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Junkers Ju-87B-2 Trop. 'Stuka'
Junkers Ju-87B-2 Trop. 'Stuka'
Resource Typeimage
TitleJunkers Ju-87B-2 Trop. 'Stuka'
Coverage / Year1939 to 1941
DescriptionThe Junkers Ju-87B-2 Trop. 'Stuka' is a large gullwing-shaped German dive-bomber used during World War II. Its sides and upper surfaces are painted dark forest green with tan sand patterns. Black and white stylized Baltic Crosses are painted on the underside of its wings. The Nazi Swastika is painted in black on both sides of the tailfin.
InterpretationOver 5, 700 Junkers Ju-87B-2 Trop. Stukas were manufactured between December 1939 and late 1941. The original design came from German World War I pilot Karl Plauth, designer Hermann Pohlmann, and Lufwaffe pilot Ernst Udet. Originally built for warfare in Europe, the JU87Bs were used over Northern Africa and therefore needed modifications such as a dust filter for the supercharger and other engine components. The name Stuka was derived from the German word Sturkzamp-Flugzeug (diving battle plane/dive bomber). During its steep bombing dive, the plane's characteristic upward bending wings gave the appearance of a large bird of prey streaking towards its victim. The Stuka dive-bomber was one of the premier actual and psychological weapons used by the Germans in World War II. The Stuka carried a crew of two, pilot and rear gunner, and was armed with three 7.9 mm machine guns, one in each wing, and one flexible gun in the rear cockpit. It carried two 110-pound bombs under each wing, and one 1, 100-pound bomb in a special arm under the fuselage. During a steep dive this arm swung forward and down. Therefore the main bomb fell clear of the Stuka's propeller in a steep dive. Another feature of the Stuka was the hydraulically operated pull-out which automatically brought the plane out of its dive when the main bomb was released. This was because the sudden change in direction caused the crew to lose consciousness and black out momentarily when pulling out of a steep drive. From the opening moments of World War II, the Stuka was used during the attack on Poland, the Battle of Britain, the Eastern Front, Crete, Malta, and North Africa. The Stuka's lack of maneuverability, relatively slow speed, and susceptibility to enemy fighters when in its vertical bombing dive, forced it to be used in a role where protective fighter cover was not necessary. For most of the war, the Stuka attacked targets such as bridges, railroads, tanks, fortifications, and shipping. The British Royal Air Force captured this Stuka in Gambut, Libya in December 1941. The Germans occupied Gambut and were using the city as an advanced base and its airfield to repair both German and Italian aircraft. According to one of the British mechanics who dismantled this aircraft in Libya, a large formation of Messerschmitts 109-Fs fighters and Stukas flew over from the Gambut airfield to harass the British positions outside Gambut. These planes were met and engaged by planes from the No. 3 R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) Squadron, and in the action this particular Stuka was hit. It made a forced landing on the Gambut airfield the British forces attacked and took the airfield while the Germans were repairing this aircraft. Forced to hastily abandon the airfield before anything could be destroyed, this and other airplanes were left intact.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorPlauth, Karl
Other ContributorsPohlmann, Hermann, 1894-
Udet, Ernst, 1896-1941
SourceMunson, Kenneth and John W.R. Taylor. History of Aviation. New York: Crown Publishers, 1978. Smith, Peter C. Junkers Ju 87 Stuka. Wiltshire, England: Crowood Press, 1998; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #46.225
Subject / KeywordsAttack aircraft; Attack plane; Aircraft; Dive bombers; World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations; Airplanes; Air transportation;
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier46.225
CONTENTdm file name70358181982002_STUKA.jpg
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