Junkers Ju 87 D/G vol. I

The tropical variant of Ju 87 D-1 model was to be based on the fifth prototype, Ju 87 V25 (W.Nr. 0530, BK+EF). The airframe was completed in early March 1941, but it sat in the assembly building until July 1941 waiting for its Jumo 211 J-1 powerplant. It finally made its first flight in the summer of 1941 as the first example of Ju 87 D-1/trop. On September 12, 1941 the aircraft went to Rechlin for testing of its Delbag dust filter. The first mention of Ju 87 D-1 full-scale production goes back to 1940 when an initial order for 495 examples was placed with Junkers with deliveries scheduled between May 1941 and March 1942. In early February 1942 Technical Department of the RLM increased the order to 832 Ju 87 D-1 aircraft. Weser plant was to deliver the entire batch. Never-ending problems with Jumo 211 J engines caused delays in delivery schedules. The first two production aircraft were to be ready in June 1941, but Karman company, responsible for the manufacturing of upper fuselage sections, did not deliver the required components on time. The first production example was assembled on June 30, 1941. The optimists among the RLM officials still believed that in July 1941 48 Ju 87 D-1s would roll off the assembly lines. The reality turned out to be completely different. Only the first production aircraft was finished in July, after the damage it suffered while still in the factory had been repaired. In the face of all that trouble, the RLM staff and Junkers management, who granted Weser license rights to build Ju 87 D-1s, continued to be optimistic. Everybody believed that initial production delays would be gone by the end of September 1941. However, production problems continued to stack up until all hopes for improvement had to be abandoned. Not a single Ju 87 D-1 rolled out of the Bremen assembly buildings in August 1941. It was not until September that Weser finally managed to deliver first two production examples to the Luftwaffe. Both aircraft were sent to flight test centers.

 Pilots cockpit canopy of Ju 87D-8. This type with no side window was also often used on Ju 87D-5. [Visualisation 3d Marek Ryś]

 October and November 1941 saw the completion of 61 Ju 87 D-1s, although they had to wait for their first flights until December 1941 due to horrible weather conditions at Lemwerder at that time. All aircraft were subsequently delivered to frontline units.
Ju 87 D-1 was a two-seat, single engine, low wing design of all-metal construction and featured conventional, fixed landing gear. The semimonocoque, all metal fuselage had oval cross section. The fuselage consisted of two sections joined by rivets. Load-carrying, duralumin skin panels were attached by standard, round-headed rivets in areas of greater load exposure, while counter-sunk rivets were used in places carrying lesser loads. Fuselage construction consisted of 16 frames connected by stringers and featured four spars in its forward section going back to frame 7. The first frame was a bulkhead and engine firewall. Additional strengthening spars in the forward fuselage served as attachment points for the belly bomb crutch assembly.
The cockpit was placed in the fuselage center section between frames 2 and 6. It was covered with a fully glazed, four-piece canopy made of laminated or organic glass, which provided excellent all-around visibility. The sliding canopy sections featured locks with emergency jettison capability. The crew were protected by a roll-bar mated to an internal armored partition. The windscreen was made of 25 mm armored glass. Additional protection for the pilot came in the form of armor-plated seat, protective 10 mm armor plate behind the seat’s headrest and 5 mm armor plating on the cockpit’s floor. The radio operator in the rear cockpit was protected by 5 mm armor plating on the floor and an additional armor plate placed between fuselage frames 5 and 6. Armored GSL-K-81 rear gun mount holding MG 81 Z machine gun provided additional protection. The cockpit floor, just forward of the pilot seat, featured a small window equipped with metal blinds for visual acquisition of ground targets prior to entering a dive. A first-aid kit in a metal container, accessible only from the outside, was stowed in a compartment behind number 8 fuselage frame.