VE Day Special — MHN Salutes the Warbirds of Europe (Photo Gallery)

The restored B-24 "Witchcraft" is the only airworthy J-model Liberator that's still flying. It belongs to the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Kai Hansen)

The restored B-24 “Witchcraft” is the world’s only airworthy J-model Liberator. It belongs to the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts. (Copyright Kai Hansen)

IN HONOUR OF the 70th anniversary of VE Day, MilitaryHistoryNow.com invited warbird photographer Kai Hansen to share a few of his favourite images of some of the legendary aircraft of the Second World War. A seven-year veteran of Danish air force, Hansen has had a life-long fascination with aviation. We are pleased to share his work here. Enjoy!

 

Unsung Hero

A Hawker Hurricane as it would have looked during the Battle of Britain. (Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

While the Supermarine Spitfire is remembered as the plane that won the Battle of Britain, it was the Hawker Hurricane that was the RAF Fighter Command’s true workhorse  of those desperate days of 1940. Quickly rendered obsolete, subsequent variants of the aircraft would see action in North Africa and the Pacific where it would excel in the ground attack role.

 

Butcher Bird

The Focke Wulfe FW-190 "Butcher Bird".  (Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

Heavier and more robust than the illustrious Messerschmitt Bf-109, the Focke Wulfe FW-190 was equally capable as either a fighter or a light bomber. More than 20,000 were manufactured between 1941 and 1945.

 

American Icons

A  P-47 Thunderbolt with a B-17 Flying Fortress. (Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

A Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (“Tarheel Hal” pictured here) with Boeing’s legendary B-17, Flying Fortress bringing up the rear (dubbed “Thunderbird“). Both are from the Lone Star Flight Museum of Galveston, Texas.

 

Ugly Duckling

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

Slow, awkward and entirely inelegant, Germany’s Fieseler Fi 156 Storch or “Stork” was an all-purpose utility plane. The aircraft first took to the skies in 1937 and continued to serve in a number of European air forces long after the Second World War. Capable of taking off and landing in extremely tight spaces, it proved to be a highly effective bush-plane.

 

Triple Threat

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

Two North American P-51D Mustangs, “Double Trouble Two” (top) and “February” (bottom) and the Lockheed P-38 LightingSkidoo” (middle).

 

Bewitched!

DSC07886

The Collings Foundation‘s own Consolidated B-24 Liberator, “Witchcraft” along with a Betty Grable lookalike, Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

Fast Mover

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

A U.S.-built replica Messerschmitt Me 262 dubbed “White 1”. Everett, Washington’s Storm Birds Me-262 Project manufactures two-seat facsimiles of the notorious Nazi jet. This model belongs to the Collings Foundation. The group reportedly offers flight training in the plane for $4,500 an hour.

 

Iron Annie

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

Germany’s Junkers Ju-52 began in the 1930s as a civilian airliner. With the outbreak of war, the three-engined transport was pressed into service with the Luftwaffe where it hauled men and materials. Some even served as impromptu bombers.

 

The Mighty Spit

DSC08598

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

No other plane symbolizes the RAF in World War Two like the Supermarine Spitfire. The Mk. XVI Spit pictured here is painted in the markings of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s legendary 421 Squadron.

 

BONUS

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

(Copyright Kai Hansen)

While not a major contributor to the Allied victory in Europe, we couldn’t resist adding this shot of the Vought F4U Corsair. The iconic carrier-based fighter was ruled the skies of the Pacific War.

 


Kai Hansen.

Kai Hansen.

Kai Hansen is a self-described aviation enthusiast who has been been involved in aviation photography since 1960s. To see more of his work, see more of his work at worldairphotography.com.

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