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World War II Fighters

A listing of fighter aircraft used during World War II.

World War II: Bell P-39 Airacobra
The Bell P-39 Airacobra was an Allied fighter aircraft during World War II. Entering service in 1941, the P-39 Airacobra saw service in most theaters of the war, but was hampered by the lack of an effective turbo-supercharger. The P-39 Airacobra was flown in large numbers by the Soviet Union who received the type via Lend-Lease.

World War II: Bristol Beaufighter
The Bristol Beaufighter was a heavy fighter used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. A development of the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber, the Beaufighter saw widespread service in all theaters. During the conflict, the Bristol Beaufighter filled many roles including night fighter, fighter-bomber, and torpedo bomber.

World War II: Chance Vought F4U Corsair
Entering service at the end of 1942, the Chance Vought F4U Corsair became one of the most feared American fighters of World War II. With its gull wings and high speed, the F4U Corsair achieved an 11:1 kill ratio against Japanese aircraft. Retained after the war, the Corsair later saw service during the Korean War.

World War II: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American-built fighter during World War II. Used by several Allied nations, the P-40 Warhawk saw service in most theaters of the conflict. The P-40 Warhawk was most famously used by the American Volunteer Group in China, also known as the Flying Tigers.

World War II: Focke-Wulf Fw 190
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was a German fighter of World War II. Introduced in 1941, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 served the Luftwaffe for the remainder of the war. Suitable for a variety of roles, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 saw extensive service and was updated several times during the war to maintain parity with the newer Allied fighters.

World War II: Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the Allies' first operational jet fighter during World War II. After the conflict, the Gloster Meteor against saw service during the Korean War. Though quickly eclipsed as a fighter, the Gloster Meteor remained in service for decades in a variety of roles.

World War II: Grumman F4F Wildcat
The Grumman F4F Wildcat entered service with the US Navy in late 1940. Flying from American aircraft carriers, the F4F Wildcat was the US Navy's principal fighter during the early years of World War II. While not as maneuverable as some Japanese fighters, the Wildcat was renowned for its durability.

World War II: Grumman F6F Hellcat
The Grumman F6F Hellcat entered service in 1943 as a replacement for the F4F Wildcat. Designed to combat the Japanese A6M Zero, the F6F Hellcat was a rugged fighter that proved superior to its opponents. Flying through the end of the war, the F6F Hellcat amassed an impressive service record.

World War II: Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane entered service in 1937 and saw extensive service with the Royal Air Force. The Hawker Hurricane played a key role in the Battle of Britain and was key in defeating the Germans. Over 14,000 Hawker Hurricanes were built by 1944.

World War II: Hawker Typhoon
The Hawker Typhoon was a Royal Air Force fighter that saw service during World War II. Developed as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, the Hawker Typhoon's development was plagued by problems. Entering service, the Hawker Typhoon proved an effective interceptor and fighter-bomber.

World War II: Heinkel He 219 Uhu
The Heinkel 219 Uhu was German night fighter developed during World War II. The first military aircraft equipped with ejection seats, the Heinkel 219 possessed a radar set and other advances. The Heinkel 219 proved effective, but was only availible in small numbers before the end of the war.

World War II: Heinkel He 280
The Heinkel He 280 was developed early in World War II and was the first true jet fighter. Taking flight in 1941, the Heinkel He 280 suffered from early development problems and was never fully supported by the Third Reich. Though it could have been operational at an earlier date, the Luftwaffe cancelled the program in favor of the Me 262.

World War II: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
The P-38 Lightning entered service in 1941, and saw action with American forces for much of World War II. Known for its twin tail booms and single central nacelle, the P-38 was fast and durable. With its nose-mounted armament, the P-38 was favored by American aces such as Richard Bong and Thomas MacGuire.

World War II: Messerschmitt Bf 109
A stalwart of the Luftwaffe during World War II, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 saw service for the duration of the conflict. Introduced in 1937, the Bf 109 first saw combat during the Spanish Civil War. Due to the longevity of its career, it was the most produced fighter aircraft in history.

World War II: Messerschmitt Bf 110
The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was a heavy fighter designed for the Luftwaffe in the late 1930s. Used extensively in World War II, the Messerschmitt Bf 110 suffered from a lack of maneuverability and took heavy losses. Redeveloped as a night fighter, the Messerschmitt Bf 110 proved effective.

World War II: Messerschmitt Me 262
The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world's first operational jet fighter. A groundbreaking aircraft, the Me 262 entered service in 1944. Though faster than Allied fighters, the Me 262 was not as maneuverable and never appeared in large enough numbers to have an impact on the war.

World War II: Mitsubishi A6M Zero
The Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero was the primary fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Highly maneuverable, the Japanese Zero outclassed most Allied fighters during the early years of the conflict. As the war progressed, the Zero found itself inferior to the new generation of fighters such as the F6F Hellcat and F4U...

World War II: Northrop P-61 Black Widow
The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was a night fighter used during World War II. Developed for the US Army Air Forces, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow entered service in 1944. Used in most theaters, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow proved a highly effective aircraft.

World War II: North American P-51 Mustang
The P-51 Mustang was an iconic American fighter of World War II. Originally developed for the British, the P-51 Mustang became critical weapon in the air for Allies due to its performance and range. The P-51 Mustang was retained after the conflict and saw service during the Korean War.

World War II: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
The P-47 Thunderbolt was a key Allied fighter and fighter-bomber during World War II. The P-47 Thunderbolt entered service in 1942, and the fighter saw service in both Europe and the Pacific. Nicknamed "Jug," the P-47 Thunderbolt was highly durable and remained in service throughout the war.

World War II: Supermarine Spitfire - Icon of the RAF
The Supermarine Spitfire was the iconic British fighter of World War II. With over 20,000 built, the Supermarine Spitfire saw action in all theaters of the war and proved a nimble and deadly aircraft.

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