Junkers Ju 87 Dive-Bombers
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was the most famous Sturzkampfflugzeug (German dive bomber) in World War II, instantly recognisable by its inverted gull-wings and fixed undercarriage.
The Stuka's design featured some innovative features, including an automatic pull-up system to ensure that the plane recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration, and wind-powered sirens on the wheel covers that wailed during dives to scare its victims. (A similar technique is shown in the movie Apocalypse Now). Its rugged fixed undercarriage allowed it to land and take-off from improvised airstrips close to the battlefront, giving close support to the advancing German forces.
The Stuka was sturdy, accurate, and very effective, but also slow, unmaneuverable, underarmed, and vulnerable to enemy fighters. The Germans learned in the Battle of Britain that air superiority must be obtained before ground attack aircraft could be effectively used. After the Battle of Britain, the Stuka was little used in western Europe, but it remained effective further south where Allied fighters were in short supply (notably in the attacks on Crete and Malta), and was used in vast numbers on the Eastern Front, although the steady rise in Soviet airpower as the war progressed meant that Stuka squadrons suffered very heavy losses.
More than six thousand Ju 87 were built between 1936 and August 1944.
(Models not listed include the Ju 87C naval derivative of the Ju 87B, intended for use on the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin; the Ju 87E naval derivative of the Ju 87D; the Ju 87R long-range version of the Ju 87B; the Ju 87H disarmed versions of the equivalent D-models for use as trainers; the Ju 87K export models; the Ju 87D-5/D-6 with increased wing span.)
| ||Ju 87A ||Ju 87B ||Ju 87D ||Ju 87G |
|Production ||1936-1938 ||1938-1941 ||1941-1944 ||refitted Ju 87D |
|Role ||ground attack ||ground attack ||ground attack ||tank-buster |
|Length (m) ||10.8 m ||11.5 m ||11.5 m ||11.5 m |
|Wingspan (m) ||13.8 m ||13.8 m ||13.8 m ||13.8 m |
|Height (m) ||3.90 m ||3.77 m ||3.77 m ||3.77 m |
|Wing area (m²) ||31.90 m² ||31.90 m² ||31.90 m² ||31.90 m² |
|Empty weight (kg) ||2273 kg ||2760 kg ||2810 kg ||3600 kg |
|Maximum weight (kg) ||3324 kg ||4400 kg ||5720 kg ||5100 kg |
|Engine ||Junkers Jumo 210D ||Jumkers Jumo 211Da ||Junkers Jumo 211J ||Junkers Jumo 211J |
|Maximum Power (hp) ||720 hp ||1200 hp ||1420 hp ||1420 hp |
|Maximum Power (kW) ||530 kW ||883 kW ||1044 kW ||1044 kW |
|Maximum speed (km/h) ||310 km/h ||340 km/h ||354 km/h ||344 km/h |
|Dive speed (km/h) ||550 km/h ||600 km/h ||600 km/h |
|Range with bombs (km) ||800 km ||600 km ||1165 km ||1000 km |
|Ceiling (m) ||9430 m ||8100 m ||9000 m ||7500 m |
|Climb || ||3000 m in 8.8 min ||3000 m in 14 min ||3000 m in 13.6 min |
|Forward guns ||1×7.9 mm MG 17 ||2×7.9 mm MG 17 ||2×7.9 mm MG 17 ||2×7.9 mm MG 17 |
2×37 mm BK 37
|Rear guns ||1×7.9 mm MG 15 ||1×7.9 mm MG 15 ||1×7.9 mm MG 81Z |
(twin MG 81)
|1×7.9 mm MG 81Z |
(twin MG 81)
|Maximum Bombs (kg) ||250 kg ||500 kg ||1800 kg ||none |
|Typical Bombs (kg) ||1×250 kg ||1×250 kg |
+ 4×50 kg
|1×500/1000 kg |
+ 4×50 kg
-> The Ju 87A was able to carry a single 500 kg bomb but only without the rear gunner and at short ranges.
-> The Ju 87B might have been able to carry a single 1000 kg bomb but only without rear gunner and at short ranges.
-> The Ju 87D was able to carry this huge bomb load only at short ranges.
-> Thu Ju 87D-5 increased wing span to 15,00 m and replaced the MG 17 with two MG 151/20 cannons to improve ground attack capability.