When considering the top 10 Fighter planes of WWII, a number of criteria should be considered.
- What was the plane’s top speed?
- How does the aircraft maneuver at low and high altitudes?
- How durable is the plane?
- What is the visibility out the cockpit windows?
- How safe is the aircraft?
- What armament does it carry?
- What is the range of the aircraft?
- What is its overall flying performance?
Listed below is a list that should be entertained when considering the top 10 World War II fighter aircraft. They are listed in alphabetical order.
1) Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair
This big and powerful fighter was feared by the Japanese more than any other aircraft. The F4Us top speed was 415 mph, but at 30,000 feet, the aircraft could reach 435 mph. Armament included 6 – 50 cal guns, 2,000 lbs. of bombs and 8 – 5 inch rockets. The F4U-4 Corsair of WWII had a range of 1,005 miles.
2) Focke-Wulf FW 190 D-9
Some state the FW 190 D-9 was superior even to the British spitfire. This aircraft dominated WWII skies until the P51 D was introduced. This aircraft was light and easy to control, which made it an ideal pilot’s plane. Not only did the armor of this aircraft offer excellent protection, the plane was heavily armed with 2 - 7 .9mm MG and 4 - 20 mm cannons. The FW 190 D-9 could reach a top speed of 436 mph and at 38,000 feet the aircraft could reach 458 mph. The range was only 395 miles.
3) Grumman F8F Bearcat
Though not the best dogfighter, this aircraft was considered small, quick and deadly. It could reach a top speed of 358 mph. The armament of the Grumman F8F Bearcat consisted of 4 – 20mm cannons and 4 – 127mm rockets. It could also carry 2 – 1,000 lb. bombs. Total range for the F8F Bearcat was 1,105 miles.
This large aircraft was considered to be a great dogfighter and was greatly feared by the Germans. The P-38J had a top speed of 426 mph and could climb 20k feet in 5.9 seconds. Armament for this plane included 1 – 20 mm cannon and 4 – 50cal guns.
5) Messerschmitt Bf 109K
The Bf 109K was an easy aircraft to fly, could reach a top speed of 354 mph and had a range of 820 miles. It was a multi-role fighter armed with 2 to 7 – 9mm guns and 4 – 20mm cannons.
6) Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Not only was this WWII aircraft fast (top speed of 358 mph), it had a total range of 1,844 miles. Armament for the Mitsubishi A6M Zero included 2 to 7 7mm guns and 2 – 20mm cannons. The aircraft was a versatile fighter that was easily maneuvered. The Zero was constructed of wood.
7) North American P-51D Mustang
The P-51D Mustang is considered by many to be the #1 fighter aircraft of WWII. With internal tanks, the plane had a range of 1,140 miles. The range increased to 2,200 miles with external tanks. This aircraft was both fast and maneuverable. The visibility was considered excellent. The P-51D Mustang could reach a top speed of 445 mph, increasing to 486 mph at 30,000 feet. Armament included 6 - .50cal machine guns.
8) Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
Pilots favored this solid built aircraft in part, due to the protection it provided and its ability to take punishment and still fly. The P-47D Thunderbolt carried the highest kill to death ratio of any other WWII aircraft. Total range for the P-47D was 1,900 miles with tanks and it had a top speed of 433 mph. Armament included 8 to 12 7mm guns, 2,500 lbs of external mounted bombs, rockets and other ordnance.
9) Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3
The Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3 was considered the best dogfighter on the Eastern front. It had a tight turn ratio and was an easily maneuvered aircraft. The Yak-3 could reach a top speed of 412 mph (428 at 20,000 feet) and a range of 558 miles. Armament for the Yakovlev Yak-3 included 1 – 20mm cannon and 2 – 50cal guns.
10) Supermarine MKs 24 Spitfire
The WWII British Spitfire was one of the ultimate fighters of the war, had tremendous fire power and could climb to a high rate of altitude at a very fast rate. This Spitfire could reach 454 mph and had a range of 390 miles. Armament on the aircraft included 4 – 20mm cannons, up to 2 – 250 lb. bombs and 1 – 500 lb. bomb.
A complete list of top aircraft from WWII would be quite extensive. However, in considering a top 10 list of WWII fighter planes, the above list should at least be entertained.