How much do you know about the top aircraft of World War II?



By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki commons

About This Quiz

Warplanes came of age during World War II. Both Allies and Axis powers produced mind-boggling numbers of planes in a bid to strike a blow for victory. How much do you know about the top aircraft of World War II?

Which country produced the most of a single aircraft model during the war?

To fend off the Nazi attack on their homeland, the Soviets ramped up aircraft production to dizzying degrees. They especially made lots of the Ilyushin Il-2, to the tune of more than 40,000.


Which Allied plane dropped the first nuclear weapon ever used in war?

A B-29 Superfortress named the "Enola Gay" dropped the world's first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima, Japan. The plane deployed a bomb named "Little Boy" and helped end the war.


The Hellcat fighter was so effective during the Battle of Philippine Sea that Americans compared the battle to ______.

The Hellcat, along with superior Navy firepower, turned the Battle of the Philippine Sea into a rout. Americans called it "the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot."


The American Grumman F6F Hellcat was specifically designed to counter which Japanese fighter?

At the war's outset, America had no answer to the fearsome Zero. So the U.S. specifically built the F6F Hellcat, which was fast, powerful and deadly.


The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a common Allied bomber. What did American Gen. Carl Spaatz say about the reliable bomber?

About 13,000 B-17s were manufactured, and they were an incredibly important weapon. Gen. Spaatz said that "without the B-17, we might have lost the war."


Hundreds of thousands of planes were manufactured for World War II, mostly bombers and fighters. What was the third category of aircraft produced?

There were three categories of World War II planes: fighters, bombers and cargo transport planes. Both Allied and Axis forces relied heavily on air power to accomplish their objectives.


The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an incredibly important Allied plane. It was essentially a flying _____.

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was a flying boat. This amphibious aircraft was slow, but it had long range and adaptability that made it useful for all sorts of Allied missions.


The Consolidated PBY Catalina, a flying boat, was especially useful in which area of the war?

In the watery Pacific theater, the Americans found the PBY to be incredibly useful. The planes could take off and land in the sea, meaning they could be used throughout the Pacific even if there were no nearby islands.


What was one of the most notable traits of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress?

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress could fly very, very high. So high, in fact, enemy fighters and anti-aircraft shells couldn’t reach it. The downside? It was really hard for the bombers to accurately hit targets from such a high altitude.


Japanese Zero fighters were especially well known for which trait?

The Zeros had terrifying maneuverability. They could quickly zip to and fro, often making fools of Allied pilots in comparatively slow, lumbering fighters.


The British Hawker Hurricane fighter was the primary Allied fighter during which crucial battle?

The Hawker Hurricane was the most numerous Allied fighter of the Battle of Britain. Along with the Spitfire, the Hurricanes beat back endless waves of Nazi attackers.


The F6F Hellcat was made to kill Zeros. How did it fare in that objective?

The F6F Hellcat was made to shoot down Zeros, and it did just that. For every Hellcat that was shot down, American pilots blasted 13 Zeros.


Finish the name of this iconic American heavy bomber. Consolidated B-24 ______.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber meant to pound the living daylights out of the Axis. Nearly 20,000 of them were built during the war to bomb military targets and cities.


The Japanese Yokosuka K5Y was a very common plane during World War II. For what purpose was it used?

The Yokosuka K5Y was a biplane dating back to the early 30s. The Japanese built thousands of them, primarily for pilot training purposes.


The North American P-51 Mustang was one of the best Allied fighters of the war. What propelled it?

The P-51 was one of the most powerful Allied weapons of the war. It featured one nose-mounted propeller that was powerful enough to compete with Luftwaffe fighters even at high altitudes.


The "P" in the P-51 Mustang stands for ______.

The "P" in the P-51 Mustang stands for "pursuit." After World War II, the "P" was changed to "F" for "fighter." The Mustangs were one of the go-to Allied fighters.


What sort of reputation did the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter have in the German air force?

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 is still considered one of the all-time finest German warplanes. It was a workhorse fighter that was equally adept at air-to-air combat and ground strikes.


All of the ace German fighter pilots used the same kind of plane. Which plane was it?

The top German aces all used the legendary Me 109. The sleek, deadly fighter was called the "Messer," which is also the German word for knife.


What was the name of Japan's most famous World War II fighter plane?

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, or simply "Zero," was the most famous and numerous of Japanese fighter planes of the war. It was renowned for its particularly long range of more than 1,500 miles.


One U.S. aircraft project was so pricey that it became the single-most expensive American weapons project of World War II. Which aircraft was it?

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was so expensive that it cost even more than the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bombs. The B-29s were huge, super-advanced planes for the era and they had some amazing attributes.


What sort of plane was the British Supermarine Spitfire?

The Supermarine Spitfire fighter is one of the most legendary fighter planes of World War II. In defense of London, the Brits built more of these beloved planes than any other model.


What was a common Allied nickname for the Japanese Zero fighter?

Allied personnel referred to Zeros as Zekes. During the opening days of the Pacific War, American pilots were terrified to square off against the speedy Zekes.


The B-17 Flying Fortress was equipped with a lot of which weapon?

The B-17 was indeed a flying fortress. One variant, the B-17G, had a whopping 13 .50-caliber machine guns meant to defend the bomber from speedy enemy fighters.


The B-29 Superfortress was known for its astonishing technological advances. What amazing weapon did it have?

The B-29 had an incredible technology -- computer-controlled machine gun turrets, in an era when computers were a new invention. This weapons revolution made it much easier for the bomber's machine guns to blast enemy fighters.


The famous German Me 109 was a huge factor in World War II. It was first used during which conflict?

Various European countries took sides in the bloody Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. The Germans deployed many of their Me 109s to support the Nationalists.


When Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering started the Nazi attacks during the Battle of Britain, he believed that the battle would last ______.

Goering was so convinced of German air superiority that he thought the Nazis would win the Battle of Britain in just a few days. But British Spitfires and Hurricanes -- although vastly outnumbered -- outfought the Luftwaffe and won the battle after months of treacherous combat.


What sort of plane was the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2??

The Ilyushin Il-2 was designed for ground attacks. It had heavy armor, which warded off bullets and shrapnel as pilots zoomed across ground targets such as tanks and artillery guns.


The P-51 Mustang was such a solid fighter that it was used for decades. When was the last P-51 retired?

The U.S. military retired its last P-51 in 1978. That means the little propellor-based fighter did its job for nearly three decades after World War II ended.


Which of the following is true about the German Messerschmitt Bf 109?

The Messerschmitt Bf 109, better known as simply Me 109, was the second-most manufactured plane in history. It was made for nearly 10 years, and the Germans built (or partially built) more than 30,000 of them.


In June 1945, using its remote-control machine guns, a B-29 Superfortress single-handledly fended off how many Japanese fighters?

For four hours and 275 miles, a solitary B-29 was hounded by 79 Japanese fighters. Thanks to its computer-controlled machine guns, it fought off the enemy and landed without any significant damage.


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