6 Best WW2 Flight Combat Simulators to Play in 2024

Hand-picked for you by a lifelong gamer!


We’ve already made a list of the best flight simulators, but sometimes you just want a more stressful experience, right? Like the thrill of flying a mass of steel through a hail of bullets and artillery fire during World War II.

There’s a lot to love about a good flight combat simulator, and taking it back to WWII really gives it a flair that other eras don’t.

These are the top flight sims exclusively centered around the Second World War. Some aim for realism, while others simply go for the thrill of combat, but each one gives a unique, intense experience that will test your capabilities as an aerial ace.

6. World of Warplanes

World of Warplanes

If you’re just looking to dip your toes into the flight combat genre with a good WWII slant, World of Warplanes is for you. It’s free to play so there’s no entry fee, and when it comes to controls, this one is a cinch to pick up.

The plane variety is limited, but this was World War II after all. Instead, you’ll get the option to choose from seven different countries, fighting in battles across the European and Pacific theaters.

The combat is smooth, and the dogfights can be pretty satisfying once you start getting a handle on the controls. As far as content, though, it’s a little lacking when compared to others.

That’s the typical free-to-play model, though, and this is the best place to just get an intro to WWII flight combat. 

Just know that the multiplayer scene is a little more dead than the others on this list. It’s not a knock on the game itself, because the base is solid. It just never got the updates it needed to keep it in contention with the scene. 

Play on: PC

5. War Thunder

War Thunder

The premiere vehicle combat freemium game, War Thunder holds the spot for a reason. The game features air, land, and sea combat, but we’re sticking to air for this list. The best part about War Thunder is that it isn’t even limited to World War II!

War Thunder takes planes from all over the past hundred years of warfare, allowing you to be everything from old-school choppers to cutting-edge fighter planes. There are dedicated World War II modes, though, putting you in the cockpit of B-50 Bombers and even some machine gun-equipped biplanes.

The combat is always fast, and controls on aircraft are ridiculously tight for a free-to-play game. There are tons of other modes, but the flight combat shines above all others in this case.

It’s pretty easy to level up in War Thunder as well, with money not really necessary to get forward. It’s rare for a free-to-play, but don’t be fooled. There are plenty of opportunities to drain your bank account, but the gameplay is great if you have restraint.

Play on: PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series, Switch

4. IL-2: Sturmovik

IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles

The IL-2 series isn’t only a great flight combat game, but a fantastic flight sim overall. This game goes for realness, simulating the feeling of a steel bird flying through the sky, bullets punching through the hull. 

Being more of a flight sim rather than a solely combat-focused game, you’ll want to come prepared. There’s a decent amount of tutorial to take in, but before all is said and done, you can probably fly a bomber pretty well in real life.

You’ll be flying through some of the major battles of World War II, with a huge map of Stalingrad front and center. The best part is there’s VR integration, and it is pristine when you’re flying through a smoky battlefield avoiding enemy fire.

Be prepared for a grueling flight school, though, because there’s a lot to learn. This game is honestly played best with a flight stick setup but is still fun regardless of when you learn the controls. 

Play on: PC

3. DCS World

DCS World

This game is awesome, provided you never go outside again. Ever. Seriously, DCS is amazingly realistic, covering multiple periods of conflict and technological advances just starting in WWII. Like any other hardcore realism sim though, it takes work to get past the learning curve.

The game is constantly expanding, but the WWII portion is one of the most complete flight combat sims ever. The best part is that most of DCS is free right off the bat, with only add-ons as paid DLC.

The focus on every type of vehicle gives it some of the most insanely realistic battle simulations for World War II, though, planting you in either Theater with stunning accuracy.

You’ll be flying bombing runs over a Naval fleet in some levels or just basic recon, but the possibilities are so stupidly enormous that you’ll never run out of missions to fly.

Even if you get bored of the WWII timeline, hop into being a fighter in one of the numerous other periods. Everything from an attack chopper in Vietnam to a stealth bomber in the Middle East, you’ll be able to blow up everything in any kind of bird.

Play on: PC

2. Wings of Prey

Wings of Prey

The first game made by War Thunder’s dev almost functions as a prototype for the free-to-play giant today. The good thing is, that it’s still available, though, it’s best to find a DRM-free version to play it. Wings of Prey is a solid investment for WWII flight combat fun in an arcade format.

You’ll cover most of World War II in aerial combat but in a full-game format as opposed to the freemium of War Thunder. The plane selection is ridiculous, and it takes a fantastic approach to the physics that gives you plain real weight.

This gave me some serious stress just trying to maneuver correctly in a dogfight, with incredible attention to detail when gunning. You’ll want to make sure to lead your target when firing, taking the wind speed and their movement into account to land hits.

It might not stand up to the more modern realistic sims, but when it comes to a good arcade combat flier, this is it. Wings of Prey has a variety of planes and missions that will keep you playing for hours. 

Play on: PC

1. Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight

Warplanes WW2 Dogfight

Realism? Hell with that. We’re all about fun with this entry, because it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in years with a flight combat game. This is entirely a World War II-based aesthetic though, because the battles will get wildly chaotic instead of staying grounded.

First, you’ll need to build up your base and hangers, invest in research to create your newest planes, and upgrade weaponry. Then, once you’re in the air, take on others in wild dogfights, using your machine guns in coordination with quick maneuvers.

The military sim on top of the flight combat is a really cool idea and hopefully gets a few more copies to widen the field.

Where it shines, though, is mission variety, allowing not just dogfights, but defense missions as well. The gameplay stays fresh, and leveling up while improving your flying skills is just plane (bad pun intended) fun.

If you’re just looking for a game to casually jump in and out of or grind missions on, this is going to be the all-around winner. Warplanes: WW2 Dogfights just shines, reminding me of the old-school arcade flight combat from my childhood.

Play on: PC, Android, iOS, Switch

About Ross Tyson 22 Articles
Ross is a writer, gamer, parent, and tired adult. They’re from the Southeast US, and have been gaming since their first Sega Genesis as a kid. A parent, they often find themselves playing kids games these days, but makes time for plenty of RPGs, Roguelikes, and anything with the Kingdom Hearts name on it. They’re experts in Final Fantasy lore, and will try any anime game no matter how bad it may be.

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