World War II Aircrafts: Facts, discoveries, restoration and surviving warbirds.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Scale Model planes, WWII Aviation, Aces, Bomber pilots, Female Pilots, Spitfire, B-17, Me262, Ju-87.
The Lancaster: Remembering Britain`s Mightiest Bomber of WW2 (and the Men Who Flew Them)
Designed and built by Avro, formerly known as A. V. Roe and Company of Manchester, the Lancaster is probably the best known British heavy bomber of World War Two, an icon that attracts more attention world-wide than any other, despite there being only two that are still flying. The prototype took to the air for its first flight from Woodford, Manchester, on Jan. 9, 1941. The first production Lancaster flew later that year on Oct. 31. The first RAF unit to receive the new aircraft for operations, on Christmas Eve 1941, was No. 44 Squadron at Waddington, in Lincolnshire. Pilots and engineers were immediately impressed by its capabilities.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Nazi Germany`s Focke-Wulf FW-190: The Best Fighter Aircraft of World War II?
On July 28, 1943, Luftwaffe Oberleutnant Erwin Clausen shot down another two B-17 Flying Fortresses to add to the two he had shot down the previous day. There were 15 other Focke-Wulf FW-190 pilots that claimed downing a bomber in defense of the aircraft works at Kassel and Oschersleben. It is believed that this was the first time that the Luftwaffe`s single-engined fighters had been able to employ under-wing rockets against the American bombers.
Discovery of lost WW2 Mosquito plans will allow Wooden Wonder to fly again
A newly-discovered hoard of secret WWII aircraft technical drawings will be used by enthusiasts to rebuild and launch a Mosquito plane into the skies above Britain. More than 20,000 wartime Mosquito engineering drawings and diagrams have been found in the corner of a wartime factory just days before bulldozers were due to flatten it. The archive includes what are thought to be the world`s only complete set of engineering drawings for the plane, as well as details of variants that never made it off the drawing board.
Dr. Jiro Horikoshi: The engineer behind the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter in WWII
Jiro Horikoshi`s first work at Mitsubishi International was on an experimental aircraft, the Mitsubishi 1MF10, which never passed the prototype stage during flying tests. Horikoshi studied previous designs, leading him to create a more improved model, the Mitsubishi A5M (which became known as `Claude` to Allied forces). This model entered mass production in 1936. In 1937, Horikoshi`s team was asked to design a plane called Prototype 12. The model was finished and accepted by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1940. Since it was the year 2600 in the Imperial calendar, pilots referred to the fighter as the `Rei-sen,` which means `zero fighter.` It was named the A6M Zero, nicknamed `Zero` or `Model 00.` Its Allied codename was `Zeke` and `Zero`. The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft operated from 1940 to 1945 by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik That Crashed in 1944 Is Now Being Restored in Arizona
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik ground assault aircraft was the Soviet Union`s aerial muscle during World War II. The planes were produced en masse to counter the German army on the Western front. Although more than 30,000 aircraft were made from 1941 to1945, not many survive today. However, one Sturmovik was just rediscovered in the most unlikely of places—Tucson, Arizona. According to the BBC, this particular aircraft crash-landed in a lake while breaking the siege on Leningrad. It was discovered nearly 40 years later, purchased by a U.S. collector, and only recently donated to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson.
Germany`s He 177 - the only mass produced long-range heavy bomber - Was a Big Mistake
Put yourself in the shoes of a German pilot during World War II. It`d be more than just a bit concerning if your assignment was to fly the `Flaming Coffin,` a.k.a. the `One Way Bomber` or `Volcano.` But the hot, flammable He 177 Greif, or Griffin, was Nazi Germany`s only long-range heavy bomber produced in appreciable numbers. The 35-ton machine — when fully loaded — was a mistake, and more importantly, contributed to the German defeat by sucking up valuable resources into an ineffective and compromised aircraft.
Douglas C-47 Rescued From Siberia in Salvage Operation
The Russian Geographical Society is now the proud owner of a 70-year-old Douglas C-47 aircraft, a workhorse of the Second World War. The plane was salvaged from one of the most remote places on earth: the marshy tundra of theTaymyr Peninsula of northern Siberia located several hundred miles away from the closest human community. How it got there is a story in itself. Back in 1943, the war years, the Lend-Lease guaranteed that a constant stream of U.S. war material was earmarked for the Soviet Union. The C-47 was delivering supplies using ALSIB, short for the Alaska-Siberia air road.
The Junkers Ju-52 Story by Jan Forsgren
The Ju-52, the `Tante Ju` was one of the less glamorous but one of the best known Luftwaffe aircraft of WW2. This new book shows that it was far more than that though, as it was also a popular choice for airlines in carrying both passengers and cargo.
Nazi Germany`s Failed Menace in the Air: The Bf 110 `Destroyer`
In the mid-1930s, Nazi Germany had a problem. Its twin-engined medium bombers, such as the Heinkel 111, had a range of perhaps 1,500 miles. However, the Luftwaffe`s single-engined fighter plane, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, had a range of only 400 miles. Before 1939, airpower enthusiasts believed "the bomber will always get through" enemy air defenses, but the Germans also realized they needed a fighter capable of escorting bombers all the way to the target and back. Their solution was the Messerschmitt 110, a twin-engined fighter that looked more like a small bomber. With a range of 1,500 miles for the early models such as the Bf 110C, it was far more heavily armed than single-engined fighters, with up to four cannons and four machine guns firing to the front, plus a rear gunner with a machine gun to ward off attacks from behind. Remarkably the Bf 110 was also as fast or faster than many early World War II fighters.
Horten Ho 229 - The WWII flying wing decades ahead of its time
In the last months of World War Two, Nazi Germany tested an experimental fighter more spaceship than aircraft. Only now are we realising how inspired it was. BBC Future looks at the Horten Ho 229, one of aviation`s most futuristic designs.
Hawker Hurricane Z2389: Restoration of Historic Wartime Fighter
Featured among our recent guide to the world`s last remaining airworthy Hawker Hurricanes – and those potentially capable of flight – Hurricane Mk IIa Z2389 is currently under restoration to taxiing condition at Brooklands Museum near Weybridge, in South East England. The fighter, which saw extensive use with Soviet Russia`s Red Air Force during World War Two, boasts a varied and compelling wartime history.
Remarkably Preserved Messerschmitt Bf 109 recovered from an Icy Russian Lake
In this post, Urban Ghosts take a closer look at the Luftwaffe`s Messerschmitt Bf 109, the formidable fighter which proved a deadly adversary for allied aircrew. But this isn`t just any Bf 109, either. The aircraft was the personal mount of German fighter ace Wulf-Dietrich Widowitz. What`s more, when it was pulled from a Russian lake in 2003, it became one of the most remarkable examples of its kind ever to be recovered. This Bf 109E-7, werk number 3523, was built in 1939 by Arado GmbH at Warnemunde on the Baltic Sea. Originally launched as an E-1 variant, the aircraft was pressed into service during the Battle of France. After serving in the Battle of Britain, Bf 109 3523 was upgraded to E-7 standard in August 1940. By the end of winter 1942, the aircraft had been posted to the Eastern Front.
The design of The A-10 Warthog, the favorite plane of American grunts, was inspired by the Nazis
The U.S. Air Force`s A-10 is an ugly, low-flying, slow-moving beast of an aircraft known affectionately by the troops as the Warthog. But even as the flying tank gets ready to shred ISIS terrorists to pieces over Iraq and Syria with its massive 30mm cannon—firing depleted uranium shells the size of a Coke bottle—it hides a dark secret: an unrepentant Nazi fighter pilot helped to develop the ungainly warplane. Engineer Pierre Sprey, a former Pentagon procurement official who helped design the A-10, confirmed to The Daily Beast that none other than legendary Luftwaffe Colonel Hans-Ulrich Rudel was consulted to develop the Warthog.
Salvaging rare WWII Dornier 17 from the seabed: Photos, Videos, diagrams
Work recently began to raise a unique World War II aircraft from the floor of the English Channel just off the Kent coast. The Dornier 17 aircraft is the last of its kind, and lies in 50ft of water on the Goodwin Sands. The salvage is just the start of a two-year restoration project by the RAF Museum in Hendon.
British plane enthusiast David Cundall wins right to dig up buried Spitfires in Burma
Burma`s government has signed an agreement with Lincolnshire aviation enthusiast David Cundall to allow the excavation of dozens of rare Spitfire fighters which were buried in the country at the end of World War II. The historic find could total 60 of Britain`s most iconic fighter plane, the largest number of Spitfires left anywhere in the world. There are only 35 Spitfires still flying around the world. With a price tag of £1.5 million or more each, Cundall struck the aviation equivalent of a gold mine when he located the planes, almost 70 years after they were greased and wrapped to preserve them, before being buried in crates.
Rare Hawker Hurricane with 12 original Browning machine guns for sale
They were heroes in the Battle of Britain and the first line of our defence against Luftwaffe. But 70 years on from their WWII heyday there are only a handful of iconic Hawker Hurricanes left. Now a rare chance for fighter plane fans to snap one up at an auction has come about - if they have £1.7million. The fully-restored Hurricane comes complete with its Merlin engine and 12 original Browning machine guns. Tim Schofield, of auctioneers Bonhams, explained: "This is one of only a handful of these iconic aircraft still flying today, and is presented for sale in highly original condition."
Divers discover wreckage of `Giant` German Luftwaffe transport plane Me 323 off Sardinian coast
Nearly 70 years after being shot down by a British fighter, a small team of divers and amateur historians have found the only surviving example of the Messerschmitt 323 `Gigant` transport plane, 200ft underwater off the coast of Sardinia. The Me-323 - the largest land-based transport aircraft from the War - was on its way to the Tuscan city of Pistoia from its German base in Sardinia when it was hit by a Bristol Beaufighter fighter plane in July 1943. Divers - who say the rusting Messerschmitt is amazingly still intact - found the wreckage while they were searching for another sunken plane.
The only flying Ilyushin II-2 Shturmovik will make its U.S. public flying debut
The only flying Ilyushin II-2 Shturmovik left in the world will make its U.S. public flying debut. The WWII-era ground-attack aircraft was built in Kuybyshev in the middle of 1943, according to the Flying Heritage Collection that now has it. The plane was assigned to the 828th Attack Aviation Regiment of the 260th Composite Air Division operating on the Karelian Front. The plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on Oct. 10, 1944, while attacking an enemy airfield southeast of Luostari. The pilot attempted to land the damaged plane on a frozen lake. The wreck was abandoned and sank into the lake during the spring thaw.
First Fighter Jet: Me 262 Schwalbe - The Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever series
U.S. military intelligence raced to capture Nazi Germany`s secret weapons and rocket scientists during the last days of World War II. One of those secret weapons, the Messerschmidt Me 262 Schwalbe ("Swallow"), was the world`s first operational turbojet aircraft and fighter jet. The Me 262 arrived too late to change the air war dominated by Allied bombers and fighters. But the fighter jet`s swept wings and turbine engines gave it an unmatched speed of 540 mph (869 kph) — making it 120 mph (193 kph) faster than the propeller-driven P-51 Mustang that represented the best U.S. fighter aircraft.
Heinkel He-115 recovered from fjord 70 years after it sank in 1942 (photos, video)
This is the moment a rare WWII German plane was raised from its saltwater grave virtually intact. The twin-engined Heinkel He-115 torpedo bomber was hoisted out of the water in a recovery operation in a fjord near Stavanger, Norway. Now there are hopes the plane will be restored to its former glory and may one day fly again despite it sinking 120ft down to the silty sea floor in 1942 after it was damaged during a botched water landing. The condition of the plane is considered to be remarkable, owing to it having lain in low-oxygen silt in a part of the fjord where currents are minimal.
Memphis Belle restored: Visitors can watch progress of famed B-17 bomber
The buffed silver fuselage of the Memphis Belle now belies the famed B-17 bomber`s six months of WWII air combat. The plane rests these days in a hangar at a southern Ohio Air Force base undergoing a restoration - from its clear plastic nose cone down to the twin .50-caliber machine guns in the tail. About the only section left untouched so far is the signature "nose art" on the pilot`s side: the leggy Esquire pinup girl in a blue bathing suit perched above the Memphis Belle nickname. The plane will eventually be displayed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. But in the meantime, the public can see the progress of the Belle while it is being reassembled over the next two years at the base.
Video: Raising Heinkel HE-115B/C which crashed in 1943 in the Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Norway
Video: Raising Heinkel HE-115B/C which crashed in 1943 in the Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Norway
Team digs up WWII nazi planes buried under Freeman Field airport in Indiana
After the Second World War was over the Allies shipped Nazi planes to Freeman Field so pilots and engineers could fly them, take them apart, and put them back together again. What they learned was important, because American planes weren`t as advanced. Scott Cooper, who is part of the Freeman Field Recovery Team, a group of aviation and military historians learning the planes` history, explains what happened to the planes after that: "They would just dig these big pits and dump everything in and cover them up and just leave it there." The team has since recovered hundreds of plane parts. Parts are good, but something whole is better.
Scientists race against time to save the last "Flying Pencil" - German light bomber Dornier Do-17
Scientists are in a race against time to help save the last remaining intact WWII German light bomber Dornier Do-17, known as The Flying Pencil (Fliegender Bleistift), which lies in the English Channel off the Kentish coast in the UK. The researchers, from Imperial College London, are donating their time and expertise to help the Royal Air Force Museum rescue the submerged aircraft, which was discovered in the shallows off the Goodwin Sands in 2010. Shifting sands have uncovered the aircraft, exposing it to the corrosive effects of seawater.
Reconstructed Ilyushin Il-2 (Shturmovik) - discovered in a swamp - in air again
Russian designers have reconstructed the legendary Soviet attack aircraft Il-2, discovered in a swamp in Pskov region in 2005. The Ilyushin Il-2 was a WWII ground-attack aircraft, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers (more than 36,000 such planes were built during the war). The Il-2, earned many nicknames, including "The Flying Tank" - "Ilyusha" - "Concrete Bomber" - "Slaughterer" and "Iron Gustav" --- reflecting the Il-2`s high survivability and combat power.
The world`s only flying German Focke-Wulf 190 A-5 reassembled in Everett, Wash. (includes videos of discovery, takeoff)
The German Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane shocked its adversaries when it emerged in World War II. One of the FW-190s rotted in a marsh outside of Leningrad from 1943, until someone found it in 1989. After a Soviet helicopter pulled it out of the muck, the plane traveled to England and then Arizona, where the Flying Heritage Collection had it restored. Just getting it flying again took more than a decade of restoration work. And then they took it apart to move it from Arizona to Everett, where workers are reassembling the aircraft.
Dornier 17 wreck off the Kent coast surveyed using the latest high-tech sonar equipment
The discovery of a unique German warplane off the Kent coast left experts "incredulous" some time ago. The latest sonar images suggest the Dornier 17 is still intact and there are hopes that it will go on show. The Dornier 17 - called the flying pencil because of its slim design - was one of the backbones of the Luftwaffe bombing fleets which began their assault against the Great Britain in 1940. Dornier 17 Z-2, serial number 1160, of number 7 squadron, 3 Group, third Bomber Wing, was shot down on 26 August 1940 and made a landing in the sea just off the Kent coast. A total of 1,700 Dorniers were built, but the plane discovered in Goodwin Sands is believed to be the last remaining one.
Click here for video which includes the sonar images
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 to appear in the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow in Blenheim in New Zealand
A vintage Ferrari of the skies is being reassembled at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre at Blenheim, in New Zealand. The Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Würger (Shrike) - a German fighter aircraft which served in various roles during the war - should be ready to face off against its rival, the Supermarine Spitfire, at the Classic Fighters Airshow at Omaka Airfield during Easter. Airshow organiser Graham Orphan said the Fw190 arrived from Germany and will be the only one of its kind flying in the southern hemisphere. This model is a replica, built in Germany, and when it took to the air in 2004 it was the first time a Fw190 had flown since the end of the Second World War.
Mosquito: The Original Multi-Role Combat Aircraft by Graham Simons
When the de Havilland Mosquito entered production in 1941, it was one of the fastest planes in the world. As well as its versatility the Mosquito - nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder" - had several other advantages, like the balsa wood used in its construction, which allowed its frame to expand under pressure. This meant that while certain American planes made from metal cracked and shattered when they fired guns, the Mosquito remained intact.
The Mosquito was famously "praised" by Hermann Göring: "In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito... The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again..."
B-29 crew members recall fixing plane`s issues, caused by designs errors and sabotage, in-flight
People often assume that enemy pilots and anti-aircraft fire were the only noteworthy danger bomber crews faced. This excellent - and long - article highlights the constant struggle airmen had to endure.
Niel Eskildsen and Henry Chodacki put their lives on the line for each other, their country and fellow crew members on a B-29 bomber called Jack`s Hack. Chodacki said the B-29 could have stayed on Boeing drawing boards awhile longer: "We were to receive 30 training missions ... But we finished with 24. One was a 2-engine landing, four were 4-engine landings and the rest were 3-engine landings. Most problems were fire related."
When overall performance of the B-29 wasn`t at play, sabotage was at least once a concern. En route from Borinquen, Puerto Rico to Chakulia, India, flying a new B-29 watchful Chodacki found two fuel transfer problems in-flight and a third after an emergency landing in Ghana. At the base in Puerto Rico a fill cap was missing from a wing tank, and air turbulence over the wing vacuumed fuel out of the 2,900-gallon tank. And a valve between the plane`s center tanks had been turned to the "off" position. Turning it on again did nothing to cause fuel to flow from the tank to another tank below it.
A very rare WWII aircraft - Douglas TBD Devastator - located in the waters off San Diego
A very rare WWII torpedo bomber - Douglas TBD Devastator - has been located in the waters off San Diego. The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, hopes to collect enough funds ($300,000) to raise the plane, which crash landed during a training flight in 1941.
Douglas TBD Devastator was a torpedo bomber ordered by the U.S. Navy in the 1930s. By the time the Second World War began, Devastator was an outdated design: being too slow and too difficult to maneuver it was a sitting duck for modern fighters. Nevertheless, Douglas TBD Devastators saw action in the battle of Midway in 1942. Their attack against the Japanese aircraft carriers did not yield any direct results - in fact most of the Devastators were shot down - but the attack nonetheless disturbed the Japanese plan of action. After the battle Devastators were removed from the front-line service and none survive today.
Fifi: The last flying B-29 Superfortress gives rides to history buffs
By the end of WWII, almost 4,000 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses had been built. Today, there`s only one B-29 still flying, nicknamed "Fifi." At a time when most vintage warplanes have retired in museums, Fifi is embarking on a new mission: offering rides to history buffs and touring the air-shows, with occasional simulated atomic-bomb attack. In its day the B-29 was the most sophisticated heavy bomber ever developed. Having a pressurized cabin and automated gun systems, the 4-engine plane could fly long distances at high altitudes - avoiding enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire - to deliver thousands of pounds of high explosives.
Focke-Wulf Ta 152: The Story of the Luftwaffe`s Late-War, High-Altitude Fighter by Dietmar Harmann
The Ta 152 may have been the best piston-powered fighter in WWII, and, with the Do 335, the best piston-powered fighter aircraft ever built. It is fitting that Thomas Hitchcock covers this aircraft, as he has with the Do 335 and the Arado Ar 234 Blitz (the world`s first operational jet bomber). The reader learns tep-by-step and year-by-year as Kurt Tank`s concept of the super Focke Wulf 190 evolved into Tank Ta 152 high-altitude fighter-interceptor. Hitchcock states that if this superb aircraft had been operational 2 years earlier, it would have changed the air-war -- perhaps the entire war.
German Focke-Wulf Fw190A-9 and Japanese Model 21 Zero at EAA AirVenture 2010
Two rare World War II fighter aircraft - a German Focke-Wulf Fw190A-9 and Japanese Model 21 Zero - are the latest additions to warbirds lineup in EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, held July 26-August 1 at Wittman Regional Airport. The Focke-Wulf Fw190A-9 is from the German Luftwaffe. Originally beginning as a Flug Werk replica, the Fw190A-9 restoration includes many original parts. The A-9 was the last of nine "A" variants, and over 20,000 Fw190s were built. The restoration of The 1941 Nakajima A6M2 Model 21 Zero - everything is original except the engine - has been praised by experts.
American World War II Fighters - Pictures and basic information
At the start of World War Two the United States had a variety of fighters, many of which were inferior to their German and Japanese opposition. As the war progressed, the American aviation industry designed and produced numerous new fighters which gained air superiority over Europe and the Pacific. Planes include: Curtiss P-40E Warhawk, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, North American P-51 Mustang, Northrop P-61 Black Widow, Brewster F2A Buffalo, Grumman F4F Wildcat, Grumman F6F Hellcat, Chance Vought F4U Corsair.
81-year-old builds 2/3-scale replica of P-38, flies cross-country
Jim O`Hara learned to fly 21 years ago. 6 years later, he began building a 2/3-scale replica of P-38. Using information he obtained from various sources about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Jim drew up a set of plans in CAD and began building the plane 15 years ago - only his wife helping him. Recently he and his wife made its maiden cross-country trip.
B-26 Marauder Historical Society preserves B-26 memorabilia
Philip Henderson spent a lot of time behind the controls of a B-26 Marauder during World War II, facing Anti-aircraft flak and German Me 262 fighters. Today, he honors the memory of the plane he flew as a volunteer with the B-26 Marauder Historical Society, which has over 1,600 members worldwide. The Marauder had a reputation for crashing early on due to design flaws and accelerated training. Military personnel had several nicknames for the plane: "Widowmaker" and "B-Dash Crash". The group also funds an archive - at the Pima Air and Space Museum - which consists of photo, flight records, personnel files, leather flight jackets, military uniforms.
Airworthy half-scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190 going under the hammer
A rare replica of a German World War II fighter plane is one of many historical items being sold by auction house Dominic Winter as part of an exclusive auction of military, aviation and motoring memorabilia. The half-scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190 - a single engine fighter plane used by the German Luftwaffe – is one of two of its kind that is airworthy. The plane is an exact representation of the aircraft flown by Major "Sepp" Wurmheller - World War II fighter ace with over 90 victories. The Focke-Wulf Fw 190, featuring Luftwaffe colours and markings, is expected to fetch up to 25000 pounds.
Forgotten frontline exhibition: How Luftwaffe air crew fought on Kent marshes
The Luftwaffe bomber was in trouble. The Junkers 88 had delivered 4,000lb bombs to London but then it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Then Spitfires and Hurricanes pounced, but they didn`t seek to destroy the Nazi plane. The pilots from 66 and 92 squadrons saw that this was Junkers 88 - only two weeks old model and fitted with a secret new bombsight. Earlier an order had gone out to all units to capture Junkers 88, intact. The German pilot Fritz Ruhlandt made a forced landing on the Kent marshes. The Luftwaffe crew, armed with two machine guns, opened fire towards soldiers from the 1st London Irish Rifles - resulting the only WWII battle on the British mainland.
British air strategy in WWII: The focus of attacks must be the people in their homes and factories
Unpublished papers Leo McKinstry have discovered for his book (Lancaster: The Second World War`s Greatest Bomber) reveal that the mass, indiscriminate killing of Germany`s population was the key goal of the RAF`s bombing campaign. Typical was one paper from the Air Ministry (August 1941) urging that the focus of attacks must be "the people in their homes and factories". At the same time the RAF`s chief Sir Charles Portal privately promised Winston Churchill that a big expansion in the heavy bomber force would result "the destruction of six million homes" and "civilian casualties estimated at 900,000".
Up to 70% of American World War II pilots learned to fly in the PT-17 (Article no longer available from the original source)
Lumbering along at 105 mph, Nancy Ginesi-Hill`s 1940 PT-17 Stearman biplane may not have the speed of its iconic WWII contemporaries, but it was no less crucial to America`s victory. 60-70% of U.S. pilots learned to fly in the PT-17 and its variants, says to Ken Miles, of the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit group which preserves aviation history. George Kresa flew B-24 Liberator bombers from India to China over "The Hump" (the Himalayas) during World War II: "I hated to get out of training because I liked flying the Stearman so much. It was a wonderful airplane. You could really do a lot of aerobatics in it."
Horten 229: San Diego air museum to house full-size replica of German stealth Jet
The National Geographic Channel calls it as one of the best-kept secrets of Adolf Hitler`s Third Reich. During the last days of World War Two, a futuristic-looking aircraft was discovered by US troops in a top-secret German facility. The prototype jet and other advanced Nazi aircraft were shipped to the US in the Operation Seahorse. In the 1960s the prototype jet was moved to a Smithsonian facility in Maryland. "There have been no documents released on it, and the public has no access to it," explained Michael Jorgensen, a documentary filmmaker who set up a team of Northrop Grumman aeronautical engineers to build a full-size replica from original plans of Horten 229.
Lancaster: The Biography [book review]
Lancaster: The Biography is a study of one of the most iconic WWII aircraft. The Lancaster bomber was a backbone of World War II taking part in many of the most famous missions like the Dambusters and the sinking of the Tirpitz. This is the story of the Lancaster, written by Squadron Leader Tony Iveson, a former Lancaster pilot who served in the 617 squadron. He was among those Lancaster pilots whose planes crossed the North Sea to sink the battleship Tirpitz. The book includes first hand accounts from aircrews, ground crews and even the German fighter pilots who attempted to shoot them down amazed initially by the sheer size of these massive bombers.
Team want to dig up buried German Heinkel 111 bomber
A team of military historians is seeking permission to excavate a Second World War bomber that crashed in Widnes in 1941. Nick Wotherspoon and Mark Gaskell, of the Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team, are interested in excavating the German Heinkel 111 bomber buried in King George V playing fields and putting any unearthed relics or memorabilia on public display. "We believe that all history needs recording and therefore propose to carry out an initial metal detector search to precisely locate the site."
Association preserves memories of World War II B-26 Marauders
Simply put, the 397th Bomb Group Association is unique, says Ervin Cook. The members all served together during the Second World War, making sure the Martin B-26 Marauders flew their missions. The group was brought together through the efforts of Nevin Price. "He also gathered 25,000 names of B-26 people that had served worldwide. Everyone that was in the 397th Bomb Group is considered a member and receives our newsletter, if we have their address," wrote Cook. "This is a critical time for our group as we slowly mesh our group into the Marauder Historical Society, the umbrella group for all B-26 units worldwide. It will last longer than any individual group."
Bell P-39 Airacobra on display in Finnish Anti-Aircraft Museum in Tuusula (pics)
The Anti-Aircraft Museum in Tuusula has acquired a legendary single-seat fighter aircraft, a Bell P-39 Airacobra. The aircraft is a great rarity, as it is one of only 4 remaining genuine Airacobras. The American-made Airacobra became part of Finnish aviation history during the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union in 1941-1944. The Airacobra was the main tool of many of the Soviet Air Force pilots as the US supplied the Soviets with 4,700 of these planes, and they proved successful in action against Luftwaffe bombers on the Eastern Front, although with a low operational ceiling the plane was ill-equipped for high-altitude dogfight.
World War II buffs can get a good look at German Messerschmidtt
Soon anyone can get up close and personal with a Messerschmidtt at the National World War II Museum in an exhibit that marks the Battle of Britain. The famed fighter plane, backbone of the Luftwaffe, has been high on the museum`s wish list for years. The aircraft was introduced in 1935 as the BF109 but it soon became known by the name of its designer, Willy Messerschmidtt (33,000 were built). "The Messerschmidtt ranks right up there in the top 10 of historically significant aircraft of WWII. It ranks with the Sherman tank, the Japanese Zero, the Higgins landing craft, the Flak 37," stated Tom Czekanski, director of collections and exhibits at the museum.
Farewell tour: World War II DC-3 Dakota takes last passengers
Aviation enthusiasts have said goodbye to a WWII transport aircraft which is being forced to stop taking passengers because of EU safety rules. Over 400 people went on the last 12 flights of the former RAF DC-3 Dakota from Coventry Airport, ending a 2-month farewell tour. Air Atlantique is applying for an exemption. Richard Parr said the rules, which govern planes carrying 19 or more passengers, required measures which were unnecessary on the DC-3s. "It`s a sad day, definitely. These aircraft have been around for more than 70 years now. The farewell tour has been rammed, which is a phenomenal achievement for the aircraft."
Restored Messerschmidt 109 fighter crash-lands at Berlin Air Show
A historic fighter aircraft slid off the runway at Berlin-Schoenefeld airport, shortly after the opening of the annual Berlin air show. The Messerschmidt Me 109 came off the tarmac soon after landing. Amateur video showed the plane`s wing scraping the tarmac before the plane finally came to a halt, surrounded by smoke. The pilot managed to get out of the plane unassisted and was not injured. The Me 109 is a one-seated German propeller aircraft that was used by the German Air force, Luftwaffe, in the 1930s and 1940s.
Vintage biplane Waco UPF7 satisfies lure of open-cockpit flight
If the open-cockpit flying appeals to you, the Canada Aviation Museum is giving you the chance to enjoy yourself: Tour operator Greg Reynolds offers sightseers low-flying, slow-speed views of area. At a cruising speed of 150 km/h, the ground seems to crawl past, giving the two passengers in the front seat time to get a new perspective. The Waco UPF7 was constructed in 1939 by Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio. 625 UPF-7s were made 1937-1942, only 80 vintage UPF-7s are still flying. Most went to flight schools in the US` Civilian Pilot Training Program set up to train civilians to fly in anticipation of war.
Fly the legendary Me262 fighter - Messerschmitt ME-262 Flight Program
You can now be a part of the Messerschmitt ME-262 Flight Program by The Collings Foundation. From the best vantage point, the cockpit, you will take to the skies in this legendary aircraft - recreated to standards from an original ME-262 trainer. It`s an unique chance for pilots to experience the aircraft that made history as the first fighter jet. "ME-262 embodies all the characteristics expected of an aircraft that changed aerial combat forever. The mere sight of the ME-262 struck fear in the hearts of all Army Air Corps aircrew that saw it in the sky - it was just so far ahead of its time!"
P-40 Warhawk replica gets makeover
A P-40 Warhawk replica that has been on display at Vandenberg Air Force Base for 7 years took a road trip to get fresh paint at Art Craft, an airplane paint shop in Santa Maria. The full-size WWII model display serves as a monument to the Flying Tigers (14th Air Force). Although the US hadn`t yet entered the war, Roosevelt ordered 100 P-40 Warhawks (originally destined for the UK but rejected as being obsolete) which were sent to China and used by a secret unit known as the American Volunteer Group (100 pilots plus a maintenance crew of 200) led by General Claire Chennault.
Replica of WWII ace`s P-51D Mustang to nest at Grout Museum
A lifesize replica U.S. Army Air Force North American P-51D Mustang fighter plane is being put together for permanent display in the atrium of the Grout Museum. That entrance also will have a re-created bow of the USS Juneau, the U.S. Navy cruiser on which Waterloo`s 5 Sullivan brothers fought and died during the World War II. The replica Mustang will be a re-creation of the fighter flown by WWII air ace Robert W. Abernathy. The plane was designed by Military Aircraft Restoration Corp., which also produced a replica version of the P-51 flown by the "Tuskegee Airmen" and on display at the Des Moines International Airport.
Over 100 Photos from the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends 2007
More than 100 color photographs from the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends 2007 at Rickenbacker Field, Columbus, Ohio. Good pictures of Vintage P-51 Mustangs, an American long-range single-seat World War II fighter aircraft.
Rare historical plane Fairchild PT-19 given to local museum
The 1943 silver-and-black Fairchild PT-19 returned to the place where it was built, and Ward Wilkins donated it to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. The aircraft is one of an ever-decreasing number of flying PT-19s. The PT-19, one of more than 4,500 PT-19`s of this model, was manufactured in Hagerstown by the Fairchild Co. starting in 1939, continuing through 1943. The surprise donation came about because of the news surrounding the return to Hagerstown of the last-flying C-82 to its home with the local aviation museum. "When I received the phone call offering the aircraft, I was thrilled. This was an incredible donation of a plane which made Hagerstown famous."
Documentary: Hitler`s War on America - America Bomber
In this German documentary - a must-see for all armchair war buffs - Adolf Hitler`s desire to strike at the heart of America is detailed by interviews and an array of archival footage, much of it in colour. As far back as 1937 Hitler was shown a full-scale mock-up of an aircraft that could take the war to the US. Like many Messerschmitt designs, the ME 264 (America Bomber) was way ahead of its time. The dream was big, the logistics a nightmare but Hitler`s determination was unbounded. When the bomber became hobbled with problems, he brought in a host of Plan Bs, like the use of seaplane bomber, a mid-air refuelling and the invasion of Iceland to use it as an air base.
Lancaster bomber marks 50th anniversary
One of the world`s last Lancaster bombers has taken to the skies to mark 50 years of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The aircraft, taking part in a flypast at RAF Coningsby, is one of only two airworthy Lancasters - The only other flying Lancaster is in Canada. More than 7,000 Lancasters were built during the 1940s and played a major part during World War 2. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is an historic collection of aircraft that commemorate the RAF`s involvement in all the campaigns of WW2. It includes the Lancaster, a Dakota, 5 Spitfires, 2 Hurricanes and 2 Chipmunks.
WWII Mosquito fighter-bomber rises from the mud
Milton Keynes: The remains of a crashed de Havilland Mosquito World War II fighter-bomber have been discovered. Among the wreckage was one of the plane`s Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, guns and ammunition. The wooden fuselage had rotted away. The RAF team identified the aircraft as being from No 51 Operational Training Unit which had been based at RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire. It took off on its ill-fated night flight on 14 January 1945. Pilot Warrant Officer Gavin Harvie and navigator Sergeant Martin Sydney Card discovered that some of the Mosquito`s equipment was malfunctioning and radioed a distress call just minutes into the flight.
A German World War II Focke Wulf 190 aircraft salvaged
A German World War II Focke Wulf 190 aircraft, production no. 0125425, was salvaged from its watery grave off the island of Sotra, near Bergen in Norway. The aircraft, stationed at 12th Jagdgeschwader 5 at Fliegerhorst Herdla outside Bergen during the second world war, made an emergency landing in the sea on December 15th 1943.
Divers raise wreckage of German WWII Junkers-87 Stuka bomber
Greek military divers raised the wreckage of a German World War II Stuka bomber from the sea. The Junkers-87 dive-bomber was shot down in 1943 and will be displayed at the air force museum. Air force experts believe the plane was part of a Luftwaffe squadron operating from Rhodes that lost several Stukas to allied ships on Oct. 9, 1943. Fitted with a screaming siren for maximum shock effect, the gull-winged, single-engine Stuka was a feared symbol of Nazi military power. Out of some 6,000 aircraft produced 1936-1944, only two are intact in museums, while the wrecks of 3 more Stukas have been salvaged.
P-51 Mustang`s primary duty was to protect bombers (Article no longer available from the original source)
The P-51 Mustang`s primary duty was to protect bombers as they flew over Europe. They helped to turn the tide in World War II. "We were losing so many of our big bombers and their crews, because we didn`t have any fighter escort with long range capacity. And when North American built this airplane it would stay up for 7, almost 8 hours, and so they would escort bombers deep into action and back, and it made all the difference in the world." Armed with 6 fifty caliber machine guns, it could carry rockets, 1000 ton bombs and drop fuel tanks -- a formidable opponent for enemy fighters.
Yakovlev YAK-3 -- Dog fighter aircraft of the Eastern Front
The history of this aircraft design is full of mystery. First, the attempt at the design failed in 1941 due to a shortage of materials and a reliable engine. The second attempt proved successful with test flights beginning in October 1943. The YAK-3 is an upgraded variant of the YAK-1; which first flew in 1939. More than 8,700 aircraft were built of all models. The YAK was a successful dog fighter and won the respect of Luftwaffe pilots on the Eastern Front. The YAK-3 has an empty weight of 4,641 pounds and a top speed of 355 knots. Armament included a single 20mm ShVAK cannon and a single 12.7mm Berczin cannon.