This site is a tribute to the dedicated men and women who worked long hours building these planes and the brave airmen who flew them through dangerous skies, many of whom would never return to see their families again.
Bombers and Transport Planes
Some General Notes:
What’s in a name? The US Army Air Corps was established in 1926, taking over from the previous “US Army Air Service,” and in June, 1941, six months before Pearl Harbor, the name of this branch of the Army was changed to US Army Air Forces. The significance of this is that with each name change, the importance of air power as a distinct branch of the military became more recognized. Going into World War 2, Army generals continued to see aircraft in support roles of ground forces. By the end of the war, it was clear that air power was a force in itself. Of course a lot of planes were also assigned to naval duty, especially those that could operate from a carrier. Sea-based air power became much, much more important during WW2, especially in the Pacific, and to this day, the Navy has its own planes.
Plane Names P stands for “Pursuit,” and B stands for “Bomber.” Hence the P-51 and the B-25. The term “fighter” was mostly used after World War 2 when jets became the norm, so the jet names since 1946 generally start with the letter F. The Grumman F4F and F6F introduced before and at the beginning of the war are the exceptions. TB stands for “stands for “Torpedo Bomber.” The Grumman TBF Avenger was designed to launch torpedoes flying low over the water to sink ships, but was used more extensively on bombing missions.
Variants The complete story about each type of plane is more complex than this web site covers, largely because design changes and improvements were often made after the first planes of the type were introduced and entered into service. So the description of a plane that is accurate for the first several dozen or hundred or thousand produced will not be accurate for planes made later. So please understand this weakness in the information provided here; it is generally true. Fortunately, there are many sources of more detailed information, some of which we will recommend.
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Introduced in 1938 and selected by the Army Air Corps in 1941, the B-17 was one of the most heavily used bombers in the war. Flying from bases in England and Italy, B-17’s dropped 640 thousand tons of bombs on industrial and military targets in Nazi Germany. Number built: 12,731 Length: 74 ft. Wingspan: 104 ft. Top Speed: 287 mph Visit Page
North American B-25 Mitchell Medium bomber used for high and low level bombing as well as strafing and submarine patrol. One of the most heavily armed planes of the war. Though not designed as a navy plane, sixteen B-25’s took off from the deck of USS Hornet in the famous “Doolittle” raid on the Japanese capital 4 months after Pearl Harbor. Number Built: 9,816 Length: 53 ft. Wingspan: 67 ft. Top Speed: 300+ mph Visit Page
Consolidated B-24 Liberator Introduced early in the war and used extensively by the RAF as well as the US Army Air Corps. Number Built: 19,000+ Wingspan: 110 ft. Top Speed: 290 mph
Boeing B-29 Superfortress Introduced near the end of the war, the B-29 introduced new technology such as a pressurized cabin Number Built: 3,970 1943-46 Wingspan: 141 ft. Length 99 ft. Range: 5,592 miles Top Speed: 357 mph
Grumman TBF Avenger Single engine Naval torpedo bomber also deployed for ground attack. It was a 3-man plane with a bombardier-gunner, and radio man-gunner as well as a pilot. Used extensively in the Pacific in raids on Japanese positions. The Avenger is the plane future president George H.W. Bush was flying when he was shot down in 1944. Number Built: 9.839 Length: 41 ft. Wingspan: 54 ft. Top Speed: 275 mph Visit Page
Martin B-26 Marauder On of the most heavily armed American planes of the war, the Marauder was used primarily for ground attack with massive gunnery as well as bombs.
Curtiss C-46 Commando Most famous for getting volumes of war materials over the Himalayas to China after the Japanese closed down the Burma Road, the C-46 had more cargo capacity than the C-27 and performed better at high altitudes. Number Built: 3,181 Length: 76 ft. 4 in. Wingspan: 108 ft. Top Speed: 245-279 mph Range: 1200 to 3,150 miles
Douglas C-47 Skytrain Adapted from the Douglas DC-3 passenger plane for the war, the C-47 was used extensively for troop transport, parachute drops, and cargo. Number Built: 10,174 Length: 63 ft. 9 in. Wingspan: 95 ft. 6 in. Top Speed 224 mph Cruise Speed: 160 mph Range: 1600 - 3600 miles
This site is part of the American Tribute Online project. It is not a commercial site, and it is not associated with any museum or other organization. The purpose of the project is to celebrate our American heritage and provide an online resource for showcasing the America that we can all be proud of. There is no paid advertising or listing on this site