WW2 Tank Buster Aircraft

In World War II, the top four tank buster aircraft were the Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka”, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the North American P-51 Mustang, and the Hawker Tempest. The first one was the only one designed as a ground-attack aircraft to fulfill the role of a dive bomber, which, when armed with 20 or 37mm guns, became the Ju 87G version of the Stuka and a lethal tank buster, destroying thousands of armored vehicles on the Eastern Front. On the other hand, the American and the British ones had originally been designed as fighters and interceptors to be used as bomber escorts due to their longer range. The American fighters turned out to be excellent aircraft in the ground-attack role, for their firepower and bombload capacity. They were also fast aircraft, propelled by powerful engines as they operated without much opposition, for the Allies had already gained air superiority in the skies over Europe by 1944.

The Stuka was in service from the beginning of the war, playing a key role in the Polish and French campaign as it was essential for the Blitzkrieg warfare, with its tank killer variant, the Ju 87G, being equipped with two 37mm BK-37 cannons, which fired armour-piercing tungsten-carbide ammunition. Flown by WWII aces, such as Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the Junkers Ju 87G was by far the most lethal and most effective tank buster aircraft of WWII. Flying this version of German dive bomber, Rudel destroyed 519 tanks, 300 armoured vehicles of all types, 4 armoured trains, and more than 150 howitzers.

Below: the Junkers Ju 87G, armed with two 37mm guns


The P-47 Thunderbolt, which was the heaviest fighter of the war, had a bombload capacity of 2,500 lb (1,134 kg), which included ten 2-inch rockets and was armed with eight .50-caliber Browning machine guns. Powered by a Packard V-1650-7, the P-51 Mustang could carry up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs and six 5-inch rockets. The Tempest was an excellent British fighter that was also used as a bomber against enemy armored vehicle formations; as armament, it had four 20mm Mark II, Hispano guns, eight 3-inch rockets and could carry up to 1,000 lb of bombs.

Footage of the best tank buster of WWII: the Junkers Ju 87 of Hans Rudel

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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.