Junkers Ju87 “Stuka”


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A photo of a WWII Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber from Wikipedia.

A “Stuka” dive bomber is seen with members of the Italian Air Force during WWII.

The Junkers Ju 87, more commonly known as the “Stuka”, was the symbol of German air power, and one of the most iconic planes of the era. Even more iconic, perhaps, was the Jericho-Trompete, a siren on the nose of the plane which, when diving, created a very familiar sound. Its inverted gull wings and fixed, covered wheels also added to the plane’s recognizable appearance.

The plane was a dive bomber that had seating for a pilot and a rear gunner. It was very effective as a ground-attack aircraft, though also very vulnerable to modern fighter planes. Thus, it was often escorted by Luftwaffe fighters, like the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

The Stuka could reach speeds of more than 210mph and could dive at about 370mph. To compensate for the possibility that the pilot would black out from diving and recovering from a dive, the plane was fitted with dive brakes on its wings.

The Stuka was armed with one MG17 in each wing, while the rear gunner operated an MG15, both of which were very similar to the MG42 used by German ground troops.

Diving almost vertically (60 to 90 degrees), a Stuka could release its 500kg (1,100lb) bomb at about 1,500 feet above its target, which, with the stabilizing dive brakes, made it extremely accurate against targets on the ground.

Ten of these planes were destroyed in Allied Assault by Lt. Powell at an airfield in North Africa, along with what was presumably the fighter escort of three Focke-Wulf Fw190’s.

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