Altaya AB17 German Junkers Ju 52-3m Tri-Motor Troop Transport (1:144 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
Like the USAF C-47, the Junkers Ju 52 tri-motor was first built in the 1930s and remained in service for more than a quarter century. It made its maiden flight in April 1931, and three years later a heavy bomber variant entered service with the German Luftwaffe. The latter version formed the nucleus of the Luftwaffe's early bomber force, which was used with great effect during the Spanish Civil War.
By 1939, the Ju 52 was obsolete as a bomber, but because of its durability, simplicity of design, and handling characteristics, it continued to serve throughout WWII as a versatile workhorse for the German transport fleet. Adolf Hitler even used a Ju 52 as his private transport. Ju 52s delivered the attacking forces and their supplies during the German invasion of Norway, Denmark, France, and the Low Countries in 1940. Later on, approximately 500 Ju 52s participated in the historic airborne assault on the island of Crete in May 1941 and later supplied Rommel's
panzerwaffe operating in North Africa.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of a German Junkers Ju 52-3m tri-motor troop transport.
Length: 5-1/4 inches
Wingspan: 8 inches
Release Date: September 2013
Historical Account: "The Palm Sunday Massacre" - The Ju 52 first saw military service in the Spanish Civil War, as both a bomber and transport aircraft. In the former role, it participated in the bombing of Guernica. No more of the bomber variant were built after this war, though it was again used as a bomber during the bombing of Warsaw during the Invasion of Poland of September 1939. The Luftwaffe then relied on the Ju 52 for transport roles during World War II, including paratroop drops, most notably in the Battle of Crete in May 1941. Lightly armed, and with a top speed of only 265 km/h (165 mph) - half that of a contemporary Spitfire - the Ju 52 was very vulnerable to fighter attack and an escort was always necessary when flying in a combat zone. Many Ju 52s were shot down by anti-aircraft guns and fighters while transporting supplies, most notably during the desperate attempt to resupply the trapped German Sixth Army during the final stages of the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943.
During the final phase of the North African Campaign, 24 Ju 52s were shot down in the infamous "Palm Sunday Massacre" on April 18th, 1943, and another 35 staggered back to Sicily and crash-landed. The transports' escort, Jagdgeschwader 27, claimed just one enemy fighter.
The seaplane version, equipped with two large floats, served during the Norwegian Campaign in 1940, and later in the Mediterranean theatre. Some Ju 52s, both floatplanes and landplanes were also used as minesweepers, known as
Minensuch aircraft in German, fitted with a 14 m diameter current-carrying ring under the airframe to create a magnetic field which triggered the mines.