The Junkers Ju 352 Herkules was a wooden version of the Ju 252 transport aircraft, itself developed in an attempt to replace the Ju 52/3m. The new aircraft was very similar to the Ju 252, with the same three engined layout and hydraulic loading ramp (Trapoklappe). The wooden wings were moved back, a new vertical tail was designed, and the semi-circular windows of the Ju 252 were replaced with square windows. Defensive firepower was provided by one 20mm MG 151/20 cannon mounted in an EDL 151 dorsal turret, while two 13mm MG 131 machine guns could be mounted in the cabin windows.
The V1 prototype made its maiden flight on 1 October 1943, followed quickly by the V2. Both were powered by three 1,000hp Bramo 323R-2 air-cooled radial engines, capable of providing 1,200hp when used with water-methanol injection. They were followed by ten A-0 pre-production (V3 to V12) and thirty three A-1 full production aircraft. Plans were in place to produce the B-1 and B-2, both of which would have been powered by 1,800hp BMW 801 radial engines.
The Ju 352 was used by I./KG 200 to drop agents and fly other special missions, and to the Grossraum-Transportgruppe, based at Tutow. The Ju 352's most dramatic mission came on the night of 26/27 April 1945, when one became the last aircraft to land at Gatow (Berlin) with reinforcements (twenty five rather unlucky sailors), before returning to base carrying wounded soldiers.
Engine: Three BMW-Bramo 323R-2 nine-cylinder radial engines
Power: 1,200hp each
Wing span: 112ft 2 ½ in (34.2m)
Length: 79ft 4 ¾ in (24.2m)
Empty weight: 27,562lb
Loaded weight: 43,041lb
Max Speed: 205mph at 13,124ft
Cruising Speed: 149 mph
Service Ceiling: 19,686ft
Range: 1,119 miles (normal), 1,852 miles (maximum)
Armament: One 20mm MG 151 cannon in HD 151/2 turret