German military divers are working to bring the wreckage of a German World War II Stuka Dive Bomber up from the floor of the Baltic Sea.
The Stuka dive bomber wreck was first discovered in the 1990’s when a fisherman’s net got snagged on it. The wreckage of the Stuka is about 6 miles off the coast of the German Baltic island of Ruegen, in about 60 feet of water.
The Stuka made it’s first appearance when it flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. It dropped Nazi bombs on the Polish town of Wielun on September 1, 1939, which killed around 1,200 people and is considered to be one of the first terror bombings in history.
The Junkers JU87, known mostly as the Stuka, which is short for the German word for dive bomber ‘Sturzkampfflugzeug’. Experts had initially thought the plane was a JU87D model, but now are almost certain it’s the later model JU87G based on the motor. Only two known complete Stukas are on display at the Royal Air Force Museum in London and at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Both are the later models, JU87G.
The aircraft could be reconized by its inverted gull wings, fixed spatted undercarriage and its Jericho-Trompete (“Jericho Trumpet”) Stuka siren, becoming the victory sound of the Germans in 1939–1942.
Did the German Stuka really have a siren? Yes, it had. Here is the original Stuka siren of the StuKa Ju 87 (Sturzkapfflugzeug Junkers 87)
The Stuka’s design included automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the aircraft recovered from an attack dive. Although the Stuka was sturdy and accurate, the Ju 87 was vulnerable to modern fighter jets, just like other dive bombers in the war. The flaws of the Stuka Junkers became noticeable during the Battle of Britain; poor manoeuvrability and a lack of both speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required heavy fighter escort to operate effectively, according to Wikipedia.
Even though the Stuka dive bomber has spent more than 70 years under water, reports are saying it’s in good condition. Capt. Sebastian Bangert, speaking from the deck of the Navy ship being used for the operation was quoted saying, “From my perspective there’s a lot of damage, it’s been under water for 70 years, but our restoration crew says it’s in really good condition for being restored. That’s our goal, a complete restoration and not conservation as a wreck.”
There is little information about this particular Stuka Dive bomber, but once the plane is brought to the surface, researchers will be able to use the serial number to track all the information.
Kathleen McCarthy, director of collections at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry said, “The discovery and raising of a third Stuka from the sea floor will be a great asset for both scholars and the general public interested in learning more about historic military technology as well as this critical period in our world history.”
German Stuka Dive Bomber Ju-87
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, “dive bomber”) was a two-seat (pilot and rear gunner) German ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War