Junkers Ju 252

Well before WWII, Junkers was at work on a replacement for the Ju 52 in its commercial role, but it would not be until October 1941 that the prototype Ju 252 flew. This shared only the trimotor configuration of its predecessor, being pressurized, almost 80mph faster, and having a range of well over 2,000 miles.

Even before flight testing had begun, the 252 had been recast from a commercial aircraft to a military transport, with a dorsal turret armed with an MG151, and MG15s in beam positions. Junkers had fifteen service test aircraft flying or under assembly when the program was halted, the aircraft having to be redesigned as the Ju 352 using nonstrategic wood for the wings, steel tube/fabric for the fuselage, and powered by BMW 323R engines. Unsurprisingly, performance of the Herkules was considerably less, and production was ended in 1944 after only twelve prototype and test aircraft, and 33 production examples had been built.

Bibliography:

German Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia p.178: photos of a captured Ju 252 with a Jumo 222 in the nose, Czech Ju 352 with Soviet markings