Importance of aircraft
World War 1 was the first primary war that saw the use of aviation aircraft deployed for war purposes. But it was in World War 2, that aircraft took one of the most vital roles of war. Some battles in the war were almost entirely fought in the air.
Major battles in the air
The initial primary attacks in World War 2 were carried out by German aircraft in the takeover of countries such as Poland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Later on, Germany would carry out an attempt to decimate the Royal Airforce in the Battle of Britain. In this battle, German planes bombarded England with thousands of bombs for over three months consistently. The Allied forces had countered with a major of air attacks where they launched over 14,000 airplane attacks in one day during the invasion of Normandy.
A series of air battles took place over the Pacific as well when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and through the Battles of Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. The final blow of the war was struck by aircraft when the United States decided to drop atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Types of Aircraft used in the war
The major types of planes used in World War 2 included:-
These particular planes were designed to ace in the air to air combat making them quick and agile. Fighter planes were mounted with high powered machine guns and cannons to shoot down enemy bomber planes while trying to protect their own. Fighter planes were used to achieve air superiority during the war.
Some of the famous fighter planes during the war were the British Spitfire, Japanese Zero, U.S P51 Mustang and the German Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Bombers were huge planes designed to carry out bombardment missions on small to big targets. They were used to take out large military complexes and cities as part of their mission. They could fly over long distances and mounted with machine turrets including a tail gunner as well.
Dominant bombers of the World War 2 were the British Avro 863 Lancaster, U.S Boeing B-17 and Boeing B-29 and German Heinkel He 111.
Transport planes were vital during the war as it carried troops and supplies to different areas across the globe. Principal transport planes included the U.S Douglas C-47 Skytrain and the U.S C54 Skymaster.
Major Air forces of World War 2
- The British air force was known as the Royal Air Force or the RAF. The RAF used radar to hold off the German troops in the Battle of Britain.
- The German air force was called Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe helped Germany begin the war and take much of Western Europe.
- The United States air force was called the AAF or Army Air Force. The U.S had built up its air force after suffering a crushing defeat from the Japanese.
- The Soviet Union air force was called the Soviet Air Force and by the end of the war had produced over 36,000 military aircraft.