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The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, “dive bomber”) was
a two-man (pilot and rear gunner) German dive bomber and ground-attack aircraft.
Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat
début in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish
Civil War.

With the G variant, the aging airframe of the Ju 87 found new life as an
anti-tank aircraft. This was the final operational version of the Stuka, and was
deployed on the Eastern Front. The reverse in German military fortunes after
1943 and the appearance of huge numbers of well-armoured Soviet tanks caused
Junkers to adapt the existing design to combat this new threat. The Hs 129B had
proved a potent ground attack weapon, but its large fuel tanks made it
vulnerable to enemy fire, prompting the RLM to say “that in the shortest
possible time a replacement of the Hs 129 type must take place.” With Soviet
tanks the priority targets, the development of a further variant as a successor
to the Ju 87D began in November 1942. On 3 November, Erhard Milch raised the
question of replacing the Ju 87, or redesigning it altogether. It was decided to
keep the design as it was, but to upgrade the powerplant to a Jumo 211J, and add
two 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon. The variant was also designed to carry a 1,000 kg
(2,200 lb) free-fall bomb load. Furthermore, the armoured protection of the
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik was copied - a feature pioneered by the 1916-17
origin Junkers J.I of World War I Imperial Germany's Luf­tstreitkrä­fte -
to protect the crew from ground fire now that the Ju 87 would be

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