Staff Writer (Updated: 4/4/2016):
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.
Junkers Ju 87D-1 (StuKa) (1937)
Type: Dive Bomber / Close Air Support (CAS) Attack Aircraft
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Junkers - Germany
Production Total: 6,500
37.73 feet (11.5 meters)
45.28 feet (13.80 meters)
12.80 feet (3.90 meters)
8,598 lb (3,900 kg)
14,551 lb (6,600 kg)
1 x Jumo 211J-1 inverted-V piston engine developing 1,400 horsepower.
255 mph (410 kmh; 221 knots)
954 miles (1,535 km)
23,917 feet (7,290 meters; 4.5 miles)
0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)
Armament / Mission Payload:
2 x 7.92mm forward-facing machine guns
2 x 7.92mm machine guns in rear-facing cockpit
Maximum external bombload of up to 3,968 lb including conventional drop bombs under fuselage and wing hardpoints, 2 x 37mm underwing anti-tank cannons and anti-personnel munitions.
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. ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
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