War Thunder: The Guide to Stukas
The Stuka is one of the major symbols of the German Blitzkrieg during World War 2. It is a Dive Bomber which had one denoting feature, the siren. When the Stuka dived in for the kill there would be a terrorizing wail accompanying it, causing panic. As stated, the Stuka is a Bomber, and while historically it had a wider selection of possible bomb load-outs in War Thunder the choice in Stuka Bombs depends more on the model, rather than your “unlocks”. In this Guide we will explore the different Stuka Models available in War Thunder, together with their respective strengths and weaknesses.
War Thunder: Why the Stuka?
The Stuka is known for a number of problems. It’s slow, un-dexterous and unlike bigger bombers it can only carry a small payload, then return for more. Up until the D-5 it uses only machine guns for self-defense against enemy planes, and when you reach the G-1 and G-2 you lose both your bombs and cannons/machine guns for two larger cannons with highly limited ammo capacity. Why then would you want to fly a Stuka? I can name a few possible tactical reasons. The Stuka is a smaller plane, when compared to other bombers. That means it might be a less interesting target. It has a machine gun or cannon, unlike bombers, that the pilot can use. This means that the Stuka can engage in self-defense or even air attack, far better than other bombers. Lastly, the Stuka can be very precise. Because of its main designation a Stuka can focus on a single Ground Target, and destroy it, unlike bigger bombers that might need to be at a much higher altitude and hope for direct hits. Later on the Stuka has Cannons capable of taking out heavier vehicles without the need for bombs (D-5,G-1 and G-2).
In other words, the Stuka has a decent mix of firepower and bomb load. It is neither as good as a fighter nor as a bomber, but in the future, when players will have control over their tanks and armies the Stuka might prove its worth further by surgically taking out enemy ground targets. Even at sea a Stuka can bomb enemy ships, but this calls for bombing the ship horizontally, and its cannons will be ineffective, so you have at best one or two chances at sinking an enemy.
Let us now proceed to the list of Stuka Planes that will be available to you.
Patch 1.33 Update
The most recent patches introduces new mechanics and options for your Stukas. Key among them you can now adjust, to a degree, what types of bombs and how many your Stuka will carry. This is influenced by equipment you unlock and buy so you will not have access to all the layouts from the start. On another positive note you are now able to change the type of ammo your rear gunner uses, which should, in theory, allow you to survive for longer. Another change, when it comes to attacking ground targets, is that 20mm cannons are unable to destroy light pillboxes anymore. I believe that they are also unable to take out Medium or Heavy tanks (I might be wrong about the Medium tanks). Your bombs and 37mm cannons should have no problem taking out heavy tanks, but pillboxes will still pose a serious issue.
Ju 87 B-2
This is the first Stuka you can get your hands on. Perhaps surprisingly, it is the Stuka with the biggest bomb load, even if its bombs are not the heaviest (4 x 50kg and a single 250kg). As mentioned before, you only need a 50kg bomb and a direct hit to take out a Heavy Tank, so a Stuka B-2 is well capable of taking out a number of Heavy Tanks with its bombs, if you are accurate. It is mildly fast, for a Stuka, and although not as agile as some of the later models it is a good introduction into the Stuka family. Since it is cheap to repair and upkeep you will not suffer heavy penalties for losing it (and it has an INCREDIBLE number of alternative skins).
The B-2 is the only Stuka (for now) with a mounted Siren. It activates at around 400 km/h and deactivates once your speed goes below 350 km/h. While it is a nice little touch to the game you are the only one that can hear the siren, so you will not signal the enemy with your presence. At the same time, you can get annoyed with the constant wail, if you travel too fast.
Ju -87 R-2
This Stuka is similar in many respects to the B-2, but it is slower, has a smaller bomb load but a higher climb rate and rotation. In other words, you are slightly more agile, sacrificing speeds and bombs. In terms of the later D-3 and in comparison to the B-2, the R-2 is not your primary choice of Stuka. While it is a bit more agile the smaller bomb load makes you much less useful in your primary role. I almost entirely skipped over the R-2 to the much more favorable D-3.
The D-3 is in many respects an improvements over the B-2. It carries three bombs (A single 500 kg and two 250 kg bombs). While it is faster on paper the added load from the bombs will make it more sluggish. The D-3 needs a longer runway because of this, and sometimes starting off with the D-3 might mean a close call with the trees (depends how good a pilot you are). The larger bombs will allow you to take on far more challenging targets, and you will be more than capable of taking out pillboxes and perhaps even a Light Cruiser.
This is another step up from the D-3. On paper you are almost exactly the same, with one difference, the 20mm cannon. This darling is normally also mounted on fighter planes, like the Bf-109, and you do not have access to any special “Ground Target” ammo. However, the 20mm is both well suited for taking out enemy vehicle and planes. The 7.92 mm machine gun becomes obsolete against more heavily armored targets (like the Il-2) so the upgrade to the 20mm gun is a welcome change. You may take out Medium and Heavy tanks with this cannon, but it’s a huge challenge.
Ju-87 G-1 and G-2
The G-1 and G-2 are almost identical. Their key difference is ammo capacity for their 37mm Cannons. The G-2 can hold 24 rounds (12 “shots”) while the G-1 has only 12 (6 “shots”). If possible you should skip to the G-2, since the G-1’s inferior ammo capacity will come back to bite you in Historical and Full Real Battles. As mentioned before, the 37mm cannon will absolute annihilate light targets, and heavier vehicles will be much more threatened by it. However, the lack of bombs makes your “battle time” highly limited. You have to make every shot count and then head back to reload. On the positive side, the 37mm Cannon is extremely powerful against planes as well. You might find that accurate hits to the wing or tail can shred an enemy plane instantly. It will not be as effective as the 50mm but it will get the job done.