The Junkers Ju 87G or Gustav Stuka Series photo gallery
Junkers Ju 87G1 Stuka prototype with Stammkennzeichen code DJ+FT WNr 1097 Soviet Russia Mar 1943
Profile01: Junkers Ju 87G1 Stuka prototype with Stammkennzeichen code (DJ+FT) WNr 1097 Soviet Russia Mar 1943
The Ju-87G or GUSTAV Series
With the approaching invasion of Russia, the Ju 87s which were so vulnerable to attack by the RAF were transferred to the East in large numbers. During the first phases of the attack in the East, the Luftwaffe destroyed hundreds of Russian planes and again the Ju-87s demonstrated how effective they could be destructively as well as psychologically. But very quickly things became very clear: the bomb loads carried by the Stukas were not effective against the Russians' wide range of armored vehicles.
It was only in 1943 that a really effective solution was found to try and halt the arrival of greater and greater numbers of Russian armor on all the different fronts in the East: the Ju-87 'Gustav' (the basic design was the Ju 87G-0) whose job it was to bust tanks. To do this it was equipped with two 37-mm Flak 18 cannon (or Bord Kanone 3.7) in underwing gondolas in place of the bomb racks (the cannon were detachable and could be replaced by bomb racks for the ground-attack role).
It was in 1942 that a Ju 870-1 was adapted in this way in order to serve as a prototype for the Gustav series. Each canon weighed 598lb (272kg) with its container and ammunition. Firing tests at Rechlin were so satisfactory that a Ju 870-3 was in turn modified and tested over Russia operationally by several pilots among which the famous Stuka ace, Hans Ulrich Rudel.
The destructive capability of the new model so pleased everybody, that in February 1943, several Ju 870-3s were transformed into Ju-87G-1s and given to an experimental anti-tank unit, the PanzerJagdkommando Weiss, made up of very experienced Stuka pilots. The conclusive results gave rise to a new series of conversions: D-3s into G-1 s. Then it was the D-5s which were in turn converted into Ju-87G-2s. The underbelly sling was removed from the majority of the Gustavs and the dive brakes disappeared to. The wing mounted guns were removed, but some pilots had them kept so as to fire tracer in order to aim better.
During night operations, the ends of the long 37-mm cannon barrels were fitted with flame dampers. In their tank buster role, the Ju 87Gs turned out to be excellent, particularly in the summer of 1943, in the battle of the Kursk salient. They did however have their faults. Their increased mass made them even slower and more vulnerable and they were noticeably less maneuverable.
As with all the versions of the Ju-87, the Gustavs were progressively replaced by the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 for daylight missions. The G-1 sand G-2s continued to operate only by night. In the autumn of 1944 only the unit commanded by Rudel (III./SG2) was still using Ju-87Ds and Gs in the Soviet Union, Some aircraft were transferred to the West at the end of the war. Production of the Stuka finally ceased definitively in October 1944. The figure for total production of Ju-87s, which is generally accepted by everybody as being correct, is more than 5700.
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