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Stuka Dive Bomber

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Firefly
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« on: October 24, 2007, 02:36:48 am »



Junkers Ju 87
 
A Ju 87R
Type dive bomber
Manufacturer Junkers
Introduction 1937
Retired 1945
Primary users Luftwaffe
Regia Aeronautica
Number built 5,752



The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka as it became universally known (from Sturzkampfflugzeug or German: dive bomber - literally plunging combat aircraft) was a German combat aircraft operational from 1937 and throughout World War II, and easily recognisable by its inverted gull wings, fixed undercarriage and its infamous Jericho-Trompete (Jericho Trumpet) wailing siren — though the siren was only fitted to a few aircraft because of the extra drag induced on the rather slow aircraft.
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Firefly
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 02:37:42 am »

The Stuka's design included some innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the plane recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration, and a wind-powered siren under its nose (later mounted to the front upper section of each fixed landing gear strut) that wailed during dives to frighten its victims. These were named Jericho-Trompeten, or "Trumpets of Jericho", by Junkers and were a form of psychological warfare. Its rugged fixed undercarriage allowed it to land and take-off from improvised airstrips close to the battlefront, giving close support to the advancing German forces. 5,752 Ju 87 of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.

Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective, the Stuka suffered from low speed and poor maneuverability, with little defensive armament, making it highly vulnerable to enemy fighters. The Germans learned during the Battle of Britain that air superiority must be obtained before ground attack aircraft could be effectively used. After the Battle of Britain, the Stuka was little used in Western Europe, but it remained effective further south where Allied fighters were in short supply, most notably in the battles of Crete, Malta and Leros.

Stukas were used in vast numbers on the Eastern Front, although the steady rise in Soviet airpower as the war progressed meant that Stuka squadrons suffered very heavy losses by the final stages of the war.

Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most notable Stuka ace, and the most highly decorated German soldier of World War II. (Hermann Goering was awarded the Großkreuz des eisernen Kreuzes, but not for achievements in battle.)

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Firefly
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2007, 02:38:52 am »



A ketten of Ju 87 circa 1939-40.
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