Much of the early success of the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and the Japanese empire during World War II was due to their technological advantages in weaponry. The Western Allies and the Soviet Union would eventually catch up and surpass their adversaries in both technology and sheer volume, though German engineering and manufacturing ingenuity played a role in extending the length of the war.
Both sides in the conflict utilized a wide range of weaponry, but for both Axis and Allies, certain guns, airplanes, or other armaments became so famous and were so widely used that they can be considered iconic.
To compile a list of 33 of the most iconic weapons of World War II, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sites about the history of the war and the rifles, bombers, fighter jets and other weapons used by both sides.
Some of Nazi Germany’s weaponry was among the most dreaded in World War II – Panzer and Panther tanks; the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft; the U-boat fleet; the MG-42 machine gun; the 88mm anti-aircraft gun…. (See the deadliest German U-boat attacks on World War II.)
After Germany put the Soviet Union on the backfoot when it invaded that country in 1941, the Soviet Union developed its own game-changing weapons, including the T-34 tank, the Katyusha rocket launcher, and PPSh-41 submachine gun.
The United States – President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Arsenal of Democracy” – used its unparalleled manufacturing capacity to churn out thousands of formidable weapons of its own, such as M4 Sherman tanks; P-51 Mustang long-range fighters; and B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers. (These are America’s fastest planes that served in WWII.)
Great Britain and Japan made some of the war’s most memorable aircraft. The Hurricane and Spitfire helped the British win the Battle of Britain in 1940, and the Japanese Zero enjoyed a technological advantage over anything the Allies could put in the air well into the war.
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