World War II

World War II was fought in the air as much as it was on the ground, with entire squadrons of fighter planes and bombers engaging in combat. Explore some of the most famous types of World War II airplanes and learn how they were used in combat operations.

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Junkers Ju 87 Stuka

The name for the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka derived from Sturzkampfflugzeug, the generic German word for dive-bomber. So famous was the Junkers Ju 87 that the term Stuka came to be identified with it in Western eyes. Read the specs and uses for the Stuka.


Focke Wulf Fw 190

The Focke Wulf Fw 190 was fast and maneuverable, and packed a heavy armament package, usually of four machine guns and two cannons. Provision was made for carrying a bomb or a drop-tank under the fuselage centerline. Check out this WWII fighter.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the biggest, most expensive gamble by the United States during World War II, built with incredibly high expectations on a tight deadline. Read about the big advances in aviation technology brought about by the B-29.

North American B-25 Mitchell

The North American B-25 Mitchell was efficient, easy to manufacture and repair, and able to do any job assigned to it. No other twin-engine bomber of World War II saw greater production. Learn the specifications and uses for this handsome bomber.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is one of the best-liked airplanes of World War II, tough and virtually trouble-free, though its performance was never quite up to that of its opponents. Read about this most important American fighter plane of 1942-1943.

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was the most prolific American plane of World War II. But the B-24 was not as attractive as the B-17 bomber, nor did it win the same popular regard from the public. Read the story and specifications of the B-24 bomber.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

The successes of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero during the first six months of World War II stunned Western observers. Its dominance was frightening, but soon surpassed. Learn about the rise and fall of the A6M Zero, and its unique design specifications.

Grumman F6F Hellcat

The Grumman F6F Hellcat had many virtues and two great assets: its strong, reliable Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine, and the increasing skill and training of its pilots. Read about the specifications and successful history of the F6F Hellcat airplane.

North American P-51 Mustang

The North American P-51 Mustang spelled doom for the Luftwaffe. It was not only able to escort bombers on long-range missions and engage in dogfights, it could also drop and destroy the German Air Force on the ground. Read more on this pivotal plane.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was considered the most sophisticated aircraft Lockheed had ever built. The distinctive sight and sound of the P-38 would make it one of the best-known aircraft of the war. Learn more about the unique P-38 Lightning plane.

Boeing B-17

The four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was almost certainly the best-loved bomber of World War II. Despite the plane's superiority, Congress didn't authorize its purchase in quantity until war was certain. Learn the story and specs of the B-17.