Wednesday, August 10, 2011

JUNKERS Ju-87 Stuka part1

The Junkers Ju 87 achieved almost leg-endary fame during the opening years of World War II. With its ominous, inverted gull-wing shape that gave it the appearance of a bird of prey, its frightful and unearthly howl as it attacked in a power dive and, above all, its deadly accuracy as it pinpointed and destroyed vital targets such as gun batteries, bridges, ammunition dumps, railway trains, tank columns and power stations, the 'Stuka', as it became universally known, became the most feared of Germany's many weapons and its 'new' type of warfare. Strangely enough, the German Air Staff had been divided as to its usefulness before the outbreak of the war, and only when it had proved itself during the speedy campaigns which defeated Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France and drove the British Army and Air Force from the continent of Europe, did the German propaganda machine start to boast of the 'Supreme Weapon'. Vertical hombing had been originated by the British in 1917 and had been thoroughly and exhaustively tested by them in detailed trials conducted at the Orfordness Proving Grounds in 1918-19, but they had then rejected the concept. Other nations had taken up the idea and continued tests with specially-adapted biplanes in the 1920s had shown that the percentage of hits on a selected target became much greater by-using this technique than with the more normal, horizontal flying method. It must be remembered that bombsights were primitive at this time and would remain so until well in the 1940s.