There were few Stukas produced in 1940 (the critical year when many were lost), most Stukas were produced in 1941, 42 and especially 43 (over 1,800). The Kanonenvogel with two 37 mm cannon firing tungsten carbide projectiles was extremely effective during Kursk. The Germans only stopped using it because they ran out of Tungsten. In 1942 the Stuka received a more powerful engine and much heavier armor. As long as the Germans ruled the air, it worked wonders, but the western allies started destroying planes very rapidly and the Soviets dominated the air after Kursk, so the Stuka became very vulnerable.
Had they produced more Stukas before and during Barbarossa or not wasted them in the BoB, Greece,. Yugoslavia, Africa, etc, Barbarossa would have been even more successful.
In just one demonstration near Zagan, Poland for Göring in a cloudy sky 13 were lost when they dove out of the clouds into the ground. These 13 would have been very valuable in Barbarossa. Even the Romanians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks and the Italians received some (Picchiatello). So the number available to cover the German tanks was always ridiculous. Compare the 6.500 Stukas to the 37,000 Sturmoviks, keeping in mind that the Stukas went to several fronts (Spain, Poland, Norway, France, Holland, Belgium, BoB, Greece, Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Romania, the USSR, etc,) while all the Sturmoviks remained in one front and that the Germans never had 5,000 tanks in the USSR at a given time and the Soviets had 28,800 tanks at the beginning of Barbarossa (By January 30, 1942 there were probably fewer than 130 Stukas and 1,500 German tanks in service in the USSR, spread over a huge front) and the Soviets exceeded that number at several points late in the war.
For example, during Torch some of the few Stukas, Ju-88s, etc, urgently needed in Stalingrad were sent to Africa, which allowed the Soviets to cross a lot more soldiers and finish off the Germans.
There were over 300 Stukas in combat when Germany invaded tiny Poland (which had a few hundred planes and tanks), but only 290 Stukas when it invaded the endless USSR (which had 28,800 tanks and 21,000 planes).
At a short distance the 1943 Stuka could carry an 1,800 lb bomb.
Last edited by samneanderthal; November 15th, 2011 at 19:59..