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Junkers Ju 52

By Wikipedia,
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Junkers Ju 52
Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Junkers
First flight 13 October 1930 (Ju 52/1m) 7 March 1932 (Ju 52/3m)
Primary user Luftwaffe
Produced 1931–1945 (Germany)
1945–1947 (France)
1945–1952 (Spain)
Number built 4,845

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".

Ju 52/3mg2e (Wk-Nr 5489) in flight, showing the
Ju 52/3mg2e (Wk-Nr 5489) in flight, showing 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.

Operational history

Ju 52/1m replica of
Ju 52/1m replica of "CF-ARM" at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Ju 52s damaged in Crete, 1941
Ju 52s damaged in Crete, 1941

A Luftwaffe Ju 52 being serviced in Crete in 1943
A Luftwaffe Ju 52 being serviced in Crete in 1943

Luftwaffe Ju 52s dropping paratroops
Luftwaffe Ju 52s dropping paratroops

Internal view of Ju 52 showing a beam defensive MG 15 gun and ammo racks
Internal view of Ju 52 showing a beam defensive MG 15 gun and ammo racks

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.[2]

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.

Postwar Use

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 .

During the fifties the Ju 52 was also used by the French Air Force during the Indo-China War as a bomber. The usage of these Junkers were quite limited.

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.

A Ju 52 and a Douglas DC-3 were the last aircraft to take off from Tempelhof Airport before all operations ceased there.

Other versions

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.


Ju 52
Single-engine transport aircraft, 7 built. First flight: 3 September 1930
Ju 52/3m
Three-engine prototype, powered by three 410 kW (550 hp) Pratt & Whitney Hornet engines. First flight: 7 March 1932
Ju 52/3mce
Three-engine civil transport aircraft.
Ju 52/3mge
Interim bomber and transport aircraft for the Luftwaffe.
Ju 52/3mg3e
Improved military version, powered by three 541 kW (725 hp) BMW 123-A3 radial engines, equipped with improved radio and bomb release mechanism.
Ju 52/3mg4e
Military version. The tailskid was replaced by a tailwheel.
Ju 52/3mg5e
Military version, powered by three 619 kW (830 hp) BMW 123T radials. It could be fitted with interchangeable float, ski and wheel landing gear.
Ju 52/3mg6e
Equipped with a simplified radio.
Ju 52/3mg7e
Fitted with autopilot and a large loading hatch.
Ju 52/3mg8e
Fitted with an extra cabin roof hatch.
Ju 52/3mg9e
Late production version, fitted with strengthened landing gear and glider towing gear.
Ju 52/3mg10e
Similar to the Ju 52/3mg9e, but it could be fitted with floats or wheels.
Ju 52/3mg11e
No details are known.
Ju 52/3mg12e
Powered by three BMW 123L radials.
Ju 52/3m12e
Some Ju 52/3mg12s were sent to Lufthansa.
Ju 52/3mg13e
No details are known.
Ju 52/3mg14e
this was the last German production version.
A.A.C. 1 Toucan
Post-war French version, 415 built.
CASA 352
Post-war Spanish version, 106 built.
Spanish version with Spanish ENMA (ex-Elizalde) Beta B-4 engines, 64 built.
Designation assigned to a single example operated by the United States Army Air Forces.
Designation used by the Spanish Air Force.


Lufthansa Junkers Ju 52/3m D-CDLH, till 1984, known as
Lufthansa Junkers Ju 52/3m D-CDLH, till 1984, known as "Iron Annie N52JU", painted as D-AQUI in historic Lufthansa colors (the livery worn in 1936). D-CDLH has P&W engines, now with three-bladed propellers.

CASA 352 (license-built Junkers Ju 52/3m) in Ju-Air markings at Zürich airport
CASA 352 (license-built Junkers Ju 52/3m) in Ju-Air markings at Zürich airport

Preserved AAC 1 at Duxford, 2001, showing corrugated skin
Preserved AAC 1 at Duxford, 2001, showing corrugated skin

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

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 (two pilots, radio operator)
  • Capacity: 18 troops or 12 litter patients
  • Length: 18.90 m (62 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 29.25 m (95 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 4.5 m (14 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 110.5 m² (1,190 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 6,510 kg (14,325 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 9,200 kg (20,270 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,990 kg (24,200 lb)
  • Powerplant:BMW 132T radial engines, 533 kW (715 hp) each



See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

Note 3 - Bud Johnston Library - is broken and should be replaced with: http://www.lib.uwo.ca/programs/companyinformationcanada/cr-rollsroyce.htm


External links

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Published in July 2009.

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