The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka in a nutshell
- National origin:- Germany
- Role:- Dive bomber
- Manufacturer:- Junkers
- Designer:- Hermann Pohlmann
- First flight:- 17th September 1935
- Introduction:- 1936 Retired:- 1945 (Luftwaffe)
- Primary users:- Luftwaffe, Bulgarian Air Force, Hungarian Air Force, Regia Aeronautica, Royal Romanian Air Force
- Produced:- between 1936-1945
- Number built:- Estimated 6,500
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, 'dive bomber') is a German dive bomber and ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, it first flew in 1935. The Ju 87 made its combat debut in 1937 with the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War and served the Axis forces in World War II.
The aircraft was easily recognisable by its inverted gull wings and fixed spatted undercarriage. Upon the leading edges of its faired main gear legs were mounted the Jericho-Trompete (Jericho trumpet) wailing sirens, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the blitzkrieg victories of 1939-1942. The Stuka's design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the aircraft recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high g-forces.
The Stuka operated with considerable success in close air support and anti-shipping at the outbreak of World War II. It spearheaded the air assaults in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Stukas were crucial in the rapid conquest of Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France in 1940. Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective against ground targets, the Stuka was vulnerable to contemporary fighter aircraft, like many other dive bombers of the war. During the Battle of Britain its lack of manoeuvrability, speed and defensive armament meant that it required a heavy fighter escort to operate effectively. After the Battle of Britain the Stuka took part in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean theatres and the early stages of the Eastern Front where it was used for general ground support, as an effective specialised anti-tank aircraft and in an anti-shipping role. Once the Luftwaffe lost air superiority, the Stuka became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft on all fronts. It was produced until 1944 for lack of a better replacement. By then ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 had largely replaced the Stuka, but Stukas remained in service until the end of the war.
An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.
Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 Stuka ground attack aircraft
Ju 87A Ju 87B Ju 87D Ju 87G Production 1936-1938 1938-1941 1941-1944 refitted Ju 87D Role ground attack ground attack ground attack anti-tank Crew 2 2 2 2 Length 10.8 m 11.1 m 11.1 m 11.1 m Wingspan 13.8 m 13.8 m 13.8 m 13.8 m Height 3.9 m 3.9 m 3.9 m 3.9 m Wing area 31.90 m² 31.90 m² 31.90 m² 31.90 m² Empty weight 2273 kg 2760 kg 2810 kg 3600 kg Maximum weight 3324 kg 4400 kg 5720 kg 5100 kg Engine Junkers Jumo 210D Junkers Jumo 211D Junkers Jumo 211J Junkers Jumo 211J Maximum Power 720 hp 1200 hp 1410 hp 1410 hp Maximum Power 530 kW 883 kW 1037 kW 1037 kW Maximum speed 310 km/h 340 km/h 354 km/h 344 km/h Dive speed 550 km/h 600 km/h 600 km/h Range with bombs 800 km 600 km 1165 km 1000 km Ceiling 9430 m 8100 m 9000 m 7500 m Climb 3000 m in 8.8 min 3000 m in 14 min 3000 m in 13.6 min Forward guns 1x7.92 mm MG 17 2x7.92 mm MG 17 2x7.92 mm MG 17 2x7.92 mm MG 17
2x37 mm BK 37
Rear guns 1x7.92 mm MG 15 1x7.92 mm MG 15 1x7.92 mm MG 81Z
(twin MG 81)
1x7.92 mm MG 81Z
(twin MG 81)
Maximum bombs 250 kg 500 kg 1800 kg none Typical bombs 1x250 kg 1x250 kg
+ 4x50 kg
+ 4x50 kg
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