SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

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SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:51 pm

The defence of the homeland during the Battle of Britain was dominated by the partnership between RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes, both single seat monoplanes carrying four pairs of wing mounted Browning machine guns- that were only a few months apart in terms of entering service.

The Hurricane was a robust aircraft and a stable gun platform, well able to absorb a huge amount of battle damage that would have downed the Spitfire or its German adversary the Me109. It was designed by Sir Sydney Camm and was the latest in the long line of Hawker aircraft all characterised by their rugged, workmanlike construction. It outnumbered the Spitfire roughly two to one during the Battle and is credited with shooting down 656 enemy fighters and bombers against 529 for Spitfires.

For its time it was an extremely advanced aircraft – a metal and fabric-skinned monoplane with retractable undercarriage, enclosed cockpit and eight gun armament. The first Hurricanes entered service in December 1937 and by the time of “Aldertag” in August 1940, the day when Goering threw everything he had at the RAF, its airfields and radar stations, 28 of the 55 fighter squadrons were equipped with the Hurricane.

The Spitfire, built by Reginald J Mitchell, was also the last word in a long line of development at Supermarine, but from a different design approach. Its classic elliptical wing was the result of speed trials in the 30’s resulting in the company winning outright the Schneider Trophy in their S6B racer in 1931. During that time light alloys were designed to reduce weight, aerodynamic qualities were built in alongside more powerful engines that were fed with special fuels. The result was a quantum leap in the development of monoplane aircraft design and engine technology which was shared by both aircraft-the Spitfire edging the Hurrican for top speed ie. +30mph
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:41 pm

Use link to show Order of Battle ,Groups,Squadrons and types of aircraft used in the Battle of Britain 1940

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Fighte ... ter_Groups
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:06 am

The Spitfire is tops for glamour and romance but it was the Hurricane that was the real No1 fighter plane in the Battle of Britain.In 1940 anyone who flew wanted to be a Spitfire pilot - it was sexier. And the legend went worldwide.Even the Germans talked it up as a better plane. Captured Luftwaffe pilots would lie about what had shot them down, always claiming it was a Spitfire so the star quality would rub off on them.

But in truth the more numerous Hawker Hurricane did Hitler more damage.This is not widely realised, as a result of the approach of a wartime government trying its utmost to boost morale.Officials who showed journalists technological advances in the war effort took them to factories building the Supermarine Spitfire, so the public knew much more about the plane.Thanks to this, a myth of superiority grew up about the Spitfire in playgrounds, workplaces and saloon bars.

The pilots knew the truth but even they succumbed to snobbery. Many would have claimed to be a Spitfire pilot down the pub to impress a young girl when they really had a Hurricane at home.One of Britain's most famous ever flyers, Douglas Bader, while flying Spitfires in much of the war actually opted for Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain.He flew both and chose the Hurricane for the big battle.

Many of the great aces in 1940 flew Hurricanes rather than Spitfires.The top-scoring ace in the Battle of Britain was Czech Josef František, of 303 Squadron, who flew Hurricanes. In September 1940 alone he shot down at least 17 enemy planes.The reason the Hurricane was popular is simple - it was a great killing machine. With four guns grouped together on each wing, the Hurricane made a much more stable gun platform than the Spitfire when shooting at enemy planes.The set-up made it far easier for the pilot to concentrate gunfire.

During the Battle of Britain the Hurricane was given the slightly more powerful Merlin III engine, providing a much better performance in the air. Crucially, it improved the climb speed.The Hurricane was able to get up and dive down out of the sun, where they couldn't be seen, attack and then have the power to climb up again and do it again. It wasn't as fast in a straight line as the Spitfire but for those dogfights you needed its manoeuvrability.If you were turning in a dogfight with a German fighter over the Channel, you were well off in a Hurricane.

And even if you were unlucky enough to be hit, the Hurricane was tough.Unlike the Spitfire it was part canvas covered. While that might have made it look a little old fashioned, the other aspects of the build made it much more serviceable. The canvas covers were a lot easier to repair than the metal covers of the Spitfires. Iron was in short supply during the war and it was easier to fix a hole in cloth than metal.

The final proof is the Hurricane outscored the Spitfire in Battle of Britain kills. It was 55 %to the Hurricane versus 45% to the Spitfire.With the fog of propaganda now barely a mist, the truth of the Hurricane's role in our victory can be fully appreciated.
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby Mostlyharmless » Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:14 am

The Hurricane was absolutely critical for winning the Battle of Britain and the individual Hurricanes, roughly two thirds of RAF fighter strength, were statistically as likely as Spitfires to shoot down enemy aircraft. This was especially true for attacks against bombers as the Hurricane was a more stable gun platform.

However, as pointed out by Alfred Price, the Hurricanes were roughly five times as likely as Spitfires to be shot down. For example looking at only one day, the Wikipedia article on the 18th August http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hardest_Day states that “Some 26 of the fighters lost were Hurricanes, and five were Spitfires”. I have not actually worked out how many of each type of RAF figher made contact with the enemy but we can guess about a third were Spitfires.

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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:50 am

British scramble from the link provided by Mostlyharmless

At 13:59, Poling radar station picked up the German formations and reported them as 80-strong. Smaller forces ranging from 9 to 20-plus represented the German fighters moving up behind it. The British estimated the Luftwaffe attack force to be 150-aircraft strong. It was an underestimation by half. No. 10 Group RAF and No. 11 Group alerted their units from their operations rooms at Uxbridge and Box in Wiltshire. No. 10 and 11 Groups dispatched more Squadrons to support the already airborne 11 Hurricanes from No. 601 Squadron. 10 Group dispatched one Squadron each from RAF Middle Wallop, RAF Exeter and RAF Warmwell, and one each from No. 11's RAF Tangmere and RAF Westhampnett.

The RAF order of battle included; nine Hurricanes of No. 43 Squadron RAF, led by Squadron Leader Frank Reginald Carey patrolling Thorney Island; No. 602 Squadron RAF protected Westhampnett with 12 Spitfires; No. 152 Squadron RAF and 11 Spitfires patrolled Portsmouth air space; No. 234 Squadron RAF with 11 Spitfires over the Isles of Wight to engage the attackers; No. 213 Squadron RAF with 12 Hurricanes which were to move 80 miles eastward from Exeter and patrol St. Catherine's Point. Finally, No. 609 Squadron RAF and 12 Spitfires remained in reserve around Middle Wallop to meet any unexpected German moves.

Having lost all of its Bristol Blenheim night fighters in the raid of 16 August, Tangmere dispatched two Hurricanes from the Fighter Interception Unit (FIU) fitted with FIU airborne radar to test the device in action. RAF Coastal Command also joined in, and committed No. 235 Squadron RAF and its Bristol Blenheim's. The defence was reliant on the 68 Spitfires and Hurricanes. The numerical standing meant a ratio of one RAF fighter to every four German fighters and bombers, or in other words, one British aircraft to every two German fighters. Even had the fighter controllers realised the strength of the raid, there was little that could be done. Other fighters were refuelling and rearming after the attacks on Kenley and Biggin Hill and would not be available.

During the British scramble, Bf 109s from JG 52 which were part of a pre-raid sweep, chanced upon RAF fighters out in the open at RAF Manston. Twelve Bf 109s from 2 Staffel II./JG 52, led by Hauptmann Wolfgang Ewald attacked while the British fighters were refuelling. After two passes, the Germans claimed 10 fighters and three Blenheims destroyed. In fact, just two No. 266 Squadron RAF Spitfires were destroyed with another six Hurricanes damaged but repairable. A single Hurricane was also destroyed
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:02 pm

The British followed the main raids and were aware of all the approaching aircraft, save for the low-altitude 9 Staffel. The radar station near Dover began reporting a build-up over the Pas-de-Calais area. This activity increased until 12:45 when six separate concentrations were reported. The plotters estimated the strength of the force as 350 aircraft, one-third more than the actual size.

At RAF Uxbridge, AOC No. 11 Group RAF Keith Park and his controllers directed No. 501 Squadron RAF and its 12 Hawker Hurricanes, already in the air, to Canterbury at 20,000 feet. They had been on their way back to RAF Gravesend having spent most of the morning on patrol operating from RAF Hawkinge near Folkestone. Within minutes eight more Squadrons were dispatched to meet them; two from Kenley, two from Biggin Hill and one each from North Weald, Martlesham, Heath, Manston and Rochford.

Within a short time the fighters assigned to engage were all airborne. Five Squadrons; No. 17, No. 54, No. 56, No. 65, and 501 with 17 Supermarine Spitfires and 36 Hurricanes were moving to patrol the Canterbury-Margate line to block any attack on the Thames Estuary ports of the airfields to the north of it. Four Squadrons; No. 32, No. 64, No. 601, and No. 615, with 23 Spitfires and 27 Hurricanes went into position above Kenley and Biggin Hill. A total of 97 RAF fighters were to meet the attack.

Park did not send all of his forces aloft, and he held a reserve. Three Squadrons at RAF Tangmere were kept and made ready to meet more attacks from the south. Six more were in reserve to meet a possible follow-up to the coming raid.
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:09 pm

The gross underestimation of Fighter Command's strength issued to Luftwaffe units meant the British reaction was much stronger than expected. During the 24-hour period, Fighter Command flew 927 sorties, slightly fewer than the Germans. Only 41 of these sorties were flown by night, 28 on 17/18 August and 13 on 18/19 August. The remaining 886 sorties were flown by day, a number almost exactly equal to the 861 serviceable Spitfire, Hurricane, Defiant and Gladiator day fighters available to squadrons.

The average operational sortie rate of one per serviceable fighter was not spread evenly throughout the command, however. Nos 12 and 13 Groups in the Midlands and north of Britain, with a third of the serviceable fighters between them, put up 129 (or only 15 per cent) of the day sorties, and of these only three made contact with the enemy. No. 11 Group put up one-third of the serviceable fighters in 600 sorties, or more than two-thirds of the total; on average. Each of the serviceable Spitfires and Hurricanes flew 1.7 operational sorties. No. 43 squadron flew the most sorties: 63 operations including five each from the 13 serviceable at the beginning of the day
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby paul.mercer » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:40 pm

Gentlemen,
I have often read that the Hurricane was a better gun platform than the Spitfire, I'm surprised that with the thicker wings it wasn't fitted with at least 4 or 6 x 50 calibre machine guns or 20mm cannon instead of the relatively small 303 which would have made it an even more formidable opponent to the German bombers. I believe that 50 calibre guns as well as cannon were fitted to the later Spitfires so it shouldn't have been a problem in a Hurricane

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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby tommy303 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:54 am

Trial versions of the Spitfire and Hurricane with 20mm Hispano Mk1 cannons having drum magazines were tested prior to the BoB but a tendency to jam and insufficient production of the Mk I led to a decision to concentrate on 8-gun 303 calibre fighters for the time being. Lessons learned during the battle showed that this was barely sufficient and efforts to increase production and replace the drum magazine with belt feed resulted in the Hispano MkII. This and later variants became standard on British wartime fighters.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:34 am

Spitfire Mk V carried two 20 mm cannon and Huricane Mk IIc carried four 20mm cannon-these were the first variants of both aircraft to be so armed.I believe Hurricane Mk IIc was used in the North African campaign as Tankbusters.
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Re: SPITFIRE v HURRICANE IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Postby aurora » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:36 am

DUPLICATE
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