Junkers Ju-87 Stuka (Aero Series 8)
By Heinz J. Nowarra & Edward T.Maloney
Publisher: Aero Publishers, Inc. 1966 55 Pages
PDF 18 MB
The vertical bomb run. otherwise known as dive-bombing, is not a new concept. Nor was it developed during W.W. II as often believed. Tactics of diving on a ground target and releasing bombs with precise timing were first practiced during W.W. I with widely varied results, ranging from poor to satisfactory. During the era between W.W. I and W.W. II it was found, through developing techniques and equipment, that pin-point accuracy with relatively small targets was possible with the dive-bombing approach. This was so because the biplane was still considered the optimum tactical weapon by designers. The terminal velocity was low enough for all bomb run aiming and pull out requirements. W.W. II was the first real proving ground for witnessing any over-all results of this method of bombing.
During the first two years of W.W. II, the JU87 was considered to be one of the most formidable and successful weapons of the German Luftwaffe. The demoralizing effect of the bombing attacks was further enhanced by the installation of a small propeller driven siren installed on the forward outside left strut of the landing gear, and requiring dive-bombing air speeds to function. These were called the "Trombone of Jericho" and, together with the howling effect of the Stuka in a dive, produced quite a psychological effect.
Col. Wolfram Von Richthofen was assigned as commander of the Technical Office of the Air Ministry, and he controlled the activities of the testing base at Leipzig. He had much to do with retarding the development of the dive-bomber type plane as a weapon. Ironically, he became the Commanding General of the Stuka-Corps in 1939. In 1936, GoVing replaced Col. Von Richthofen with Ernst Udet as commander of the Technical Office and placed him as commander of a tactical unit. Since Udet, through flying at National Air Shows in the U.S.A., had observed dive-bombing demonstrations, the development of requirements was inevitable. It was through the urging of Ernst Udet to Hitler's scientific technical staff, known as the Fo-Fu, and repeated dive-bombing demonstrations by Udet for the General Staff and Luftwaffe high command, that a decision was made to create a plane for this specific purpose. Udet used a Focke-Wulf FW56 for these demonstrations.