What was the best fighter plane of World War II? | HistoryNet MENU

What was the best fighter plane of World War II?

5/6/2010 • History Questions - Discuss Daily History Questions And Answers

What was the best fighter plane of World War II?

110 Responses to What was the best fighter plane of World War II?

  1. Jerry Parker says:

    You just love to startt an argument, don’t you. I have always supported the P-51 Mustang in this category.

  2. Darryl Raby says:

    Always been fond of both the P-51 & the Focke-Wulf 190, but for wide spread & effective use? How about the Grumman F6F Hellcat, the Vought F4U Corsair & the YAK-3. Too many good planes, put to wide use.

  3. Chuck says:

    I like the P 40 Thunderbolt just for its awesome look

  4. Eric Couch says:

    Best Fighter? The P-51 Mustang.
    My Favorite? The P-47 Thunderbolt. Fast, rugged as hell, packed a hell of a punch. There are stories of Luftwaffe pilots emptying their gun magazines into P-47’s only to watch the Thunderbolts continue to fly home to safety.

  5. Mike H. says:

    F4U-4 Corsair, P51D Mustang, P47N Thunderbolt…top contenders… If it had been properly utilized by the Gwermans then it’d have to be the ME262-1. Nothing else could touch it.

  6. Chuck says:

    Sorry about that, I meant p47 Thunderbolt
    What the heck do I know it’s snowing here in Montana.

  7. B says:

    51D or the Spitfire MK9

  8. Gordon H. says:

    I’m sorry guys I know it wasn’t the best but it is too me and that is the P-38 lightning. Big guns, fast, long range. The fork-tailed devil shot down Yamamoto for heaven’s sake. The fighter that made the greatest impact would be the Me-262 though, once it came out all others were obsolete.

  9. GW HOLLOWAY says:

    p51 mustang or the p40 . both where ahead of their time

    • dave says:

      the p40s weren’t good as good a you think because if a Bf 109 got behind it one burst could destroy the plane very easily but it is true it was quick and that it could turn well the only problem is it couldn’t take that much punishmen t.

  10. Willi Krause says:

    ME-262 hands down. Most of the 100 ME-262’s lost were lost during ascent or descent because of proximity of Allied airfields to German aifields during the Allied advance. Once in the air few ME-262’s were shot down in combat. However, they shot down 500 Allied aircraft. The 262’s favorite prey of the ME-262 aces: The P-51 Mustang Fact.

    • Tarv says:

      the reason for the mustangs were because they were fitted with drop tanks that allowed them to escort bombers all the way to Germany. Later tactics used by p-51s were to escort from high altitude, Then dive down on attacking ME-262 from above which negated there speed. many more were shot down attempting to land as they guzzled too much fuel. better plane by far P-51 mustang. also the team effort affect. bombing fuel etc. Might want to ask the tuskeegee airmen but thats a whole nother story.

      • AJ says:

        you and I have something in common Tarv: Neither of us knows WTF you’re talking about.

        1. “the reason for the mustangs..” What?
        Were you trying to express that Mustangs got shot down (sometimes?) because they were carrying drop tanks? Yes, if a fighter carrying drop tanks was jumped by his enemy he’d be at a disadvantage – until he DROPPED his DROP tanks. This is why an earlier successful tactic of the Germans to thwart the bombers was to try to engage incoming Allied fighter escorts as soon as possible over the French coast if they could – forcing the Allied pilots to punch off their tanks early on. This meant they would not have the gas – and the range – to continue on and still be around to escort and protect the bombers as they headed deeper into Europe toward their targets. Secondary German fighter groups would then intercept the bombers whose P-51s/P-47 escorts had DROPPED their tanks to fight the first German fighters that bounced them over the coast. Got it? But the Germans were outnumbered. As the war ground on the Germans couldn’t continue intercepting early on and force the escorts to drop their tanks. This then had the ripple effect of more Allied escorts accompanying bombers all the way to the target, more bombing damage done, hurting the strained German war effort even more… more German fighters shot down by an increasing production of Allied aircraft… And so on. Really very simple.

        2) “Later tactics used by p-51s were to escort from high altitude, Then dive down on attacking ME-262 from above which negated there speed.” Nope. While it’s true that bomber formations and their escorts always tried to come in as high as possible in order to make it as hard as possible for German interceptors to reach them, and to have the advantage of “diving down” on them as you say, this just wasn’t enough in the case of 262s. Read any account of 262s flown by experienced pilots attacking the bombers. The 262s would climb to altitude outside the reach and range of the Allied piston escorts and once in an advantageous position make a full on attack at a speed near 100 mph faster than the escorts. The Mustangs/P-47s could do nothing against these attacks. Even Robin Olds (General Robin Olds) said “We just tried to get in their way…” Just stay outside the formation (in your 262) until you’re at equal (or higher) altitude and then attack at will. Worked very well.

        3) “many more were shot down attempting to land as they guzzled too much fuel.” The Germans didn’t lose because 262’s “guzzled too much gas”. The 262 had an adequate endurance – surely enough to get up, get to the bombers, shoot several down and return to base without “running out of gas”. So what’s your point? Right. You are however fully correct in mentioning that the most vulnerable point in the 262’s flight was the landing approach back at home base. And that’s exactly why the Allies began to target these bases with every fighter they could spare that wasn’t still up at altitude protecting the bombers. The Germans too had to assign piston protectors, long nose FW190D’s usually, to protect 262 airfields. The Allies couldn’t beat the 262 at altitude so they went after it when and where it took off and landed. Point made.

        4) “Might want to ask the tuskeegee airmen but thats a whole nother story.”

        Yes, whole ‘nother *story* indeed. Do you mean the Tuskegee unit that “never lost a bomber to German fighters”? Look up what US Air Force researchers actually say about the Tuskegee record. At least 25 bombers being escorted by them were blasted out of the sky by the bloody Germans.

  11. Maurice says:

    There are several, such as the P 51, F 4U Cosair, the P47> But, remember the old P 38 Lightning flown by Majors Blong and Mcguier. No one in WW ll had more kills than these two guys. Blong had 33 kills if I’m
    not mistaken and McGuier had something like three less after he was killed in action.

  12. WayneWhite says:

    We in the 15th air force out of Italy pick the P51’s because of their longer range. They could stay with us on the target run where the P38’s usually had to go home for lack of fuel

  13. HueChi Chang says:

    P-51 is the BEST!

  14. PBY Ace says:

    The Wildcat? No, really. Not that it was actually the “best” fighter, (ME-262) but that it gets instantly overlooked. My father, a Navy pilot from early 1941-1948, went through flight training with Joe Foss and Marion Carl, among others. He was too tall to fit into carrier planes and ended up as a PBY pilot for VP-12, the Black Cats. Most of his classmates went to Devastators and died at Midway. Anyway, he told me that under 10,000′, where most of the action happened in the Pacific, a Wildcat could out-perform any plane it flew against. Wildcat pilots held a 6-1 shoot-down advantage over the Zero, mind you, this was against the well-trained Zero pilots, almost all of whom were dead by the time the Hellcat was introduced. Granted, a good part of that success was due to superior tactics, like the Thatch Weave and the fact that the radios in Zeros were next to useless. (And that Zeros came apart almost instantly when hit by .50 cal. rounds.) Kind of hard to fight as a team when you can’t talk to your wingman. Toward the end of the war, Dad spent a good deal of his time rescuing “wet, pissed-off Mustang pilots.” (His words) Almost any damage to the fuselage would bring down a P-51. P-51 pilots ruefully joked that the plane could be brought down by a hat pin.
    The Wildcat could accelerate faster than the Zero, as well as the much heavier Hellcat and Corsair. A Wildcat pilot could disengage by diving, something that a Zero did poorly. If a Wildcat pilot had the advantage of higher altitude, it could make a diving attack at much higher speeds than a Zero could flown. At low altitudes, a Zero was only marginally faster. In low altitude dogfights, a Wildcat, with it’s greater HP could maintain higher speeds during turns. In a rare encounter with ME-109s over the Atlantic, the Wildcat proved to be decisively superior. Also overlooked is the Douglas Dauntless SBD, which could easily out maneuver a Zero and enjoyed the lowest loss rate of any carrier plane in the PTO. SBD pilots accounted for a good number of Zeros.

  15. Somebody says:

    For me… Hmmm… I’d say it was the DH Mosquito. It was fragile but with it’s 2 Rolls Royce Merlin engines and fine British craftsmanship put together with great low altitude capabilities and great ground attack capabilities. It didn’t pack a great punch but jerry could never catch it. They could be produced cheaply, quiqly and in large quantities.
    The Super Marine Spitfire Mk.1 packed a hell of a punch during the Battle of Britain. It did have its flaws but it could be produced 3 times faster than the ME-109.
    You can’t forget the Hawker Hurricain Mk.1 either. It had more kills to its name than the spitfire during the Battle of Britain.

  16. Old Hoopster says:

    There were several very good fighters, and fortunately the Allies had more of them: P-51, P-47, P-38, F4U, F6F, Spitfire, Tempest. Strategy and tactics allowed the Allies to use these and the Hurricane and F4F to get the job done. The Me-262 was clearly superior in it’s element, but by the time it was used in numbers, its bases were subject to attack, so it had no where to hide. But range and lower fuel consumption are what made the P-51 the best; it could take the fight to the enemy, anywhere he was. Nothing but the Me-262 was faster, some could take more punishment, some hit harder with more powerful armament, but the Mustang was where ever the enemy was. Once the Mustang appeared, air superiority was assured all over the theater of operations.

  17. david eastman says:

    p51 for great range and could mix it with the best but most pilots would go for the spitfire mk 9 and 14. at sea it would be the hellcat of course. oh and eric would say do not try to turn with a gloster gladiator

  18. Patrick says:

    There was a saying by the airmen in the pacific, ” If you want to send a picture home to your girlfriend, stand next to a Mustang, If you want to go home and kiss her, fly a wildcat “

  19. Roger says:

    Expect for the ME 262 it have to be the Focke Wulf 190 since i suppose we are talking about prop planes

  20. Jack Lane says:

    I’m going with the P-38, as it was present for the ENTIRE War, and at the war’s end, was ordered destroyed in various pacific country’s rather that leaving it for the indigenous native airforces to pick up as Mustangs were. It was considered too dangerous to leave behind. Mustangs showed up effectively as of 1944. The P47 does have many story’s about being hard to shoot down though.

  21. James W. says:

    E.Hartmann nailed 352 enemy planes flying a Bf 109..
    Thats gotta mean something..

  22. Barrie says:

    The Mosquito was probably the best fighter to be in, the lowest losses of any operational allied plane. The Spitfire served right through the war as did the Bf 109, The Fw 190 was very good, the P 51 after it got the Merlin was ok, very long range but not as fast or agile as a Spitfire at the same time, the P 51 had to be escorted to the German border by P 38 ( when they did not suffer from unreliability), P 47 and Spitfire or it did not have the range to escort bombers to the target and back. In the last year of the war range was not so important. The Tempest V probably the best fighter in the last 2 years of the war, accounting for well over 600 V 1`s and took out a number of Me 262`s inj combat too as did the Spitfire Mk IX and XIV.

    • John C. says:

      Oh, hogwash. The P-51 was escorted while it was flying with drop tanks because it was the only fighter with the range to fly to Berlin and back. No fighter could effectively dogfight with drop tanks, and so the Germans tried to attach the escorts to make them drop their tanks early and ths have to leave the bombers. Smart, and escorting the escorts was the smart response.

  23. Bernard says:

    Well, Brewster Buffalo…
    I can see your eyes, but it is true.
    That plane produced an ace every 17 produced airframes. No other plane can claim that.

  24. Scott says:

    Gunter Roff was a top scoring German fighter pilot. He got to fly all the allied and Axis aircraft. He had over 275 kills. primarily against Russia. He said the P-51 was by far the best It was air cooled but the RR Merlin gave it tremendous range and it is an extremely maneuverable aircraft. Once it was refit with the RR engine and bubble canopy the Luftwaffe rapid lost control over Germany. It could escort the bombers all the way to Berlin and back non stop. At 40.000 feet it would run 437 mph and had a tremendous climb rate. well above the ME-109. The Spitfire was strictly a defense fighter as it was scrambled to intercept incoming Germans. It had only 15 seconds of machine gun time and only 1/3 the range of a mustang. Any fighter like the p 47 that had to turn back because of lower range was very ineffective as an escort. They were rugged as was the Hellcat, which has a 11/1 kill ratio and more aces were created flying it (305) the number lost (247). I was up against a smaller air force piloted by marginal pilots. I say it was the P=51 as this aircraft was the one that turned the air war in Europe and also was very successful in the Pacific. It was used by some countries until the early 60s because of its all around effectiveness. ( fire power, range, maneuverability and speed. No other WW2 aircraft could match it in the air whether it be speed or climbing. Six 50 caliber browning machine guns made the German aircraft its prey. When Gering saw a flight over Berlin escorting bombers he stated the war is over and Germany was up for second place. I say it is the Mustang. especially when the German pilots feared it so much. I would give the hellcat and Corsair a tie for second place as they pretty much wiped out the jap air force. The MER 109 was a death trap as between 1/3 and 1/2 were lost to ground looping. I sat in on and made that statement as the main gear struts bolted into the fuselage. Look at the wheel base when you get a chance as well as the size of the vertical stabilizer. The CAF had four and lost one to a ground loop. The other three have been sold. The mustang turned the air war like no other allied fighter when the Germans had an air force. It was truly an offensive aircraft and most of the others if not all were either defensive of used primarily for observation ( P-38)

  25. Henry the cabbi says:

    Hi! everyone.

    The BF109 made more aces with higher kills than any other aircraft of WW11.

    The Zero was a great pursuit fighter/bomber with probably a longer range than any of its opponent adversaries. It could outmanouvre a spitfire having a tighter turn.

    But the finest of them all was, in my opinion, the De Haviland Mosquito. German pursuit aircraft couldn’t catch it. It could fly higher and faster than anything the krauts could put up. The wooden wonder.

    Despite the BF109 the RAF with spitfires and hurricanes managed to defeat the Luftwaffe and establish aerial superiority in the Europan skies.

    Prhaps the most sinificant tool that won the war in Europe was the Merlin engine.

  26. William says:

    I have to go with the Spitfire it was unbelievably fast and highly maneuverable, after that I would say the Me262 but the P51 was almost as good as the ME, the P51 had greater range and better guns, then I would say the Hellcat, I have to say that the corsair was probably the worst airplane the U.S. ever made what a piece of crap, it was very maneuverable but that was about it. I have to give it up for the Hurricane as well a very underrated plane, as well as the Lightning.

    • Billy says:

      P-51 better guns than the 262? What have you been smoking. I urge you to look up the size comparison between the two. One round was meant for taking down the bombers that were plaguing Germany at the time. The mustang’s guns were meant to wear down a specific aircraft, but it needed lot’s more to destroy a plane. Also the F4U the worst airplane the US made? If you think that’s bad do some more research and you’ll be horrified

    • SuperCharger says:

      For gods sake man, do sone proper research before you post crap like this. The F4U www prob. the Best aircraft made in the US during the war. As a testament to this may be mentioned the service record of this fighter that went on for many years after the war was over. As for the armament; it was noe og the most hardhitting warbirds og the entire war. Add to this the fact that it was very sturdy and could really take a beating, something the P51 could not do. So my advice still stands. Get your facts right (REDACTED)!

    • sam says:

      the corsair was not a turn fighter my friend, and an me262 had worse guns than the p51? it carried less ammo but its rounds were much larger

  27. Bob says:

    All depended on what you wanted. Airacobras had speed meaning you could intercept and get from A to B quickly, the spitfire was a brilliant turnfighter and cheap to produce (for most models), the zero left things in the dirt as did the mosquito. The 109, Beaufighter and mustang just ripped things to shreds.

  28. Bob says:

    Edit: My grammar was horrid just then.

  29. Barrie says:

    The Spitfire was in front line service right through the war, the P 51 after it got the Merlin and there were enough in service late 1943 it did escort the USAAF bombers into Germany and back, however it could not fight when heavy with fuel and with the drop tanks on so the Bombers needed an escort which could fight at least as far as Germany, this was P 38, P 47 and the Spitfire. The Tempest V and Spitfire Mk XIV were both in service 6 months before the P 51.
    Spitfire`s were used as a defensive fighter, for sweeps over France, as a dive bomber, fighter bomber Photo Reconnaissance and an escort fighter, they escorted USAAF bombers before US had anything capable.

  30. Barrie says:

    I wrote the Tempest V and Spitfire Mk XIV were in service 6 months before the P 51, by mistake I left off the D.
    I also left out the Spitfire served as a high altitude fighter and a low altitude fighter as well as used on aircraft carriers

  31. Victor says:

    Best in form of climb ratio and agility? The Macchi MC.205V Veltro is your choice. Not the best range though. It does have a few drawbacks though they can be patched up pretty quickly with good maintennence.

  32. Barrie says:

    I am not sure how it would compare to a Spitfire Mk IX, or even the Re 2005.
    The climb of the MC 295 was tested with no load and using emergency power, using combat power and a normal load does affect it quite a bit,

  33. bunyan says:

    the Me-262 had 4 30mm cannons and if it flew at the beginning of the war with the horton ho 229 the war would be won in 2 years at least

    • Barrie says:

      The Me 262 was not in service until late 1944, as a fighter it was outclassed by RAF fighters like the Spitfire and Tempest, the 30 mm cannon were not very effective, also the Gloster Meteor was in service about the same time.
      The Ho 229 was never finished and there were no suitable jet engines for it in Germany.

  34. Barrie says:

    The Me 262 had 4 x 30 mm but they were low muzzle velocity and not the most effective, as for the P 51 the 6 x 0.5 were not nearly as good as the 20 mm used on RAF fighters, shorter range and less hitting power, I wouldn`t say the Corsair was bad, not the best but not bad, I would still rate the Spitfire as the best.

  35. marian says:

    list of the best pilots in ww2 they d ont flew P51 P51they destroyed BF 109 and FW 190
    waiting for comments….

    • Barrie says:

      Claims are often misleading and most Luftwaffe claims were against Russian planes when the Fw 190 and Bf 109 had an advantage, against the RAF they did not do so well, since many USAAF and Luftwaffe claims were very exaggerated and the way different claims were counted will also affect the figures.

      • marian says:

        Maybe you’re right, but there writes the number one pilot shot down over Romania 5 P51 by FW 190

  36. Barrie says:

    It would depend on which Fw 190, it evolved from 1941 when it had the radial engine up to 1944 when they used an inline engine, rate of climb and maneuverability both would beat the P 51.
    In 1944 The Spitfire Mk XIV in service in January, the P 51 D and Fw 190 D both about 6 months later
    Top speed Spitfire then Fw 190 then P 51, Acceleration Fw 190 then Spitfire then P 51, Climb Spitfire then Fw 190 then P 51, maneuverability Spitfire and Fw 190 close then p 51.

  37. Rock says:

    i read this and i didnt see eny one mention p63 kingcobra
    it has 37mm and 6x 50cal. mgs
    it was wery fast and slim and hard to shoot at
    p47 thunderbolt is just a legend some pilotes iven breake sound barier when dyving

  38. Barrie says:

    The P 63 when it entered service was not very fast and had a low rate of climb, the P 47C had a critical mach speed of just 0.69, even the later P 47 N only had a critical speed of mach 0.83, the fastest piston engine plane in a dive was the Spitfire which had a critical speed of mach 0.89.
    No plane during the war, not even jets came close to breaking the sound barrier.in a dive

  39. David says:

    Well, first of all you have to define what you mean by the term, \best fighter\. Because I don’t have all-night I’m going to suggest we just define it as an air superiority fighter, that, given a co-energy state, is most likely to survive an encounter with any other fighter aircraft of that era. So which aircraft is the most likely candidate? Long story short, it will be the Spitfire XIV.

    So why the Spitfire XIV and not the P 51D? Because the Mk 14 Spitfire is as fast as a P 51 BUT, with a better rate of climb, better operational ceiling, better turn, better roll and better acceleration. The only clear advantage the Pony has over the Spit is operating range and on that score the P 51 is without doubt, the best. Combine that one attribute with a huge numerical superiority (which the US enjoyed over Germany from late ’44) and you have a war-winner. However, in a straight out fight, the Spitfire would kill the P 51 more often than not.

    Now, if you want the ‘best’ low/medium altitude fighter of the War I’d suggest you have a serious look at the Hawker Tempest. No good over 20,000 feet of course but under that altitude, a real killer.

  40. Dan says:

    It has to be the spitfire is there any other choice ? Won the battle if britain which stopped the german invasion and gave the allies a platform to retake europe.

  41. john wilson says:

    mainly its the yanks talking BS the mk 14 spitfire was superior in evry way over the mustang 51

  42. Downy says:

    Spitfires get all the glory. The Hawker Hurricane did most of the work in the Battle of Britain

  43. Barrie says:

    I agree with you except the P 51 was bigger and heavier with greater range

  44. Barrie says:

    There were more Hurricanes but taking the numbers off both, the Spitfire shot down a higher percentage of German aircraft, usually taking on the Bf109 so the Hurricane could go after the bombers, also Spitfire pilots had a better survival rate.

  45. Joseph says:

    You’re American aren’t you? Then truth was the the US entered the European theatre only when the best pilots of the Axis were no longer around. The American aircraft would have no chance against a FW-190 in the hands of a good German ace

    • 2393633 says:

      ………P-47 rookie (Robert s Johnson) survived against Ergon Myer, a 48 kill ace at the time………

  46. Mark says:

    If the war had to be fought with only one fighter, would you choose the Spit 14 or the P51D? I’m a Brit but I think I’d go with the P51. Purely as a bomber escort it had a huge impact on the war and I don’t know how the bomber offensive would’ve managed without it. I also think it could’ve filled in in the air superiority role well enough.

  47. jason says:

    you got it right but 262 was best

  48. jason says:

    your right

  49. Barrie says:

    The Spitfire served right through the war, it was used for many different tasks, and escorting bombers was just one, the P 51 could only escort bombers on long range missions from 1944 and the bombers still needed protection into Germany by other fighters while the P 51 was using some of it`s fuel because it could not fight with a heavy fuel load.
    For D Day, the Spitfire was used to take photographs of the defenses, 55 squadrons of Spitfires provided air superiority, after D Day the Spitfire was the first allied fighter to land and operate in France giving close support to troops for the advance across France and into Germany, the Spitfire was used to attack V 1 and
    V 2 launching sites, also to escort RAF daylight bombing raids, the Spitfire was able to defeat Me 262`s in air combat, not one Spitfire including unarmed photo reconnaissance Spitfires was ever shot down by Me 262`s, when attacked by USAAF P 51`s by mistake Spitfires had no trouble leaving the P 51`s well behind.
    Just as well Britain had the Spitfire, the P 51 was not able to do anything in the Battle of Britain or North Africa, Malta, USAAF alongside the RAF used Spitfires to clear the skies of the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean.

  50. Mark Dimpflmaier says:

    Rall told me Spit was.however ME 109 by the numbers was best
    Most kills. Cannon could shoot them down
    Before machine gun range. I spent an afternoon with him @ his Burg
    In Bavaria, Have signed bio book addressed to me.

  51. Barrie says:

    During the battle of Britain the Bf 109 had cannon but they had low muzzle velocity, Cannon were also being fitted to some Spitfire`s, but against fighters the 0.303 was quite effective.
    The trouble with the cannon is that low muzzle velocity reduces the range and accuracy.
    The German losses were much more than the British losses at the time.
    Certainly more Bf 109`s were lost than Spitfire`s.

  52. Candy Man says:

    Many to choose from depending on how you’d like to approach it. I’d like to throw Fw-190D into the mix due to it’s size, gun carriage, armor, and quite notable rate of climb/maneuverability at low and high altitudes. It performed well as a night fighter, interceptor, and dog-fighter. Historically, most of the aircraft mentioned above are only superb in one or two of the 190D’s three successful purposes. The 190 platform itself was so versatile that other variants were were used effectively as tank busting fighter-bombers when a few simple hard points were added. The “Butcher” proved what it could do in capable hands against Spitfires when it won back low-altitude air superiority over France and the Low Countries in ’41 and ’42 after the Luftwaffe all but exhausted itself against the highly skilled and talented RAF. The introduction of the “D” model only expanded the versatility of an already great design. Like any other capable German aircraft in the latter half of the war, it suffered from insufficiently trained pilots, fuel shortages, and lack of commitment to a defensive role due to the pipe-dream indecisiveness of Hitler’s offensive policies. But that thing truly was a simple yet masterfully designed, all-around masterpiece.

  53. Barrie says:

    The Fw 190 had some advantage in late 1941, early 1942, however after that the advantage was with the Spitfire from the Mk IX on to the Mk XIV which was still more than a match for the Fw 190 D that came into service late 1944, the Spitfire Mk XIV had been in service for many months. Spitfire`s also served in many roles, more than most fighters
    Air superiority, bomber escort, dive bomber, photo reconnaissance and many other uses.
    The Spitfire served right through the war and well after.

  54. tony webster says:

    There is one fighter for me it’s the mk9 spitfire. A beautiful machine and to add to it’s beauty a killer punch. Two twenty millimetre canons plus machine guns, outstanding.

  55. sam says:

    best looking is the kittyhawk. it really depends on what you mean. if its best turner then you go with the later spits, best long range escort you pick a p51, best energy fighter and you go with a 190

  56. Mike says:

    Most Me262 pilots said that the greatest enemy of the 262 was the hawker tempest, because the tempest could dive down and regain altitude easily then attack more 262s, I think the spitfire Mk 14 is the best fighter, the only place it lacks I the range, it could out turn any aircraft used in ww2 (excluding biplanes) the P51D was good though

  57. Barrie says:

    I could be wrong but I believe Spitfire`s damaged and destroyed more Me 262`s than Tempest`s, The Spitfire was not as fast in the initial dive but it had a very high mach speed in a dive and the rate of climb was better than almost any other fighter, even the older Mk IX Spitfire did very well against Me 262`s. even range was not the issue that most people think, some Spitfire`s had extra internal fuel and with a 90 gallon drop tank the range was at least equal to the P 47, also as good as the Tempest.

  58. PETE says:


  59. PETE says:

    DONT GET ME STARTED,WE COULD GO ON FOREVER WITH THIS,WHAT ABOUT BEAUFIGHTER(whispering death) f4u CORSAIR(whistling death) both excellent,then theres Tempest,Fury

  60. Barrie says:

    The British put a Merlin engine in the P 51,then the Packard made Merlin engine was used to replace the Allison

  61. pete says:

    Yes yes eventually,my point was the junk bit until then.even the p40 was much better,which is still one of my favs

  62. pete says:

    Maybe we could compare favourite lists

  63. Andair says:

    everybody is biased the Americans say theirs is best, brits say theirs:
    I’m Hungarian so not biased cos there aren’t any major Hungarian fighters, but the truth is German engineering has always been best and fw190 and bf109 are probably best prop aircraft. BF 109 had the most kills and Erik Hartmann (top scoring ace of wwII) only flew the bf109. The reason the Germans lost battle of Britain was because of Hitler’s idiotic and sadist tactics and because they had to fly a lot to get to Britain and the spitfires just had to stay there and as a result had lots of fuel. the Germans were also outnumbered 2:1 because Hitler wanted to bomb cities not airfields and strategic places. (he wanted to kill people that dic*)

    • Barrie says:

      The number of kills is very misleading, many of these kills are unconfirmed. The Luftwaffe actually had more Bf 109`s in the Battle of Britain than both Spitfire`s and Hurricanes, German engineering is ok but the Merlin was much smaller,and lighter but more efficient than the DB, Jumo or BMW engines.

  64. pete says:

    Here here,nice one Barrie. Iv heard if they put a 109 engine in a spit it would fly like a stuka,but visa versa the 109 would almost match the 190,its what I heard anyway

  65. pete says:

    @ John.c, please do tell what is hogwash exactly? There where a lot of excellent fighters around during WW2 Yank,Brit,German,Russian,Japanese even the French,bet you don’t know that one ha,google it before replying eh

  66. Andair says:

    Barrie i agree with you that the number of kills isn’t always true, because I just found a Battle of Britain site where it sais that the British claimed to have shot down more than twice as many aircraft than they did, because of propaganda. It is true that the British had less aircraft at the start of the battle but they produced the aircraft much more quickly, and Hitler decided not to bomb factories (the Battle of Britain site says Britain was about 24 hours away from loosing when hitler told the bombers to bomb cities instead of airfields and factories and the germans would have won if it weren’t for hitler)
    so they were eventually outnumbered.
    Also, the Germans had to fight far away from their bases, so the BF109s could only stay for about 20 mins over England and then had to go back and refuel, but the British could just land and take off again in minutes. Because of this, the germans could only have very few aircraft over Britain at a time for very little time…
    I don’t know much about the engines, but the spit and other british aircraft’s fuel tank couldn’t supply the engine in -G conditions. This meant that if the BF109 did a -G manoeuvre the spit couldn’t follow, otherwise its engine would stop and he might not be able to restart it, resulting in crash. In this way, the BF109 could get away instantly from trouble.

    As for the FW 190, it is a well known and admitted fact that it could EASILY outmatch a spitfire mark V and even later.
    Of course, other aircraft are good as well, and everyone thinks spitfire is best cos the British won the war but believe me that’s not the reason.

    Of course, the best plane of the war, is nor the spit nor the BF109, but very likely the p80a although the ME262 was much more successful as it was the first jet fighter and didn’t have an equal opponent when it was built.

  67. Arne Grostøl says:

    ME262 without any doubt whatsoever.. and i will be tempted to call anyone not agreeing ignorant or even stupid.
    ME262 was lightyears ahead of anything else during the war, and it was the template for every postwar fighter.
    Its VERY simple. when we are naming the \best fighter\ we are naming the single most powerful and dangerous fighter, and in that case we cannot use parametres like impact or number produced as arguments..
    ME262 was the best fighter during WW2. End of discussion

  68. Barrie says:

    If you are going to call anyone stupid it would help if you knew anything about the subject, the Me 262 was designed as a straight wing plane with jet engines, after the war it did not lead anywhere, Czechoslovakia built a very few but they were soon dropped.
    The Me 262 first flew with a piston engine because the jet engines were not ready, when it finally entered service it was not any good as a fighter, while Spitfire`s and Tempest`s shot down quite a few Me 262`s in combat, Me 262`s did not shoot down a single RAF fighter. The max dive speed of the Me 262 was according to Willy Messerschmitt just mach 0.86. The Spitfire mach 0.89.
    Adolf Galland after the war flew a Gloster Meteor and was very impressed.
    The Gloster Meteor entered service just before the Me 262.
    So again apart from Czechoslovakia no other country too a single thing from the Me 262

    • Arne Grostøl says:

      Well all postwar fighters was based on the ME262 whether you like it or not.
      both the Sabre and the mig15 was based on the ME262.

  69. Barrie says:

    In the Battle of Britain, Britain could not have been 24 hours from defeat or they could not have given the Luftwaffe a real pasting so soon after the so called switch.
    The engine did not stop with negative G, there was a momentary cut out, no Spitfire would crash because of it.
    The problem of cutting out could be overcome by rolling over into a dive and maintaining positive G, also the team at RR was working on the problem and made significant improvements during 1940, a complete cure being achieved in 1941.
    The Fw 190 did have an advantage over the Spitfire Mk V, although the Spitfire could still turn tighter, the Mk IX and later Spitfire`s did more than match the Fw 190, the later Fw 190 D which came into service in mid 1944 was better but the Spitfire Mk XIV which entered service six months earlier was more than a match for it.
    The Gloster Meteor, Me 262 and P 80 were all just early jets and as such not as good as the best Piston engine fighters. The Me 262 was no match for Spitfire`s or Tempest`s
    The Gloster Meteor did come up against newer jets after the war, both in Israel and Korea.

  70. pete says:

    Nice one Barrie,you took the words out of my mouth,nicely put too.let’s see if they have a brain and check it out. Like the tiger tank,innovative,superb design but junk when not thought out to potential yes yes armour was good

    • andair says:

      I am sorry, but you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.
      Did you just call both the tiger and the FW 190 junk??
      cause if you did you are completely crazy.

    • andair says:

      not gonna bother to argue

  71. andair says:

    If you’re saying they couldn’t have been 24 hours away from defeat argue with the history experts on this history site: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battleofbritain.htm

    You said the engine didn’t stop, but it did until a temporary fix was introduced in 1941. This did not solve the problem it just stopped the engine from stopping completely. A complete fix was only done in 1943 and before that a bf109 for example could easily escape from an attacking spitfire with a negative g manoeuvre and get on its tail.

    For some good facts and if you don’t believe or agree with what I’m saying visit this awesome website:http://www.scientistsandfriends.com/aircraft.html

    Unlike most websites and people are on this subject, this site is completely un-biased. Its fact proven.

    I would write a longer answer, but it’s late I can’t be bothered and that website sais enough so just read it its not a big page.

    You also said that the ME262 didn’t shoot down a single fighter, that’s completely untrue, it outmatched all fighters of the day in every aspect and its bullets were so huge they would rip and blow up any plane with no effort…
    The gloster meteor was introduced 3 months after me262 and it was basically a copy, as many other allied aircraft were also inspired by german aircraft.

    Most people on this site I found say the Me 262 was superior but I think they were quite equal. have a look at this: http://www.warbirdsforum.com/topic/430-duel-messerschmitt-me-262-vs-gloster-meteor/

    A good fact about the BF109 is that its kill ratio was 1 to 7, so for every bf109 shot down, 7 allied aircraft were shot down by it…
    On some days, 1 bf 109 could shoot down 18 spits in 1 flight..

    Also have a look at the list of most successful pilots of ww2.

    HINT: all of the pilots with more than 100 kills were german.
    Do you think that’s purely because they had more skill, or maybe their aircraft were better??

    By the way, these facts include data from the final days of the war, and after 1942, when the german air force was hugely outnumbered as it was 3 major powers against 1. The german fighters were even outnumbered in Battle of Britain as the fighters could only stay for 30 mins and had to go back but the british planes could just land and take-off instantly, so there were only a few german planes over Britain, but all of britains planes were there all the time…

    However, still have a look at the list, because only then will you see how much more successful german pilots were than anybody else….

    Most media and even ordinary people are pretty biased on these things so…

    Anyway, both sides had good planes but the german aircraft are definitely my favourite and the most successful…

    • Barrie says:

      The simple fact is the RAF was never 24 hours from defeat, when the so called switch to bombing cities took place it was not for ten days after the Bombing of Berlin and at the time the RAF had over 600 fighters and reserves as well as pilots for them, The Luftwaffe was in big trouble, unsustainable losses and very disheartened fighter pilots who were exhausted.
      You obviously do not know anything about RR and the work they did along with SU, the first fix in 1940 improved the momentary cut out, the RR/SU carburetor introduced on the Mk V was a complete cure. Even the Mk I Spitfire pilots soon learned to roll over into a dive maintaining positive G and follow the Bf 109.
      I said the Me 262 didn`t shoot down a single RAF fighter which is true. they claimed a number of DH Mosquito`s but most of these are not true, Kurt Welter claimed 27 Mosquito`s while flying the Me 262 and 24 of these were not lost when the claims were made, the other 3 may just be, he did not claim a single Spitfire or Tempest and I have sen about 7 claims for these shot down by the Me 262 but not one of the claims stands up to scrutiny. So while both Spitfire`s and Tempest`s did shoot down Me 262`s, not one of either was shot down by Me 262`s.
      I have seen the Luftwaffe claims and most were in the East or very exaggerated.
      I would love to see confirmation of 1 Bf 109 shooting down 18 Spitfires. I have seen confirmed reports of Spitfire`s shooting 19 down Bf 109`s and Fw 190`s for the loss of just two Spitfire`s even though the Spitfire`s were outnumbered.
      It is interesting that if German claims are to be believed then they should not have been beaten so badly.
      The Gloster Meteor was not a copy of the Me 262, in fact no one except Czechoslovakia tried to make the Me 262 after the war and it was soon dropped. Israel tried it but the replaced it with Gloster Meteor`s. No one copied a thing from the Me 262. Russia tried to use German let engines but very quickly replaced them with RR Nene`s which they mass produced. France took the unsuccessful BMW jet engine and changed and improved it.

  72. andair says:

    The spitfire MKIX did NOT outmatch the fw190, whichever subtype you’re talking about (not clear), and neither did the mk XIV outmatch fw190D.
    All you are stating is your opinion, no facts, no links and you’re not even clear on what subtype you are talking about when u say fw190 or fw190d (d9 or d13 or what?). Considering all subtypes, the spitfire did have good turn rate, but was not faster than the fw190 and bf109,
    and was vulnerable to boom and zoom tactics, due to not having enough armour and as I said it’s speed was not better than the German fighter’s. If hit, it wasn’t hard to take down, and its’ agility came at a high price as it was prone to burning out, because it had no armour…
    The fw190 and bf109 also had very good armament, including MGs on the nose which were more precise than wing mounted ones.

    Saying the ME262 was no match for spit or tempests is just plain stupid, and I’m not even gonna argue if you’re this stupid.
    For facts and links and a better written answer look at my newest post.

    • Barrie says:

      The Spitfire Mk IX was able to match the Fw 190 A, in fact it had the advantage, the Mk VII and Mk VIII being even better, the Mk XIV entered service in January 1944, or over 6 months before the
      Fw 190 D9 and the Spitfire was more than a match for it, Your links are not very helpful, I do not put any because my information comes from books written by pilots who flew these planes, and also from talking direct to RAF test pilots that also flew the German planes, Ever heard of Jeffrey Quill and Alex Henshaw, of course the other very experienced test pilot who flew all these planes was Eric Brown who was at Miles Aviation after the war when my father worked there.

  73. Andair says:

    You believe what you want, you provided no proven facts, just your and maybe some pilots opinions, and you refuse to believe facts from legit sources that I even have links for. Why should I have to believe what you say and is not even written on a website.
    You simply say that the mk ix was better than the fw190, I could say the same thing the other way around.
    You say that no ME262 shot down a RAF plane which is definitely not true. Were you there to see or something?
    By the way if you had a look at my link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_II_flying_aces)
    you would believe that what you said is definitely not true.

    You still don’t have any proof at all for anything you are saying it’s just your opinion, you say that plenty of me262 were shot down.
    That can’t really be true, as the ME262 is WAY faster than any spitfire or tempest. Therefore the only time they could be vulnerable is during landing and takeoff, but at these times they were protected by propeller fighters and of course Anti aircraft guns.

    If you call BMW unsuccessful and think the French and british copied it because they wanted a really bad engine, so that they would have to change it loads for it to be worth something, you are just plain stupid, no offense.

    Oh and could you tell me some of these books names you read every night that are written by allied pilots?

    Of course you must have read too much biased books and seen too many ww2 Hollywood movies.


    The simple reality is, that the germans had the best aircraft of ww2 and despite being hugely outnumbered, the highest scoring aces were all from the Luftwaffe.
    Did you even have a look at my links?

  74. Andair says:

    I don’t intend to continue this argument for much longer, as I see that nothing can convince you and you should know that I won’t be convinced either, because all the facts are with me.

    History is written by the winners of the war, those who lost did not have a say in what should be written in the books, and of course the allies wont tell people about their own mistakes, defeats, crimes.
    They say what they want and that’s not always the truth…

    • Barrie says:

      All the facts are what? While the Fw 190 A did have an advantage over the Spitfire Mk V that advantage was lost when the Mk IX came along. The Fw 190 D came into service in the Autumn of 1944 or over 6 months after the Spitfire Mk XIV and the Spitfire was faster flew higher, climbed better and turned tighter.
      History is written by historians many of whom are not British and some are German.
      The facts are there to see and you do not like it that Germany lost. Just get over it, it was long ago.

  75. Andair says:

    Again, these are not facts just your opinion, what you say…
    But it doesn’t matter lets just say that both aircraft are awesome, because they are, and it’s kind of impossible to compare them, with so many subtypes especially because all the subtypes are so close in performance, and you can’t find all the specs for all of them.
    Some subtypes of the 190 are better than the spit and then again maybe some are not.
    The historians got their info from people who fought in the war or knew the strategies and had high ranks in the army. These people said what they wanted(and left out what they wanted), nobody would argue otherwise or if they did people wouldn’t believe them.

    I do not wish that Germany would have won, as it probably would have been bad, although you never know, maybe Hitler would have been overthrown as soon as stuff about the concentration camps leaked out ….
    Then again maybe nobody would have believed it, as Hitler would have been able to control the media.

    • Barrie says:

      Hardly just an opinion, the facts are what they are, I got some information direct from pilots who flew the aircraft in combat, and from test pilots who flew both aircraft and compared them at the time.
      It is quite easy to compare the Spitfire Mk V to the FW 190 A and overall the Fw 190 comes out best, but a good pilot would fly at the right height and a high cruising speed and in a shallow dive it took the Fw 190 a long time to catch up, the Spitfire`s advantage was in a turning fight and by drawing the Fw 190 towards home the Spitfire pilot could expect help from other Spitfire`s. The Spitfire Mk IX changed that and it maintained an advantage until 1944, along with the Spitfire Mk VII and VIII, and at low level the Mk XII was very good, by the time the Fw 190 D 9 came along the Spitfire Mk XIV had been in service for over 6 months and nothing could beat the Mk XIV.
      At high altitude the TA 152 H might but they were too late and too few.

  76. BOB WILLIAMS says:

    The question of which was the best fighter plane of WW II the P-51
    or the P-47. Read this from a fighter pilot who flew both in WW II
    who has 12 reasons the P-47 was the best.

    • Barrie says:

      The P 47 was the biggest, heaviest, most expensive single piston engine fighter ever, the P 51 again is heavier and slower than the Spitfire, the Spitfire has better acceleration, climb and maneuverability than either it also went higher, and for range Spitfire`s could and did carry extra fuel and drop tanks so at least as long range as the P 47, the P 51 had range but it was not an air superiority fighter and by the time it came along the Luftwaffe were in a bad way.
      I know some USAAF pilots who had Spitfire`s until they had to replace them with P 47`s, they lost both planes and pilots when trying to turn with the Spitfire
      The RAF found that USAAF pilots were not too good at recognition and both Spitfire`s and Tempest`s were attacked by P 47`s and P 51`s the RAF pilots had no problem, the Spitfire pilot could simply turn and climb away, the USAAF pilot busy shooting at empty space.

  77. Brodie M says:

    The Me262, Focke-Wulf 190 and the later version Ta 152 were deadly if piloted by experienced pilots. If the Ta 152’s had of been put into the role they performed best at, High altitude the Allies would have had a hard time gaining control of the German skies. The Spitfires later models were very good: they were fast while in dive, and maneuverable. The P-51 Mustang was the BEST long range fighter invented by the Allies. It packed a heap of punch and could better the Germans if piloted by experienced pilots. After-all the Aces who flew these fighters got to know their downfalls and their strengths. There was no “best fighter”, however if flown right they could all be deadly!

  78. Brian Hill says:

    I had the honor maybe 10 or more years ago now of speaking with one of the Tuskegee airmen at one of their reunions at an historic old hotel in downtown Birmingham, AL. The group, with their families, had just finished up breakfast and he remained, chatting with his extended family. I was passing by, but stopped once I realized the distinguished group I had come upon. He noticed me standing nearby and asked if he might answer any question I had, so I thanked him, introduced myself and asked him which had been his favorite plane to fly. Without hesitation, he said the P-47. I told him I was surprised and thought he’d say the P-51. He said the 51 was a terrific plane, but the 47 was very fast too and was very heavy and could take whatever antiaircraft or enemy fighters could throw at it, so he preferred it for those reasons. We chatted a while longer and I told him it had been an honor talking with him and he replied that it had been “an honor talking with you, Brian.” What a humble American hero who gave me a very memorable moment.

  79. JUKKA says:


    • Barrie says:

      3,499 P 47`s did not return, it is a bit of a myth since Spitfire`s also took a lot of damage but were harder to hit.

      • MarkO says:

        What about the TA-152H and the TA-152C. I seem to recall hearing a story of a TA-152H encountering some Mustangs and he was very easily able to leave them behind.

  80. Ray Cook says:

    The P-51 was the fastest and best in dogfights, but the underbelly radiator was a problem from ground fire. The P-47 was a close second.

  81. Dan Willhite says:

    Nobody mentions the Yak-3? It was one of the best fighters below 10,000 feet.

  82. Mike Melugin says:

    I once suggested to a WW2 fighter pilot that the P-51 was the best fighter of the war.

    “What rubbish” He declared. “I flew Spits with an Eagle squadron with the RAF. Then when the US finally got involved I transferred to the USAAC and transitioned into a P-38. The Lightning was a far better fighter than either the Spitfire or the P-51. The only reason the US favored the P-51 was because it was cheaper and they could build more of them … “

  83. awack says:

    no doubt, the me 262, well, if you actually go by facts, nearly every pilot who flew it had no doubt about its superiority over every fighter that saw combat, or didn’t see combat, test pilot Eric Brown stated in not these exact words, (to compare the me 262 to other fighters of ww2 is to admit ones own mental retardation)

  84. arthur heale says:

    Obviously the ME 262, but amongst propeller-driven planes, P-51C. Runners up…Spitfire IX; FW-190D; Yak 3; Ki 84; ME-109 F; Reggianne 2005. Favourite is P-36 Hawk.

  85. IgnoranceBeater says:

    Well, that would depend on *when* exactly you look at it. The development of airplanes was quite astounding during WW2, after all, and ons in 1939 couldn’t hold a candle on those from 1945. At the start of WW2 up until 1940, I think even the Me-109 was probably the best, with the Spitfire as a close second. Almost all other airplanes were inferior, at that time. But that changed quite rapidly, and half-way 1941, I think the Spitfire took over, certainly the IX. Other planes, like the YAK 3, FW-190 and P-36 were getting close too, each jumping slightly over eachother and back again, depending on their (sub)version.

    If, however, one is talking about the very best plane made during the *period* of WW2 (from 1939 – 1945) then there is little doubt it’s the ME 262. It arrived late on the scene (not too long before the war ended), but it was still inside that time-period, and it was 1)much faster, had 2)more manoeuvrability and 3)more firepower than almost any individual (fighter)plane at that time. And with all 3 combined, it far outstripped any other airplane back then.

    In fact, if, hypothetically, they had mass-produced this plane before the landing of Normandy, it’s very likely that the Germans would have kept air-superiority, and thus probably would have been able to repel the attack(s).

    Anyway, the ME 262 was definitely superior at its time to all other airplanes of that period.

    • Zos Xavius says:

      The 262 was only superior in terms of speed. At low speeds it could easily be out maneuvered and its achilles heel was extremely slow takeoffs and landings. Most were shot down doing one of those two things. It also could only stay in the air for about an hour and its engines were only good for 10-20 hours before needing an overhaul due to the lack of exotic alloys. Hands down the best dogfighter was the Yak-3 followed by the later variants of the FW90. BTW the P36 was outdated by the time of the war. The P40 was based on the P36 and is a much better plane. The US produced more P40s than any other fighter plane.

      “The first production P-36As were delivered to the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale Field in Louisiana in April 1938. The aircraft’s service history was marred by numerous teething problems with the engine exhaust, skin buckling over landing gear, and weak points in the airframe, severely restricting the performance envelope. By the time these issues were resolved, the P-36 was considered obsolete and was relegated to training units and overseas detachments at Albrook Field in the Canal Zone, Elmendorf Field in Alaska, and Wheeler Field in Hawaii.”

      • IgnoranceBeater says:

        Well, each has his own opinion of course, but metal-scarcity for exotic alloys or even slow landing are not of primordial importance to determine which is the best fighter plane. Obviously, one can’t be the best in everything, otherwise one could even say a modern jet is ‘worse’ because it can’t fly very slow which is a downside for sightseeing for tourists, or something. Or claiming some slow-ass fighter plane is better because it had more fuel and could go further, etc. One must decide on the importance of the criteria used, after all.

        I think with ‘best fighter plane’ one means the fighter plane that will come out on top when having an airborn fight between each other. Slow take-offs are only a problem if you don’t have radar to warn you when enemy airplanes are nearing, and a lack of exotic alloy is only a problem as long as there is a lack of it. None have anything to do with the capabilities of the airplane when dogfighting.

        Let’s put it like this: if you let a 100 times a Me-262 in the sky fighting 100 times a Yak-3 (or whatever), in the vast majority of the cases the first would win, and the latter loose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

, , , ,

Sponsored Content: