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.

The Top Ten

1 Supermarine MKs 24 Spitfire

After the war in Australia we had to make some purchases prior to the age of jets. Australia as you will know is a vast island continent and the only nation which inhabits an entire continent alone... but very sparsely populated and difficult to defend. Long range fighters were essential then and now. RAAF pilots had flown both mustangs and spitfires during the war and opinion amongst them was divided somewhat, generally dependent on which they had flown most. The spitifre was seen as a highly responsive sports car, like a ferrari, incredibly light on the controls and beautifully engineered. Like a sports car it was uncomfortable and cramped compared to American aircraft which took into consideration pilot comfort - as with all things American - and a bigger build of gentleman behind the stick. The mustangs were flown by Australians against the Japanese, not in Europe. Some pilots, like our greatest ace Clive Caldwell flew p40s, Spits and mustangs and so were in a good position to ...more

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

To this day, the sight and sound of the Spitfire is like that of no other plane. With her slim fuselage, elegant cockpit cover and that distinctive whining engine noise that changed pitch when she banked and rolled, it is the Spitfire that still evokes Britain’s fortitude and courage in wartime â€" her resistance and her never-say-die heroism. And it was the Spitfire that changed the course of Britain’s war. This is the reason her fame has endured â€" why her fire power, her manoeuvrability and her stamina are still revered in aeronautical circles. As Wing Commander Andrew Green, who also piloted the more modern Phantoms and Tornados, points out: '’People say that after the Battle of Trafalgar, England was safe from invasion for ever. But if it wasn’t for the Spitfire we would have been invaded in 1940.’’

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2 North 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.

Not many people actually comment about what type of ammunition the p-51 had that was different than other planes of that era. The P-51 had the forward facing guns of anywhere from 4 to 8 guns depending on which version and country the plane was to be flown by. The one I am familiar with is the American flown version with 4,20mm guns. But back to the ammo, most planes had either just Armor piercing tracer rounds, or a mixture of non tracer Armor piercing and Tracer. The 20mm allowed for a non-tracer High Explosive round, which tended to take planes down rather quickly. The upside and downside of this is that you can shoot down the enemy quickly, but because there are no tracers at all the only indication that you are hitting the other plane is the other plane going down or catching on fire. Another upside is that the other plane, (Lets just say for instance a zero.) might not know you are there until it is too late.

= 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

Some what difficult to take off until ll you got it up on the mains. Before that it had the same problems of all tail draggers.i

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3 Messerschmitt Bf 109K

Best single engine fighter of the war in every respect. speed, check. Maneuverability, check. altitude performance, check. firepower, check. durability, check. numbers, double check. fear factor, off the charts. The Kurfurst model presented, was faster at 460mph than the P-51D mustangs top speed of 437mph, was more maneuverable, thanks to it's lighter weight and leading edge slats, and had vastly superior firepower in the form of three 30mm cannons and two 13mm heavy machine guns, compared to the stangs six dinky 12mm machine guns. the only area in which the runstang was superior, was range, but that doesn't really matter, since both planes were designed for the exact opposite roles. The stang was a long range escort fighter, whereas the 109 was a defensive interceptor. The laminar flow wing of the stang was dangerous, and contrary to popular myth, made it a dangerous aircraft to fly, since laminar flow wings give next to no stall warning. It was hardly the "pilots airplane" ...more

The Mustang's advantages over 109 are a total myth. To compare the fastest versions that saw service during the war, the P-51D top speed was 437mph, while the boyfriend-109H was 470mph. Range wasn't much different either. P-51 max range with external tanks was 1,650 miles, while the range of the boyfriend-109 was 1,491 miles. Max altitude of the boyfriend-109H was 49,200 feet, while the P-51d's max altitude was 41,900 feet. Firepower isn't even remotely comparable. The mustang was armed with 6 miniscule 12.7mm machine guns, while the 109 was packing up to three 30mm cannons, and two 13mm machine guns. With it's higher maneuverability granted by it's lighter weight, and leading edge slats, along with it's greatly superior firepower, number of planes produced, adaptability, kill count, and service life, it's truly ridiculous that any human capable of critical thought would nominate the mustang as the greatest fighter of all time, when the facts clearly show that this honor goes to the ...more

= 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

She is cool

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4 Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-9

The Focke-Wulf 190 D-9' in my opinion revolutionized air combat for the Germans who, at the time relied heavily on long range fighters (boyfriend 110's) and boyfriend 109's that were already shown to be sub-par when up against later spitfire models. It came at a time when Britain had control of the skies and brought the Germans back into the fight. The D-9 was highly effective and feared by the allied bomber formations and had a certain fear factor to it that played a part in combat. It was really a jack of all trades you might say. Its 30mm cannon had devastating effect on aircraft and ground targets and its great maneuverability gave it the edge in dog fighting less maneuverable bomber escorts like the P-38 and P-47. A wartime winner with a legacy that will live on.

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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.

Great name

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5 Messerschmitt 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,

By far the most advanced fighter of WWII. Being more than 100 miles faster than any allies fighter and equipped with 4 deadly 30 mm MK 108 cannon or air-to-air R4M rockets, it outclassed any other fighter of WWII.

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6 Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair

A Marine pilot in a Corsair saved my father's life when their convoy was attacked by Kamikaze pilots late in the war. Dad was on the bridge manning the earphones and sending fire orders to the various stations when a Kate got through the flack and headed toward the bridge. The Corsair was up in the sun, belly painted gray and near invisible. It did and extreme dive and as he pulled up, cut the Kate in half with the 6 50cal guns. Only a part of the engine nacelle hit the side if the ship doing some minor damage. While all this was happening... My mother was at home in a defense plant... Inspecting riveting on wing sections... For F4U Corsairs. True story.

One of the best aircraft in history. Japanese pilots feared it more than any other aircraft. And in mock dogfights against F6f, P51 and captured FW190, Corsair was better or even with these other great aircraft.

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

Fast, strong, could take so much punishment, carry multitude of armaments for many different functions. Only real weakness was landing on carriers. Could just flat out do EVERYTHING well.
Hellcat, P-51, right up there with, but one on one I'd rather be in a Corsair.
Truth is without any of these three we'd been in deep trouble.

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7 Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

My Uncle was part of the 354th Fighter Group that forcibly turned in their P-51s for P-47s in 1944 and he always said that the P-47 in the hands of an experienced combat pilot was every bit as good a fighter in actual air combat as the P-51. (He passed at 96 in 2015) Yes, the P-47 lacked Range, but when flown by an experienced fighter pilot, it "poured out lead" and could take a beating and continue flying. He didn't want to give up his Mustang, but soon was glad he did. He felt safer in a Jug because he knew it would get him home. Mustang's were the pretty boy's choice, but he loved the P-47 because it kept flying even after tremendous damage. He felt the lower kill ratio was due to many inexperienced pilots flying the Jugs, many who didn't even see the enemy until they were heavily damaged. The Mustang's rarely flew ground attack because they had a vulnerable belly.

The Jug was faster than a Mustang in a dive, and both the P-47 & P-51 had similar rates of climb and ...more

= 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

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 was built to last it had 8 50cal machine guns, long range and carried a impressive payload not to mention it was one if the biggest fighters that could take hits and still fly! The 262 doesn't deserve to be on top of p-47 because it was introduced to late in the war and it was supposed to be a bomber Hunter, the allies could take out the 262 easily when it turned because it lost so much speed, thus making it a bad "fighter".

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8 Mitsubishi A6M Zero

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, not Allied plane could touch it either for maneuverability, firepower, or range. The most advanced plane of its time. It would be at the top of this list if this wasn't an English site. A Spitfire, Mustang or boyfriend-109 aren't fit enough to share airspace with a 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

legit man

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9 Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3

In the end it was the opinion of pilots that matter. When the German pilots were told to "avoid combat below five thousand metres with Yakovlev fighters lacking an oil cooler intake beneath the nose! ", it is obvious the Germans were terrified of this plane. When it came to most other planes they had a plan of attack which was effective, but against the Yak 3 it was simply: 'RUN! ' Additionally when the French pilots serving with the Soviet Air Force were offered any British, American or Russian airplane to fly and chose the Yak-3 over all others. Albeit I don't know if these pilots were the best ever, they may have developed bias for the plane they few in the soviet front, but it is still a great testimonial for the plane. Because of these reasons I will always consider the Yak-3 to be the best fighter of WW2.

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.

The equivalent to ww2 fighters as the T72 was to tanks.

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10 Lockheed P-38 Lightning

The large two engined P-38 looks nothing like your typical World War 2 fighter, looking more like a heavy fighter, but the Lightning (namesake of the F-35 Lightning II), or Fork Tailed Devil to the Germans and Two Planes One Pilot to the Japanese was an extremely fast and maneuverable plane. With a heavy armament packed into the nose, getting hit by a P-38 would mean defeat or a serious problem. German pilots were told to "never go head on with a P-38." The P-38, while not as iconic as the P-51 or Spitfire, achieved many important things. It produced America's top ace, Richard Bong, and avenged Pearl Harbor when it shot down Admiral Yamamoto's transport plane.

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.

Toughest mother in the air in the pacific. 600 mph in a dive.

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The Contenders

11 Kawanishi 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.

By far one of the best planes Japan ever produced. It was more than a match for anything america could throw at it. The N1K had a killer armament of 4x20mm cannons that would tear thru bombers and fighters alike. It also had one of the best climb rates out of any planes in ww2, with the high altitude performance to boot. With Japan's belief to keep the maneuverability of fighters high, so that they could out turn any American fighters, with the application of that belief to the N1K it only helped enhance it's killing abilities.

Personally, I think if I had the choice out of any prop plane to fly during ww2 it would be the N1K.

In my opinion one of the best, if not the best, prop-fighters near the end of the war.

Sweet plane

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12 Grumman F6F Hellcat

The arrival of this plane played a huge role in allowing America to turn the tide against Japan. It was the first American fighter to have a firm advantage over the Zero and was easier to fly than the Corsair. It also shot down more planes than any other Allied aircraft during the war and accounted for around 75% of aircraft downed during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot of 1944.

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.

There were 305 American pilots that became aces behind the stick of this aircraft, more than any other American fighter plane in history. It is credited with 5,000 + aerial victories. Need I say more?

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13 Hawker 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 ...more

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

Saved England, easy to fly and unlike the Spitfire, was easily prepared.

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14 Fiat G.55 Centauro

Quoted best axis fighter until the end of 1943, and for good reason. And I chose this because I don't like German or English planes and American planes are not really as good as they say they are.

This fighter is better than Spitfire

It is very strong than spitfire

It's just the G 55. what else?

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15 Heinkel He 280

The REAL "first" jet fighter, and the first aircraft to feature an ejection seat. With a top speed of 570mph, it was faster than the ME-262, and the production version would have been more heavily armed, with 6 20mm cannons to the 262's four 30mm. It was also more maneuverable than the FW-190A, as proven during mock dogfights between the two. Range was the only advantage of the 262. Was also an incredibly rugged aircraft, that could take tremendous punishment.

16 Curtiss 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

Okay this wasn't the best of the best. It wasn't better than the Mustangs in some opinions. But it still held off the Japanese and was probably the most important American aircraft. Which aircraft responded at Pearl Harbor? Not the Mustang.

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.

i like it

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17 Junkers Ju 88

To be honest this is a bomber not a fighter

What is this thing doing here? It's a medium bomber.

This ain't a fighter

Was used as night fighter. For this was good against hevy bombers. Speed, altitude, range, possible armament... alll good.

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18 Blohm & Voss BV-238

Largest, and heaviest aircraft of WWII, and the best flying boat of it's day.

19 Focke-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 could beat the Mustang in every way. Unfortunately it is not well known and it doesn't get enough credit. It was not used properly because Germany was running out of resources.

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.

From its performance it should be no. 1. However with around 150 produced it played a minor or even no role at the end of the war. You can see as last evolutionary step of the FW 190 which is anyway among the top planes of the war.

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20 Junkers Ju 87

Fantastic aircraft, obsolete as dive bomber, lethal as tank buster

21 Hawker Typhoon

Actually it was a very good fighter. Pierre Closterman rode her to fame as the best French born fighter pilot of the war. She was mas heavy, but made up for it with an engine that could pull a fully loaded bomber. And she carried enough armor to stop nearly everything fired into her. She had one drawback. The torque of her engine killed large numbers of its rookie pilots. Both take off and landing, the engine would simply roll the plane onto its back and dig her into the ground if the pilot wasn't aware applying hard opposite rudder. She killed more of her own pilots than the Germans shot down pilots flying the 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

Did the job it was asked to do, knock out tanks, very fast

BANTER IS LIFE SCOTLAND ALL THE WAY LADDYS WE DESTROYED THE JapanS

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22 IAR 80

Armed with nothing but death.

Game changer

An unknown country that produced a world beating aircraft

Iar80/81...no.5 in top before the ww2(1939).was a romanian aircraft build in Brasov at Industria Aeronautica Romana(the factory)

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23 Bell P-39 Airacobra

Made in america and flown mostly by soviets, is it any wonder this very capable fighter never got the press it deserved!

The Soviets mostly used this one and gave it the praise it deserved. Sometimes I think America made a mistake not using this one.

This plane and it's simaler counterpart the p-63, were very good planes indeed.

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.

24 Lockheed P-38J Lightning

Best over fighter of WWII. Excellent range, excellent overall performance, and as a fighter bomber 2nd to none. Not as good for pilot safety (armor) than a P-47 but safer than others 2 engines. More versatile armament than others. Pilots that flew both P-38 and P-51 seemed to side with the P-38 after the war. For some reason the P-38 seems to not have good press over the decades after the war which I cannot understand. And in pure scare factor nothing scared one as much as when a "forked tailed devil" attacked you.

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

An average fighter with good long range and high altitude performance. She was slower by 50 mph than nearly every other fighter in the air at the time. She was less maneuverable than both the Messerschmidt and Focke Wulf families of aircraft, and the Ta-152 would have made toast out of her. She's more legend than fact.

This plane concept seems very good. It's a shame it doesn't get more notice.

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25 Macchi 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.

A feared and respected adversary of allied pilots. Preferred over boyfriend 109 by Jagdwaffe pilots. An Italian aircraft that excelled in speed, power and climb and also very nimble and maneuverable, allowing it to fight on equal terms with top allied fighters.

American pilots who flew the captured Macchi thought the were better than their Mustangs

Super cool fighter. great styling too. there's one hanging from the ceiling at the smithsonian.

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26 Nakajima ki-87
27 Grumman 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!

28 Ilyushin 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.

Great tank killer, Germans hatted it.

The Il-2 should by in the top ten.

29 Kyushu 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

30 Nakajima 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.

Best Japanese fighter that could crush the Mustang. Should be top 10

Pros
Incredible rate of climb
Good top speed
Great acceleration
Good performance at altitude
Much better dive speed than the earlier Ki-61 series
Good maneuverability at lower speeds
Good energy retention

Cons
Lower maximum dive speed than its American counterparts
Unspectacular weaponry
Somewhat vulnerable to damage
Elevator locks up at high speeds

31 Reggiane Re.2005

A beautiful airplane and very effective in combat. The Italians are vastly underrated in their war-making capabilities, but this airplane proved their potential as combatants.

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

Not 25 th...

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

32 Vought XF5U

Is this the only prop fighter to bring down a MIG in the Korean war?

The unusual design of this huge bladed monster proved high manueverability, yet having beyond average speed for a prop aircraft. It could possibly catch up with Me-262. It was fastest prop aircraft I've ever heard of. 800 km/h I mean really...sadly it was never ordered into mass production and the only prototypes were destroyed.. :( - P-51IsDaBest

Designed as VTOL carrier fighter, the XF5U(or F5U) has max speed over 800 km/h. Armed with 6 brownings machine guns, it was designed to counter kamikazes. Great performance overall

33 Lavochkin La-5

I think the plane is also pretty good to! It looks cool and it has great firepower,who wouldn't want that!?

This fighter deserves to be in higher position, it save ussr and gain air superiority for vvs

Wow! I can't believe this plane was never recognized as the best fighter of World War 2. It is a great plane in every way. It has a strong armament consisting of 2 20 millimeter cannons with 200 rounds per gun. It has a top speed of 403 mph, so it could could evade an enemy by simply flying straight. It was even very maneuverable, allowing it to outturn the boyfriend 109s that it dogfighted with. Finally, It could climb fairly well. It was a steady climber, and could climb to an angle of about 10 degrees before losing speed. It was also the aircraft in service after the LaGG-3, Mig-3, I-16, and I-15, and the one before the superior yak-9s and yak-3s. It was the first Russian aircraft that was capable of battling back against boyfriend 109s. Therefore, I consider it to be one of the best, most important aircraft of World War 2.

Ivan Kozhedub, flew the LA-5FN and was the highest scoring Allied ace of WWII, 64 victories, 40 of them against boyfriend-109's and FW-190's. He also was one of few pilots to shoot down a Me-262 jet. This should at least be in the top 10 best fighters of WWII.

34 Dornier Do 335 Pfeil

Fastest piston engine fighter built, and the pinnacle of prop fighter technology. The only thing that stood in it's way was the jet age. Even for early jets it would have been a handful. :P

It was arguably the best heavy fighter design of the war. only 1 or 2 are left in the world.

35 Yakovlev Yak-9

This plane was the best all rounder.

yes

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.

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 ...more

36 Macchi C.202

Those who know their aircraft would add this gem to the top ten. The culmination of long line of top performers dating back to the 1920s from a highly successful Italian design bureau the "Thunderbolt" was a very capable aircraft. Its lack of prominence in the list is perhaps because there's been few WWII films that focus on the air war over North Africa, Italy and the Meditteranean. It certianly ranked way above the Zero and the Me262 (novel as that was). As for the Yak 3 - well yes of course the German pilots on the Eastern front ranked it high. There was little else to compare! The only other fighters of concequence in that region were a few Hurricanes donated to the Soviets, and the undergunned, underpowered IAR80 working with the Nazis.

37 Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Why is this on fighter planes?

Despite the flawed actions of one Enola Gay. This plane is the most aesthetically pleasing, to me at least.

It's a bomber that throwed NUCLEAR BOMBS on hiroshima and nagasaki

Uh-huh yuk yuk yuk, it durn throwed them thar bombs - ee hah god bless america-ca-ca

38 Hawker Tempest

Though released a little too late to have a major role in the outcome of the war the typhoon was the most advanced piston engined fighter in to see action in the final months of the war. nothing else was close

Peerless at low / mid altitude. Sensational zoom climb, faster in the dive than a P47, incredible speed at low altitude, stunning acceleration and outstanding manoeuvrability at high speeds, the Tempest was superior to all other allied and axis fighters below 18000 feet. Even the ME 262 pilots feared this amazing plane!

Best Allied fighter of the entire Second World War, just edging out the Mustang.

Heck to the no the p-51 was the best period! :(

V 2 Comments
39 Horten Ho 229

The worlds first stealth aircraft, and first jet powered flying wing. Literally decades ahead of it's time, and arguably the finest fighter in existence during the war. This aircraft was a true game changer in every respect. Nothing came close. :P

Just addinng to whats been said range was over 1900 miles with oit external tanks it could have blinded our recon flights and asw sweeps with out a doubt beyomd anny thing the allies had exvept the A BOMMB of course thank god we gpt it first bit

40 Messerschmitt Me 209

A very interesting aircraft of ww2

41 Kawasaki Ki-200 or Mitsubishi J8M Shusui

It is a same plane, only diffirent names

Ki200

42 Gloster 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.

The first allyed jet, it's a shame it never faced a 262 as it could have made an interesting battle

Why aren't we all voting this one, this is the best WW2 jet fighter! also I agree it was sad it never faced off with Me 262 :( - varikor

43 Dewoitine D.520

This aircraft is always shortchanged because France was defeated so quickly. This was a great air-superiority fighter that, given the right circumstances (meaning Germany not breaking through at Sedan... Again! ) this aircraft was more than a match for any German fighter of the day.

This is a beautiful plane with a unique style.

44 Messerschmitt Bf109 G-14

Was absolute beast. Very well-powered. It was armed with a powerful mk108 rapid-fire 30 millimeter cannon and 2 13 millimeter machine guns. There was extra space for extra armament. Sometimes it ended up having 3 30 millimeter cannons and 2 13 millimeter heavy machine guns. Could make very successful diving attacks on planes and pull up to avoid getting shot. Just like the boyfriend 109 k, the boyfriend 109 G-14 could out-perform a P-51D, a P-47D, and even a spitfire mk 24 or typhoon

Of all the ww2 planes on this list, and they are all very cool, the GUSTAV is my favorite. so cool. a 30 mm cannon firing through hub, 2 20mms in the wings and two 13mm mgs behind the prop.an awesome bomber killer. I knew a B17 pilot who told me the bomber crews were scared as hell when the screw painted prop hubs came roaring through with cannons blazing.

45 Kawasaki Ki-61 ' Hien '

The Ki-61 proved to be a highly-effective fighter of the Japanese Army Air Corps. It was armed with 2X 20 mm cannons and 2X12.7 mm or 2X13.2 mm machine guns. It could outmaneuver the zero and could easily outmaneuver all American and British opponents. There was also an improvement in speed. It could outspeed the Ki-43 and the zero. The allied code name was ' Tony '.
Very underrated aircraft.

46 Grumman 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.

The reason the F6F hellcat was thought to be better, was the F4F took out the better fighter pilots the Japanese had to throw against them early in the war. In return the hellcat received credit for it.

My favorite plane :) was the best navy fighter plane used at midway and before

The wild cat had the most amount of damage- least amount of fame

V 5 Comments
47 Mitsubishi A7M Reppu
48 Grumman TBF Avenger

My favorite plane

Was that snail mail in the air

Why is this in fighters?

49 Polikarpov I-16

Don't vote this one, it is no better than a biplane, no speed or firepower! - varikor

50 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden

It was on top in kill ratio vs USN fighters.
It was better in head-on interception of B-29s than the new Ki 100.
It was a great energy fighter but it's combat flaps gave excellent stall performance in aerobatics too.
It had good altitude performance for a Japanese fighter.
The J2M5 version of the Jack was reliable. Not many late-war Japanese fighters were.

It scored the last kill of WW 2, a B-32 Dominator (but some say it returned to base). At any rate the Raiden attacked using it's oblique cannons mounted behind the cockpit, reportedly. How many other single-seater fighters had that?

It had confidence inspiring stability and climb rate. It's dive was good for a Japanese fighter too.

One Allied evaluation pilot of a captured Raiden said that it was the best Japanese fighter he ever flew.

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1. Supermarine MKs 24 Spitfire
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1. Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-9
2. Messerschmitt Me 262
3. North American P-51D Mustang.
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1. Bell P-39 Airacobra
2. Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
3. Fiat G.55 Centauro
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