German aircraft of WW II

A large number of aircraft was used by all forces in World War II. I will try to assemble overviews of the most important aircraft used in WW II. Due to the large number of models used, I will only mention those that were produced in significant numbers and were of importance.


The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was not only Germany’s most important fighter, with almost 34,000 built it is also the most numerous fighter aircraft ever. The E “Emil” series was used during the Battle of Britain, most of them armed with two 7.92mm MGs above the engine and one 20mm cannon in each wing. The F “Friedrich” series was introduced in October 1940. It featured dramatically improved range, the two wing-mounted cannons were replaced by a single cannon firing through the propeller hub. The G “Gustav” series was introduced in 1942. It featured a pressurized cabin. Later G models replaced the 7.92mm MGs with two 13mm MGs, and a larger 30mm cannon was fitted. The last numerous series was the K “Kurfürst”, introduced in October 1944.
The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was a twin-engine heavy fighter. After initial successes above Poland and France, the Battle of Britain showed that it was not agile enough for dogfighting. It continued to be used as fighter bomber and especially night fighter until the end of the war. Most were armed with four 7.92mm MGs and two 20mm cannons, plus a rear-point defensive MG for the observer.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger was Germany’s second-most numerous fighter, with more than 20,000 built. It was first used in 1941. Most of the A-series models were armed with two 7.92mm MGs and four 20mm cannons. Many were used as fighter bombers. For the D Dora series, which was used from September 1944 on, the radial BMW engine was replaced by a Daimler-Benz inline. The F and G series were dedicated attack aircraft.
The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe was the world’s first operational jet aircraft. It achieved its first kill in June 1944. It came too late to have significant impact. Armament consisted of four 30mm cannons.


The Dornier Do 17 was a light bomber, of importance early in the war. Production stopped in 1940, a small number were used as night fighters. About 1,000kg of bombs could be carried, six 7.92mm MGs were used for defense.
The Heinkel He 111 was the Luftwaffe’s main medium bomber. More than 7,000 were built until 1944. It could carry about 2,000kg of bombs,
Around 6,500 of the Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber were built. Even though it was vulnerable to fighters, it remained in production until 1944, when its role was mostly taken over by attack versions of the Fw 190. The G model, armed with two 37mm cannons, was an effective tank killer. As dive bomber, it was usually armed with one 250kg and two 50kg bombs.
The Junkers Ju 88 was Germany’s most numerous bomber, with over 15,000 built. Very few were available during the invasion of Poland. It then replaced the Do 17. It was versatile enough to be used as bomber, attack plane, fighter bomber and nightfighter. It could carry more than 3,000kg of bombs. The nightfighter version had four 30mm cannons.
The Dornier Do 217 was faster and could carry a heavier load (up to 4,000kg) than the He 111 and the Ju 88. It was introduced in 1940. It was also used as night fighter. Around 1,900 were built.
The Heinkel He 177 Greif was Germany’s attempt at building a long-range heavy bomber. Problems with overheating engines severely delayed its introduction. When it finally became available, Germany was in the defense and focused on fighters.


Germany’s main transport aircraft was the Junkers Ju 52. Small numbers of the Messerschmitt Me 323 were also used.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor was used as patrol aircraft and naval bomber. The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was used as liasion aircraft and artillery spotter. The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu was used for reconaissance.

Paint schemes

Luftwaffe camouflage schemes are a difficult subject, as many different schemes were used, often using whatever paint was available. As a guide line, bombers were painted with light blue undersides and two shades of green on top. This scheme was also used by fighters until the end of 1939. During 1940, fighters used a combination of grey and dark green with light blue undersides. From 1941 to 1944, two shades of grey were used on the upperside. At the end of the war, two green/olive colors were used. Planes in Africa used light grey on the undersides and a sand and a brown color on top.

Aircraft of WW II: Germany Great BritainUS Air ForceUS NavyJapanSoviet Union.