This final volume of the Osprey trilogy on the infamous Luftwaffe dive-bomber charts its fortunes in the toughest theater of all: the Eastern Front. The fearsome reputation that the Stuka had enjoyed in the opening months of World War II (1939-1945) was shattered over the English Channel in the summer of 1940 but was restored in the invasion of the Soviet Union. Against a demoralized enemy, the Ju 87 scored a string of spectacular successes, destroying infantry, artillery and armor alike and sinking numerous ships of the Soviet Baltic Fleet. In the far north one Stukagruppe concentrated on bombing the Arctic port of Murmansk and disrupting rail traffic down into the Russian hinterland. However, as the Soviet Union slowly gathered strength, the Stuka units found themselves outnumbered, outfought, and relegated to operating under cover of darkness. The days of the dive-bomber were finally over. The Schlacht, or ground-attack, aircraft now ruled the skies above the battlefields.
John Weal is Osprey's primary Luftwaffe author and artist. He possesses one of the largest private collections of original German-language literature from World War 2 and his research is based on this huge archive. Fluent in German, Weal has spent much time establishing contact with ex-members of the Luftwaffe, from General Staff Officers of the RLM to frontline aircrew. A freelance airbrush artist since the days of the monthly RAF Flying Review, he has illustrated some of the finest Luftwaffe profiles to date. The author lives in Berkshire, UK.