The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, “dive bomber”) was a German dive bomber and ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, it first flew in 1935. The Ju 87 made its combat debut in 1937 with the Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War and served the Axis forces in World War II.
The aircraft is easily recognizable by its inverted gull wings and fixed spatted undercarriage. Upon the leading edges of its faired main gear legs were mounted the Jericho-Trompete (Jericho trumpet) wailing sirens. The Stuka’s design included several innovations, 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 g-forces.
The Ju 87 operated with considerable success in close air support and anti-shipping at the outbreak of World War II. It led air assaults in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Stukas were critical to the rapid conquest of Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France in 1940. Though sturdy, accurate, and very effective against ground targets, the Stuka was, like many other dive bombers of the period, vulnerable to fighter aircraft. During the Battle of Britain, its lack of manoeuvrability, speed and defensive armament meant that it required a heavy fighter escort to operate effectively.
After the Battle of Britain, the Stuka was used in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean theatres and the early stages of the Eastern Front, where it was used for general ground support, as an effective specialised anti-tank aircraft and in an anti-shipping role. Once the Luftwaffe lost air superiority, the Stuka became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft. It was produced until 1944 for lack of a better replacement. By 1945 ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 had largely replaced the Ju 87, but it remained in service until the end of the war.
An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.
Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most successful Stuka pilot and the most highly decorated German serviceman of the Second World War.
With the G variant, the ageing airframe of the Ju 87 found new life as an anti-tank aircraft. This was the final operational version of the Stuka, and was deployed on the Eastern Front. The reverse in German military fortunes after 1943 and the appearance of huge numbers of well-armoured Soviet tanks caused Junkers to adapt the existing design to combat this new threat. The Henschel Hs 129B had proved a potent ground attack weapon, but its large fuel tanks made it vulnerable to enemy fire, prompting the RLM to say “that in the shortest possible time a replacement of the Hs 129 type must take place.” With Soviet tanks the priority targets, the development of a further variant as a successor to the Ju 87D began in November 1942. On 3 November, Milch raised the question of replacing the Ju 87, or redesigning it altogether. It was decided to keep the design as it was, but the power-plant was upgraded to a Junkers Jumo 211J, and two 30 mm (1.2 in) cannons were added. The variant was also designed to carry a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) free-fall bomb load. Furthermore, the armoured protection of the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik—a feature pioneered by the 1916–17 origin Junkers J.I all-metal sesquiplane of World War I Imperial Germany’s Luftstreitkräfte—was copied to protect the crew from ground fire now that the Ju 87 would be required to conduct low level attacks.
Made of aluminum and steel, this lower cowling skin section is in EXCELLENT relic condition! It originated from a Ju87 G, and features some obvious bends and damage…but NO corrosion! The data plate attached is VERY CLEAR and indicates:
Could use a bit of a clean. Some light scratches, bends, and damage as it came from a wreck, but VERY solid otherwise! VERY LARGE in size it would be PERFECT for a centerpiece in your man-cave! EASILY identifiable, I have shown its location in the last photos. Would make a SUPERB addition to any collection or display!
Please email me if you need additional photos or information.
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