Combat aircraft. Front-line fighters. Rating together with readers

So, as promised, we tried, together with those who came to the stream, to discuss the question of what rating could be built for World War II fighters.

We discussed it.

The picture turned out … original.

To begin with, from the very beginning we asked a slightly different way of determining which plane was the best. We decided to abandon the analysis of performance characteristics as a determining factor in the “coolness” of the aircraft.

And what are we going to measure? Parrots?

Not really.

The following factors were taken as a basis:

1. The period of participation in the war. The bigger, the better.
2. The number of aircraft produced.
3. Speed, altitude and maneuverability characteristics.
4. Armament.
5. On what theater of operations was used and with what efficiency.

Perhaps now there will be anger on the part of the fans of the R-51 Mustang and Yak-3, but alas, there was no place for them here. The planes went into battle at the end of the war and did not have any real impact on the situation. For them, so to speak, others did everything. As well as for the Hurricanes.

We also decided to change the rating principle a bit. Not because even with the help of readers and viewers they could not come to a definite conclusion, but because there is simply no ideal fighter. Or not in those years.

Therefore – a pedestal!

1st place

Fighter Messerschmitt Bf 109. Germany.

1. 1939-1945.
2. 33 000.
3. Universal fighter.
4. 1 x 20-mm, 2 x 13-mm.
5. At all European theaters, Africa.

The embodiment of the power of the Luftwaffe, for the sake of combating which the Allied aircraft took off. The ideal front-line fighter with a minimum of disadvantages. Has come a long way of modifications and became one of the best aircraft of the Second World War.

Fighter Yakovlev Yak-9. USSR.

1. 1942-1945.
2. 16 700.
3. Station wagon to the last drop of oil. Fighter of maneuverable combat.
4. 1 x 20-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm.
5. Eastern Front, Far East.

The weakest fighter in our review. Nevertheless, it was these machines that became the meat grinder that ground the Messerschmitts. This is a fact that cannot be avoided. The fighter had excellent potential for enhancing both armament and range.

Fighter Supermarine Spitfire. United Kingdom.

1. 1939-1945.
2. 20 000.
3. One of the best planes in the world in terms of balance. Worked ideally over the entire range of heights. The speed characteristics are at the level.
4.2 x 20mm, 4 x 7.69mm. Sufficient for any task.
5. On all theaters: Western and Eastern fronts of Europe, Africa, the Pacific region, Indochina.

An ideal plane, not without flaws, but having fought the entire war. Somewhere better (Battle of Britain), somewhere with more modest successes, like in the East. Superb engines and performance made the Spitfire one of the finest aircraft. He would have Soviet pilots …

2nd place

Fighter Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. USA.

1. 1939-1945.
2. 13 768.
3. Universal fighter.
4. 6 x 12.7-mm.
5. At all theaters as a front-line fighter.

A middle peasant who did not possess outstanding characteristics, who, nevertheless, fought the entire war in all theaters of military operations. Tenacious, with good weapons.

Fighter Focke-Wulf Fw. 190 Würger. Germany.

1. 1941-1945.
2. 20 000.
3. Somewhat overweight, but fast and with excellent weapons.
4. 4 x 20-mm, 2 x 13-mm.
5. At all European theaters, Africa.

The fighter is ambiguous. It had the most powerful weapons, excellent protection, on the Western Front it was a scarecrow for the allies, and on the Eastern Front, in conditions of mobile battles, it was formidable, but nothing more. Still, it was precisely the maneuverability that was lacking.

Fighter Lavochkin La-5.

1. 1942-1945.
2. 9 920.
3. Fighter of conquest of supremacy.
4. 2 x 20-mm.
5. Eastern Front, Far East.

This aircraft was not produced in such a large series, this is its only drawback. Otherwise, it was an excellent weapon of the winners (yes, it was hot in the cockpit). Fast, strong, powerful.

3rd place

Fighter Bell P-39 Airacobra. USA.

1. 1941-1945.
2. 9 584.
3. Best of all proved to be on the Eastern Front. The rest are weaker.
4. 1 x 37-mm (20-mm), 2 x 12.7-mm, 4 x 7.62-mm.
5. Pacific theater of operations, Eastern Front.

Cobra is a hero. But only with us. Only our pilots were able to take everything from this machine and a little more from above. On other fronts, the plane did not gain popularity. Deservedly.

Fighter Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. USA.

1. 1942-1945.
2. 15 660.
3. Heaviest single-engine and one of the fastest fighters in the world.
4.8 x 12.7 mm, bombs up to 1360 kg.
5. In all theaters, except for the Eastern Front.

Very well armed, powerful, fast aircraft. The main drawback was a huge mass for a fighter, which did not prevent him from participating in battles at all theaters of that war.

Fighter Dewoitine D.520.

1. 1939-1941.
2. 910.
3. Fought the entire war on both sides of the front without modifications.
4. 1 x 20-mm, 4 x 7.5-mm.
5. European theater of operations, Africa, the Middle East.

He has the right to be on our list, since he fought the entire war on both sides of the front. Without modifications, it remains a perfectly normal aircraft. The plane fought on an equal footing against the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Saett and Messerschmitts.

Here is our alignment. It is, of course, controversial, since everyone had their own opinion on this. Someone will say about Italian, Romanian and (especially) Japanese planes, but we will talk about them separately. Especially about the Japanese, for whom there was no place here. On the stream, we came to the conclusion that it was deserved.

The format itself seemed useful to us, and now we are preparing for the next part. We would like to talk about carrier-based aircraft, because there is generally a sea-ocean for the revelry of fantasy. But if you don’t bang hard into alternate history, there is a lot to talk about.

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