5 More Planes That Were Overlooked In WW2
YouTube / History in the Dark
Here are five more WWII planes that are criminally overlooked:
5. Douglas Dolphin
Only 58 Dolphins were ever actually built, and was originally intended as a luxurious flying yacht. However, its role as a flying yacht wasn’t realized to a significant extent. The US Navy and Coast Guard were both interested in the plane placing orders.
Since they were originally developed as luxury yachts, they were remarkably stable and very easy to fly. Although this isn’t exactly what you’d want in combat, they were acceptable in search and rescue transport roles, and they still had them in service in WWII even if their design had been outdated at that point.
4. Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien
The Ki-61 is a Japanese WWII fighter plane. Generally, when Japan is discussed, you hear the Zeroes. However, the Ki-61, simply known as the “Tony”, is also an extremely capable fighter.
The design is unique by mass-produced Japanese fighter standards- they’re the only ones to use an inverted V engine. Despite the lack of armor, they have sealing fuel tanks which a lot of Japanese planes didn’t have late in the war. Despite the issues that plagued the fighter throughout its service life, it still put up a good fight against the Allies all things considered.
3. Supermarine Walrus
The Walrus first flew in 1933 and is another early floatplane design. However, it did end up seeing service in WWII, and 740 of these were made. They were used for anti-submarine warfare but more intrinsically, they were adopted by the RAF search and rescue force and used to save the lives of aircrew stranded at sea.
2. IAR 80
450 of these planes were produced and were Romanian low-wing monoplanes with an all-metal construction meant to be a fighter and a ground attack aircraft.
When they first flew in 1939, they were comparable to the Hawker Hurricane and the Bf-109. These planes remained in frontline use until 1945 and were impressive modern planes for the day. However, as the war dragged on, they became more and more outclassed by newer planes and when WWII ended, the Soviet occupation of Romania began, and all the remaining planes were replaced by Soviet designs and every single one of IAR 80s would be scrapped.
1. Northrop P-61 Black Widow
The Black Widow is a twin-engine US Army Air Force fighter plane that first flew on May 26th, 1942. The fighter was designed from the ground up as a night fighter- they were all metal, twin-engine, twin-boom jets designed with four forward-firing 20mm Hispano M2 autocannons in their lower fuselage and four M2 Browing machine guns in a dorsal gun turret.
706 of these planes were built, replacing earlier British design night fighter planes that had been updated to integrate radar when it became available. While they had early teething issues, they arrived too late for the conflict. Yet, they still deserve a lot more love for their capabilities. Technically, the last Allied air victory before the Japanese surrender was carried out by a Black Widow.