Aviation Archive - Flying Boats of WWII

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FRANCE

BREGUET 521 BIZERTE
Evolved from the proven Short Calcutta, the Bizerte was an aging design quickly overtaken by technological advances. However, it still provided valuable reconnaissance and was even ordered by the Luftwaffe

LATÉCOÈRE 521-523
France’s long flying boat legacy has resulted in many innovative aircraft, but the Latécoère 521-523 seaplanes were undoubtedly some of the most impressive

LOIRE 130
Even by flying boat standards, the small Loire could not be considered graceful. Nevertheless it was probably the most widely used of French seaplanes in the war

POTEZ-CAMS 141
Only one of these machines was eventually built, but that did not stop it from flying long range patrols over the Atlantic and from sinking a German U-boat

GERMANY

BLOHM & VOSS BV138
One of the most unconventional designs to appear during World War 2, the BV138 was the Luftwaffe’s main long-range maritime patrol aircraft

BLOHM & VOSS BV222 WIKING
The gargantuan BV222 Wiking (Viking) was remarkable for being one of the very few aircraft of its era with six engines

DORNIER DO 18
Already obsolete when the conflict began, the Dornier was slow and vulnerable, but only a few years earlier it had been a record setting ground breaker

DORNIER DO 24
The Do24 was one of only a few aircraft to serve operationally with both Allied and Axis forces during World War 2

DORNIER DO 26
Regarded by many as the most beautiful flying boat ever built

GREAT BRITAIN

SARO LONDON
The product of another age, the biplane Saro A.27 London was still in service at the outbreak of the conflict

SARO LERWICK
The Lerwick looked the part, but this ‘baby Sunderland’ became an unmitigated failure

SHORT SINGAPORE III
Though hopelessly outdated at the start of the war, the type soldiered on in service and some examples were still flying in 1945 as trainers

SHORT EMPIRE CLASS
When their country called, these graceful commercial flying boats swapped their civilian clothing for a military uniform

SHORT SUNDERLAND
The iconic Sunderland represented perhaps the greatest evolution in flying boat technology and became the most powerful and widely used aircraft of its genre

SUPERMARINE STRANRAER
Not particularly graceful and with a performance to match, the Stranraer was considered obsolete even before World War 2

SUPERMARINE WALRUS
Of all the biplane flying boats to see service in World War 2, the Walrus was by far the most successful

SEA OTTER
The last biplane flying boat to be designed by Supermarine and the last biplane to enter service with the Royal Navy and the RAF

ITALY

CANT Z501 GABBIANO
Once a record-breaker, the CANT Z501 was way past its prime when war broke out and suffered heavy losses as a consequence

JAPAN

KAWANISHI H6K ‘MAVIS’
When Japanese forces launched the Pacific War, only one type of long-range maritime reconnaissance flying boat was in front-line service — the Kawanishi H6K

KAWANISHI H8K ‘Emily’
Of all the long-range maritime-patrol flying-boats used during World War 2, arguably none was better than the big Kawanishi H8K

UNITED STATES

CONSOLIDATED CATALINA
The most-recognisable and famous seaplane in the World, the Catalina was produced in more numbers than all the other flying boats of the war put together

CONSOLIDATED CORONADO
The big-brother of the Catalina did not emulate the success of its illustrious sibling

GRUMMAN GOOSE
The compact little Grumman G-21A was not designed for military service, but its versatility was quickly put to good use

MARTIN MARINER
With its distinctive gull-wing and canted twin tail fins, the Martin Mariner was one of the most recognisable of the twin-engined flying boats of World War 2

MARTIN MARS
The mighty Martin Mars was the largest flying boat ever to be put into production and flown operationally