The airborne confrontations in World War 2 were some of the largest and most significant in the history of aviation – much more than the fairly minor impact that aircrafts had on World War 1. The Axis forces (Germany and Japan) launched with heavy air strike campaigns and early on during WW2 they overran Denmark and Holland.
Combined strikes using bombers and fighters for the Axis forces (particularly Germany) used very capable and advanced aircraft that.
The use of these planes and many others during WW2 meant that the Allies had to respond in kind. The British did respond with the now world-famous Spitfire plane – guided by an advanced technology called radar. And so began the Battle of Britain. The entire conflict was fought in the air and when the German war planes were unable to dominate the British skies, the German war plans drastically changed.
It was around this time that the Japanese used aircraft carriers that had been in service since the 1920’s to attack Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. This surprise attack all but wiped out the U.S. Pacific fleet using aircraft. It was a devastating assault which caused the deaths of 2,402 Americans and 1,247 injuries. The attack on Pearl Harbour led to the United States’ entry to WW2.
A number of technological advancements saw the planes evolve during WW2. During World War 1 the planes were made of wood and built in the bi-plane style. WW2 planes were much sleeker and more powerful with aluminium bodies and supercharged piston engines.
The British, German and Americans also began to experiment with jet engine planes during the war. The jet engines were used on a number of combat outings and achieved far greater speeds than their propeller equivalents.
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