In one of those rambling multi-subject discussions, military guys enjoy having the question arose, “Which was the best US fight plane of WWII?”

I knew my answer would cause an argument and it did.

I’ve answered that question before by qualifying it with, “Best under what definition?”

There are lots of ways to quantify the best US fighter of WWII, including engineering stats like service ceiling, speed, climb and turn rates.  It could also be quantified by the number produced on the reasoning that the U.S. wouldn’t pour men and pilots on a plane that wasn’t very good.  Then there is the supposed trump card of the best fighter in WWII, its air-to-air kill ratio.  This is the one that counts, right?  How many planes did fighter X shoot down versus how many fighter Xs were brought down by the enemy?

I think all of those arguments have merit but they tend to be narrowed to give the crown to the plane a person already thinks is the best anyway.

The United States produced 276,000 aircraft in WWII. 23,ooo were lost in combat and a staggering 15,000 were lost in operational accidents, mostly in the US.  The loss rate from all causes was 13% of the total of all aircraft.  Remember this, it will factor in later on.

I think the best fighter of WWII argument is missing a very important and I think decisive argument that I will make here, but first the contenders for the title.