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Aircraft of World War Two

 



Beech

AT-11

Beech AT-11Kansan used for training bombardiers.


Bell

Bell P-39 Airacobra, a radical design to decrease weight in an attempt to increase speed. With its rear engine and nose wheel it was unique among American fighters.

Bell P-59 Airacomet, America's first jet. The XP-59 designation was originally assigned to a propeller driven experimental fighter with twin booms. The project was cancelled early and the same designation was given to the top secret experimental jet fighter project to aid in secrecy.

Bell P-63 KingCobra. The KingCobra was a total make over of the P-39 design. It was used primarily by the Soviet Union. It utilized a laminar flow wing and taller tail. The KingCobra was an excellent ground attack aircraft, and tank buster.

Bell XP-77. This lightweight fighter was of all wood construction. It first flew on April Fool's Day, which seems appropriate.


Boeing

Boeing P-26 squadrons were mostly upgraded to the newer P-40's by the beginning of WW II. The 37th Pursuit Group, 31st Squadron flew P-26's into 1942.

B-17 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

B-29 Boeing B-29 Superfortress,

the plane that ended the war in the Pacific.

Boeing PT-17 Stearman

 


Brewster

Brewster F2A Buffalo. As the Navy's first all metal fighter it had a short career. It was a poor match against the A6M Zero, yet in the hands of Finnish pilots it did remarkably well in dogfighting. Soviet fighters, due to its ruggedness and high roll rate.

 


Consolidated

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was produced in greater numbers than any other American war plane.

 

Consolidated B-32 Dominator. It was designed to compete with the Boeing B-29 as the super bomber successor to the B-17.

Consolidated PBY Catalina

 

PB2Y Coronado

 


Curtiss

The Curtiss A-12 Shrike began life as the XA-8, an advanced (for 1931) attack bomber with, all metal construction, leading edge slots, trailing edge flaps. The replacement of the inline liquid cooled engine with a Wright radial led to the redesignation of A-12. The Shrike had .30 calibre machine guns located in the front of the enclosed landing gear. Nine A-12's were in active service at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked.

Curtiss C-46 Commando, an excellent transport and cargo plane, saw action in the Pacific in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Curtiss P-36 Hawk. This plane was the forerunner of the P-40 Warhawk. It had a radial engine. The fuselage was modified to accept the Allison in-line engine in the P-40.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The same cockpit, tail, and wings are obviously shared with the P-36. The Allison engine gave the Warhawk an added 60 mph higher top speed.

XP-55 XP-55 Ascender

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, it was intended to replace the SBD Douglas Dauntless, but it was never accepted by its crew. In fact, it became known as the SB2C, Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class.

 


Douglas

The Douglas A-20 Havoc, also known as the DB-7B Boston Mk III. The pilot sat high and alone with a commanding view ahead of the propellers and over the nose gear.

 

The A-26 Invader was designed to replace the A-20 as a ground attack and anti-shipping aircraft. In the bombing role it could carry up to 4,000 lbs. of bombs. It served in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. It was redesignated as the B-26 to conform to political restraints which prevented attack aircraft from being used in Asia.

The Douglas B-18 Bolo beat out the Boeing B-17 on the first round of trials and became America's main bomber at the outbreak of WW II. When Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese most of the 33 B-18's stationed there were destroyed. By this time the B-17 was in production and was scheduled to replace the B-18. The B-18 saw service with the Royal Canadian Air Force as the Digby I.

C-47 Skytrain/Dakota,or "Gooney Bird," almost 11,000 were built.

C-54 Skymaster

 

The SBD Douglas Dauntless, sank more Japanese tonnage than any other aircraft. It was underpowered and had limited range, but it was a true hero at the Battle of Midway. In fact, it was the only American aircraft to score any hits on the Japanese fleet at Midway.

TBD Devastator

This Douglas dive bomber, the TBD, also played a role in the Battle of Midway, but it was soon after withdrawn from combat duty. It had semi retractable landing gear, and an internal weapons bay for torpedoes or bombs. The wings folded at about the mid-point.


Fisher

This fascinating design with counter rotating props and a rear engine was a result of Fisher Body Division of General Motors attempting to build a better fighter using existing parts from other fighters already in production. The experiment intended to capitalize on the best parts of other aircraft, but was a terrible failure.


Grumman

The Grumman F3F enjoyed a brief duty as a carrier fighter before it was replaced by the F4F. It was then relegated to trainer duty.

 

The F4F Wildcat was the Navy fighter that America started the war with. This stubby little fighter could never hope to outperform the infamous Japanese Zero, but it was rugged and better armoured.

 

The F6F Hellcat was the successor to the Wildcat. It quickly established itself as a deadly threat to enemy Zero pilots. The Hellcat was credited with 75% of all Naval air combat victories.

F7F Tigercat

The Grumman F8F Bearcat was perhaps the most refined propeller fighter. It had excellent performance, with better flying manners than the P-51 Mustang. Unfortunately, it came to late to participate in combat in WW II.

G-21 Goose

G-44 Widgeon

J2F Duck

TBF Avenger


Lockheed

The A-29 Hudson was the first American built aircraft to become operational with the RAF.

C-69

Lockheed Harpoon

Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the only allied fighter that could out turn a Japanese Zero. This was the favorite mount of Dick Bong, the highest scoring American Ace. With its twin booms and counter-rotating props it was a radical design of the time. It was called the "Twin Tailed Devil" by its enemies.

The XP-80 flew in in January of 1944, but could have been ready much earlier. Kelly Johnson's design had proposed a jet fighter in 1939 only to have it ignored. Four P-80's were in Europe by VE-Day. The P-80 would not see combat until the Korean War.

 


Martin

Martin A-30 Baltimore

 

The Martin B-10. It's hard to believe that the same company that designed the elegant clean lines of the Martin Marauder also produced this ungainly looking bomber. This bomber was replaced by the Douglas B-18 and Boeing B-17.

B-26 Marauder

PBM Mariner


North American B-25

AT-6

P-51 P-51 Mustang

P-64

P-82


Northrop P-61


Republic P-47


Ryan PT-16


Vought F4U Corsair


Waco PT-14