The Top Ten Fighters: 1946

The ten best fighters at the end of WW2.



1946 was the zenith of piston-engined fighters. The bloody lessons learnt from the hundreds of thousands of dogfights fought in the War had been carefully noted by designers. This knowledge had been distilled into the creation of a generation of aeroplanes wildly superior to their peers from the recent past, but these perfected killing machines faced fierce competition from immature upstarts with an unfair advantage: the first generation of fighter jets. To make this list, aircraft had to have been in operational service during the year in 1946 – hence no Sea Fury, La-9, Twin Mustang or MiG-9 (likewise, also no Me 262 or Ki-84 for example). 

The order is somewhat arbitrary and cases could be made for aircraft that didn’t make the grade such as the Tigercat and Spitfire F Mk.22. Reality doesn’t confirm to the ‘top ten’ format – and war is not a sport with a league table…

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