The Greatest Air to Air Battles in Military History
You're here: Home > Articles > The Greatest Air to Air Battles in Military History
Humans have always sought to take over the air to gain an advantage in war. Initially, the military uses of flight were mainly focused on gaining a bird’s eye view of the battle field.
Early attempts saw the use of manned kites in China and Japan to spy for military intelligence and communication.
Also some minor warfare use was made of hot air balloons in the American Civil war, as well as Napoleonic wars.
The First Word War saw the real birth of military air power. Aircraft technology developed rapidly, especially in the area of weaponry, but The Second World War saw the military use of air power come of age with the increased performance, range, and payload of contemporary aircraft which meant that air power could move beyond the novelty applications of World War One, becoming a central striking force for all the combatant nations.
7 Largest Air Battles in War history
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War 2 defense of the United Kingdom by RAF (Royal Air Force). It was a struggle between the German Luftwaffe and the British Royal Air Force during July and October 1940.
The main German plan was to win air superiority and destroy the British aircraft.
The end came on 15 September, when the Luftwaffe lost 56 planes and RAF 28. During the battle 1,733 German aircraft was destroyed compared to the 915 destroyed British fighters.
The second Schweinfurt raid was a World War 2 air battle that took place in October, 1943 between German Luftwaffe’s and United States Air Force.
The goal of American missions was a strategic bombing raid on ball bearing factories in order to reduce production of war machines. Although the Schweinfurt factories were badly hit, the mission failed to achieve any lasting effect because the production was halted for only 6 weeks.
A group of 291 B-17 Flying Fortresses fought off German fighters that came, however, the U.S. did not get off totally unscathed, as 80 mm cannon flak caused much damage to the Air Force. Nearly 77 B-17s were destroyed and 121 of the planes were severely damaged.
The mission was named “Black Thursday” because of the loss of air crewman, 600 men were killed.
This was a turning point in history marked as the beginning of air battle that would become more developed over time.
The Battle of Saint Mihiel was the first and largest battle of its kind, involving American Expeditionary Force, along 110,000 French troops. The Force attacked the German troops who lost over 5,000 men and another 13,000 soldier were captured.
The United States lost 7,000 men in the battle. In preparation for the attack on St. Mihiel, the French placed many squadrons under the control of the First Army Chief of Air Service, Col William Mitchell.
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the Japanese Navy’s attempt to hold the Marianas Islands.
The aerial theatre of the battle was called the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by American aviators for the severely disproportional loss ratio inflicted upon Japanese aircraft by American pilots and anti-aircraft gunners.
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a decisive naval battle of World War 2 which eliminated Imperial Japanese Navy’s ability to conduct large scale carrier actions.
The U.S. ended up taking out hundreds of the Japanese.
About 90% American pilots made safely to the ground.
The Battle of Kursk was engaged between German and Soviet forces near Kursk during the Second World War.
The real operation opened on July 5, 1943., when The Soviet Air Force launched a massive attack on the Luftwaffe air bases in the area, in an attempt to counter the classic German tactic of eliminating local air support. The Red Army co-ordination of the attack had failed, however the Soviets did gain a notable success on July 6, equipped with the Sturmovik. The Soviet attack was devastating to the tanks. For more in-depth details, read “Kursk”.
The Battle of El Mansoura (Yom Kippur War – 1973)
One of the most controversial historical events of the Yom Kippur War was the alleged air battle between the Israeli Air Force and the Egyptian Air Force on October 14, 1973 near the town El Mansoura.
The Israeli air force launched air strikes on October 14 against the Egyptian air bases at Tanta and Mansoura. Nearly 120 Israeli fighters attacked 60 Egyptian MiGs.
The 104th Air Wing of the Egyptian air force scrambled its fighters, receiving additional reinforcements from other air bases. The air battle lasted 53 minutes. The ensuing 53-minute encounter would figure, as one of the largest and longest battles between jets in history. Casualty totals are disputed.
On the 7th November 1944. the Soviet Army was advancing near the city of Niš (now a part of Serbia).
US Lightning fighter bombers attacked the Soviet ground troops believeing them to be Germen forces. Suffering heavy damage, the Russians called for air support, and the result was a dogfight between nine Yak-3 fighters and an unknown number of P-38 Lightnings. The actual results of the battle remain classified, but American and Soviet sources, both predictably claimed high casualty totals for each other.
What is in your opinion the best air battle?
More things for you to discover:
Since the beginning of aviation, thousands of planes have crashed, but sometimes when an air disaster strikes, pilots can react on time and prevent the final catastrophe. The following is a selection of plane disasters that had safe landing. US Airways A320 landing on the Hudson River. The most famous and successful emergency landing of […]» Find out More
Attack helicopters emerged during the Cold War years when they proved to be the key component to victory in battlefield. Today’s attack helicopter has two main roles, to provide direct, close air support for ground troops and to destroy enemy armor concentrations (anti-tank role). What are the best attack helicopters? These are currently the best attack […]» Find out More
Following a series of tragic incidents there is understandably a lot of fear that surrounds air travel, but nevertheless- flying is safe. Compared to other forms of transportation,j traveling by car is 100 times more deadly than flying in an airplane. Here are some of the facts about plane safety, you should know about, before you […]» Find out More
Although we often think airplane crashes are horrible and unsurvivable events, the survival rate of plane crashes from 1983-2000 was 95.7%. You can dramatically increase your chances of surviving even severe plane crash by knowing simple facts and making little changes. Be prepared, but not scared. Things you need to be aware of You only […]» Find out More
What happens when an aircraft is no longer needed? Have you ever wondered where do planes go to rust? Aircraft graveyards often called boneyards are home to retired aircraft waiting to be recycled or reused. Dry climate The best aircraft locations for graveyards are places with dry climates because dry air reduces corrosion of aircraft […]» Find out More
1. Inside Loop/Outside Loop The Inside loop is the easiest of all stunt moves, it’s a vertical circle in the sky. Any RC Airplane with elevator is capable of looping. The Outside loop is also called a bunt. It’s an inside loop with the airplane inverted, so that the top of the plane faces outwards. It can […]» Find out More
Can you imagine life without air travel? Today, aviation allows people to experience new adventures, visit new countries, relax on far away beaches, build business relationships as well as to connect with family and friends abroad. The beauty of aviation is bringing people and countries together. How much do you really know about aviation and […]» Find out More
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the most advanced airplane ever built. It had an important role in a history as a spy plane. SR-17 “Blackbird” is a long range, strategic reconnaissance aircraft. This sleek and stealthy Air Force plane is still the fastest plane that has ever flown and was never hit by a missile. […]» Find out More
Did you know that 85% of plane crashes are caused by pilot error? Statistically speaking, flying is still the safest way to travel. No matter how the advanced technology is, there is always one element that is impossible to control: the human element, because human are prone to making mistakes, although the major pilot error […]» Find out More
Paul Allen – MIG 29 Fighter Jet Paul Allen, co-founder of the Microsoft has bought his own MIG 29 Fighter Jet worth 13.5$ billion. The MIG 29 has a max speed of 1,518 mph and a range of 1,500km. The Sultan of Brunei – Boeing 747-430 The sultan has a brand new, Boeing 747 for […]» Find out More
It’s hard to say, what the best fighter plane of World War 2 was, but we certainly can say that a few stood out during that historical period. To make it easier, we need to refine it further, depending on different characteristics, such as: longer effective range, best high attitude fighter, damage resistant aircraft etc. […]» Find out More
“Every flight that has disappeared had its own story”, said the editor of the The Aviationist , David Cenciotti. Airplanes have been disappearing for decades, whether in remote areas of the ocean or mountain regions. Many planes have gone missing, especially at the so called Bermuda Triangle. A series of disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle […]» Find out More
For so many years, people have dreamt about flying. Many have tried, but wasn’t until the Wright brothers, that Man was able to take a flight. If you are plane enthusiast, you’ve certainly asked yourself, how you can become the next great, airline pilot. Word of warning Do not enter this profession unless you are […]» Find out More
Have you ever wondered how planes looked like in the beginning? Well, let us tell you, they were pretty weird. Many of them were built to prove a point or to advance the science of aerodynamics. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the journey of history’s strangest aircraft that ever flew the sky. These are some […]» Find out More
These are the most shocking airplane crashes caught on camera. Despite the fact it looks bad, people actually survived some of these plane crashes. Video shows these plane crashes: Air France Flight 296/Airbus A320-111 – 06/26/1988 – Fatality: 3/136 US Air Force Czar 52/B-52 Stratofortress – 06/24/1994 – Fatality: 4/4 Hawkins & Powers Aviation Tanker […]» Find out More
1. Saint Maarten in the Caribbean – Princess Juliana International Airport This is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. Due to the short runway length (7,150 feet), planes on their final approach need to fly over the beach at minimal altitude, and over a part of the fence and the road. Because of it, […]» Find out More
Best Rated Games
Take the stick and fly through the rings in Flight 3D Aerobatics. Try different challenges and keep your eye on the fuel. Have fun playing realistic controls.» Find out More
Skies of War 2 is about fighting against Enemy in Air and on the Ground. If you played the first edition than you already know everything there is to know. When you collect enough money you can buy a new Aircraft. Commands: Mouse for moving, SPACE for mini map, Buttons for Shooting.» Find out More
This game is played in turns like Chess. You need to outsmart the enemy aircrafts, get at their tails and shoot them. SteamBirds is very interesting game to play. Controls Mouse controls, with some keyboard shortcuts (mouseover buttons to see)» Find out More
Burning Skies is World War 2 airplane shooting game. Lead your missions, attack and defeat your enemies.» Find out More
Target accurately as many airplanes as you can. You only have thirty ammo so be careful with targeting. For game controls use keyboard arrows.» Find out More
SteamBirds is an exciting aerial-dogfighting action/strategy that you play in turns. From a top-down perspective you manage your squadron of aircraft and take on growing numbers of enemies — complete with boss fights, special abilities, powerups, and lots of flashy explosions! Controls Completely Mouse Driven. Click on things with Gold Circles!» Find out More
Arcade shooting games like this one include enemy helicopters in large numbers, and those pilots want to see you dead. Go on and fire missiles as much as you like. Others will be shooting at you so why not shoot back, that’s your surviving plan. This game is played with mouse only.» Find out More
Enjoy this classic arcade helicopter game. Destroy all the enemies and collect powerups. Have fun playing this helicopter shooting game.» Find out More
You need to occupy enemy bunkers. This game is played with mouse only..» Find out More
Protect your base and destroy the enemy. Enemies come in waves. Controls: ASDW or Arrow keys to move Use Mouse to shoot, left click to fire. SPACE to build and repair ground artillery.» Find out More
This is the extended version of a famous game “Skies of War”. You’ll start with Focke Wolf and enjoy more airplanes in this sequel of a post iron war game. GAME CONTROLS: Mouse – Move / Shoot. R – Make a full roll. CTRL – Helicopter hover-mode. C – Chnage Weapon.» Find out More
Potty is back. Your job is to jump far, do maneuvers and more. Move with Arrow Keys» Find out More
Play this exciting strategy game. The Few Dogfights is a fighting airplane simulator. Direct the flight paths of your planes and defeat your enemies.» Find out More
Play Super Pilot game. This is side scrolling-shooting game. Try to destroy other planes along the way.» Find out More
Launch your spaceship and stay alive for as long as possible. Use arrow keys to control your UFO.» Find out More
Explore the world of Future Race. This high-speed racing game will test your driving skills. You must select your driver and finish track in top 3 in order to qualify for the next challenging level. Upgrade your space hovercraft and earn money. You can choose between 3 different difficulty modes.» Find out More
Superhero Ben Ten have to defend the Earth from alien invaders. Help him and destroy all aliens ships, avoid enemy fire and be careful to not collide. Use mouse to control and spacebar to shoot.» Find out More
Heli attack 2 is about the bad guys in helicopters trying their best to shoot you. You can “return the love” with your own shooting gun. Simple game, move with arrows, aim and shoot with mouse. We also have Heli Attach 3 game if you’re interested.» Find out More
This is a very dynamic arcade battle on the island of Berina that is under attack from the evil Caelis Dominion. As you progress you can upgrade your weapons and defence. You need to bring down planes and ships… This is not an easy game. Instructions: Arrow Keys – Move. W – Shoot. A – […]» Find out More