BELL011PZT - Junkers Ju 87 – Stuka – Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel – Eastern Front 1944
Instantly recognisable, the Stuka is one of the most iconic aircraft of all time and is a legend in the history of aviation. Designed by Herman Pohlmann, the Ju 87 first flew in 1935 and started its long and illustrious combat career in 1937 as part of the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War. At the outset of World War 2 the Stuka was a potent dive bomber and close-support aircraft. Combined with terror inducing “Jericho Trumpets”, the Stuka was an effective and feared weapon. The Ju 87 was an integral weapon of the “Blitzkrieg”, serving with distinction in the Polish, Norwegian, Belgian, and French campaigns, the aircraft became famed and feared. The Stuka came unstuck in the Battle of Britain campaign as it was vulnerable to fighter interception and Stuka units were withdrawn from the battle due to heavy losses. The real story of the Stuka was on the Eastern Front and will be inextricably linked to one pilot in particular, one Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Rudel ended World War 2 as the highest decorated German soldier of the German armed forces and was the only recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. Rudel was credited with the destruction of 519 tanks, one battleship, one cruiser, 70 landing craft, 150 artillery emplacements, 800 other vehicles and 51 aerial victories. Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions exclusively on the Eastern Front and usually in a Ju 87D Stuka. Our illustration depicts Hans-Ulrich Rudel attacking Russian armour on the Eastern Front in winter 1944. His Stuka armed with the twin BK 37 mm gun pods. The BK 37 twin gun system in the right hands was a lethal weapon, as many a Russian tanker fatally found out. 6,000 Stukas were produced in World War 2 and the aircraft had a highly colourful service history. For more reading on this incredible war bird and its famous pilot, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, I highly recommend Rudel’s war account, aptly named “Stuka Pilot”.
Jigsaw size: 68.3cm x 48cm
Box size: 40cm x 27cm x 6.1cm