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What is considered to be the best overall fighter of World War II?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: January 17, 2013 
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What is considered to be the best overall fighter of World War II?


? ? ?

Dear Woody,  

For the umpteenth time, it is pretty universally accepted that, while outdone by other fighters in such specialized aspects of maneuverability, speed, climb, dive, service ceiling, etc., the North American P-51 Mustang combines the best of all those elements, along with long range in one plane, to be the best overall fighter of the war.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History



4 Responses to “What is considered to be the best overall fighter of World War II?”

  1. 1
    Mike Davies says:

    For my money it's the Supermarine Spitfire. In production at the outset of the war and after its conclusion. Unequalled as an air superiority fighter at all altitudes across different marks it also shone as a photo reccie and fighter bomber and served on aircraft carriers with equal distinction. A testament to the old adage "if it looks right it is right"

  2. 2
    macmn says:

    Sorry Mike, I have to disagree. The Spit didn't have the speed, endurance or firepower the Mustang did. Or for that matter the P-38 or the Jug. .

  3. 3
    G Mullen says:

    I would agree with the Mustang but only after it had been fitted with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine

  4. 4
    William says:

    I have to go with the Spitfire as well then the P51, and taking third would be the M262. I disagree with macmn about the speed of the spitfire, it had the same engine as the P51 but better maneuverability and 4 guns on each wing it was basically a P51 modified.

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