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Ju.87D-3

The Junkers Ju.87 Stuka was a single-engine dive bomber and attack aircraft of the WWII era. The most famous Stuka pilot of the war was Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the most highly decorated Luftwaffe pilot in history. Despite its slow speed and mediocre aerodynamics (the landing gear was fixed), the Stuka was one of the most effective Luftwaffe aircraft early in the war due to its pin-point accuracy in a dive. The Ju.87 remains one of the most recognisable symbols of the Blitzkrieg.

 
 


The Ju.87D-3, a ground attack variant that still retained dive brakes, had improved armour. The pilot received some armour in the canopy, 8mm armoured sheets were placed on the fuselage, and some examples even had armoured sliding panels in the canopy. Additional armour was also installed around the rear gunner’s position. The new GSL-K 81Z turret had improved coverage. However, most aircrews thought that the gunner seat was less successful than that of the 'Bertha', the Ju.87B.

 
 


The D variant also received a 5mm armour plating under the oil radiator and additional armour around the fuselage fuel tanks. For a ground attack aircraft, the Ju/87D’s armament was rather weak, the D-3 variant having nothing but twin 7.92mm MG 17s in the wings, and the D-5 upgraded to twin 20mm MG 151/20 cannon. Acting in a ground attack role, the Stuka most often used special containers containing 92 fragmentation SC 2 bombs, which were ineffective against armoured targets. In addition, much larger bombs were also used, weighing 250 or 500 kg.

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