Thursday, April 16, 2009

World War II - The Later Years

World War II represented a tremendous technological leap in aviation. The war started with some of the countries using biplanes that weren't much faster than the planes of WWI. It ended with jets, a pressurized bomber and the atomic bomb. These are some pictures of planes from about 1942 until the end of the war.

This is the B-17 Flying Fortress. It entered service just before the war began and lasted throughout the war. This is a B-17G, notice the chin turret. This was one of the bombers that was used in the bombing campaign over Germany. It saw some use in the Pacific but the distances were too great for it to be effective.

This is the B-24 Liberator, it was the workhorse bomber of the war. It saw service in every theater of the war. It had a greater payload and range than the B-17 and it saw a little more use in the Pacific. It was most famous as the bomber that was used in the raids over Ploesti in Romania.

This is a Spitfire, a British fighter. It entered service just before the Battle of Britain and lasted through the war.

This is a Mosquito which was built entirely of wood. As a result it was fast. It was mostly used in the night fighter role and as a Pathfinder for British bombers.

This is the P-38 Lightning. It saw more use in the Pacific than Europe because it's superchargers had problems in the cold. It was still effective enough as the Germans called it the "Fork Tailed Devil". It was one of the first aircraft able to escort bombers all the way into Germany. It was also the aircraft that was used to kill Admiral Yammamoto.

This is the P-47 Thunderbolt or Jug. It was one of the workhorse fighters in the war. It also had enough range to escort the bombers all the way into Germany. It was also deadly in the role of tank killer and ground attack.

This is the P-51 Mustang, probably one of the most famous fighters of the war. It was also one of the fastest propellor driven aircraft and pretty much owned the skies.

This is the Me-262, the first operational jet.

This is the P-61 Black Widow which was a night fighter. It saw more use over the Pacific than Europe.

And this is a B-29 Superfortress. This particular one is called Bocks Car and it was the aircraft that was used to drop the bomb over Nagasaki which effectively ended the war. It was the first pressurized aircraft that was used and had enough range to be effective in the Pacific.

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