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Junkers embarked upon military aircraft production in the 1930s. By the end of the war, aircraft production monopolized all its resources. Perhaps the most notable design was the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber, one of the Luftwaffe's most effective aerial weapons in the early-war period and continually used for bombing attacks as an integral part of the Blitzkrieg strategy. The Stuka was used both for precision tactical bombing and the strafing of enemy positions, acting as a sort of "airborne artillery" that was able to keep up with the fast-moving tanks and attack defended points long before traditional artillery could be brought into range. Later in the war it was fitted with a large cannon and employed in a "tank busting" role against Soviet armour. It gained notoriety for its use at both Dunkirk and later Stalingrad, where it caused enormous destruction under Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen's VIII Air Corps.
Perhaps even more successful was the Junkers Ju 88, the primary medium bomber of the German forces. It was used in practically every role imaginable; level bomber, shallow-angle dive bomber, night fighter, and bomber destroyer, as well as in anti-shipping raids. A variety of improved versions were also produced over the course of the war, including the Ju 188 and Ju 388 which included numerous features for better performance, but never replaced the Ju 88 outright. A much more formidable aircraft was also planned, the Junkers Ju 288 for the Bomber B design competition, which it handily won — but the required high-power engines never worked properly in tests, and as the design was also plagued with insufficiently strong main landing gear, the effort was eventually abandoned.
The Ju 52 was a transport aircraft, roughly equivalent to the Allies' DC-3 Dakota, that was also modified to carry out bombing raids. A total of 4,845 Ju 52 were produced before and during World War II, leading to widespread use delivering men and supplies in support of the German war effort. The Ju 52 had previously seen service in the Spanish Civil War, where it took part in the Condor Legion's destructive raids on Durango and Guernica in 1937 which illustrated to the world—for the first time—the destructive potential and horror of strategic bombing. Unfortunately for its pilots and military passengers, by the outbreak of World War II, the Ju 52 was a thoroughly obsolete military design and unlike many other famous Luftwaffe aircraft, the Tante Ju was cumbersome, slow, and therefore vulnerable to attack. This resulted in many losses, namely at Crete and Stalingrad.
The abortive Amerika Bomber design competition for a trans-Atlantic range strategic bomber saw the Junkers firm build two prototypes of its six-engined Junkers Ju 390, basically a stretch of the four-engined Ju 290 transport — competing against the trio of Me 264 four-engined prototypes as the only fully airworthy competitors for the contract, which had included designs from Foc
Item created by: Lethe on 2015-05-31 17:46:30. Last edited by gdm on 2016-02-02 19:13:31
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