Author Andy Saunders gives a complete overview of these attacks which started actually already in May 1940 when the British forces at Dunkirk were bombed by Stuka pin-point attacks. However, the first attacks on the UK started one month later with large scale attacks on British harbors and British ships. The results were devastating and there was little the RAF could do to prevent this since the Stuka’s were escorted by fighters. By the time the attacks were over, the Stuka’s were already on their return flight and losses were very low.
However, when the German upper command decided to change the use of the Stuka for bombing of British airfields and radar installations the losses were rising, although the RAF always over claimed their kills. In this book the exact losses on Ju-87’s are given: the Luftwaffe lost over the whole period 101 machines while the RAF had claimed 171 confirmed kills and another 63 unconfirmed. From the book it is very evident the tail gunner of the Ju-87 was in a very vulnerable place when under attack from British fighters and some even claimed they were only ‘human body armour’ for the pilot. It was also evident that during the actual dive attack RAF fighters could not do anything at all. They had to attack before the dive was started, or when the dive bombing was completed and the plane had recovered from its dive.
The author also busts the myth that the Stuka was withdrawn from action over the UK because of its high losses. The truth is that when the invasion of the UK was canceled by Hitler the Stuka was simply no longer needed.
The author describes very vividly the Stuka battles fought over the period June 1940 – November 1940 in 13 separate chapters followed by a number of appendixes including loss tables on both sides. In this book we can read the testimonies of both Stuka pilots, RAF pilots and people on the ground that have eye witnessed the attacks. The book is the result of years of intensive research and since every Stuka attack on England is described it must be regarded as a mayor reference work fully worth its price of £ 20.-.
Book rating: excellent; highly recommended
Title: Stuka Attack! The dive bombing assault on England during the Battle of Britain.
Author: Andy Saunders
Book type: hardcover, 18 x 25.5 cm, 224 pages with 146 B & W photographs
Publisher: Grub Street Publishing, 4 Rainham Close, London SW11 6SS, UK
Price: £ 20 excluding p & p
With special thanks to Grub Street Publishing for providing a free review copy.