Italeri 1/48 Junkers Ju.87B2
Picchiatello (Dive Bomber)
by Richard Davenport

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In its brief but spectacular career the dive bomber earned itself a unique place in the pages of aeronautical history. No other aircraft typified the terror wrought by these aircraft as did the Ju87 Stuka.

Perhaps understanding early the limitations of the dive bomber, the Regia Aeronautica (RA) never fully committed itself to the development of the dive bomber, choosing instead to devote its resources to the development of conventional ground attack aircraft and strategic bombers such as the Piaggio P.108, CANT. 1007 and CANT.1018. However, with the rapid German successes in France and Poland and seeing a need for the pinpoint accuracy of the dive bomber in support of its navy, the Regia Aeronautica turned to the Ju87. It is interesting to note that neither Britain, France or Russia developed a successful dive bomber while the US, Japan and Germany each featured one. However the Ju87 stands alone as the only successful land based dive bomber of WWII.

No other country outside of Germany had gained as much notoriety in the use of this aircraft as did the Italians. Seeing that the number of Ju87s avaiable could not reach the prescribed numbers needed to put into effect the tactics of the Luftwaffe, the Italians developed the skip bombing technique well before its use in the Pacific war. Italian dive bomber groups were called Bombardamento di Picchiata (Dive Bomber Group) and hence Picchatello (Dive Bomber).


Malta played a pivotal role in World War II, particularly as an obstacle to Axis control of the Mediterranean and blocking access to North Africa. Italy used the Junkers Ju 87 in attempts to clear that obstacle. Prior to the war, Italy requested Ju 87s from Germany and received the Ju 87 B-2 and R-2 versions, which they nicknamed "Picchatello" (Dive Bomber). At various times during the war, Picchatello squadrons were stationed in Sicily, within easy striking distance of Malta.

This is the Italeri 1/48 Ju 87 B-2/R2 "Picchatello" (#2769). The model represents "red 7" 239a Squadriglia of the Regia Aeronautica, flown by Cap. Giuseppe Cenni while stationed in Comiso, Sicily, in late 1940. 239a Squadrigia was active in the Battle of Malta. The kit is very nice, with no significant build problems. The addition of photo-etched parts in the kit helps add to the detail. And the top of the engine cowling can be removed to display a nicely detailed engine. The only additions to the kit were QuickBoost exhaust (QB 48 368) and gun barrels (QB 48 376). Camouflage is RLM 65, 70 and 71 Model Master (#2078, #2081) and Vallejo (71.021); illustrations often show Balkankreuz and Swastikas overpainted, which I portrayed.

1) Junkers Ju 87 From 1936 to 1945, Histoire & Collections, Planes and Pilots #4
2) Junkers Ju 87 B, Kagero, TopDrawings #54
3) Ju 87 Stuka in Action, Squadron/Signal, Aircraft #73
4) "Picchiatelli over Malta: Italian Stukas, 1940-42", by Richard J. Caruana
5) "Italian Stukas over Malta" by Richard J. Caruana

Technical Data

Aircraft: Junkers Ju87B2/R2
Manufacturer: Junkers Flugzeug und Motorenwerke A. G.
Type: Dive Bomber
Year: 1938
Engine: Junkers Jumo 211, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, 1,200hp
Wingspan: 45 ft 3 in (13.79m)
Length: 36ft 5in (11.10m)
Height: 13ft 2 in (4.01m)
Weight: 9,560lb (4,330 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 238mph (383km/h) at 13,410ft (4,090m)
Dive Speed: 404mph (673km/h)
Ceiling: 26,250ft (8,000m)
Range: 779miles (1,246km)
Armament: 3 machine guns; 551lb (250kg) bomb
Crew: 2

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