British World War 2 Military Aircraft Pictures and History

September, 1939: the Third Reich divisions and military aircraft invade Poland, an ally of both France and the U.K. A few weeks later, some RAF units are based in France. At the time, the RAF equipment still is in a transitional stage, both biplanes and monoplanes are used (such as the Spitfire and the Hurricane, born in the late thirties). It will take two years before new types are created, like the Mosquito bomber, entirely made of wood, or the Hawker Typhoon.

The defence of Great Britain is the number one task of the RAF. The first German raid occurs on October 16, 1939. The target is Firth of Forth, in Scotland. And the first German military aircraft (a He 111) is shot down near Dalkeith.

military aircraft pictures
Hawker Typhoon

The engagements soon take their toll on the British pilot lives. The RAF starts training new squadrons in a hurry, with soldiers coming from Australia, Canada, India, New Zeland, Rhodesia and South Africa (part of the British Commonwealth). Also, survivors from Czech, Belgian, Dutch, French, Norvegian and Polish air forces join the ranks, along with “Eagles” Squadrons, composed of volunteer American pilots.

Supermarine Spitfire

The battle of France begins on May 10, 1940. Technically disadvantaged (the Third Reich spent the years leading to the war secretly rearming), the French forces are rapidly overwhelmed. The last Allied squadrons evacuate the continent on June 17, 1940. The Channel will give the British and their allies a chance to reorganize (an invasion of the U.K. is being planned by the Nazis, but won’t occur).

The Battle of Britain has already started. Along with the defence of England, the RAF concentrate on bombing missions on the continent, attack missions of Third Reich vessels and submarines, and international deployment.

During World War 2, considerable technical progresses are made, such as the radar and the jet engine. In 1944, the first British jet aircraft becomes operational; it’s the Gloster Meteor.

(To see more British World War 2 military aircraft pictures, scroll down this page.)

At the end of the war, there were more than 1 million men in the RAF, manning or taking care of 27,000 airplanes.

Click on the links or images to visit a page dedicated to each aircraft.

Armstrong Whitley

Avro Lancaster

Boulton Paul’s Defiant Mark II

Bristol Beaufighter

military aircraft picture

Handley Page Halifax

Handley page halifax

Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Tempest

Supermarine Sea Otter

Sounders Roe A.27 London

Supermarine Spitfire

Follow the link to see more
military aircraft pictures.

3 thoughts on “British World War 2 Military Aircraft Pictures and History

  1. Maman Kusmana

    I do like ww2 history, especially history of the development and technological progress of military air craft during the war and after the war is over when the cold war, competition the creation of military aircraft technology

  2. Chuck Gurkin

    My brother and I have aviation related backgrounds he being a pilot and myself aircrew as an inflight refueling operator.A visit to a local museum in Litchfield Illinois we saw black & white photos of 3 to 4 Lancaster bombers with US insignia and nose art we took a picture of them and have tried to find further information on them but to no avail.
    Do you have any background on them?

  3. Lang Franz

    Hi from Austria!
    A friend of mine uses in his house an old motor, which was found at the end of the 2nd world war in a damaged airplane in the south of Austria. But nobody knows, which type of airplane (maybe a bomber) this was. Is it possible, to identify the type of plane when I post some pictures. The electric motor is about 25 cm long.
    Sorry, when this is not the right place for my question – maybe there is a better one.

    Many thanks


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