The Ural bomber was the initial aircraft design program/competition to develop a long-range bomber for the Luftwaffe, created and led by General Walther Wever in the early 1930s. Wever, the chief of staff of the newly formed Luftwaffe in 1933, realized the importance that strategic bombing would play in a war. In war with the Soviet Union he expected that German forces would not attempt to move very far east of Moscow, which would leave much of Joseph Stalin's recently relocated industry out of reach of existing bombers. Wever proposed using a strategic bomber to reduce these factories, ending their ability to fight even without the need for ground forces to advance.
Under the Ural bomber program, he began secret talks with two of Germany's leading aircraft manufacturers, Dornier and Junkers, requesting designs for a long-range bomber. The two companies responded with the Dornier Do-19 and the Junkers Ju-89 respectively and the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, "Reich Aviation Ministry") ordered prototypes for both aircraft in 1935.
The Dornier Do-19 V1 first flew on October 28, 1936, beating the Ju-89's first flight by some six months. The Do 19 was a nine-place four-engine monoplane, using a quartet of underpowered BMW/Bramo 322H nine-cylinder radials of only some 650 hp output each. The V-2 used the more powerful Bramo 323 developing 900hp. The V-2 was also the first model carrying defensive armament.
The Do-19 was the basis for the production Do-19 A-1 series. After production of 56 units production was switched to the A-2 model powered by the Bramo 323P engine developing 100hp.
Initial combat experience in Poland and France showed the need for a better defensive armament and the Do-19 B-1 which appeared in May 1940 had a gun position under the nose carrying both a forward and a rearward firing gun.
In 1942 Dornier proposed a Do-19D variant with BMW 801 engines. This however was never realized.
On 11 April 1937, the Ju-89 prototype D-AFIT (V1, c/n 4911) was first flown. Junkers completed the second Ju-89 prototype D-ALAT July 1937. The prototypes were powered by the DB600 engine.
The first production variant, the Ju-89A also used this engine. The proposed B version using Jumo 211 engines was never realized, the next production version being the Ju-89C-1 using the DB601 engine. The first C-1 were delivered to the Luftwaffe in April 1940. The C-2 and C-3 offered minor variations in engines and armament.
Both bombers were used in the battle of Britain. It quickly transpired that daylight bombing was not a viable option. The aircraft were too slow and too lightly armed. Initial losses were high. From November 1940 only night sorties were flown against London and other cities on the UK.
In spring 1941 both types took part in the first 1000 bomber raid against Britain.
Also during operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia, both bombers were used in raids against industrial targets and against Moscow. They played an important role in preventing the build-up of Soviet industry which meant that it was impossible for the Soviet Union to stay in the war. In this role the “Ural” bombers made true their original purpose as envisaged by general Wever.
From the end of 1942 both the Do-19 and the Ju-89 were replaced by the new Junkers Ju-290 bombers. Dornier tried to stay involved in the heavy bomber development by offering the Do-319. This however was merely a further development of the Do-19 and showed too little improvement and was not pursued further.