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. Armament included 6 – .50 cal guns, 2 - 1,000 lb. bombs and 8 – 5 inch rockets. The F4U-4 Corsair of WWII had a range of just over 1,500 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 also heavily armed. The FW 190 D-9 could reach a top speed of close to 600 mph, though is optimal airspeed was 441 mph. The range was only 395 miles.
3) Grumman F8F Bearcat
Though it wasn’t introduced until late in WWII and it was not the best dogfighter, this aircraft was still considered small, quick and deadly. It could reach a top speed of over 440 mph. The armament of the Grumman F8F Bearcat consisted of 4 Browning 0.50 inch (12.7mm). It could also carry 2 – 1,000 lb. bombs. Total range for the F8F Bearcat was between 865 and 1,435 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 414 mph. 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 just over 375 mph and had a range of 450 miles. It was a multi-role fighter armed with 2 - 13mm MG 131, one hub firing MG 151/20mm Cannon and two underwing MG 151 20mm cannons.
6) Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Not only was this WWII aircraft fast (top speed of 358 mph), it had a total range of 1,194 miles. Armament for the Mitsubishi A6M Zero included 2 forward firing 7.7mm Type 97 machines guns and 2 – 20mm wing-mounted Type 99 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 950 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 437 mph. 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 just over 400 mph. Armament included 8 .50cal (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 over 600 mph and a range of 558 miles. Armament for the Yakovlev Yak-3 included 2 - 7.62mm machine guns, 2 - 30mm cannons and just over 1300 lbs. of bombs or rockets.
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 up to 850 miles. Armament on the aircraft included 4 – 20mm cannons and four .303 cal machine guns and an external bomb load of 1,000 lbs.
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.