Junker JU 87 Stuka
One of the most feared aircraft in history and when used in the right conditions one of the most accomplished the JU 87 was key to the German Blitzkrieg in World War II. Often called the Stuka although this is just an abbreviation of the word for any kind of dive bomber in German, the JU 87 could be seen in their hundreds attacking everything from civilians to enemy tanks and warships as the German blitzkrieg rolled across Europe. This dominance lasted only as long the Germans held air superiority, for once enemy fighters arrived the Stuka was a sitting duck. The prototype JU 87 first flew in 1935 but production faults delayed the plane and forced a redesign resulting in the JU 87A-0 in November 1936. In 1937 three Stuka's were sent to the Legion Kondor in Spain where their impressive accuracy in dive bombing became clear. All JU 87s were modern stressed skin machines and when dive bombing the main bomb swung down clear of the propellers on crutches before release. The pilot would pull up at last minute and in the early days several were lost due to the pilot blacking out or errors of judgement. By the start of World War II the JU87B was in service with greater all round performance and they showed lethal ability in the 27 day Polish campaign. By the end of the war the Stukas had seen service on all fronts in a wide variety of rolls from Glider Tug to ground support and the famous tank buster with twin 37mm Flak guns. Production continued up until September 1944 with a total of 5709
D version stats
Max Speed ;248mph(399km/h)
Range 620 miles (1000km)
Weapons 2x MG15 7.92mm plus twin 7.92mm in rear cockpit plus 3,968lbs(1800kg) of bombs.
How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (11 February 2001), Junker JU 87 Stuka, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_stuka.html