Ju 87 diving procedure

Jack Knight

The Stuka got its nickname from the German word Sturzkampfflugzeug or dive-bomber, the official designation was Junkers Ju-87.

The first plane prototype Stuka flew in 1936 and the plane was first used in combat in the Spanish Civil War.

More than 6,000 Stuka bombers were built in five variants designated A thru G, between 1936 and Aug 1944

The Ju 87 Stuka aircraft’s fixed undercarriages provided sturdy platforms for takeoffs and landings on improvised airfields in the field, but at the cost of airspeed due to drag.

On 15 August 1939 during a mass-formation dive-bombing demonstration for high-ranking commanders of the Luftwaffe, disaster struck. The planes dived through a cloud bank and expected to release their practice bombs and then pull out of the dive . They were unaware that on that particular day the cloud ceiling was too low and unexpected ground mist formed, leaving them with no time to pull out of the dive. Thirteen Ju 87s, and 26 crew members were lost when they crashed into the ground almost simultaneously

Image Source: Bundesarchiv

By the outbreak of World War II, the Luftwaffe had 366 Ju 87 ready for service, 3 of them carried out the first bombing mission of the war,  attacking 11 minutes before the official German declaration of hostilities.

The aim of this mission was to destroy the Polish demolition charges wired to the bridges over the Vistula River at Dirscha. However, the mission failed, and the Poles destroyed the bridge before the Germans could reach it.

Continues on Page 2

© Copyright 2019 - War History Online