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The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2012 Title The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka
Author Peter C. Smith Publisher Crecy
Published 2011 ISBN 9780859791564
Format 424 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $49.95


Its "'evil silhouette'", one Australian mused, "'resembled the talons of a bird of prey … [like] some monstrous creature from a childhood nightmare'".

Those remarks pepper a paragraph in Peter C. Smith's superb THE JUNKERS Ju 87 STUKA.  It's how history routinely recalls this infamous aircraft.  The apex of evil.  Yet overrated.  And obsolete.

But Smith effectively explodes many Stuka myths in his massive, masterful monograph from Crecy.

Most aircraft histories dryly distill their subjects in predictable manner.  Not this one.  Liberally seasoned with exhaustive and informative detail, the distinguished dive-bomber expert traverses the total tale in over 400 pithy pages.

And what a captivating yarn it is.  From design and development through global deployment to final destruction, no proverbial stone remains unturned in the author's efforts to illumine truths behind Junkers' notorious design.

If, for instance, the Battle of Britain resolutely resolved the issue of Ju 87 obsolescence, why did production robustly increase until 1944?  And why did the Luftwaffe widely rely on Stukas until the war's very end?

I won't spoil this ripping read with answers.  But I will say that Smith leverages fresh analyses, instructive insights, and after-action evidence for some remarkable revelations.

Nevertheless, gremlins occasionally haunt this excellent account.  Did the Luftwaffe truly target Warsaw utilities "to bring the city to its knees and thus avoid the civilian losses that house-to-house fighting would have brought about"?  And was "10,000-ton" HMS Gloucester really a "light cruiser"?

But I quibble.  Hundreds of fascinating photos spice Smith's systematically scrutinized subject.  Richard Caruana's color profiles offer ample modeling inspiration.  And sidebars, charts, and biographies further flavor text.

I simply couldn't put THE JUNKERS Ju 87 STUKA down.  Admirably annotated, this awesome effort deserves pride of place in every WWII enthusiast's library.

Rabidly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!