Podcasts de história

Fairey Firefly em manutenção

Fairey Firefly em manutenção

Fairey Firefly em manutenção

Esta imagem mostra um Fairey Firefly sendo atendido no convés de um porta-aviões da Marinha Real.

Muito obrigado a David Horne por nos enviar essas fotos, que vieram da coleção de seu pai, Peter Horne, que serviu na Fleet Air Arm de 1942 a 1946.


Descrição

Superior em desempenho e poder de fogo ao seu antecessor, o Fulmar, o Firefly só entrou em serviço operacional no final da guerra. Projetado em torno do conceito contemporâneo da FAA de um caça / reconhecimento de frota de dois lugares, o piloto e o navegador / oficial de armas foram alojados em estações separadas. O projeto provou ser robusto, de longo alcance e dócil em operações de porta-aviões, embora as limitações de um único motor em uma fuselagem pesada reduzissem o desempenho geral. O Fairey Firefly serviu na Segunda Guerra Mundial como um lutador de frota, mas no serviço pós-guerra, embora tenha sido substituído por aviões a jato mais modernos, o Firefly foi adaptado para outras funções, incluindo operações de ataque e guerra anti-submarina, permanecendo um esteio do FAA até meados da década de 1950. Cerca de 1.700 aeronaves foram produzidas.


Fairey Firefly em manutenção - História

Você pode ver o WIP para este modelo em Forgotten War Group Build.

O Fleet Air Arm foi o único transportador aéreo a continuar com o desenvolvimento e operação do caça de porta-aviões de dois lugares após o início dos anos 1930. As forças aéreas navais japonesas e americanas determinaram que o peso extra do segundo tripulante tinha um efeito muito negativo no desempenho da aeronave para justificar a & # 8220segurança & # 8221 das operações sobre a água com um navegador dedicado a bordo. Como foi demonstrado durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, esta foi a decisão certa. O primeiro resultado dessa política foi o Fairey Fulmar, que suportou o impacto das operações de caça da Fleet Air Arm no Mediterrâneo entre 1940-41.

Em julho de 1939, a Marinha Real lançou um segundo requisito para um caça moderno com base em porta-aviões superior ao Fulmar, a ser equipado com o então novo e não testado Rolls-Royce Griffon. A especificação N8 / 39 exigia um motor Griffon de dois lugares armado com 4 canhões de 20 mm ou oito metralhadoras .30 cal. O Fairey respondeu com um design menor que o Fulmar, armado com canhão de 20 mm, com um peso vazio pouco menor que o peso carregado do Fulmar & # 8217s. Em 6 de junho de 1940, o mock-up foi inspecionado e aprovado, e a especificação N5 / 40 foi escrita em torno do projeto. Treze meses depois, o primeiro Firefly I, Z1826, voou em 22 de dezembro de 1941.

O Firefly foi o primeiro a usar os flaps Youngman de aumento de área patenteados pela Fairey, proporcionando a capacidade de manobra necessária em combate e reduzindo a velocidade de pouso desta aeronave pesada para ser compatível com a operação do porta-aviões. A primeira aeronave de produção foi entregue à FAA em 4 de março de 1943, um cronograma muito respeitável para o desenvolvimento de aeronaves em tempo de guerra. Isso foi uma sorte, porque todos os outros porta-aviões de design britânico encomendados no mesmo período de tempo enfrentaram dificuldades de desenvolvimento e não conseguiram voar antes do final da guerra. Assim, o Fulmar seria o único porta-aviões realmente moderno e de alto desempenho de design britânico a voar para longe de porta-aviões britânicos na guerra para o qual foi projetado.

Mesmo com os 1.735 cavalos de potência do Griffon IIB, o Firefly faltou desempenho. A velocidade máxima era de apenas 319 mph e uma taxa de subida abaixo de 2.000 fpm, embora tivesse um alcance útil de 774 milhas com combustível interno. O Firely tornou-se uma aeronave de ataque e reconhecimento tático, ao invés do caça de defesa da frota originalmente exigido. Era mais do que capaz para a missão, e a aeronave em suas versões desenvolvidas formou a espinha dorsal da força de ataque aéreo da Marinha Real até o final da Guerra da Coréia.

Curiosamente, em todos os pontos, exceto na velocidade, um Firefly que enviei para o centro de testes da Marinha dos EUA em Patuxent River em 1944 mais do que se defendeu no combate aéreo contra o caça-porta-aviões padrão da Marinha dos EUA, o F6F Hellcat e # 8211 aqueles flaps Youngman funcionaram.

HMS Triumph salva o dia em 1950:

Em 25 de junho de 1950, a invasão norte-coreana da Coreia do Sul encontrou os Estados Unidos em um estado maior de despreparo militar do que o ataque japonês a Pearl Harbor nove anos e meio antes. Na esteira da criação do Departamento de Defesa em 1948, uma decisão significou unificar as forças armadas, os argumentos de unificação do ano anterior, combinados com o desejo do presidente Truman de cortar os gastos militares a níveis nunca vistos desde antes de 1941, serviço militar em desordem. A decisão do presidente Truman de intervir na Coréia pegou a Marinha dos EUA ainda mais despreparada para o combate no Extremo Oriente do que as outras forças. Nos anos que se seguiram ao fim da Segunda Guerra Mundial, a Marinha e o Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais foram drasticamente reduzidos. Com a criação da Força Aérea como um serviço co-igual independente e a criação do Departamento de Defesa para unificar as forças armadas, houve uma série de batalhas políticas sobre o domínio da Força Aérea como a principal força de entrega de o arsenal nuclear dos EUA. Após o cancelamento do novo porta-aviões USS United States em 1949, houve um medo real de que a Aviação Naval fosse transferida para a Força Aérea, enquanto o Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais era admitido no Exército.

A Marinha estava tão reduzida por restrições orçamentárias que antes de janeiro de 1950, nenhum porta-aviões dos Estados Unidos operava a oeste do Havaí desde 1947. O USS Boxer (CV-21) foi implantado no Extremo Oriente em 11 de janeiro, retornando aos Estados Unidos em 13 de junho quando ela foi substituída pelo USS Valley Forge (CV-47). Além disso, como não havia grandes instalações operacionais para navios de guerra no Japão, a Sétima Frota estava baseada na Baía de Subic nas Filipinas, distante da Coréia. Felizmente, o Grupo Aéreo 5 a bordo da força do Vale era o grupo aéreo naval mais moderno, com dois esquadrões de F9F-2 Panthers, dois esquadrões de F4U-4B Corsairs e um esquadrão de novos AD-4 Skyraiders. E

A única outra força naval no Extremo Oriente era o esquadrão da Marinha Real em Hong Kong. A Marinha Real estava sujeita a economias ainda maiores no pós-guerra do que a Marinha dos Estados Unidos. Um único porta-aviões leve, o HMS Triumph, operava no Extremo Oriente desde dezembro anterior e se preparava para retornar à Grã-Bretanha. O Carrier Air Wing 13 do Triumph consistia em 800 caças Seafire 47 obsoletos do Esquadrão e 12 bombardeiros de ataque leve obsoletos do Esquadrão 12 Firefly I.

Agindo por conta própria em 26 de junho, o contra-almirante Sir William G. Andrewes, RN, comandante da Frota do Extremo Oriente da Marinha Real, partiu de Hong Kong às 01h30, direcionando seus navios para se concentrarem nos portos do sul do Japão. O HMS Triumph estava se aproximando de Hong Kong após voar em missões de apoio à Operação Firedog, a batalha contra os guerrilheiros comunistas na Malásia. As duas formações se encontraram no mar, o Triumph juntando-se aos cruzadores pesados ​​HMS Jamaica e Belfast, com a bandeira do Almirante Andrewes, os destróieres Cossack e Consort e as fragatas Black Swan, Alacrity, Hart e Shoalhaven, com o HMAS Bataan australiano. A frota da Commonwealth chegou à base da Marinha Real Australiana em Kure, Japão, em 28 de junho. Em 29 de junho, todas as forças da Commonwealth no Extremo Oriente, assim como no Canadá, receberam ordens de participar da força da ONU. A Força Tarefa 77 (a designação oficial da Sétima Força de ataque da Frota) partiu de Subic Bay em 27 de junho e chegou a Buckner Bay, Okinawa, em 30 de junho, onde se juntou no dia seguinte à frota da Commonwealth.

Na manhã de 29 de junho, quatro dias após a eclosão da guerra, o senador republicano Robert Taft, de Ohio, líder do partido conservador, centro-oeste, ala isolacionista do partido, levantou-se no Senado e atacou o presidente por não buscar a aprovação do Congresso para ir para guerra, afirmando ainda que a invasão norte-coreana revelou as falhas da política externa de Acheson que levaram a uma política que era "suave com o comunismo" e pediu a renúncia de Acheson. Mais tarde naquela tarde, o presidente Truman encontrou-se com repórteres em Blair House e tentou minimizar os acontecimentos na Coréia porque tinha a intenção de limitar qualquer sensação de que havia um confronto crescente com a União Soviética, como os republicanos vinham alegando. Um repórter perguntou se os Estados Unidos estavam realmente em guerra, ao que Truman respondeu que não. Um segundo repórter perguntou "Seria possível chamar isso de uma ação policial no âmbito das Nações Unidas?" “Sim”, respondeu o presidente. "Isso é exatamente o que significa." Fora de uma questão casualmente formulada e respondida, uma guerra e suas políticas seriam definidas.

Após a coletiva de imprensa, Truman soube que as forças norte-coreanas estavam perto de Seul. O General MacArthur ligou logo em seguida e declarou sua crença de que a situação não poderia ser estabilizada sem a introdução das forças americanas de combate terrestre.

Às 01h30 da manhã de 30 de junho, o Embaixador Muccio notificou Acheson que “as coisas estavam desesperadoras na península” e que MacArthur iria solicitar formalmente a autoridade para enviar tropas terrestres. O telegrama do General para o Joint Chiefs chegou 90 minutos depois. Suas palavras foram fatais: “A única garantia para manter a linha atual e a capacidade de recuperar o terreno perdido é através da introdução de forças terrestres dos EUA na área de batalha coreana. Continuar a utilizar as forças de nossa Força Aérea e Marinha sem um elemento terrestre eficaz não pode ser decisivo. ”

Com a aprovação do presidente, a 24ª Divisão de Infantaria foi ordenada a estabelecer uma Equipe de Combate Regimental para transferência para a Coréia. Em 1º de julho, os dois esquadrões de B-29 no Extremo Oriente voaram de Guam para a Base Aérea de Kadena em Okinawa, onde se prepararam para iniciar as operações de bombardeio na Coréia do Norte o mais rápido possível.

A frota combinada partiu de Okinawa em 1º de julho, com os cruzadores e fragatas britânicos, agora designados Grupo de Trabalho 96.8, Grupo de Apoio da Coréia Ocidental, partindo para reforçar o grupo de apoio de fogo americano na costa da Coreia do Sul. A Força-Tarefa 77 recebeu ordens de atacar a capital norte-coreana de Pyongyang.

Na madrugada de 3 de julho, a Força-Tarefa 77 havia alcançado o meio do Mar Amarelo, a 150 milhas de seu alvo norte-coreano, mas a apenas 100 milhas dos campos de aviação chineses na Península de Shantung e a menos de 320 milhas da base aérea soviética em Port Arthur . Às 05h00, o USS Valley Forge lançou patrulhas aéreas de combate e antissubmarinas. Às 05h45, o HMS Triumph lançou nove Seafires e doze Fireflies para atacar o campo de aviação em Haeju. Às 06:00 horas, Valley Forge lançou dezesseis Corsairs de VF-53 e VF-54, e doze Skyraiders de VA-55 contra o campo de aviação de Pyongyang. Quando os aviões a hélice ganharam uma vantagem adequada, Valley Forge catapultou oito F9F 2 Panthers de VF-51 que seriam a primeira aeronave sobre o alvo. Quando os jatos americanos varreram a capital norte-coreana, dois Yak-9 aerotransportados foram avistados e destruídos, com outro danificado, enquanto nove aeronaves foram destruídas no solo por bombardeios. Os Corsários e Skyraiders seguiram os Panteras, bombardeando hangares e armazenamento de combustível no campo de pouso de Pyongyang enquanto a força britânica atingia Haeju nas proximidades. A oposição antiaérea foi insignificante e os atacantes não sofreram danos ou perdas.

Naquela tarde, a aeronave da Triumph fez um segundo ataque contra as ferrovias, enquanto Valley Forge lançou um segundo ataque contra os pátios de empacotamento de ferrovias em Pyongyang e as pontes sobre o rio Taedong. Danos consideráveis ​​foram infligidos às locomotivas e material rodante, mas as pontes sobreviveram. Em vista da “situação coreana em rápida deterioração”, como relatou o General MacArthur, ataques adicionais foram realizados em 4 de julho, com mais danos infligidos às ferrovias enquanto uma ponte sobre o Taedong foi derrubada. Quatro Skyraiders foram danificados nestes ataques finais.

O súbito aparecimento de aeronaves americanas e britânicas a mais de 400 milhas do campo de aviação americano mais próximo foi um rude despertar para os norte-coreanos. Na verdade, os ataques podem ter impedido Stalin de cumprir um compromisso considerável de aeronaves soviéticas para apoiar o exército norte-coreano naquela semana, pelo qual os norte-coreanos vinham negociando desde o início da guerra. Além de impedir a participação soviética imediata na guerra, o valor das forças de ataque dos porta-aviões foi comprovado mais uma vez e nunca mais seria seriamente questionado. A Marinha dos Estados Unidos havia vencido a discussão política sobre a integração das forças armadas, nunca mais haveria propostas para abolir a aviação naval.

Pelo resto do mês de julho, os Fireflies operaram como aeronaves de observação para as unidades de suporte de tiros da frota de superfície enquanto atacavam o sistema de transporte da Coréia do Norte, enquanto os Seafires de curto alcance eram usados ​​para defesa aérea da frota. Após a estabilização da frente no Perímetro Pusan, a aeronave britânica participou plenamente em apoio às forças terrestres da ONU na luta desesperada para conter o Exército norte-coreano.

Ao longo de agosto e início de setembro, todas as aeronaves Firefly F.R.1 no Extremo Oriente foram usadas em operações, junto com os nove Seafire 47s disponíveis para substituição. Metade do 827 Squadron era agora composta de pneus reformados da Segunda Guerra Mundial retirados do armazenamento em todas as instalações britânicas no Extremo Oriente, e apenas quatro podiam ser lançados de cada vez. Quando a Triumph finalmente partiu para o Reino Unido após a invasão de Inchon, apenas três de suas aeronaves estavam operacionais. A Carrier Air Wing 13 atuou “acima e além” na prevenção de catástrofes nos primeiros meses da Guerra da Coréia.

O Grand Phoenix lançou um 1/48 Firefly I por volta de 2003, com os modelos AZ lançando essencialmente o mesmo kit após o fim do Grand Phoenix. A Special Hobby lançou seu Firefly em 2013 como parte de uma série que eventualmente incluiu o Firefly 4/5, o A.S.6 e o ​​drone U.7. O Firefly I veio em vários lançamentos, incluindo o lançamento “As primeiras missões britânicas na Coreia”, que tinha decalques para quatro diferentes Fireflies operados pelo esquadrão 827, incluindo PP433, uma reforma da Segunda Guerra Mundial na camuflagem das FAA daquele conflito.

Como os outros kits Firefly da série, o kit tem um poço de engrenagem principal em resina, com a cabine em plástico e uma cobertura de plástico transparente bastante grossa. Os detalhes da superfície são pequenos e restritos. O kit é um dos melhores lançamentos limitados da Special Hobby, embora ainda precise de massa e enchimento em todas as juntas e costuras.

É um kit especial de passatempo limitado, com todos esses meios. Muitos ajustes de teste três vezes antes de colar uma vez, massa e enchimento sobre todas as juntas e costuras. No entanto, a série Special Hobby Firefly (FR.1 FR. IV, FR. 5, AS.6-7) são muito precisas (certamente muito mais do que a coleção de sucata de plástico disfarçada de “Fireflyish” lançada pela Trompetista que está errada em tantas maneiras que não há espaço aqui para listá-los todos). Este foi feito com os dosséis vacuform do Barracuda Studios. Eles são anunciados como adequados para os kits Grand Phoenix e AZ, mas também se encaixam nos kits Special Hobby e realmente melhoram as coisas.

Eu dividi o processo de construção em dois subconjuntos principais, a fuselagem e a asa. A montagem da fuselagem começou com a montagem e acabamento das cabines. Estas foram pintadas de British Interior Green, que fiz com Tamiya “Cockpit Green XF-71, com o resto das“ caixas pretas ”feitas com Tamiy X-18“ Semi-gloss Black ”detalhe destacado com um lápis prateado. Usei o decalque do kit para o painel de instrumentos. Os assentos eram feitos de celulose como os assentos do Spitfire, então eram pintados de Tamiya “Hull Red”. Usei cintos de segurança de fotoetch Eduard. A fuselagem foi então montada.

A montagem da asa começou com a fixação da roda de resina na superfície inferior da asa. Testei a asa inteira e descobri que esse bloco de resina caberia apenas com um pouco de lixamento na proa e na popa. Eu colei-o na posição e prendi as asas superiores. Com o encaixe cuidadoso, a asa se fixou na fuselagem com uma boa junção da asa superior à fuselagem. Em seguida, coloquei os estabilizadores horizontais. Depois de permitir que tudo se organizasse durante a noite, apliquei o Mr. Surfacer em cada junta e depois lixei, reaplicei, lixei mais um pouco e, em seguida, rediscrevi os detalhes.

Com um corte cuidadoso, o pára-brisa vacuform do Barracuda para o cockpit dianteiro e a capota para o cockpit traseiro se encaixam perfeitamente.

Pensando em fazer pelo menos algum uso dos decalques do horrível kit Trumpeter, decidi usar os decalques de listra preto / branco. Após pré-sombreamento do modelo, dei-lhe um esquema geral de mar temperado de cinza marinho extra escuro usando Tamiya “Dark Grey” XF-24, “Dark Slate Grey usando uma mistura de Tamiya Khaki Drab XF-51 e Tamiya“ RLM Gray ” XF-22, misturado 3: 1 respectivamente, e Tamiyas “sky” XF-21, misturado com Tamiya “Flat White” XF-2 em uma mistura 3: 1.

Quando chegou a hora de usar os decalques com faixa de identificação, eles se dobraram como o proverbial terno barato e se rasgaram quando tentei endireitá-los. Em seguida, mascarei as áreas e pintei primeiro Flat White, mascarando-o, e depois Flat Black XF-1. Isso acabou parecendo muito melhor do que os decalques.

Tendo experiência com os decalques Special Hobby, primeiro apliquei aerógrafo neles com Micro Liquid Decal Film. Comecei com as séries sob as asas, uma vez que elas tinham que ser colocadas em volta dos poços das rodas e eram a parte mais difícil do processo. Os decalques da insígnia nacional acabaram sendo opacos sobre as listras, além de serem um pouco pequenos, então peguei uma insígnia nacional de tamanho adequado de minha extensa coleção de insígnias britânicas da 2ª Guerra Mundial e usei os adesivos do kit para o número do esquadrão e o designador da transportadora bem como as séries.

Montei os foguetes, pintei os corpos de preto e as cabeças de Verde Bronze e os fixei nas asas inferiores. Então, desmascarei os velames e colei o dossel dianteiro na posição aberta. Uma vez liberado, houve algum problema em fazer o velame vacuform sentar-se direito, e se eu fizesse isso novamente, eu teria o escritório da frente com um dossel fechado como o traseiro.

A série Firefly de Hobby especial são os melhores kits deste importante avião disponível em 1/48. Fique bem longe do kit Trompetista, o produto de sua equipe “F” (de “Falha”). Este não é um kit difícil para qualquer modelador com um mínimo de experiência com kits de tiragem limitada e torna-se um modelo atraente.


Fairey Firefly em manutenção - História

O Fairey Firefly era um caça transportador de dois lugares introduzido no final de 1943 para substituir o Fairey Fulmar na Marinha Real. Permaneceu em produção até 1955, quando 1.712 aeronaves foram produzidas. Durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, o Firefly foi usado principalmente como uma aeronave de supressão de flak [1] e caça de ataque. Nesse sentido, foi uma escolha lógica para a aviação naval canadense do pós-guerra, cujos planos previam uma aeronave de reconhecimento de ataque.

Em 1 de julho de 1945, em um empreendimento bilateral para estabelecer um Braço Aéreo Naval Canadense, a Marinha Real reformou o Esquadrão No. 825 na Estação Aérea Real Naval de Rattray na Escócia e concordou em equipar o esquadrão com canadenses. Para treinar a tripulação canadense, o 825 Squadron foi inicialmente equipado com 12 Fairey Barracuda II. Em novembro de 1945, os Barracudas foram substituídos por 12 Firefly FR I que foram doados permanentemente ao Canadá como parte do acordo de reivindicação de guerra da Grã-Bretanha.

O esquadrão foi oficialmente transferido para a Marinha Real Canadense (RCN) em 24 de janeiro de 1946, junto com o comissionamento do primeiro porta-aviões do Canadá, o HMCS Warrior. Em março, o 825 Squadron embarcou no HMCS Warrior em sua viagem inaugural para Halifax, onde em 31 de março de 1946, os Fireflies desembarcaram e pousaram pela primeira vez em solo canadense na RCAF Station Dartmouth.

Vinte e nove Firefly FR I's foram progressivamente levados em força pelo RCN entre junho de 1946 e abril de 1947. Como com todas as outras aeronaves recebidas do RN, o Firefly FR I foi o primeiro caça de reconhecimento de ataque do RCN e formou a espinha dorsal da marinha canadense aviação durante seus anos de formação. Além de seu grande radiador de queixo, a outra característica, que distinguia o FR I das versões posteriores do Firefly era um canister, abrigando a antena de radar AN / APS-4, suspensa sob o radiador. Um Observer / Navigator na cabine traseira operou o radar para detectar navios e submarinos.

ESPECIFICAÇÕES DO FIREFLY (AS 5)

Tripulação: Piloto e Observador. O assento do Observer estava deslocado para bombordo e o Observer voltado para a frente.
Motor: Um Rolls-Royce Griffon 74 V-12 de 2.250 hp, refrigerado a líquido, motor a pistão
Peso: Vazio 9.674 libras., Decolagem máxima 16.096 libras.
Span da asa: 41 pés 2 pol.
Comprimento: 37 pés 11 pol.
Altura: 14 pés 4 pol.
Velocidade máxima: 386 mph a 14.000 pés (618 km / h a 4.300 m)
Velocidade de cruzeiro: 220 mph
Teto: 28.400 pés.
Alcance: 1.300 milhas (1.722 km) quando equipado com tanques de combustível auxiliares
Aquisição começou: novembro de 1945
A aposentadoria começou: novembro de 1950
Cancelamento da acusação: 1º de março de 1954

ESQUEMAS DE PINTURA

Os Fireflies operacionais como um todo exibiram uma variedade de esquemas de pintura de camuflagem britânicos e canadenses entre o início de 1946 e o ​​final de 1951, quando o último deles foi substituído por Avengers. Havia sete configurações principais de acabamento e marcações Firefly RCN. Os esquemas de pintura e marcações estão além do escopo deste documento da web, portanto, qualquer pessoa que deseje saber mais sobre este tópico pode consultar um dos dois livros listados no final deste documento.

MARCAS DE FOGO

Os vaga-lumes usavam numerais romanos e arábicos em seus designadores variantes. Para evitar confusão, FR I significa algarismo romano 'I' e não FR maiúsculo 'I'. FR IV é a numeração romana IV. O I em T I é o numeral romano 'I'.
Se uma aeronave tinha um novo design e era pós-guerra, então recebia um número arábico (ou seja, as conversões Tempest T.5 do pós-guerra). Todas as Tempestades antes do fim da guerra permaneceram com o numeral romano 'V'. Se o Tempest fosse designado como T.V. durante a guerra, teria permanecido como T.V mesmo para novas aeronaves de produção após a guerra. (O Spitfire parece ser a única exceção a isso).

O RCN operou cinco marcas do Firefly. Um total de sessenta e quatro máquinas foi acionado, os números de cada marca sendo os seguintes:

FR I (29) Lutador de reconhecimento de ataque
FR IV (13) Lutador de reconhecimento de ataque
AS 5 (18) Versão de guerra anti-submarina
T I (4) Treinador desarmado
T 2 (2) Treinador armado - remanufaturado a partir de dois FR I's

SEX

O FR I, inicialmente adquirido pelo RCN, diferia em um aspecto importante de seu antecessor, o F I. Ele foi equipado com o navio AN / APS-4 e um radar de detecção de submarino. Este equipamento consistia de um transmissor-receptor alojado em uma caixa em forma de bomba e pendurada sob a capota do motor e uma caixa de junção, painel de controle e conjunto de indicador localizado à frente do assento do Observer na cabine traseira. Uma luneta repetidora de radar também foi instalada na cabine do piloto a estibordo à frente. Acima do indicador de radar na cabine do Observer estava a cabeça de sintonia para o equipamento de rádio HF TR 5206 (referido como ARI 5206), enquanto abaixo dele e em direção a bombordo estava o altímetro de rádio AN / APN-1. Os FR I canadenses também foram equipados com um rádio VHF TR 5043 (SCR 522) de quatro canais, localizado em uma prateleira diretamente atrás do assento do Observer. Nas máquinas canadenses, esse espaço também foi compartilhado com o equipamento AN / APX-2 IFF e um intercomunicador de emergência movido a bateria.

Os 29 RCN Firefly FR I foram progressivamente acusados ​​em quatro ocasiões distintas. A maioria deles, vinte e um, foram colocados no registro canadense em 1 de junho de 1946 - dois meses depois de terem chegado ao Canadá a bordo do HMCS Warrior. Mais sete foram acrescentados em 25 de novembro, mais dezoito dias depois, e o último FR I a ser usado pelos canadenses foi levado em força em 10 de abril de 1947. Assim, em meados de abril de 1947, todos os FR do RCN são foram recebidos.

Os vagalumes estavam em uso contínuo com o Esquadrão 826 da Marinha canadense até o verão de 1950, quando foram substituídos pelos Vingadores TBM-3E e armazenados. Eles foram finalmente eliminados quatro anos depois, a data de desativação foi 1º de março de 1954.

FR I. O radar AN / APS-4 não está preso ao trilho abaixo do motor nesta aeronave. (Foto de Robert Blakeley. DND / PAC # PA-136510)
FR IV

O FR IV diferia do FR I em vários aspectos óbvios. As asas foram cortadas para melhorar a taxa de rotação, o radiador de barba foi substituído por radiadores de refrigerante em extensões dianteiras das bordas de ataque dos planos de ponta e um filé foi adicionado à barbatana para melhorar a estabilidade. O transmissor / receptor AN / APS-4 foi realocado em uma carenagem abaixo da asa de estibordo, enquanto uma célula de combustível (também destacável) foi contida em uma carenagem semelhante abaixo da asa de bombordo. O uso do motor Rolls-Royce Griffon 74 mais potente no FR IV melhorou a velocidade máxima em 32 mph ao nível do mar. Além disso, o teto de serviço foi aumentado de 28.000 para 28.400 pés, embora o alcance permanecesse o mesmo.

Embora o primeiro voo de uma produção Firefly FR IV tenha ocorrido em 25 de maio de 1945, a entrega inicial à Marinha Real não foi realizada até 29 de setembro de 1946. Um total de 160 foram construídos, o último sendo entregue da fábrica em 9 de fevereiro 1948. O Mark IV teve uma carreira relativamente breve com o RCN. A primeira máquina, destinada a testes em clima frio no Estabelecimento Experimental de Inverno da RCAF com sede em Namao, Alberta, foi colocada em operação em 12 de fevereiro de 1948. O restante do complemento, doze aeronaves ao todo, foram tomadas com força em 24 de maio de 1948 , a mesma data em que o RCN se reequipou com o Sea Fury FB II. É importante saber que os FR IVs estavam em designação temporária para o Canadá, enquanto se aguarda a disponibilidade do AS 5. Em 12 de janeiro de 1949, as nove aeronaves restantes foram devolvidas à Grã-Bretanha (três haviam largado o Magnificent).

Firefly FR IV. Observe que a barra abaixo do motor para o radar AN / APS-4 foi removida e o transmissor / receptor do radar foi realocado em uma carenagem abaixo da asa de estibordo. (Foto de Robert Blakeley. DND / PAC # PA-136510)
AS 5

A primeira produção Firefly AS 5 fez seu vôo inaugural em 12 de dezembro de 1947 e a entrega inicial de um AS 5 para a Marinha Real ocorreu em 9 de janeiro de 1948. Pouco mais de um ano depois, em 16 de fevereiro de 1949, o AS 5 foi levado com força pelo RCN. Permaneceu em serviço operacional até novembro de 1951, quando foi substituído pelo AS 3 Mk 1 Avenger. A marca perdeu força oficialmente em 2 de fevereiro de 1953.

Com o AS 5 veio uma função modificada e uma variação correspondente no conjunto de eletrônicos. O grande acréscimo foi a instalação do sistema de sonobóia AN / CRT -1A. As sonobuoys, que possuíam um alcance de transmissão aproximado de dez milhas, foram penduradas em três grupos de quatro cada em prateleiras sob os aviões principais e abaixo da fuselagem. Uma antena de haste receptora de sonobuoy projetada para baixo a partir da parte inferior do stub plane de estibordo. O receptor de sonobóia estava localizado na prateleira traseira do assento do Observer, que girava para permitir a operação do equipamento AN / APS-4 (ainda posicionado à frente do assento) ou do receptor de sonobóia. Atrás do receptor de sonobuoy, em ordem de aparecimento e procedendo para trás, estavam o responsor do transponder-interrogador AN / APX-2 IFF, um regulador de pilha de carbono e um transformador que alimentava o gerador britânico que por sua vez operava o AN / APS-4 americano radar um rádio de navegação LF AN / ARC-5 ou, alternativamente, rádio homing ZBX (AN / ARR-2), um amplificador de bússola de rádio e painel de fusíveis do disjuntor e, finalmente, o transmissor de bússola remota.

Nesta marca, os canhões foram excluídos e as portas nas bordas de ataque das asas foram bloqueadas. Uma grande melhoria que apareceu durante a produção do Mk 5 foi a instalação de asas dobráveis ​​elétricas. Todos os Fairey Marks anteriores tinham asas dobráveis ​​manualmente.

A revista Crowsnest, edição de Natal de 1949, relatou o teste do uso de decolagem assistida por foguete.

"A aeronave Firefly AS 5 do esquadrão 825 (18 Carrier Air Group) usou equipamento de decolagem assistida por foguete para o
primeira vez em 9 de novembro de 1949 na RCN Air Station, Dartmouth, N.S. Conhecida como RATOG (Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear) para os aviadores, era usada para colocar uma aeronave no ar no menor tempo e com o menor comprimento possível de decolagem. Foguetes são fixados em ambos os lados da fuselagem em pares, de forma que a força seja aplicada à aeronave na direção para frente e para cima. O melhor desempenho relatado foi o de Lieut. (P) G. H. Johnson, com o Lieut. (0) J. M. Steel na cabine traseira, que ganhou 1.000 pés de altitude em poucos segundos.

Outros testes RATOG foram conduzidos a bordo do HMCS Magnificent como parte dos exercícios de vôo durante seu cruzeiro para as Índias Ocidentais. Os foguetes podem ser disparados um de cada lado ou dois de cada lado, dependendo da quantidade de empuxo necessária. Ambas as combinações foram experimentadas por um número de 825 pilotos do Esquadrão, com a conclusão de que quatro foguetes eram o mínimo necessário para obter uma aceleração adequada.- PO F.J.M. "

Firefly AS 5. Externamente, havia pouca diferença entre esta variante e o FR IV. A distinção mais notável são as portas de canhão fechadas nas bordas de ataque das asas. (DND / DNS # 1355 via Al Baltzer).
Eu

O T1 era um treinador de conversão de piloto de dois assentos e controle duplo desarmado que diferia do FI do qual era derivado por ter uma cabine traseira (do instrutor) elevada 12 "acima da posição normal, a fim de melhorar a visão de seu ocupante em pouso. O primeiro de setembro de 1947 testemunhou o vôo inaugural na Grã-Bretanha de um Firefly T Mk I de produção, o primeiro de trinta e quatro a ser construído (ou, mais corretamente, modificado a partir de fuselagens Mk I). Em 24 de maio de 1948, quatro T 1s foram adicionados ao complemento de aeronave do RCN, junto com o Firefly Mk IV e o Sea Fury.

T 2

Por volta do final de março de 1949, o RCN enviou dois FR Is para a Fairey Aviation of Canada para conversão em T2s. O Firefly T Mk 2, aparentemente semelhante ao T I, era um treinador de artilharia (armas táticas) que carregava um único canhão de 20 mm em cada asa e visores giroscópicos sincronizados em cada cabine. . No final de fevereiro de 1950, ambas as conversões foram concluídas.

T 2 em HMCS Shearwater. A bolha para a arma de bombordo na seção posterior da asa é difícil de ver, mas está lá. (Da coleção de Leo Pettipas)

LAYOUTS DE COCKPIT

Cabine do piloto de um Firefly FR I. Esta é uma vista de frente e de estibordo. Observe a exibição do escravo para o radar AN / APS-4 logo à direita da alça na coluna de controle. Clique para ampliar. (Foto de Robert Blakeley. DND / PAC # PA-152293)
O cockpit um tanto espartano de um instrutor T I. Clique para ampliar. (Foto de Robert Blakeley. DND / PAC # PA-152285)

ATALHOS DA AERONAVES

As deficiências do tipo eram legião para aqueles que estavam intimamente familiarizados com ele. This aircraft type was difficult to maintain and did not respond well to the American style of deck-landing that the Canadians were in the process of adopting. Because of its 2½-hour endurance, it could not be used for long-range patrols. It also lacked adequate all-weather performance. In order to maintain proper weight and balance, the Observer had to be less than a certain prescribed weight. His constrained field of view hindered effective visual search, an important function in airborne ASW work.

The Firefly had provision for a removable suite of three alternate equipment combinations for the Observer, who could either operate the radar, or carry out long-distance radio communications, or monitor sonobuoys. The aircraft could only do any two out of these three functions. In fact, the number of sonobuoys and smoke markers the Firefly could accommodate was so limited that Sea Fury fighters whose designated purpose was fleet defence, not anti-submarine work had to be armed with them on occasion to allow completion of the sonobuoy-laying pattern!

To top it all off, the Firefly had no growth potential . The foreseeable challenges of airborne anti-submarine warfare called for ever more specialized electronic equipment and an additional crewman to operate it, and the Firefly had room for neither. No sooner had the type been taken on strength than the Navy was searching for a replacement.

END OF LIFE

Fireflies did not disappear from the Shearwater base as soon as Avengers were taken on strength. For example, in mid-January of 1951, some nine months after the Avengers arrived, Fireflies along with Sea Furies put on a cannon and rocket-firing display at the newly opened air-to-ground firing range at Chezzetcook, east of Dartmouth. They were still operating from HMCS Magnificent in May of 1951, which may have been the last time they went to sea before their retirement in November of that year and a source published in October of 1951 observed that ". . . a number of Fairey Firefly V's, are being held in operational reserve." In fact, the Firefly was not finally and officially struck off charge until March 1, 1954 when the last of the lot was sold to Ethiopia. It goes without saying, however, that the type was not active up until that point, or even on "operational reserve". It has been noted that "the 'Struck off' dates are apt to be misleading if not placed in perspective. The Services have frequently placed aircraft in storage pending final disposition and this tends to indicate that the type was in active use longer than was actually the case.

When the Avenger was introduced into the Royal Canadian Navy to replace the Firefly, the two existing anti-submarine squadrons, Nos. 826 and 825 were operating the Fairey Firefly Marks FR I and AS 5, respectively The last time Fireflies went to sea aboard HMCS Magnificent, the Navy's sole aircraft carrier of the day, was during the late summer and fall (August 22 to November 25) of 1950. The squadron embarked during this cruise was 825 with its Firefly AS 5's. In the meantime, 826 Squadron was ferrying the newly acquired Avengers to HMCS Shearwater, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, a task which it had actually commenced in the spring of that year shortly after the Government announced that the Avenger was to succeed the Firefly. By late summer, 826 Squadron possessed a full complement of unmodified Avengers. The next time the Magnificent put to sea in early February of 1951, her complement of anti-submarine aircraft, 15 in all, was made up entirely of Avengers. The Canadian public was formally introduced to the Avenger in the summer of 1950, when an air show was staged at Shearwater. As a major attraction, TBM's, Fireflies, and Sea Furies fired depth charges, cannon, and rockets at a mock submarine. The Firefly was now gone from the skies above the Halifax-Dartmouth area but it was still on strength with 880 Squadron until retirement in November of 1951.

DISPOSAL

When the Fireflies camne to the end of their service life with the RCN, many of them found their way into foreign air arms. The FR IVs went back to the RN, from whom they had been leased, in January 1949. Most of the AS 5s were sold back to Britain in October 1952 after having been retired from active duty in the RCN the previous November. However, they were officially struck off charge on 27 October 1952. Four others were struck off strength and sold to the Dutch in early February 1953. In 1952, four FR Is were sold to Denmark where they were modified for target-towing. In March of 1954, nine FR Is, three T Is and the two T 2s were purchased by Ethiopia for $100,000.00. (Note: In his book The Fairey Firefly in the Royal Canadian Navy, Leo Pettipas states on p. 106 that one FR IV/AS 5 was among the group that was sold to Ethiopia. This is incorrect (L. Pettipas, personal communication, 2009) see preceding sentence.

The only airworthy Fairey Firefly existing in Canada today is an AS 6, an example in the collection of the Canadian Warplane Heritage. That Mark did not serve with the RCN but it was acquired from the Camden Air Museum in Australia. In 1993, a Firefly FR I (PP462) was repatriated from Ethiopia. Today it is being restored by a group of volunteers at the Shearwater Aviation Museum. Plans are to return it to flying condition.

The complete story of the Fairey Firefly in Canadian service cannot be told in a single web page, especially the operational information. To understand the aircraft's entire history, it's recommended to read the book " The Fairey Firefly In The Royal Canadian Navy" by Leo Pettipas. Soft covered, 8.5" x 11" 109 pages 1987. ISBN 0-9692528-1-1.

In addition there are two other books which offer comprehensive coverage of the Firefly's paint and markings schemes. The first is "RCN Aircraft Finish and Markings 1944-1968" by Patrick Martin. (contains 49 colour profiles). The second is "Early Aircraft Paint Schemes in the RCN, 1946-1952" by Leo Pettipas. All three books are available for purchase from the Shearwater Aviation Museum Gift Shop.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Flak suppression is the technique of destroying flak batteries from the air.


ORIGINS

The Royal Navy’s desire for two-seat aircraft which combined reconnaissance and interceptor roles emerged in the 1920s.

War games had revealed a glaring problem.

Fighters launched from carriers would regularly become lost once they had passed beyond 20 nautical miles of the fleet.

This presented a dual problem.

First, it often resulted in the loss of the machine and pilot.

But, also, it meant any sighting report they issued was almost wildly inaccurate.

Pairing an Observer with a Pilot allowed one to concentrate on keeping the aircraft in the air, with the other keeping track of where they were.

The Hawker Osprey emerged in the early 1930s to test this concept. In the absence of radar and radio-direction finding, it proved to be a significant improvement.

Such was its success that it was followed-up by a design requirement that produced the Blackburn Skua (dive-bomber fighter) and Roc (turret fighter). But it quickly became apparent that these low-wing monoplanes simply attempted to do too much with their limited airframes. They were underpowered, over-weight and had poor aerodynamics.

The emergency fleet fight program was initiated which produced the Fairey Fulmar. But the Fleet Air Arm knew this project was a stop-gap measure.

So, the Admiralty also issued another set of requirements calling for a two-seat multi-role fleet fighter to be designed and built for the role from the ground up.

This was designated Specification N8/39. It was issued March 1939. It was to be a medium-range two-seat front-gunned naval fighter to replace the Sea Gladiator, Skua and Fulmar.

Later that year, the Admiralty issued a requirement for a dorsal turret multi-role fighter: N9/39. But a few short months later, the failure of the RAF’s turret fighter – the Boulton-Paul Defiant – in action prompted the Admiralty to dump the turret-fighter concept.

This resulted in Specification N5/40, which was built around the characteristics of a new design Fairey had already begun work on the previous year. But this quick gestation would not lead to a fast development.


Avions Fairey Fox

Avions Fairey was set up in Belgium as an offshoot of the Fairey Aviation Company of Britain. The production facility was initially created for the local production of the Fairey Firefly to these facilities were later used for production of the newer Fairey "Fox" light bomber biplane. Production models were delivered to the British Royal Air Force and adopted for service by the Belgium Air Force with total manufacture being 176 examples. First flight was on January 3rd, 1925 with official introduction following in June of 1926. Final forms were retired with the Swiss Air Force in 1945.

The Fox was an interwar design as characterized by its biplane wing arrangement, open-air cockpit, and the fixed, spatted main landing gear legs. However, such aircraft typically utilized more modern implements such as metal skinning and a wholly shrouded engine compartment. The aircraft seated two in tandem with the pilot in the forward cockpit and an observer/machine gunner in the rear cockpit. Standard armament consisted of 2 x 7.62mm FN-Browning fixed, forward-firing machine guns over the nose (synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades) and a single gun on a trainable mounting in the rear cockpit. The light bomber role was made possible by the carrying of up to 220lbs of externally-held ordnance.

The aircraft's overall configuration was typical of biplane aircraft - an upper and lower wing element was featured with struts and applicable support and control cabling where required. The fuselage was well-streamlined from nose to tail with the tail unit featuring a rounded vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes. Power was through a Hispano-Suiza 12Ybr liquid-cooled V-12 engine of 860 horsepower output. Maximum speed was 225 miles per hour with a range out to 635 miles and a service ceiling of 32,800 feet.

By all accounts, the design was sound and proved excellent though production numbers did not reflect this. Avions Fairey Foxes were in play during the valiant - yet hopeless - defense of Belgium during the German invasion of 1940. The aircraft were wholly outclassed by their German rivals in every respect, marking the Fox as an obsolete design heading into a new generation of fighting machines.

Several variants emerged - the "Fox I" was used by the RAF and outfitted with American Curtiss D-12 450 horsepower engines with 25 aircraft produced. The Fox IA followed as eleven examples (eight converted) with Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines of 490 horsepower. The Fox IIM incorporated evermore metal in its construction and retained the Kestrel engine (480 horsepower) though only lived on in prototype form. The Belgian models begam with the "Fox II" and featured supercharged Kestrel engines. A dozen were produced by Fairey in Britain and were followed by 31 examples from Avions Fairey in Belgium. The Fox III marked a British demonstrator model and a Belgian dual-control trainer variant. The Fox IIIS were trainer models. Fox IIIC were Belgian reconnaissance bomber forms with Kestrel engines. These were more modern in their use of enclosed cockpits. 48 were produced in Belgium. Fox IV covered several limited models - a British demonstrator form, a Fox II aircraft with Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs engine, and a British floatplane form. Fox VIR was a reconnaissance mount with Hispano-Suiza 12Ydrs engine of 860 horsepower to which Belgium collected 24 aircraft and two were delivered to Switzerland. The Fox VIC marked a two-seat fighter form of which 52 were produced. The Fox VII was a fighter model based on the VIR though with only one crew. The Fox VIII was the culmination of the line and featured a three-bladed propeller unit and four machine guns - the guns mounted under the wings as opposed to the upper forward fuselage. 12 examples were delivered.

The Peruvian Air Force joined the RAF, Belgians, and Swiss as operators of the Fox series.


Class History alannah | Sun 22nd Mar 2009

During 1938 sailors connected to Oxford and Cambridge Universities asked Uffa Fox to design a dinghy similar to the National 12, but one design and more suitable for team racing. Uffa completed this design in 1939 and called it the Sea Swallow. Then came the war and nothing happened.

During this time Colin Chichester-Smith, who was a director of the Fairey Aviation Company, often thought about a production dinghy based on the principles used for the manufacture of wooden Mosquito aircraft fuselages, which were formed on a mould and cured by electrically heated bands holding the laminate in position.

Early in 1946 Uffa Fox was asked by Chichester-Smith, in conjunction with Stewart Morris, to design a one-design twelve foot dinghy. About this time Charles Curry joined Fairey to develop the marine section at Hamble. It was easy for Uffa to design such a dinghy he just scratched out the name ‘Sea Swallow’ and replaced it with ‘Firefly’, so named after the famous Fairy aircraft.

1946 – F1 takes to the water for the very first time. click to enlarge images.

The initial boats were 1/16″ birch plywood and, through aircraft connections, Tony Reynolds was asked to produce a metal mast with spruce for a wooden top.

The initial cost of a boat was just £65, and the first four were bought by Sir Geoffrey Loules, Commodore of Itchenor Sailing Club, and Christened Fe, Fi, Fo and Fum.

There were a few tweaks after the initial batch of boats were produced, which lead to the boat being selected for the single handed class at the 1948 Olympics to be held at Torbay. After a very windy week the boat proved a handful for just one, and was replaced in 1952 by the heavier, more expensive Finn class.

However the class grew rapidly as a two person class, winning favour with schools, universities, the forces and many team racers. None of the early development and success would have been possible without the backing of Sir Richard Fairey, Chairman of the Fairey Aviation Company, who had a lifelong interest in sailing and was a distinguished helmsman. The points cup for the overall National Champion bears his name.

The Y.R.A. as it was then, gave its full support to the class, and Sir Ralph Gore, chairman at the time, presented the trophy for the Individual Championship Race.

The Sixties

In 1959 Terylene sails were introduced, as cotton sails were virtually out of production. These gave the boat a slight increase in speed, but were more durable and required less attention to avoid deterioration in performance.

An interesting quirk of the early days was the production of around 100 boats with aluminium decks. This was caused by the unavailability of 6mm marine grade ply!! By 1965 the Firefly looked dated compared to the new classes that were springing up. Consequently the need was felt for a revised deck layout, named the MkII. The side decks were reduced to 4″ and the foredeck camber was increased, removing the need for a spray deflector. Performance was unchanged. Another important change introduced in 1967 was the introduction of a light alloy centre plate to replace the galvanised iron plate. This did effect speed, making the boat slightly faster down wind, but also much easier to handle out of the water.

A further important change was made in 1968, the introduction of G.R.P. construction. Although wooden Fireflies had only required minimal maintenance, it was felt any further reduction would benefit the institutions.

The Fireflys were responsible for one or two other historic innovations. The gate start invented by Bee McKinnon, a master at Eton College, was first used during the Firefly Championship Week at Torquay in 1955. This was a highly operation, and is used toady throughout the world.

The Seventies & Eighties

To further improve the one design characteristics, and reduce costs, the class moved to sails made from Ratsey and Lapthorne’s Vectis sailcloth. These changes were made in 1970, and at the same time the Reynolds mast was replaced by a one piece rotating mast from Proctors.

Following negotiations the end of 1972, Vic Lewis Boats were appointed as sole builder from January 1st 1973, thus ending the Firefly’s long association with Fairey Marine. Vic Lewis worked with Craft Mouldings and the class to produce a new G.R.P. mould. A boat available with either G.R.P or wooden decks was introduced in 1976.

In 1975 with inflation rampant, the cost of producing a rotating mast specifically for the Firefly became prohibitive. It was decided to adopt a fixed mast of standard design that could be purchased anywhere in the country.

In 1976 Knight and Pink Marine started producing wooden boats again, the first since Fairy stopped production in 1973. The new boats were cold moulded, and the side decks changed in design, but not width, to be named the MkIII.

In 1982 three changes were made. Dissatisfied with the consistency of Ratsey’s sails, and the quality of the boats produced by Craft Mouldings. Hyde Sails were appointed as sailmakers, and the class association bought the Firefly moulds from Craft Mouldings. This proved to be essential in the longevity of the class. They were given on loan to Omega Boats to produce a foam sandwich GRP boat. Finally in 1982, a deep rudder was allowed in place of the swept back design, to give more stability down wind in waves.

Modern Times

Porter took over production of the G.R.P. boat up until 1995. It was decided that the boat needed an overhaul. The cost for Porters to do this would have driven the boat away from its low cost principle, so it was decided to work with another builder.

After development with Hyde sails windows were allowed in sails for the first time in 1997, increasing visibility and hence safety whilst sailing up wind.

At the Firefly’s 50th anniversary National Championship the first plug from Rondar Raceboats was seen. In 1997 they took over production of the boats. As with all good one design’s, subtle evolutionary changes are made to keep the boats relevant, and this was no exception. Buoyancy was increased and the mast height was increased very slightly in 1997. This negated two of the Firefly’s bad points in one go, allowing novice sailors to sail without worry of sinking, and larger crews to sail the boats comfortably. A slightly more contentious issue was to replace the slot in the boats alloy centre plate, with a hole. This was to prevent the plate falling out of the bottom of the boat when upside down. This was passed by the class association in 1998.

Since these changes the Firefly has seen a great revival, becoming the boat of choice for team racers across the land.


The Fairey Battle: Was it really that bad?

To avoid derailing the Hawker Henley/Martin Baker thread, this thread is to discuss the pros, cons and myths of the Fairey Battle.

Put simply, I would say it was a decent design that fulfilled the customer's requirements, but that was overtaken by events. It failed utterly in the face of fighter opposition, but did a good job during the Battle of the Barges.

Peg Leg Pom

Also the Battle was the first in a series of successful aircraft that in at least one case has achieved a near legendary status.

Fairey Battle - Fairey P4.34 - Fairey Fulmar - Fairey Firefly.

None of them were particularly fast, except the Battle at its initial conception, and the P4 never entered service. Yet they all met or exceeded the designers expectations and when used in the right circumstances could be very effective. The Battle is cursed by the events of May 1940 when it was overwhelmed by the 109s, yet in other theaters and in the cross channel raids on the barges it did well. Even after the Fall of France it was considiered essential for defence against a possible invasion. So essential in fact that when Fighter Command was showing signs of running out of pilots they were only allowed to draw on the Battle pilots in extremely small numbers.

Now the Battle of course had many problems. It was for example underpowered, which could have been corrected with later Merlins, and it was most definately under armed, being no better protected than the Sopwith 1 1/2 strutter of 20 years earlier. Still these faults were no unique to the type, being shared with the somewhat better thought of Blenheim. It was also difficult to get out of in an emergency, the observer being very unlikely to survive being shot down. They were however maneuverable, even on occasion being able to bring down 109s on occasion. They were also reasonably sturdy and unless faced with 20mm cannon difficult for an individual fighter to bring dowm. This being why they did well in East Africa and I believe would have done well in Malaya and Burma when not faced with Zeros.

In short though slipping into obsolescence by 1940 by no means the flying coffin that legend suggests.

Oldironside

Deleted member 1487

To avoid derailing the Hawker Henley/Martin Baker thread, this thread is to discuss the pros, cons and myths of the Fairey Battle.

Put simply, I would say it was a decent design that fulfilled the customer's requirements, but that was overtaken by events. It failed utterly in the face of fighter opposition, but did a good job during the Battle of the Barges.

Tomo pauk

Battle was an aswer to a specification that stipulated a long-range bomber powered by just one engine (it was not a 'ground attack' aircraft like the Su-2 or A-20). Basically - a strategic bomber on the cheap.
It did a great job on fulfilling the specification, that probably never assumed that a resulting bomber will attack a small target covered by plenty of AAA, but rather a factory of something as sizable the spec also never assumed that enemy will have radar, nor cannon-armed fighters. Let's also recall that, in the time Battle was in pipeline, the RAF/AM was still thinking about biplane fighters, and they were not alone.

So again - Battle was great in fulfilling the specification. So was the Devastator, so was Defiant, so were many other aircraft. The specifications, on the other hand, were sometimes short-sighted.

Peg Leg Pom

Just Leo

As near as I can figure, the Battle was chosen for mass production because it was so much better than what came before, and the mass of production was kept up because there was a Scheme that required numbers in service. Anything that turned up better would interrupt the quotas defined in that critical scheme of things. I wouldn't have any idea why the Hawker Hector fit into their plans, and the Henley and Fairey P.4/34 did not. The Bristol Blenheim reputation is questionable. The Mk.1 wasn't even suitable as a bomber, and the Mk.IV was as vulnerable as the Battle. The ultimate Mk.V provided no improvement, although highly improved. It did serve a purpose, in determining suitable fighter armament. It was the test dummy.

British tactical air doctrine came from two sources. The one at home achieved nothing, and the one developed in the Western Desert was codified and adopted by the RAF and by the Americans. It still didn't favor becoming the Army's artillery, but it certainly favored preventing the enemy's attempts to do the same. It emphasized in-your-face cooperation between Army/Air/ and Navy where applicable, and reduced reaction and decision time, while maintaining that the Army didn't command air forces, but that the army commander could yell over his desk at the air commander at his desk and ask for action, now. As always, the first step in air to ground operations was local air superiority over the area in question. With British and French forces acting independently, and planlessly, this was unlikely.

What I didn't like about the Battle was that the Pilot and Observer got medals, posthumously, while the enlisted gunner just died.

Peg Leg Pom

Oldironside

I've come across this sort of class based Neanderthal thinking before somewhere.

Oldironside

Archibald

Peg Leg Pom

Archibald

D'oh, forgot the Firefly that was powered by a Griffon.

Hunters ? nah, they needed a single nuke to vaporize that pesky Sedan bridgehead.

Oldironside

NOMISYRRUC

Oldironside

Peg Leg Pom

NOMISYRRUC

Oldironside

NOMISYRRUC

It has been said that the secret of comedy is timing. The same might be said of aircraft. Had Britain gone to war with Germany in 1938 instead of a year later the Battle may have had a much better reputation.

According to Aircraft of the Royal Air Force by Owen Thetford (eighth edition 1988) the Fairey Battle entered service with No. 15 Squadron, RAF in May 1937. It's performance on a 1,030hp Rolls Royce Merlin I, II, III or V engine was 241 mph at 13,000ft and its cruising speed was 210 mph.

According to German Aircraft of the Second World War by J.R. Smith & Anthony Kay a small number of Bf109B-0 pre-production aircraft were delivered to the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1937. The Bf109B-1 differed in having a 635hp Jumo 210D engine and relatively few Bf109B-2 models had the 640 Jumo 210E before the switch was made to the 670hp Jumo 210G. All of these seem to have been armed with three MG 17 machine guns.

The first Bf109B-1s were delivered to I./JG 132 Richtofen in but the book did not give the date.

The Bf109C-0 and C-1 seem to have had the same Jumo 210 engine as the B series but was armed with four MG 17s and the C-2 had five MG 17 machine guns. It does not give the performance for either the Bf109B or C, but it does say that on 26th September 1938 the Luftwaffe fighter strength was 171 Bf109s and 640 Arado Ar68 biplanes. It also says that Germany had 1,060 Bf109s a year later. Hanfried Schliephake in Birth of the Luftwaffe wrote that Germany had 36 Bf109C, 389 Bf109D and 631 Bf109E (1,056 total).


The History of Griffith's Fairey Firefly Memorial

The history of Griffith’s Fairey Firefly War Memorial dates back to the 1960’s when Griffith local and RSL member Charlie Beltrame was attending a dinner in Canberra and struck up a conversation with an un-named government minister. The minister commented that he was giving away a number of old 25 pounder artillery guns for RSL clubs to display outside their clubs as memorials.

Charlie Beltrame however felt that Griffith needed something better than an old artillery piece especially considering the Griffith area’s history as a soldier settler area.

Sometime later the minister contacted him to say that, due to the fact that HMAS Sydney was no longer being used as an aircraft carrier and the Fairey Firefly was no longer required for training naval pilots, the minister offered one provided that Charlie Beltrame and the Griffith RSL could cover the cost of getting it to Griffith.

The Fairey Firefly was considered an ideal memorial piece considering that the planes in question were ideal reconnaissance/strike aircraft due to being sufficiently fast, manoeuvrable and armed well enough to give a good account when attacked. They were also able to carry a good load of rockets or bombs and had both a reasonable endurance and range. Finally, they were also good-lookers with clean, unfussy lines and pleasant handling characteristics just like the Fulmar aircraft that preceded them.

Although the planes weren’t fully operational in the second world war until around the winter of 1943-4 when 1770 squadron, which consisted of twelve Fairey Fireflies, embarked on the H.M.S. Indefatigable and they successfully debuted in the attack on the Tirpitz and were later one of four squadrons operating in the Pacific.

It was in the Pacific theatre that the Fairey Firefly proved itself as a strike aircraft being used at Pangkalan Brandan, Palembang, Truk and the Carolines as well as being the first fleet air arm plane to attack the Japanese mainland and fly over Tokyo.

After the Second World War ended all Fairey Firefly squadrons were disbanded however the plane’s finest hour was still to come when the Fairey Firefly Mark V was delivered to the air arm in large numbers during 1948 and the Korean War broke out in 1949.

During this time hardly a day passed by when Fairey Fireflies, including the aircraft that makes up the Griffith Fairey Firefly Memorial and which served aboard the HMAS Sydney at the time, weren’t flying in support of United Nations ground forces. The aircraft that makes up the Griffith Fairey Firefly Memorial was also later used for Anti-Submarine duties around Nowra.

After a fundraising appeal was launched Charlie Beltrame arranged for the aircraft, which was stored at DeHavilland in Sydney at the time, to be made almost airworthy and to save money he also persuaded a test pilot to fly the plane to Griffith.


Build Report: Special Hobby’s 1/48 Fairey Firefly Mk. I

In a moment of insanity, I decided I wanted to build a Special Hobby kit.

Well, not so much a Special Hobby kit in general. But circumstances conspired so that I had to logically arrive at that conclusion. (And yes, I just used the word “logical” in reference to a Special Hobby kit.)

The impetus of all of this was a book I was reading, “They Gave Me A Seafire“, by Commander R ‘Mike’ Crosley DSC RN. It’s an excellent account of Commander Crosley’s experiences as a Fleet Air Arm pilot in World War II. Several times he mentioned the Fairey Firefly.

I’d always thought of the Firefly as simply a poor attempt at a fighter that was quickly eclipsed by actual fighters- like the Sea Hurricane and Seafire. As it turns out, I was wrong.

While the Firefly was certainly not the sleek and maneuverable Seafire, it was actually an important aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm. Its role evolved into that of a strike fighter, and it turned out to be well suited for that. It even served on into the Korean War.

What really made me sit up and take notice was when I read a report detailing the Firefly’s handling characteristics. The airplane had a set of flaps, with various positions. For higher speed flight, they could be tucked away. There was also a position for landing, to allow for a slower and more controlled approach for landings. But one of the settings was designed to improve handling during maneuvering. The report said that in this position, the Firefly could outturn the Zero.

That blew my mind. Of all the aircraft in World War II that comes to mind in terms of tight turn radius, the Zero would usually top anyone’s list. And yet the Firefly could do better?

I decided it was time to build one of these airplanes that I now had a new appreciation for.

After reviewing the kit choices in 1/48 scale- Grand Phoenix/AZ Models and Special Hobby, build reviews showed the Special Hobby kit to be the better of the two.

So gritting my teeth, I went on Ebay and found a reasonably priced one.

As with most Special Hobby kits, examining the parts in the box gives one a great deal of hope. Generally the detail is nice, surface detail is good, and the parts breakdown is fairly conventional. Enough so that is lulls you to sleep. “This will be fun”, you think. You naively wade in, and suddenly you hear a vaguely familiar voice in your ear shouting “It’s a trap!” Too late….

Anyway…. so how was the build?

The cockpit is very detailed. Thankfully SH decided to set aside the resin and photoetch parts, and focus on injection molded detail. Lots of parts to glue in- but it all fit. (Unlike my past experiences with the Il-10 and CA-13.) I did add some tape seat belts, but apart from that, it was out of the box. Test fitting into the fuselage showed some minor sanding was needed to allow the fuselage to close up nicely, which it did so to my surprise.

I was a bit frustrated that SH chose to only provide a closed canopy option. With all the nice detail, I would have liked to have seen an open canopy option. I considered cutting the canopy open, but decided against it, as I figured simply getting through the kit was good enough. The rear canopy section did not fit well at all, being a bit too narrow. However, I once again decided to leave well enough alone and use it as is, gaps or not.

With the fuselage closed up, I moved on to the wings. Special Hobby did mold the wheel wells as a single piece resin part, and to my complete surprise, it fit without any adjustments or fuss at all. However, I was quickly reminded that yes, I was indeed building a SH kit when I put the upper wing parts on. They had a slight “overhang” on the leading edge of the wings, and the join itself was not great. It was as if the angle of one mating surface was slightly off, requiring either a good deal of sanding to address before gluing, or some putty after gluing. I chose the latter route.

With the wings squared away, fitting them to the fuselage was anticlimactic. It was a pretty good fit for a SH kit. I did use some Mr. Surfacer to minimize the gaps a bit, but other than a bit of sanding where the trailing edge of the wing joins the fuselage, it went fairly well.

With the major portions of the fuselage squared away, it was time to move on to painting. I really like the look of the Fleet Air Arm colors, but unfortunately Tamiya (my favorite paint) doesn’t have a good match for Extra Dark Sea Gray or Extra Dark Slate Gray. I did find some “recipes” for mixing the paint, and because it was on the Interwebs, it must be correct.

I painted the undersides in Tamiya XF-21 Sky, and the uppers in my own mix of Tamiya paints. While the colors turned out pretty good, I thought there wasn’t enough contrast, so I think next time I’ll factor that in to the mix. (I’m a firm believer that there is a difference between being correct and looking right when it comes to scale models.)

I did a bit of artists oil splattering to break up the monotone appearance, but I didn’t go too heavily into the weathering. A few grime, oil and exhaust streaks were added, as well as my usual post-shading and fading.

The Special Hobby decals performed well, though they were so thin I ended up ruining one of the numbers that went on the nose, so I just left those off. They were just a slight bit too transparent for my tastes, but otherwise they worked well.

I finally added the fiddly bits, gave it a flat coat, and called it done.

I was definitely happy with how it turned out overall. And I can say with certainty that if Special Hobby would at least maintain this standard, I’d be more willing to build their stuff. If they could just work on their precision, they’d be starting to reach the level of Airfix. Their accuracy seems to be good, and they get a nice level of detail in the interior, and the surface detail is very nice. (In fact, I’d say it’s a tad bit better than Airfix in that area.)

And please, Special Hobby- give an option for an open canopy!

Given what you pay for their kits, and the overall level of difficulty building them, I’d still only recommend them to advanced modelers. And if there is a reasonable alternative from another mainstream manufacturer, go with that kit instead.