World War II witnessed the deployment of a wide array of deadly weapons that left an indelible mark on the course of the conflict. From the devastating power of the atomic bomb to the strategic capabilities of the B-29 bomber, these weapons reshaped warfare and significantly impacted the outcome of the war. Here is the list of the Top 10 Deadliest Weapons in World War II.
1. Atomic bomb
In July 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb exploded in the western desert of the United States. On the morning of August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, razing Hiroshima to the ground and killing about 80,000 people. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, killing another 70,000 people. Under the powerful deterrence of nuclear weapons, on August 15, Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced an unconditional surrender.
2. B-29 bomber
In the middle of the night on June 15, 1944, 68 U.S. B-29 “Super Air Fortress” heavy bombers quietly flew over the Japanese island of Kyushu and dropped the first bombs on the Yawata Steel Plant, which had provided a large amount of steel for the Japanese army. The prelude to the U.S. military’s strategic bombing of Japan.
The B-29 is huge in size and weighs 60 tons. It can carry 4 tons of bombs for 5,600 kilometers at a speed of more than 560 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 10,000 meters, with a maximum bomb load of 10 tons. On the night of March 9, 1945, the B-29 famously bombed Tokyo, causing heavy casualties.
3. “Essex” class aircraft carrier
The “Essex” class aircraft carrier was a significant ship constructed by the U.S. Navy during World War II. It played a crucial role in the war against Japan and achieved remarkable success. With a design displacement of 27,000 tons and a full-load displacement of approximately 32,000 tons, these aircraft carriers relied on carrier-based aircraft as their primary combat force. Despite facing attacks from torpedoes, bombs, and Japanese “Kamikaze” suicide planes, none of the 144 ships in this class were sunk during the later stages of World War II.
In 1938, the United Kingdom began utilizing the radar technology developed by Watson-Watt to create the world’s earliest air defense radar early warning network. By September 1939, when World War II commenced, the UK had established a radar network called the “Home Chain.” This network consisted of 20 ground radar stations located along the east coast. During the subsequent “Battle of Britain” against large-scale air raids by Nazi Germany the following summer, the UK successfully defended itself with approximately 900 fighter jets.
The “Home Chain” radar network provided crucial early warnings, granting the UK around 20 minutes of advance notice each time the Germans launched air raids. This valuable time allowed the UK to counter the relentless assaults from over 2,600 German aircraft effectively.
The Spitfire was the mainstay of the Royal Air Force throughout World War II. It was the first British fighter to feature an all-metal stress skin and hydraulically actuated retractable landing gear. The Spitfire uses eight 7.7mm machine guns as its main weapon. In the Battle of Britain, the RAF fighters fought against their rivals, ultimately defeating the Luftwaffe’s attempt to seize air supremacy over the Strait and southern England.
6. V-2 rocket
In March 1926, Robert Goddard, the father of American rockets, successfully tested the world’s first liquid rocket. This failed to attract the attention of the US government but was highly regarded in Germany. In June 1944, after continuous technical improvement, rocket expert von Braun presided over the completion of the design and production of the world-famous V-2 rocket.
The V-2 rocket is a single-stage liquid rocket with a total length of 14 meters, a maximum range of 320 kilometers and a flight time of 320 seconds. During the war, V-2 rockets crossed the English Channel and bombed Britain thousands of times, including 1,050 for London alone.
7. 88mm anti-aircraft gun
The 88mm anti-aircraft gun was designed by the world-renowned artillery manufacturer Krupp in the late 1920s. In May 1940, the German 7th Tank Division, commanded by Rommel, advanced from Belgium to Dunkirk at high speed and encountered a counterattack from a British army on the way. The German 37mm anti-tank guns were helpless in the face of British heavy tanks. At a critical moment, an anti-aircraft artillery company’s 88mm anti-aircraft gun lowered the muzzle. It opened fire on the British army, destroying 9 British tanks in the blink of an eye and forcing them to retreat.
8. “Katyusha” rocket launcher
The rocket launcher used by the Soviet Union for the first time in World War II was dubbed “Katyusha” by officers and soldiers. Compared with traditional artillery, this kind of artillery has unique characteristics: when the shell is fired, it shoots back bright flames and makes a piercing whistle, the firing speed is extremely fast, and the firepower is extremely powerful. Eighty shells were poured into the German positions, causing the Germans to panic and suffer heavy losses.
September 5, 1942. The Soviet Red Army launched a massive counterattack against the Germans in Stalingrad. The counterattack started with fierce artillery preparations, and the “Katyusha” became the “star” among the many artillery pieces, causing heavy casualties to the German army.
9. T-34 medium tank
The T-34 was arguably the best tank of World War II. The high-power special diesel engine created a precedent for the “dieselization” of the tank power plant; the large-caliber tank gun made “the tank the best anti-tank weapon“; the good comprehensive protection made the medium tank become mainstream in World War II. The T-34 first fought in Grodno, Belarus, on June 22, 1941. In the following series of battles, the German army could not find a tank that could compete with it, eliminating a large number of German tanks and forcing them to launch newer tanks to cope with the situation.
10. “Zero” carrier-based fighter
The “Zero” carrier-based fighter was Japan’s main fighter in World War II. The aircraft is light, flexible, and powerful in firepower. In the early days of World War II, its performance greatly surpassed that of the Allied fighter jets. It was like a devil wandering over the vast Pacific Ocean and the vast East Asian continent, ruling most of the Pacific Ocean. The reason for this name is that the year 1939, when the aircraft first flew, was 2600 years in Japan.