Ju-87 Stuka vulnerability to fighter attack

Discussion in 'Old Threads' started by Nikademus, Jan 1, 2008.

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  1. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    I think that this question is good enough to warrent it's own thread. I have to admit I've often wondered myself if the Stuka perhaps gets it's "bad rap" more from the circumstances of it's employment vs. any inherrant design flaw.

    from a post by "Kurfurst" on the SBD/D3A/Ju-87 comparison thread :

    So....what do other people think about the Stuka and it's history of being the life of the "Stuka Party?"
     
  2. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    I think the Stuka was Okay just the fact it had to be withdrawn during BoB it was vulnerable and even with fighter support still it's not that good
     
  3. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    if you would do a bit of research on the most highly decorated LW recipients you would easily find many pilots that flew the Ju 87 variants and still lived to tell about it. It was not uncommon to fly some 800 to over 1000 missions especially added up from Ost front activities. why oh why the Soviets were not on top of these things in droves it would of been a pick nic to shoot them down, but it was not the case even when 9/10ths of the time the StG Stuka units on the Ost front and western front were unescorted
     
  4. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most notable Stuka ace, and the most highly decorated German soldier of World War II.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    and the biggest propaganda tool of the Wehrmacht, many of his tank kills are subject to speculation as well as they being actual other pilots kills
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I believe the Stuka was effective but again, only with air superiority.

    On August 18, 1940, 109 Ju87s from StG 3 and StG 77 attacked airfields and radar stations on the east coast of England, supported by Bf 109s. 30 Stukas, nearly 21% of the total force committed, were shot down. Since 13 August to 18 August, a total of 41 Ju 87s were lost over England. Some say this loss rate forced the Luftwaffe to remove it from the BoB.

    It was the last day they were sent over England in force.
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Exactly Njaco.

    No Dive Bomber will be 100% effective without air superiority.

    I just really dont understand how it is that hard to undestand.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Gents remember the nocturnal misions. NSGr 1 and 2 and others flying the Ju 87D's flew in a formation of 3's at medium to very low formation, and also NO fighter support
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Correct, Erich, there is hardly any mention of those operations. A few days of hard losses makes a myth. I believe that the Stuka was withdrawn because of a starting change in tactics for the Luftwaffe. Whatever importance was being placed on radar (and there wasn't much by the Luftwaffe at that time) was thrown away when results couldn't be achieved. Going after the RAF airfields, the Luftwaffe probably wanted a larger bomb load with carpet effect instead of pin-point and those losses that week just convinced them to pull the Ju 87 from those type of operations. This is my own opinion reading between the lines of what I have read. I couid be wrong.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    AFAIK the Stuka only flew one daylight mission from June 6 forward in the west?

    The 354FS and 357FS caught SG 103 on way to beachhead and annhilated them. Did they fly again somewhere else in West
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think that is a pretty good and I agree with it. Ofcourse we will never actually know though.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    You may be correct, Drgn. I'm not aware of many operations at that time in the west using the Stuka. There were some in the Med and some night-time attacks. I could be wrong. I'll check the meager resources i do have. I was speaking about mostly 1940 to 42. The Stuka was still used for operations in the dive-bombing role during that time.

    Forgot about what I posted in another thread. For January 1943 II./StG 3 and III./StG 3 flew successful operations against the Allied positions throughout January with no more than 2 Ju 87s being registered as lost to enemy fighters (another 4 Ju 87s were registered lost due to 'Feindbeschuss' or unknown reasons). Now if I can find out how many were servicable for the month, I think thats a pretty good return.

    Checked one source from Albert Price and a Nachtshlachtgeschwader was using the Ju 87 in the west in May 1944. But thats it so far.
     
  13. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    i've sat in the rear seat of a Stuka its gun and sight and the cramped back was hard to aim but also it was a dive bombers what do you expect.......
     
  14. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    NSGr 8 used them in Norway in the fall of 44 into 1945

    NSGr 10 used the Ju 87D's out of Wels, Austria in 1945
     
  15. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Other than the fact that the Germans had major air superiority for the first half of the conflict...not sure. The air war in the East is an intersting one to be sure. In the west, it was a different matter however from what i've read.

    I recall reading Rudel's book a couple decades ago. It was..."interesting" to say the least. :D. Lots of monologues about endless streams of Soviets coming at him.
     
  16. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Problem though is that there's more than a few days involved. It would appear that the Western Desert saw it's share of "Stuka Parties" as well. Was able to pick out some of the bloodier highlights:

    2/15/41 - 8 of 12 Ju-87's downed by Hurricanes from 3 RAAF and 73 squadron. 67% loss ratio.

    4/3/41 - 8 x Ju87 with an escort of 8 x 110's. 3 Ju-87 downed along with 4 110's.

    4/5/41 Patrols from 3 RAAF and 73 squadron again have party. 5 of 9 Ju-87 downed, then 9 of 12 Ju-87's intercepted. 1 Hurr shot down in return by Stuka. total loss 14 Ju-87.

    4/14/41 5 Ju-87 downed by patrol from 73 Squadron. Part of large raid escorted by 110's, and CR-42's and G-50's

    7/15/41 5 of 15 Ju-87 downed then 1 of 8 Ju-87 downed. escorted by 109's and 110's.

    8/2/41 4 x Ju-87 downed despite large escort of 109's and MC-200's

    There are more of course.

    By themselves, these would not fully indicate a greater degree of vulnerability though I have to wonder if SBD's would be as vulnerable to rifle caliber bullets. D3A's....yes.

    More interesting are the commentaries from the men who fought there as well as conclusions drawn by authors like Christopher Shores and Hans Ring. I found this passage interesting:

    The Axis fighters were thus unable to prevent the WDAF from bombing their troops and supplies, but they were also unable to extend similar protection to their own bombers. To a large extent, this can be attributed to the use of the Ju-87's, the low preformance and diving tactics of this aircraft making it difficult to escort. The much faster Ju-88's which could bomb in level flight or shallow dive, like the British bombers, and which were nearly as fast as the fighters, were never cut to pieces in the way the formations of Ju-87's were during the "Stuka Parties" beloved of Allied fighter pilots. The difference in speed made it difficult for the swift 109's to stay with their charges during the flight to and from the target, but the bomber crews demanded that the fighters stay with them in their dives, when the Ju-87 was at it's most vulnerable. Since the bombers were fitted with dive brakes and the fighters were not, this was virtually impossible. To make matters worse, the bombers frequently split up into small formations when attacked, instead of staying together for mutual support.
    - Christopher Shores, Fighters over the Desert

    During these months of regeneration for the WDAF,[1942] the German fighters were worn out escorting the obsolete Stukas at a time when the Ju-87 should have been withdrawn from service. The Ju-87 was too slow and therefore very difficult to cover, and these missions were very costly to JG-27.
    -Eduard Neumann, Kommodore, JG-27 (exerpt from Fighters over the Desert)


    Reading from this and other books, the constant theme underscored is "slow" and in some cases "unweildy" or "low preformance" when describing the Stuka. The other theme is, "hard to escort." The apparant ruggedness and armor protection of the plane doesn't appear to have been much help against even the early rifle caliber armed fighters faced and the plane was a "favorite" of the Allies throughout the campaign. The comment about the Stuka being most vulnerable during a dive supports comments i've read about it being almost "too good" a diving platform, that stability making it more open to attack from fighters.

    It is noteworthy regarding the difficulties of the 109 in escorting the Stukas. It could be argued however that this difficulty was as much an issue of the "speedy" 109 as it was the slow Ju-87. In the end they don't appear to have been a good match in regards to the defensive factor. Speed was life for a 109. Going low and/or slow....bad. Even with large #'s of fighter escorts, the Stuka's remained very vulnerable. Again the question...would SBD's prove so vulnerable if heavy escorts are available?

    lol....still not sure. There are lots of indicators of vulnerability but alot of them can be explained away as circumstances of the battlefield. It may just be that a "dive bomber" wasn't a very survivable plane to have in a land campaign. The British and Americans preferred level bombers, light and heavy over a DB, the latter type mostly reserved for naval operations. Russians had the Il-2 of course. The SBD did operate against land bases in the Pacific but per Eric Bergerud, being a 1E, it was also the most vulnerable of platforms when faced with an unhealthy environment. Yet on the other side of the coin there were times when SBD's met good numbers of enemy fighters and they did not consistantly suffer the large losses claimed against Stukas. (The above examples would be bigger adding the unconfirmed claims to them)
     
  17. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The Stuka had poor performance for a front line bomber and was not very agile. The rear gunner was also of marginal quality.

    AFAIK the Stuka was withdrawn from the BoB to cover Operation Sealion. Losses of Stukas is one thing but losses of irreplacable crews is another bag of spanners.

    I don't think the Stuka was a bad aircraft but vulnerable to fighter attack. That the Stuka was able to operaate on the eastern front has more to do with the qualities of Soviet air defence than strenghts of the Stuka.
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Where did you sit in the rear seat of a Stuka? There are only 2 complete Stuka left in the world.
     
  19. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    It was like 2,000 dollars it was expensive but i am a war buff I swear they let u sit in it! I am not lying............Raf museum in Hendon i was there on one time they let ppl in
     
  20. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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