The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju ("Aunt Ju") and Iron Annie) was a Germantrimotortransport 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 twelve air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa 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.
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 corrugatedduralumin metal skin, pioneered by Junkers during World War I, strengthened the whole structure.
The Ju 52 had a low cantilever wing, the midsection of which was built into the fuselage, forming its underside. It was formed around four pairs of circular cross-section duraluminspars with a corrugated surface that provided torsional stiffening. A narrow control surface, with its outer section functioning as the aileron, and the inner section functioning as a flap, ran along the whole trailing edge of each wing panel, well separated from it. The inner flap section lowered the stalling speed and the arrangement became known as the Doppelflügel, or "double wing".
Lufthansa's 21st-century airworthy heritage Ju 52/3mg2e (Wk-Nr 5489) in flight, showing the Doppelflügel, "double wing" trailing edge control surfaces.
The outer sections of this operated differentially as ailerons, projecting slightly beyond the wingtips 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 tailskid, or a later tailwheel. 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-chordcowlings and diverted noticeably, being mounted at an almost perpendicular angle to the tapered wing's receding leading edge. 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. Production Ju 52/3m aircraft flown by Luft Hansa before World War II, as well as Luftwaffe-flown Ju 52s flown during the war, usually used an air start system to turn over their trio of radial engines, using a common compressed air supply that also operated the main wheels' brakes.
Internal view of Ju 52 showing a beam defensive MG 15 gun and ammo racks
Junkers Ju 52 cockpit layout
Junkers Ju 52
Prewar civil use
In 1932, James A. Richardson's Canadian Airways received (Werknummer 4006) CF-ARM, the sixth ever-built Ju 52/1m. The aircraft, first re-engined with an Armstrong Siddeley Leopard radial engine and then later 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 used mainly by Luft Hansa and could fly from Berlin to Rome in eight hours. The Luft Hansa fleet eventually numbered 80 and flew from Germany on routes in Europe, Asia and South America.
Military use 1932-45
The Colombian Air Force used three Ju-52/3mde bombers equipped as floatplanes during the Colombia-Peru War in 1932–33. After the war, the air force acquired three other Ju-52mge as transports; the type remained in service until after World War II.
In 1934, Junkers received orders to produce a bomber version of the Ju 52/3m to serve as interim equipment for the bomber units of the still-secret Luftwaffe until it could be replaced by the purpose designed Dornier Do 11. Two bomb bays were fitted, capable of holding up to 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of bombs, while defensive armament consisted of two 7.92mm MG 15 machine guns, one in an open dorsal position, and one in a retractable "dustbin" ventral position, which could be manually winched down from the fuselage to protect the aircraft from attacks from below. The bomber could be easily converted to serve in the transport role. The Dornier Do 11 was a failure, however, and the Junkers ended up being acquired in much larger numbers than at first expected, with the type being the Luftwaffe's main bomber until more modern aircraft such as the Heinkel He 111, Junkers Ju 86 and Dornier Do 17 entered into service.
The Ju 52 first saw military service in the Spanish Civil War against the Spanish Republic. It was one of the first aircraft delivered to the fraction of the army in revolt in July 1936 as both a bomber and transport. 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.
Heavy losses in combat
The first major operation for the aircraft was in Operation Weserübung, the attack on Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940. Fifty-two Ju 52s from 1. and 8. Staffel in Kampfgeschwader 1 transported a company of Fallschirmjäger and a battalion of infantry to the northern part of Jutland, and captured the airfield at Aalborg, vital to support the operation in southern Norway. Several hundred Ju 52s were used to transport troops to Norway in the first days of this campaign. Later, Ju 52's participated in the attack on the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, where they were deployed in the first large-scale air attack with paratroops in history during the Battle for The Hague. No fewer than 280 Ju 52s were lost in that venture and in other places in the country, due to varying circumstances, among which were accurate and effective Dutch anti-aircraft defences and German mistakes in using soggy airfields not able to support the heavy craft. Thus, almost an entire year's production was lost in the Netherlands.
The Ju 52 were also used 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 Hurricane – the Ju 52 was very vulnerable to fighter attack and an escort was always necessary when flying in a combat zone. Many Ju 52's 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 the winter of 1942-1943.
During the North African Campaign, the Ju 52 was the mainstay reinforcement and resupply transport for the Germans, starting with 20 to 50 flights a day to Tunisia from Sicily in November 1942, building to 150 landings a day in early April as the Axis situation became more desperate. The Allied air forces developed a counter-air operation over a two month period and implemented Operation Flax on 5 April 1943, destroying 11 Ju 52s in the air near Cape Bon and many more during bombing attacks on its Sicilian airfields, leaving only 29 flyable. That began two catastrophic weeks in which more than 140 were lost in air interceptions, culminated on 18 April with the infamous "Palm Sunday Massacre" in which 24 Ju 52's were shot down and another 35 staggered back to Sicily and crash-landed.
The seaplane version, equipped with two large floats, served during the Norwegian Campaign in 1940, and later in the Mediterranean theatre. Some Ju 52's, both floatplanes and landplanes, were also used as minesweepers, known as Minensuch aircraft in German, fitted with a 14 m diameter current-carrying ring under the airframe to create a magnetic field which triggered the mines.
Hitler used a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52 for campaigning in the 1932 German election, preferring flying to transport by 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 II after the World War I ace Max Immelmann, it carried the registration 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-engined Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, although Immelman II remained his backup aircraft for the rest of World War II.
Chiang Kai-shek's personal transport
A Ju 52 of Eurasia, 1930s in China
Eurasia was the main Chinese Airliner Company in 1930s and Ju 52 was the main airliner plane. One of them was commandeered by the Chinese Nationalist Party Government and became Chiang Kai-shek's personal transport.
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 aircraft remained in operation, probably the last and longest service in any air force. Museums hoped to obtain the aircraft, but they were not for sale. They are still in flying condition and together with a CASA 352 can be booked for sightseeing tours with Ju-Air. During the 1950s the Ju 52 was also used by the French Air Force during the Indo-China War as a bomber. The usage of these Junkers was quite limited.
The Spanish Air Force operated the Ju 52, nicknamed Pava, until well into the 1970s. Escuadrón 721 flying the Spanish-built versions, was employed in training parachutists from Alcantarilla Air Base near Murcia.
Some military Ju 52s were converted to civilian use. For example, British European Airways operated eleven ex-Luftwaffe Ju 52/3mg8e machines, taken over by the RAF, between 1946 and retirement in 1947 on intra-U.K. routes before the Douglas DC-3 was introduced to the airline. French airlines such as Societe de Transports Aeriens (STA) and Air France flew Toucans in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
A Ju 52 and a Douglas DC-3 were the last aircraft to take off from Tempelhof Airport before all operations ceased there on October 30, 2008.
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 Avions 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.
A Lufthansa Junkers Ju 52/3m (registered D-CDLH), until 1984, known as "Iron Annie N52JU", painted as D-AQUI in historic 1936 Deutsche Luft Hansa colors. 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
Preserved AAC 1 showing corrugated skin, at Duxford, 2001
On November 1, 1936, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mge (D-APOO, Heinrich Kroll) crashed into mountains near Tabarz en route to Erfurt, killing 11 of 15 on board.
On November 17, 1936, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mge (D-ASUI, Hans Berr) crashed in the Moritzberg due to pilot disorientation, killing four of 16 on board.
On June 16, 1937, a South African Airways Ju 52/3msa1 (ZS-AKY, Earl of Caledon) crashed on takeoff from Rand Airport due to loss of power of two engines, killing one.
On November 16, 1937, a Sabena Ju 52/3m crashed at Ostend, Belgium after striking a factory chimney, killing all 12 on board.
On November 26, 1937, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mfe (D-AGAV, Emil Schäfer) crashed into a hangar in fog on takeoff from Croydon Airport, killing all three on board.
On December 4, 1937, an Ala Littoria Ju 52/3mlu (I-BAUS) struck a mountain and crashed near Bayerisch Eisenstein, killing four of 17 on board.
On December 15, 1937, an LAB Ju 52/3mce (CB-18, Huanani) disappeared between Roboré and Sarta Cruz, Bolivia, on a cargo flight; the wreckage was found in the 1940s, but the crew was never found.
On February 22, 1938, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mge (D-APAR, Otto Parschau) crashed near Pontoise, France in fog, killing all three on board.
On May 22, 1938, a Syndicato Condor Ju 52/3mge (PP-CBC, Guaracy) crashed into water off Santos Airport, killing six of 17 on board; Brazilian Minister of Justice Mauricio Cardoso was among the dead.
On August 15, 1938, a Syndicato Condor Ju 52/3mfe (PP-CAT, Anhanga) crashed on takeoff into Guanabara Bay, killing all nine on board.
On October 1, 1938, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mte (D-AVFB) crashed on Piz Cengalo mountain near Graubünden, Switzerland, killing all 13 on board; a postal bag from the aircraft was found in 1952.
On January 13, 1939, a Syndicato Condor Ju 52/3mge (PP-CAY, Marimba) struck a mountain near Rio Bonito, Brazil, killing all 10 on board.
On March 14, 1939, a Sabena Ju 52/3mge (OO-AUA) crashed into a field at Haren, Belgium, killing all three on board.
On August 4, 1939, a Deutsche Luft Hansa (D-AUJG, Hans Wende) crashed in mountains near Tivissa, Spain, killing all seven on board.
On December 18, 1939, an Iberia Ju 52/3m (M-CABA, Sanjurjo) was shot down by British anti-aircraft fire and crashed off Europa Point, Gibraltar; all ten on board died.
On June 14, 1940, an Aero O/Y (Finnair´s former name) Ju 52/3mge (OH-ALL, Kaleva), was shot down by two Soviet Ilyushin DB-3 bombers while en route from Tallinn to Helsinki and crashed to the Gulf of Finland about 30 km north of Tallinn. All nine aboard were killed. At the time of the event neither Finland nor the Soviet Union were at war.
On March 1, 1941, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mte (D-AQAB) crashed on landing in Hommelvik Bay off Trondheim and sank, killing three of 12 on board.
On February 28, 1942, a Varig Ju 52/3mge (PP-VAL, Mauá) crashed on takeoff from Porto Alegre Airport into the River Guaíba, killing seven of 23 on board.
On August 27, 1943, a VASP Junkers Ju-52/3mg3e (PP-SPD) flying from São Paulo-Congonhas to Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont struck a building of the Naval Academy located close to the airport shortly after a second attempt at landing in Rio under fog. The aircraft broke in two and one part fell into the water. Of the 21 passengers and crew, three survived.
On February 28, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-AWAS, Joachim Blankenburg) disappeared off Greece with 16 on board; the wreckage was never found.
On April 17, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-AOCA) was shot down over Belgrade, killing three of five on board.
On September 2, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-AUAW, Gerhard Amann) was shot down over Ivanca, Croatia, killing all five on board.
On October 16, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-ADQU) crashed in the Lifjeld Mountains in poor weather, killing all 15 on board.
On October 16, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3mg8e, (D-ADQV, Hermann Stache) crashed into a mountain at Hestnutan, Norway due to radio failure, killing all 15 on board. The aircraft was operating an international scheduled Berlin-Copenhagen-Oslo service as Flight 7.
On October 17, 1944, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-ASHE, Friedrich Dahmen) was attacked by RAF aircraft and force-landed in Komarom County, Hungary, killing one of nine on board.
On April 20, 1945, a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52/3m (D-ANAJ) was shot down by Soviet Air Force aircraft and crashed in the Glienig forest, near Steinreich, Dahme-Spreewald, Germany, while operating on a Berlin-Munich-Prague evacuation service, killing 18 of 20 on board.
On March 5, 1946, a CSA Ju 52/3m (OK-ZDN) crashed after repeated landing attempts in Prague, killing ten of 15 on board.
In April 1946, an Aeroflot Ju 52/3m (CCCP-L27) force-landed in a wooded area near Kazan, Russia following an engine fire; there were no casualties, but the aircraft was written off.
On May 22, 1946, a DNL Ju 52/3m2e, (LN-LAB) crashed after takeoff from Oslo after the aircraft stalled due to engine failure, killing 12 of 13 on board.
In 1946, an Aeroflot Ju 52/3m (CCCP-L26/28) was being ferried from Alma-Ata (now Almaty), Kazakhstan to Novosibirsk, Russia when it crashed into mountains near Taldi-Kurgan, Kazakhstan in a storm, killing the four crew. The aircraft had been re-engined with two Shvetsov M-62IR engines replacing the three original BMW 132's.
On February 3, 1949, an Aeroflot Ju 52/3m (CCCP-L54) struck a mountain after flying through snow; both pilots survived, but the aircraft was written off.
As of 2008, eight Ju 52 remain in operation, four of which operate pleasure flights from Dübendorf airport in Switzerland. Lufthansa operates one Ju 52/3m (D-AQUI) for air shows and pleasure flights.
Junkers Ju 52/3m (CASA 352L) is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The aircraft was donated to the museum by the Spanish government in 1971. After being on display outside for 40 years the aircraft has been placed in indefinite storage to protect it from further deterioration.
^Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Vizinhança perigosa". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 33–36. ISBN978-85-7430-760-2.
^Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Verão de 1942". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 42–48. ISBN978-85-7430-760-2.
^Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Colisão com a Escola Naval". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928–1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 54–60. ISBN978-85-7430-760-2.