Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Ju-87 "Stuka" dive bomber in WWII.

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Junkers Ju-87, more commonly referred to by both the Axis and the Allies as the "Stuka" dive bomber, was uniquely suited to the war of Blitzkrieg waged by Germany's armed forces in World War II.  It was both terrifying and terrifyingly accurate.  German infantry on the gorund thoroughly loved the aircraft, as it could provide nearly pinpoint close air support and could destroy anything from enemy tanks to hardened bunkers and airfields.  Said one German after a successful Stuka attack cleared his unit's path in Poland in 1939, "We love our Luftwaffe, and are proud of it".

Attaching a wind-activated siren on the bottom of the aircraft so that it would blare a deafening wail as the Stuka dove at a target gave the plane a psychological effect that was every bit as effective as it's bombload.

All of this being said, the Stuka was slow, needed a rear gunner for protection, and once engaged in aerial combat by Allied aircraft, it handled like a pig, and was generally easy pickings.  In addition to being a relatively low speed aircraft, it also had limited range, and the German attempts to address these weaknesses largely fell short, especially given the advanced fighter aircraft being fielded by the Allies after 1943.