Best Fighter Planes of World War II

corebare32

If you were a fighter pilot during WWII and you're going to fly over Europe and the Pacific, you will be in dog fights. You will as an escort for bombers over Europe, and air to ground support in both theatres. You will also strafe ground targets and ships.

Which plane would you want to fly?

Things to consider: Top speed and maneuverability at high and low altitudes. Durability. Visability out of the cockpit. Safety. Armament. Range and overall flying performance.

Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

1
Supermarine MKs 24 Spitfire
To talk about Rolls-Royce-engined Mustangs not coming on stream in numbers until 1944 is rather disingenuous.

Great Britain was at war with Germany in 1939, and the Royal Air Force needed fighter aircraft to compete against Messerschmitts. Thus it was that the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane were borne.

In 1940, those two fighter aircraft between them, defeated the might of Germany's Luftwaffe in what became known as The Battle of Britain. The greatest air battle of the war.

That the outcome of the Battle prevented Hitler from invading Great Britain, which otherwise might have kept the USA out of the War, has to be the greatest point as to what was/were the 'best' fighter aircraft of World War Two.

It's not about speed, armaments, ceiling, range, or any other statistic; it's what the aircraft DID. And between them the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane SAVED GREAT BRITAIN.
It was the prettiest but to me was flawed by it's lack of range and time over target. I was not aware it was faster than the P-51 I thought that the Me-109 had comparable speed with the Spirfire had the advantage of fuel injection and was superior in a climb. The P-51 was superior in range and altitude ( with the RR Merlin engine ) than either of the other two. Don't forget when Goering looked up and saw the P-51's over Berlin he stated the war is lost. My pick would have been the ME262 then the P51 then the Focke-Wulf 190. And in response to the American advantages you were doomed by being mesmerized by that Idiot Drug Addict all of you worshipped, hitler. If he let his generals free there may have been a different outcome. Fighting on two fronts because of this methed up psycopath did you in. Don't forget he did not want to be disturbed on D-Day and delayed releasing much needed Panzer reserves for about 24 CRUCIAL hours. So laugh. Best way to deal with getting your ass kicked
Basically the ultimate piston engined fighter of WW2 along with the Hawker Tempest - awesome performance - the Mustang remember was built to a British specification which incorporated all the lessons learned with the earlier Spitfires - without the Rolls engine it was mediocre - so see it as a Spitfire development - basically they are on par with each other!
[Newest]The spitfire really helped us in world war II
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2North American P-51D Mustang.
When introduced in larger numbers in early 1944, the Merlin engined Mustangs brought about a huge change in the daylight air offensive against Germany. For the first time, the Allies had a fast, maneuverable, high altitude single engined fighter, that could escort their heavy bombers to anywhere in Germany. This is What sets Merlin engined Mustangs apart from all other WWII fighters, others may have had similar performance, the Spitfire, the FW190D9, (The ME262 was a hundred mph faster. ) but none of these had the extreme range of the Mustang (except some early Japanese fighters which weren't even close to the Mustang in performance. ), which made the Mustang an offensive strategic fighter unlike the others. The P-51D was just like icing on the cake, with slightly better performance, range, and a bubble canopy. It literally changed the nature of strategic air warfare. A truly great fighter.
= Long-range, fast, maneuverable and easy to fly fighter. Superior visability for the dogfighter and ground attack fighter.
- = Fairly fragile. External fuel tanks explode.

TOP SPEED: 445 MPH. (486 MPH @ 30K feet)
ARMAMENT: 6-. 50cal machine guns.
ENGINE: 1,790HP Rolls-Royce Packard/Merlin, V-12 radial.
RANGE: Internal tanks - 1,140 miles. W/external: 2,200 miles.

corebare32

The P-51 was fast, tough and in the right hands COULD and WOULD out turn the opposition.
It was NOT a point-defense interceptor like the spitfire nor a natural fighter-bomber like the P-47, it was an air superiority fighter that evolved into the perfect long-range escort fighter.
Some planes could climb faster or accelerate faster, some could turn tighter or climb higher (recon planes. ), but only one did it all with longer range and a greater kill record: The North American P-51 Mustang, the greatest fighter plane ever.
[Newest]This is clearly the best

More comments about North American P-51D Mustang.

3Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-9
Best balancing act between all the necessary attributes of a fighter plane (performance; durability; stability as gun platform; innovation in controls; weight of shot etc). The Dora corrected the altitude performance issues of the basic 190 design, which was already superlative.
Have spoken to spitfire pilot from WWII who said it was the enemy plane theey 'had to look out for! '. He thought it was a better opponent than the 109 and compared well to the Spitfire.
The FW 190D9 in my option was the best fighter of WWII in the mid era. Superior to the spitfire in every way it dominated the air until the P51D came along in 1944.
[Newest]What? It's a great plane.


4Messerschmitt Bf 109K
= Easy to fly, fast and heavily armed. Multi-role fighter.
- = Not improved throughout war. Poor speed @ acceleration. Slow response to commands.

TOP SPEED: 354MPH
ENGINE: A 1,760HP Daimler, Benz @ Junkers 14 cyl. V-12 inverted radial
ARMAMENT: 2-7. 9MM guns. 4-20MM cannons.
RANGE: 820 miles.

corebare32

I thought all the late 109's were pushing the 430mph plus speed.
No1 like all the 3th reich weapon

5Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair
This was probably the best fighter plane of the war once it was in the air. Due to its incredible prop size which molded its wing design, it was considered too dangerous for carriers until the British came up with a proper approach solution. When it was in the air though, nothing had it beat. 'Whistling Death' was the nickname given to it by the Japanese, who feared it over any other plane in our arsenal, including the P51 and others that were believed to only be used in the European Theatre of the war.
An insanely powerful and big fighter with lots of firepower and armor.

SPEED: 415MPH. (435MPH @ 30K feet)
ENGINE: 2,325HP Pratt & Whitney R-2800-2,, 18 cylinder radial.
ARMAMENT: 6-50cal guns. 2,000lbs of bombs. 8-5inch rockets.
RANGE: 1,005 miles.

corebare32

Corsair was the superior plane to almost all in this list. If you needed long range support, then take the Mustang. Corsair actually had better armor than the Thunderbolt. Had the Corsair gone to Europe, statistics would have been far greater than the Thunderbolt. The corsair had to be reinforce for carrier landings which made it even heavier. Had this plane been rigged for European theater and no carrier landings, look out. According to American pilots I have spoken to, the Corsair handled better at high speeds than the Mustang. In head to head testing with a captured Fockwolfe 190, the Corsair could outclimb the Fockwolfe to 30k feet beating it by approximately 60 seconds. Also, the ME 109 wasn't a top five plane. Perhaps it was a top ten plane based on longevity in the war. Fockwolfe was a much better plane than the ME 109. Also, the ME 109 was very hard to land and had poor visibility. I read that 1/3rd of the ME 109 fatalaties were a result of landing accidents... How true that is I am not sure.
[Newest]The F4U-4 is my favourite plane because it was on the movie planes
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6Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
A solid built aircraft that pilots favored to be in. It made was to survive and and kill. It did exactly that. There is no other aircraft in the war that possessed a greater kill to death ratio. A great payload with a good range. The plane was the essence of the American spirit. Built strong and durable to last the fight.
The P-47 is the only fighter that did everything well. What did fighters do in WWII? Air to Air, Air to Ground, escort. The Tbolt was very good at all of these. Then add firepower (not just guns but underwing stores), pilot protection, and ruggedness and it's no contest. Any plane could do 1 or 2 things better, but no plane could do them all as well as the P-47!
= Maybe the most armored and well-armed fighters of the war. Could take a lot of punishment and still fly. Duel dogfighter/ground attack plane.
- = Slow at turning and climbing. Early models were terribly slow.

TOP SPEED: 433MPH
ENGINE: Monster 2,535HP Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial.
ARMAMENT: 8 - 12. 7MM guns. 2,500LBS of external-mounted bombs, rockets and other ordinance.
RANGE: 1,900 miles with tanks.

corebare32

[Newest]Basically it is a Flying Tank so I want to be in that when something puts a full load of ammo at you

7Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3
Regarded as the best dogfighter on the Eastern front. Tight turn radius (it could turn inside most fighters) and highly maneuverable.
TOP SPEED: 412MPH. (428 @ 20k feet)
ENGINE: 1,600HP V-12 radial.
ARMAMENT: 1-20MM cannon. 2-. 50cal guns all in the nose.
RANGE: 558 miles.

corebare32

The YAK-3 was reported by many to be the best handling and most maneuverable of WWII fighters. It was comparable to the rest of the best in other areas. From what I understand, maneuvering in air combat trumps all. I like it's look too.
I would have to place the YaK-3 over the others simply for the sheer agility, high speed approaching that of the Mustang, and good armament. When it started to appear in noticeable numbers, it absolutely crushed the 109 and 190 in most encounters.
[newest]
Obviously the best fighter during ww2. all thoe I did come a llitle to late to make a difference

8Messerschmitt Me 262
Limited discussion with people who have intensely studied the Me 262 have stated two strategic problems... Lack of critical engine materials and second slow start-up due to Hitler limited understanding of 20thCentury Air Superiority weaponry. It the title of best in what could have been... Earlier 42... No B-17's crossing the channel to attack Hitler Iron Fortress! Won the war no, delayed yes.
Excellent speed, armament and bomb load.
Full potential was never realized.
Well was the first of its kind,
[Newest]They could not even see you on one of these

9Mitsubishi A6M Zero
= Very fast. Excellent range. A highly maneuverable and versatile fighter. It was a dogfighter, aircraft carrier weapon and bomber.
- = No armor. Made of wood. Very poor climb rate and dive speed.

TOP SPEED: 358 MPH
ENGINE: Sakae 14 cylider radial.
ARMAMENT: 2-7. 7mm guns. 2-20mm cannons.
RANGE: 1,844 miles.

corebare32

The fighter was *not* made of wood. It did possess an excellent rate of climb, though in absolute climb speed it was not that fast. It was a steep climber.
At the start of the war there was no better fighter on either side of the ocean. It had the Americans playing catch up. I've seen one of the few left in the world in Kure, Hiroshima. It was a beaut!
[newest]
Undoubtedly the best fighter for Pacific war conditions 1940-early 1943, mostly due to its long range which gave it so much strategic value over the pacific islands.

10Lockheed P-38 Lightning
It took care of the Japanese. It made our top two aces of the war. It went to
The fight and came back. It took out the Japanese top commander of the war, the one who took out Pearl Harbor.
Great range and firepower, two powerful turbocharged engines and the best aerodynamics of any warplane make this plane a top choice. The kill ratio here is one of the very best. Limited only by altitude its superiority in the pacific was obvious.
Best all round fighter of the war?

The Contenders

11Lockheed P-38J Lightning
Big and fast. A great dogfighter and land-attack plane. It scared the hell out of the Germans.

ENGINES: TWO 1,325hp Allison w/ turbo superchargers.
TOP SPEED: 426 MPH.
CLIMB RATE: 20k feet in 5. 9 secs.
ARMAMENT: 1-20mm cannon & 4-50cal guns.

corebare32

Its the girl I would take to the dance.
Firepower, range, speed, in the right hands, a killing machine.

12Hawker Hurricane
Due to the USA's late entry into WWII (in real terms not until 1942 - some months after Pearl Harbor), Americans are limited in their choice of what were the best fighter and bomber planes. Because unless they know that Britain's RAF destroyed Germany's mighty Luftwaffe in 1940 in the Battle of Britain, with their superb Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires, they are at a disadvantage. Americans will also not know that Britain's mighty heavy bomber, the Lancaster, was bombing German sites a full three-and-a-half-years before a US bomber saw service over Germany.
Of course, Americans MUST choose the Mustang as their favourite because it was the only really good fighter plane they had - even though it didn't see real service until 1944, because national pride enters the equation. The Mustang was indeed a brilliant long-range plane, built to a British Air Ministry requirement, but useless until the US-built engine was replaced with the matchless, British, Rolls Royce Merlin engine. The same Merlin that powered Great Britain's Lancaster bomber, and both the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane fighters.

Without the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane, in 1940, Great Britain would no longer exist. And that's the only REAL test as to what were the best fighter planes of WWII
The Battle of Britain work horse.
It shot down more german planes than the spitfires and anti aircraft guns together.. Over 3000 were used by russian forces and the reliability was unmatched

13IAR 80
The IAR 80 was a Romanian World War II low-wing, monoplane, all-metal monocoque fighter and ground-attack aircraft. When it first flew, in 1939, it was comparable to contemporary designs such as the German Messerschmitt boyfriend 109B, the British Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, and the American Curtiss P-40B/Tomahawk Mk. I and superior to the Dutch Fokker D. XXI and Polish PZL P.24. However, production problems and lack of available armament delayed entry of the IAR 80 into service until 1941. It remained in front-line use until 1944

14Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden
Most ww2 aviation enthusiasts talk about how outclassed Japanese fighters were near the end of the war, but there were quite a few that were more than a match for there American counterparts. The N1K Shiden was one of those fighters. It was fast, extremely maneuverable and very heavily armed, and armored. Many people talk about how the Hellcat was the Zero killer, but few know about the aircraft which was the hellcat killer. With a top speed in excess of 400mph, a heavy armament of four 20mm cannons, high maneuverability, and unlike most previous Japanese fighters armor protection for the pilot, along with self sealing fuel tanks made this aircraft a highly potent force to be reckoned with.
In my opinion one of the best, if not the best, prop-fighters near the end of the war.
Awesome fighter in the hands of a skilled pilot.
[Newest]A very under-rated fighter. I personally would have preferred to fly this aircraft over any of the listed.

15Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H-1
Hitler failed to realize this majestic plane was built solely for high altitudes. The fighter made little to no impact on the war due its misuse in low altitude operations and lack of production.
This high altitude fighter is a beast. Master piece made by Kurt Tank. Fw190 D series was nothing but a stepping stone for this long nosed, large winged beauty. Shame that it was built in small number. It could have done way more if enough number was produced.
Anything that Dr. Kurt Tank touched turned into gold

16Hawker Typhoon
While I do prefer the spitfire as it was just a legend, the typhoon were fewer and more deadly at the end of 1941 and throughout the rest of the war. Also because it could carry up to 12 7.7mm browning machine guns or 4 20mm cannons made it a challenge for most German planes. So year typhoon for the win
MY DAD WAS A TYPHOON PILOT
It is a sick plane! 1

17Grumman F6F Hellcat
This is the plane that took the US to the gates of Tokyo nothing else matters, you have to look at the rate of climb of the F8 Bearcat and its left side roll under high throttle, it will run rings around other planes.
The F6f was played a big role in the Marianas Turkey Shoot, where the Allies downed 243 Japanese planes while only losing 31, a kill ratio of about eight to one.
This plane completely outclassed the zero when it was introduced. It was the best carrier fighter of the war.

18Junkers Ju 88

19Ilyushin Il-2
Most massed produced aircraft in all of aviation history.
It was a robust and sturdy multi-role attack aircraft. The Germans nicknamed it The "The flying Tank" or "The black death" due to its ability to take a beating and still fight on. Around shortages of fighter aircraft, Il-2s were occasionally used in place of the fighters.
The Il-2 should by in the top ten.

20Heinkel He 280

21Grumman F8F Bearcat
= Small, quick, deadly. An improvement from the Hell and Tigercats. All-around good carrier-based, nulti-roled plane.
- = Small. Somewhat fragile. Not the best dogfighter.

TOP SPEED: 421MPH.
ENGINE: 2,100HP Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18 cylinder radial.
ARMAMENT: 4-20MM cannons. 4-127MM rockets. Could carry 2 1,000lb bombs.
RANGE: 1,105 miles. More with external drop tanks.

corebare32

Some say it would have been the best fighter of the war and could out turn the zero. Never heard it described as fragile. French loved it and said it could do it all. In mock fights it often beat the early jets.
Bearcat never saw service in WWII!

22Kyushu J7W Shinden
Best of the best
Relousionary plane only pototypes made, like most Japanese planes built by hand but never built in numbers to make a difference, if they did the war would have been a clser thing, but they diddent have trained piolets to fly them

23Reggiane Re.2005
The Reggiane 2005 was undoubtly the best design and overall most effective fighter plane in the last couple of years of the war. It was an exceptionally beautiful aircraft not only in design but in maneuvaribility, fire power, and speed, however it was not easy to built and it took the Italian air ministry too long to start mass production to make a difference in the war, at the end very few were built. The only other fighter plane that could match the Reggiane was the Fiat G55
Luckily for the Americans, Italy managed to build only 48.
Grp Cpt. Duncan Smith, DSO DFCA, a British fighter pilot and fighter leader of World War II, greatly respected the Re.2005:

From wikipedia:
The Re.2005 'Sagittario' was a potent aircraft. Having had a dog-fight with one of them, I am convinced we would have been hard pressed to cope in our Spitfires operationally, if the Italians or Germans had had a few Squadrons equipped with these aircraft at the beginning of the Sicily campaign or in operations from Malta. Fast, and with excellent manoeuvrability, the Re.2005 was altogether a superb aeroplane. Neither the Macchi 205 nor the boyfriend 109G measured up to the capabilities of the Re.2005 series in manoeuvrability or rate of climb. I think it was easily the best aircraft Italy produced. It is a pity that no Re.2001/5s survive this day because they were fine examples of Italian engineering craftsmanship.
Grp Cpt. Duncan Smith

24Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate"
Fastest Japanese fighter in strong numbers. Dive was over 496 mph.
Though sluggish by Japanese standards, it was a better dogfighter than most all Allied types. It was equally good at energy tactics.
If you could match it one way, it could beat you the other way. Furthermore, it was easily mistaken for less powerful Nakajima fighters. Witness the death of American ace Tommy McGuire for example.

The Frank's design was stellar but given late war conditions in Japan, quality control was undermining it at the factory and poor pilot and mechanic skill dogged it at the front. Even so it commanded respect of Allied pilots. In fact the American assigning code names to Japanese aircraft named this one after himself!
Excellent performance, high maneuverability, and powerful armament.

25Fiat G.55 Centauro
An outstanding fighter with high manoeuvrability even in high altitude, high speed and heavy fire power
It is very strong than spitfire
Called the best Axis fighter overall in 1943 by the Luftwaffe.
Level speed was 417 with WEP; 590 mph dive. Very good high altitude handling, aerobatics, and performance. Critical altitude was 8 Km for speed.

Some had 5 Mauser 20mm cannons! Great for intercepting heavies.

More robust than the Re2005 and without it's vibration/flutter.
Best for mass production of the Italian type 5 fighters and most suitable to upgrade to the larger DB603 engine.

Good rear view unlike the boyfriend 109.
It even had faster dive acceleration than the Gustav!

Chosen to be the standard ANR Italian fighter since the others were inferior at more altitudes.

26Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
The p40 was the third most produced american fighter it severed important roles in Africa china middle east pacific it may not have been the best dog fighter but it was a great fighter bomber the p40 was great at bringing the pilots home it was very durable
The main land based fighter of the US until it was replaced by the P-51, P-47, and P-39. It played a big role in the defense in China and Burma as Chennault's well known Flying Tigers. The P-40 was the third most produced American fighter.

27Nakajima ki-87

28Messerschmitt Me 209

29Yakovlev Yak-9
Fastest high altitude Russian fighter.
More maneuverable then anything in the Luftwaffe.
Could climb with the best (even the boyfriend 109K).
Level top speed was 434 mph, faster than any other Russian fighter.
Like a Russian equivalent of the Spitfire, except its nose guns were concentrated for better accuracy regardless of range. Russian guns were most efficient per lb of any in the world. The RAF Hispano wing cannon also was prone to jam more (especially the American version). So the British improved it for the Tempest.
The only all metal Russian fighter design.
It could beat the P-51 in a dogfight but the Mustang had longer range and higher altitude capacity.
A real champion of the Eastern front, the Yak-9U did more than its share of sweeping the Luftwaffe from the skies in 1944-45. The La-7 had an edge in speed down low but that's all. It couldn't match the altitude performance of the Yak-9U.
It was one of the most prolific Soviet fighters, right behind the Yak-3 and La-7 in the last year of the war.
Rugged and simple, it could fly (like most Soviet planes) when it was too cold for the more sophisticated enemy fighters to work at all.
At first the new engine was temperamental so early production batches retained the less powerful reliable engine of the older Yak-9s until it matured sufficiently. Even so they could do 420 mph with the new airframe.
Like the T-34 tank, the Yak-9 and Yak-9U, were relatively simple to build, very rugged in a dogfight, and yet extremely fast and maneuverable. Far superior to the boyfriend 109K and more than a match against FW-190-D9 it was the best fighter at the end of the war, bar none.

30Grumman F4F Wildcat
A big fat armored plane with a terrific punch of 6.50 caliber machine guns. It was the main carrier fighter of the US from 1940 to 1943. Because the of its armor, it could stand a lot of punishment and bring the pilot back alive.

One downside of the F4f was it manual hand cranked landing gear. The pilot had to crank a lever around to lower and raise the landing gear, and if it wasn't fully crank and locked it would spring back and result in injury to the injury.
This plane did not have 6.5 caliber guns Do you understand that size that would be?

31Dornier Do 335 Pfeil

32Mitsubishi A7M Reppu

33Vought XF5U

34Gloster Meteor
What about the mosquito or the German Stuka, though both are bomb carriers they were used in dogfights. The Typoon and Kitty hawk and Hunter Fury would all outclass a Yak or a Mitsubishi Zero, and I can't help but feel that some of the aeroplanes selected here are just based on their 'cult' status or their unique looks such as the corsairwith its folding wings, or the mustang which is just a brash US-pimped up spitfire.

35Nakajima Ki-43
The Ki-43 massively produced for the Japanese Army Air Force. It was a small and light armored but a highly maneuverable target that allied pilots would find it difficult to takes these planes down. They can reach max speeds up to 500km/h and are mainly armed with x2 20mm cannons. Allied code name is the Oscar

36Messerschmitt Bf 110
Great speed, armament, but can be easily outmaneuvered, since it's twin-engined, and not very maneuverable.
A b-17 can out turn the boyfriend-110

37B-17 Flying Fortress
Best bomber and plane that could take the most damage
Best plane in the war

38Dewoitine D.520
This is a beautiful plane with a unique style.

39Mitsubishi J2M Raiden

40Horten Ho 229

41Bell P-39 Airacobra
So beloved by Red Army fly boys and kept Soviets in the game early in the war. Roomy cockpit, very good competitive with Fritz at low altitude. Gave great punch with its 37mm cannon, 2 12.7 Brownings and 4 0.30 cal. or 2 12.7 under the wing.

42Messerschmitt Me 163
It may have not done much to alter the course of the war but it performed better than anything in the sky's. In 3 minutes it could be over 30000 ft. Its acceleration was far better than that of Korean war jets and could climb at 70 degrees and still accelerate. The main drawback was its volitile fuels and 6:45 seconds of fuel.
In addition the 163 was the only operational tail-less and only operational rocket fighter

43Macchi M.C.205V Veltro
Extremely maneuverable at low altitude with adequate performance at high. High ate of climb, being able to outclimb every allied fighter.
Great fighter even though it was hard to perform maintainence on the engine. Reliable warhorse.
Great climb ratio. A pair of 20mm cannons and a pair of 12.7mm MG. Extremely manuevreable at low altitude, even outpeforming the legendary P-51 Mustang. Just as good as the Mustang at high altitudes. It could fight on equal terms with the top Allied fighters.

44De Havilland Mosquito
So versatile, fast and devastating firepower. The concept to use wood when metal was so scare, and using available carpentry skills was simply brilliant and the result sublime
This plane was very fast it flew a variety of missions. This plane played an important role in the war. It should be listed in the top ten.
Simply the plane I would want

45Lavochkin La-7
Very powerful engine, great stability at high speed, accelerated very quickly, and it was the most powerful Soviet plane: 3xB20 20mm cannons.
Also one of most forgotten fighter.
Not so much produced as Yaks so much of fame went to yak's. But Lavockhin La5fn was probably airplane that turned tide in east, available at large at mid 1943. Best fighter prior was probably (at east) lend-lease P39 from USA. First Soviet fighter that gave Fritz hell in the skies.
Superior maneuverability at high speeds than any other. Outkills spitfire, bf109 any fw 190 simply because its faster and more maneuverable at high almost jet speeds. You can't see it coming because it can climb 2 times faster before engage and dive on you. it can outchase you in climbing it can outturn anything but spitfires which are much slower and can't cope with hawk attacks of boom and zoom. when they outturn La7 it simpli can dissapear with better performance up or flat or downhill and strike again.

46Kawasaki Ki-100
Though few in number and slow on paper, this Japanese fighter was matched only by the post-war Bearcat in a dogfight!

It was the only Japanese fighter that that could cope with 3 Ki 84s at the same time in mock combat (superior climbing turn).

It could match P-51s in a dive.

It was tough and reliable. No other Japanese fighters were better protected, and the vulnerable unreliable inline powerplant finally was replaced by a reliable radial engine that almost all other Japanese late-war fighters lacked.

It was easy for the green pilot to master. In 1945 this mattered.

It was lighter than its Ki 61-II forbear, and could beat it even up high in mock combat.

Its high speed 20mm cannons were paired in the cowl for lethal accuracy regardless of range.

Even if synchronizing cut their rate in half (from 850 to 425 rpm each) its still 14 rps combined (close to the uninterrupted rate of the navy wing- cannon on the Zero 52).

The wing-mounted 12.7mm MGs would be less likely to jam than cannons under g loads during maneuvers. Their rate was 900 rpm each, so that's another 30 rps for 44 rps total. So it wasn't limited to shooting only while flying strait or in the sweet spot of cone convergence.

The ammo load was good for a Japanese fighter too.

True, it was slow but not when pulling out of a dive!
It could have been built much earlier since the radial engine and the Tony airframe were around for years already, they just never met. Another what if? In hindsight. What if the design team had been open to a non inline Ki 61 earlier? Were they too devoted to it despite its failings to ever consider a radial alternative? It seems it took a bomb raid on the inline factory to force the issue so late in the war.

I agree it would be more at home as a mid-war fighter than a late-war lash-up
That worked out beyond expectations. Imagine if it was in place of the thousands of A6M5s? All that mass production wasted on an obsolete Zero model. The ki 100 was everything the Zero wasn't. Faster and tougher. And still a ninja dogfighter.

47Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star
Although this plane was ready by '43 to be produced, the U.S. Army decided not to produce it until after the war. It was as fast and maneuverable as the German jet fighters, and probably would have defeated them in battle.

48de Havilland Vampire

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