The rugged and effective Junkers Ju87B Stuka was designed specifically to be a highly effective airborne artillery piece, capable of supporting fast moving ground units by destroying strategic targets that stood in their way. Well built and extremely rugged in operation, these dive bombers became some of the most recognisable aircraft of the Second World War.
One of the most instantly recognisable aircraft from the Second World War, the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka was an inverted gull-winged dive-bomber and ground attack aircraft, which first flew in 1935. With a two man crew, up to four machine guns and the ability to carry 1800kg of bombs, the Stuka was rather a large aeroplane to be powered by a single V-12 Junkers Jumo engine and indeed the Stuka actually weighed over four tonnes. As a result of this, the aircraft was rather slow and suffered from poor manoeuvrability and very much relied on either close fighter support, or almost complete air superiority for its effective use.
When it was operated in favourable conditions, it was a devastatingly effective weapon, being both accurate and extremely reliable. During the first few months of WWII, the Stuka was unparalleled as a strategic strike weapon and was the spearhead of Blitzkrieg – the Battle of Britain proved to be something of a rude awakening for the all-conquering Stuka crews of the Luftwaffe.
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