most famous planes of the second world war
Some of the most iconic aircraft of all time were the direct result of development driven by global conflicts. Without these conflicts, the first fighter jet would not have risen to the skies, probably slowing the start of airliners in the following decades. Outdated biplane design aircraft gave way to low mono wing designs that provide higher speeds, better aerodynamics, and more efficient wing designs. You can’t escape that some aircraft like the Mustang, Spitfire, and Mosquito, despite their intended purposes, are beautiful. Ranking these iconic planes is not an easy task, they are the best in one area or another.
10 Messerschmitt ME262 – First operational jet fighter: WWII aircraft
A truly innovative design, with the potential to change the outcome of WWII, the Me 262 arrived too late to counter the superior numbers of the Allied Air Force. Credited for being the first operational jet fighter, bringing with it the benefits of higher performance and also heavier armament than allied fighters. Powered by two Junker Jumo 004B turbofans it gave the Me262 a top speed of 560mph, such was the advantage, the Allied pilots’ best strategy was to destroy the Me262 while they were still on the ground.
9 Douglas SBD Dauntless – Best Allied Dive Bomber
The attack on Pearl Harbor shifted the balance of naval power from the battleship to the aircraft carrier. Forming the foundation of the US Navy’s carrier-based strike capability, the SBD (Douglas Scout Bomber) Dauntless played a vital role in the Battle of Midway, instrumental in the destruction of the Navy’s aircraft carriers. Japanese. Capable of dropping bombs with precision with an operational range of more than 850 miles, the SBD was the most effective dive bomber of World War II.
8 Boeing B17 Flying Fortress – Best Strategic Bomber
First flown in prototype form in 1935, then production began in 1937, the first B-17 aircraft were found to be vulnerable to enemy fighters. These vulnerabilities were addressed with the B17-E spec aircraft which received additional turrets on the upper and lower fuselage and also on the tail. Each turret is equipped with 0.50 cal machine guns that enhance the B-17’s defensive capabilities, making the “Flying Fortress” a difficult target for enemy fighters. While it couldn’t carry the same bomb load as the UK’s Lancaster, the B17 had much more accurate bomb targeting sights, ideal for strategic bombing. RELATED: 15 Deadliest Bombers Ever Deployed by the Army
7 Mitsubishi A6M Zero – Best Carrier-Based Fighter: Best Fighters of WWII
The A6M Zero formed the backbone of the IJN carrier-based combat capability, regarded as the most capable carrier-based fighter in WWII. In the early stages of the conflict, the A6M easily out-maneuvered Allied aircraft by out-maneuvering and outstripping American fighters of the time. The unique one-piece construction for the wings and fuselage along with a lighter fuselage contributed to the A6M’s successful fatality rate. As the conflict continued, Allied aircraft and strategy quickly rendered the A6M Zero obsolete, with many of them being used as kamikaze aircraft in the final days of the war.
6 Focke-Wulf Fw190 – Best fighter: best planes of WWII
It came into operational service in 1941, after a redesign to accommodate the larger and more powerful BMW engine, providing a top speed of 410 mph. The FW-190 carries formidable weaponry, with nose-mounted machine guns, 0.8-inch cannons on the wing roots, and two other cannons mounted on the center wing. It is the inclusion of these cannons that made the FW-190 such a devastating air combat aircraft and a particular danger to Allied bomber formations. It would take another year from its introduction for the Allies to regain the upper hand.