Would the Stuka be a viable weapon in Finnish Air Force hands?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ShVAK, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    The Ju87 was widely considered obsolescent and vulnerable--somewhat unfairly, IMO--in Luftwaffe service from the Battle of Britain on. Nevertheless on the Eastern Front some experten like Hans-Ulrich Rudel in a target-rich environment (and with fewer and fewer instances of LW air superiority as the war pressed on) continued to rack up kills on armor, artillery, shipping etc. and serve as an effective general nuisance for Soviet forces.

    This makes one wonder how well imported Stukas would've done in FAF service during the Continuation War had Germany spared a few. After all the Finns performed astoundingly well with obsolete equipment (at least from 1941-42 when they were facing mostly inexperienced pilots), posting a record 32:1 kill ratio against the VVS with the Brewster B-239 of all things and lesser but still notable scores with the G.50 Freccia and locally converted M.S. 406. After 1943 the FAF got a huge upgrade in the form of imported Bf 109G's, which they got 667 confirmed victories with at the cost of only 34 in combat losses up against increasingly dangerous Soviet opposition.

    By the Continuation War Finland was no longer limited to using its air force defensively, and while they never faced the full force of the Red Army steamroller I could see a number of battles where the Stuka would've been put to great use--particularly the 6/9/1944 Soviet offensive on the Karelian Isthmus where the Finns were pressured by heavier Soviet tanks they had few reliable means of stopping.

    So assuming a 1943 import date, how well do you all think the Ju87 (we'll say D models for the sake of argument) would have contributed to the Finnish front? Would the Finns overcome the type's deficiencies (real or perceived) and do serious damage with it using guerilla tactics or would it have all been wasted effort and materiel? Discuss.
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    As a pure dive bomber the Ju 87 was no more vulnerable than any dive bomber. They were not fighters. Without fighter cover they were all sitting ducks. As a dive bomber however it was excellent until the end.

    So in those regards I would have to say it would have been viable in any Air Force including the Finnish one.
     
  3. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #3 ShVAK, Sep 21, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    I would agree, but the big element in dive bombers' success and failure is established air superiority.

    Even with the very experienced pilots the Finns had I'm not sure they had sufficient forces to pull that off. Full strength at the start of the war was about 550 aircraft compared to god knows how many thousands the Soviets had (albeit a large chunk of them committed to stopping Barbarossa). Later in the war they would've had to deal with more advanced Soviet types in numbers. So I think they would've had to field Stukas using unconventional tactics like twilight/dusk raids etc. to avoid losing them, fortunately they were quite good at that kind of warfare but accuracy would've probably suffered as a result.
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Consider how aggressive and successful the Finns were against the Soviets and then take into consideration how well the Luftwaffe's Ju87 (D and G) was against Soviet targets and you'll have your answer...
     
  5. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #5 Juha, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    At the beginning of the the Continuation War FAF had 188 serviceable warplanes on the strength. Soviet AFs had some 2500 warplanes stationed near Finnish borders, not including the 2 fighter divisions intended for the defence of Leningrad or the 2 long range bomber divs. Only about ½ of this force was available against Finland.

    And yes, we would have happily accepted some dive bombers, FAF used sometimes some of its FK (Fokker C.X) army co-op planes as dive bombers but we had rather few pilots trained in dive bombing. In this heavily forested area with sparse road network dive bombers would have been very useful.

    Juha
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    And the total number of aircraft on each side is not relevant. To protect your dive bombers on a given mission you only need to excercise local and temporary air superiority. This can be done with lesser resources and good planning. Unless the Soviets had an effective early warning/command and control system (like the RAF during the BoB) or flew continuous air patrols over the entire front throughout day light hours (which is effectively impossible) then I suspect that the Finns could have done a reasonable job with the Ju 87.

    Steve
     
  7. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Thanks for the clarification, I was wondering if the 550 I quoted was off.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    4,881. Total Ju-87 production.
    36,183. Total Il-2 production.

    The only thing wrong with the Ju-87 is Germany didn't produce nearly enough. Produce 7.4 times as many and historians would be discussing how decisive it was on every battlefield as well as for short range maritime attack.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that, LW began converting its StGn to SGs,that means re-equipping them with Fw 190 fighter-bombers, after Kursk. Some Stuka Gruppen soldiered on, some of them as night harasment units but some operated in Aegean and especially over Eastern Front in daytime at least to late 44. But LW didn't try to use them in Normandy, they were too vulnerable.

    Juha
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Normandy was a relatively small area blanketed by thousands of enemy fighter aircraft. No CAS aircraft can survive in that environment. Throw a hundred A-10 Warthogs into 1944 Normandy and that wouldn't last much longer then Ju-87Ds.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Bite your tongue Dave, a A10 is faster at low level than any WW2 fighter it'd come up against, and vastly better armored.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-262 was faster then an A-10. That doesn't help much if hordes of P-51s, Spitfires and P-47s are continually diving on your aircraft.
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Sorry but LW used Fw190 Jabos in Normandy and they had good reasons not to try to use Ju87s there.

    Juha
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    And how many Me262s were over the Normandy beaches?
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Historians would be laughing their As**s off at the idea. Without at least 30,000+ additional fighters to escort them the main effect would be target practice for the Allied fighters opposing them, and the AA crews. There comes a time to say "enough is enough" to any design. the Ju-87 had had it's day and it was well before 1944.
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    As a matter of fact, only two Luftwaffe aircraft appeared over the Normandy beachead itself on 6 June. Both were Fw190s, flown by Josef Priller and his wingman, conducting a strafing run. There were other actions in the vicinity (inland and out to sea) on that day and later, but this is the only known event over the beach itself.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    On the day before the invasion Luftflotte 3,which would oppose the invasion had a total of 815 aircraft of which 600 were serviceable. It's force structure was such that it contained few ground support aircraft. Most ground support squadrons were on the Eastern Front awaiting the anticipated Russian offensive. There were more fighters available from Luftflotte Reich but these pilots had no training in ground attack,most had virtually no training at all.

    On June 6th,during the day,Luftflotte 3 flew less than 100 sorties in the invasion area,about 70 by single engined fighters,including the two famous ones mentioned above. That evening bombers and anti shipping squadrons flew 175 sorties against the invasion fleet. 39 aircraft were lost and 21 damaged,8 due to non combat related causes.

    To put that in perspective the Alied Air Forces flew 14,000 sorties and lost 127 aircraft to all causes.

    The Luftwaffe did better in the following days,still only a minor irritation.
    By June 10th 300 fighters had been moved to France from Luftflotte Reich. The move was not without its problems. A German report read.

    "Airfields which had long been ear marked for theemergency day fighter Geschwader from the Reich in the event of an invasion were completely inadequate."

    Nonetheless on the nights of 7-8 June the bombers and anti shipping forces flew 100 sorties whilst on the 8th the day fighter forces flew 500 sorties,400 by single engined fighters. The Allies were still flying 1000s.
    Losses were heavy. In the first week of operations around the beach head 362 aircraft were lost and in the second week another 232. In two weeks Luftflotte 3 lost 75% of its establishment as of 5th June.


    By June 1944 the Luftwaffe barely had the ability to be even a minor irritation to Overlord. Had the ground attack squadrons from theEastern Front somehow been available they would simply have given the Allied Forces more targets to shoot down.

    Steve
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    At least III./SG 4 operated over Normandy in June 44. It was a Fw190 unit.

    Juha
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes they did. They moved to bases behind the invasion beaches on 6th June.
    Steve
     
  20. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    the fins were exceedingly well trained and looked at things in a realistic way. they developed tactics that best suited the limitations and needs. they did this often with more outdated equipment....but they did it well. if the fins would have had stukas...they would have fingured out its strengths and developed tactics and deployed them accordingly...and i believe to good success.
     
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