World War II records...

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Dec 17, 2004
I've been trying to hunt down records of aircraft from this era and haven't had much success. What I'm trying to find is records of every individual aircraft that was put into service, where and who operated them, what happened to them, their current status, and and communication records between the pilot and a tower/pilot/other prior to crashing. If you can help me with finding where these documents may be, I'd really (REALLY) appreciate it.
Streuth! What, complete details on every single plane that ever flew in the Second World War? I wouldn't think it's possible - especially with the Soviet ones.
I get close to 300,000 aircraft built just the US or are you looking for as many crashes as you can find? If your looking for all built so many records have been lost that it may be imposible in any practicle maner.

Good Luck!
I've seen professionals using a list of aircraft that state what their status is, their number, last seen, etc. I was hoping to use it to hunt down warbirds that could possibly be renovated and rebuilt to flying condition (dreaming, I know), but where so many were built I'm kinda hoping that I can find something. I have no idea what the junk yard at Tuscon holds because it's so hard to find a website that has that kind of stuff on it. I thought that where naval carriers recorded what happened to their aircraft, maybe I could find something. I also thought that where they sometimes had to push them off the carrier into the water, that they would be in decent condition (depending on the corrosion). Not only am I looking for naval aircraft, but I am also looking for bombers (yeah, those big puppies). I contacted the NARA and got nowhere with them, they never e-mail me or contacted me after I received their confirmation e-mail. Tell me whatcha think!
I would have thought that the carcass will be picked clean by now - Anything WW2 would have been snapped up by preservation groups who are always on a hunt for spares. Maybe not though! Perhaps there's a Federal Public Records Office in Washington?
I don't know. I would hope so! Salvage groups are still pulling up aircraft though! look at the P-38 they pulled up out of that glacier in Iceland I think it was, or was it Greenland? I don't know. But there are 3 more of them below that glacier and the one they pulled up seemed to be in great shape. And then you have the B-29 that was way up in Canada that caught fire when they tried to take off and it's below the ice there now. There''s still a bunch more!! I just want to find the documents to track down more! (yeah, I know I'm a warbird freek; I know there are hundreds of other guys and girls that want the same things I do)
Man, we were asked to do this a few months ago, we were all assigned countries and we had to find out the planes for out country (Incidentally, I had Italy).

I dont think anyone bothered doing it :lol:
i got close, i took British Bombers (was also willing to take on american bombers as well) i printed off the list of things we had to find out about each aircraft and ....well...errr......
If you are looking at American aircraft only, try Joe Baugher's site. He has an awesome list of serial numbers by fiscal year and a comprehensive writeup about the designations, etc. For fiscal serials on USAF/USAAF/USAAC:

He also has a search engine for the serial number so you can look for a particular aircraft type or an individual airplane (Handy with photo identification and research). He also has a site for US Navy and USMC serials.

As an aside, if you are looking to find, recover and restore one yourself, you better have more money than most of us can imagine, must less possess. Restoring one of these old planes is expensive and extremely time consuming. The museum that I belong to has been restoring a B-25 Mitchell for 8 years, and they still have at least 2 more years to go!

If you are interested in being involved in restorations and seeing airplanes fly, try an aviation museum or organization. I belong to the CAF personally, so I am partial to them. Their main page is at :

They have chapters all over the US and a few overseas as well.

I don't want to burst your bubble on recovery and restoration because there are still aircraft around to be recovered, believe it or not. Getting alot of them out of the countries they sit in depends on local laws and officials. Many pacific island nations will not release any airplanes on their soil regardless of their condition or how much money you have. Some will. The Zero that is at our museum was recovered from Babo airfield in 1991. There are all kinds of little dots all over the pacific and some hold some gems, but the cost of recovery alone is prohibitive. But some have yet to be discovered. Our Zero wasn't actually discovered until 1973.

More info on wrecks and recoveries in the Pacific is at :
They are a non-profit group who could probably be more helpful than NARA. I once dreamed of recovery and restoration of an old bird. I had some searches ready and once I started to look at all the costs, well, that led me to join the CAF. Plus, I get to be around people that share the interest.

Best of luck either way. Keep 'em flying is our motto in the CAF. If you have the financial resources to do it, send me a PM and I can get you in contact with some folks that may be able to help.
That Baugher site is incredible! How long must it have taken to build a database like that!

BTW, would it be practical for the CAF to fly their B29 over here for airshows?
I have been using the Baugher site for years for research and just general info. He has written alot of extensive material.

B-29 to Europe? Possible, yes. Practical, no. The costs in fuel alone to go across the Atlantic would be huge! Since it is the only one left flying, I doubt they would want to risk it travelling over that much water. I have yet to see it fly myself. One of these days, I do plan on going to the big show in Midland Texas (I couldn't think of any other reason to go to Midland!). It is the only place in the world you can see a B-17, B-24 and B-29 flying together.

If it wasn't so darn expensive, it would be cool to do a Lancaster/B-29 exchange for a few months so that we yanks could see more of the Lancaster and you Brits could see more of the Superfort.
Me too, although certain complications would arise driving across the pond :rolleyes:

That is unless I had an Amphicar!


Users who are viewing this thread