The Wing of the Junkers Ju 87 Bomber Aircraft, Germany

The Wing of the Junkers Ju 87 Bomber Aircraft Technical Specifications

  • Crew – 2 people
  • Engine-Jumo 211 J-1
  • Power – 1410 hp
  • Wingspan-13.8 m
  • Wing area – 31.9 sq. m
  • Empty aircraft weight-3900 kg
  • Maximum take-off weight-6600 kg
  • Maximum speed at altitude/near the ground – 410 / 320 km / h
  • Practical ceiling – 7290 m
  • Maximum range-1535 km
  • Armament: 2 x 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns; 1 x 7.92 mm twin MG 81Z machine gun
  • Maximum bomb load -1800 kg.

The wing of the Junkers Ju 87 bomber aircraft Details

Work on the creation of dive-bombing aircraft began in Germany in the mid-1920s, but due to the limitations of the Versailles Treaty, they were usually carried out in other countries where German companies had their branches. So, already in 1928, the Swedish branch of the German aircraft manufacturing company Junkers Flugzeug-und Motorenwerke AG developed a project for an all-metal two-seat dive bomber K-47. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Junkers continued to work in this direction already at its factories in Dessau. Therefore, at the competition for the best dive bomber announced soon by the Technical Department of the Ministry of Aviation, Junkers presented the Ju 87 bomber already designed by designer G. Polman, which fully met all the stated requirements.

The Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber made its first flight on September 17, 1935. It successfully combined such qualities as easy handling, structural strength and a good view from the cockpit, which allowed the pilot to perform a dive almost vertically and hit small targets. The new bomber, with a crew of two, was an all-metal single-engine monoplane with a non-retractable landing gear. Its duralumin fuselage of oval cross-section (semi-monocoque) consisted of upper and lower halves. In the front part of the fuselage, box-shaped power frames were located, and one of them, mounted between the crew seats, reached to the top of the cabin light, protecting the crew when the aircraft was fully coasting. The fuselage skin was made of smooth duralumin sheets. The two-seat cabin was covered by a transparent sliding lamp. The pilot’s and radio operator’s seats were placed one behind the other, while the radio operator’s gunner was placed on a rotating seat. There was a transparent hatch in the floor of the cabin for looking down. Bombing was carried out using a special Stuvi A2 sight, which on the latest modifications of the Ju 87 aircraft was replaced by the Revic 12CI universal sight, designed for bombing, both from a dive and horizontal bombing. During the serial production of this aircraft, the radio equipment placed in the cockpit was improved. The onboard receiving and transmitting radio station FuG VIIa was soon replaced by the more advanced FuG-16ZY. In addition to the main radio station on the bomber, the aircraft identification radio station FuG-25A was also installed. On this plane, g. Polman used a wing of a rarely used type – “reverse seagull”. Such a choice of a wing with a kink was due to the designer’s desire to minimize the height of the struts of the non-retractable landing gear in flight and, thereby, reduce their aerodynamic drag. The wing consisted of three parts. The center section was one with the fuselage, detachable parts were attached to it, which had a trapezoidal shape in the plan. Slotted outboard ailerons and flaps mounted on the wing provided good maneuverability and handling. A feature of this wing, due to the method of combat use of the aircraft, became aerodynamic brakes (in the form of flaps with a narrow slot in the middle) installed under the wing at 30% of the chord. When diving, the shields turned perpendicular to the air flow, significantly reducing the dive speed, which in turn increased the accuracy of bombing, which was very high. Aerial bombs were placed in a circle with a diameter of no more than 30 m, which guaranteed the destruction of such small targets as bridges, command posts, firing points and ships. Due to the fact that large-caliber bombs (250, 500 or 1000 kg) were used for dive bombing, they were suspended under the fuselage on a special device that removes the dropped bomb from the propeller rotation zone.

The Junkers Ju 87 had an all-metal tail, and a rectangular stabilizer adjustable in flight was attached to the fuselage with a V-shaped strut on each side. Another characteristic feature of the Ju 87 bomber was the non-retractable landing gear in flight, which was explained by the reluctance of designers to weaken the wing with cutouts for niches for cleaning the landing gear. However, the aircraft could not develop high flight speed with such a chassis, although the shock struts and wheels were covered with large removable fairings in order to reduce aerodynamic drag. For this characteristic silhouette of the chassis, Soviet soldiers nicknamed the Junkers Ju 87 “Lapotnik”, although in the Luftwaffe it received the more euphonious unofficial name “Shtuka” – short for Sturmkampfflugzeug-a dive combat aircraft. Its powerplant consisted of a single inverted V-shaped liquid-cooled engine. On the first serial modification, the Jumo-210 engine with a power of 680 hp was mounted, and later various variants of the Jumo-211 engine were used, which developed a power of up to 1500 hp. Fuel tanks with a capacity of 500 liters were placed in the center section, near the center of gravity. Under the wing consoles, it was also possible to suspend two additional fuel tanks with a capacity of 300 liters each, so that the bomber’s flight range could be significantly increased. The Ju 87’s defensive armament for a long time consisted of two 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns mounted in the wing consoles and one 7.92 mm MG 15 machine gun mounted on a turret mount in the rear of the cabin. On some versions, the wing machine guns were replaced with two 20-mm MG 151/20 guns or 37-mm VK-3,7 guns installed in additional hanging containers, and instead of the 7.92-mm MG 15 turret machine gun, a 7.92-mm twin MG 81Z machine gun was installed. The use of more powerful engines made it possible to increase the bomb load to 1800 kg. Usually it was a 1000 kg SC-1000 bomb suspended under the fuselage, and several other smaller bombs were mounted on bomb throwers under the wing consoles. Along with the dive bomber, the Ju 87D-4 torpedo bomber was also developed at its base, armed with LTF-56 or LTF-5W aircraft torpedoes of 533 mm caliber.

Serial production of the Junkers Ju 87A-1 dive bomber began in January 1937 and was mastered by the Junkers Flugzeug – und Motorenwerke AG (Dessau) and Weser Flugzeugbau (Berlin) factories. One of the first new Ju 87A-1s was received by the I/StG 162 assault squadron, and at the end of the same year, three aircraft from this group were sent to Spain to the German Condor Legion for testing in combat conditions. In October 1938, they were joined by the first five Ju 87B-1 production bombers. After successful use during the Spanish Civil War on the side of the rebels, Junkers dive bombers were widely used by the German Luftwaffe in the early period of World War II. By mid-1939, the monthly production of Ju 87 aircraft was 60 machines, and by the beginning of World War II, there were 336 Ju 87B-1s in nine Luftwaffe dive bomber groups, and the Germans lost only 30 of these aircraft during the fighting on the Polish-German front in September – October 1939.

In April 1940, the I/StG 1 attack squadron with Ju 87B-1 participated in the invasion of Denmark and Norway. On an even larger scale, Junkers dive bombers were used in the defeat of Anglo-French troops in the spring of 1940. However, in the battles near Dunkirk (France), when the British fighter aircraft actively covered the evacuation of allied troops by sea, the Junkers suffered significant losses. Also, in August 1940, an attempt to attract formations of these bombers to destroy targets on the territory of Great Britain, covered by a powerful air defense system, ended in failure. 280 low-speed dive bombers Ju 87, which had almost no armor protection, with weak defensive armament, from the assault squadrons StG 1, StG 2, StG 77 and IV (St) / LG became easy prey for the British Spitfire and Hurricane fighters. During the air battle for Britain on September 16, 1940 alone, the Germans lost 23 aircraft from the 2nd Assault Squadron (StG 2) “Immelmann”. Three days later, out of 16 Ju 87 bombers from the 77th Attack Squadron (StG 77) that took off, 12 more aircraft were shot down.

As a result of high losses, at the end of September, the Luftwaffe command stopped using Junkers Ju 87s, which were becoming relatively easy prey for British fighters, and raised the question of the feasibility of further use of these aircraft. In early 1941, several groups of German dive bombers were deployed to the Mediterranean, where they operated against British convoys, and then participated in combat operations in Greece and Yugoslavia. As combat experience has shown, Ju 87 bombers achieved success only in the case of complete domination of German aviation in the air, successfully solving many tasks related to air support of ground forces on the battlefield. This was fully confirmed in the summer of 1941 on the Eastern Front. At the very beginning of the war with the Soviet Union, seven groups of dive bombers were involved on the Eastern Front, which were part of the Luftwaffe’s 2nd Air Fleet. In addition, as part of the 5th Air Fleet in Norway, the IV (St)/LG assault squadron (later renamed I/ StG 5) was stationed with 42 Ju 87 bombers operating along the Murmansk Railway.

During the Second World War, various modifications of the Ju 87 dive bomber continued to be produced. So, already in 1941, taking into account the experience of fighting on the Eastern Front, the Ju 87D-1 received a more powerful Jumo 211 engine (1400 hp), and in 1943 the Ju 87D-7 bomber with a Jumo 211 R engine (up to 1500 hp) and with reinforced armor began to be produced. On the Ju 87D-5 model, the wingspan was increased to 13.8 m, the wing machine guns were replaced with two 20 mm MG-151/20 cannons, and a 50 mm thick block of armored glass was applied to the windshield of the cabin light. To fight tanks on a special” anti-tank ” version of the Ju 87G-1, two containers with 37-mm VK-3,7 guns and ammunition for 12 rounds each were attached under the wing consoles. Armor-piercing shells of this gun, which had a high muzzle velocity of 850 m / s, penetrated through the armor of the hull and roof of Soviet T-34 and KV tanks. And yet, by 1943, Junkers was already very outdated, both morally and technically. Therefore, in 1943-1944, the Ju 87 dive bomber was replaced by a new Focke-Wulf FW 190 fighter-bomber, although the production of Junkers in the G and R variants continued until 1944.

By the autumn of 1944, only one group of III/SG 2 day attack aircraft with Ju 87s remained on the Soviet-German front. By 1945, the remaining Ju 87 dive bombers in the Luftwaffe, which took part in combat operations until the very end of the war, were consolidated into five groups of night attack aircraft, and the Ju 87G-1 “anti-tank” aircraft were part of special anti-tank squadrons 10.(Pz)/SG 2 and 10.(Pz)/SG 77. A total of 5,709 Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers were produced in six main versions (A; B; C; D; F; G; H; R) and 16 variants in 1937 – 1944.

The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War exhibits a wing of the Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber shot down near Leningrad, which was donated to the museum by the Criminal Police Service of St. Petersburg (Kolpino) in January 1998.

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