Junkers Ju 87B Stuka – 208a Squadriglia, “Picchiatello”, Regia Aeronautica, Raul Zucconi, Sicily, June 1941
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Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA32516: Junkers Ju 87B Stuka of 208a Squadriglia, “Picchiatello”, Regia Aeronautica, Raul Zucconi, Sicily, June 1941. Limited Edition of 1,300 Pieces
Length 6.25 inches Wingspan 7.5 inches
In 1940 the Regia Aeronautica of Italy, negotiated the purchase of JU87 ‘Stukas’ from its Axis ally Germany to replace its own SM85 divebombers that had been declared unsuitable for combat operations. During July 1940, 15 Italian pilots arrived for intensive training on the JU87 at the Luftwaffe ‘Stuka’ training school in Graz, Austria with a similar number arriving the following month. The first batch of JU87s supplied were from existing Luftwaffe units so Italian emblems and insignia were painted over the original German markings. To further personalise their aircraft the ‘Stuka’ was re-named ‘Picchiatello’ by the Italian crews. Initially equipping 96 Gruppo based in Sicily, the Regia Aeronautica was the first air arm to use the JU87 in the Mediterranean Theatre. 101 Gruppo was originally based in Tirana, Albania and used their JU87s during the Balkans campaign before the unit transferred to Sicily. The JU87R-2 modelled is from 208a Squadriglia, 101 Gruppo as flown by Capitano Raul Zucconi while based at Sicily in June 1941, from where operations were carried out against targets in Malta and on Allied shipping.
Designed to function as a close support aircraft, the Ju 87 was first flown on September 17th, 1935. The Ju 87 had an innovative design that included automatic dive brakes under each wing-a feature that protected against the consequences of pilot blackout by ensuring recovery from an attack dive. Crewed by a pilot and rear gunner, the Ju 87 had twin 37mm cannons and a bomb that swung away from the propeller on an elongated U-shaped crutch. Its inverted gull wings improved pilot-to-ground visibility, gave the undercarriage a shorter height and made the Ju 87 instantly recognizable to its enemies.