Top Ten Most Importent Workhorse Aircraft

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Staff Sergeant
Dec 5, 2004
Boise, Idaho
Which Aircraft contributed the most in WWII to their countries? Not necisarily the late great planes but the planes that did the work!

Spitfire/Hurricane - defender in BoB
P-40 as an attack plane in North Africa
F6F as a major carrier fighter in the Pacific.
P-38 stepping in anyplace in about any job to further the war effort
Fw-190/Bf-109 in all its roles both offensive and defensive
Where does the tempest stand
How about the IL-2

Post reasons as well as aircraft and location that define its impact!


Producing a list is easy. Getting it down to ten is the hard part
Sorry folks forgot the reasons

Classic of its time and ever since
Carried the load from the beginning to close to the end and did its job well
Similar. In action from the start and whatever its problems was never a walk over
Did everything it was asked to do all through the war
Served all through, on all fronts and on land and sea what more can you ask
Often overlooked but it always did well on all fronts
Edged it over the B17 due to the extra variety of roles and its use in all areas of the war and it served in volume with more countries
What can I say, its performance speaks volumes.
Close with the P47, but its the plane that made the difference by using its range to impose itself on the enemy. P47 had advantages in some roles but its the P51 that was most often quoted as a decisive factor by the Germans.
Lightweight it may be but it served the IJN well. It wasn't the planes fault that the replacements never quite made it.
Nice list here would be mine:


On top of that could go:

And the list could still go on:
And loads more, as Glider said it is narrowing it down to 10 that is the problem.
1. C-47 - it carried the war effort of the Western Allies. It was the only plane named as a war winning weapon.

2. P-51 - it carried the U.S bomber offensive on, and on, and on.

3. B-24 - it dropped more tonnage than any other bomber of the war.

4. Hurricane - it saved Britain in 1940.

5. Spitfire - served with every Allied air force, on every front, in every year of the war.

6. Lancaster - it carried the bombing offensive through all the dark nights.

7. F6F - the Pacific air war almost solely rested on this planes shoulders.

8. Mosquito - when precision was needed, this was always called in.

9. Bf-109 - from 1940 - 1945, it kept fighting against all the odds.

10. Catalina - over all the seas of the world, the Cat spotted and aided in the destruction of many enemy surface fleets.
1. Ju-88.

Served for the whole war, in more roles and with more sucess than any other German twin engined plane.

2. Spitfire

Served and saw action over Britain, Germany, France, the Low Countries, Egypt, Malta, the Western Desert, Italy, Russia, Australia, Japan, China-Burma-India theatre, Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Fought wherever the British were, as well as being supplied to the airforces of the USSR, Australia and the United States.

3. Bf-109.

Served and saw action in every German theatre of the war.

4. IL-2.

Ubiquitious ground attack aircraft on the Russian front. Produced in, and lost in, greater numbers than any other aircraft in history.

5. Hawker Hurricane.

Relegated in Europe to fighter bomber status by 1941 and then to ground attack fighter by 1942, the Hurricane still solidered on in numbers and places where it was needed. The defence of Malta, the opening years of the CBI theatre, the Western Desert. Performed admirably as a dedicated ground attack aircraft, straffer, rocketeer, carrier fighter, convoy support and foward observer and liason.

6. P-40 Warhawk.

The mainstay for the USAAF from 1941 until 1943 and still serving in the frontlines in large numbers well into 1944. A poor performer compared to its rivals in the Spitfire, 109, 190, A6M and Ki-43, it was still tough, dependable and brought its pilots home. Handled well, it was still a good opponent and it worked wonders as a fighter bomber in Africa and the PTO.

7. Wellington.

One of the Forgotten Soliders of the second world war. Slow, underarmed and slightly ponderous, the "Wimpy" was also a match for any medium bomber when the war broke out, with the notable exception of the Ju-88. It formed the backbone of Bomber Command until the Streling, Halifax and Lancaster became availiable, serving with ~20 squdarons by the end of 1941. It was also widely used in costal reconnisance, electronic spoofing, submarine hunting and a host of other roles.

8. Yak-9 serise

The most produced Russian fighter of the war. It held the line with reasonable performance and good numbers against faster and better armed German opponents. Outstandingly nimble, reasonably well armed and easy to fly, it was a match for most of opponents as a low level fighter. Specalised versions were made for long range, ground attack, tank busting and high altitue interception. The 1944 Yak-9U was probably the best Soviet fghter above 5000m.

9. Ki-43.

While talk about the Zero seems to alternate between praise and scorn (usually depeding on how much aviation reading you have done) its IJA sister seems to mostly go unnoticed. Possibly the most nimble monoplane fighter of all time, many Allied PTO veterans said that the Ki-43 was a more dangerous opponent than the Zero, with better handling at high speed and generally better manouverability but little in the way of firepower. It was the second most produced Japanese plane of the war and fought furious actions against the Allies from 1942 onwards.

10. Halifax.

The 'other' 4 engined bomber of Bomber Command. Like the Hurricane, the Hallifax seems to have been overshadowded by a slightly better performing and more photogenic rival. The "Halibag" towed the line night after night for BC, dropping huhge amounts of tonnage but also taking appauling losses. It actually performed in more roles than the Lancaster.
My list goes like this

1. Dakota ...Jeep of the sky did the lot and a bit more after the war (Puff)
2. Hawker Hurricane..... Always tended to be in the shadow of the more glamorous Spitfire yet was the main stay during the BOB.
3. B25 ......Extensively used by the allies in many rolls.
4. ME 109...... The Germans had faster planes but with 33,000 being built this was there back bone fighter aircraft throughout the war.
5. PBY Catalina.....Widely used in both the Atlantic and Pacific was responsible for the inception of several major sea battles in its search role.
6. Fairey Swordfish.... Multi rolled Jack of all trades that was surprisingly the RN's one of the wars most successful carrier planes.
7. B17...... US main stay heavy bomber in all theaters, saw service everywhere.
8. P51........The USA's main fighter of the war (15,484built). 55 countries purchased Mustangs after the war, this is testimony to there highly regarded record.
9. Hawker Typhoon....With the advent of the taxi rank it was the Tiffie's in close ground support that carried out this role(day after day) most effectively .
10. Mitsubishi Zero...... The most effective fighter in the Japanese arsenal and indeed earlier in the war probably the best fighter in the sky.
The P-51 was hardly a workhorse. It was really more of a staple. It came into its own after the Luftwaffe's back had already been broken.

It was the P-47 that did the heavy lifting for the USAAF during the Luftwaffe's finest hour. It served in the roles of fighter, fighter bomber and close air support/ground attack. And in the Pacific theatre, the N model proved itself to be the best long range escort fighter of the entire war.
Sal. You have a valid point but I also went with the P51 because it did what other planes couldn't at the time and did it well.

However, its easy to make comments about other peoples lists, but impolite to do so without putting your own up. Come on lets see it with reasons.
This thread has been aired out pretty well. I really couldn't really add anything beyond what's already been said by others.

My post was just a knee jerk response to the inclusion of the P-51 which I think has garnered far more credit than it deserves. No offense intended and sorry if I came across as impolite.

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