit. In fact, the location of the glazed cockpit in the forward fuselage is considered to be one of the major limitations of the Ju88, along with its limited defensive armaments. Throughout the Second World War, Malta was the only Allied base between Gibraltar and Alexandria, and with the arrival of the German Luftwaffe in Sicily, Malta becomes a prime target for Axis bombings. The short distance between Malta and Sicily enabled the German aircraft to participate in several air raids a day, with an average of 200 aircraft bombers over the island every day, the vast majority of which were Ju88s.

The dive

This Ju88 wreck sits upright on a sandy seabed at a depth of 106 metres. Some damage to the nose section of the aircraft can be noted, with the rest of the aircraft considered to be in a good condition, which points towards a controlled ditching. There is some damage on the tail section which points to the possibility of an allied aircraft shooting this aircraft down.

For the dive Advanced Trimix certification is required.

Text and photo credit to Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit Malta