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Junkers87 Stuka Bomber

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Junkers 87

Junkers 87 German bomber, WWII.

The Germans initiated World War Two in Europe with Junkers 87 dive bombers attacking Poland just 11 minutes before war was declared in the early morning hours of August 31, 1939. A Junkers 87 was also the first German aircraft to claim an aerial victory in World War Two, shooting down a Polish PZL P.11 fighter. Junkers 87 dive bombers were highly effective in the Polish, Norwegian, Belgian and French campaigns. Their screaming sirens and high bombing accuracy spread terror in the opposition. Along with panzer tanks, the Junkers 87, or Stuka as it was commonly known, became the symbol of Blitzkreig and Nazi terror. Junkers 87's suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Britain and were withdrawn from combat. Success was again achieved in the Balkans, Crete, North Africa, and the invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Junkers 87 suffered heavy losses in the battle of Stalingrad, and the losses continued to mount throughout 1943. A tank busting model with two 37 mm canons mounted under the wings was introduced in 1943, and was effective against Russian tanks. But by the end of 1943, Junkers 87 numbers were 50% of the established strength, and replacements could not keep up with losses. In 1944, Fw 190 fighters were converted into fighter-bombers to replace the Junker 8'7s. By January of 1945, less than 170 Junkers 87's were left in the entire Luftwaffe and manufacture of replacement Junkers 87's had ceased. Approximately 6,500 Ju 87's were built. Photo: U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News September 1, 1943.



* Ju 87 facts

Category Dive bomber
Manufacturer Junkers
Introduced 1936
Used in WW II by

Regia Aeronautica (Italian)
Royal Romanian Air Force
Bulgarian Air Force
Number built Approx. 6,500
Max. speed 242 mph
Altitude 26,903 feet service ceiling
Range 311 miles
* Numbers are approximate