The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju ("Auntie Ju") and Iron Annie) was a German trimotor 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 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.
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 )
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.
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