This has always been on my top 10 kits to build in my stash. I try to build Luftwaffe aircraft primarily. It helps if they are BMW powered because I have a tendency to slide them up on the 'to-be-built-soon' list.
In my build selections I try to look into a specific aircraft, this was no exception. Initially I wanted to determine what units flew the Ju188 and in what roles. The roles that they were used in also determined which version of the 188 was used. It seems that some of the BMW powered Ju188's were used in special roles such as reconnaissance or pathfinder missions. After determining which units were assigned the 188, I looked at the availability of aftermarket decals that were available. I reached out to 'Pastor John' at AIMS Models, the guru of Ju88/188. He has the broadest range of decals for my subject. As it was, he was in the process of get a new printing of his 'out of stock' decals. I ordered a sheet of both 1/48 BMW powered Ju88 and Ju188. Planning for future builds, I wanted to have deckles in my stash. The unit that most interested me was Kg66. (https://www.ww2.dk/air/kampf/kg66.htm) They had the 188E in service as Pathfinders. I found a report on flight operations for KG66 describing both aircraft and missions. I wanted to build this Ju188 as a Pathfinder. Most pathfinders were lightened up by removal of unessential armor and weaponry. The removal of the top turret and its mechanicals was done on some of the aircraft. Some even removed the forward facing Mg151. After culling through the reports I found a report of a mission Kg66 supported during the attack of London early in 1944 during Operation Steinbock (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Steinbock) It is also known as the Baby Blitz. Kg66, at this time, had only 23 of its 45 aircraft serviceable. During early 1944 2./KG66was flying out of their airfield in Montdidier France. I found this on-line about their base: Montdidier (FR) (c. 49 40 25 N – 02 34 00 E)
General: airfield in NE France 90 km NNE of Paris and 2.8 km N of Montdidier. History: an existing landing ground, it was continuously enlarged and improved after the Germans took it over in Jun 40. Most of the heavy construction, such as the concrete runways, took place between Jan 41 and May 43 during which no units were stationed there.
Dimensions: not found. Surface and Runways: grass surface. There were 3 concrete runways on the E side of the landing area – (1) approx. 1690 meters (1850 yards) aligned NE/SW; (2) approx. 1645 meters (1800 yards) aligned NNW/SSE; (3) approx. 1370 meters (1500 yards) aligned E/W. All 3 runways were equipped with permanent illumination and visual Lorenz systems. The airfield had obstruction lighting, a permanent flare-path and a beam approach system. Fuel and Ammunition: refueling loops were located in all 4 dispersal areas and underground fuel tanks were on the W boundary. There was a large ammunition dump 2.8 km NE of the airfield on the E side of the Fignières Woods and a bomb dump on the SW outskirts of Fignières. A small ammunition storage site was located 1.1 km N of the landing area. Infrastructure: sparse - had just 1 hangar in the Northeast dispersal area that was used for repairs. The station HQ was reportedly located in Forestel Farm off the SW side of the airfield. Personnel were believed to have been accommodated in the village of Fignières. Dispersal: aircraft shelters were erected around the edge of several small woods off the airfield boundaries to the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest and were particularly well camouflaged. A total of 37 shelters were available in Aug 43. Defenses: surrounded by 4 heavy and approx. 12 light Flak positions out to a radius of 2.5 km plus numerous antiaircraft machine gun pits. Ground defenses consisted of 7 reinforced strongpoint bunkers, slit trenches, barbed wire and road blocks on all roads approaching the airfield. Remarks: Sep 40: assigned airfield code number 512.
In an attempt to explain why KG66 had only 50% of its aircraft operational in early 1944, I found more about their airbase on line: Luftwaffe Airfields 1935-45
26 Jul 42: assigned new airfield code number 275. 24 Oct 43: bombed by 36 9th AAF B-26 Marauders – runways and landing area cratered and unserviceable. 3 Nov 43: repairs on the runways not yet completed but the off-runway landing area once again serviceable. 25 Nov 43: repair work completed and all 3 runways again serviceable, although a few rough spots still existed. A new East dispersal was under construction in fields off the E end of the E/W runway. 20 Dec 43: the Northeast and Northwest dispersals were being extended and 2 new aircraft shelters built in each. 3 Mar 44: bombed by 9th AAF B-26 Marauders – 3 x Ju 188s from I./KG 66 destroyed. Although the concrete runways remained serviceable, the landing area was bisected by fragmentation bomb craters and rendered temporarily unserviceable. Work to erect more aircraft shelters in the East dispersal area was seen to be continuing. 18 Apr 44: 10 new open aircraft shelters seen to be under construction in the East dispersal area giving it a total of 21 when completed. 26 Apr 44: low-level attack by VIII Fighter Command P-47s – claimed 1 x Ju 88 destroyed and 1 more damaged. 8 May 44: low-level attack by RAF Spitfires – claimed 1 x Ju 88 (or 188) destroyed and 1 x damaged. 30 Jun 44: bombed by 39 B-17 Fortresses. 14 Jul 44: bombed by 54 B-24 Liberators. Operational Units: I./KG 1 (Jul 40 – Jan 41); I./KG 66 (Jun 43 – Mar 44, Jun-Aug 44); I./JG 5 (Jun 44). Station Commands: Fl.H.Kdtr. E 41/XI (Jul 40 – 1942?); Fl.Pl.Kdo. A 35/XI (Mar 43); Fl.H.Kdtr. E 5/XI (1943 – Mar 44); Fl.H.Kdtr. E(v) 223/XI (Apr- Aug 44). Station Units (on various dates – not complete): Flak-Rgts.Stab FAS I (Jul 44); schw.Flak-Abt. z.b.V. 11500 (Jul 44). [Sources: AFHRA A5259 pp.1739-46 (12 Aug 43 updated to 18 Apr 44) and A5260 pp.2179-88, 2192-94 (12 Aug 43 updated to 18 Apr 44); chronologies; BA-MA; NARA; PRO/NA; web site ww2.dk]
Basically stated it was 4-6 months before D-Day and the Allies had a distinct air advantage.
I found this report on line which led me to this build:
Feb 24-25, 1944 - An attack took place on London, 170 sorties, led by the pathfinders of II/KG66 operating from Montididier. Other units taking part were I/KG 2 from Melun/Villaroche, II/KG 2from Coulummiers, III/KG 6 of Brussels/Melsbroeck and I/KG 100 from Chateaudon. While the target was London bombs fell in the area bounded by Southampton-Reading-Luton-Ipswich. One aircraft from I/KG 66 was shot down 40 km north of Fecamp.
Feb 24-25, 1944 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Z6+HK Wr.260185 Shot down by a Mosquito of 29 Sqdn. Crashed at Great Streele Farm, Framfield, Sussex at 9.50pm.Uffz. L. Boetch (injured) and Uffz. H Thomale baled out and made POW. Oberfw.A.Schutz, Lt.H.H. KÃ¶the and Uffz.H. BÃ¶hm were all killed.The aircraft broke up in the air.
My build is meant to represent Z6+HK Ju188E-1. I found the Dragon kit to go together well. I enjoyed the build. I used Eduard PE in the cockpit and AIMS Models decals. I have the Dragon kits in the Ju88 series produced years ago and look forward to building them also.
Thanks. I think a lot of the fun of this hobby is doing the historical research for the build. It adds an extra dimension to the build.