The Last Surviving WW2 Heavy Bombers

YouTube / Mark Felton Productions

In this video, we take a brief look at the surviving WWII heavy bombers. In this list of eight heavy bomber types that are still surviving in 2023, two of them come from Axis nations. 

8. Boeing B-17

Starting with the most numerous of the lot, we start with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. 12,731 were built between 1936 and 1945 with the last retiring from Brazilian service in 1967.

Still, 45 B-17s exist with four still deemed airworthy. 

7. Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Another US classic, there were 3,970 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses built between 1943 and 1946. 

Today, there are 22 that still exist with two of its examples still airworthy.

6. Avro Lancaster

The Lancaster was a British icon. Britain and Canada built a total of 7,377 Lancasters in total, with the last leaving service in 1964. 

Presently, 17 remain in existence with two of them considered airworthy, two more in a taxable condition with one of them in the UK hoping to return to flight over the next couple of years. 

5. Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Another American classic,18,482 of these bombers were produced between 1940 and 1945. 

In 2023, 13 Liberators are surviving, two still airworthy.

4. Heinkel He III

The fourth is the first of the Axis bombers to actually make it on our list- the Heinkel He III. The Germans built 6,508 of these heavy bombers between 1935 and 1944. 

In the present time, there are only five 111s still existing, and none of the planes are considered airworthy. 

3. Avro Lincoln

The plane is a less-known British successor to the Lancaster, and it first flew in 1944, becoming fully operational in the last month of the war in August 1945. 604 were built, serving the RAF until 1963 with Argentina being the last operator of the type in 1967. 

Today, there are only four survivors that still exist with none flying. 

2. Handley Page Halifax

6,176 were built equipping the RAF, Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Free French Air Force. The last Halifax was eventually retired by the Pakistani Air Force in 1961. 

In 2023, only three Halifaxes still exist, none of them in airworthy condition. 

1. Savoia Marchetti SM.82 Marsupiale

This is the rare surviving WWII-era heavy bomber. 727 were built between 1939 and 1944 and were used mainly by the wartime Italian Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, and later the Italian Social Republic Air Force and later by the post-war Italian Air Force. The last of these planes were retired after 1960. 

Just one SM.82 exists today, a static exhibit at the Italian Air Force Museum.