The Spitfire family- (Too many of them to count here)

%22WW2+Spitfire+and+Hurricane+Aircraft+from+BBMF%22+by+Defence+Images+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-NC-ND+2.0

Source: Crown Copyright

“WW2 Spitfire and Hurricane Aircraft from BBMF” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

During WW2, many countries were making new designs (or improving the existing design) so that they fight off other countries’ war machines. Tanks, warships, infantries, and fighter aircraft. Indeed, many countries have their own style when it come aircraft. US have the Mustang and the Hellcat, USSR have the IL-2 and the I-15, Germany have the BF-109s and the Junker Ju 85 (or the Stukas), and Great Britain have the Hawker Hurricane and the- Supermarine Spitfire. Fun fact: The guy who design the spitfire, R. J. Mitchell, dose not even have a college education!

History

Like I said before, the father of the Spitfire, R. J. Mitchell, does not have a college education. He started working, as a apprentice, in a Locomotive company called the Kerr Stuart & Co. after he finished high school. During his time at the factory, he self-taught himself using books, asking those who were smarter him, and common senses and logics. Pretty soon he is rising from been a lowly little apprentice to a big-brain engineer, and he was later hired to the British aviation company Supermarine. At the same time, it’s the 1920s, WW1 have just ended, major countries that were in the “Great War” realized how outdated and old their war machines are during the war. So, these countries were going mad replacing their equipment. Also, one of the major changes were the introduction of monoplanes (planes with one pair of wings). Before, countries like US and UK were using biplanes, planes with two pairs of wings (Germany went even farther, using triplanes, which is planes with 3 pairs of wings). Britain quickly pulled all of their biplanes out of service, and now they in need of a monoplane that can fly at the speed of 250 mph. So, the Royal Air Force contacted R. J. Mitchell to produce a monoplane fighter. R. J. Mitchell then produce the Type 224*, which a very traditional (for the time) type of fighter. The Type 224 a open-cockpit, fixed-undercarriage (another word saying that the Type 224’s landing wheels can’t fold up, good thing about it is that the pilot would have a easy time landing, bad thing about it is that the landing wheels will reducing the plane’s speed) fighter with gull-wings*. It is armed with four 7.7 mm machine guns. It didn’t really saw a lot of service because that when the Type 224’s first production model come out, it’s 1934 already. All of other countries have produced better designs, and so the Type 224 were rejected from service. Mitchell and his design team did not give up, though. They then started again from scratch, using the seaplanes winners of the Schneider Trophy as the basic design. And then produced what they called the Type 300. This is the the first model of the the Spitfire that we all know and loved.

Stats

Because there is so much different type of the Spitfire (24 different variants, not counting the sub-variants and the naval version, the Seafire), I’m just going to used the Spitfire Mk. V (or 5), the most successful and the most famous type, just for this post.

Length: 29 feet and 11 inches (9.12 meters)

Height: 11 feet and 5 inches (3.48 meters)

Width (from wingtip to wingtip): 36 feet and 10 inches (11.23 meters)

Weight (when fully loaded): 6,525 pounds (3,071 kilograms)

Speed (full): 371 mph (597km/h)

Range (full): 248 miles

ceiling: 35,000 feet (10,668 meters)

Armaments: four 7.7 mm machine guns and four 20mm Hispano cannons, plus two 250 pounds (or one 500 pounds) bombs.

Combat records

For those of you that have watched movies like Dunkirk or played games like War Thunder. You might know that if there is a Spitfire, there is going to be a BF-109 around. Yes, the Spitfire is very famous for it’s actions during the Battle of Britain against a whole tidal waves of BF-109s (and other German aircrafts). For those of you that didn’t know the Battle of Britain, I will briefly summed it up. During the 1940s, Nazi Germany conquered (and whipped) most of Europe, including France, and the last thing on their European shopping list is Great Britain. Because Great Britain is on a island, the German Army can’t just marched in on foot. And so, the German High Command comes up with a plan: they would first whip UK with bombs, once they have pretty much destroyed the key targets like London (capital of UK), Army HQ, and airfields. They would then sent in the troops by boats. So Germany were constantly sending over bombers like Heinkel He 111, Junker Ju 88, and Dornier Do 17. And they used their mass-produced BF-109s as escorts. But the Germans have underestimated UK (if you did pay attention to your 7th History class), for the UK have a trap card, the radar (which is a device that sent out sound waves over and over again. When those sound waves hit something, they bounced back. Which the device will detect, and use how long it takes for the sound waves bounced back to calculate if there is something around and how far is it.). Once the British High Command have detected the German bomber groups, they would then direct the citizens to underground bunkers and then sent out squadrons of Spitfire to fight off the bomber group.

Spitfire vs. BF-109

Like I mentioned before, the Spitfire and the BF-109 were almost inseparable. For both of them kicked each other’s butt during the entire war, not just the Battle of Britain.

Armaments:

Spitfire: four 7.7 mm machine guns, four 20mm Hispano cannon, BF-109: four 7.62mm machine guns, one 20mm cannon

Range:

Spitfire: 248 miles, BF-109: 355 miles

Speed:

Spitfire: 371 mph, BF-109: 370 mph

Spitfire vs. the P-51 Mustang

Both of them were the trap cards for the US and the UK, But the Spitfire have more powerful armaments.

Armaments:

Spitfire: four 7.7 mm machine guns, four 20mm Hispano cannon, Mustang: six 12.5mm machine guns

Range:

Spitfire: 248 miles, Mustang: 999.8 miles

Speed: 371 mph, Mustang: 437 mph

Spitfire vs. Fw-190

Later in the war, Germany introduced the Fw-190

Aftermath

Like I mentioned several time before, many, MANY, iconic designs and types were instantly retired or pulled out from service. But the British still hang on to the Spitfire way longer than other WW2-era fighter. They hang on to it until 1952, where the jet fighter age were in full swing. But many of them survive as museum pieces in many air museums around the world have (at least) 1 Spitfire within their inventory, which is a pretty good thing. Among them, the oldest one is a Mk. I called K9942. This one lived in the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford located in Shropshire. When the many movies, like Dunkirk, that featured the Battle of Britain, the production team often used real Spitfires, neither from museums or from private owners, to make the scenes. After this, there is a sudden waves of people wanting to restore the Spitfires. Pretty soon, many models of the Spitfire were found all over the world, they were then taken back to UK, and be repaired. The mechanics try to save as much things on those (ruined) Spitfire as possible, so that it could be as original as possible. But there is sometime where some parts was too damaged/rotten to be re-used. So, these parts was then replaced with a modern version. Today, many Spitfire were successfully restore back to there former glory (without their weapons, though). Many of them (also including other British fighter aircrafts like the Hawker Hurricane) flies in air shows. Crowds of British people, both young and old, all cheered when formations of the Spitfire fly across sky. A sight which many old WW2 British airmen would cry with, all that were missing from the near-perfect reenactment of these Spitfires is some BF-109s.

Related Stories

https://www.museumofflight.org/aircraft/supermarine-spitfire-mkix

https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196284/supermarine-spitfire-mk-vc/

https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/supermarine-spitfire-hf-mk-viic/nasm_A19600331000

*https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fimg.carters.com.au%2F762ff68ca5aa3d123e0ab807549df5ce.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.carters.com.au%2Findex.cfm%2Fitem%2F265145-supermarine-type-224-the-forerunner-of-the-spitfire-dating-from%2F&tbnid=oMei4JBh3khNDM&vet=12ahUKEwjDi5nLsLTsAhXKi-AKHTv_DGIQMygKegUIARCqAQ..i&docid=ngElkjrNKnWqKM&w=578&h=229&q=type%20224&safe=active&ved=2ahUKEwjDi5nLsLTsAhXKi-AKHTv_DGIQMygKegUIARCqAQ

the link above is a picture for the Type 224.