Selected Bombers of World War II

01
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Heinkel He 111

Formation of Heinkel He 111s. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-408-0847-10 / Martin / CC-BY-SA

The first major war to feature widespread bombing, World War II produced a variety of bombers of all shapes and sizes. While some nations such as the United States and Great Britain built long-range, four-engine aircraft, others chose to focus on smaller, medium bombers. This gallery will provide an overview of some the bombers used during the conflict.

Heinkel He 111

  • Nation: Germany
  • Type: Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1939-1945
  • Range: 1,750 miles
  • Airspeed: 250 mph
  • Crew: 5
  • Payload: 4,400 pounds
  • Power plant: 2× Jumo 211F-1 liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 1,300 hp each
  • Notes: Developed in the 1930s, the He 111 was one of the principle medium bombers employed by the Luftwaffe during the war. The He 111 was used extensively during the Battle of Britain(1940).
02
of 12

Tupolev Tu-2

A restored Tupolev Tu-2. Public Domain

Tupolev Tu-2

  • Nation: Soviet Union
  • Type: Light/Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 1,260 miles
  • Airspeed: 325 mph
  • Crew: 4
  • Payload: 3,312 pounds (internal), 5,004 pounds (external)
  • Power plant: 2× Shvetsov ASh-82 radial engines, 1,850 horsepower each
  • Notes: One of the Soviet Union's most important twin-engine bombers, the Tu-2 was designed at a sharaga (scientific prison) by Andrei Tupolev.
03
of 12

Vickers Wellington

Vickers Wellington. Public Domain

Vickers Wellington

  • Nation: Great Britain
  • Type: Heavy Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1939-1945
  • Range: 2,200 miles
  • Airspeed: 235 mph
  • Crew: 6
  • Payload: 4,500 pounds
  • Power plant: 2× Bristol Pegasus Mk I radial engine, 1,050 hp each
  • Notes: Heavily used by the RAF's Bomber Command in the first two years of the war, the Wellington was replaced in many theaters by larger, four-engined bombers such as the Avro Lancaster.
04
of 12

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

  • Nation: United States
  • Type: Heavy Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 2,000 miles
  • Airspeed: 287 mph
  • Crew: 10
  • Payload: 17,600 pounds (maximum), 4,500-8,000 pounds (typical)
  • Power plant: 4× Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp each
  • Notes: One of the backbones of the American strategic bombing campaign in Europe, the B-17 became a symbol of US airpower. B-17s served in all theaters of the war and were renowned for their ruggedness and crew survivability.
05
of 12

de Havilland Mosquito

de Havilland Mosquito. Public Domain

de Havilland Mosquito

  • Nation: Great Britain
  • Type: Light Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 1,500 miles
  • Airspeed: 415 mph
  • Crew: 2
  • Payload: 4,000 pounds
  • Power plant: 2× Rolls-Royce Merlin 76/77 (left/right) liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,710 hp each
  • Notes: Built largely of plywood, the Mosquito was one of the most versatile aircraft of World War II. During its career, it was modified for use as a bomber, night fighter, reconnaissance plane, and fighter bomber.
06
of 12

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally". Public Domain

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

  • Nation: Japan
  • Type: Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1939-1945
  • Range: 1,680 miles
  • Airspeed: 235 mph
  • Crew: 5-7
  • Payload: 2,200 pounds
  • Power plant: 2x Mitsubishi Army type 100 Ha-101 of 1.500 hp
  • Notes: The most common bomber used by the Japanese Army during the war, the Ki-21 "Sally" saw service in the Pacific and over China.
07
of 12

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

b-24-liberator-large.jpg
Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

  • Nation: United States
  • Type: Heavy Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 2,100 miles
  • Airspeed: 290 mph
  • Crew: 7-10
  • Payload: 2,700 to 8,000 pounds depending on range to target
  • Power plant: 4× Pratt & Whitney R-1830 turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp each
  • Notes: With the B-17, the B-24 formed the core of the American strategic bombing campaign in Europe. With over 18,000 produced during the war, the Liberator was modified and used by US Navy for maritime patrols, as well as was deployed by other Allied powers.
08
of 12

Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster. Public Domain

Avro Lancaster

  • Nation: Great Britain
  • Type: Heavy Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1942-1945
  • Range: 2,700 miles
  • Airspeed: 280 mph
  • Crew: 7
  • Payload: 14,000-22,000 pounds
  • Power plant: 4× Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V12 engines, 1,280 hp each
  • Notes: The RAF's principle strategic bomber after 1942, the Lancaster was known for its unusually large bomb bay (33 feet long). Lancasters are best remembered for their attacks on the Ruhr Valley dams, the battleship Tirpitz, and the firebombing of German cities.
09
of 12

Petlyakov Pe-2

Petlyakov Pe-2. Public Domain

Petlyakov Pe-2

  • Nation: Soviet Union
  • Type: Light/Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 721 miles
  • Airspeed: 360 mph
  • Crew: 3
  • Payload: 3,520 pounds
  • Power plant: 2× Klimov M-105PF liquid-cooled V-12, 1,210 hp each
  • Notes: Designed by Victor Petlyakov during his incarceration at a sharaga, the Pe-2 developed a reputation as an accurate bomber that was capable of escaping German fighters. The Pe-2 played a key role in providing tactical bombing and ground support to the Red Army.
10
of 12

Mitsubishi G4M "Betty"

Mitsubishi G4M "Betty". Public Domain
  • Nation: Japan
  • Type: Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1941-1945
  • Range: 2,935 miles
  • Airspeed: 270 mph
  • Crew: 7
  • Payload: 1,765 pounds of bombs or torpedoes
  • Power plant: 2× Mitsubishi Kasei 25 radial engines, 1,850 hp each
  • Notes: One of the most common bombers flown by the Japanese, the G4M was used in both strategic bombing and anti-shipping roles. Due to its poorly protected fuel tanks, the G4M was mockingly referred to as the "Flying Zippo" and "One-Shot Lighter" by Allied fighter pilots.
11
of 12

Junkers Ju 88

Junker Ju 88. Public Domain

Junkers Ju 88

  • Nation: Germany
  • Type: Medium Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1939-1945
  • Range: 1,310 miles
  • Airspeed: 317 mph
  • Crew: 4
  • Payload: 5,511 pounds
  • Power plant: 2× Junkers Jumo 211A liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 1,200 hp each
  • Notes: The Junkers Ju 88 largely replaced the Dornier Do 17, and played a large role in the Battle of Britain. A versatile aircraft, it was also modified for service as a fighter-bomber, night fighter, and dive bomber.
12
of 12

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

  • Nation: United States
  • Type: Heavy Bomber
  • Wartime Service Dates: 1944-1945
  • Range: 3,250 miles
  • Airspeed: 357 mph
  • Crew: 11
  • Payload: 20,000 pounds
  • Power plant: 4× Wright R-3350-23 turbosupercharged radial engines, 2,200 hp each
  • Notes: The last long-range, heavy bomber developed by the United States during the war, the B-29 served exclusively in the fight against Japan, flying from bases in China and the Pacific. On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. A second was dropped from the B-29 Bockscar on Nagasaki three days later.