By the time World War II broke out in 1939, aircraft had evolved from the flimsy biplanes of the Great War, whose fuselage was made of wood and canvas, into sturdier, faster monoplanes, fitted with all-metal fuselage and retractable landing gear. However, the single-engine fighter aircraft of WWII had kept the maneuverability of the World War I light planes. Thus, by retaining maneuverability but gaining in speed, power, strength, and better armament, the fighter aircraft had become a lethal and formidable flying weapon in WWII, capable of performing tight-turns, like their biplane predecessors. The Spitfire, Messerschmitt Bf 109, Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and P-51 Mustang became icons of this armed conflict in this role. Some monoplanes were adapted to operate from aircraft carriers. The most representative of these were the A6M Zero and the F6F Hellcat.
Not only the fighter had gone through an evolutionary phase, but also the bomber, which had acquired extremely long range and bombload capacity as it bristled with machine guns and small-caliber cannons, which constituted its defensive weaponry; the most representative and the most massively produced bomber of this armed struggle was the American B-17 Flying Fortress. WWII also saw the emergence of two, new aircraft types, from their role point of view: the ground-attack aircraft and the dive-bomber, the archetype of which was the Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka”, which was highly specialized in this role. These types of aircraft would be the flying artillery that provided fire support to spearhead infantry and armored units. The following links below will take you to the complete information about every aircraft used in the Second World War.
List of WW2 Aircraft by Countries
Photographs of the most representative fighter aircraft by country
German Messerschmitt Bf 109
British Supermarine Spitfire
American P-51 Mustang
Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Italian Macchi C.200 Saetta
French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406