World War 2 planes: history, datas and pictures of British, US and Russian bombers.
Most of this World War 2 planes are used or will be used with the computer wargame WW2 Total.
In October 1938 a re-armament programme was initiated. which provided for a large expansion of the Royal Air Force, so that it could not only continue to defend Great Britain, but also carry offensive operations into Germany should the need arise. Strategic bombing of citys was only authorised on 15 May 1940. By July 1941 the strength of Bomber Command stood at 45 squadrons with a theoretical deployment of 1,000 bombers. In practice, only 37 squadrons could be considered for active operations and not all of these were fully-trained. 38 squadrons were operationally effective by the spring of 1942, but of these only 14 were equipped with the new heavy bombers like Stirling, Halifax and Manchester. By March 1943 only 50 squadrons with some 800 bombers were in comission instead of the originally planned total of 4,000 aircrafts. Until the end of the war in Europe, Bomber Command lost 9,163 bombers.
April 1942 saw the first US bomber personnel arrive on British soil. The first raid of major proportions was mounted on 17 August by 12 Boeing B17 Fortress. This raid on Rouen, mounted in daylight, sustained no losses, but this was not to be the case in the majority of its successors. During the raid on Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943, 60 B17 fell victim to Luftwaffe fighters and 133 were damaged out of a total of 291. Until 1 March 1944, some 1,509 bombers were lost. Only the arrival of the P51 Mustang in early 1944 gave the bombers the fighter escort they needed for their bombing missions.
In the Pacific theatre the air war against Japan was taking on an increasingly strategic aspect as long range bombers, the B29 Superfortress, attacked Japanese supply centres in China and Indo-China since 1944. During the last months of the war the US Air Force bombers were almost unopposed over Japan and inflicted massive damage on the Japanese urban centres and huge casualties on the civilian population. WW2 was brought to a conclusion with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Soviet Red Air Force was the largest in the world in 1941, possessing a strength of between 12,000 and 15,000 aircraft. But by late November 1941 nearly 16,000 aircraft were destroyed for the loss of 3,453 planes from the German Luftwaffe. But the re-siting of industry east of the Urals began to bear fruit with military aircraft production rising rapidly: 2,000 a month by mid-1942, 2,500 by November 1943 and 3,355 by the summer of 1944. Not only did the quantity of planes rise, but so too did the quality. 1942 saw the widespread introduction of improved models including the Ilyushin II-2 Stormovik ground-attack bomber and Yak and Lavochkin fighters. The steady increase in aircraft production, new models, and improvements in training and tactics gave the Red Air Force a decisive advantage over the Luftwaffe, whose strength on the Eastern Front was constantly being reduced by the demand for the denfence of Germany itself from the British and US bomber offensive. Aerial victory on the Eastern Front was won in the factories and on the training fields during 1942-43 and was confirmed on the battlefield in 1944-45.