by Horst Zoeller, 1996 - 2020, 67th Edition, 22 Nov 2020

Facilities - General Overview


Initial Junkers plants were installed already in the 19th century in Aachen, where Hugo Junkers commercialized his research products. Aachen was also the initial location for the Junkers Research Laboratories and the first Junkers Wind Channel. Some locations in Aachen are still to be found today. As Junkers started his aviation interests already in Aachen with Prof. Reissner, the Aachen Laboratories might be quoted as the initial aviation plants of Junkers. However, even the Reissner Cunard was mostly built at ICO in Dessau.

By 1890 Hugo Junkers started his move towards Dessau with the foundation of the Versuchsanstalt fur Gasmotore. In 1895 ICO was founded and the growth of the Junkers Facilities in Dessau began. With the beginning of WWI nearly all Junkers facilities and companies were gathered in Dessau and only a few remains were still to be found in Aachen. ICO was the birthcell for the Junkers Flugzeugwerke in 1915, which rapidly growed during WWI.

A the end of WWI the Allied restrictions applied to all German built aircraft. Therefore Hugo Junkers, like all major aircraft designers, was looking for foreign cooperations. This search was supported by the German Government and led to the builtup of a German/Russian Joint Venture at Fili near Moscow. As a production plant, this facility had to equip civil Junkers aircraft with military equipment, as well as the completion of Dessau built aircraft for the Russian market. With the cancellation of the Joint Venture, the Fili facility was dropped from the Junkers production network, but it remained as a birthcell for Russia's aviation industry.

As the Russians used the Fili plant as a knowhow transfer plattform, Fili was not the right place for producing Junkers large scale aircraft. While still be engaged in Fili, Hugo Junkers was looking for an independent production facility outside Germany, where he was able to produce more powerfull aircraft than the Allied restrictions allowed in Germany. This location was found at Limhamn/Malmo in Sweden, where he founded A.B. Flygindustri with the Florman brothers. This company was a private engagement and was fully under control of Junkers Flugzeugwerke since 1925.

By 1926 the Allied restrictions in Germany were lowered. By then it was possible to built more powerfull civil aircraft in Germany as well. Therefore the production of these aircraft was returned from Limhamn to Dessau. At Limhamn remained the military equipment of Junkers civil aircraft. This Limhamn role was enlarged with the closing of the Fili plant in Russia. Most aircraft, which went to Russia, were delivered via Limhamn during the twenties. Also the third party market to other foreign countries expanded in Limhamn and some pure military designs like the K47 were prototyped here.

Since 1926 all non-military Junkers aircraft were exclusively built at Dessau. The Junkers facilities in Dessau were further extended therefore. In 1934 all bans on German aircraft were cancelled by the German Government. Therefore the final military equipment was also retransfered from Limhamn to Dessau. Limhamn's final role before the closure in 1935 was the completion of some aircraft, which were delivered to Sweden.

In 1934 the German Government took over control about Junkers Flugzeugwerke. The Dessau facilities were massively expanded to fullfill the demand of Germany's weapon factory No. 1 with a new facility for airframe constructions and the setup of an engine shop in Dessau. The original ICO facility and the Kaloriferwerk was sold to Robert Bosch GmbH by that time.

Since 1935 it became obvious, that even the enlarged Junkers facilities would not be capable to fullfill the demand for a large number of aircraft, which should be built at Junkers. Therefore a distributed production model was selected with sites at:

  • Bernburg - completion and test flights since 1937
  • Halberstadt - Ju88 Wing Production since 1935
  • Aschersleben - Ju88 Fuselage Production since 1935
  • Leopoldshall - Ju88 Tail and Engine Cowling Production since 1935
  • Schoenebeck - Mechanical Workshop since 1936
  • Magdeburg - Engine Shop since 1935
  • Koethen - Engine Shop since 1935

    With the extension of these distributed production facilities, Dessau became more and more the developement and prototype facility of the Junkers network and by 1939 the serial production of aircraft and engines took a minor role in Dessau.

    Additionally to the Junkers production network third party facilities were included in the military aircraft production of Junkers, i.e. ATG Leipzig, Weserflug at Lemwerder and later Tempelhof, Heinkel Oranienburg were locations, where Junkers Ju87 and Ju88 were built on behalve of the Junkers company.

    With the breakout of WWII it became necessary to get redundant facilities, especially for the test flight facility at Bernburg. Therefore in 1939 Merseburg and in 1941 Fritzlar were added to the Bernburg Test Center. Some special developements, which were rather untypical for Junkers as the wooden design of the Ju322 were performed at Merseburg, but mosstly it was a production and test facility like Bernburg.

    In 1944 the bombing of Central Germany extended and the distributed Junkers network got more and more hits. Therefore by mid 1944 most production sites of the Junkers network investigated alternate production sites. The workfloors were further distributed into smaller, mostly unknown factories around the Junkers production cities. More and more subterral production plants in caves and former mines were used, like the Nordhausen facility for the Jumo 004 production. It is not known, how far the original Junkers factories still produced at the end of WWII. At least the Junkers facilities at Dessau were completely out of service in April 1945.

    All aircraft production came to an end with the occupation of the U.S. forces in April/May 1945. When the Russians took over control in Dessau, by August 1945 a small developement team was set up as OKB-1 in Dessau. The Russians allowed the Dessau team to continue developements of the Ju287, the EF126 and the EF131 as well as on the Jumo 004 and Jumo 012. It seems, as if all other Junkers facilities at the end of WWII were no longer used under Soviet control, but as if they have been directly transfered to Russia. Dessau remained the Junkers Developement Center under Soviet control until 22nd October 1946. By then all facility equipment and developement staff were transfered to Russia. This marked the end of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke in Dessau. Just the former ICO and Kaloriferwerke remained in Dessau. The later became VEBs in the German Democratic Republic and a few small remains still today exist.

    The Junkers Airframe Developement Team was transfered to Podberesje 100 km North of Moscow. Here the Junkers team continued the developements of the late Junkers types. Even new designs were started here, like the EF140 and EF150 for the Soviet Air Force. However, none of the Junkers developements in Podberesje ever left developement stage. When the Soviets had gathered enough information most programmes were stopped. By 1952 the Junkers team at Podberesje was stepwise reduced and in 1955 the last Germans left Russia.

    The Junkers Engine Experts were sent to Kuibyschew near Kazan at the River Volga. Here they continued the Jumo 012 and 022 designs, which laid the foundations for Russian's large scale PTL engines. In 1952 the developement facilities at Kuibyschew were closed and most engineers were sent back to Germany.

    The returning Junkers teams from Russia became the basic developement team for the new aviation industry in the German Democratic Republic. Some designs from Podberesje were taken back to Germany and further improved for Germany's first jetpowered passenger airliner, the Baade 152. Initially it was intended by the GDR Government to rebuilt the Junkers facilities at Dessau as the central aviation industry location in the GDR. But finally it was decided to use existing facilities at Dresden, where the Baade 152 was built at the VEB Flugzeugbau Dresden. Even if the name does not show any relation to Junkers Flugzeugwerke, the staff of this facility was strongly Junkers oriented. Therefore the Dresden facility might be quoted as the final Junkers facility, before the complete Baade 152 programme was abandoned in 1960 and Dresden became a pure repair shop.

    Probably mentioned should be Munich as a post WWII Junkers design center as well. In Munich the post WWII Junkers GmbH was founded as a successor of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke. But Junkers GmbH was not engaged in new aircraft designs, but it became the design office of Eugen Sanger for his spacecraft RT8, which finally was dropped. Later on Junkers GmbH was absorbed within the MBB consortium, which marked the end of the name "Junkers" in the world's aviation industries.

    Especially during WWII there were a lot of other facilities in use by Junkers Flugzeugwerke, i.e. the Letov repair station at Prague, where after WWII the Orel-290 was developed from a remaining Ju290 or the Leipzig facilities, which were already initilized by Junkers shortly after WWI as a repair station like Breslau and Konigsberg. Not to be forgotten the large number of international companies, who built Junkers aircraft under license, like CASA in Madrid, Amiot in France, Weiss in Hungary and Saab in Sweden.


    introduced Mar 2004, transfered Dec 2017

    contents last updated 14 Mar 2004