North American P-51D Mustang.
My uncle flew a P-51D and was shot down by ground fire over France when bombing a bridge a low altitude and bailed out. He was hidden by the Resistance but eventually was captured just short of the Allied lines and placed in a Luftstalag, from which he escaped twice, only to be recaptured both times. He flew almost every plane the Air Force (and AAF) had through early Vietnam. His favorite plane was the Mustang, hands down.
An interesting post script is that the French Resistance had buried his plane to keep it from the Germans (it actually crash-landed miraculously without being destroyed), then dug it up after the war and place it in a local museum (without my uncle's knowledge), honoring the Allied liberators. He was contacted in the 1990s by some of the French townspeople and they invited him to France for a 50 year anniversary parade and celebration. He was very touched by the outpouring of thanks for his and the service of all Americans in the liberation of France.
Every aircraft, whether fighter, bomber, transport or civil airliner, has to be judged on it's overall capability not some arbitrary specifications. As a child I remember reading about how this jet fighter could go Mach 2.3 while another could "only" go Mach 1.5, and thinking, clearly the faster plane was the better one. After spending the rest of my life flying (military, civil and private) I began to better understand the trade-offs that are made when designing an airplane. Why did the Soviets build the little Mig-21 with it's seemingly good performance while the US built much larger aircaft that cost more and only matched some the Mig-21 numbers? The answer is that the Soviets had a different mission than the Americans. The F-4 took the fight to the enemy, the Mig-21 could only defend against that enemy, because the Mig-21 was nearly out of fuel when it first left the runway. A range of 500 miles might seem like plenty until you realize that 500 miles of fuel is used up ...more
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.
#1 on the list for a reason. It's sad to think of how many were destroyed or sold to other countries after the war. Especially when you consider that the air frame alone is worth half a mil at least.
It's even sadder to think that Tom Cruise owns one and barely flies it. - corebare
It's the impact a plane has during the whole war that makes it a great plane. While the Spit did stayed off the Nazi during the battle of Brittain, if not for the Mustang, they would have still be fighting for their lives. Who knows how long that could have lasted. Mustang brought the fight to the enemy. If the Mustang did not appear, the Spit would have eventually did the job, but could have taken a very long time to win the war. Not to mention if the people of Brittain could have lasted that long or if their resources either. So while both planes are great, Mustang is a great looking plane, the Spit is a little better looking, but the game saver is the Mustang. The Spit saved an empire, the Mustang saved the world. Enough said.
It wasn't the top performer in any category; however, it did everything well. Its range was superior to any other fighter of WWII. Its overall attributes made it perfect for its job of escorting bombers to Germany and back home. Luftwaffe tactics were altered specifically to try and stem the flood of Mustangs appearing over Germany- they inadvertently paid homage to the P-51 by trying directly to thwart them. It did no good. The Mustang went on to compile an outstanding 11-to-1 kill ratio.
It absolutely must be the P-51D. Their ability to match range with the heavy bombers as well as match capabilities with any enemy it faced makes it the #1 fighter. Even Hermann Goering said as soon as he saw Mustangs flying over Berlin escorting the B-17's and B-24's, he knew Germany had lost the war.
speed elegance and fire power the p-51 has it all
It did the things a spitfire couldn't, and was better at the things a spitfire could do. By the way In no way do I disagree the spitfire was one of the best war planes ever. Just the mustang, took the best the spitfire could offer, and improved on any weakness. The real key is the Merlin engine.
The Spitfire may have better performance, but range does matter. Performance doesn't matter if you can't reach the target. Range is truly the deciding factor, especially for a country as isolated as the US.
You may choose any fighter in the group that has been listed here. If I had to fly into a dogfight with any of these planes, The Mustang is the plane I would choose. PERIOD. You may choose any of the others. Good luck to you.
As much as I like the looks and dogfight performance of the Spitfire, the all round abilities of the Focke Wulf 190 and the innovative Me boyfriend 109, the P51D Mustang is still my favorite. It might not be quite as fast and good in a dogfight than the Spitfire, nor as legendary as the boyfriend 109. But it was almost as fast as the Spit, almost as good in a dogfight, it had longer range and performed better at high altitude. It was also as pretty, if not prettier than the Spitfire, and it saved the B17 bombing Germany. It was equally adept at ground attack, and unlike its competitors it fought with some success in Korea. All things considered, definitely the best ww2 fighter.
I think the P-51 Mustang is the most advanced World War 2 fighter plane in both speed and range. I once read that after world war 2, three P-51 crossed the Atlantic Ocean non-stop from London to New York cruising at 37,000 feet.
The P-51is the aircraft that secured air superiority over Europe. With out this aircraft their would not have been a d-day in 1944 and that would have allowed the Russians to take all of Europe!
Very fast, good handling, and GREAT PURSUIT FIGHTER, AND GREAT BOMBER ESCORT TOOK CONTROLS OF THE EuropeAN SKY'S AND OUTCLASSED THE German FIGHTERS!
This is coming from an expert by the way...
When escorting our bombers range is critical. The Mustang had that over every other fighter in WWII.
Perhaps one of the most recognized fighters of the second world war. It has definitely earned its fame. A wartime winner with an everlasting legacy.
Ok are most of brits just asking don't get mad just asking and who was the leader of the allied powers
It had the entire war to improve. At the beginning it wasn't recognized as a fighter plane, but after several modifications it became the best.
Definitely beats the spitfire, the spitfire was good as a defense plane, but it was not as good as a offensive plane
Due to the p51d mustang allied bombing were successful and many Nazi super weapons were destroyed.
The P-51D was an plane that could not only defend, it could attack the enemy, this makes it better than the Spitfire for sure
The Cadillac of the Sky. Superior range, highly maneuverable, fast. And was as aesthetically beautiful as the Spitfire. While the Spitfire saved Britain (together with the Hurricane), the Mustang destroyed Germany as an escorting fighter. Number 1 of ww2!
The best all around fighter of the war. If any pilot from any country had to choose he would choose the P-51.
Without a Doubt THE BEST FIGHTER OF WW2. Only a child would disagree. This fighter was one of the few that fought enemy fighters over Berlin and Tokyo. the P-51 did every job extremely well and did it where ever the battlefield was. The early Spitfires were outgunned and outmatched by the 109s that had to fly over the channel and like the Spitfire the 109 had extremely poor range. Many of the Spitfire victories were on German aircraft low on fuel. The P-51 FURTHER proved its superiority by being used in the Korean War and by numerous Air Forces throughout the world well after WW2. - MrRight1