Top 10 World War 2 Aircraft
Here is the list of Top 10 World War 2 Aircraft, During World War II, the airplane proved to be one of the most dominant weapons on the battlefield, not only fighting for control of the skies but also providing vital tactical and strategic support to the warring nations. Today, we’re going to present you with the 10 best fighter aircraft of World War II, each of which had a significant impact on the course of the war.
List of Top 10 World War 2 Aircraft
10. YAKOVLEV YAK – 3 ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This was a single-engine, single-seat World War II Soviet fighter powered by a single Vk-105p v12 liquid-cooled piston engine producing 1290 horsepower. With this power, it guaranteed a maximum speed of 646 kilometers per hour, a combat range of 550 kilometers, and a service ceiling of 10 400 meters.
It is one of the smallest and lightest combat fighters fielded by any combatant during the war, and its high power to weight ratio gave it excellent performance and proved to be a formidable dogfighter. It is armed with a 1 by 20-millimeter shiva cannon with 150 rounds and two 2 by 12.7 millimeter Barris and ups machine guns, each with 170 rounds. It was mostly used as a tactical fighter, flying low over battlefields and engaging in dogfights
9. REPUBLIC P – 47 THUNDERBOLT ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This is a World War II fighter plane built by the American aerospace company Republic Aviation between 1941 and 1945. The P-47 was a mainstay of the United States Army Air Force at the time, and it also operated with other ally air forces.
The Thunderbolt was effective as a short to medium-range escort fighter in high altitude air-to-air combat and ground attack in both the European and Pacific theaters. Its primary armament was 850 caliber machine guns, and in the fighter bomber ground attack role, it could carry 5-inch rockets or a bomb load of 1 100 kilograms when fully loaded.
8. VOUGHT F4 U – 4 CORSAIR ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
The VOUGHT F4 U – 4 CORSAIR is number eight on the list of the top ten most powerful fighter planes of World War II. It was an American fighter aircraft that became one of the most capable carrier-based fighter bombers of World War II. The f4u used the most recent engine available at the time, a 2 000 horsepower 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney are 2 800 double wasp radio, which some Japanese pilots thought as superior.
It was mounted with 12.7 millimeter m2 browning machine guns with 400 rounds each gun, making it the most formidable American fighter of World War II. Its navy aviators recorded an 11 is to 1 kill ratio. High-velocity airplane rockets with a diameter of 12.7 centimeters and bombs weighing 1800 kg
7. MITSUBISHI A6M ZERO ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
From 1940 to 1945, this was a long-range fighter aircraft produced by Mitsubishi and used by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Zero is widely regarded as the world’s most capable carrier-based fighter.
When it was debuted early in World War II, it developed a reputation as a dock fighter, attaining an exceptional kill ratio of 12 to one. Its armament comprised of two 20-millimeter cannons, 7.7-millimeter machine guns, and 260-kilogram bombs.
6. GRUMMAN F6F HELLCAT ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This was a World War II American carrier-based fighter aircraft developed to replace the older f4f wildcat and to oppose the Japanese Mitsubishi a6m0. It was the United States Navy’s dominating fighter in the second part of the Pacific War, and the f6f made its combat debut in September 1943.
It was best known for its role as a rugged well-designed carrier fighter that outperformed the a6m0 and helped secure air superiority over the Pacific theater hellcats were credited with destroying a total of 5 223 enemy aircraft while in service with the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, which was more than any other Allied naval aircraft.
5. MESSERSCHMITT BF 109 ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This was a German World War II fighter aircraft that, along with the FW 190, formed the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force. It was one of the most advanced fighters when it first appeared, with all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear, and it was powered by a liquid-cooled inverted v12 air engine.
It was designed as an interceptor, but later variants were modified to serve as a bomber escort, a day and night all-weather fighter, a ground assault aircraft, and a reconnaissance aircraft.
4. P – 51 MUSTANG ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This was an American long-range single-seat fighter and fighter bomber with a top speed of around 708 kilometers per hour, a combat range of approximately 1200 kilometers, and a service ceiling of 12 800 meters. During World War II, the introduction of external drop tanks virtually extended its operating range to 2 200 kilometers. Mustang pilots claimed to have destroyed 4950 enemy aircraft.
The finest fighter of World Conflict II, its mix of speed, range, maneuverability, and firepower offered it exceptional adaptability, allowing it to be used in all major areas of the war, including long-range high altitude escort strafing and photo-reconnaissance. It could carry 450 kilograms of bombs and six t64 Hvar rockets and was armed with 12.7 millimeters an m2 browning machine guns with 1840 total ammunition.
3. FOCKE WULF FW – 190 ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This was a German single-seat single-engine fighter aircraft that was widely deployed during World War II. The fw 190 formed the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force, and it maintained supremacy over Allied fighters until the advent of the upgraded spitfire mk9.
The fw 190 was well-liked by its pilots; several of the love wave’s most successful fighter aces claimed many of their kills while flying it. The fw 190 delivered higher firepower than the bf-109 and superior mobility at low to medium altitudes, according to German pilots who flew both aircraft.
2. SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MK.IX ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
This is a British single-seat fighter aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force and other allies during World War II. The aircraft has a top speed of 650 km/h, a combat range of 399 km, and a service ceiling of 11,100 meters. The Bf 190a’s dominance against the Spitfire 5 lasted from September 1941 to July 1942. The spitfire 9 was modified with a new merlin 61, which provided a significant improvement in high altitude performance over the merlin 46. Mach 9 was created as an emergency countermeasure to the loud wolf fw 190a.
1. P – 38 LIGHTNING ( Best Fighter Aircraft in World War 2 )
The Lockheed P-38 LIGHTNING was an American single-seat piston engine fighter aircraft developed for the United States Army Air Corps. The p-38 was used in a variety of aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter bomber a knight fighter and a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks.
The p-38 was also deployed as a bomber pathfinder, directing streams of medium and heavy bombers used in aerial reconnaissance. The p-38 was responsible for 90 percent of the aerial footage recorded over Europe. The p-38 was utilized most successfully as the aircraft of America’s greatest aces in the Pacific theater of operations and the China Burma India theater of operations, and those were the list of the ten finest fighter aircraft of World War II.
1st Thought –
At its height in 1944, the US Air Force had 10,000 planes and half a million soldiers stationed in Britain, making it the greatest combat air force in history in terms of men and machines. 50,000 of them died or were lost in action, while 70,000 RAF personnel also perished or were missing in action.
2nd Thought –
My list of the best single-engined propeller fighters of the WW2 is below:
1) Messerschmitt Bf 109 – The most successful fighter in history with more than 100 pilots claiming more than 100 victories with it. The 109 was able to stand the time during the years when the development of fighter aircraft was faster than ever before or after and remained as the best or one of the best fighters throughout 1937-1945.
2) Focke-Wulf Fw 190/Ta 152 – Was far superior to any of its enemies when it first came to action in august 1941 and remained as the best fighter aircraft in the world until mid-1943. Throughout the war, it remained as one of the best fighters. The Dora versions and the Ta 152s in 1944-1945 were better in high altitude than the famous P-51s. FW 190 is the second most successful fighter in history. No other fighter during WW2 was that much better than all the other fighters as the Fw 190As were from august 1941 to mid-1942.
3) North American P-51 Mustang – Excellent high altitude and long-range fighters that played a large role in turning the tide in WW2. The B version was better than any of its opponents at the time it arrived in august 1943. The D version had a superior range but was overweight and in fighter vs. fighter, combat was worse than the Fw 190Ds and the Bf 109G-10s and the K4s and the Nakajima Ki 84s.
4) Supermarine Spitfire – Bf 109s long-time opponent and another plane that was able to stand the time. The Mk 1s were the best fighters in the world alongside the Bf 109Es. The emergence of the 109Fs and Fw 190s started a year and an eight months long period during which the Spitfires were truly outmatched by its enemies, but after the emergence of the Spitfire IX, it found its place back to the company of the best and stayed there until the end of the war.
5) Mitsubishi A6M Reisen “Zero” – The best carrier-based fighter plane in 1940-1943. Had a huge impact on the war in 1941-1943. The lightweight design allowed it to fly longer than any other fighter at that time and beat all the other planes in turning fights while its lack of armor and self-sealing fuel tanks made it vulnerable to enemy fire. The “Zero” did not stand the time that well and was outmatched by its new opponents in 1943.
6) Vought F4U Corsair – The powerful gull-winged fighter that ended the reign of the Zero in the Pacific in 1943. A fast and maneuverable long-range fighter. Was one of the best fighters in the world alongside the Fw 190, the Bf 109, and the Spitfire in early 1943 when it was first given to combat units and is the best carrier-based fighter aircraft to see action during the WW2 even though they didn’t use it as a carrier-based fighter that much. Its late war version, the F4U-4 was one of the fastest propeller aircraft during WW2. F4Us also reached an 11:1 kill ratio during the war and could carry a heavy load of weapons.
7) Macchi C.202/205 – The best Italian fighters in WW2. At the time of its arrival in the spring of 1941, the C.202 was one of the best fighters in the world and a better than the new Spitfire V that arrived at the same time. It was better at high altitude than the Spitfire V and could turn better at any altitude. In 1943 when better opponents started to emerge, the C.205 came to play and it very much matched the Spitfire IX that arrived around at the same time.
8) Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate – As a single plane, the Ki-84 was the best propeller fighter of WW2. It basically had it all: long-range, extreme high-altitude capability, speed, agility, firepower, and heavy armor. This was the Japanese late war air superiority fighter that in a plane vs. plane fight was superior to any other single-engined fighter of WW2. The reason why it isn’t at the top of this list is its low impact on the war and that it simply came too late as it first saw action in the November of 1944.
9) Dewoitine D.520 – The french new super-fighter in 1940 was the only other fighter to come close or to match with the Spitfire and the Bf 109. The D.520 was a highly agile interceptor that had a better turn rate and a better rate of climb than the Bf 109E. Its reign though didn’t last long as France fell to Germany only five months after the type was first given to combat units.
10) Republic P-47 Thunderbolt – A Powerful and heavy fighter that had enormous firepower. Was able to take the role of a fighter-bomber as well as the role of a long-range bomber escort fighter. Was decent at high altitudes. Though the heavy plane wasn’t that great in fighter vs. fighter combat. Looking the things from all aspects, the P-47 was probably the best-allied fighter aircraft when it first stepped into service in the November of 1942.
11) Lavochkin La-5/La-7 – The La-5 was one of the most successful Allied aircraft when it first stepped into service in the summer of 1942. It was extremely suitable for the low altitude battles of the eastern front as it had a great performance at low altitudes and could out-turn its opponents at low altitude. Some of the axis pilots said that the La-5 was a more dangerous opponent than the P-51 Mustang. Its disadvantages though were it’s short-range and that it wasn’t great at mid to high altitudes.
12) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 – The MiG-3 was the best fighter at high altitudes alongside the Bf 109 in 1941-1943. It was designed as a high altitude interceptor and was at its best at high altitudes, but its performance deteriorated in contrast to its opponents when flying at mid to low altitudes. Unfortunately for the MiG, the battles in the eastern front took place mostly at low altitudes. It was the best-allied fighter for a year in 1941-1942.
13) Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden-Kai – The Japanese Corsair. It is hard to find a reliable source for its performance specifications since many sources give its top speed as 594km/h, while the true top speed has been something more than 670km/h. One source thought gives its top speed as 710km/h with a boost. Anyways the Shiden-Kai would have been a high-performance fighter. It entered into service in January 1945 and similarly to the Ki-84 which had entered into service two months earlier it was highly maneuverable and fast with a heavy armament and heavy armor protection. Unlike the Ki-84 though it wasn’t a capable high altitude fighter. It was one of the best late warfighters, matching with the best, but only 415 of them were built.
14) Fiat G.55 – Similar to the C.205, was one of the three “Serie 5” Italian fighters built around the powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine. Sometimes considered to be the best of the three planes, but as I treat the Macchis as one whole, I have to list them higher. Was very equal compared to the often praised Spitfire IX that became available at around the same time.
15) Reggiane Re.2005 – Similar to the C.205 and the G.55, was one of the three “Serie 5” Italian fighters built around the powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine. Was the most heavily armed of them. Only 48 were built and therefore the plane had less significance.
16) Hawker Typhoon/Hawker Tempest – Excellent low altitude fighters and ground-attack aircraft. The Typhoon was fast at low altitude but had several problems and the Tempest was the fastest propeller fighter at the time it entered into service in June 1944 and unlike the Typhoon, didn’t have those problems.
17) Yakovlev Yak-3/Yak-9U – A Pair of excellent late war low altitude interceptors. The first Yaks, Yak-1 and Yak-7, were nothing special, but as the development progressed they evolved into one of the best low altitude dogfighters of the war.
18) Grumman F6F Hellcat – Was the first actual carrier-based fighter that was used as a carrier-based fighter that surpassed the Zero. The Hellcat was a powerful aircraft that relied on its horsepowers, speed, and rugged design, and on its heavy armament.
19) Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien “Tony” – When the Ki-61 entered into service in the spring and summer of 1942, it was far superior to its opponents Curtiss P-40 and Grumman F4F Wildcat. The Americans had developed certain tactics against the earlier Japanese fighters Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa relying on the strengths of the American planes compared to their opponents, but the arrival of the Ki-61 took these advantages from the Americans as they didn’t have any strengths against the “Tonys”. When the “Tony” first saw action, it was one of the best fighters in the world, but it stood the time poorly and wasn’t able to evolve like some of the other types. There were also engine problems that weren’t fully fixed until a new model had changed into a radial engine.
20) I can’t decide the last place on this list, but the top 19 looks so stupid that there should be one more plane on this list, so I leave the last plane for others to decide. My favorites for the last spot are the Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden, Mitsubishi J2M Raiden, and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Well, maybe it should be 20) Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden,
21) Mitsubishi J2M Raiden,
22) Curtiss P-40 Warhawk,
23) Hawker Hurricane,
24) Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki,
25) Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa,
26) Bell P-39 Airacobra,
27) Grumman F4F Wildcat…
3rd Thought –
In August 1943, Lockheed delivered to the AAF at Eglin Field, an upgraded P-38 with Paddle-Bladed Propellers, and 1,875 hp Alison Engines. Though it was Deemed Faster than anything the Allies had, with the Fastest Climb Rate of any Allied Fighter aircraft, the US War Department, Declined to place orders for it, because they didn’t want to shut down P-38 production for 2 or 3 weeks.
4th Thought –
It seems to me that selecting a “best” fighter should take into about how they best accomplished their missions. Without referring to their mission, it becomes very hard to judge their effectiveness. Also, these bests (which article’s list does do) are to rate the plane on their overall impact on the war, not just some low production pipe dream that was too late to move the needle. Some thoughts on bests:
– Best strategic interceptor – Spitfire – Yes the Hurricane was the main combatant of the Battle of Britain, but it was the Spitfire that took on the (in my view) heavier load of facing the Bf109s. And the Spitfire’s ability to upgrade its platform over the years kept it there, but the unfortunate inability to carry a significant amount of gasoline meant that its primary role for much of the war would be defensive.
– Best tactical interceptor – FW 190 – The decent rate of climb coupled with the tremendous gun load meant for significant troubles for Allied bombers. But given the production capability of the Allies, no Axis fighter would make a long-term dent in the Allies’ plans for aerial domination.
– Best naval fighter – F6F Hellcat – The Pacific War was perhaps “the” arena for naval aerial combat. The F6F employing the lessons of the earlier combat with the F4F Wildcats plus significant airframe and power adds made the Hellcat completely dominant wherever Essex class carriers went.
– Best turn and burn dogfighter – Zero – The Japanese, especially with the cadre of well-trained fighters early in the war, when challenged to dogfights invariable defeated their enemy (until their enemy learned that dogfighting was not how you beat these planes). Technically, these fighters were able to fight close in successfully because of the tradeoffs the Japanese decided to make (like lack of armor, self-sealing fuel cells, etc.).
– Best strategic fighter – P51 – It was ultimately the P51 that enabled the destruction of the Luftwaffe as a fighting force. With a range to chase Axis fighters anywhere over German-held territory and enough speed to even use energy tactics against the ME262, it was the P51 taking the allies to the victory line.
– Best ground attack fighter – P47 – simply the most massive, damage absorbing, weapon carrying fighter on the Allies side.
– Best all-around fighter – High altitude, naval combat, ground attack, aerial combat, energy tactics – this has to go to the F4U. Other planes may perform certain aspects better, but if only one fighter were allowed from each country based on historical performance, the F4U would be the clear winner in the all-around category.
– (Perhaps just a plug for the P38) – Best fighter for its historical role in both major theaters – P38. Successful early on in Europe. Also a successful Army Air Corp fighter in the Pacific. No other fighter has had the same impact in both theaters.
– Night fighter – Me110 – a terrible fighter for daytime operation, it came into its own on night operations. Fighters like the P61 never had a chance to prove themselves and were too late in the war. And the British night fighters Beaufighter and the Mosquito (which if they are in a “fighter” role could be considered as such) never had to deal with the massive night interception problems the Germans had.
5th Thought –
The P-51 Mustang was a poor flyer until they put a British engine in it. With the Merlin, it was a powerful fighter. Plus, it was specifically designed to go beyond earlier models of Spitfire though later marks of Spitfire were far superior in general performance. Some of the last Spitfires were basically pushing the limits of what piston engine aviation could achieve for monoplane fighters, as the jet age blossomed to overshadow all non-jet aviation in general. The Griffon Engine Spitfires were remarkable.
Though obviously jet fighters such as the Gloster Meteor were to go beyond Spitfires and their like, the Spitfire still hands down deserves the reputation as the most iconic fighter of WWII. Each variant has an interesting story and again, the later ones went massively beyond the first few marks of Spitfire in the earlier days of the war. A Mk I Spitfire was far removed from what the last Spitfires and their kin turned out to be.
Also, the Hawker Hurricane did the heavy lifting in the early war period for the British, until the Spitfires and other newer aircraft became more common. In the Battle of Britain the Hurricanes were the workhorses and the Spitfires were the champion thoroughbreds. Both needed each other and plenty of ground support to do as well as they did.
6th Thought –
f we include only air-to-air combat, and only the largest production numbers (over 5000), the ability to absorb damage, but not range or high altitude performance (so only medium range low-medium altitude combat), the ranking probably goes something like this: 1-F6F Hellcat 2-Tie between early P-47D Razorback and FW-190A, I give an edge to the 190. 3-FM-1/2 Wildcat (yes, over 5000 built, and absolutely deadly) 4-Me-109G 5-P-51D 6-Lavochkin La-7 8-Yakovlev Yak-3 (misses 5000 by only 152…) 9-Spitfire Mark IX 10-F4U1-D Corsair
Narrowly missing the top ten are the P-38L, the P-40N, some early or Soviet “re-balanced” late P-39s, and also the Hurricane, with the P-38L being somewhat ahead of all those, but not by a huge margin.
The P-51D ranks lower than expected due to its many problems, not least of which was gun jamming under Gs, nose “snaking” above 350 mph (so badly the trim tab had to be reversed to prevent pilots overstressing the rudder), and overall structural failures in dive pull-outs… The 109G had few flaws in comparison, but was generally out-climbed by the Spitfire Mk IX. The Yak-3 ranks low because of its firepower, the F4U for its low climb rate and modest turn rate. The two most critical criterias for low altitude combat were, in order of importance: 1-Slow speed sustained speed turn-fighting [around/under 200 mph] (increasing in importance in later WWII, contrary to all historian claims on this subject) 2-Firepower (extremely important) Other qualities were somewhat behind: 3-Climb rate 4-Dive speed (with dive pull-out performance included) 5-Resistance to damage