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Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2014 Title Junkers Ju 87 Stuka
Author Mike Guardia Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781472801197
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95

Book Review

With its angular outline, talon-like undercarriage and siren shriek, the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka terrorized Europe during Hitler's Blitzkrieg conquests.

Now it's the subject of a handy history from Osprey – number 15 in the publisher's new "Air Vanguard" series.

From development and design through deployment and defeat, text traverses the total tale:

  • Technical Specifications
  • Production Variants
  • Service History
  • Postwar Survivors

Operational accounts begin with the Spanish Civil War, move to attacks on Poland and France, and crest at the Battle of Britain.  After an interlude on Regia Aeronautica use, coverage continues with Balkan and North African service.  And combat content concludes with Eastern Front and international employment – Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Slovak.

"Concentrated", "rolling" or "free sweep" ground-attack missions.  Anti-shipping, anti-armor and anti-airfield.  Author Guardia notes all Stuka mission profiles – almost.  He fails to mention well known nocturnal actions by, for instance, the Ju 87-equipped Nachtschlachtgruppe 9 in Northern Italy.

He also curiously claims that the biplane configuration "negatively affected the planes [sic] maneuverability in combat."  He erroneously avers that Ju 87 armament included "twin MG 17 machine guns, one located underneath each wing".  And his extensive body quotes really demand annotations.

Guardia, moreover, skirts the biggest question of all: If 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?

But, hey, you can't pack everything into 64 pages – right?  For a convenient Stuka introduction, look here.  Photos, color profiles, action paintings, cut-away illustration, tables, "further reading" comments and index augment Osprey's account.

Make it your springboard to further study of the legendary – and notorious – Ju 87.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!