World War I (1914-18) created the instability in Europe that paved the way for another international conflict, World War II, which erupted two decades later and would prove to be even more devastating. Coming to power in an economically and politically unstable Germany, Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler rearmed the nation and signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to pursue his ambitions for world domination.
In September 1939, Hitler’s invasion of Poland led Britain and France to declare war on Germany, ushering in World War II. Over the next six years, the conflict would claim more lives and destroy more land and property around the world than any previous war. Among the roughly estimated 45 to 60 million people were killed, where 6 million Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of Hitler’s evil final solution known as the Holocaust. Airplanes were critical to the war and had a major impact on many landscapes and world population.
World War II was the pernicious and massive war in history. World War II involved more than 30 countries. The war, which began with the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, continued for six bloody years until the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945.
Major Bombers used in World War II
The manufacturers of World War II participated in the largest industrial effort in history. Airlines have gone from building a handful of planes at a time to building them by the thousands on assembly lines.
Units Produced: 36,183 Units
IlyushinIl-2Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft was the most produced military aircraft in The Soviet Union’s aviation history. It was designed in 1940 and production began in early 1941, but when the Nazis invaded there were only 249 available.
After the factories were moved out of the reach of the Germans, production quickly skyrocketed and the IL-2 became essential to the Red Army as air and bread. Due to the heavy armor protection, the IL-2 could survive a lot of damage and return to base, making it popular with crews.
Due to heavy casualties, a rear machine gunner was added. First as a field modification, but later incorporated into the design, which was a welcome addition to avoid enemy combatants.
The two cannons and two machine guns firing forward with the capacity to carry up to 1,320 pounds of bombs and 12 rockets, the IL-2 was a feared and respected aircraft that could pierce the upper armor of the tanks. heavier. of the German army.
Units Produced: 31,000+ Units
The Soviet Yak fighter (YakovlevYak-3) was a Soviet fighter used during World War II. It was a sturdy vessel and very easy to maintain, so it was appreciated by all ground staff and pilots. They were first developed in 1941 but did not enter service until three years till 1944. Their primary use was as tactical fighters, engaging in aerial combat in the lower sky (13,000 feet and below).
The Yak was considered to be one of the lightest and smallest aircraft to be used as a large fighter jet among all the other fighter jets used during World War II. It offered excellent performance, thanks to its extremely high power-to-weight ratio.
The French ace of World War II, Marcel Albert, considered the Yak to be an aircraft far superior to the Spitfire and the P-51D Mustang, having flown the Yak in the USSR.
After the end of the war, the Yak flew with the Polish and Yugoslav air forces, then in 1952, it was withdrawn from service.
Messerschmitt Bf 109
Units Produced: 30,480 Units
If you look at the history of aviation, you will get to know that the 109 was one of the best airplanes of all time. It even competed against the British Spitfire, which is an astonishing feat.
It was graceful in the air as a dancer. At high altitudes, no other plane could even touch it. It fought at low altitudes, which it was made for when it accompanied bombers over Britain. It carried 20mm guns and would become the Luftwaffe’s most important fighter.
The Bf 109 was a German WWII fighter aircraft designed by two men named Robert Lusser and Willy Messerschmitt in the 1930s. The Bf 109 was one of the only truly modern aircraft of the war. It included features such as retractable landing gear, all-metal unibody construction, and an enclosed canopy. It was powered by a liquid-cooled reverse Aero V12 engine.
It was first used during the Spanish Civil War and even remained in service until the dawn of the jet age near the end of World War II. It was the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s Fighter Force. Gradually, it was replaced by the superior Focke-WulfFw 190.
The basic plan for the Bf 109 was to be an interceptor, but later models and variants were built for a variety of tasks such as the fighter-bomber, day fighter, night fighter, all-weather fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, military aircraft, ground attack, and of course, a bomber escort.
Units Produced: 29,000 Units
The 190 is one of the greatest fighters of all time, no Allied aircraft that fought it will ever forget what it did. It was introduced in 1941. The fighter immediately began to destroy the RAF and inflicted heavy punishment on the Allied bombers.
The 190 was a perfect fighter, fighter-bomber, and anti-tank aircraft and it was highly respected by all Allied pilots. Oberleutnant Otto Kittel, who was an incredible pilot, scored almost all of his 267 kills in a 190.
The 190 was a single-seat, single-engine fighter designed by Kurt Tank. The 190 became the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force). It had a counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
It was powered by a BMW engine and because of this it could lift heavier loads than the 109, it also allowed it to be used as a night-fighter, day-fighter, ground-attack aircraft, and fighter- bomber.
Units Produced: 14,533 Units
In the early 1930s, the Hawker Hurricane was designed by Sydney Camm at Hawker Aircraft, a British single-seat combat aircraft. It had exemplary service during World War II and accounted for over 60% of the air victories in the Battle of Great Britain. The Hurricane emanated from the Hawker PV.3, a design that meets the F.7/30 specification.
Known as the workhorse of World War II, the Hawker Hurricane was part of the reason the Allied forces won. The hurricane was crucial for air combat, especially at the start of the war during conflicts such as the Battle of Britain. It was manufactured between 1937 and 1944 and was in service for most of the war.
The maximum flying speed of Hurricane is 340 mph, in a range of about 470 miles, and at an altitude of 35,000 feet. It is approximately 31 feet long, 13 feet high and 40 feet wide.
There have been nearly 15,000 hurricanes in total. Today there are around 13 that can still fly, while many examples that cannot fly are on display in museums.
Units Produced: 15,000 Units
The Junkers Ju 88 was one of the fastest bombers to enter service during World War II with a top speed of over 300 mph. It was designed to fly faster than hunters who were later able to intercept it.
It was one of the most versatile fighter jets in war, being used as a bomber, dive bomber, torpedo bomber, and even as a night fighter. It was in the service of the Luftwaffe (German: air weapon) throughout the war.
In 1943, a disabled Romanian pilot flew this Junkers Ju 88 to Cyprus. The bomber made its way to the United States, where it became part of the Axis Air Fleet. American badges and large American flags protected it from attacks by unknown American military planes over the Midwestern countryside.
Units Produced: 20,351 Units
The Spitfire is possibly the most famous aircraft of the WWII era. It was the king of the low altitudes. It will forever be known as the plane that turned the tide in the Battle of Britain.
Their main enemy in this battle was the 109, the Spitfire kept the Germans low with their bombers which was not ideal for the 109 but perfect for the Spitfire.
During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became famous for having the highest win-loss ratio among British aircraft. Bob Tuck (27 wins), Johnnie Johnson (34 wins) and Douglas Bader (20 wins) were the best fighters in this battle.
The Spitfire was also the most produced fighter by the British and was produced continuously throughout the war.
The rest of the most widely used aircrafts in World War II are as following:
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Image)
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress (Image)
- Vought F4U Corsair (Image)
- Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (Image)
- AradoAr 234 (Image)
- Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (Image)
- Avro Lancaster (Image)
- Heinkel He 111 (Image)
- Heinkel He 177 (Image)
- North American B-25 Mitchell (Image)
- Short Stirling (Image)
- Messerschmitt Bf 110 (Image)
- Bristol Blenheim (Image)
- Vickers Wellington (Image)
- Junkers Ju 52 (Image)
- Douglas SBD Dauntless (Image)
- Martin B-26 Marauder (Image)
- Dornier Do 17 (Image)
- Dornier Do 217 (Image)
- Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (Image)
- Douglas A-20 Havoc (Image)
- Dornier Do 19 (Image)
- Mitsubishi G3M (Image)
- Grumman TBF Avenger (Image)
- Hawker Typhoon (Image)
- Consolidated B-32 Dominator (Image)