The Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka” was a German dive bomber, extensively used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. It was one of the essential components of the Wehrmacht’s “Blitzkrieg“, specially in the first three years of the war, playing the rol of an accurate flying artillery. Swooping down out of the sky, the Stuka carried out sudden and swift air raids against enemy targets to wipe out artillery positions and armoured columns, and interdict the enemy supply lines. These bombings were conducted in synchronicity with armoured units attacks on the enemy lines. This lethal, ground-attack aircraft also provided vital fire support to frontline ground troups.
It was a valuable aircraft to the Luftwaffe as it was effectively used in the invasion of Poland, the Battle of France, the Balkans Campaign, the Mediterranean Theater, and the Eastern Front campaigns. The word “Stuka” derives from the German “Sturzkampfflugzeug”. The Junkers Ju 87 first flew in 1935 and was used in combat for the first time during the Spanish Civil War as part of the Condor Legion of the Spanish Falanges.
Designed by Hermann Pohlmann and manufactured by Junkers, the Stuka was fitted inverted gull wings, fixed landing gear, and automatic pull-up brakes under its wings to make sure that the aircraft recovered from its dive even if the pilot blacked out due to the high acceleration. It was equipped with a wailing siren to strike terror into the enemy’s heart. This siren was called the “Jericho Trumpet”, which became a symbol of German Blitzkrieg. It was a sturdy and accurate ground attack aircraft, which was powered by a Junkers Jumo 211D liquid-cooled V12 engine of 1184 hp. Being a dive bomber, it had poor maneuverability and slow speed; thus the Junkers Ju 87 was not effective against Allied fighter aircraft, such as the British Supermarine Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang.
Type: dive bomber
Wingspan: 13.8 m
Length: 11 m
Height: 4.23 m
Maximum speed: 390 km/h
Range: 600 km (empty)
Main variants: Junkers Ju 87A, 87D, and 87G
Three 7.92mm machine guns, two forward and one in the rear; the Ju 87G variant was armed with two Bordkanone 37mm guns. Bombload: up to 500 kg.
Junkers Ju 87 in Action (footage)