Armour Collection B11B265 German Junkers Ju 87G-2 Stuka Dive-Bomber - Hans-Ulrich Rudel's "Tank Buster", III/Stukageschwader 2, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, "dive bomber") was a two-seat (pilot and rear gunner) German ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.
The aircraft was easily recognizable by its inverted gull wings, fixed spatted undercarriage and its infamous
Jericho-Trompete ("Jericho Trumpet") wailing siren, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the Blitzkrieg victories of 1939-1942. The Stuka's design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the plane recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration. Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective, the Ju 87 was vulnerable to modern fighter aircraft, like many other dive bombers of the war. Its flaws became apparent during the Battle of Britain; poor maneuverability, lack of speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required a fighter escort to operate effectively.
The Stuka operated with further success after the Battle of Britain, and its potency as a precision ground-attack aircraft became valuable to the German war effort in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean Theaters and the early stages of the Eastern Front campaigns where Allied fighter resistance was disorganized and in short supply. However, once the Luftwaffe had lost air superiority on all fronts, the Ju 87 once again became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft. In spite of this, because there was no better replacement, the type continued to be produced until 1944. By the end of the conflict, the Stuka had been largely replaced by ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, but was still in use until the last days of the war. An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a Junkers Ju 87-G2 Stuka dive-bomber was flown by the legendary Luftwaffe ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel along the vast Russian front and comes equipped with twin 37mm cannons slung underneath the wings.
Wingspan: 11 inches
Length: 8.5 inches
Historical Account: "Shadows in the Night" - The most highly decorated German of WWII was the Luftwaffe pilot, Hauptmann Hans-Ulrich Rudel (1916-1982). Rudel was admitted to dive-bomber training in May 1940 and was subsequently assigned to a Stuka wing in France. His first combat missions coincided with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
By March 1944, Rudel was Gruppenkommandeur (commander) of III./StG 2 and had reached 1,800 operations and destroyed 202 tanks. In November 1944 he was wounded in the thigh and flew subsequent missions with his leg in a plaster cast.
On February 8th, 1945, his aircraft was hit by a 40mm shell and Rudel was badly wounded in the right foot, crash landing behind German lines. His life was saved by his observer who stemmed the bleeding but Rudel's leg was amputated below the knee. Amazingly, he returned to operations on March 25th, destroying 26 more tanks before the end of the war. Determined not to fall into Soviet hands, Rudel led three Ju 87s and four FW 190s westwards from Bohemia in a 2-hour flight and surrendered to US forces on May 8th, 1945 after landing at Kitzingen airfield, home to the 405th FG.