2nd February 2018: Building on its range of manuals looking at Second World War military aircraft, Haynes is this month setting its sights on one of the most terrifying aircraft to take to the skies – the German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber.
The Stuka was unquestionably an ugly aircraft, whose vulture-like looks betrayed its deadly purpose. When in a vertical power-dive its blood chilling shriek terrorised soldiers and civilians alike. Operating in support of the German Army’s Panzer divisions in the victorious Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939–40, these first years of the war marked the high point in the Stuka’s operational career.
Written by Jonathan Falconer, author of more than 30 books on aviation and military history, the book describes the design and construction of the feared Stuka, and offers insights into what it was like to fly and maintain the gull-wing dive bomber. Importantly, the book also provides an understanding of a remarkably rugged and effective combat aircraft that was often dismissed by Allied propaganda as primitive cannon fodder.
Talking about the Stuka, Jonathan says: “Stukas were in the vanguard of virtually every campaign fought by the German Army in the Second World War and their appearance over a battlefield could quickly turn a desperate situation into a victory on the ground.
“However, the tables turned during the Battle of Britain in 1940 when the Ju 87 was confronted by better-equipped adversaries and later, when the war changed in character, the Stuka’s star beginning to wane, although it remained a potent ground-attack aircraft on the Eastern Front.”
Jonathan continues: “A classic example of function over form, the Ju 87’s creators successfully blended canny design with utility and ease of operation so that the Stuka’s basic structure and systems remained fit for purpose and virtually unchanged throughout the war. Yet the aircraft that was once the scourge of the Second World War battlefields is an endangered species in the 21st century: out of more than 5,700 Ju 87s that were built, only a handful survive that are substantially complete.”
The manual is supported by a comprehensive selection of more than 300 photographs and technical drawings, many of which are previously unpublished.
Having previously written a number of Haynes manuals on British military aircraft, the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Manual is Jonathan Falconer’s first title to look at a Second World War German military aircraft.
About the author
Jonathan Falconer is the author of more than 30 books on aspects of aviation and military history, including the Haynes RAF 100 Technical Innovations Manual, Handley Page Halifax Manual, Short Stirling Manual, D-Day Operations Manual and co-author (with Brian Rivas) of the de Havilland Mosquito Manual. He lives in Wiltshire.
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