We live in an age where flying at the speed of sound in jet-powered aircraft's is a very ordinary thing. It's a rush, an experience but still very common. But we must not forget how we got here or the machines and people that laid the foundations for today's fighter aircraft's. One of the things that interest me the most about World War II are the machines that served in the war. In fact may of the machines used today were borne out of this war and some saw their most significant advancements made during the war. It was quite a dilemma to choose a few from so many aircraft's that served with distinction but a choice had to be made so I decided to mention the ones I found to be most noteworthy. The period of the war, I feel, was something like a game of chess played with great intensity by the Allied Nations against Germany and its allies. The game was being played not only for victory but also for technology.
[...] The Supermarine Spitfire entered service in 1938 and took its place among the most famous aircraft's of World War II. The first German fighter to be lost over Britain was a Heinkel He 111 and it was lost to a Spitfire belonging to No Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Later models of the Spitfire like the Spitfire Mk IX, introduced in 1942, gave the RAF the answer to the deadly Fockewulf 190. Armed with two 20mm cannon, four .303 machineguns and up to 2540kg of bombs or rockets the Spitfire Mk IX was truly a formidable foe on the battlegrounds. [...]
[...] Many newer models of this aircraft were developed but one model, the Bf 109E, which came out in 1938 became the most widely deployed aircraft at the outbreak of World War II. The Bf 109 made its mark on history when it set a new landplane speed record at 610.55 km/h. the 109's stayed in production for many years after the war was over. The total production numbers of this aircraft exceeded 35,000. Another famous German aircraft was the Junker Ju 87 nicknamed derived from the word ‘Sturzkampfflugzeug' which means Dive Bomber. [...]
[...] The results these efforts produced were machines like the Messerschmitt Me 262, one of my personal favorites, the world's first jet powered aircraft and, upon completion, was thought to be the plane that would win the war for Germany. The project was started in 1938 and was flown for the first time, with a single piston engine in the nose on, April The gas turbine engines were developed by BMW and the aircraft was flown with jet engines for the first time in 1942. [...]
[...] Its armaments consisted of one 75mm anti-aircraft cannon that was fired from out of range of the defending guns of the B-29's, and one 12.7 mm machine gun in the tail. Not to be outdone, the Allied forces also had some of the best fighter aircraft's of their era. These included aircraft's like the P 51 Mustang, Hurricane, Spitfire, Mosquito and the F6F Hellcat. Many, including me, consider the North American P/F-51 Mustang to be one of the greatest ever fight aircraft's. [...]
[...] The Hellcat's features included a distinctive 31.13 m2 wingspan, which was larger than any other major single engine fighter of World War II and backward retracting landing gear. The aircraft ran on one Pratt and Whitney 2000hp radial piston engine and was armed with six 12.7 mm Browning machine guns along with provisions for up to 900kg of bombs. It had a maximum speed of 620km/h and could fly as high as 37,000ft with a range of 1674km. Other nations that operated the Hellcat were France (till it fell). [...]
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