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.
military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe
as a troop
cargo transport and briefly as a medium
. 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.
aircraft's unusual corrugated duralumin
metal skin, pioneered by Junkers during
World War I
, strengthened the whole
The Ju 52 had a low cantilever
wing, the mid-section of
which was built into the fuselage
its underside. It was formed around four pairs of circular cross
section duralumin spar
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 "double wing".
The outer sections of this operated differentially as ailerons
, projecting slightly beyond the wing tips
with control horns. The strutted horizontal
carried horn-balanced elevator
which again projected and
showed a significant gap between them and the stabilizer, which was
adjustable in-flight. All stabilizer surfaces were
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
was fixed and
divided; some aircraft had wheel fairing
, 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
, 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
as the Ju 52/3m
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, from being mounted at an almost
perpendicular angle to the wing's tapered 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 Lufthansa 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
Pre-war civil use
In 1936, James A.
(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.
Before the nationalisation of the German aircraft industry in 1935,
the Ju 52/3m was produced principally as a 17-seat airliner.
principally used by Lufthansa and could fly from Berlin to Rome in eight
s fleet eventually numbered 80 and
flew from Germany on routes in Europe, Asia and South
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
the Invasion of Poland
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 gun 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.
version, equipped with two
, served during the Norwegian Campaign
in 1940, and later in
the Mediterranean theatre. Some Ju 52s, 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's personal transport
used a Lufthansa Ju 52 for campaigning the 1932 German
election, preferring flying to transport via train.
became German Chancellor
became his personal pilot, and
Hitler was provided with a personal Ju 52. Named Immelmann
after the World War I ace Max
, 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
replaced by the four-engine Focke-Wulf
Fw 200 Condor
, although Immelman II
his back-up aircraft for the rest of World War II.
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
Troops School|parachute forces]], later known as the Batalhão de Caçadores
. 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
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 Dakota
took over. French airlines like the
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.
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
and production continued afterwards as the Amiot AAC 1
. 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
- Ju 52/3m
- Three-engine prototype, powered by three 410 kW
(550 hp) Pratt & Whitney Hornet engines. First flight: 7
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Ju 52/3mg11e
- No details are known.
- Ju 52/3mg12e
- Powered by three BMW 123L radials.
- Ju 52/3m12e
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.
- 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
- Designation used by the Spanish Air Force.
Lufthansa Junkers Ju 52/3m
, till 1984, known as "Iron Annie N52JU", painted as
in historic Lufthansa colors (the livery worn in
D-CDLH has P&W engines, now with three-bladed
Preserved AAC 1 at Duxford, 2001,
showing corrugated skin
Aircraft on display
2008, six Ju 52 remain in operation, four of which operate pleasure
flights from Dübendorf airport.
Specifications (Junkers Ju 52/3m g7e)
- Grey and Bridgman 1972
- Jackson 1960, p. 100.
- C.B. "'Bud' Johnston Library." Rolls-Royce
of Canada Ltd., Montreal Quebec.
- Weal 2003, p. 91.
- The Aeroplane Monthly, June 1994 p.28
- Afonso and Gomes 2000, pp. 178–183.
- http://swiss airforce history
- Museum of Military Aviation
- Duwelz, Yves. "Junkers Ju 52/3mge W Nr 5670 6309." Aviation
Heritage in Belgium, October 2001. Retrieved: 4 April
- Kulish, Nicholas. "Crowds Bid Fond Farewell to Airport That Saved
Berlin." New York Times, 30 October 2008. Retrieved: 4
- Blewett 2007
- "Junkers Ju52/3M (CASA 352L) airplane pictures- RAF
Note 3 - Bud Johnston Library - is broken and should be replaced
- Afonso, Aniceto and Carlos de Matos Gomes. Guerra
Colonial (in Portuguese). Lisbon : Editorial Notícias, 2000.
- Blewett, R.Survivors (Aviation Classics). Coulsdon,
UK: Gatwick Aviation Society, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9530413-4-3
- Grey, Charles Gibson and Leonard Bridgman. Jane's All the
World's Aircraft 1938. London: Newton Abott, David &
Charles, 1972. ISBN 0-7153-5734-4.
- Jackson, A.J.British Civil Aircraft 1919-59, vol 2.
London: Putnam, 1960.
- Jane, Fred T. "The Junkers Ju 52/3m." Jane’s Fighting
Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN
- Swiss Air Force history
- Weal, John. Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. Oxford, UK:
Osprey, 2003. ISBN 1-841765-38-4.