Thursday 30 November 2023

Stuka crews of 10.(St)/LG 1 relax ahead of the attack in the West

A Stuka crew from 10.(St)/LG 1 relaxing by their machine just prior to the Westfeldzug, the campaign in the West. The Ju 87s of IV./LG 1 departed their field near Cologne on 19 May 1940 and headed for Belgium. Their new base was a field strip near Hargimont (Marche). This 10. Staffel machine was Ju 87 B-1 'L1+CU'.

Just one of the many excellent photos published in the latest BA (issue 104) from Lela Presse " Stuka dans la Blitzkrieg " Part II (the  attack in the West. Part I covered Poland and Scandinavia..). BATAILLES AÉRIENNES is the leading French-language quarterly from Lela Presse, in continuous publication since 1997. Features rare first person accounts, rarely seen photos and superlative artwork from Eric Schwartz, still only 13 euros (100 pages, 200 illustrations, 10-15 artworks). Available here

" Here is the second part of our study dedicated to the terrifying weapon -in its day- that was the Stuka. After a successful trial in Poland, the Ju 87 was to prove its worth on the battlefield in the West. As we know, it was a great success. And the Allied anti-aircraft defences of the time were not the equivalent of the German Flak; not to mention the Allied fighters who, although overwhelmed by the scale of the Luftwaffe attacks, were able to score a few successes against the Stuka, successes which already revealed the vulnerability of the dive-bomber. So, no, the Stuka was not a miracle weapon; it was simply a question of making good use of a weapon in a rather favorable context. Mention is often made of the Stuka's siren, which terrorized the population and Allied troops. Certainly, this was the case during certain attacks, and this is essentially what was remembered and, above all, peddled. Nevertheless, numerous photographs show that personnel were happy to get rid of this equipment... whose effectiveness could not have been as radical as later reported...

To this day, the Stuka remains a legendary weapon, inseparable from the 'Blitzkrieg' waged by the 3rd Reich. The author's account shows us that the reality needs to be nuanced, as the losses suffered by Stuka units were not negligible; nor were those suffered by other Luftwaffe units, even in a context of near-total victory..."