Warbirds, floats and skis

We’ve mentioned the good folks at Vintage Wings of Canada many times in these pages.  Their latest article is an eye-opener.  ‘Anything But Wheels‘ looks at how floats and skis were fitted to aircraft during the Second World War in an attempt to expand their usefulness in various theaters of combat.  Japan, Germany and the Soviet Union used them in combat, but US and British forces did not develop them that far.

There’s far too much information to condense here, so I’ll simply put up a few photographs (out of dozens in the article) to illustrate what was done.

Germany:  Junkers Ju 52 transport on floats

Germany:  Heinkel He 111 bomber on skis

Japan:  Nakajima A6M2-N fighter on floats (derived from Mitsubishi A6M Zero)

USA:  Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter on skis

USA:  Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive-bomber on floats

Britain:  Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX fighter on floats

There are many more images at the link.  Fascinating stuff for aircraft and military enthusiasts.



  1. That was interesting. My brother is a fan of the Supermarine Spitfire, so I had to send him the pictures of that particular model.

  2. The Spitfire was originally designed from a racing floatplane, which is what Supermarine built before getting the military contract.

    I'd seriously love to have that P-38.

  3. P-38's are tied for my favourite Allied aircraft with 47's and 40's (or P-400 in the CBI- a P-40 with a Zero on it's tail!!)

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