At first you hear it roaring through the sky and then you see it – a military airplane, flying directly towards your ship. But is it one of the friendly aircrafts or is it the enemy? You have a split second to decide whether you shoot it down or let it pass.

Back in the Second World War recognizing different airplanes was very important. You may think it’s easy, but in darker times of a day you only see a silhouette of the airplane passing by at high speed. Crews of air defence systems had to make quick decisions and that’s why they had to be well-prepared to avoid mistakes.

Bureau of Naval Personnel in 1943 created a special Aircraft recognition test. It consisted of a series of posters, displaying silhouettes of similar-looking airplanes. Soldiers had to pay attention to details and answer quickly which planes are friendly and which ones are likely to be coming to cause problem. We can use this test now to see how well we know airplanes of WW2.

This is the second part of the test – you can find the first part here.

So, can you recognize these planes? Let’s start:

What airplanes do you see in the picture? Correct answers are written under each poster.

This one was a bit of a tricky one, because all three airplanes are American. From top to bottom – Lockheed C-60 Lodestar, Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Curtiss C-46 Commando.

Which of these airplanes is Japanese?

A Japanese Type 97 (Nakajima B5N) is at the top, while at the bottom we see a Douglas SBD Dauntless. Tails and wings are slightly different.

One of these airplanes is Japanese – which one?

At the top – Mitsubishi G4M, at the bottom – Martin B-26 Marauder. The placement of the machine gun cupola is the biggest giveaway.

Which one of these airplanes is German?

German Messerschmitt Bf 109 is at the top, at the bottom – North American P-51 Mustang. The Messerschmitt has a rounder vertical stabilizer.

Can you tell which one of these airplanes is Japanese?

A Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero is at the bottom, while a Grumman F6F Hellcat is at the top. The Hellcat has a V-shaped cutout in its tail.

Which one of these is American Catalina?

Consolidated PBY Catalina is at the top, while a Japanese Kawanishi H6K is at the bottom. H6K’s wings are mounted noticeably higher and tails of these airplanes are very different.

Which one of these airplanes is German?

Messerschmitt Me 210 is at the top, while a British de Havilland Mosquito is at the bottom. The Messerschmitt has a flat nose, which begins behind the propellers.

Which one of these airplanes is American and which one is German?

An American Martin PBM Mariner is at the bottom, while a German Dornier Do 26 is at the top. The Mariner has two vertical stabilizers.

Which one of these transporters is Japanese?

Mitsubishi Ki-57 is under a Douglas C-47 Skytrain. The Mitsubishi has a longer nose and a curved back.

That was the last question in this test. How did you do? Which one of these puzzles was the hardest to solve?

Don’t forget to see the first part of the test as well.


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