For the most part, the aircraft at the top of the WW II era are easily accessible and known by anyone who has studied, or even lived, the era.  However, it can be a little more difficult when trying to create a list about the worst aircraft of World War II.  The number of lists for the worst aircraft could feasibly be as long as there are number of people with opinions, unless the list is compiled using specific facts, such as overall performance, number manufactured, kill ratio, etc.  Below is a list in alphabetical order of some of the aircraft which could comprise a single top ten list, or at the very least, be a part of that list.  They are presented here in alphabetical order.

The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has a number of WWII scale models for sale on-line and in the museum store. 

 Museum Store 

WWII Boulton-Paul Defiant MK.1








  •  Boulton-Paul Defiant MK.I – Great Britain
    •  No forward guns
    • Slow in maneuvers
    • Two squadrons annihilated in a single day
    • Briefly utilized on night missions
    • Eventually used only as part of rescue missions, gunnery training and target towing



WWII Brewster Buffalo

  • Brewster Buffalo – United States
    • Produced only from 1938 – 1941
    • Poor performance possibly due to light weight of the aircraft
    • First monoplane fighter for US Navy
    • First monoplane with arrestor hook
    • Only four nations other than US used this aircraft
    • Of the four, only one (Finland) found it to be effective


Great Britain’s WWII Blackburn Botha






  • Blackburn Botha – Great Britain
    • Under-powered
    • Unstable airframe
    • Extraordinary number of fatal crashes, developing the reputation as a death trap
    • Eventually withdrawn and used for training missions, coastal patrols and carrying anti-submarine bombs



WWII Blackburn Roc – Great Britain

  • Blackburn Roc – Great Britain
    • Single-engine, monoplane
    • Armament prevented gunner from firing unless aircraft was flown straight and level making it impractical in a dog fight
    • No forward firing guns
    • Difficult for gunner to bail from aircraft
    • Top speed was only 160 mph




RAFs Fairey Battle

Fairey Battle – Great Britain

  • Despite power of Rolls-Royce engine, the bombing load and three-man crew added too much weight for the light bomber
    • Armament not adequate against more modern aircraft
    • Inadequate speed
    • Despite scoring first official aerial victory of WWII for the RAF, heavy losses were eventually recorded
    • Withdrawn from battle and used in overseas training



  • Douglas TBD Devastator – United States

    US WWII Douglas TVD Devastator

    • Despite initial pre-war status as an advanced fighter, by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, aircraft was considered obsolete
    • Alternative World War II aircraft was still in testing phase
    • Speed made it vulnerable to fighters on patrol
    • Entire fleet was almost wiped out in Battle of Midway



USSRs WWII Lavochkin Gorbunov Doudkov LaGG3

USSRs WWII Lavochkin Gorbunov Doudkov LaGG3







  • Lavochkin Gorbunov Doudkov LaGG3 – USSR
    • Wooden airframe – essential parts protected by Bakelite lacquer
    • Proved too heavy for its own frame
    • Slow engine and poor climbing rate
    • Prone to shattering when hit and spinning if turned too quickly
    • WWII Pilots referenced it as “guaranteed varnished coffin”



  • Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet – Germany

    Germany’s WWII Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet

    • Only operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft
    • Unsuccessful as a fighter
    • Armament only allowed a minimal amount of firing time
    • Velocity of armament compromised aim
    • High fuel consumption
    • Highly explosive
    • High take-off and landing loss



Germany’s WWII Messerschmitt Me 210







  • Messerschmitt Me 210 – Germany
    • Poor flight characteristics for a WWII aircraft
    • Design flaws never really resolved
    • Unstable and prone to stalling



  • Yokosuka MXY -7 Ohka – Japan

    Japan’s WWII Yokosuka MXY – 7 Ohka

    • Defined more accurately as a “manned missile”
    • Designed to be carried underneath “Betty” bomber (Mitsubishi G4M)
    • First operational flight – none reached target, all destroyed 16 bombers destroyed along with ½ the escorts (15) being shot down
    • Minimal success to loss ratio (including the bombers)
    • Impossible to aim at a moving target


An incredible amount of aircraft were produced throughout WWII, each attempting to improve upon its predecessor.  Both the Allies and the Axis were hard at work attempting to modernize their bombers, fighters and escorts in an effort to gain dominance in the skies.  The ten aircraft listed here are just a small example of the many failed aircrafts that attempted, but failed, which is why they are one possible list for top ten worst aircraft of World War II.



18 Responses to Top Ten Worst Aircraft of WWII

  1. ArmyDicked says:

    A Good Start for top TEN Worse Aircraft (Your photo for fairly battle is incorrect). Since your list included some of my choices Me210, Blackburn Skua & RoC, I’ll use another list

    My Bottom Dweller List:

    1. Curtis SO3O Sea Mew (USA#1!!!). God awful Naval recon aircraft. Holds distinction of being the only WWII monoplane being operationally replaced (in 1944) by its predecessor, the SOC Seagul a bi-plane!!!
    2. Moraine-Saulner MS 406 FR. 175 kills/400 losses says it all!
    3. VL Myrsky Finland. A death trap that would come apart in the air. In service until 1947 and then 100% scrapped after another in air sheading of wings
    4. Lockheed C-69 Constellation USA. Brilliant Design plagued with wretched P&W R-3350 engines (same used in B29). By 1944, all C-69 flights OCONUS were banned!!! After war, all dumped to civilian air carriers
    5. Heinkel He 177 Grief Germany. Germany’s only HVY Bomber was technically very advanced BUT it was structurally unsound and had the worse engines of WWII, the 2700hp DB 606 coupled Daimler-Benz DB 601 fire prown engines. Nicknamed Flying Coffin
    6. Bloch MB151-2 Fr. Poorly built & engineered. Declared unsuitable for combat. When Used against junk Italian Aircraft, they got slaughtered!!!
    7. Focke Wulf Ta 154 Moskito. 100% wooden fighter of great promise. Unfortunately, it had a tendancy to shead wings/disintegrate in mid flight due to high acidity in glue. Scrapped in 1944 in sutu
    8. Polikarpov I 153 BiPlane Fighter Russia. File under Comrade, what were you thinking? Polikarpov lived, breathed and slept BIPLANES but my 1935, nobody made biplanes any more. Stalin put a gun to his head and forced him to make the I-16 Rata Monoplane. In 1940, Polikarpov replaced the Monoplane with this BiPlane fighter. One year later, Germany invaded and these biplanes got slaughtered by the Me BF 109 E-Fs
    9. Brewster SB2A Buccaneer. There is no record of one ever being used in combat, so poor were their reputation. Shipped to Britian, they were canabilized for their wires/spark plugs and then scrapped on the DOCKS!!!
    10 Tie Bell P-39/P-400 and Bristol Blenheim I, IV & V. The Bell P-39/P400 were so wretched, they were used as bate aircraft to lure Japanese figters to attack them!!! The Bristols were literally meat on the table if attacked and they had small pay loads!!! All types withdrawn by 1942!!!

    • alon2392 says:

      Thank you for pointing out our error on the Fairey Battle. We strive for accuracy here at the Armed Forces History Museum, but once in a while something slips past us. Thank you also for your feedback regarding additional aircraft that could make a top ten worst aircraft of WWII list. Always great to get additional input. We appreciate your visiting our web-site and hope some day you can visit the museum. Thanks again!

  2. LobsterJesus says:

    That most certainly is a Battle. Did you change the picture in response to his post?

  3. Banana Lee says:

    Nice list!!!!!

  4. Greg pascal says:

    The Bachem Natter has to be in there. Killed all its pilots, I believe.

    The LWS Zubr almost has to be included, too. Declared worn out sometimes after one flight! Wound up being used as decoy targets on Polish airfields.

    Most overrated was the Focke-Wulf Ta-152. Widely regarded as the highest-performing figher of WWII by many, the real combat record was 7 to 10 victories (depending on who you believe) with 4 losses. Only 43 confirmed as ever delivered to operational units and never more than 25 in operation at any one time. Only two were operational when the war ended. Even the Grumman F4F Wildcat had a better actual combat record. Basically a no-show in WWII through no real fault of its own … it was the German situation late in the war. Since they were basically deployed prototypes, there was NO chain of spare parts. When they broke, they sat out the war. No faults ever got fixed because the war was closing in on all sides. Could have been one of the best, but actually did almost nothing in the event.

    • alon2392 says:

      Thanks for the additional information Greg! We appreciate your visiting our web-site and for taking the time to post your information.

  5. travis stauffer says:

    ok list

  6. Brett Nichols says:

    I have to take exception to Armydicked’s inclusion of the P-39 and Greg pascal’s belittling coment about the F4f. The P-39 was a tank killer. In that role it was loved by the Russians who acquired them in the lend-lease program and used them extremely effectively. It’s instability in some extreme maneuvers was corrected by Bell is the second iteration, the P-63 – both of which had the 37mm canon in addition to 50cals(some 39′s had 30cals, too).
    The FM2/F4f Wildcat was an exceptionally fine plane that is a coveted favorite for pilots today. Granted, it was under powered and under gunned by the start of the war – But I believe that you will find a number of WWII aces that received their “Ace” while still in Wildcats. J Foss being one and listed in the top 10.

    • Dirk Broer says:

      Despite having a 37mm canon, the P-39 was NOT used a a tank killer. It was used at low-level combat over the eastern front. Read ‘Attack of the Airacobras’ by Dmitriy Loza.

  7. Roger Steinway says:

    While I wasn’t surprised to see the Brewster Buffalo on the list it seems that you don’t know why it was not a success in combat. “Poor performance possibly due to light weight of the aircraft” is incorrect. Indeed, the Finnish flown B-239 (F2A-1 in U.S. Navy service)was the lightest and most successful model. U.S. Marine Corps ace Gregory “Pappy” Boyington commented on the F2A-1 that “You could turn it inside a phone booth.” Finland’s well trained B-239 Buffalo pilots had an air to air kill to loss ration of 26 to 1 against the Soviets. The main problem with the later Buffalo models was in the addition of over 900 lbs. of weight to the B-339 export version of the F2A-2 flown by the British Empire pilots, Dutch East Indies forces and the U.S. Marine Corps F2A-3. The light and handy 1930s fighter was weighted down with the armor and self sealing fuel tanks that a 1940s fighter needed to survive. The result was the Buffalo became a lumbering target for the experienced Japanese pilots. Other problems included poor quality control by Brewster, and lack of experience by allied pilots.

  8. Greg pascal says:

    Hi Brett,

    I didn’t belittle the Wildcat! Or didn’t mean to do so.

    I said it did better than the Ta-152, the plane touted by many as the ultimate WWII fighter. The comments were to put the Ta-152 in focus as a non-performer in the actual war, not to belittle the Wildcat. It was a scrapper.

    Wildcats are prized for being rare, but are far from the best we fielded.

  9. Joseph Austin says:

    The F-2 Brewster Buffalo problem, according to what I read, is that it tended to overheat and spray oil on the windscreen, effectively blinding the pilot. The Finns supposedly reversed the oil baffles and made it one of their most effective fighters, even using it as a basis for another fighter they made.

  10. Joonas Vartiainen says:

    The picture in the Brewster Buffalo-section is incorrect. It’s not a B-239, as you can easily observe since it does not carry the “BW” designation on the fuselage, but “HM-671″ instead. That means that it is the only prototype of the VL Humu, a Finnish copy of the Buffalo with a captured Soviet Shvetsov M-63 as the power source (which also changes the profile of the aircraft compared to the real Buffalo).

    The Humu was an underpowered aircraft, especially when taking into account that the Soviets were rapidly updating their aerial arsenal during 1943, when the prototype hadn’t even flown. The single prototype was eventually completed and flew for the first time on the 8th of August 1944, when it was already hopelessly outdated. It only flew for 19 hours and 50 minutes and was then mothballed.

  11. Fight time! Top Ten Worst Aircraft of WWII - WAR HISTORY ONLINE says:

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