Osprey Combat Aircraft 6 : Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader of North Africa and the Mediterranean
The 'terror weapon' of the invasion of Poland, the assault on Scandinavia and the Blitzkrieg through western Europe, the Ju 87 Stuka had had its reputation severely dented during the Battle of Britain, where its vulnerability to fighter aircraft in hostile skies was savagely exposed. Licking their wounds, the Stukageschwader were sent south-east from their bases in France to the warmer climes of the Balkans in early 1941 in order to help Italian forces crush firstly Greek, and then Yugoslavian, resistance. Due to the paucity of Allied fighters in-theatre, the effectiveness of the Stuka as a precision weapon of war returned, and it took a heavy toll of troops and naval vessels. In mid-1941, again frustrated at the inability of the Italians to defeat numerically inferior Allied forces, the Germans arrived in North Africa. Included in the force were Ju 87s. Whilst the Stukageschwader were busy in North Africa, Italian units equipped with Ju 87s were heavily involved in attempting to bomb Malta into submission. However, like operations on the African continent, their efforts were doomed to failure, and from mid-1942 onwards the Stuka proved to be little more than cannon fodder for Allied fighters. Text and illustrations by John Weal.
- From the English Channel to the Sicilian Narrows
- Operations Marita and Merkur
- Campaigns in North Africa
- Operations in Southern Europe
Osprey Combat Aircraft