Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price

Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price

Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price

Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price

Price begins with two chapters dedicated to the Spitfire V itself, looking at its initial development as a stop-gap while the Spitfire III was under development, its adoption as the main version of the Spitfire, and the efforts made to improve it.

He then moves on to look at the active service of the Spitfire V, first over North West Europe in 1941 and then on Malta. These chapters contain a well written narrative history supported by a number of illuminated quotes from the pilots themselves. Tactics of a Malta Ace concentrates on one pilot, Reade F. Tilley, an American who had volunteered to join the RCAF and who spent four months on Malta at the height of the battle. This is a particularly interesting chapter, giving a good insight into the experience of one pilot.

From Malta we move to North Africa, and then finally to Australia, Russia, Sicily, Italy and South East Asia. This is the chapter that most resembles the more standard fight by fight narrative of the Aircraft of the Aces series, partly because the Spitfire V spent less time in those theatres.

Price finishes with biographies of the top twelve Spitfire V aces, allowing us to follow these pilots through their Spitfire V careers in a way that is difficult in the rest of the book.

This is a nicely balanced well illustrated look at the combat career of the Spitfire V and of the men who flew it.

Chapters
Stop-Gap Spitfire Variant
Improving the Breed
In action over North-West Europe
Air Battle for Malta
Tactics of a Malta Ace
North Africa
Spitfire Vs Far and Wide
Top Spitfire Mk V Aces

Details
Author: Dr Alfred Price
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 96
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 1997



AD199

Supermarine Spitfire AD199 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory.
Delivered to No 33 MU 7-9-41, assigned to 71S 19-9-41, transferred to 145S 15-11-41, transferred to 350S 11-2-42, transferred to 403S 17-3-42, FA Cat AC 2-4-42, ROS, assigned to 121S 31-5-42, Vickers Armstrong South Marston 5-11-43 fuel syst mods, assigned to 277S 4-3-44, to Miles Aircraft 17-8-44, Marshalls FS 24-10-45, SOC.


Contents

Kingcome entered the RAF Royal Air Force College Cranwell, Cranwell in 1936. Ώ] At the outbreak of the Second World War, Kingcome was based at Hornchurch Airfield serving with No. 65 Squadron RAF. He took part in the battle of France and the battle of Dunkirk scoring no victories. Α] He was then posted to No. 92 Squadron, RAF Tangmere in May 1940, where he assumed temporary command over No. 92 Squadron after the loss of their Squadron leader Roger Bushell over the skies of Calais on 23 May 1940. Β]

During his time at No. 92 Squadron, Kingcome became acquainted with Geoffrey Wellum. Wellum, who flew as wingman to Flight Lieutenant Brian Kingcome, 92 Squadron’s acting CO (the Squadron lost 2 new COs within days of their arrival and Brian Kingcome led the Squadron temporarily in the absence of a squadron commander) later recorded his experiences in the book First Light. Γ]

Kingcome was acting CO of No. 92 Squadron until Sqn Ldr Johnny Kent a Canadian, arrived. In early 1941, after Kent was transferred, Kingcome received full command . During this time he and his pilots achieved the highest success rate of any squadron in the entire Battle of Britain. Α]

After serving with 92 Squadron, Kingcome was briefly posted as flight commander at No 61 Operational Training Unit in late 1941. In February 1942, he returned to operations as CO of No. 72 Squadron RAF. Α] Almost immediately he was ordered to provide escort cover for the ill-fated Fleet Air Arm Swordfish attack on the German capital ship Gneisenau, the cruiser ship Prinz Eugen and the capital ship Scharnhorst as they sailed through the Channel in an attempt to reach Kiel, Germany during operation Channel Dash.

He then became Wing Leader at Kenley in June 1942, and late in the year posted to the Fighter Leader's School at RAF Charmy Down. In May 1943 he was posted to North Africa to command No. 244 Wing RAF and in September he was promoted to Group Captain at the age of 25. With 244 Wing, Kingcome found himself leading five Spitfire squadrons: No. 92 Squadron RAF, No. 145 Squadron RAF, No. 601 Squadron RAF, No. 417 Squadron RCAF and No. 1 Squadron SAAF during the Italian Campaign.

In October, he attended the RAF Staff College at Haifa. On completion, Kingcome was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer in No. 205 Group, which comprised all of the RAF heavy bomber squadrons in the theatre. In spite of his staff position, Kingcome flew several missions as a waist-gunner in a B-24 Liberator over northern Yugoslavia. Ώ] He remained in Italy after the war as CO of No. 324 Wing, again on fighters. In mid 1946 he returned to the UK and the Staff College for two years.


Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price - History

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Biggin Hill’s 1,000

No. 611 Squadron Leader Edward F.J. Charles chalks up the 1,000th victory for Biggin Hill fighter pilots in his Mk. IX.

With the Battle of Britain won, Biggin Hill was at the forefront of a new RAF Fighter Command strategy.

Leave was out of the question. The tension and realization of what was about to happen was clearly etched on the pilots’ faces. Those left off the duty roster expressed their bitter disappointment as the first weather reports came in. Three hundred pounds sterling was up for grabs, but more important for the pilots stationed at Biggin Hill on the morning of May 15, 1943, the magic number was 1,000.

World War II was a conflict filled with grim numbers and statistics. Like their World War I brethren, fighter pilots measured their skill by how many aircraft they shot down. In May 1943, the fighter squadrons flying out of Biggin Hill Station became the first to shoot down 1,000 enemy aircraft—a remarkable achievement and one that was shared by an international cadre of squadrons from the Commonwealth, Dominion and Free French.

After the Battle of Britain, Royal Air Force Fighter Command began a period of transition. Biggin Hill, which had seen continuous action from the very beginning of the war and grew to fame during the Battle of Britain as part of 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command, was at the forefront of the new strategy. With the threat of invasion over, Fighter Command adopted the wing system, the first two being Biggin Hill and Tangmere. The wing unit was based on the Gruppe system used by the Luftwaffe and was made up of three or four squadrons. In May 1943, two squadrons were flying from Biggin Hill, led by the brilliant and popular South African station commander Adolph Malan. Squadron No. 341 “Alsace” (Free French) was commanded by Commandant René G.O.J. Mouchotte, and No. 611 Squadron by Squadron Leader Edward F.J. “Jack” Charles. While the defense of England remained a high priority, RAF Fighter Command began a massive day offensive against the Luftwaffe based in northern France and the Low Countries.

The years 1941 through 1943 comprised a unique period in military aviation history. Never before had two opposing forces, equipped with the best fighters, shared the same level of experience and deadly expertise. After three years of almost continuous combat sorties, the Channel Front was the most sophisticated and lethal of all the Allied theaters of operations. RAF Fighter Command offensive operations began on June 14, 1941, code-named:

  • Ramrod—attack by bombers (or fighter bombers) escorted by fighters
  • Rodeo—fighter sweep over enemy territory with no bombers
  • Roadstead—attack on enemy ships at sea by bombers or fighter bombers escorted by fighters
  • Rhubarb—small-scale attack by fighters, using cloud cover and surprise, to destroy enemy aircraft in the air and/or strike at ground targets
  • Circus—attack by a small force of bombers with fighter escort, intended to lure enemy fighters into the air to be engaged and destroyed by RAF fighters.

Leading the new strategy were squadrons from Biggin Hill, Tangmere, Kenley, Northolt, Hornchurch and North Weald. Their objective seemed simple: air superiority over northern France. The RAF believed their new assignment would bear fruit quickly due to the German invasion of Russia, which meant Luftwaffe fighter units in the West had been stripped to support the new offensive. Only two Jagdgeschwader, or fighter wings, JG.2 “Richthofen” and JG.26 “Schlageter,” with roughly 240 aircraft, were tasked with the defense of northern France and Belgium, while JG.1 defended the Netherlands and the northern approaches to Germany.

In the months and years to follow, Germany’s other commitments in Russia and the Mediterranean would continually deplete the Luftwaffe’s fighter strength in the west. Although outnumbered, the Germans were equipped with the new Messerschmitt Me-109F-2—the equal of the Spitfire Mk. V. While the RAF was numerically superior, the Germans held the advantage. Fighter sweeps were a nuisance and small formations of bombers a problem, but their tactical effect was minimal. The Germans had the luxury of choosing when to attack, and in fighter versus fighter combat, initiative usually meant victory.

By 1943, fighter versus fighter combat had become a cold science. Strict tactical discipline, the use of radar and the element of surprise were the main ingredients for success. But one day’s success could easily turn into the next day’s disaster. No matter how experienced a pilot became, he always lived in fear of the surprise attack—the dreaded “bounce.” Most pilots who were shot down never saw their attacker. No quarter was given at 25,000 feet, and the Channel Front became a vast graveyard for hundreds of young men.

By August 1941, it was clear that the results of the RAF’s new offensive strategy were extremely disappointing. The limited range of the Spitfire and the growing efficiency of the Luftwaffe resulted in RAF Fighter Command losing far more pilots than the Luftwaffe. RAF figures for the latter half of 1941 admit to the loss of 411 fighters while claiming the destruction of 731 German fighters. The truth was far more discouraging. In fact, the western-based German units had lost just 103 fighters—a victory ratio of 4-to-1. The Biggin Hill Wing, consisting of Nos. 74, 92 and 609 squadrons, fought well throughout the summer offensive, and Wing Cmdr. Malan increased his score to 32 enemy aircraft destroyed.

The offensive that had begun in 1941 with so much hope was scaled back. Regular offensive operations ceased in mid-October 1941, to be replaced by high-level fighter sweeps that lasted throughout the winter. In 1942, the offensive was renewed, but the RAF was shocked by the advent of a new and powerful opponent. Introduced in the summer of 1941, the Focke Wulf Fw-190A was faster than the Spitfire V at most altitudes, and it could out- dive, outclimb and out-roll the Mk. V. When it was flown against a captured Fw-190A-3, the official report stated:

General: The Fw-190 was compared with Spitfire VB from an operational squadron for speed and all-round maneuverability at heights up to 25,000ft. The Fw-190 is superior in speed at all heights, and the approximate differences are as follows:

At 2,000ft (600m) the Fw-190 is 25-30mph (40- 48km/h) faster than the Spitfire VB

At 3,000ft (900m) the Fw-190 is 30-35 mph (48- 56km/h) faster than the Spitfire VB

At 9,000ft (2,700m) the Fw-190 is 25-30mph faster than the Spitfire VB

At 21,000ft (6,400m) the Fw-190 is 20-25mph faster than the Spitfire VB

Climb: The climb of the Fw-190 is superior to that of the Spitfire VB at all heights. The best speeds for climbing are approximately the same, but the angle of the Fw-190 is considerably steeper. Under maximum continuous climbing conditions the climb of the Fw-190 is about 450ft/min (2.28m/sec) better up to 25,000ft (7,600m)

Dive: Comparative dives between the two aircraft have shown that the Fw-190 can leave the Spitfire with ease, particularly during the initial stages.

Maneuverability: The maneuverability of the Fw-190 is better than that of the Spitfire VB except in turning circles, when the Spitfire can quite easily out-turn it. The Fw-190 has better acceleration under all conditions of flight and this must obviously be most useful during combat.

When the Fw-190 was in a turn and was attacked by the Spitfire, the superior rate of roll enabled it to flick into a diving turn in the opposite direction. The pilot of the Spitfire could experience great difficulty following this maneuver, and even when prepared for it, was seldom able to allow the correct deflection. A dive from this maneuver enabled the Fw-190 to draw away from the Spitfire, which was then forced to break off the attack.

The above trials have shown that the Spitfire VB must cruise at high speed when in an area where enemy fighters can be expected. It will then, in addition to lessening the chances of being successfully “bounced,” have a better chance of catching the Fw- 190, particularly if it has the advantage of surprise.

The new offensive proved costly for the RAF. Within weeks the clear superiority of the Fw-190 resulted in heavy losses and forced Fighter Command to restrict its operations to relatively short penetrations. Casualties remained high. In January 1942, Biggin Hill suffered the loss of one wing leader, followed in April by Wing Cmdr. Michael Lister-Robinson, who was killed in combat with II/JG.26 near Le Touquet.

RAF Fighter Command soon introduced an answer to the Fw-190. In August 1942, No. 401, Squadron RCAF received the new Spitfire Mk. IX. In real terms the Mk. IX was an interim version that would serve as a stopgap counter to the Fw-190. Powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engine, incorporating a two-speed twostage supercharger, the Mk. IX was essentially an Mk. V with revised bearers to take the new engine and modified radiators under the wings. In fact the Mk. IX’s airframe was not fully stressed for operations, but such was the urgency that it was accepted on the grounds of operational expediency. In the end the Mk. IX proved the Fw-190A’s equal. Although the numbers were small in the beginning, the Mk. IX went a long way to countering the lethal potency of the current Fw-190A-3s and high altitude Me-109G-1s serving on the Channel Front.

After the introduction of the Spitfire Mk. IX, RAF Fighter Command’s offensive operations received another boost with the arrival of the U.S. Eighth Air Force. The American four-engine Boeing B-17s and Consolidated B-24s brought with them a much-needed heavy punch, but the range problem of the Spitfire loomed as large as ever. In spite of the use of 30 imperial gallon (136 liter) external tanks, the fighter cover available to the American bombers extended only as far as the Brussels Lille-Beavais-Rouen line. Past that line, the Americans were on their own. Autumn of 1942 saw the Biggin Hill Wing engaged in “Rodeos” and in numerous escort and support roles for the Eighth Air Force.

By the winter of 1942, German military fortunes were beginning to crumble. In particular, the Luftwaffe was stretched to the limit by commitments in Russia and the Mediterranean. The depletion of theLuftwaffe in the west, just as Eighth Air Force operations began in earnest, was ill-timed. In November 1942, four Staffeln (squadrons) of JG.2 were sent to Tunisia, while JG.26 was forced to dispatch two Staffeln to the Soviet Union in January 1943.

In May 1943, Luftflotte 3 was responsible for the air defense of France and Belgium. Against RAF Fighter Command’s 100 squadrons and the growing Eighth Air Force, the Germans could muster 280 Me-109G-4s and G-6s and Fw-190A-4s (of which 75 percent were serviceable). While it was small, Luftflotte 3 was a formidable force. The pilots of JG.2 and JG.26 had a considerable nucleus of veterans who had seen more than three years of combat (German pilots did not have tours of duty they flew until disabled or killed). Their expertise would serve them well. Their skill matched by an excellent and efficient ground control system, these hardened pilots usually fought when the initiative was in their hands. The result was heavy casualties for the Allies and few for the Germans.

The Biggin Hill Wing had suffered many losses at the hands of the pilots from JG.26 and in particular from II/JG.26, at that point commanded by Captain Wilhelm-Ferdinand “Wutz” Galland, brother of the famed Adolf Galland, general of fighters. On February 5, 1943, Fw-190 fighter-bombers attacked Hailsham. A section of No. 611 Squadron caught the fleeing Fw-190s over the Channel but was bounced by escorting Focke Wulfs of II/JG.26. The squadron’s popular commanding officer, Squadron Leader Hugo T. Armstrong, was killed by Heinz Gomann. Eight days later in a vicious rear-guard action over Le Touquet, 30 Fw-190s of Galland’s Gruppe descended on the wing, and Commandant J. H. Schloesing of the French No. 340 Squadron “Ile de France” was shot down. A month later, on March 14, Galland’s Fw-190s shot down Biggin Hill’s Wing Cmdr. Richard M. Milne (who was taken prisoner by a German patrol vessel), Commandant E. Reilhac of No. 340 Squadron and Wing Cmdr. J.H. Slater, without suffering any loss.

After that combat, No. 340 Squadron was pulled from the line and replaced by No. 341 “Alsace” Squadron. While this was happening No. 611 Squadron was reequipped with the new Spitfire Mk. IX powered by the Merlin 66 engine, producing 1,560 hp. The Biggin Hill Wing also received a new wing leader. After completing his ground tour in No. 13 Group, Wing Cmdr. Alan Deere was given command of the Biggin Hill squadrons.

Deere approached his new posting with determination and energy. This was his chance to implement his theories on wing tactics, the realization of a long-standing ambition. While Deere was responsible for the routes and timing when leading his wing, he also wanted his squadrons and sections to show a new bold initiative. He wanted a more flexible form of attack. The masscontrolled wing tactics tried during the Battle of Britain were replaced by a more fluid formation that still maintained the mutual support and discipline needed for success. One of his new initiatives was the speed and role of the escort fighter. Whenever the wing was engaged in the escort role, the speed of his Spitfires was not to be tied to that of the bombers. While it was reassuring for bomber crews to see fighters flying alongside them, they were next to useless when attacked by enemy fighters. Those were just a few of the tactics implemented by Deere.

With Deere’s posting to Biggin Hill, 17 more “kills” were needed to reach the total of 1,000 destroyed by pilots operating from the station. For a country staggered by defeats since 1939, that milestone was eagerly awaited by the British. In April the score stood at 990. On May 4, 1943, 79 B-17s bombed the Matford works at Antwerp. In support, the Biggin Hill Wing flew as second fighter cover. Over Walcheren Wing Cmdr. Deere shot down an Fw-190 from JG.26, bringing the wing’s total to 995. On May 14, the wing was in action again, this time targeting III/JG.26’s home base at Courtrai-Wevelghem. Serving as third fighter cover, the Biggin Hill Wing shot down two Fw-190s and one Me-109, bringing the score to 998.

On May 15, the weather over northern France was ideal for flying operations. Circus 297 had been well planned and was solely aimed at generating Luftwaffe fighter reaction. Circus 297 came in two parts, to be operated simultaneously. Biggin Hill was pegged for part I as fighter echelon, in which six North American B-25 Mitchells of No. 2 Group were to bomb the airfield at Caen-Carpiquet. Four Spitfire wings were assigned to provide escort and support. The way things were shaping up, the prospect of combat with elements of JG.2 seemed highly likely. The second part of Circus 297 consisted of an attack on Poix airfield, where more than 40 Me-109s had recently been spotted. Twelve Douglas Bostons were assigned to the target, to be covered by five Spitfire wings.

At 1621 hours, Spitfire IXs of Nos. 341 and 611 squadrons prepared for takeoff. Wing Commander Deere and Group Captain Malan pushed their throttles forward. Bouncing across the uneven turf of Biggin Hill, the first of 26 Spitfires clawed for air and rose into the warm afternoon sky. Hugging the ground at treetop level, the wing crossed Shoreham-by-Sea and dropped even lower, well below the electronic eyes of the German Freya radar. At 1641 hours, hidden by haze over the Channel, Deere increased power and pulled the wing into a steep climb. Now it was clear that the element of surprise had been lost. The crackle of enemy radio interference announced their presence. No. 11 Group controllers broke radio silence: “Enemy fighters gaining height…20 plus climbing towards Rouen and a further 15 plus orbiting Lisieux.”

Throttling back to maximum continuous cruise, the Biggin Hill Wing leveled off at 21,000 feet over Trouville, on the French coast. From there they headed south to their turning point over the small town of Bonnebosq. Inside their cramped cockpits, the tension grew. Alertness was the key to survival. Pilots constantly scanned the skies, checking every possible patch. Above No. 611 Squadron, No. 341 Alsace spread out into tactical fours. Final checks were made. Weapons were cocked and ready, and gunsights were turned on and adjusted for combat. Over Bonnebosq the first shouts, warnings and curses of combat could clearly be heard. The first attack came when nine Fw-190s of I/JG.2 attacked the Northholt Wing (Nos. 315 and 316 squadrons), which was flying high cover for a group of Mitchells bombing over Carpiquet. Just after bomb release the Mitchells went into a tight turn. So sudden was the course change that several of the escorting Spitfires were thrown off balance. Out of position and behind their charges, the escorting Spitfires tried to catch up. Seizing the moment, the Germans attacked from above. With engines at full throttle, the stubby-winged Focke Wulfs dived on their prey at over 450 mph.

The Polish wing was the first to fall victim. The Focke Wulfs tore through its formations, and the German leader, Captain Erich Rudorffer, swiftly dispatched two Spitfires from No. 315 Squadron. Trailing black smoke, they cartwheeled toward the patchwork quilt of farm fields below, killing Sergeant Piotr Lewandowski and Group Captain Stefan Pawlikowski—the latter a former volunteer Spad pilot with the French in World War I and a founding father of the Polish fighter force.

For the Biggin Hill Wing, some 15 miles southeast of Caen, the chances of combat seemed remote. In the distance the pilots could only watch as pyramids of flak filled the sky, and the glint and splash of sunlight from the frantically turning Fw-190s and Spitfires flashed across the sky far away. But it was not over. From below the Biggin Hill Wing two Fw-190s appeared, climbing hard from out of the haze. Leveling off at 18,000, the two I/JG.2 Richthofen pilots accelerated toward the retreating Mitchells over Caen. Their eyes fixed on the larger prize, the two Fw-190 pilots never saw the gaggle of Spitfires high above, hidden in the blinding afternoon sun— but the Biggin Hill fliers saw the Germans.

Seconds later, Deere’s laconic orders crackled over the radio, and the final act was set in motion. Yellow Section of No. 611 Squadron was ideally placed for an attack. Led by Squadron Leader Charles, Yellow Section halfrolled into a plummeting dive. Just as 611 Squadron went down, Commandant Mouchotte of No. 341 Squadron, flying at 25,000 feet, swung into a tight 180-degree turn. The move was designed to catch any Focke Wulfs that might have been split up by No. 611’s attack. The tactic worked. Just as his turn was completed, Mouchotte spotted a lone Fw-190 flying on a westerly course 4,000 feet below him. (The two incidents happened so quickly that it has never been confirmed who shot down the 1,000th.) As Charles closed on his pair of Fw-190s, Mouchotte was seconds away from his victim. Opening fire from line astern and closing from 250 to 50 yards, Charles poured cannon shells and machine gun bullets into the second Fw-190. His four-second burst produced strikes on the wings and length of the doomed Fw-190. As he flashed past the stricken Focke Wulf, he opened fire on the leader. Swinging into a tight righthand turn, the German pilot tried to escape but was met by a hail of cannon shells that exploded in his wing. Charles then broke left, and as he turned he saw a single parachute near where the first combat had taken place. Yellow 3’s leader, Flight Lt. John M. Checketts, was able to confirm both kills by Charles. The second aircraft dived straight into the ground, carrying to his death 1st Lt. Horst Hannig, commander of the 2nd Staffel of JG.2 and victor over 98 Allied aircraft.

While Charles was upping his score, Mouchotte opened fire. From 250 yards several strikes were seen on the cockpit and wing roots of his Fw-190. Suddenly the Fw-190 went vertical and exploded in midair. Then it was over.

Fighter Command claimed four destroyed Fw-190s and one damaged for the loss of two Spitfires. On the Luftwaffe side, JG.1 claimed six victories and lost four pilots that day. The Caen mission was a success, and that night the accolades and congratulations began to pour in. The prize money was shared by Jack Charles and René Mouchotte. A big party was held at the Hyde Park Hotel, and the wing asked to be stood down on the following day. That request was denied. At 1035 the next morning the Biggin Hill Wing provided top cover to No. 2 Group’s Lockheed Venturas on Ramrod 66 to Morlaix.

There would be no reprieve for the young pilots flying from Biggin Hill. To have done so would only have provided the Germans a chance to rest, and in May 1943 that was not an option.

The victories and experience gained by the Spitfire pilots flying from southern England during the years 1941 to 1943 would serve the RAF well. D-Day and the final victory in Europe would see the complete domination of the air by the Allies. This was in large part due to the young men who flew day in, day out during some of the darkest days of the war.

Donald Nijboer, from Toronto, Canada, is the author of Cockpit—An Illustrated History of World War II Aircraft Interiors and Gunner—An Illustrated History of World War II Aircraft Turrets and Gun Positions. Further reading: Focke Wulf Fw-190 Aces of the Western Front, by John Weal and Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45 and Late Marque Spitfire Aces 1942-45, both by Alfred Price.

Originally published in the March 2006 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.


Units

No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

Squadron
'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted.

People

Chesley Peterson

Military | Major General | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 4th Fighter Group
Whilst serving with No. 71 Eagle Squadron, he was promoted to Flt Lt - the first American in the Eagle Squadrons to be promoted above the enlisted rank of Pilot Officer. .

Places

Kirton-in-Lindsey

Military site : airfield
Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars.

Martlesham Heath

Military site : airfield
Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield.


Destruction of 3 Libyan Ju 86Ps & F.O. Reynolds

Three Ju 86Ps flying at 40,000 ft were shot down over the Mediterranean by a Spitfire, piloted by Flying Officer Reynolds who was detailed to intercept a high-flying JU 86P.

The Mk IX Spitfire is said to have been “adapted,” though what this term implied was not determined at that time. One fact was that the aircraft in question was not fitted with a pressure cabin and further, the pilot did not wear the recognised high-flying suit. Chasing the enemy to nearly 50,000 ft. Flying Officer Reynolds managed to engage and destroy his quarry although he suffered terribly from the effects of the high altitude.

For this gallant exploit he was awarded the D.F.C.

Who was F.O. Reynolds and did he survive.

Which Squadron did he and his Spitfire belong.

What was the “adaption” that was made to his Spitfire.

Why was he detailed to intercept the Ju 86Ps knowing that the aircraft was not equipped with a pressurised cabin and the pilot was not wearing a high-flying suit.

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By: MrBlueSky - 20th January 2010 at 00:29 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

Hmmm… According to 145 Squadron history

Early August, 1942, Idku, a rest period for the squadron, this was short lived, with continued actions, and on one period an attempt to intercept the high flying JU 86Ps, a Spitfire was stripped down, intercepted one at 40,000ft, but unfortunately the guns froze…

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By: Creaking Door - 20th January 2010 at 00:39 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

Surely these three Ju86P were not all brought-down in the same engagement?

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By: Creaking Door - 20th January 2010 at 01:10 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

“. had been lightened in almost every possible way. A lighter wooden propeller. all of the armour had been removed as had the four machine-guns, leaving an armament of only two 20mm Hispano cannons. painted in a special lightweight finish. all equipment not strictly necessary for high-altitude combat was removed.”

The aircraft was 450 pounds lighter than the standard Spitfire IX but no cabin pressurisation was fitted.

On 12th September 1942 Pilot Officer Emanuel Galitzine intercepted and damaged a Ju86R (with a single hit by a 20mm round) above the Solent at over 43,000 feet in the highest air-combat of World War Two.

From ‘Skies of Fire’ by Dr Alfred Price.

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By: Dan Johnson - 20th January 2010 at 05:42 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

The MTO Spits in question were modified Spitfire Vbs that were given 4 blade props and lightened as much as possible to the point they had a single 50 cal in each wing, pointed wing tips, no radios, lightened fuel etc. Three of the Spits modified were BR114, BP985, BR234.

They apparently downed 2 Ju86P and lost one Spit in the process.

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By: DazDaMan - 20th January 2010 at 13:20 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

Not sure how the Spitfire in question was adapted but to counter high-flying Ju86R bombers operating over Britain in August 1942 the Special Service Flight operated out of Northolt using Spitfire IX which, according to Pilot Officer Emanuel Galitzine:

“. had been lightened in almost every possible way. A lighter wooden propeller. all of the armour had been removed as had the four machine-guns, leaving an armament of only two 20mm Hispano cannons. painted in a special lightweight finish. all equipment not strictly necessary for high-altitude combat was removed.”

The aircraft was 450 pounds lighter than the standard Spitfire IX but no cabin pressurisation was fitted.

On 12th September 1942 Pilot Officer Emanuel Galitzine intercepted and damaged a Ju86R (with a single hit by a 20mm round) above the Solent at over 43,000 feet in the highest air-combat of World War Two.

From ‘Skies of Fire’ by Dr Alfred Price.

There's a picture of the singular damage kicking about somewhere - the shell passed straight through the Junkers' port(?) wing. Only one hit, but I think this more or less proved that the Ju86 WAS vulnerable, even at high altitude.

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By: Creaking Door - 20th January 2010 at 13:35 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

No doubt about it, that single (AP?) cannon shell finished the whole high-altitude bombing (and possibly reconnaissance) effort with the Ju86 over Britain, without the Luftwaffe actually losing an aircraft.

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By: UDF - 20th January 2010 at 14:10 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

From Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45 ( pages 63-66 ) :

The pilots were from 103 MU Aboukir

29 August 1942 : PO Georges Genders intercept a Ju86P, only a short burst fired due to guns jamming, no claims but the JU86P ditched.

6 September 1942 : PO Georges Genders intercept a Ju-86P damaging it, the descending Ju is then attacked by PO A. Gold, claimed as damaged but the JU-86P was lost when crash-landed Genders ran out of fuel and bailed out over the sea and swam ashore after 21 hours in the water.

24 August 1942 : FO G. Reynolds ( this one was given destroyed by some )

10 September 1942 : FO G. Reynolds

15 September 1942 : PO A. Gold

Genders Georges Eric Clifford RAF 754713

26 June 1942 : 1/2 Ju86P damaged
27 June 1942 : 1/2 Ju86P damaged
6 September 1942 : 1/2 Ju86P

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By: Creaking Door - 20th January 2010 at 14:52 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

The first Ju86R bombing missions were flown over Britain by two aircraft on 24th August 1924 and the last Ju86R operation seems to have been the interception at 43,000 feet on 12th September 1942.

So between 26th June and 15th September 1942 there were a least seven interceptions leading to the loss of two, and the damaging of at least three, high-altitude Ju86.

I had thought that the Luftwaffe had given-up with the Ju86 very quickly over Britain but it seems the decision to stop using it was based on more widespread interception (of the relatively few operations flown).

I'd always assumed the Mediterranean operations came later in a ‘safer’ theatre.

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By: RPSmith - 20th January 2010 at 18:41 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

Pierre Closterman in "The Big Show" describes an action over Scapa Flow on 21st February, 1944. He and Ian Blair were scrambled in their "strato-Spit VIIs" to intercept what they thought would be "one of the new Junkers 86 P's?". They got to 43,000ft about 1000ft above their quarry that turned out to be a "Messerschmitt 109 G equipped with two fat auxilliary tanks under the wings" The three aircraft went into a high-speed dive and Blair managed a short burst and the 109 exploded.

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By: DazDaMan - 20th January 2010 at 18:57 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

Pierre Closterman in "The Big Show" describes an action over Scapa Flow on 21st February, 1944. He and Ian Blair were scrambled in their "strato-Spit VIIs" to intercept what they thought would be "one of the new Junkers 86 P's?". They got to 43,000ft about 1000ft above their quarry that turned out to be a "Messerschmitt 109 G equipped with two fat auxilliary tanks under the wings" The three aircraft went into a high-speed dive and Blair managed a short burst and the 109 exploded.

Roger Smith.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Closterman actually wasn't present in that engagement, despite it being in the book. :confused:

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Reach For The Sky - The Story of Douglass Bader C.B.E, D.S.O, D.F.C (Abridged) by Paul Brickhill
Published by Collins, Second Impression, February 1957

The Big Show - Some Experiences Of A French Fighter Pilot in the R.A.F by Pierre Clostermann, D.F.C
Published by Chatton & Windus (London), Third Impression, May 1951

Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939-1941 by Alfred Price
Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series, No. 12
Published by Osprey [UK], 1996

Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45 by Alfred Price
Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series, No. 16
Published by Osprey [UK], 1997


Supermarine Spitfire

Speed Spitfire - speciální rychlostní verze postavená pro získání rychlostního rekordu.

Spitfire Mk.I
Mk.I - první sériové letouny s dvoulistou vrtulí
Mk.IA - motor Merlin II nebo III, výzbroj 8 kulometů Browning ráže 7,7 mm, postaveno 1566 ks
Mk.IB - motor Merlin III, výzbroj 2x kanón ráže 20 mm, později výzbroj upravena na 2x kanón a 4 kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, postavena malá série
PR Mk.IA - průzkumné verze vycházející z verze Mk.I.

Spitfire Mk.II
Mk.IIA - motor Merlin XII, výzbroj 8x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, postaveno 751 ks
Mk.IIB - motor Merlin XII, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4 kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 170 ks
Mk.IIC (ASR Mk.II) - 49 ks upravených k záchranným úkolům
LR Mk.II - asi 60 kusů bylo upraveno instalací pevné přídavné nádrže pod křídlo upraveno na dálkový stíhací letoun
PR Mk.II - od roku 1941 označení pro Spitfire PR Type B

Spitfire Mk.III
Mk.III - prototyp s motorem Merlin XX, pro nedostatek motorů nestavěna verze sériově, 1 ks
PR Mk.III - od roku 1941 označení pro Spitfire PR Type C

Spitfire Mk.IV
Mk.IV - prototyp verze s novým motorem Griffon IIB, 2 ks, později přeznačeny na Spitfire Mk.XX
PR Mk.IV - motor Merlin 45 nebo 46, průzkumná verze, 229 ks, označení použito též pro Spitfire PR Type D

Spitfire Mk.V
F Mk.VA - motor Merlin 45, výzbroj 8 kulometů Browning ráže 7,7 mm, 94 ks
F Mk.VB - motor Merlin 45, 46,50, 50A, 55 či 56, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 3923 ks
F Mk.VC - motor Merlin 45, 46,50, 50A, 55 či 56, univerzální křídlo pro výzbroj: 8x kulomet, 2x kanón a 4x kulomet, 4x kanón, 2477 ks
LF Mk.VB / C - motor Merlin 45M, 50M a 55M, motory měly nejvyšší výkon v malých výškách, některé stroje měly zkrácené rozpětí
PR Mk.V - od roku 1941 označení pro Spitfire PR. Type E

Spitfire Mk.VI
HF Mk.VI - motor Merlin 47, prodloužené rozpětí, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 97 ks
PR Mk.VI - od roku 1941 označení pro Spitfire PR. Type F

Spitfire Mk.VII
HF Mk.VII - motor Merlin 64, prodloužené rozpětí, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 141 ks
PR MK.VII - od roku 1941 označení pro Spitfire PR. Type G

Spitfire Mk.VIII
F Mk.VIII - motor Merlin 61, motor optimalizován pro střední výšky, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, celkem 1658 ks verze MK.VIII
LF Mk.VIII - motor Merlin 66, motor optimalizován pro malé výšky – některé stroje měly zkrácené rozpětí, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm
HF Mk.VIII - motor Merlin 70, motor optimalizován pro veké výšky - prodloužené rozpětí, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 160 ks

Spitfire Mk.IX
Mk.IX - první sériová verze, motor Merlin 61
Protože u verze začalo být používáno několik verzí motorů Merlin, bylo potřeba je od sebe nějak odlišit, od roku 1943 začalo být používáno označení:
F Mk.IXC (neoficiálně Mk.IXA) - motor Merlin 61 a 63, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm (křídlo "C"), motory optimalizovány pro výšku 8500 m
LF MK.IXC (neoficiálně Mk.IXB) - motor Merlin 66, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm (křídlo "C"), motory optimalizovány pro výšku 6700 m
HF Mk.IXC - motor Merlin 70, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm (křídlo „C“), motor optimalizován pro velkou výšku
F/LF/HF Mk.IXE - odpovídající předchozím verzím, nové křídlo typu E s výzbrojí 2x kanón ráže 20 mm a 2x kulomet ráže 12,7 mm, celkem postaveno 5710 ks verze Mk.IX

FR Mk.IX - několik strojů upravených pro stíhací-průzkumné úkoly přidáním kamer za kabinu pilota

T Mk.IX/TR.9 - několik kusů verze Mk.IX bylo přestavěno na dvoumístnou, cvičnou variantu

Spitfire Mk.X
PR Mk.X - motor Merlin 77, průzkumná verze, 16 ks

Spitfire Mk.XI
PR Mk.XI - motory Merlin 61,63, 63A a 70, průzkumná verze vycházejícíc z Mk.IX

Spitfire Mk.XII
F Mk.XII - motor Griffon III nebo IV, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4 kulomet ráže 7,7 mm (křídlo "C"), většina letounů měla zkrácené rozpětí, 101 ks

Spitfire Mk.XIII
PR Mk.XIII - motor Merlin 32, výzbroj 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, 26 ks přestavěných z verzí hlavně Mk.II a V

Spitfire Mk.XIV
F Mk.XIVC/E - motor Griffon 65 a 85, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm (křídlo "C") nebo 2x kanón ráže 20 mm a 2x kulomet ráže 12,7 mm (křídlo "E"), některé letouny měli zkrácené rozpětí
FR Mk.XIV - stíhací-průzkumná verze, výzbroj zachována, přidány fotografické kamery do trupu.
Letouny posledních výrobních sérií měly snížený trup a kapkovitý překryt kabiny pilota, celkem postaveno 957 ks.

Spitfire Mk.XVI
Mk.XVIC a LF Mk.XVIE - motor Packard Merlin 266,optimalizovaný pro malé a střední výšky, křídlo typu "C" nebo "E", 1055 ks
Stroje s pozdější výroby měly snížený trup a kapkovitý překryt kabiny pilota.

Spitfire Mk.XVIII
F Mk.XVIII - motor Griffon 65, upravená konstrukce křídla (typ "E"), celkem 300 ks
FR MK.XVIII - stíhací-průzkumná verze

Spitfire Mk.XIX
PR Mk.XIX - motor Griffon 65 a 66, průzkumná verze, 225 ks

Spitfire Mk.XX
Mk.XX - přeznačení prototypů Mk.IV, zkoušeny s různými motory

Spitfire Mk.XXI
F Mk.XXI - motor Griffon 61, upravené křídlo i trup, výzbroj 4x kanón ráže 20 mm, 122 ks

Spitfire Mk.22
F Mk.22 - motor Griffon 61 nebo 64, shodné s Mk.XXI – kapkovitý překryt kabiny, 278 ks

Spitfire Mk.24
F Mk.24 - motor Griffon 64, kapkovitá kabina, 27 ks + 27 ks přestavěno z verze Mk.22

Celkem postaveno 20 351 (podle wikipedie.org) Spitfirů všech verzí.


Prameny:
Berger, Pavel - Svoboda, Zdeněk: Stíhací letouny Spitfire s motorem Griffon, Naše vojsko, Praha 1994
Kolesa, Václav - Vraj, Mojmír: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V, Zlínek, Zlín 1997
Hurt, Zdeněk: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I-II, Naše vojsko, Praha 1993
Price, Alfred: Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1839-41, Osprey Pub., Oxford 2005
Price, Alfred: Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45, Osprey Pub., Oxford 1998
Price, Alfred: Late Marque Spitfire Aces 1942-45, Osprey Pub., Oxford 2000
Price, Alfred: Supermarine Spitfire, Monografie 1. část, Intermodel, Hostomice 1998
Price, Alfred: The Spitfire Story, Casell Book, London 2002
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire

Vývoj Spitfirů po verzi Mk.IX

Dne 5. března 1936 vzlétl z továrního letiště firmy Supermarine v Eastleighu ke svému prvnímu letu prototyp stíhacího dolnoplošníku, zkonstruovaný podle specifikací britského ministerstva letectví (Air Ministry), pod označením F37/34. Poháněl jej řadový dvanáctiválec do V Rolls-Royce Merlin C. Letoun progresivních aerodynamických tvarů, pojmenovaný Spitfire, byl dílem předního konstruktéra Supermarinu Reginalda J. Mitchella, z jehož prkna vzešly v průběhu dvacátých a třicátých let vynikající závodní hydroplány S-4, S-5 a S-6. Prototyp Spitfiru dosáhl při zkušebních letech slibných výsledků. Během jednoho takového letu dosáhl ve výšce 5260 m rychlosti 558 km/h. Po zakončených zkouškách přikročil Supermarine k sériové výrobě Spitfirů označených Mk.I, na základě objednávky Air Ministry.

Výroba celokovového letounu, skládajícího se z množství složitě tvarovaných součástí, zaostávala objemem za produkcí stíhaček Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, výrobně jednodušších, krytých z větší části ještě plátnem. Následující válečné události prověřily skutečné kvality letounů, zejména v průběhu bitvy o Británii, kdy jim byly soupeřem ze strany německého letectva Messerschmitty Bf 109 E, poháněné motory Daimler-Benz DB 601A s přímým vstřikováním paliva do válců. Merliny II a III použité ve Spitfirech Mk.I byly v tomto směru v nevýhodě.

V červnu 1940 začala výroba novější verze Spitfiru Mk.II s Merlinem XII. Dosahovala sice větší rychlosti (asi o 25 km/h), výrazněji se však neprosadila. Spitfire Mk.II vlastně představoval přechodový typ a ve výzbroji stíhacích útvarů RAF působil poměrně krátce. Počátkem roku 1941 přišla do výzbroje RAF nová, rychlejší, výkonnější a konečně i nejrozšířenější verze letounu Spitfire Mk.V. Původní provizorní produkce letounů spočívala v zabudování motorů Merlin 45 do draků Spitfirů Mk.I a Mk.II. Vyšší rychlost, dostup a zachovaná vysoká manévrovací schopnost byly základem úspěšnosti Spitfiru Mk.V. Obvyklou křídelní výzbroj tvořily u verze Mk.V dva kanóny ráže 20 mm a čtyři kulomety Browning ráže 7,7 mm (Spitfire Mk.VB). V roce 1942 následovaly Spitfiry Mk.VC s univerzálním křídlem, které umožňovalo instalaci různých druhů výzbroje: osmi kulometů ráže 7,7 mm, 2 kanónů a čtyř kulometů nebo čtyř kanónů, po dvou v každém polovině křídla. Ze všech Spitfirů bylo verze Mk.V vyrobeno nejvíce - 6494. Stroje se vyráběli až do konce války a prošly několika úpravami. Nejvýznamnější spočívala v instalaci motorů Merlin 45M, 50M a 55M s nejvyšším výkonem v malých výškách. Právě s nimi přistoupila RAF k rozsáhlým denním útočným operacím nad územím okupovaným nacisty. Především v letech 1942 a 1943 nesly Spitfiry Mk.V největší tíhu operační aktivity stíhacího letectva. Byly též prvními stíhacími spitfirky nasazenými na bojištích v Africe, na Maltě, Austrálii a v Barmě.

Rok 1941 přinesl na západní frontě pro RAF závažný problém. V září totiž nacisté začali vyzbrojovat své útvary na západní frontě novými stroji - Focke-Wulfy Fw 190 A-1, jež převyšovaly Spitfiry Mk.V rychlostí (téměř o 40 km/h) ve všech hladinách. I při stoupavém a střemhlavém letu měly značnou převahu. Němečtí letci s nimi střemhlavě napadali letecké formace RAF a vzhledem větší rychlosti úspěšně unikali.

Situaci mohl nyní zachránit pouze příchod výkonnějšího motoru, zabudovaného ve stíhacím letounu osvědčeného typu. Vývoj takového motoru probíhal již od roku 1941 u firmy Rolls-Royce a sliboval výkony požadované úrovně. R.R. Merlin RM6SM, označený později jako Merlin 60, byl vlastně první motor této řady opatřený dvoustupňovým a dvourychlostním kompresorem s jehož pomocí dosahoval stejnoměrně vysokého výkonu i ve výškách nad 10 000 m. Ačkoliv měl sloužit k pohonu výškového Spitfiru Mk.VII, ocitl se nakonec ve výškových bombardérech Wellington Mk.VI. Na základě "šedesátky" však vznikla modifikace pro stíhací letouny, označená Merlin 61. V říjnu 1941 poháněl prototyp zmíněného motoru Spitfire Mk.III N3267 a při testovacích letech s ním letoun dosáhl pozoruhodných výkonů. Ve výšce 8940 m dosáhl maximální rychlosti 662 km/h a jeho dostup činil 13 740 m. Dosažené výsledky vedly jak k zahájení výroby Merlinů 61, tak i k realizaci sériové produkce Spitfirů, pro které byl motor určen. V zájmu urychlení vývojových prací odeslal Supermarine počátkem roku 1942 sériové Spitfiry Mk.VC čísel AB196 a AB197 do výzkumného střediska Rolls-Royce v Hucknallu. Zde letounům vyztužily trupové podélníky a zamontovali Merliny 61, pohánějící již čtyřlisté vrtule Rotol.Pod každou polovinou křídla měly stroje připojen stejně velký obdélníkový chladič. Z takto vzniklé kombinace vyšel nový Spitfire Mk.IX. Letouny procházely důkladnými zkouškami a získané poznatky vedly k zásahům do připravované sériové výroby, která započala v březnu 1942. Bylo rozhodnuto, že pro počáteční výrobu Spitfirů Mk.IX poslouží draky Spitfirů Mk.V s vyztuženou konstrukcí trupu, adaptovanou pro Merlin 61. Toto provizorní opatření je v souladu se vznikem Spitfiru Mk.V. Také u něho byly použity trupy předchozích verzí.

Pro Merlin 61 probíhal současně vývoj výškové stíhačky Spitfire Mk.VII a její klasické stíhací verze Spitfiru Mk.VIII. Oba typy měly odlišně konstruovaný trup, což opožďovalo jejich zavedení do výzbroje.

Dne 26. dubna 1942 předali motoráři z Hucknalu do výzkumného střediska RAF v Duxfordu prototyp Spitfiru Mk.IX AB505, opatřený křídlem typu C. Testy ukázaly, že nový typ je mnohem lepší a svými výkony předčí téměř ve všech směrech Spitfire Mk.V, zejména ve výškách nad 6500 m. Spitfire IX dosahoval mnohem větších rychlostí a ve stoupavém letu byl výjimečně dobrý. Manévrovými schopnostmi se do 9850 m Spitfiru Mk.V vyrovnal a nad touto výškou svého předchůdce zcela předčil. Při letu ve výšce 12 500 m dosáhl stroj rychlosti 588 km/h a zachovával si přitom bojové kvality. Zkoušky Spitfiru AB505 pokračovaly v červenci 1942 porovnávacími testy s ukořistěným Fw 190 A a vyzněly ve prospěch britského letounu.

Nezávisle na těchto zkouškách již první Spitfiry opouštěly výrobní linky jako konverze Spitfirů Mk.V. Jde především o letouny výrobní série AB, BR, BS a EN. Jako první přebírá v červnu 1942 Spitfiry Mk.IX 64. squadrona operující ze základny Honchurch. V červenci je dostává 611. squadrona a v srpnu 401. spolu s 402. kanadskou squadronou. Produkce od července úspěšně stoupala. Výrobce předal RAF v srpnu 38 a v září již 58 strojů. Celkem dodaly závody 280 Spitfirů Mk.IX, konvertovaných ze Spitfirů Mk.VB a Mk.VC. Ještě koncem roku 1942 začaly docházet ke stíhacím squadronám RAF ryzí Spitfiry Mk.IX, vycházející z nově vybudovaných výrobních linek, s řadou malých skrytých odchylek. V červnu 1943 došlo k zastavení výroby "devítek" v závodě Vickers-Armstrong Supermarine ve Woolstonu, kde postavili 561 strojů. Produkce běžela v té době již naplno v nové továrně Vickersu v Castle Bromwichi a dosáhla celkového počtu 5104 letounů.

Další vývojové práce na tomto typu měly za úkol dát stíhacímu letectvu stroj rozmanitého bojového použití tak, jak to již naznačily některé úpravy Spitfirů Mk.V. Do letounu se začaly montovat také další verze motoru Merlin a to 63 a 66. Protože vyvstala potřeba odlišit od sebe Spitfiry používající různé motory došlo od roku 1943 k jejich oficiálnímů značení:
F Mk.IXC (neoficiálně Mk.IXA) - motor Merlin 61 a 63, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, motory optimalizovány pro výšku 8500 m
LF MK.IXC (neoficiálně Mk.IXB) - motor Merlin 66, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, motory optimalizovány pro výšku 6700 m
HF Mk.IXC - motor Merlin 70, výzbroj 2x kanón a 4x kulomet ráže 7,7 mm, nově vyráběná verze s motorem optimalizovaným pro velkou výšku.

Anglické zkratky znamenají: F (Fighter) - klasická stíhací varianta, LF (Low-Altitude Fighter) - stíhačka určená pro malé a střední výšky, HF (High-Altitude Fighter) - Stíhačka pro činnost ve velkých výškách. Neoficiálné označení Mk.IXA a B je možno nalézt v záznamech jednotek před rokem 1943, které tak od sebe odlišovali stroje s různými motory.

Označení letounů uzavíralo uvedení použitého křídla, značené písmenem. U Spitfirů Mk.IX bylo používáno univerzální křídlo C, které umožňovalo instalaci výzbroje jako tomu bylo u křídla C verze Mk.V, používala se ale jen kombinace 2 kanónů a 4 kulometů.

Na počátku roku 1944 se objevilo nové křídlo typ E. Křídlo typu E doznalo vůči svým předchůdcům řady změn. Tou nejzávažnější bylo upuštění od strnule prosazovaných malorážních kulometů ráže 7,7 s malým dostřelem a jejich nahrazení 12,7 mm kulometem Browning. Křídlo E mělo standardně dva velkorážní kulomety Browning spolu s dvěma 20 mm kanóny. K jeho vybavení patřily i dva pumové závěsníky, z nichž každý mohl nést po 226 kg pumě. Křidélka byla již celokovová.


PAINTING

This spitfire had the standard desert camouflage pattern of Dark Earth and Mid Stone over Azure Blue (Ref. 2).

The decals were a bit disappointing as they were a bit fragile and did not want to conform to some of the trickier areas. This caused the unit codes to crack over the slight wing root step. Also, the individual aircraft code, "Q", and the score board came in two parts. Both the white and black components of the "Q" disintegrated when placed on the kit and had to be painstakingly reassembled. Some silvering occurred, particularly with the serials, and remains visible in the right light. Kit national markings and wing walk way stencilling were used.

The kit was finished with my standard application of exhaust and gun stains, airbrushed with a mix of "smoke", greys and browns, and general grime using artists burnt umber water colours, applied by finger. Pictures show the Mk. V to be particularly dirty under the fuselage. I added paint chips with brushes as well as using a toothpick around the cockpit and engine cover screws. I'm not sure if I like the paint wear on the propeller and I may redo that.


Watch the video: Spitfire Mk V The Fuselage