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The Ju 87D-3 in World War II
First flight: JU87V-1 (with Rolls Royce Kestrel V engine) on 17 Sept,1935
First Bombing of World War II: 0435 1 September,1939 on Polish blockhouse
First German aircraft to be shot down: 0530 1 September,1939 JU87B-1 of 3./St.G 1
Hans Ulrich Rudel
Hans-Ulrich Rudel (2 July 1916 – 18 December 1982) was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II. Rudel is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war
According to official Luftwaffe figures, Rudel flew some 2,530 combat missions a world record, during which he destroyed almost 2,000 ground targets (among them 519 tanks, 70 assault craft/landing boats, 150 self-propelled guns, 4 armored trains, and 800 other vehicles; as well as 9 planes (2 Il-2's and 7 fighters). He also sank a battleship, two cruisers and a destroyer. He was never shot down by another pilot, only by anti-aircraft artillery. He was shot down or forced to land 32 times, several times behind enemy lines.
On one occasion, after trying a landing to rescue two downed novice Stuka crewmen and then not being able to take off again due to the muddy conditions, he and his three companions, while being chased for 6 km by Soviet soldiers, made their way down a steep cliff by sliding down trees, then swam 600 meters across the icy Dniester river, during which his rear gunner, Knight's cross holder Henschel, succumbed to the cold water and drowned. Several miles further towards the German lines the three survivors were then captured by Soviets, but the irrepressible Rudel again made a run for it, and despite being barefoot and in soaking clothes, getting shot in his shoulder, and then being hunted down by dog packs and several hundred pursuers, jogged his way back to his own side over semi-frozen earth during the following days. He became infamous among the Soviet Red Falcon pilots who could often be heard receiving orders to "get that Nazi swine in the Stuka with the two bars who always shoots up our tanks", the bars being a reference to the two Bordkanone on the Ju87G. Eventually a 100,000 ruble bounty was placed on his head by Stalin himself.
In total he was wounded five times and rescued six stranded aircrew from enemy territory, although the two mentioned above were recaptured. The vast majority of his missions were spent piloting the various models of the Junkers Ju 87, though by the end of the war he often flew the ground-attack variant of the Fw 190.
On 13 March 1944 Rudel may have been involved in aerial combat with the Hero of the Soviet Union Lev Shestakov. Shestakov failed to return from this mission and is posted as missing in action since. This is how the story comes from Rudel's memoirs:
Was he shot down by Gadermann [Rudel's rear gunner], or did he go down because of the backwash from my engine during these tight turns? It doesn't matter. My headphones suddenly exploded in confused screams from the Russian radio; the Russians have observed what happened and something special seems to have happened... From the Russian radio-messages, we discover that this was a very famous Soviet fighter pilot, more than once appointed as Hero of the Soviet Union. I should give him a credit: he was a good pilot.
He went on to become the most decorated serviceman of all the fighting arms of the German armed forces (the only person to become more highly decorated was Hermann Göring who was awarded the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross), earning by early 1945 the Wound Badge in Gold, the German Cross in Gold, the Pilots and Observer's Badge with Diamonds, the Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe with 2,000 sorties in Diamonds, and the only holder of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (the highest-scoring ace of World War II, Erich Hartmann, also held the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds — but his Oak Leaves weren't gold). He was also promoted to Oberst at this time. He was the only foreigner to be honored with Hungary's highest decoration, the Golden Medal for Bravery.
Stuka guncam footage
|Aces High II aircraft
|Junkers Ju 87D-3 Stuka
|Aces High II loadout options
|2x 7.92mm MG, 1000 rounds/gun
2x 7.92mm MG in rear cockpit, 750 rounds/gun
|1x 1800kg bomb, or
|1x 1000kg bomb, or
|1x 1000kg bomb and 2x 250kg bombs, or
|1x 1000kg bomb and 4x 50kg bombs
|Aces High II Main Arenas
|Typical perk cost
|0 (Late War)
|40 (Late War)
|Available on carrier
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The Ju 87D-3 in Aces High II
A long anticipated arrival to Aces High, the Ju87 in D3 form is a bit of a dissappointment for many. While there are many legends placed on the Ju87 in general, in AH it tends to more show it's historical weaknesses in the face of enemy fighters. Dreadfully slow and almost helplessly underarmed, the Ju87 tends to present a very inviting target. As such, Ju87's tend to stay close to home while protected by friendly fighters and rarely stray far unless some local target has almost complete friendly superiority. To be fair though, the Ju87 enters a very crowded market of attack aircraft but tends to fail in speed, survivability and flexibility. That said, the Ju87 has found a niche because it can pack one huge bomb, the largest in AH, which has useful purposes against very heavy ground units like the Tiger tank.
The Stuka is slow, pretty dreadfully so. Top speed, clean, at sea-level is only 230mph, with the typical bomb-load it is only 221mph. That's not good, it's another example of a situation where everything is going to be vastly superior to you in speed. Climb rate is poor, even at low levels, with the maximum being around 1,400ft/minute. In some configurations the climb rate can actually drop under 1K/minute from ground level. Best altitude is around 14K, where speed improves a bit 250mph though the climb rate has pretty much dropped away to nothing. Acceleration is not good, especially when heavy, though it is a bit better when light on fuel and ordinance. Duration on full internal fuel is around 62minutes, meaning you shouldn't require any more than 1/4 fuel for close range airfield defence while half fuel seems to be give a reasonable range for more distant strikes.
Aces High II Performance Charts
The discussion on Stuka guns can be rather brief. There are twin 7.9mm forward facing guns mounted in the wings and a pair of 7.9mm in a rear position. Neither are really effective, either in offence or defence. Strafing with 7.9mm's is pointless as almost everything will absorb hits like that almost infiniteum. As a defensive weapon, a pair of 7.9mm is really insufficient to deter or counter any real attack from the rear. Few enemy fighters are going to take it seriously and while you may damage them, it is unlikely you will have a chance to beat them to the kill before they cut you to shreds. The bread and butter of the Stuka though is as a ground attack plane, so hopefully you have some friendly fighters around to keep you safe. In that role it can take a combination of external bombs (no rockets or gun-gondolas) in varying sizes up to a whopping 1,800kgs (almost 4,000lbs). I would say, if anything were to keep the Stuka in use, the 1,800kg bomb is likely it. This is massive, and when looking at it attached to the fuselage it looks almost comical, being pretty much the same diameter. It is brutally effective against anything, making near misses almost as good as perfect hits but that all comes at a price, weight. The 1,800kg bomb makes the Stuka wallow like a whale and climbs to suitable dive-bombing altitudes can be very slow. It's also a once shot deal, with no real backup strafing or secondary weapons. Still, this is currently the largest bomb, by far, carried by any aircraft that isn't a bomber.
The Stuka is no lightweight, coming in at 12,000lbs and with fuel/bombs/etc it is likely even worse. At light weights though the Ju87 actually handles quite well and is nimble in both roll and turn-rate. The Stuka doesn't appear all that speed sensitive either, handling both high or low speeds with little trouble Amazingly the Stuka can dive to almost insane speeds in excess of 520mph with almost complete control. A side note to that though, at 500mph you may hear a snapping sound which is the fixed landing gear breaking off though it has no impact on handling and actually increases your level cruise speed by 2-3mph though landing will be a bit hard on the aircraft. Vertical performance is not good as the lack of acceleration and climb rate make you a sitting duck. Stall performance is pretty gentle though with heavy ordinance the aircraft feels a little unbalanced and the weight can pull you around a bit.
Bombing in the Ju 87D-3
The Stuka’s primary bombing role in real life can be a frustrating experience in the MAs. The climb is a lot longer than a fighter's would be, which means people often tend not to spend those 2 extra minutes getting to 10k instead of 8k, which can be a life saver at times. You will always tend to loose some altitude as you manuver and adjust your course.
Although it is possible to bomb ground vehicles with enemy fighters around you’ll usually find even if you evade them, you're a bit too low to make a proper dive, making you sacrafice accuracy to get ordanance onto a target. Its better to find a base out of the way somewhere that’s being attacked soley by GVs.
The Stuka would make a decent CV killer if you take the time to climb out of the auto ack and get to a good 12k. The 1800kg bomb will seriouly damage a CV, or cruiser. Likely you will take out a lot of ack, making a second attack much easier. The only real issue facing a Ju-87 at high alt is the murderous 5" ack. Some gunners are capable of killing bombers at 15k without undue difficulty.
Dogfighting in the Ju 87D-3
Very few take a Stuka up to dogfight but the reality of the dynamics of the MA is at some point in a sortie you will encounter an enemy aircraft that is hell bent on killing you.
In the main arena the minute your Stuka icon is spotted enemies will ignore each other and make a bee line to be first to HO you. If you’ve got a bomb(s) you might as well drop everything there and then your going to need to lighten up for the upcoming fight for survival. Thankfully in a Stuka you have a few things going for you, even though everything else isn't
- First up your opponent: people who drop everything to come after a Stuka are by and large not very good and see you as a dead cert kill, easy meat, as the fight progresses and they start to lose, their pride will keep them there pushing a hopeless turn fight situation when they should be running.
- Turn rate: the Stuka’s turn rate is of the unreal variety it will out turn every fighter in the game easily.
- As a gun platform: the Stuka’s guns may be rubbish but its very easy and accurate to aim even in a turn with full flaps. A very stable gun platform.
It goes without saying you should avoid a straight head to head merge at all costs 99% of the time your opposition will HO you, stay to one side of your opponent and slightly below him as the merge approaches as he comes into guns dive slightly to avoid the HO. Most of the time you won’t have the energy to compete in the vertical after the merge unless you have just dived and are packing some E. The best thing to do after the initial merge is to start a slow turn to lure your opponent onto your 6 and avoid another merge too start him turning with you, keep the turn slow to begin with and let him keep guns on but not through you.
The idea is to make your opponent think hes turning with you in reality your taking his E and speed advantage away from him to set him up for a long turning deflection shot don’t pull too tight too soon make sure you keep him interested you have little chance of shooting him down from a straight 6 situtation if he runs.
As the speed of the fight falls its time to use that turn rate tighen your turn and line up the sight on the lower wing of your opponent as you turn inside him. Keep the hit sprites on the wing throughout the turn it may take 4 – 5 seconds of sustained hits before the wing falls off.
- Using the rear gunner with a squaddie or team mate onboard can also be a lot of fun, the usual problem with a using a rear gunner is hard manoeuvring, the Ju-87 doesn’t have to pull any violent manoeuvring to out turn an enemy fighter, with a bit of co-ordination between pilot and gunner and a smooth stable turn the Stuka’s rear gun can be deadly accurate.
- Another fun thing to try in a Stuka is shooting down enemy bombers with the rear gun. You need a bit of altitude and speed over your target as most bombers will outrun the Stuka in level flight. Dive deep under the bombers and in the same direction position your plane so you are around 800 - 600 yds beneath and slightly in front of the enemy bombers, jump in the rear gun and shoot between the engines until you get them flaming. A lot of bomber pilots will simply never expect you to be there shooting at them, it will take them a while to figure out where your shooting from. Needless to say if you see tracer coming back at you ie you’ve been spotted get out of there.
Fighting against the Ju 87D-3
Almost no threat, the Stuka should be a pretty easy kill. It cannot run from any fighter in the game and possesses very little firepower to concern you. A single solid guns pass should be enough to destroy a Stuka but the small radius and quick turn at low speeds can make it difficult to properly line up a shot. Timing is key, predict where the Stuka will be when you are in guns range and then try and fire at that point. Most Ju87 pilots are very predictable so you can assume they will make relatively flat left hand turns almost infinitium. Don't be stupid and slow down too much, slash attack the Ju87 at worst and then extend enough to circle back in. Use the vertical if you can, the Ju87 is terrible and simply can't match most vertical manoeuvring or climbing turns.
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