Dive bombers

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German dive bomber (Stuka) Ju 87 R-2 releasing its bombs on a target.

Dive bombers are specialized aircraft designed to drop from high altitude in an angle >30° to guide a bomb with great precision onto target. To survive the high speed dive and the following high G pull-up turn, they are equipped with dive brakes to reduce the speed and save the plane from exceeding its velocity limits. In addition their wings are strengthened to allow for the dive exit maneuver, without losing their wings.

Given the structural stress during a dive attack run, dive bombers that are bigger than single engine fighters are a curiosity and can be counted on both hands. The Germans and Soviets are noteworthy creators of great multiple engine dive bombers. Especially the Luftwaffe had a liking for this type of precision bombing, originating from their strategic philosophy that the Air Force is the longer reaching arm of the tactical artillery. This also explains the lack of heavy bombers in active service compared to the USAAF & RAF. Notable here is the He 177, the worlds only four engined heavy dive bomber. It was, as one might already guessed, plagued with problems.

Known and famous example of this type are the:


^ = "Val" was the NATO designation of the D3A1 and not the Japanese name for the aircraft.
^^= "Schnellbomber" was a nickname (German for "fast bomber") given to the aircraft and not an actual name.


Rank Nation-us-flag.png
USA
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German
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USSR
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Britain
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Japan
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Italy
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France
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SB2U-2 Vindicator
SB2U-3 Vindicator
SBD-3 Dauntless
Hs 123 A-1
Ju 87 B-2 Stuka
Ju 87 R-2 Stuka
Ju 88 A-1
Ju 88 A-4
 
Ar-2
Nation-gb.png V-156-B1 Chesapeake Mk.I
D3A1
V-156-F
Rang2.png Ju 87 D-3 Stuka
Ju 87 D-5 Stuka
Pe-2-1 Peshka
Pe-2-31 Peshka
Pe-2-83 Peshka
 
 
Nation-fr.png A-35B Vengance
Rang3.png SB2C-1c Helldiver
SB2C-4 Helldiver
Pe-2-110 Peshka
Pe-2-205 Peshka
Pe-2-359 Peshka
Tu-2
 
 
D4Y1 Suisei
D4Y2 Suisei
D4Y3 Suisei
Nation-fr.png SB2C-5 Helldiver
Rang4.png
 
 
 
P1Y1 mod.11 Ginga
Rang5.png
 
 
 
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SB2C-1c Helldiver attacking with airbrakes or dive flaps extended.

Ju 87 R-2 Stuka attacking with airbrakes or dive flaps extended.

Ar-2 setting up for a diving attack run by first extending its airbrakes or dive flaps.

V-156-F with extended airbrakes or dive flaps.