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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka", Stürzkampfflugzeug, dive bomber

Photos

  • junkers-ju-87-stuka-dive-bomber-18
  • Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87B Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87B Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87B Stuka dive bomber
  • Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber

Design

A specification was put out in 1933 for a dive bomber. Arado, Blohm und Voss, Heinkel, and Junkers submitted designs. Only Heinkel and Junkers submitted a prototype and these were tested in 1936. Hermann Phlmann had the winning design.

The Junkers Ju 87 brought terror across Europe in the early years of World War II. It had a siren that wailed during its dive.

Dive control

A device allowed the Ju 87 to pull out of a dive even when a pilot blacked out.

Undercarriage

During the winters on the eastern front some had skis installed.

Fuselage

To aid in mass production the fuselage was made in two halves and joined at the centerline by a metal frame.

Wing

To allow for a short undercarriage and allow for a large bomb, the wings were of a cranked wing design.

Armament

The gunner-observer had a mount that he could rotate a 7.9 mm MG 17 on.

The main bomb was located under the middle of the fuselage and when released a mechanism would hurl the bomb past the propeller disk.

Prototype

The Ju 87 prototype had a Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine (525 HP / 640 HP) and first flew in the spring of 1935. It had a two blade wooden propeller.

Early prototypes had twin fins but this was replaced by a single fin.

The next two prototypes had Junkers Jumo 210 engines (610 HP). These had single tail fins. The engine drove a three bladed variable pitch propellar.

Production

Over 5,700 were produced until September 1944.

Starting in 1939 all production of the Ju 87 Stuka was at Weser at Tempelhof.

The Junkers Ju 87A first flew in November 1936. The Junkers Ju 87B first flew in August 1938.

  • Total: >5,700, 5,709
    • Manufacturer: Junkers Flugzeug und Motorenwerke A.G.
    • Production: ? - 1944

Variants

  • Junkers Ju 87A-1: Flew in Spain. First appeared in 1937.
  • Junkers Ju 87B-1: Flew in Spain. First appeared in 1938. Structure and aerodynamics improved. Landing fairing was made smaller.
  • Junkers Ju 87B-2: New radio equipment.
  • Junkers Ju 87B-2U2: New radio equipment.
  • Junkers Ju 87B-2U3: More armor.
  • Junkers Ju 87B-2U4: Ski undercarriage.
  • Junkers Ju 87C: Was to be used on the air craft carrier Graf Zeppelin.
  • Junkers Ju 87D: Had a Jumo 211 engine. Had streamlined nose and canopy. Coolant radiators were moved to under the wings. Entered service at the end of 1941 during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Armored crew protection.
  • Junkers Ju 87D-3: Increased armor protection.
  • Junkers Ju 87D-5: Dive brakes removed. Landing gear were jettisonable. Span 49' 2.5" / 15 m.
  • Junkers Ju 87D-7: Ground attack at night. Jumo 211P engine. 20 mm cannons in wings.
  • Junkers Ju 87D-8: Night equipment removed.
  • Junkers Ju 87E: Revised Ju 87D.
  • Junkers Ju 87F: Revised version not built.
  • Junkers Ju 87G: Antitank version. Had two 37 mm BK FlaK 18 guns under the wing in pods. Converted from Ju 87D-5. No dive brakes.
  • Junkers Ju 87H: Dual control trainer.
  • Junkers Ju 87R: Had additional under wing fuel tanks for use in the Norwegian campaign.

Usage

The Ju 87 was used by Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Slovakia.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania.

  • Bulgaria: 32
  • Croatia: 15
  • Hungary: 70
  • Romania: 115

The Ju 87 Stuka was used on all fronts during the war. It was very vulnerable and relied on total air superiority to be used effectively.

Typically a pilot would start their dive at 6,000' / 2,000 m and go down to 900' / 300 m before releasing their bombs. The dive angle was between 60° and 90°.

Condor Legion

Ju 87A-1s and Ju 87B-1s were used by the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War.

Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Flying a Ju 87G, Hans-Ulrich Rudel destroyed over 500 / 519 Soviet tanks. He also sunk a battleship, a cruiser, and a destroyer with his Stuka.

Blitzkrieg in Poland

The very first bombs dropped on September 1, 1939, were by three Junkers Ju 87 B-1s.

There were five Stukageschwader equipped with Ju 87s that were used in the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Specifications

  Junkers Ju 87B Stuka
Type Dive bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 211D, Junkers Jumo 211Da
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,000, 1,100
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 45' 3.25", 45' 4"
13.8 m
Length 35' 6", 36' 5"
11.1 m
Height 12' 9", 13' 2"
4.01 m
Weight  
Empty 5,980 lb
2,713 kg
Loaded 9.300 lb, 9,369 lb, 9,560 lb
4,250 kg
Performance  
Speed 240 mph
Speed at sea level 211 mph
339 kph
Speed @ 13,420' /
4,090 m
238 mph
383 kph
Cruising speed 175 mph
282 kph
Climb to 6,560' /
2,000 m
4.3 minutes
Service ceiling 26,150'
7,970 m
Range 490 miles, 500 miles
788 km
Armament  
Wings 2: MG
2: 7.92 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: MG
1: 7.92 mm MG
Bomb under fuselage 1: 1,102 lb
1: 500 kg
Bomb under wings 4: 110 lb
4: 50 kg
  Junkers Ju 87B-1 Stuka
Type Attack
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 211Da
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,200
Dimensions  
Span 45' 3"
Length 36' 5"
Height 13' 2"
Weight  
Loaded 9,560 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 13,410' 238 mph
Service ceiling 26,250'
Range 490 miles
Armament 3: MG
Bombs 1,100 lb
  Junkers Ju 87D Stuka
Type Dive Bomber, Ground Attack
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 211J
Cylinders Inverted V 12
HP 1,300
Propeller blades Junkers wood 3 blade
Dimensions  
Span 45' 4"
13.8 m
Length 36' 6"
11.13 m
Height 12' 9"
3.9 m
Wing area 335 sq ft
31 sq m
Weight  
Normal 12,600 lb
5,720 lb
Loaded 14,500 lb
6,585 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 13,500' /
4,120 m
255 mph
408 kph
Climb to 15,000' /
4,575 m
19 minutes
Service ceiling 24,000'
7,320 m
Range 1,200 miles
1,920 km
Range with maximum bomb load 620 miles
1,000 km
Armament  
Wings 2: 20 mm MG 151/20
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG 81
Bomb 3,960 lb
1,800 kg
Bomb under fuselage 1: 550 lb
OR 1: 1,100 lb
OR 1: 2,200 lb
OR 1: 3,960 lb
Bomb under wings 4: 110 lb
OR 2: 550 lb
OR 2: 1,00 lb
  Junkers Ju 87D-1 Stuka
Type Attack, Dive Bomber
Crew 2
Pilot, rear gunner
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 211J-1, Jumo 211J
Cylinders Inverted V, Inverted V 12, V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,400, 1,410
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 45', 45' 3", 45' 3.25", 45' 3.3"
13.8 m
Length 37' 8", 37' 8.75", 38'
11.5 m
Height 12' 9", 12' 9.25", 12' 9.5", 13'
3.89 m, 3.9 m
Wing area 343 ft2 , 343.38 sq ft
31.9 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,580 lb, 8,598 lb, 8,600 lb
3,900 kg
Loaded 12,880 lb, 14,520 lb, 14,550 lb, 14,551 lb
6,600 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 12,600' /
3,840 m
254 mph, 255 mph
410 kph
Speed @ 13,500' 255 mph
Cruising speed at 16,700' /
5,090 m
199 mph
320 kph
Climb to 16,400' /
5,000 m
19.8 minutes
Service ceiling 23,905', 23,910', 23,915'
7,290 m
Range 950 miles, 954 miles
1,535 km
Range with maximum bomb load 620 miles
998 km
Armament 4: MG
Wings 2: 7.92 mm MG
2: 7.92 mm MG 17
Rear cockpit 2: 7.92 mm MG
2: 7.92 mm MG 81Z
Bombs 3,960 lb, 3,968 lb
1,800 kg
Bomb under fuselage 3,968 lb
1,800 kg
Bomb under wings 1,102 lb
500 kg
  Junkers Ju 87D-7 Stuka
Type Dive bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Junkers Jumo 211P pison
Cylinders Inline
HP 1,500
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2.5"
15 m
Length 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Height 12' 9.5"
3.9 m
Wing area 362.7 ft2
33.6 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,686 lb
3,940 kg
Loaded 14,550 lb
6,600 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 15,750' /
4,800 m
248 mph
400 kph
Service ceiling 27,885'
8,500 m
Range 410 miles
660 km
Armament  
Forward firing 2: 20 mm MG 151/20
Rear cockpit 2: 7.92 mm MG 81
Bomb under fuselage 1: 3,958 lb
1: 1,800 kg
Bomb under wings 2: 1,102 lb
2: 500 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  7. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site