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World War II Aircraft

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Social Studies

The aircraft made it's war debut in World War I, but in World War II both aircraft and aviators demonstrated the importance of air power superiority. The success or failure of numerous conflicts was heavily dependent on the conflict in the air. The battle to manufacture aircraft as quickly as they were being shot out of the air was also an important portion of the war.  Bombers had expanded ranges, while fighters who protected them often could travel shorter distances making airfields some of the most valuable territory in the war. The cargo plane was also introduced allowing militaries to transport troops and supplies much quicker, which clearly impacted the war. The Battle of Britain was fought solely with aircraft as the Germans and British played an airborne chess match. Each power was also racing to release the jet fighter which would almost certainly ensure that country would rule the skies. With all of this, the aircraft proved to be one of the most valuable resources of the war, providing both cover fire for infantryman, rapid movement of supplies, and bombing important targets.  

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIC

National Air and Space Museum

Vought F4U-1D Corsair

National Air and Space Museum

Republic P-47D-30-RA Thunderbolt

National Air and Space Museum

Hispano-Suiza A (Wright-Martin) V-8 Engine

National Air and Space Museum

Curtiss P-40E Warhawk (Kittyhawk IA)

National Air and Space Museum

Badge, Pilot, Australia Flying Corps

National Air and Space Museum

Suit, Flying,1930 Pattern, Royal Air Force

National Air and Space Museum

Coat, Service, Royal Air Force

National Air and Space Museum

North American P-51D-30-NA Mustang

National Air and Space Museum

Congressional Gold Medal, Tuskegee Airmen

National Air and Space Museum

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe (Swallow)

National Air and Space Museum

Bell P-39Q-15-BE Airacobra "Galloping Gertie"

National Air and Space Museum

Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver

National Air and Space Museum

General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold Aviation Award

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Mustangs Ride Nazis Down

National Air and Space Museum

Kellett XO-60

National Air and Space Museum