The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju - "Auntie Ju" - and "Iron Annie") was a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Lufthansa as an airliner and freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber. The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.
Design and development
The Ju 52 was similar to the company's previous Junkers W33, although larger. In 1930, Ernst Zindel and his team designed the Ju 52 at the Junkers works at Dessau. The aircraft's unusual corrugated metal skin strengthened the whole structure.
The Ju 52 had a low cantilever wing, the mid-section of which was built into the fuselage, forming its underside. It was formed around four pairs of circular cross section duralumin spars with a corrugated surface that provided torsional stiffening. A narrow flap ran along the whole trailing edge, well separated from it. This flap lowered the stalling speed and the arrangement became known as the "double wing".
The outer sections of this operated differentially as ailerons, projecting slightly beyond the wing tips with control horns. The strutted horizontal stabilizer carried horn-balanced elevators which again projected and showed a significant gap between them and the stabilizer, which was adjustable in-flight. All stabilizer surfaces were corrugated.
The fuselage was of rectangular section with a domed decking, all covered with corrugated light alloy. There was a port side passenger door just aft of the wings, with windows stretching forward to the pilots' cabin. The main undercarriage was fixed and divided; some aircraft had wheel fairings, others not. There was a fixed tail skid, or later tail wheel. Some aircraft were fitted with floats or skis instead of the main wheels.
In its original configuration, designated the Ju 52/1m, the Ju 52 was a single-engined aircraft, powered by either a BMW or Junkers liquid-cooled engine. However, the single-engine model was underpowered, and after seven prototypes had been completed, all subsequent Ju 52s were built with three radial engines as the Ju 52/3m (drei motoren - "three engines"). Originally powered by three Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engines, later production models mainly received 574 kW (770 hp) BMW 132 engines, a licence-built refinement of the Pratt & Whitney design. Export models were also built with 447 kW (600 hp) Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340 and 578 kW (775 hp) Bristol Pegasus VI engines. The two wing-mounted radial engines of the Ju 52/3m had full-chord cowlings and were noticeably toed-out. The central engine had a half-chord cowling like a Townend ring as the fuselage behind it was increasing in diameter, though some later aircraft had deeper cowlings.
Pre-war civil use
In 1936, James A. Richardson's Canadian Airways received (Werknummer 4006) CF-ARM, the sixth ever-built Ju 52/1m. The aircraft, re-engined with a Rolls-Royce Buzzard and nicknamed the "Flying Boxcar" in Canada, could lift approximately three tons and had a maximum weight of 7 tonnes (8 tons). It was used to supply mining and other operations in remote areas with equipment too big and heavy for other aircraft then in use. The Ju 52/1m was able to land on wheels, skis or floats.
Before the nationalisation of the German aircraft industry in 1935, the Ju 52/3m was produced principally as a 17-seat airliner. It was principally used by Lufthansa and could fly from Berlin to Rome in eight hours. Lufthansa's fleet eventually numbered 80 and flew from Germany on routes in Europe, Asia and South America.
Military use 1935-45
The Ju 52 first saw military service in the Spanish Civil War, as both a bomber and transport aircraft. In the former role, it participated in the bombing of Guernica. No more of the bomber variant were built after this war, though it was again used as a bomber during the bombing of Warsaw during the Invasion of Poland of September 1939. The Luftwaffe then relied on the Ju 52 for transport roles during World War II, including paratroop drops, most notably in the Battle of Crete in May 1941. Lightly armed, and with a top speed of only 265 km/h (165 mph) – half that of a contemporary Spitfire – the Ju 52 was very vulnerable to fighter attack and an escort was always necessary when flying in a combat zone. Many Ju 52s were shot down by anti-aircraft guns and fighters while transporting supplies, most notably during the desperate attempt to resupply the trapped German Sixth Army during the final stages of the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943.
During the final phase of the North African Campaign, 24 Ju 52s were shot down in the infamous "Palm Sunday Massacre" on 18 April 1943, another 35 staggered back to Sicily and crash-landed. The transports' escort, Jagdgeschwader 27, claimed just one enemy fighter.
The seaplane version, equipped with two large floats, served during the Norwegian Campaign in 1940, and later in the Mediterranean theatre. Some Ju 52 floatplanes were also used as minesweepers, known as Minensuch aircraft in German, fitted with a large degaussing ring under the airframe.
Hitler's personal transport
Hitler used a Lufthansa Ju 52 for campaigning the 1932 German election, preferring flying to transport via train. After he became German Chancellor in 1933, Hans Baur became his personal pilot, and Hitler was provided with a personal Ju 52. Named Immelmann after the World War I ace Max Immelmann, it carried the designation D-2600. As his power and importance grew, Hitler's personal air force grew to nearly 50 aircraft, based at Berlin Tempelhof Airport and made up of mainly Ju 52s, which also flew other members of his cabinet and war staff. In September 1939 at Baur's suggestion, his personal Ju 52 Immelman II was replaced by the four-engine Focke-Wolfe Fw 200 Condor, although Immelman II remained his back-up aircraft for the rest of World War II.
Various Junkers Ju 52s continued in military and civilian use following World War II. In 1956, the Portuguese Air Force, who was already using the Ju 52s as a transport plane, employed the type as a paratroop drop aircraft for its newly organized elite parachute forces, later known as the Batalhão de Caçadores Páraquedistas. The paratroopers used the Ju 52 in several combat operations in Angola and other Portuguese African colonies before gradually phasing it out of service in the 1960s.
The Swiss Air Force also operated the Ju 52 from 1939 to 1982 when three machines remained in operation, probably the last and longest service in any air force. They are still in flying condition and together with a CASA 352 can be booked for sightseeing tours with Ju-Air .
Some Ju 52s were converted to civilian use. For example, B.E.A. operated eleven ex-RAF Ju 52/3mg8e machines from 1946–47 on intra-U.K. routes before Dakotas took over. French airlines like the S.T.A. and Air France flew Toucans in the late 1940s.
Most Ju 52s were destroyed after the war, but 585 were manufactured after 1945. In France, the machine had been manufactured during the war by the Junkers-controlled Amiot company, and production continued afterwards as the Amiot AAC 1 Toucan. In Spain, Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA continued production as the CASA 352 and 352L. Four CASA 352s are airworthy and in regular use today.
Aircraft on display
As of 2008, six Ju 52 remain in operation, four of which operate pleasure flights from Dübendorf airport.
Specifications (Junkers Ju 52/3m g7e)
Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II
Note 3 - Bud Johnston Library - is broken and should be replaced with: http://www.lib.uwo.ca/programs/companyinformationcanada/cr-rollsroyce.htm
Published in July 2009.
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