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WW2 German Ju-87 Stuka Dive-Bomber

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Uploaded on Nov 2, 2010

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The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, "dive bomber") was a two-seat (pilot and rear gunner) German ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.

The Stuka was very distinctive with its inverted gull wings, fixed spatted undercarriage and its chilling "Trumpets of Jericho" siren, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the "Blitzkrieg" victories of 1939--1942.

The Stuka's design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the aircraft recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration and G force.

Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective, the Ju 87 was vulnerable to enemy fighters. Its flaws became apparent during the Battle of Britain; poor manoeuvrability, lack of speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required heavy fighter escort to operate effectively.

The Stuka operated with further success after the Battle of Britain, and its potency as a precision ground-attack aircraft became valuable to German forces in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean Theaters and the early stages of the Eastern Front campaigns where Allied fighter resistance was disorganised and in short supply.

Once the Luftwaffe had lost air superiority on all fronts, the Ju 87 once again became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft. In spite of this, because there was no better replacement, the type continued to be produced until 1944. By the end of the conflict, the Stuka had been largely replaced by ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, but was still in use until the last days of the war. An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.

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