A Field Guide to Major WW2 Combat Aircraft

Table of Contents

Select the aircraft you would like to learn more about below:

Japanese Aircraft German Aircraft Italian Aircraft French Aircraft British Aircraft Soviet Aircraft American Aircraft
A6M - Infamous "Zero"
Ki84 - Late-war fighter
B5N - Torpedo bomber
D3A - Dive bomber
G4M - Medium bomber
Me109e - Fighter
Me109g - Fighter
Me110g - Night fighter
Fw190 - Fighter
Me262 - Jet fighter
Stuka - Dive bomber
He111 - Medium bomber
Ju88 - Medium bomber
Fi156 - Liason plane
Ju52 - Transport
M.C.202 - Fighter
S.M.79 - Medium bomber
D.520 - Fighter
Hurricane - Fighter
Spitfire Mk1 - Fighter
Spitfire MkIX - Fighter
Spitfire MkXIV - Fighter
Tempest - Fighter
Beaufighter - Night fighter
Mosquito - Multi-role fighter
Swordfish - Torpedo bomber
Wellington - Medium bomber
Lancaster - Heavy bomber
Tiger Moth - Trainer
Anson - Trainer
I-16 - Fighter
Mig-3 - Fighter
Yak-1 - Fighter
Yak-9 - Fighter
Yak-3 - Fighter
La-5fn - Fighter
Il-2 - Famous 'Sturmovik'
Il-4 - Medium bomber
Pe-2 - Multi-role fighter
Po-2 - Most useful plane ever
P-39 - Fighter
P-40 - Fighter
P-38 - Fighter
P-47 - Fighter
P-51 - Fighter
Wildcat - Carrier fighter
Hellcat - Carrier fighter
Corsair - Carrier fighter
Dauntless - Dive bomber
Avenger - Torpedo bomber
B-25 - Medium bomber
B-26 - Medium bomber
B-17 - Heavy bomber
B-24 - Heavy bomber
B-29 - Heavy bomber
PBY-5 - Flying boat
C-47 - Transport
L-4 - Liason plane
AT-6 - Trainer

A Field Guide to Major WW2 Combat Aircraft,

or at least the really cool looking ones

If you're like me, you love airplane books. Big, coffee-table-sized, lavishly illustrated books with lots of exciting photos and cutaways to pore over for hours. It's a good thing those books have lots of pictures, too, because they are often dreadfully boring to read. While it may conceivably be helpful to know that the Bf109 was powered by a Daimler-Benz dee-bee-five-oh-whatever producing so many horsepower at such and such an altitude, it certainly isn't light reading. So I took the liberty of preparing a kindler, gentler coffee table book, with all the boring technical bits left out. You don't even need a coffee table! What follows is still packed with information, but presented in an eye-friendly format for your amusement and enlightenment. The format should be easy enough to figure out, but below are a few comments that may provide you some further insights into what it all means...

It's hard to judge climb performance from these charts, but rate of climb is generally better in airplanes with the highest ceiling. Planes with low wing loading (lots of lift) or good horsepower-to-weight ratios will often break that rule of thumb (ouch!). Likewise, heavier planes tend to dive faster. For interesting factoids like this, you may have to break out a coffee table book, after all.

Bombers could often carry very heavy bombloads by leaving some gas or ammunition or sometimes even a crew member behind. Most of that stuff is pretty useful, though, so they tended to carry less than their maximum theoretical bombload. Therefore, bombloads are shown in grey for the typical mission, and in blue for more extraordinary situations. Alternative loadouts are also shown in this way: in grey if they were pretty common, and in blue if they were rare. Don't multiply the torpedoes or rockets by a thousand pounds, just the bombs. Fighters have their bombloads listed under armament rather than graphically portrayed like the bombers. Try not to get confused and send me hate mail. I could only fit so much stuff on the page. You'll figure it out. If it gets too stressful, check out a funny cartoon...

Table of Contents

(This is where all the planes are...)

All text, graphics and video copyrighted by Barry Munden. Website designed and hosted by Boom and Zoom Graphics.
You are welcome to make any non-commercial use of the video and graphics on this website that you wish, provided that I am visibly credited for the work wherever it appears.