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Junkers Ju 87 (StuKa - Sturzkampfflugzeug) Dive Bomber / Close Air Support (CAS) Attack Aircraft (1937)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/29/2015

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.

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.

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Specifications for the
Junkers Ju 87 (StuKa - Sturzkampfflugzeug)
Dive Bomber / Close Air Support (CAS) Attack Aircraft

Focus Model: Junkers Ju 87D-1 (StuKa)
Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Junkers - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1937
Production Total: 6,500

Crew: 2

Length: 37.73 ft (11.5 m)
Width: 45.28 ft (13.80 m)
Height: 12.80ft (3.90 m)
Weight (Empty): 8,598 lb (3,900 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 14,551 lb (6,600 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x Jumo 211J-1 inverted-V piston engine developing 1,400 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 255 mph (410 kmh; 221 kts)
Maximum Range: 954 miles (1,535 km)
Service Ceiling: 23,917 ft (7,290 m; 4.5 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)

Hardpoints: 2 or 3 (underwing and under-fuselage)
Armament Suite:
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.

Ju 87 V1 - Prototype Model fitted with Rolls-Royce Kestrel V inline engine generating 640hp; endplate vertical surfacing; One of this type produced; second prototypes (2 constructed) fitted with Junkers Jumo 210Aa inline engine generating 610hp; fourth prototype featured increased vertical tail surface; this last prototype became base model for production series.

Ju 87A - Base Production Model of the fourth Ju 87 V1 prototype; fitted with Jumo 210C engine generating 640hp; 210 of this model produced.

Ju 87B - Fitted with Jumo 211D at 1,200hp; features included spats replacing the wheel farings and larger canopy.

Ju 87D - Official dive bomber and ground attack model fitted with Jumo 211J at 1,410hp engine; revised canopy and engine cowling, increased vertical tail surfacing, improved armament and redesigned landing gears.

Ju 87G - Anti-tank derivative featuring 2 x 37mm underwing cannons.

Ju 87H - Trainer variant based on the Ju 87D model but fitted with dual control systems.

Ju 87R - Long-range anti-shipping variant based on the Ju 87B model.

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