|Maiden Flight||3 September 1930|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Ju 52 aircraft were designed by Ernst Zindel at the Junkers works at Dessau, Germany, starting in 1928. The design was based upon the previous W33 aircraft, also manufactured by Junkers, with the exterior constructed of strong corrugated Duralumin skin. The first prototype took flight in Sep 1930, with test pilot Wilhelm Zimmermann at the helm. In Nov 1930, the prototype was presented to the German military, and then the general public in Feb 1931. The second prototype was converted to a floatplane in Jul 1931 and tested by Zimmermann on River Elbe. Production officially began in 1932, but sales figures were low; only one of the first seven produced was sold. The only one sold went to the Canadian Airways; nicknamed "Flying Boxcar", the Ju 52 aircraft was used to supply remote mining operations.
ww2dbaseUp until the seventh example, the Ju 52 aircraft had only one engine. Beginning with the eighth, re-designated Ju 52/3m, the number of engines was increased to three. The first 3-engined Ju 52/3m aircraft took flight on 7 Mar 1932. Realizing the demand for cargo transports was not high, the Ju 52/3m aircraft were now being marketed as passenger aircraft; the shift in marketing strategy yielded great results. Orders from civilian airliners flooded in from Finland, Sweden, Romania, and of course domestically in Germany. Many of these 17-seat passenger transports were sold to Lufthansa, which ran a Berlin-Rome route that took only eight hours. A total of 400 civilian passenger transports were sold in the 1930s.
ww2dbaseIn late 1934, the Nazi government in Germany sought to expand the newly-formed Luftwaffe, and made an order for 1,200 Ju 52/3m aircraft configured as medium bombers, thus born the Ju 52/3m g3e military variant. Ju 52/3m aircraft first served in combat starting in Jul 1936 in the Spanish Civil War; they served both as transports as well as bombers, participating in the bombing of Guernica. On 4 Nov 1936, the first Ju 52/3m was shot down by Russian fighters near Madrid, Spain. By Apr 1937, they were retired from combat service in Spain due to their slow speeds, though they remained in service as transports. When Francisco Franco's Nationalists won the Civil War, 14 remaining aircraft (out of a total of 20 sent to Spain) were given to the new government as gifts.
ww2dbaseOn 24 Aug 1937, the Lufthansa crew consisted of pilot Carl August Freiherr von Gablenz, flight captain Robert Untucht, and flight engineer Karl Kirchoff flew the Ju 52/3m D-ANOY aircraft "Rudolf von Thüna", fully-laden from Kabul, Afghanistan over the Hindukush and Pamir mountains into China. They flew over the 5,300-meter high Wakhan Pass at the flight altitude of 7,000 meters, becoming the first passenger aircraft crew to fly over the Pamir moutains.
ww2dbaseAlthough deemed too slow, Ju 52/3m aircraft remained the standard transport aircraft of the Luftwaffe, with occasional duties as bombers. During the invasion of Poland, they bombed Warsaw. During the Norwegian campaign, several Ju 52/3m floatplane variants were deployed. In May 1941, Ju 52/3m aircraft served as paratrooper transports during the invasion of Crete, Greece. In 1943, they were used to supply the trapped German 6th Army at Stalingrad in Southern Russia. During WW2, they were nicknamed "Tante Ju" by German personnel.
ww2dbaseJu 52/3m aircraft were also used by minor Axis forces such as Hungary.
ww2dbaseJu 52 and Ju 52/3m aircraft were produced by Junkers until 1944. By that time, most were destroyed. After 1945, a small number were produced by French firm Amiot under the designation of AAC 1 Toucan and by Spanish firm Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA under the designation CASA 352. The last Ju 52/3m aircraft rolled off the production lines at CASA in 1952. A total of 4,835 were built between 1930 and 1952, most of which were made for military service.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2008
Ju 52/3m g7e
|Machinery||Three BMW 132T radial engines rated at 715hp each|
|Armament||1x13mm dorsal MG131 machine gun, 2x7.92mm MG15 machine guns, up to 455kg of bombs|
|Wing Area||110.50 m²|
|Weight, Empty||6,510 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||9,200 kg|
|Weight, Maximum||10,990 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||265 km/h|
|Speed, Cruising||211 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||5,490 m|
|Range, Normal||870 km|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945