Junkers Ju 87 (StuKa - Sturzkampfflugzeug) Dive Bomber / Close Air Support (CAS) Attack Aircraft
Performance limitations aside, the Junkers Ju 87 StuKa was an effectively devastating weapon for the German Luftwaffe in the early part of World War 2.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Before the Allies would gain air superiority over the skies of France and Germany, the Junkers Ju 87 "StuKa" dive bomber would reign supreme. The system, for a time, became the terror of both civilian and soldier alike, as the screaming howl of its "Jericho Trumpet" sirens filled the sky with a shriek before letting lose with the aircraft's payload. In essence, the dive bomber was, for the first time, being used to critical effect - an almost forecasting of the capabilities of today's direct-strike precision bombing.
The name "StuKa" comes from the longform "Sturzkampfflugzeug" which translates to "Drop-Down-Fight-Airplane".
The Ju 87 grew out of five similar prototypes (V1 through V5) fitted with slightly different powerplants and airframes. The final of the four prototypes of the Ju 87 V1 series would end up as the official and initial production models for service with the German Luftwaffe. The system, among other weapons and tactics, would be utilized to stunning effectiveness with Germany's participation in the Spanish Civil War - these particular StuKas would be flown by the famed "Condor Legion" from 1938-1939.
Once World War 2 had begun in September of 1939, the Stuka was a featured set piece for the German Luftwaffe in its conquest of Poland. The system earned its deadly reputation early on due to its precision strike abilities. Following the collapse of the Polish defenses, and the fall of Norway, the Low Countries and France, the stage was set for the "Battle of Britain" where Ju 87s continued in frontline service.