Special Report

The Most Mass-Produced American Bomber Planes of WWII

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The B-29 is one of the most iconic bombers to emerge in the Second World War. It is most widely known for dropping the first nuclear bombs used in war, helping to end the war. This bomber changed the landscape of Japan in World War II by the sheer amount of destruction wrought with just two bombs.

Bombers in general played important roles throughout the conflict. Some were specifically designed for naval warfare and destroying ships while others were meant for decimating enemy artillery or armored units. As such, these bombers carried a wide array of ordnance, including torpedoes, general purpose bombs, and some also carried nuclear bombs. (Also see: every country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, ranked.) 

When the United States entered the war, the tide began to turn in part due to the bombers that were reinforcing Allied troops. U.S. bombers played a role in the D-Day Invasion that helped the Allies gain a foothold in Europe to launch their campaign across the continent. American bombers would go on to support the Allies in many critical battles from the skies as they marched to victory against the Axis powers. 

To determine the least and most mass-produced American bombers from WWII, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of World War II aircraft compiled by Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more. We only included bombers that served during the war, ranking them based on the grand total produced. Prototypes and concept aircraft were excluded. Supplemental information about year entered service, type, manufacturer, crew size, and top speed also came from Military Factory. 

With 18,000 aircraft produced, the B-24 Liberator was by far the bomber most prolific to emerge from the conflict. Manned by a crew of up to 10, this bomber was outfitted with a series of 12.7mm machine guns in different mounts around the plane, and it could carry up to 8,800 pounds of conventional drop bombs. It was not the fastest aircraft with a top speed of only 290 mph, but it could traverse distances of over 2,000 miles. 

Some of these bombers also doubled as fighter planes capable of engaging other enemy aircraft while still conducting their bombing raids. Others would also play roles as transport for paratroopers.  

The current generation of bombers, the B-2 Spirit, is strictly for stealth bombing and is capable of carrying nuclear ordnance among many other big bombs. As this generation has become more specialized, there is less of a need to produce as many, though the cost of each aircraft is much greater. In the days of World War II, however, bombers flooded the skies and rained down fire on their enemies. (These are the oldest and newest fighter jets used in today’s Air Force.)

Here is a look at the most and least produced American bombers of World War II:

37. Douglas C-74 Globemaster

  • Number of aircraft produced: 14
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Strategic heavy-lift transport aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1945
  • Top speed: 329 mph
  • Crew: 5

36. Douglas BTD Destroyer

  • Number of aircraft produced: 30
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Torpedo / dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1944
  • Top speed: 334 mph
  • Crew: 1

35. Brewster XSBA-1 / SBN-1

  • Number of aircraft produced: 31
  • Manufacturer: Brewster Aeronautical
  • Type: Carrierborne dive bomber
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 255 mph
  • Crew: 3

34. Douglas B-23 Dragon

  • Number of aircraft produced: 38
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Medium bomber / maritime patrol aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1939
  • Top speed: 283 mph
  • Crew: 6

33. Consolidated B-32 Dominator

  • Number of aircraft produced: 118
  • Manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft Corporation
  • Type: Heavy bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1945
  • Top speed: 357 mph
  • Crew: 10

32. Douglas TBD Devastator

  • Number of aircraft produced: 130
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Navy torpedo bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1937
  • Top speed: 206 mph
  • Crew: 3

31. Consolidated Vultee TBY Sea Wolf

  • Number of aircraft produced: 180
  • Manufacturer: Consolidated Vultee / Vought
  • Type: Torpedo bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1944
  • Top speed: 306 mph
  • Crew: 3

30. Consolidated PB2Y Coronado

  • Number of aircraft produced: 217
  • Manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft Corporation
  • Type: Maritime reconnaissance / bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1940
  • Top speed: 223 mph
  • Crew: 10

29. Curtiss SBC Helldiver

  • Number of aircraft produced: 257
  • Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright
  • Type: Naval dive bomber / fighter aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1938
  • Top speed: 237 mph
  • Crew: 2

28. Vought SB2U Vindicator

  • Number of aircraft produced: 260
  • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Type: Dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1937
  • Top speed: 251 mph
  • Crew: 2

27. Republic P-43 Lancer

  • Number of aircraft produced: 272
  • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 357 mph
  • Crew: 1

26. Douglas B-18 Bolo

  • Number of aircraft produced: 360
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Medium bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1936
  • Top speed: 215 mph
  • Crew: 6

25. Martin Maryland

  • Number of aircraft produced: 450
  • Manufacturer: Glenn L Martin Company
  • Type: Light bomber / reconnaissance aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1940
  • Top speed: 316 mph
  • Crew: 3

24. North American A-36 Mustang

  • Number of aircraft produced: 500
  • Manufacturer: North American Aviation
  • Type: Ground attack / dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1943
  • Top speed: 365 mph
  • Crew: 1

23. Brewster SB2A Buccaneer

  • Number of aircraft produced: 771
  • Manufacturer: Brewster Aeronautical
  • Type: Carrierborne scout bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 273 mph
  • Crew: 2

22. Douglas A-24 Banshee

  • Number of aircraft produced: 953
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 250 mph
  • Crew: 2

21. Grumman F8F Bearcat

  • Number of aircraft produced: 1,266
  • Manufacturer: Grumman
  • Type: Carrierborne interceptor aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1945
  • Top speed: 421 mph
  • Crew: 1

20. Martin Baltimore

  • Number of aircraft produced: 1,575
  • Manufacturer: Glenn L Martin Company
  • Type: Light / medium bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 302 mph
  • Crew: 4

19. Lockheed P-80 / F-80 Shooting Star

  • Number of aircraft produced: 1,715
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed
  • Type: Jet-powered fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1945
  • Top speed: 577 mph
  • Crew: 1

18. Vultee A-35 Vengeance

  • Number of aircraft produced: 1,962
  • Manufacturer: Vultee Aircraft
  • Type: Dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 279 mph
  • Crew: 2

17. Boeing B-29 Superfortress

  • Number of aircraft produced: 3,970
  • Manufacturer: Boeing
  • Type: Strategic long-range, high-altitude heavy bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1943
  • Top speed: 358 mph
  • Crew: 10

16. Martin B-26 Marauder

  • Number of aircraft produced: 5,288
  • Manufacturer: Glenn L Martin Company
  • Type: Medium bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 282 mph
  • Crew: 7

15. Douglas SBD Dauntless

  • Number of aircraft produced: 5,936
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Carrierborne dive bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1938
  • Top speed: 255 mph
  • Crew: 2

14. Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

  • Number of aircraft produced: 7,140
  • Manufacturer: Curtiss Aeroplane Company
  • Type: Carrierborne dive bomber / reconnaissance aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1943
  • Top speed: 260 mph
  • Crew: 2

13. Douglas A-20 Havoc / Boston

  • Number of aircraft produced: 7,478
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Light bomber / night fighter aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 339 mph
  • Crew: 3

12. Bell P-39 Airacobra

  • Number of aircraft produced: 9,588
  • Manufacturer: Bell Aircraft
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 386 mph
  • Crew: 1

11. North American B-25 Mitchell

  • Number of aircraft produced: 9,816
  • Manufacturer: North American Aviation
  • Type: Medium bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 272 mph
  • Crew: 5

10. Grumman TBF Avenger

  • Number of aircraft produced: 9,835
  • Manufacturer: General Motors / Grumman
  • Type: Carrierborne torpedo bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1942
  • Top speed: 271 mph
  • Crew: 3

9. Lockheed P-38 Lightning

  • Number of aircraft produced: 9,923
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1939
  • Top speed: 414 mph
  • Crew: 1

8. Grumman F6F Hellcat

  • Number of aircraft produced: 12,272
  • Manufacturer: Grumman
  • Type: Carrierborne fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1943
  • Top speed: 380 mph
  • Crew: 1

7. Vought F4U Corsair

  • Number of aircraft produced: 12,571
  • Manufacturer: Chance Vought / Brewster Aeronautical
  • Type: Carrierborne night fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1942
  • Top speed: 446 mph
  • Crew: 1

6. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

  • Number of aircraft produced: 12,731
  • Manufacturer: Boeing / Douglas / Lockheed Vega
  • Type: Heavy bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1937
  • Top speed: 287 mph
  • Crew: 10

5. Douglas C-47 (Skytrain / Dakota)

  • Number of aircraft produced: 12,748
  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • Type: Medium transport aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1942
  • Top speed: 230 mph
  • Crew: 3

4. North American P-51 Mustang

  • Number of aircraft produced: 15,586
  • Manufacturer: North American Aviation
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1942
  • Top speed: 437 mph
  • Crew: 1

3. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

  • Number of aircraft produced: 15,660
  • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1942
  • Top speed: 433 mph
  • Crew: 1

2. Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

  • Number of aircraft produced: 16,800
  • Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 378 mph
  • Crew: 1

1. Consolidated B-24 Liberator

  • Number of aircraft produced: 18,482
  • Manufacturer: Ford Motor / Consolidated Aircraft / Douglas / North American Aviation
  • Type: Strategic heavy bomber aircraft
  • Year entered service: 1941
  • Top speed: 290 mph
  • Crew: 10

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