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War Thunder Planes

War Thunder Planes: A Guide



Fans of military games with online combat love War Thunder. The 2013 release from Gaijin Entertainment has gained a huge fan base since it launched. Over the years, it has added plenty of new content to expand the gameplay options. However, air combat was the basis of the original game and remains much-loved today. War Thunder planes are painstakingly recreated from historical documents and models, giving players a unique opportunity to experience combat from various wars.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the key elements of War Thunder planes. We’ll start with the basics of how they work, as well as cover the main factions’ aircraft.

War Thunder Planes: The Basics

War Thunder’s air battles are fun, engaging, and often hectic. Like the Ground Forces game involving tanks, the controls are fairly straightforward. However, the game’s aircraft are a lot faster and mobile, making combat exciting and fast-paced. Early on in your experience, you’re better off getting used to how the planes handle rather than performing insane manoeuvres.

Here are some of the essentials you should know about how air combat works in the game:

  • There are five types of battles in the game. The most popular for beginners is Air Arcade, as this gives you freedom to fly your planes and perform stunts without consequence. You also have unlimited ammo. Air Realistic has more punishing physics; extreme moves can make your aircraft tear itself apart, and your ammo is limited. Air Simulation follows the same rules but is in first person. Assault Air Arcade is a co-op mode against the game’s AI. There are also Events and Tournaments.

  • There are around 25 different types of aircraft in the game. Although this seems like a lot, these can easily be broken down into three main categories - Fighter, Bomber, and Attacker/Strike Fighter.

  • Fighters are the most common plane in War Thunder. They’re ideal for aerial dogfights against other fighters. They’re fast, turn quickly, and have guns for the pilot to use.

  • Bombers are game-winning planes. When the goal is to destroy enemy locations, you’ll need the huge explosive payloads in order to cause sufficient damage. However, they’re slow, take ages to turn, and have no weapons for the pilot.

  • Attacker/Strike Fighters are either single or twin-engine aircraft that can take out ground units with ease. They’re a mid-point between fighters and bombers.

  • Crew. As the game is accurate, you’ll need crew members to man certain posts on bigger aircraft. You can assign them to planes, and they’ll gain points as you fly said plane.

War Thunder Faction Planes

Now that we know a little bit about how the planes operate and the basic types you have, it’s time to start exploring how each of the game’s factions compare. You’ll find that each has their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth choosing one that matches your playstyle. Try experimenting with a few to expand their tech tree and see which planes you like:


War Thunder German Planes

Germany has a broad range of aircraft on offer, making them a competitive force in the game. Here’s the lowdown on each of the main categories:

  • Fighters. The German fighter planes have some of the best weapons in this class. You can easily pick apart other fighters with War Thunder’s German planes. In terms of manoeuvrability, they’re also some of the best, making them agile in the air. They’re pretty quick to climb and descend and have fairly good durability.

  • Bombers. German bombers are quite an easy target, meaning that they’ll need an escort in most situations. Although their guns are quite powerful, not many bombers have turrets and those that do have poor visibility. They’ve a pretty good payload, and durability is OK. However, with one engine down they’re as good as dead.

  • Attackers/Strike Fighters. The selection is quite limited for Germany, and those they do have are mediocre on the whole. Some have pretty decent guns and OK durability, but they tend to wallow in the air a bit.

Overall, the German offering is quite strong on many fronts. They’re quite well-armoured and are versatile enough to make them a popular choice among fans. They also look pretty great.


War Thunder American Planes

The American planes are overall a strong selection with a few flaws. They have a good range of aircraft to choose from.

  • Fighters. Perhaps the fastest fighters in the game belong to America. However, this speed is let down by the fact their hard to manoeuvre in the air. They’re good for diving and firing but fairly ineffective in dogfights. Pretty much every other fighter will be able to out-turn you.

  • Bombers. War Thunder’s American planes feature some of the best bombers you can choose from. They have powerful payloads, plenty of turrets, great armour, and few blind spots. They’re a popular choice in the game thanks to this deadly combination.

  • Attackers/Strike Fighters. Again, the Americans have some excellent planes in this class. They mix fast aircraft with powerful weapons and make easy work of the game’s ground forces.

Many players choose American aircraft due to their versatility in battle. Although they’re not great in dogfights, they’re strong in just about every other category.

War Thunder British Planes

Overall, the British aircraft are a pretty strong selection. They excel in some areas and are moderate in others, as we can see below:

  • Fighters. The British fighters are probably the best of the War Thunder British planes. They’re incredibly fast and can out-turn just about any other fighter in the game. The only let down is that they’re not very well armoured and have quite weak guns. You have to make your manoeuvrability count.

  • Bombers. Despite their slow speed and slightly cumbersome nature, British bombers are actually quite good. They carry powerful payloads, can climb quickly and are quite strong in the air. They’re well equipped with turrets but do have some blind spots.

  • Attackers/Strike Fighters. These planes are also quite good. They don’t excel in any one area but are competent in all. They don’t have the most powerful weapons but should be able to take out a few ground units.

Traditionally, the British have had a strong air fleet, and this is reflected in the game. They’re a popular choice among many.


War Thunder Japanese Planes

The selection of Japanese aircraft isn’t as broad as with other nations, but there are still some good picks in there.

  • Fighters. You can see the similarity between the Japanese and British fighter planes. They’re quick and nimble yet suffer from next to no armour. A great pick for dogfights.

  • Bombers. There’s not much to cheer about for the Japanese bombers. Although durable, they’re let down by a weak payload, slow turn time, and ineffective turrets. They’re not very effective at destroying bases.

  • Attackers/Strike Fighters. There’s effectively only one Japanese attack plane, making it a poor choice if this is what you’re looking for.

War Thunder Russian Planes

The Russian offering is quite strong in War Thunder. They have a good selection across the board, making them worth considering.

  • Fighters. Although not the best at dogfights, War Thunder’s Russian planes are good at high-altitude battles and taking down bombers thanks to their powerful guns. They’re also quite strong, so they can take a lot of damage (relatively).

  • Bombers. Again, there’s a lot to like about bombers from Russia. They have fairly strong weapons and payloads, and some even have weapons for the pilot, adding an extra dimension.

  • Attackers/Strike Fighters. Here you’ll find a good selection of aircraft that you can use. They’re good all-rounders.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered the very basics of War Thunder’s planes. However, there’s far more to the game than what we could write about here. The best way to get familiar with the game is to play with many different units and see what works for you. Arcade mode is a really good way of getting to grips with things as it’s much more forgiving than other modes. Once you’re more experienced with the mechanics, you can jump into Realistic and Simulator modes. Check out a War Thunder aircraft list to see further details about each plane.


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