Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

Used as “aerial artillery to support fast-moving armoured columns, the Ju 87 “Stuka” dive-bomber played a memorable part in Germany’s Blitzkrieg offensives of 1939-40. The two-seat, all-metal aircraft with its distinctive “inverted-gull” wing and fixed undercarriage first made its appearance in 1935. A handful of first-production Ju 87 As were given a trial run during the Spanish Civil War, but it was during the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the subsequent defeat of France that the Stukas
really came into their own.
Emitting a banshee wail from “Jericho trumpet” sirens fitted in their wheel spats, they attacked in a steep dive, bombing ground targets while simultaneously terrorizing soldiers and civilians alike. The Stukas were also a highly effective weapon against shipping, as they demonstrated in the terrible bludgeoning of the carrier Illustrious in
January 1941.
The aircrafts relatively slow and cumbersome progress proved a fataI
drawback, however, as it made them easy prey for high-performance fighters. It had to be withdrawn early in the Battle of Britain, foIlowing savagings by Spitfires and Hurricanes. Ju 87s continued to prove their worth in less hotly contested airspace,
operating effectively on the Fastern Front well into the later stages of the war.

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