The Allies in June 1942 had a 3.1 to 1 ratio aircraft advantage in Europe. That was their low point, and it would grow to 8.6 to 1 in June 1944. All three Allied nations would individually outproduce Germany over the course of the war. The American and British relied heavily on bombers to take the war against Germany. Germany would transfer much of their air force to fight off the joint American and British bombing effort. Not only did Germany transition aircraft to fight off bombers but their famed 88 mm flak guns would be retained in Germany instead of being sent to the Eastern Front to defend the homeland.
Note : Availability does not equal number produced during the year. How to calculate: Number available on Jan 1 of a given year = number available on Jan 1 of the preceding year + number received in the preceding year – number loss in the preceding year.
Table of Contents
Each of the countries involved in World War II produced a wide range of successful aircraft that played important roles in the war effort. Here are some of the most successful planes produced by each country in their respective roles:
Selected Aircraft by Country
Messerschmitt Bf 109: This fighter aircraft was fast, maneuverable, heavily armed and highly successful in its role, with over 30,000 produced during the war.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190: This fighter aircraft was heavily armed and armored. It was particularly good in ground-attack missions.
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka: This dive bomber was highly effective in its role especially in the early days of the war. It was responsible for inflicting significant damage on enemy ground forces and infrastructure.
Supermarine Spitfire: This fighter aircraft was highly successful in its role, particularly during the Battle of Britain, playing a significant role in defending Britain from German air attacks.
Avro Lancaster: This heavy bomber was heavily armed and armored and highly successful. It was responsible for dropping most of the bombs on Germany during the war playing a significant role in disrupting German industry and infrastructure.
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress: This heavy bomber known for its ability to defend itself, but when paired with long range escort fighters it became very lethal.
North American P-51 Mustang: This fighter aircraft initially was a so-so performer, but when it was paired with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine it became a champion providing long-range escort for American bombers.
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik: This ground-attack aircraft was the most produced plane of WWII. It was well tailored for the Soviet use of aircraft supporting land forces.
Yakovlev Yak-3: The Yak-3 was fast, maneuverable, and well suited to dogfighting. Following Soviet manufacturing and maintenance concepts it was simple to construct and maintain.
The philosophical differences between the Allied and German air forces during World War II were significant reflecting broader differences in military strategy and doctrine. Here are some of the key differences:
The Allied air forces, particularly the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), believed in the doctrine of strategic precision bombing, which involved targeting enemy industry and infrastructure with large-scale bombing raids. The goal of strategic bombing was to disrupt the enemy’s ability to wage war. The German air force, on the other hand, did not place as much emphasis on strategic bombing, and instead focused on providing ground support to German troops and achieving air superiority over enemy forces.
The Allied air forces, especially the British Royal Air Force (RAF) believed that targeting enemy morale was a key part of their strategy. They conducted many strategic area bombing raids on civilian targets in order to lower enemy morale. The German air force, on the other hand, placed less emphasis on targeting enemy morale, and instead focused on achieving military objectives.
The Allied air forces placed a greater emphasis on technological innovation and development than the German air force. The USAAF invested heavily in the development of advanced bombers such as the B-17 and B-29, as well as fighter planes such as the P-51 Mustang. The German air force developed several advanced aircraft, such as the Me 262 jet fighter, but was hampered by resource shortages and production difficulties.
The Allied air forces developed advanced tactics for achieving air superiority and conducting bombing raids. The RAF used the “Big Wing” formation, which allowed large numbers of fighters to engage enemy aircraft at once, first introduced during the Battle of Britain. While the USAAF used the “combat box” formation, which allowed large numbers of bombers to protect each other from enemy fighters, this technique was most successful with the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.
To counter Allied night bombing raids, the German air force developed various defensive techniques. One such technique was the “Himmelbett,” or “four-poster bed,” which utilized radar ground stations to direct fighter planes to the target during night raids. To successfully intercept the enemy bomber, each target required the coordinated efforts of two Freya radar units. One unit would track the bomber while the other would track the intercepting night-fighter. A ground controller would then guide the fighter using the radar data until its own Würzburg short-range radar picked up the target bomber.
Aircraft Available In Europe; Germany, UK, US, USSR Data
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To download the data shown below from which the graph was developed click on the icon below corresponding to you desired format. Note: to ensure all data is downloaded choose the ‘All’ selection in the Show Entries dropdown list. Otherwise only the data visible on the screen will download.
Source: World-War-2.info, “World War 2 Death Count Per Country”, http://www.world-war-2.info/statistics/, Data accessed June 28, 2022
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