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Stuka Scream

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The Stuka-Siren: standard issue on every aircraft in Fiction Land

"Engines are out, steering jets are on the fritz, and someone's fitted us with a Stuka dive-bombing siren!"
Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians

In media, when something — usually a plane, but it can be something else — is diving, crashing or otherwise swooping, a gradually-rising mechanical scream that climaxes in a distinctive shrieking sound is often applied as a sound effect. This Stock Sound Effect originates from a siren (named Jericho-Trompete, or "Jericho Trumpet"), which was fitted to German Ju-87 "Stuka" dive-bombers in the Second World War as a psychological terror weapon designed to inflict panic on enemy ground forces.

At some point, somebody decided that this would make a great sound-effect for any diving aircraft.

A staple of World War II films, it is by no means restricted to them and can be used in conjunction with anything from a crashing civilian airliner to a wheelchair rolling down a slope at high speed.

See also Bomb Whistle.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 
Actual Stukas:
  • Enemy at the Gates has Stukas at the beginning of the film strafing and bombing boats in the Volga River off Stalingrad. Of course, they are making this noise with each run they make.
  • The Guns of Navarone. While the protagonists are fleeing along a dry river bed they're attacked by Stuka dive bombers, with the standard sound effect.
  • Used at multiple points in the film Dunkirk, crescendoing to a horrific screech and providing an excellent example of Hell Is That Noise. The very first teaser trailer relied entirely on it, featuring a pier jammed solid with Tommies... then you hear the rising Stuka scream and they all look up in fear. It's also Justified since the noise is being made by actual Stukas on bombing runs over the beach.
  • French World War II documentary De Nuremberg à Nuremberg uses the sound with both appropriate footage of Stukas... and inappropriate footage, such as with Japanese Kamikaze in the Pacific.

Other aircrafts:

  • Midway has the SBD Dauntlesses making the decisive run on the IJN Carriers making this sound. Of course, the Japanese crew members on the ships are absolutely terrified and panic in an attempt to shoot them down. Justified in that the Dauntless dive bomber used perforated dive brakes, which did cause a banshee-like wail from air whistling through the perforations when deployed at speed. See Truth in Television below.
  • Midway (2019), again, has the SBD Dauntlesses making this sound. In particular, Best's plane is heard making one just as it makes a Belly-Scraping Flight on the Akagi, shortly before the bomb he drops detonates.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, right after Dr Meachem's flight to meet Exeter takes off, Tom Servo verbally copies this sound effect to make it sound like the plane is stalling and crashing just off-screen.
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this shows up twice - once when Doctor Scott's wheelchair rolls down a slope in the lab, and once to the falling "Radio Tower" as it plummets to earth along with the corpses of Rocky and Frankenfurter.
  • Used in Dmitry Puchkov's Gag Dubs of The Lord of the Rings films, most often during the appearances of the Nazgûl on their flying beasts, replacing the ear-splitting screech. The dubbed dialogue specifically calls them "Messers" (i.e. Messerschmitt). Also appears in the scene with Gandalf and Balrog falling (the one where they first appear falling in a giant cavern with a lake).
  • Can be heard in the 1995 Richard Loncraine film Richard III just before King Richard's command train is attacked by Lord Stanley's air force. Given the Anachronism Stew of weapons and vehicles in this movie (set in a fascist 1930's Britain) it wouldn't be unusual if a Stuka was used, though it turns out to be a twin-engined bomber.
  • James Bond:
    • In You Only Live Twice, when Bond is trapped in a crashing plane.
    • For Your Eyes Only on both a helicopter and a seaplane.
    • Twofold in Octopussy:
      • The Action Prologue has Bond pilot a Bede BD-5 Acrostar. He gets rid of both his mission's target and a guided missile, by plunging towards the enemy base and entering the hangar followed by the missile, then going out of the hangar just in time before the missile blows everything up. The miniature jet makes the Stuka Scream as he does that maneuver.
      • In the climax, Bond goes after Kamal Khan and his Sikh bodyguard Gobinda, who escape in a plane. Bond climbs on it just as it takes off, and Kamal attempts several dives to have him fall off it.
    • In the climax of The Living Daylights, the C-130 Hercules briefly makes this sound before crashing as Bond and Kara Milovy eject from it in a jeep.
    • In the Action Prologue of GoldenEye, when Bond can't pull a plane out of a dive.
  • Played with in Jurassic World. Sirens give a Red Alert as pterosaurs swoop down on the packed resort area. They sound more like WW2 air raid sirens than a modern evacuation alarm.
  • A lower-pitched modification of the sound accompanies Hagrid's motorcycle landing at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Birds, somehow, are capable of this in Birdemic.
  • Star Wars has the definitive sci-fi equivalent in the form of the twin ion engines of The Empire's TIE fighters, which emit a haunting shriek that serves the same purpose that the effect does in war movies.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Literature/Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the Air Watch operate broomsticks fitted with technomagic sirens. Normally these make the standard two-tone police sound. But the Air Witches, if flying for more military reasons, can reset them to make a single frightening screaming noise — especially if in a power-dive. Naturally, an Überwaldean witch is responsible for this.
  • In the Game of Thrones fic Dragons Destiny, Aegon/Jon teaches in a race with Drogon to do aerial maneuvers so he "could reduce drag and gain more speed."
A side effect is that Rhaegal produces "a rather unnerving" whistling sound that could be used for this effect, psychological warfare. Rhaegal is dubbed the "Whistling Death".

    Live-Action Television 
  • The Mandalorian: the eponymous character's ship, the Razor Crest, emits that sound when diving at one point in Season 2.

  • The opening track of Pink Floyd's The Wall, "In the Flesh", ends with a Stuka scream to symbolise the death of Pink's father in the war. The film of the album actually depicts the moment of his death as a Stuka dives on his position, complete with Bomb Whistle.
  • The instrumental break in the middle of Eric Burdon & The Animals' "Sky Pilot" features one of these, followed by what appears to be a loud plane crash.
  • The song "Jericho Siren", whose lyrics deal with Stukas dive-bombing, by Music/Saxon begins with several of these too.
  • The middle eight of ''ME262 by the Blue Öyster Cult features marching jackboots, the crump of exploding bombs — and the Stuka Scream.

    Video Games 
  • Day of Infamy plays this straight since there are actual Stuka dive bombers available to the Wehrmacht faction which emits this sound as it makes its drop, giving a clear warning to anyone nearby.
  • PlanetSide 2 has Stuka horns available via Micro Transactions on all empire specific fighters. However, it functions as an airhorn rather than as a function of the vehicle's speed, allowing it to be used when hovering or smashing into the ground upside down. Each ESF also has a unique engine note when moving at high speed, with the New Conglomerate's Reaver producing a high-pitched wail that is not too dissimilar to the Stuka's.
  • War Thunder has this on the early model Stukas, being historically accurate. Later models from the D version onward drop this entirely.
  • Call of Duty
    • Played straight in Call of Duty, where Ju 87 Stukas make this sound during a dive-bombing attack or are being shot down.
    • Averted in Call of Duty 2, where the Ju 87 Stukas don't make this sound when attacking.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • As mentioned above, the Stuka's famous scream was due to a siren installed in the airplane (either in the leading edge of the wings or on the landing gear). This was phased out in later models because equipping a bomber with an air raid siren proved to be counterproductive once the enemy got over the initial shock. Moreover, the Jericho Trumpet added a fair amount of drag, reducing the Stuka's performance somewhat. The pilots also hated the siren, only some of the later models could actually be turned off during flight and acording to The Other Wiki similar devices were often installed in the bombs instead. Otherwise the pilot had to listen to the damn thing for the entire flight.
  • The American SBD "Dauntless" dive bomber managed to achieve a similar effect using its perforated dive brakes. The holes in the dive brakes, included for aerodynamic reasons, had the side effect of giving the plane a reportedly banshee-like wail sound in a dive, likely leading to its US Army designation: The A-24 "Banshee".
  • It's widely reported that one of the F4U Corsair's nicknames, "Whistling Death," was coined by Japanese soldiers enduring dive-bombing attacks by the fighters. While it's unclear whether this origin is true, the Corsair definitely makes an unholy shriek in a dive. The sound is generated by fast-moving air through the oil coolers in the leading edge of the wings.
  • P-51 Mustangs can make the same sound as the Corsair, but as a result of air moving through the gunports due to their shape and position on the wing.


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