Stuka vulnerability

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by silence, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. silence

    silence Active Member

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    An often-cited reason for the Stuka being obsolete was that it was very vulnerable to fighters. My question is: was it any more noticeably vulnerable than any other dive bomber, and if not why does it seem to be that the Stuka is the only one that seems to be maligned for this?
     
  2. Jerry W. Loper

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    The Stuka was (1) slow and (2) lightly armed, an RAF Hurricane or Spitfire pilot scarcely took the Stuka's one 7.92-mm. rear machine gun seriously.
     
  3. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    I have read pilots accounts that referred to the Stuka as a sitting duck, stuka party, easy meat etc, it would be interesting to note how many stukas were able to RTB with damage, as the pilots accounts implied they were easily shot down?
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-87D was as fast as the SBD while carrying twice the bomb load. What's the problem?
     
  5. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The stuka was effective in the 'blitzkrieg' campaign. It was,perhaps,the first terror weapon with its air sirens and screaming dive.
    However, the blitzkreig was waged against inferior air forces and the LW had air superiority hiding the stuka's lack of speed, armament and manoeuvrability.
    Move on to the BoB and for the first time the LW met a well armed, resourceful and determined air force.
    The stuka did damage but, as already said its was a easy target for the RAF.
    Cheers
    John
     
  6. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Right, I get all that. But was it more vulnerable than, say, a Dauntless?
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    No easier then any other dive bomber in service at the same time.
     
  8. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Based on what evidence?
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Aerial performance and armor protection.
     
  10. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    It might be worth remembering that the Ju87 first got toasted in the BoB, a scenario where the opposing RAF had an integrated radar system and the ability to scramble quickly to intercept. On the other hand the Dauntless was facing the Japanese fleet which I’m guessing had little or no radar and therefore much less time to get fighters into the air – although there would still have been CAPs to contend with. I’m guessing that if the LW had been using Dantlesses instead of Stukas in the Bob the result would have been much the same – sending unescorted dive bombers with that level of performance against modern fighters that knew they were coming would have resulted in heavy losses.
     
  11. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Main advantage the Dauntless had over the Ju 87 (and the Il-2) was its radial engine that was significantly less vulnerable to failure, having no radiator to shoot out.

    It also typically faced more lightly armed/armored and slower Japanese opposition (though still faster than the SBD by a fair margin) and usually operated with escort from carriers, whereas in the ETO the Stuka had to face off against Spitfires and Hurricanes in BOB far away from home and against even more formidable types later, including many that were cannon-armed, without air superiority.

    I think the SBD wouldn't have faired much better against LW Fw 190's and Bf 109's operating in the same conditions the Stuka had to deal with, but in the PTO it was one of the only bomber types of the entire war to enjoy a positive kill/loss ratio against enemy fighters. Maybe the Stuka could have pulled off the same feat, who knows.
     
  12. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    As a carrier aircraft, woudln't the Daundtess most commonly have face the Zero? Lightly armoured but not really lightly armed, and at least as fast as the Hurricane, which was the Stuka's most comon opposition in the Bob. Regarding the relative merits of Radial v LC engines; I'm with you, but don't let Wuzak hear...
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #13 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
    It wasn't any more vulnerable than any other period dive bomber. A dive bomber without aerial superiority is a sitting duck.

    Was it really any more slower or lightly armed than any other dive bomber?

    Lets see...

    Ju-87B
    Max Speed: 242 mph
    Armament: 3 x 7.92 mm

    SBD Dauntless
    Max Speed: 255 mph
    Armament: 4 x .50 cal

    SB2C Helldiver
    Max Speed: 295 mph (This is a considerable advantage, but still not fast enough to escape any fighters)
    Armament: 2 x 20mm and 2 x .30 (This is also a considerable advantage).

    Aichi D3A
    Max Speed: 242 mph
    Armament: 3 x 7.7 mm

    Hs 123A
    Max Speed: 211 mph
    Armament: 2 x 7.92mm

    The above specifications are of course generic, and there are differences between variants.
     
  14. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    I believe that by the end of the war dive bombing duties had pretty much been assumed by dedicated fighter bombers like P-47s, Hellcats Typhoons and the like - aircraft that could protect themselves rather than rely on friendly air-superiority. Like the torpedo bomber, the specialised dive bomber became obslete as a concept
     
  15. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Zero had decent armament and speed at that point in the war, true. But it was also very lightly armored, to the point where even the Dauntless' twin .30's could force them to back off if not shoot them down outright if the gunner was any good. The Stuka had one defensive 7.92mm until the D models, fighting better equipped foes with more armor and self-sealing tanks than the Zero even during BoB.
     
  16. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    The Zero was certainly mote fragile than the Hurricane or Spitfire, and the Dauntless may have been a bit more robust than the Stuka, although I never heard of the latter being perticularly lacking in that respect. But as I said before, I suspect the Sukas eputation as being vulnerable to fighters relates more to the greater odds of interception in the BoB scenario rather than any weakness relative to the Dauntless or greater potency of the Brittish fighters compared to t Japanese zeros. Transpose either dive bomber into the other scenario and I think the losses would have been much the same.
     
  17. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    The Ju 87 was a close support aircraft, it functioned as mobile heavy Artillery that kept pace with the troops and could be used to eliminate an obstacle. Using it for deep penetrations of defended airspace made as much sense as using an A10 to attack Baghdad instead of an F-117 Nighthawk.

    Used not far from the front line it was a devastating way of accurately delivering 500kg bomb. When during the Battle of France the Heers panzers got in trouble with the super heavy Char B tanks the Stukas simply smashed several of them open with direct hits or near misses within 5m using 250kg boms.

    Used in conjunction with an escort it could also get through to its target and get back out again.

    The rear gunner, who unlike the IL-2 Shtormovik, had armour was able to alert the pilot to take evasive action and to call in help.

    The usual problem for a rear gunner was that in a turn a fighter naturally ends up below the rear gunners firing line. (One solution was the Me 410s cheek guns). The evasive manoeuvre for the Ju 87 was to turn tightly (at low speed it could turn tighter than a fighter) so that the Fighter Had trouble bringing its guns to bare. By going low the problem was worsened for the fighter while the rear gunner could bring his to aim. The early Ju 87 might only have had one MG17 but the later ones had a twin MG81Z that could spit out 2700 rpm, one of the fastest of the war.

    In its final role as night harrasment bomber the Ju 87 ended the war with one of the lowest attrition rates of any side and as a tank buster its attrition levels were lower than the Fw 190.

    Computing level bombing sights like the Lotfe 7 and computing shallow dive bombing sights like Stuvi 5B with BZA meant that aircaft could carry out precision attacks though the Ju 87 remained unbeatable.

    The job of suppressing runways by straffing aircraft and dropping bombs on runways was the role of the Me 110 not the Ju 87.

    Finally aircaft such as the Me 262 and Fw 190D13 when equipped with the TSA-2D toss bombing sight which was seeing trials at wars end toss bombing sight could also bomb accurately.
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #18 stona, Nov 21, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
    "The Stuka was my favourite target,as soon as you hit it it burst into flames at the wing root."

    That's the opinion of someone who was there.

    Steve
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Speaking of 1940: what bomber was more vulnerable, Ju-87 or Fairey Battle?
     
  20. Jerry W. Loper

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    The SBD Dauntless (and the Japanese Aichi D3A Val, for that matter) were very maneuverable and could be pressed into service as makeshift fighters when real fighters were scarce. I don't know this for a fact, but suspect if a Dauntless and Stuka with equally trained crews were to meet plane to plane in the air, the Dauntless would wax the Stuka.
     
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