Best Fighter Planes of World War II

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 Contenders: Page 2

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


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22 IAR 80

Armed with nothing but death.

An unknown country that produced a world beating aircraft

Game changer

An amazing plane, which although outdated in the second half of the war it still performed admirable.

A Luftwaffe major who tested it in March 1941 had this to say about the IAR 80

Takeoff and landing are very good. It's 20 30 km h slower than the boyfriend 109E. The climb to 5000 meters is equivalent. In a dogfight, the turns are also equivalent, although the long nose reduces the visibility. In a dive it's outclassed by the boyfriend 109E, because it lacks an automated propeller pitch regulator. It's a fighter adequate to modern needs.

It was one of the most important planes on the Eastern Front, but forgotten today.

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23 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.
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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24 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.

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 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.

28 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.

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!

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

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

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 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.

33 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.

34 Yakovlev Yak-9

This plane was the best all rounder.


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

35 Vought XF5U

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

36 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

37 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

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! :(

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39 Kawasaki Ki-200 or Mitsubishi J8M Shusui

It is a same plane, only diffirent names


40 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.

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Top Remixes (15)

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1. Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-9
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3. North American P-51D Mustang.
1. Bell P-39 Airacobra
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