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Ju 52
Junkers Ju 52/3m at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Junkers
Designer Ernst Zindel
First flight 13 October 1930 (Ju 52/1m); 7 March 1932 (Ju 52/3m)
Primary user Luftwaffe
Produced 1931–1945 (Germany)1945–1947 (France)

1945–1952 (Spain)

Number built 4,845

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.


[hide] *1 Design and development

Design and developmentEdit

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 corrugated duralumin 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.[1] It was formed around four pairs of circular cross section duralumin spars 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".[2] Ju 52/3mg2e (Wk-Nr 5489) in flight, showing the Doppelflügel, "double wing".The outer sections of this operated differentially as ailerons, projecting slightly beyond the wing tips 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 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 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-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 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.

Operational historyEdit

[2][3]Ju 52/1m replica (converted from 52/3m) of "CF-ARM" at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[4][5]Ju 52s damaged in Crete, 1941[6][7]A Luftwaffe Ju 52 being serviced in Crete in 1943[8][9]Luftwaffe Ju 52s dropping paratroops[10][11]Internal view of Ju 52 showing a beam defensive MG 15 gun and ammo racks[12][13]Junkers Ju 52 cockpit layout[14][15]Junkers Ju 52===Pre-war civil use=== In 1932, James A. Richardson's Canadian Airways received (Werknummer 4006) CF-ARM, the sixth ever-built Ju 52/1m. The aircraft, was first re-engined with a Armstrong Siddeley Leopard radial engine and then later with a Rolls-Royce Buzzard and nicknamed the "Flying Boxcar" in Canada,[3][4] 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.[5]

The Colombian Air Force used three Ju-52/3mde bomber 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.

Before the nationalisation of the German aircraft industry in 1935, the Ju 52/3m was produced principally as a 17-seat airliner. It was principally used by Luft Hansa and could fly from Berlin to Rome in eight hours. The fleet of Luft Hansa eventually numbered 80 and flew from Germany on routes in Europe, Asia and South America[citation needed].

Military use 1935-45Edit

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8][9]

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[10] 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.

Dramatic losses in the NetherlandsEdit

The first major operation for this aircraft in Western-Europe was in the attack on the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, where the Ju 52s were deployed in the first large-scale air attack with paratroops in history during the Battle for The Hague. No less than 280 Ju 52s were lost in that venture and in other places in the country, due to varying circumstances, among which staunch Dutch anti-aircraft gunning and German mistakes in using soggy airfields, not able to support the heavy craft.[11] 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 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 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 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.[12]

The seaplane version, equipped with two large floats, 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.[13]

Hitler's personal transportEdit

Main article: Die Fliegerstaffel des FuehrersHitler used a Deutsche Luft Hansa Ju 52 for campaigning the 1932 German election, preferring flying to transport via 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 designation D-2600. [14]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-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, although Immelman II remained his back-up aircraft for the rest of World War II.

Postwar useEdit

[16][17]Ju 52/3m of British European Airways in 1947[18][19]French-built AAC.1 of STA at Manchester Airport in 1948. This aircraft is preserved in Belgrade[20][21]Junkers Ju 52/3m at Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone, late 1942 with the USAAF 20th Transportation Squadron, Sixth Air Force. The aircraft was designated as a C-79 and given serial 42-52883 while in USAAF serviceVarious 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.[15]

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.[16] They are still in flying condition and together with a CASA 352 can be booked for sightseeing tours with Ju-Air.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

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 Dakotas took over.[2] 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.[20]

Other versionsEdit

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.


Ju 52
Single-engine transport aircraft, seven built. First flight: 3 September 1930 [21]
Ju 52/3m
Three-engine prototype, powered by three 410 kW (550 hp) Pratt & Whitney Hornet engines. First flight: 7 March 1932
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 tailwheel.
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 loading hatch.
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 or wheels.
Ju 52/3mg11e
No details are known.
Ju 52/3mg12e
Powered by three BMW 123L radials.
Ju 52/3m12e
Some Ju 52/3mg12s were sent to Luft Hansa.
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.[22]
CASA 352
Post-war Spanish version, 106 built.[22]
Spanish version with Spanish ENMA (ex-Elizalde) Beta B-4 engines, 64 built.[22]
Designation assigned to a single example operated by the United States Army Air Forces.
Designation used by the Spanish Air Force.


Main article: List of Junkers Ju 52 operatorsA 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.[22][23]CASA 352 (license-built Junkers Ju 52/3m) in Ju-Air markings at Zürich airport[24][25]Preserved AAC 1 showing corrugated skin, at Duxford, 2001*Argentina


Airworthy aircraftEdit

Main article: List of airworthy Ju 52sAs of 2008, eight Ju 52 remain in operation, four of which operate pleasure flights from Dübendorf airport.

Museum aircraftEdit

Specifications (Junkers Ju 52/1m ce)Edit

Data from Wolfgang Wagner[31]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 1,820 kg (4,000 lb) of freight
  • Length: 18.50 m (60 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 29.50 m (96 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area: 116 m² ()
  • Empty weight: 4,000 kg (8,830 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,000 kg (15,450 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × BMW VIIaU V-12 piston engine, 507 kW (680 hp)690 PS[32]


Specifications (Junkers Ju 52/3m ce)Edit

Data from Wolfgang Wagner "Hugo Junkers Pionier der Luftfahrt - Seine Flugzeuge" Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1996 ISBN 3-7637-6112-8 (in German) p. 358

General characteristics


Specifications (Junkers Ju 52/3m g7e)Edit

[26][27]CASA 352-L

Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II[33]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 (two pilots, radio operator)
  • Capacity: 18 troops or 12 litter patients
  • Length: 18.90 m (62 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 29.25 m (95 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 4.5 m (14 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 110.5 m² (1,190 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 6,510 kg (14,325 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 9,200 kg (20,270 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 10,990 kg (24,200 lb)
  • Powerplant: 3 × BMW 132T radial engines, 533 kW (715 hp)[32] each



See alsoEdit

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. ^ Grey and Bridgman 1972
  2. ^ a b Jackson 1960, p. 100.
  3. ^ "'Bud' Johnston Library." Rolls-Royce of Canada Ltd., Montreal Quebec.
  4. ^ "Flying Box Car for Sky Lanes Of Northland." Popular Mechanics, May 1939.
  5. ^ "Junkers_Ju-52/1m ." Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  6. ^ Green 1972, p. 405.
  7. ^ Green 1972, p. 406.
  8. ^ Green 1972, pp. 405–406.
  9. ^ Smith and Kay 1972, p. 360.
  10. ^ "Warsaw." Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  11. ^ Dr L. de Jong, 'Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog'(Dutch)
  12. ^ Weal 2003, p. 91.
  13. ^ The Aeroplane Monthly, June 1994 p. 28.
  14. ^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 75.
  15. ^ Afonso and Gomes 2000, pp. 178–183.
  16. ^ airforce history "Ju-52."Swiss Air Force History. Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Ju 52." Museum of Military Aviation. Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  18. ^ Duwelz, Yves. Aviation Heritage in Belgium, October 2001. Retrieved: 4 April 2009.
  19. ^ "Escuela Militar de Paracaidismo" (Military school of Parachuting) (in Spanish). Retrieved: 4 November 2010.
  20. ^ Kulish, Nicholas. "Crowds Bid Fond Farewell to Airport That Saved Berlin." New York Times, 30 October 2008. Retrieved: 4 April 2009.
  21. ^ "Aerial Furniture Van Has Capacity of Three Tons" Popular Mechanics, July 1931
  22. ^ a b c Blewett 2007
  23. ^ "Junkers Ju52/3M (CASA 352L)." RAF Museum Cosford. Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  24. ^ [1] Technikmuseum Hugo Junkers Dessau. Retrieved: 22 June 2011.
  25. ^ "Ju 52." Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  26. ^ "List of aircraft displayed at the Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection." Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Junkers Ju-52/3mg4e." Traditionsgemeinschaft Lufttransport Wunstorf . Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  28. ^ Retrieved: 24 May 2011.
  29. ^ "Ju 52/3m." Deutsches Technikmuseum. Retrieved: 12 October 2010.
  30. ^ "Junkers added to AMPAA collection". Aeroplane (August 2011): 12.
  31. ^ Wolfgang Wagner Hugo Junkers Pionier der Luftfahrt - Seine Flugzeuge Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1996 ISBN 3-7637-6112-8 (in German) p. 342
  32. ^ a b Originally measured as 690 PS
  33. ^ Jane 1946, pp. 170–171.


  • Afonso, Aniceto and Carlos de Matos Gomes. Guerra Colonial (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Editorial Notícias, 2000. ISBN 972-46-1192-2.
  • Blewett, R. Survivors (Aviation Classics). Coulsdon, UK: Gatwick Aviation Society, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9530413-4-3
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. New York: Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 0-385-05782-2.
  • 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.
  • Hoffmann, Peter. Hitler's Personal Security: Protecting The Fuhrer 1921-1945. New York: Da Capo Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-30680-947-7.
  • 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 1-85170-493-0.
  • Smith, J. R. and Antony L. Kay. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam, 1972. ISBN 0-85177-836-4.
  • Weal, John. Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-538-4.

External linksEdit

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