World War II Printable Planes and the Battle of Britain

In 1940 a few young men fought in a desperate air battle above the fields and cities of their homes and over the English Channel to keep evil from their shores.  Below, we share with you a set of nine World War II printable planes and the story of the Battle of Britain.

World War II printable planes

Why We’re Giving World War II Planes Away Free

As I sit typing this it is the day before Memorial Day in the U.S.  Of course this reminds me, as it ought, of those who have given everything so that I could have so much.

As it happens I have also been working on Layers of Learning Unit 4-11, of which the history section is all about World War II. This exploration that I share here is from that unit and was going to only be offered in that unit, but I thought passing the stories of what we owe to those who have come before ought to be available to a wider audience than just those who buy our curriculum.  So this one, I’m sharing here.

The Story of the Battle of Britain

After the Germans overran the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, the only opponent left in the west was Britain. Italy and Spain were allied with Germany. In the east Russia was feebly resisting, and everywhere else was Nazi occupied. The Germans wanted to cross the channel with their troops and tanks, but before they could do it they had to destroy Britain’s air power. They began an air war, bombing air fields, factories, and ports. The British responded by sending up their ill prepared RAF fighter planes.

Air Warden in Britain
This is an air warden from England watching the skies, ready to sound the alarm.

The War Turns Dirty

Hitler specifically told his bombers to focus only on military targets, but one night a bomber got confused and dropped a bomb on a civilian part of London. England was outraged and Germany, seeing she was in for it anyway, began to indiscriminately bomb the cities.
The RAF had been more skillful and persistent than the Germans could have imagined. Britain churned out 300 new planes every week and sent up barely trained new pilots who might last one or, if they were lucky, two or three flights before going down.

German Bomber over dockyards
This is a photo of a German bomber over the Surrey docks, a civilian target. This photo was used as propaganda by the British government during the war.

The British Hold Out

The attacks started in July of 1940 and by October it was clear the British could not be subdued and would never surrender. The Battle of Britain was won and the Germans would never invade though they would bomb England throughout the war.

Pilot in front of his Hurricane during Battle of Britain
This is a pilot and a member of the ground crew standing in front of a Hurricane, the most common of the British fighter planes. This pilot is actually Czech. Pilots from all over Europe, the U.S., and Canada came to Britain to add their manpower.

The Debt

Winston Churchill summed up the importance of the battle and the sacrifice of the young men who went knowingly to their deaths to protect their homeland and families, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Listen to Churchill’s whole speech:

The British airmen who fought in that battle have ever since been referred to as “The Few”. If they had not stepped up Britain would have fallen. All of Europe would have been divided between the totalitarian Germans and the totalitarian Russians. The United States would not have been able to do anything about it.

Without those “few” the entire face of the world would be different today.  Anyone who loves freedom, prosperity, and peace owes an uncountable debt to those who fought in those early days.

World War II Printable Planes

At the end of this unit you will find World War II printable planes to color and craft. They will work best if printed onto heavy paper.  To get the planes click on the text link above or on the image of the printable just below.

World War II printable planes

The planes have a gray dotted line between the left and right halves. Fold along this line, cut out around the plane, intricately or loosely as you desire. Cut out the wings (or fold them up if attached to the body) and the tail and insert through the body of the plane. Attach a string to the top to “fly” the plane or hang it if you like.

A Little About the Planes

The first four planes, the Hawker Hurricane, Heinkel bomber, Messerschmitt fighter, and Spitfire, fought in the Battle of Britain. The Germans used the Heinkel He 111 bomber throughout the war. They supported their bombers with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane. The British responded mostly with Hawker Hurricanes and a few Spitfires.

Hawker Hurricane
This is the Hurricane, the most heavily used British fighter during the Battle of Britain. Photo by Kogo, GFDL license, Wikimedia.

Besides these planes used in the Battle of Britain we included several other planes from the USA and Japan that fought extensively during the war. Interested kids will like reading more about these planes and how they fought.  Look up each one.

Library List

Seek these movies and books out at your library to learn more about the Battle of Britain and World War II.  Click on the covers to see the descriptions and customer reviews at Amazon.  If you purchase we do get a small sales commission, which does not affect your price.

Additional Layers

  • At  the opening of World War II no one thought there was any way to defend against the newly developed bomber airplanes.  No one except Hugh Dowding anyway.  Read more about him and how he convinced the British to fight back and prepare.  If any one man can be credited with saving the free world it is him.

    Hugh Dowding with some of “the few”. Note that women did not fly in combat but they served in intelligence, in relaying messages, as secretaries in the war office, as telephone and telegraph operators, in factories building planes and munitions, and as pilots ferrying the newly built planes to the air fields.
  • Though this battle occured more than a year out from when the Americans joined the war effort, most of the rest of Britain’s former colonies, commonwealth states at the time, entered the war immediately upon Britain declaring war.  Find out the role of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia in the war.

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