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Volume ?

Issue 78

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i
Ccrrier Aircraft
of t|tbrld\JVarll
Carierhorne aitpower reached such a peak in Wotld War II Deck accidents were commonplace
throughout the war, when the
that several battles in the Facific were fought solely with fevered pitch of operations forced
carrterborne afucraft. Elsewhere the carrters were errors in men and failures of
machinery. This Seafire Mk IIC was
proteeting convoys, fighting submarines and coveting beach thevictim of a snapped arrester
assaulfs. wire.

The overwhelming importance ol carrierborne air power to warfare at ance when compared to therr land-based contemporartes - althoLlr:
sea was only dimly foreseen in the years prior to World War Ii. The this did not prevent the Fairey Swordfrsh from amasstng a war reccrtr
battleship and naval gunnery had dominated the oceans from the days of second to none - and conversions oflandplanes such as the Supermar;-e
the Spanish Armada to the Battle of iutland, and battleships outnum- Spitfire produced performance at the expense of durabiiity, It was lei:c
bered carriers considerably in the navies of the world. Nevertheless, the Japanese to show that the carrier aircraft, rn the shape of the Mi:s;-
the 1930s saw the evolution of the methods and tactics that were to bishi A6M Zero, could outfly and outflght land-based opponents.
dominate the Pacific War and also contribute greatly to the successful It was, however, the swarm of big, beefy US Navy alrcraft based upc:
conclusion of the war tn the Atlantic. It was the US Navy who was to the massive American carrier force that was to prove decisive. Led c-''
become the master of carrier warfare, but both the Royal Navy and the the Grumman F6F Hellcat and the Vought F4U Corsair, US and All1e j
imperial Japanese navy had made srgnifrcant contributions. naval arrcraft in therr thousands ranged the skies over Japan during :ie
The demands made by this new form of warfare were considerable, final months of the war, in a display of naval air power undreamed of or.'-
especially upon the aircraft used and upon the younQl men who flew flve years before,
them, The 'controlled crash' of a carrier landing demanded strong A scene repeatedmany times throughout thewar:GrummanTBF Avengers
nerves and a strong atrcraft, particularly in any sea state which could set off on a mission in the Pacific. This theatre brought total carrier war into the
cause the deck to pitch and roil alarmingly. minds of the military strategists, and itwas to be carrierborne air power that
In general, purpose-designed carrier aircraft had infenor perform- won the war in this vast ocean.
trl Aichi D3A'Val'
Although thought to be obsolescent
when Japan entered the war, the Aichi
DBA with fixed spatted landing gear
was the first Japanese aircraft to drop
bombs on American tarqets when air-
cra-ft of this type took part in the great
raid on Pearl Harbor on 7 December
1941, Designed to a 1936 carrier-based
dive-bomber requirement, the pro-
totype was flown in January 1938 with a
529 4-kW (710-hp) Nakajima Hikari I Aichi D3A I of the Yokosuka Kokutai in I 940.'Vals' were among the
radial. Production D3AI aircraft had most accurate of dive-bombers owing to the steep dive employed.
slightly smaller wings and were po-
wered by the 745.7-kW (1,000-hp) Mit-
subishi Kinsei 43 radial. A dorsal fin
extension considerably improved the
aircraft's manoeuvrability although
the armament of only two forward-
flnng 7.7-mm (0,303-in) machine-gmns, small number was subsequentlY em-
'wrth another of the same calibre in the ployed in kamikaze attacks. Produc-
rear cockpit, was undeniably puny, Af- tion amounted to 476 D3Als and 1,016
ier lLmited land-based operations in D3A2, The Al[ed reportinq name was
China and indo-China, D3As were 'Val',
flovrn in all major carrier acttons dw-
.ng the first l0 months of the war and Specficatron
sank more Allied naval vessels than AichiD3A2
aly other Axis aircraft, Among British Type: two-seat carrierborne dive-
:asualtres in D3A1 attacks were HMS bomber
Hermes (the world's first carrier to be Powerplant: one 969. 4-kW ( L, 300-hp)
s,ilk by carrier aircraft), and the cruis- Mitsubishr Kinsei 54 radial piston The D3Awas the standard dive- successes were the attacks on Pearl
Cornwall and Dorselshtle, Heavy engdne bomber of the I apanese air Erroups Harbor and the sinking of the British
=rs
lcsses among D3Als during and after Performance: maximum speed during the earlyyearc ofthe carrier H M S Hermes. Tirs rs flle
-re Battle of the Coral Sea, however, 430 km/h (267 mph) at 6200 m campaign. I ts most notable better-lookingD3A2.
::rced withdrawal by most of the survi- (20,341 ft); climb to 3000 m (9,843 ft) in
-.-crs to land bases, In 1942 the D3A2 5.76 minutes; sewice ceiling 10500 m ienglh 10 20 m t33't5 6 in; heLghr nose and one trainable 7,7-mm (0.303-
-;as introduced with rncreased fuel (34,449 ft); range 1352 km (840 miles) 3.85 m t.2 f 7.6 tns. w,ng area 34 90 m' in) Type 92 gun rn the rear cockpit,
:apacity and more powerful engtine, Weishts: empty 2570 kq (5 666 lb); (375.7 sq ft) plus one 250-kg (551-lb) bomb under
bui by 1944 the aircraft were hopeless- maximum take-off3800 kq (8,378 ]b) Armament: two forward-firing 7, 7-mm the tuselage and two 60-kg (132-lb)
._.' outclassed by American fighters; a Dimensions: span 14,38 m (47 ft 2. I in); (0.303-in) Type 97 machine-qnrns in the bombs under the wings

o
JAPAN

Mitsubishi AOM'Zeke'

Mitsubishi A6M2 ot the fighter complement aboard


Hiryn durrng fft e attack on Pearl Harbor in December
194t.

Other versions were the A6M6 with Weights:empty iB76 kq (4, 136 lb); length 9 I2 mt29 ft I 1. I in): height
water-methanol boosted Sakae 31 en- normal loaded 2733 kg (6,025 lb) 3.51 m (l 1 ft 6,2 in): wrngarea 21.30 m'
gine and the A6M7 fighter/dive- Dimensions:span 11,00 m (36 ft 1,1 in); (229,28 sq ft)
bomber. Total productron of a1l A6Ms
was 10,937. (The reporting name'Zeke'
was given to the A6M, and'Rufe'to a
float version, the A6M2-N.)

Specification
Mitsubishi A6MSb'Zeke'
Type: single-seat carrierborne fighter
Powerplant: one 820,3-kW (1, l0O-hp)
Nakajima NK2F Sakae 2 i radial piston
englne
Performance: maximum speed
565 kn'/h (351 mph) at 6000 m
(19,685 ft); climb to 6000 m (19,685 ft) in
7.0 mrnutes; servrce ceiling ] 1740 m
(38,517 ft); ranse ll43 km(710miles)

Fearedby allAllied pilots before the


arrival of theHellcat in Pacific
waters, the A6M featured
as tonis hing manoeuvr abil ity and
good e ndu r ance, e s pe cially w hen
equipped with an underfuselage fue)
tank, as here. These A6M2s are on a
long - r ange figh ter p atr o L
Mitsubishi A6M'Zeke' (continued)

Armament: one 7. 7-mm (0, 303-in) Tlpe


97 and one 13,2-mm (0.52-in) Type 3
machine-gmn in nose, and two wing-
mounted 20-mm type 99 cannon, plus
underwing provision for hvo 60- or 250-
kg ( I32- or 551-lb) bombs

M itsubishi AGM 2 of the 6 th K okutai


based atRabaul, New Britain, in
November 1942.

trl ttt"ji*a BsN oKate'


Designed to a 1935 requirement, and
already in servrce for four years when
Japan entered the war, the Nakajima
BSN was in 1941 without question the
best carrrerborne torpedo-bomber in
the world, Powered by a Nakajima
Hikari radial engrne, the low-wtng
three-crew monoplane with inwards-
retracting wide-track landinq gear
was exceptionally clean, and flrst flew
in January 1937. The followinq year IVakaiimaBSIV oI aJapanese navy
production BSNl aircraft were unit. This ty pe w as responsible for
embarking in Japan's carriers and swvivors were withdrawn from com- Weights: empty 227 9 kg (3,024 lb); many successful attacks onAllid
shqre-based units were deployed in bat after the Philippine battles of 1944. maximum take-off 4 100 kg (9, 039 lb) shipping in the Pacific theate.
China, In 1939 the improved BSN2 Theieafter, on account of their excel- Dimensions: span 15,52 m (50 ft 1 1 rn);
appeared wrth a more powerful Sakae lent rangre, they were assigtned to anti- lengith I0.30 m (33 ft 9.5 in), height 92 trainable machine-gun in rea:
1l engine in a smaller cowling, submarine and maritime reconnass- 3.70 m ( 12 ft 1.7 in); wins area 37,70 m' cockpit, plus one 800-kg (1.764-:.
although armament and bombload ance dutres in areas beyond the range (405,8 sq ft torpedo or an equivalent weigh:::
were unchanged, and this version re- of Allied fighters. Production of all Armament: one 7, 7-mm (0. 303-in) Type bombs
mained in productioh until 1943, When BSNs reached 1,149.
Japan attacked the USA the B5N2 had
wholly replaced the BSNI with oper- Specification
ational unlts, and 144 B5N2s were in- Nakajima B5N2 'Kate'
volved in the fateful attack on Pearl Type: three-crew carrierborne
Harbor; within the next 12 months air- torpedo-bomber
craft of this type sank the American Powerplant: one 745. 7-kW ( 1, O00hp)
carriers USS Hornet, Lexington and Nakajima NKIB Sakae I I radial pGton
Yorktown, Given the reportinq name
'Ihte'by the Allies, the BSN certainly Performance: maximum speed
earned the respect of the Americans, 378 krn/h (235 mph) at 3600 m
and in all the major carder battles of (1i,B1l ft); climb to 3000 m (9,843 ft) in
the Pacific War attracted the undi- 7.7 mrnutes; service ceiling 8260 m
vrded attention of defending fighters. (27, lOO ft); range 1990 lcn (1,237mi]es)
With its puny defensive armament of a
srngle machine-gmn and laden with a These twoBSNs are seenflying over
large bomb or torpedo, however, the the mighty 70,000-ton battleship
BSN began to suffer very heavily, and Yamato (tfi e Jarsre st ever ). T he
although the type was fully committed underfuselage shackles for the
during the Solomons campargn the torpedo (or bombs) are visible.

JAPAN

o Nakajima BON Till'

built) were embarked in the carriers Specification N akaj ima B6N 2 Tenzan of the
Shokaku, Taiho, Hiyo, J unyo and Zuika- NakajimaB6N2 Jill' Imperial J apane s e N avY. ftrs ctp€
ku, and took part in the great Battle of Type: three-crew carierborne was designed tosupersede tieBi&'
the Philippine Sea of June i943, many torpedo bomber and saw intensive use durrnEr tfue
being lost when the three first-named Powerplant: one 1379,S-kW (1,850-hp) latter partof thewar.
carriers were sunk, In that month pro- Mitsubishi MK4T Kasei 25 radial piston
duction started of the sliqhtly im- engine
proved B6N2 (of which l, 133 were pro- Performance : maximum speed
duced before the end ofthe war), but 481 krri/h (299 mph) at 4900 m
the heavy losses among Japanese car- (16,076 ft); cllmb to 5000 m (16,404 ft) in
riers resulted in the Till'being largely i0,4mrnutes; service ceihng9040 m
deployed ashore, particularly after the (29,659 ft); ranse 1746 km(1,0B5miles)
Battle of Leyte Gu1f. Thereafter many Weights: empty 3010 kg (6,636 1b);
BSNs were consigned to the kamikaze maximum take-off 5650 kq ( 12,456 lb)
role, Dimensions: span 14,89 m (48 ft
Gsrrier &&w ffiwwwffiw
The start of the war saw carrierbsrne air power vtel! arganized but still Jacking
experience. Throughout the con{liet, the skil}s and teehnr.}agry were.honerJ te afine
ari, and ships, airclaft and tacffcs adya nced. ta ffte sfags Frftcre the carrier and j{sa,l:
graupwere in manyways lftespearftead of the armed/orccs"
When World War II broke out in 1939, it mtght from ihe Ark R-o"tals No. 800 Squadron were
be clarmed that aircrait-carriers rvere siill in li=i : ,1 a:k:h- Jr,.:ch caL:"esnip lt,cnelieu
their adoiescence, largely because ol the o 1la* r 1*..6te:r,bei i?{0 aboula 5'eal be'
ienqth ol time taken io perfect equtpmeni, an L:. :.-.. -..rr lu: irr, cf ]A-VI-sn-ps rcciiooul:
example being the faci that it was not until 15 Alr.rei lvlerchant shrps) designed to ptotect
years after lhe end oi World War I that trans- c-i: ,'.,,;-< agaursi aerial attack using a specially
verse arrester wires rvere finally adopteci n:i,.-:cl ;ersron ol the Hawker Flurrlcarre llavtnE tseen equipped with Glaster,ged
carrjers .n clmnissior
Or the six Royal Novy '.i:t.1 ..,1.'.. ieslgnateci Sea Fiurricane !/k 1A It Gladrators andFaireysrrcrdfis/r, the F leet Air Arm
in i939 only lwo had been desrgned as such ':.-. . i:st :lde that the Royal l!"a-vry hacl re- weicamed rnadern fj'Fres sucfi as lfi e Fuirnnr and
Sjicfr,lrurn S?ua in fo action. rJ euserrer, neithe.r type
from 'he ouiser iHlviS Ark Royat attd Hernes a:: .: r :.: eeicplane .,r,,ith a performance com-
-- ' :l: )1 jand ba;qo hghters
;o," was abtre to haldi{s ctrzn agrain-sl enernj, aircraft.
the oLhers all berng coriv€rttons (HMS Fut a. .'
Glorious, Courageous and -,Irgus). The ,Argrus 13 li ','.'ar prcgiesjsed, new monoplane
rvas promoted to iront-line work only alter the .-::.=:: te:ane '-:'imr.,tti available, includincJ the arouncl 160 krr:/h (100 mph) more lhan that ci
loss of ihe Ark Royal in November .L941, . --.r: Wild:ar r arrey' ior e>rampJe, the handicapped Fuln"rar, '1'he
It iias .o be admrtieC lhat lhere $/as a lurL:,c-' - -:: --' ;:: :l :iurse :he supermarrne seaf,re, Grulnrnan F4Fs which hacl been accepted i-.v
hali-dozen,rnder ccnstruct ion ( H MS 111u:rn - - '.::'='.:.=; '.-, -.:. ne'nr ircmbers such a.s tlie Grum- lhe US irlavy a year befcre couiri belter the
Formidable, Victorious, indontitable, lnde - - ..-J f.=. 'r'tr ', larracuda so tha' lapanese figure'by scme ZOkmAi (l0mph)
fatigable and Implacable) But tliey were :-= :. - ','-.. , .:. . .; i,,as able to make healy raids Thus rudely flung into tfre greater conflicl, the
rbviously nol gott:q to be ;varlable foi ..'.r-= . . .. . i '.e ,. iiesh.n lirpltz rn USA haci a force of seven carrters inciudinc
vears, and 1he growir.g SerrousresS o{ the P,. L, ---.
-'.
...-'rs and ogainst Japanese shore
- ,,..:. ll,^ /orktom' cir:s USS Hr,rr'cl COl1lfl-.:'
i,o of the Atianrrc meen rhc ad-pt:on nia s.-. ' -i::r - ,:.:re IndieS. srtrne'l cniy iti rhe -orov:o ll IrLoi llt. drd :-:
'-:,,'=-', .'.'as irEaSl
---:.:
;.],i;tit iittgl*y 'Ii'rs -,nras one fer,ver liiar.
.rap measule. the ;se oi M.ACships (Merc: :. - the Pacjflc that the Royal
Alrcralt Carrier shrps, which were merel-,' -., .-. '.'.,. .:,. : :c mount attacks from .larr-ter Japan, whrch boasied lhe stronge*st carrrie:
nercrrant vebsels frtLed wil h smJr f light oet k ; fcrce in lhe Faciflc. And thrs lorce was in prc-
anC escori carriers (converted merchantr:ren ,r-, ,.-: ,-: r'-- ia.l beeri secured, In thrs the cerss of auqrnentation to even qEeater strenqth
'iu'ith betvreen-deck hangars and ful1 aircrail :,::: . , : '.' --:: srmiiar io those of the USA and First oi the lvar-constli;ction iapanese cal-
arresting gear, with defensive quns and radar) ... .:t ;., l:heres advlncrs hao riers vvas Ihe Taiho oi 29 .i00 ton-{ at fie tirne c-
A residual elfect of the 1922 Washingicn ::==:- . . = -:.:lir:1tnq lhe irrtroduction of air- C+tivery the nost h,'a;r y rro.QC'(:(i j-J.ar-rc'p ...
Treatl', restricting the size of carriers, had re- :,,,.-a ..,'.-.- t'::l:ei arman:ent, catapults l:uilt rl;c u,c:ldv''i,lt 95 nm (3 ?I irrl ol lla'ina rn i-
.'.ilted in British .,iessels beinq srnaller thar '-.-
- -:.::,:r j.:cks so that whole squadron flight deck for the 150 m (492 ft) belween ih.
,. .:-c-, brri ablc lo poJice a far-fl,]nq emp.'j !. - - ,,l .: = :. -'.:=:i 'rn the rear end of the flight hfls, which then'rsel-res hact 50-mn' (1,97-in
': broedly the Royal Ndvy tettded to op^le.:
-: ,r- -: - - :,.-- r r,?rilrn (perhaps the beglnning toDS,
snall groups or even single carriers. Their .: .. ' ...1rrg l. ,-r alterra:j'rely 'fhc s:z,e oI Lhe c,rlier Jroucs th.rl i;urd :=
, r - - - -,-.r:.'i,ssisied'Lake-Off GeaI), c(..rnnlltr-4cl ,o PacLFrc -r,"rations js u,.c,ll il.j.
=qurpment was divicied between obsolescei: ii'arc.d bv :he fot cl
tha: w,rs seer. appt oachi". :
-:rcraft like the Fairey Swordfish and the Gics- j ipa :.t: e artaifi force
::l Sea Gladraior (the former type successiuli-; in I)o^ i)rrna,iorr ifl lhe cporlirg rtcrnttr; c,I t:'
:.rr_ving out the assault on Taranto :n i.lo'rem- :,::-:i.:ans the Japanese realized Cecisive Baille of lv{idv,,ay, Ttris consisie cl ol th:
::r i940 to which a two-carrier qroup l'-/as ,:: ,l the v,tide confines ol the Hlryu with her 64 aircrait leading ihe port coi-
--;-rally desrgnatedl and such moclern tlrt' r=:- c-rl:ed cul by lar-cle carrier umir with the Soryr-l (the sarne total ol 'Zerc
- :.= Farrey Fulmar nghLer (s1lii hanC'c:po. -r -- : .-:n ,he attack
r:n Pearl Flarbor flethters, 'Va]' clive-bombers and 'Kate' bon-
. . :.e sr;p,iiaied r,ccessriy '? carly cl tlbVr!ctC I ::- : r:Li:e oi six carriers (iermed oer:) oniy ?00" m (5,14C y"lCs) asLet n On 'r=
.-:.i the Blackburn Skua dive bomber, Thcse -=:.. '.-.'i:h tne 42,000-ton Fkagt as o her srCe ol .he delcrst-te inrn:alrcr. \vd3 tr:
-. .:=-: aircrait nuinbers specially ilagship ,4ka9l, with.the Kaga bringing up the
'-. -:l inachines, These in ihe rear, The operation rnras an atielnpl lc lure the
I se improvement in Eritish carriergroups .ls l,jS iraciiic fleet into a trap ofl Hawaii, but l.
znply illustrated in this picture oflIM,S Colossus.m misfilecl and a1i membels oi the Japanese cai-
l,1a,y 1945. an her deeks are Fairey Barracudas,
S : per.marine Seafiies and tft e excellent VouEht rier groL:p 'v1''eie citplrled by Dougla.s; SBi
l::satr- Dauntless citve-bornbers although the USA ios:
the USS Yorktrstrtn (Task Force 17) which nac
been flung lnio ihe lray'r'iith theXlfer;:rse anc
the Ho;-nel raaking up Task Force i5. it was the
division oi the American iorce which corirr-
br.rlecl to v1ctcry, since the Japanese had be-
ileved thal |he Yorktctnn was the cnly carrier

fL ts,s-
'#*
f.d&
,
Tq*':
I t*'i".
rffi
ilw

AboyerSymbolic af tle stateof Japanese ait pawet


in the lastmanths of fhe war, a,'ldii.subis-&i.46M"
once the scourge oI Allied itilols. js cheeredb/
ground erew as jf sef*q cfl for a kamikase m jssion
durrng the bail le of Ley te Gulf .
Carrier Aircraft of World War II
-_-'l
i
i

i
I

I
.l
l

ffi second US,SYorktown (CV-J 0) demonslrafes


e
its ability to land aircraft whilst sailing backwards.
Yorktown was second of 8fte'Essex' class, which
were to dominate the final proieedings of the
Pacificwar.

presenl and that the earher fire aboard marked K amikaze ! AJ apanese pilot altempts ta hit the Although well-defended, aircraft carriers often
her doom. Hellcat-laden deck of lie Sangamon. ,Sucfi
US,S suffered great damage when hitwith so many
The ioss of the four big carriers in this opera' attacks became lrequentfram October 1944 aircraft in close praximity. USS Enterprise was
tion made it impossible ior Japan to bring her onwards and by the lastgreatbattle atOkinawa lucky here to escape with only a few aircraft lost
main Japanese method of attack.
,lrad becorne flr e after itwas damagedby abomb atlwoJima.
powerlul fleet into action, and thereafter her
naval power beqan slowly to recede. 'lhis is not
tr: say that there was no Japanese kick still left
ior the Americans to absorb, despile Japan's The Japanese admiral made Ihe opening groups was rn effect the death oi her narry
loss of the light carrier Sioj:o, sunk during her mistake of the day by launching 73 of his air- The years behveen the attack on Pearl Har-
first and last action one month before and the cralt agarnst the US fleet at extreme range. bcr and this conclr.rsive actlon had been evolu-
first Japanese 'flat-top' to go to the bottom. These were the first of 372 flown off, 242 of these tionary in the use of carrier task forces ior the
Nevertheless, the summer of 1944 found the being brought down from the four waves that USA The first US carrier raids had been srm--ar
greater part of Japan's fleet siill at TawrTawi were despatched, in this Battle of the Phrlip- to those mounted by the Royal Navy at the time
under orders of Vice-Admiral Ozawa on i0 prne Sea The Americans were using in the and the first attempl to operate two carriers in a
June, The force here inciuded srx aircraft- main Grumman FCF Hellcat fighters, and itwas single disposition was the attack on Ner.;
carriers shared between two drvisions, and these (tcgether wnh anti-aircraft guns firing Guinea in March 1942. It was this first ccm-
ihese with the rest of the force leit ihe anchor- proximity-fused shells) that did the greater part bined phase rhat brought the development ::
age en route for exercises near the Philippines of the rnornine/s execution. US counterattacks larger carrier task lorces which culmina'ed -:
three days later. were concentrated on the S&oka,tu and Tatio. such successful cperatrons by the groups
Large as this muster was, it was smaller than Both had their aviation fuei storage ruptured so already descnbed.
the US lleet it encountered, the American that explosive vapours spread throughout the
Illustrating the overwhelmingmightof US naval ajr
strengih comprising Task Force 58 with a mas- vesseis; it was obviously only a matler of lime power in the /astmontis, the sixth'Essex'carrter.
sive group of eight lrght carriers and the fleet for both, and after delays (in the case of.Tatho flre USS Ticond eroga (CY - ] 4 ) sails for the F ar E a s t
carriers USS B unker lfill, Wasp, E ssex and Hor- as ionq as sx hours) huge internal explosicns withHellcats, Helldivers and Avengers on deck. !n
net, to name only ihe best-known of a group of tore both apart and sank them. For Japan, the fter iast Erur'se, 'Big T' would be graced with
seven. outcome of the meetu:g of these two carrier Skyhawks and Crusadersduring theVietnam war,
tr-l Yotoruka D4Y Tudy'
Well-proportioned and purposeful Ln
appearance, the Yokosuka D4Y Pos-
sessed an excellent performance and
owed much of its concept to the Ger-
man He I18, for whose manufacturing
rights Japan negbtiated tn i938. De-
signed as a fast carrier-based attack
bomber and powered by an impofied
Daimler-Benz DB 600G enqine, the
D4YI was first flown in December
1941; D4Y1-C reconnaissance aircraft
were ordered into Production at the D4Y2 but, rn the interests of pre-
Aichi's Nagoya plant, the flrst of 660 seiving hiqh performance, nothing Y-okosukaD4Y__3-of_thelmperiala-paneseNavy.-Thisversionintroducedthe
aircraft belng completed in the late was do"ne td introduce armour protec- MitsubishiMK9PKinseii2radialengine,whichavoidedthereliability
spring of 1942 The frrst service aircraft tion lor crew or fuel tanks, and ihe sole
prohlems of the earlier Aichi Atsuta engine.
were lost when the Soryu was sunk at improvement in gun armament was
Midway, Named Suisei (comet) in ser- ihi inclusion of d tg 2-mm (0 52-in) Specification Weights: emptv 2501-kg (5.514 lb);
vice and codenamed JudY' bY the ii"-i"itf" s"" fiepfactnq the prevrous YbkosukaD4Y3Judy' .. Paxrmumtake-off 4657 kq(10.267
lb)
Allies, many D4Yls were comPleted i,g'z'--Jds i-ili iir"j r itr" rear cock- Type: two-seat carri6rbornedive- Dimensions:span^11 50 m (37 ft
as dive-bombers, and 174 Suiseis of p"iilff,i. r"rJi"r JufferJ heavily inthe f6inner B 75 in) Iength.tO p tQa ft 6 4 in);
6itti"fotitre ftitippines Probiemsof Powerplant:one11633-kW(1 560 hp)
-Z^Z
wingarea
the Ist, 2nd and 3rd Koku Sentais were lStg^ht3ri1g(12ft32in);
embarked in nine carriers before the reliabiliry with ths Atsuta (DB 601) en- Mitsubishi MKBP Krnser 62 radial 23,60 m"(254.04-sq lt)-
Battle of the Phihppine Sea, However, si;;Gaio ;a"plion or a Kinsei 62 ra- piston engdne Armament: two f,xed forward-firing
they were intercepted bY American Oiuf i. ii u O+Vb, and thrs engrne was Performance: maximum speed 7.7-mm (0 303-in) Type^97 machine-
carriets, and suffered heavy casualttes ieiiineO * the D4y4 which"was de- 575 knr/h(35? mph)at6050 m gunsinnoseandone 13 l-mm(0,5-in)
without achreving any success, A new ;;[;"4 i. 1-9[li. a sinsle-sea-t (19849ft); climbto3000m(98-4_3-{) Type2trainable€nrninrearcockpil
version with 1044-kW (1,400-hp) Aichi surciile dive-bomber. A total'of 2,033 4,55 minutes; service ceiling i0500 m plus a maximum bombload of 560 kg
Atsuta 32 engine appeared in 1944 as production D4Ys was compieted, (34,449 ft); range 1520 km (944 miles) (1'235 lb)

l% 8,tnis SBZC Helldiver


Curtiss SBZC- I Helldiver of VB-B aboard USS
Last of a long line of Curtiss aircraft to
carry the name Helldiver (the earlier Bunker HilL sernh g in the Pacific theatre.
aircraft beinq inter-war biplanes), the
Curtiss SB2C was first flown as the
XSB2C-I on lB December 1940, Pro-
duction SB2C-I aircraft featured an en-
larged fin and rudder assemblY, in-
creased fuel capacity and four 12,7-
mm (0,5-in) gruns in the wings. The
SB2C-IC carried an armament of t\t\ro
20-mm gnrns in the winqs, The SB2C-3
appeared in 1944 with more powerful
engine, and the SB2G-4 had provision
to carry eight 127-mm (S-in) rockets or
454 kg (1,000 lb) of bombs under the
wings (in addition to the 454-kg/1,000-
lb internal bombload); the SB2C-4 car-
ried radar rn a small pod under the Right: These two SB2C- 1C Helldivers
vnng, and the SB2C-5 had increased from VB- I are on patrol in I 944. The
fuel, Production amounted to 7,199 of Helldiverwas notEked bY Pilots or
all aircraft, including 300 by Fairchild ground crew andwas referred to bY
in Canada, 984 by the Canadian Car many derogatory nidantnes, the
and Foundry, and 900 produced for the most common of which was'The
USAAF as the A-25A (most of which Beast'. Despife its reputation, the
were taken over by the US Marine type put in much service in the thick
Corps and redesignated SB2C-IA)- of the b attle ag ainst J ap an.
Helldivers flrst went into action on 11
November 1943 with a raid bY VB-17 Performance : ma:amum speed
on Rabaul, During 1944 they gradually 475 kn:/h (295 mph) at 5090 m
replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless, ( 16,700 ft); initial climb rate 549 m

and were in constant action against the (1,800 ft) per mnute; serrnce ceiling
Japanese, Some 26 Canadian-built air- BB70 m (29,100 ft), ranse 1875 lan
craft were supplied to the UK (I,165 mrles)
Weights: empty 4784 kq ( 10,547 lb);
Specification maximum take-otr7537 kg (16,6 16 ]b)
Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver Dimensions: span 15. 16 m (49 ft I in);
Type: two-seat scout-bomber Ienqth I l,18 m (36 ft B Ln); height 4.01 m Armament: tlvo fixed forward-flring cockpit, plus a bombload of 454 kq
(13 ft 2 in); wrngarea 39 20 m" 20-mm gnrns in the wings and two 7,62- ( 1,000 tb) under the wings and 454 kg
Powerplant: one 14]6,8-kW (1,900-hp)
(422,0 sq ft) mm (0,3-in) trainabie quns in the rear (1,000 lb) internally
Wright R-2600-20 radiai ptston engine
USA
lw-
: Vought F4U Corsair
Distinctive yet not unattractive with tts
inverted gnrll wing, the Vought F4U
Corsair was unquestionably the best
shipborne fighter of the war, and
gained an li:lkill:loss ratio rn the
Paciflc, Designed by Rex B, Beisel, the
XF U-I was flown on 29 MaY 1940, the
flrst production F4U-1 flghters betng
deliv-ered to VF-12 in October 1942,
although most of the early aircraft went
to the US Martne Corps. It was a land-

1546
Vought F4U Corsair (continued)

based US Marrne squadron, VMF- 124,


that first flew the Corsair into action, on
13 February 1943 over Bougainville,
Additional production lines were set
up by Brewster and Goodyear, these
companres producinq the F3A-1 and
FG-I respectively, To improve the
pilot's fieid of view, later aircraft intro-
duced a raised cockpit, and the F4U-
lC had a four 20-mm cannon arma-
ment The F4U-ID, FG-ID and F3A-ID
were powered by water-injection
boosted R-2800-BW engrnes, and
could carry two 454-kg (1 000-lb)
bombs or eight 127-mm (5-in) rockets F4U-ID ahoard USSEssex(C7-9) inApfl 1945,
under the wrngs, Late in the war a armedwith rockets for softening-up attacks on
ntght-flghter version, the XF4U-2, saw Okinawa.
Iimited seruice with VFN-75 and VFN-
i
10 Wartlme production of the Corsair
(which contrnued until 1952 with later
versions) reached 4,120 F4U-ls, 735
F3A-ls and 3,808 FG-1s; ofthese 2,012
were supplied to the UK's Fleet Air
Arm and 370 to New Zealand, Indeed,
it was the Royal Navy's Corsair Mk II
aircraft of No, 1834 Squadron that were Goodyear-built Corsair Mk IV (FG- lD) serving with No.
the first Corsairs to operate from a car- 1 8 5 0 S qn, F leet Air Arm, HMS l,Iengeance, w hils t on
rrer when, on 3 April 1944, they took Pacificdutyin 1945.
part in operations against lhe Tirpitz

Specification
VoughtF4U-i Corsair
Type: single-seat shipboard fighter
Powerplant: one 1491,4-kW (2,000-hp)
Pratt & Whitney R-2800'B radial piston

Performance: maximum speed


67 I kn/h (4 I7 mph) at 6066 m
( 19,900 ft); initial climb rate BB1 m
(2,890 ft) per minute; service ceiling
i 1247 m (36,900 ft); ranse 1633 km
(1,0I5 miles)
Weishts: empty 4074 kg (8,982 lb);
maximumtake-off6350 kg (14,000 ib)
Dimensions:span i2,50 m(41 ftO in);
lenqth 10.17 m (33 ft 4,5 in); heisht
4 90 m(J6 ft I in); wingarea29,Il mz
(314,0 sq ft)
Armament: sx forward-fidng I2, 7-mm
i0 5-in) machine-gruns in the wings

The tinest naval tighter produced in


the war, Vought's distinctive Corsair
was also an excellent ground-attack
platform with bombs and rockefs.

: Douglas SBD Dauntless


Developed directly from the Northrop ing these with 451 SBD-6 aircraft with Specification maximum take-off4924 kg (10,855 lb.
BT-1 (the Northrop Corporation be- -66 engines, The USAAF took delivery Douglas SBD-S Dauntless Dimensions:span 12,65 m (41 ft
3arre a division of Douglas), the pro- of168 SBD-3A, 170 SBD-4A and 615 Type: two-crew carrierborne scout/ 6,25 in); length 10,06 m (33 ft 0 ur):
:ctype of the Douglas SBD Dauntless SBD-5A aircraft as the A-24, A-24A and dive-bomber height 3.94 m (12 ft I I in): wingarea
:,,vo-seat carrierborne dive bomber A-248 respectively, bringing the total Powerplant: one 894, B-kW ( 1, 200-hp) 30. 19 m'(325,0 sq ft)
,"as in fact a much modified production Douglas productron to 5,936 SBDs. Wright R- 1820-60 radial pisron engine Armament: two fixed forward-fu::g
3T-1, Production orders for 57 SBD-I They were unquestionably one of the Performance: maximum speed 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-gn:rs a:.:
a-nd 87 SBD-2 aircraft were placed in USA's most important weapons in the 394 lff/h (245 mph) at 48 16 m Nvo trainable 7,62-mm (0.3-rn) g::s:-
April 1939, the former being delivered Pacific war, and sank a grreater ton- ( 15,800 ft); initial chmb rate 363 m rear cockpit, plus a bombload c: ::-e
ic US Marine Corps bombing and nage of Japanese shipping than any ( 1, 190 ft) per minute; service ceiling 726-ks ( 1,600-lb) bomb under :.e
scout-bombing squadrons, and the lat- other aircraft, as well as playrng a key 7407 m(24ft0A ft); ranse 1770 km fuselage and two 147-kg (325-,b.
ier to US Navy scout and bombing part in the great battles of Midway, the ( I, 100 miles) bombs under the wrngs
squadrons, The SBD-3, with two addi- Coral Sea and the Solomons, Weights: empty 3028 kg (6,675 1b);
'jonal 12,7-mm (0,S-in) guns in the nose,
self-sealing tanks and R-1820-52 en' Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless of VMSB-243, I st Marine
gnne, appeared in March 1941, and by Air Wing, USMC, based on Munda, New Georgia
:he time of Pearl Harbor in December island (Solomons) in August 1943.
ihat year 584 SBD-3s had been deli-
vered, Some 780 SBD-4 aircraft (with
24-volt electrical system but otherwise
as the SBD-3 and produced at El
Segundo, California) were built in
i942; photo-reconnaissance modifica-
rons (the SBD-IP, SBD-2P and SBD-3P)
were also produced during 1941-2, A
rew Douglas plant at Tulsa, Oklahoma,
built 2,409 SBD-5 aircraft with 894.8-kW
i1,200-hp) R-1820-60 ensines, follow-
Douglcs Dauntless inAction
Jsoaircraftdd moretodamage theJapanese thantheDouglasDauntless.ltstough was still unsufficient, and by 1944 the Dauntless
franm enab ld it to absorb enormous damage whilst delivering an accurate and was being replaced in carrier service by the
Curtiss Helldiver. Nine SBD-Ss were supplied
}p5rvy bloty. Together with its brave and highly-skilled pilots, the Dauntless sank
to the Royal Navy as the Dauntless Mk I, but
strip after slrip throughout the P acific war. were used oniy foi trlals, The Royal New Zea-
T-e Douqlas SBD Dauntless, or Slov'r But Daunt- US Navy squadrons received instead the first land Air Force took over a total oi some 68
'!t€s as it was often called, started life as one of of 87 SBD-2s, fltted with a 295-litre (65-lmp gal) SBD-3, SBD-4 and SBD-S aircraft, and some of
ue irst all-metal low wing monoplane bom- fuel tank in each of the outer wing panels, to these saw action in the Solomon Islands.
i:ers to be built to US Navy specifications, A give a range of around 2225km (1,385 miles), During the first few weeks after Pearl Har-
prs-y,iar desigm, it was already regarded as With the ability to make lengthy flights over bor, American carriers made isolated raids on
:bsolescent by the time the United States en- water, it was also necessary to fit an autopilot, Japanese positions, and SBDs were involved in
:ered Worid War II. Nevertheiess it succeeded They were foliowed on the production lines by these. Their first really effective use, however,
: ascounnng for most of the damage inflicted 584 SBD-3s, of which the first 174 had originally was in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942.
This deveioped when the US Navy moved to
c:rrg World War Ii on Japanese carriers, as been destined for the A6ronavale. These had
mel' as havrrg considerable success against the improved I 000-hp (745.7-kW) Wright Cyc- prevent a Japanese attempt to occupy Port
c3er rypes of enemy ship. In i942, it was re- Ione R-1820-52 engine, armour-plating for the Moresby in New Guinea, Iriving up to their
pcnsible for sinking more ships than the com- crew, rubber-lined aluminium-alloy self- nickname, 45 SBDs from the USS Yorktownand
b=ed efforts of all other types
of US Navy air- seaiing tanks and a new electrical system, USS.Lexington sank the smallJapanese carrier
sai- Chief desigmer was Ed Heinemann, Twin 7,62-mm (0.3-1n) trainable guns were Shoho, which had commissioned only four
The SBD started life as the Northrop BT-1, fitted in the rear cockpit of iater machines, A months earlier, and followed this up the follow-
wbrch was essentially that company's success- frnther 168 machines of this type were pro-
ilA-l7A dive-bomber adapted for carrier op- duced at the Tulsa plant for the US fumy under Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless
eraion. The XBT-I first flew in July 1935, but the designation A-24. cutaway drawing key
Eas not initially a success, a new split-type Continued development led to the produc- 1 Aerialstub
dle-flap being a particular source of trouble, tion of 780 SBD-4s with varlous improvements 2 Rudderbalance
3 Rudderupperhinge
causurq severe bufieting over the tailplane, including an electric fuel pump plus an electric 4 Rudder{rame
tci-lowing wind-tunnel tests, however, this emergency fuel pump, a 24-volt electrical sys- 5 Ruddertab
6 Rudderlowerhinge
probiem was solved by perforating thb dive- tem, Westinghouse ASB radar, radio direction 7 Tailfin structure
iaps. but there were other problems which finder (DF) gear for overwater navigation, and I Portelevator
9 Pontailplane
were thought to be due to it being underpo- a constant-speed propeller; 170 more were 10 Tailfin rootfillet
wered with a 700-hp (522-kW) Pratt & Whitney provided to the US tumy as the A-24A, being 1 1 Frame
'1
2 Fuselage frame/tailfin pick-
Twrn Wasp Junior R-1535-66 enqine, later re- mostly used for training purposes. Continued up
piaced by the 825-hp (615 2-k\ I) R-i535-94 development led to the SBD-S the main pro- 13 Tailplanesparattachment
'14 Tailplane structure
ver$on. duction version, of which 3,639 were built, in- 1 5 Elevatortorquetube
Development led to the XBT-2 with im- cluding 6i5 as the A-24B. This was virtualiy 16 Tail navigation light
17 Elevatortab hingefairing
proved streamlining, lully retracting inward- identical to the SBD-4, fitted instead with the 18 Elevatorhinge
ioiding wheels and a l,000-hp (745,7-kW) 1,200-hp (894.8-kW) Wright Cyclone R-1820-66 '19 Elevatortab
20 Elevatorframe
Wright Cyclone R-1820-32 engtne, This first engrne, but the extra power was quite inadequ- 21 Elevatorouterhinge
ilew in April 1938, but by that time the Northrop ateto compensate for the weight of ail the extra 22 Tailplane foMard spar
23 Fixed tailwheel (pneumatic
worb had become the El Segundo plant of the eguipment now being fitted, Nevertheless it tyre on A-24versions)
parent Douglas company, and in consequence saw conslderable combat, replacing the ear- 24 Arresting hook uplock
25 Fuselageframe
te airsaft was restyled the Douglas SBD-l or lier versions during 1943 26 Liftooint
Dauntless when ordered into production, An - Finally came the SBD-6, of which 451 were 27 Atresting hook(extended)
28 Tie-down rino
mnal contract for 57 machines was placed in built with automatic mixture-control, improved 29 Atrestingho6kpivol re
April 1939, but the type then failed to meet laminated-rubber self-sealing fuel tanks, and 30 Controlcables
lewly iatroduced standards for aerodynamic external underwing drop tanks, In this latter
sability. Rigorous flight testing of numerous version it could achieve a range of 1930 km
roodif,cations, inciuding 2l different tail sur- (1,200 miles) whilst carrying a 454-kg (1,000-1b)
hces and 12 different sets of ailerons, led to an Ioad of bombs, or 2735 km (1,700 miles) when
rniprovement, and production recommenced, operating as a scout. Nevertheless its I,350-hp
bui ihe SBD-I Iacked adequate armoured pro- (1006.7-kW) Wright Cyclone R-1820-66 engine 58 wrnddeflector &
3'l Fuselagestructure 59 Armouredcentrebulkhead tt
:ection for the crew, and had only a limited EarlvDauntlesses are prepared for a mission. 32 Bulkhead 60 Angledsupponframe 27

*uration. It was consequently relegated for use Whilst the Dauntless equipped most of the 33 Section light 61 Gunner's emergencyflight
34 Radiobay controls
by tre US Martne Corps, the first to receive the bombing squadrons early in the war, theit 35 Radiobayaccessdoor 62 Controldirect linkage
lbe nehg Marine Air Group 1 at Quanttco, stablemAte, the TBD Devastator (aft with folded 36 Wingroot fairing f rame 63 Hvdraulicscontrols
64 Entryhand/foothold
wingis), equipped the torpedosguadrons' 37 Stringers
Vuqinia. 38 Life{aft cylindrical 65 Oxygenrebreather
stowage (access doorport 66 Mapcase
side) 67 Pilot's seatand harness
39 Dorsal armamentstowage 68 Backarmour
40 Hingeddoors 69 Catapultheadresr
41 Aerial 70 Canopvforward sliding
42 Twin0.30-in (7.62-mm) section
Browning machine-guns 7'l Compass
43 Gunner'sfacearmour 72 Perforateddiveflap
44 Canopyaftslidingsection 73 Aerialmast
{open) 74 Ailerontab
45 Gunmounting 75 Portaileron
46 Ammuniiion feed 76 Ailerontabcontrol linkage
47 Canopyaft sliding section 77 Portformationlight
(closed) 78 Portnavigationlight
48 Ammunition box 79 Pitothead
49 Oxygencylinder 80 Fixed wing slots
50 Oxygen rebreather 81 Wngskinning
51 Oxygen sparecylinder
52 Entryhand/foothold
53 Aftcockpitfloor
54 Badiocontrols
55 Gunner'sposition
56 Gunmountino
57 Canopyfixed'centre
section
ing day with an attack by 46 machrnes which
achieved three hits on the carrier Shokaku,
which was lucky to survive, Unfortunately the
Lexington was herself iost that day.
A month later, the Battle of Midway on 4 June
J.942marked a turning point in the run of
Japanese successes in the Pacific. Under the
mistaken impression that both the Lexington
and the Yorktown had been sunk in the Coral
Sea, the japanese decided to try to captwe
Midway Island in the central Pacific and so
bringr the US Paciflc Fleet's forces to decisive
battle. Thanks to good inteliigence, lhe York-
lown was able to make for the area, supported
by the USSEn/erpnse and USSHornet. Early in
the battle, 16 US Marine Corps SBDs were sent

is undergoing radio maintenance


T}rr's Da un tJess
through a hatch in the fuselage. The aircraft's
sieve-like flap/ divebrake is clearly visible.
82 Underuino ASB radar 89 Two 0.50-in (1 2.7-mm) 99 Oiltank 1 1 5 Bomb displacement crutch I27 Wino nose ribs 141 UndeNing s:o'€s 3.' :-
antenna (rStrofit) machine-guns 100 Exhaustslot (inJlisht position) 128 Mu t'i-sparwing structure 142 1001bi45.4-<g 3:-:
83 Portouterwino uel tank 90 Controlcolumn 101 Oilcooler 1 16 Hydrauiicsvent I 29 Wing
Wino ribs 143 lvainwh€elleg3T-
(55 US
f
gal/208litre 9l Switch panel 102 Cooling gills 1 17 Caseejectron chuteoutlel 30 Stiffeners 144 Starboard ma -i!--
92 lnstrumentpanel 103 Exhaustmanifold 118 Enginebearerlower 31 Perforateddiveflaps '145 Mainwheeiax .
capactty)
84 Aileroncontrolrod 93 Caseejectionchute '104 Engine cowling ring attachment 32 Aileroninnerhinoe 146 Mainwheel r*
85 Telescooicsioht 94 Ammunition box '1
05 Machine-gun troughs 1
'19 Starboard malnwheelwell 33 Starboard arlero;f rame 147 Bomb dispie d-3.: :-r:l
86 Windscieen
- 95 Enginebearerupper 106 Carburettorairintakeduct 120 Wingrootwalkway 34 Aileronouterhrnge 148 500-lb (226.&<: :,:-:
87 Armouredinnerpanel attachment 107 Wright R-'1820-52 Cyclone '1
21 Starboard/innerwrng fuel 35 Starboard navioation liohr t4Y Atumrn um c':: ( :,:
88 lnstrument oanel shroud 96 Armoured deflection plate radial engine tank (75 US qal/284 litre 36 Starboard f orm-aton lioit
- US gai/219.3. :-.=-
E: r,
97 Machlne-gunbarrel 108 Three-blade propeller capacity)
'122 Centre-sectiondiveflao
37 Wingtip structure 150 UndeMlngs^a:< i:'-+
shrouds 109 Spinner 38 Fixedwingslots line
98 Enginebearers 110 Propellerhub (lower) 39 Wing leading-edge
111 Portmainwheel '123 Wingoutersection 40 UndeMing radarantenna
1 12 Oilcoolerintake attachment olate f arrino {retrotrt)
113 Exhaustoutlet 1 24 Starboard outerwino f Jel

114 Enginebearers tank (55 US sal/2OB litre


capacity)
125 tvlainwheellegpivot
126 Mainwheel leg door
actuatlon

@ Pilot Press Limited


Dougtas Dauntless in Action

Douglcs SBD Dauntless


IbeDauntless d epicted here isan SBD-3 ofSco uting Forty'One-US-4.1 )-which
ra.s-aniea aboira fre USS Ranger (CY-4) duting Operation 'Torch', the
-ilh?rjignnasion
ot North Atrica iiNovember I942. Carriet aircraft plaved a

sal'ffi nE rote. iie yeltow border around the nationa! insignia, similar to
tteriusea ni conmoniealth air fotces, was an aid to recognition in this
tfutr.e.
Carrier Aircraft of World War II
.)t Douglas SBD-5 ofVMS-3, US Marine
Corps, based in the Caribbean in
lj May 1944. This aircratt displays the
'*;typical Atlantic paint scheme.

Douglas SBD-5 of the RoYal New


Zealand Air Force based at Piva,
Bougainville, in the Solomon grouP
d.uringApril 1944.

out from Midway Island, but Japanese fighters not before her SBDs had inflicted further dam- ditions enabled the arrcraft to achieve com-
shot down half of them and drove back the age on the Shokaku, plete surprise, and they succeeded in inflicting
others. Stil unaware of the proximity of the \tr/hilst the US Navy's prime concern was the severe damage on four heavy cruisers, as well
Ainerican naval force, the Japanese carriers Pacific theatre, it was not entirely absent from as hitting two light cruisers and a destroyer,
concentrated on preparing for a second strike activities farther west, During Operation only one of the SBDs being lost,
on Midway, They decimated an attacking force 'Torch', the North African iandings in Novem- By this time the Americans had begnrn to
of Douglas TBD Devastators but this left them ber 1942, SBDs operated from both the USS build many new carriers, and on I I November
without fighter protectionwhen 50 SBDs turned Rangerand USS Sangamon, Then in the autumn three of these, the USS BunlcerHtl/, USS Essex
up. In a dive-bombing attack which lasted only of 1943 the Ranger was lent to the Royal Navy's and USS Independence joined in a second
one minute, the SBDs destroyed the main ele- Home Fleet when HMS lllustrious was rede- attack on Rabaul, SBDs from the Essex com-
ments of the Japanese carrier force, leavirig ploved to the Mediterranean, and on 4 October bined with new Curtiss SB2Cs from the Bunker
behindthe burningremains of lheSoryu, Akagi its dir sroup, which included 27 SBDs made a Hil/ to make a direct hit on a destroyer, causing
and Kaga, ,lhe Hiryu being scuttled later as a surpnse attack on German ships at anchor in an explosion thatjarred the attacking aircraft as
result of damage. The Japanese withdrew on Bodo harbour, sinking five and damaging a they departed, The escorting fighters inflicted
the following day, abandoning their planned further flve, such heavy losses on their Japanese counter-
lnvaslon. Meanwhile the Japanese were being gra- parts that the enemy carriers in the area were
The emphasis in the Pacific then moved duallv pushed back in the Sblomons, but prog- withdrawn to Truk for six months whiist new
south to the Solomon Islands, which the ress was slow, resulting mainly from a shortage pilots were trained,
Japanese had already occupred and on which of carriers. At the beginning of November 1943, The SBD had now passed the peak of its
they were now busy constructing airfields ln however, American troops went ashore in career, and from that point the SB2C Helldiver
the-Battle of the Eastern Solomons, on 24 Au- Bouoainvrile. News then arrived that a fleet of replaced it as the standard US Navy dive-
gust, SBDs from the USS Saraioga sank the eneiry ships was assembling at Rabaul in New bomber,
eauier Ryujo and scored a hit on the,Shokaku Britain, and on the morning of 5 November a The deck is alive with action as a squadron of
Two months later carriers from both sides were strike force of 23 Grumman TBFs and 22 SBDs DaunlJesses Ja unch on a sortie in the Pacific. The
heavily involved in the battle for Guadalcanal was sent off from the Saratoga and the light bomb sling canbe seen under the fuselage and
Isiand, during whlch the Hornet was lost, but carrier USS Prtncelon, The poor weather con- further bombs under thewings'
E***an F4F Wildcat
=
When first flown on 2 September 1937,
the Gnrmman XF4F-2 single-seat naval
fighter prototype proved to be only
16km/h (l0mph) faster than the
Brewster F2A-1, and only when a tlvo-
stage supercharged XR-1830-76 was
itted was the true potential of the de-
sign recognized, and a speed of
537km/h (333.Bmph) was recorded
during US Navy trials with the XF4F-3.
Some 54 production F4F-3 fighters
were ordered in August 1939, 22 of
which had been delivered by the end
cf 1940, These aircraft (Grumman's first
monoplanes for the US Navy and later Grumman F4F -4 Wildcat of VF-29, US N avy aburd
mmed Wildcat) servedwith VF-4 and USS Santee for Op eration 'Torch' in Novemher
YF-?, and were followed by 95 F4F-34 1942.
aircraft with single-stage super-
charged R-1830-90 engines. The Wild-
cat was ordered by France rn 1939 but
*re entire batch of 8I aircraft was
:ansferred to the UK, with whose
Royal Nary they served as the Mafilet,
oeing first flown in combat during
:940. US Navy and US Marine Cor
F4Fs were heavily engaged during 1

early months of the war with t


Japanese, numerous aircraft being
destroyed on the ground, but also
scoring a number of outstanding vic-
:ories, The F4F-4, with manually-
iclding wings (of which l, 169 were
produced), was delivered during 1942,
aad an unarmed long-range recon-
naisansg version of this, the F4F-?, GeneralMotors(Grumman)WildcatMkW (FM:Z) of No.835Sqn, FleetAirArm, aboardf{MSNairanarn August 1911-
bad a range of over 5633kn (3,500
niles). The F4F-4 was also built by Although slow and unmaneuw able
General Motors as the FM-I, and a when compared with the Miaubisd
more powerful version, the FM-2, for A6M, the Grumman F4F was the best
cperation from escort carriers, FM-ls that the U S N arry could field in the
and 2s were supplied to the UK as the early days of the war. Flown by
Wildcat Mk V and Wildcat lvlk VI (the highly trained and brave pilots, the
name Martlet havrng been dropped), Wildcat held its own until more
F4F-4s were heavily committed in the modern aircratt anived in service.
battles of the Coral Sea and Midway
Total production of the Wildcat (ex- 5I2 l<rt/h (318 mph) at5913 m
cluding prototypes) was 7,885, includ- (19,400 ft); initialclimbrateS94 m
ng 5,237 FM-1s and FM-2s by General (I,950 ft) perminute; rrvice ceding
Motors, and 1,100 for the UK, 10638 m (34,900 ft); ranse 1239 lcn (770
miles)
Specification Weights: empty 2624 kg (5,785 Ib);
Gnrmman F4F-4 Wildcat maximum take-of 3607 kg (?,952 lb)
$pe: single-seat shipboard flghter Dimensions: span 11.58 m (38 ftO in);
Powerplant: one 894, 8-kW ( 1, 200-hp) lencrth 8.76 m (28 ft I in); heish-! 3.6I m
Pratt & Whitney R- 1830-86 radial piston ( i I ft i0 in); wingarea 24. 15 m'
engirne (260.0 sq ft) (0,5-in) machine gnrnsl FM-2 had four (250-lb) bombs or six i27-mm (c-rr)
Performance: maromum speed Armament: six forward-firing i2.7-mm gnrns and provrsion to carry two 113-kg rockets

8***an FoF Hellcat


=
One of America's best wartime ship-
board fighters, and ably partnering the
F4U Corsair, the Grumman F6F Hellcat
was the logical development of the
F4F Wildcat, and was first flovrn as the
XF€F-3 on 26 June 1942t this was gdven
an uprated engine and flew again five
weeks later. Deliveries to VF-9 aboard

fighter versions were the F6F-3E and


F6F-3N with radar in a wing pod. ln
1944 the F6F-5 appeared with provi-
sion for 907 kg (2,000 lb) of bombs and
trro 20-mm cannon sometimes replac-
ing the inboard wing 12.7-mm (0,5-in) G rum m an H ellcat M k I I oI N o. N0
gnrns: the radar-equipped nlght-fighter S qn, Air Arm, Ilying fryrl 1116
F leet
version was the FOF-SN; production Emperoroff tlre coastof MaJafaia
totalled 6,435 F6F-5Ns, while 252 F6F- September 1 945. The FI*t Atu Ara
3s and 930 F6F-5sserved with the Brit- adopted US -s Ule midnight hIrc in
rsh Fieet Air Arm as the Hellcat Mk I theFar East and someairsalt
and Hellcat Mk II respectively, Pro- spor ted white bars eadr side dtbe
duction of all amounted to 12,275,
FOFs the US Navy's air combat victorles in embarked 480 F6F flghters (plus 222 national insigmia.
and official fignrres credited the US the war. The Helicat's greatest single dive-bombers and 199 torpedo-
Navy and.Manne Corps aircraft vnth victory was in that largest ofall carrter bombers); by the end of a week's sunk three carriers. Hellcas xele s]
the destruction of 5,156 enemy aircraft operations, the Battle ofthe Philippine fighting Task Force 58 had destroyed servtng lvlth the US NavY se;---- 1:
in air combat, about 75 per cent ofall Sea, in which 15 American carriers more than 400 Japanese aircraft and after the war.
Grumman FGF Hellcat (continued)

Grumman F6F-6 Hellcat of VF- I 2, US


N avy aboar d US S Randolph
operating in J apanese waters in early
1945.

Specification
Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Tlpe: single-seat shipboard fighter 'J
Powerplant: one 1491,4-kW (2,000-hp)
Pratt & Whitney R-2800- I0W radial
prston enqdne
Performance: maximum speed
612 krri/h (380 mph) at 7132 m
(23 400 ft); initial climb rate 908 m
(2,980 ft) perminute; service cerling
11369 m(37,300 ft); range 1521 km(945
miles)
Weights: empty 4 190 kq (9,238 lb);
maximum take-off 699 I kg ( 15,4 13 lb)
Dimensions:span i3,05 m (42 ft 10 in);
Iength 10.24 m (33 ft 7 rn): height 3,99 m
( I3 ft I in); wing area 31,03 mz
(334 0 sq ft)
Armament: six 12, 7-mm (0, S-in)
machine-gmns in wingrs, or tvvo 20-mm
cannon and four 12.7-mm (0.5-in) guns
in wings, plus provision for two 454-kg
(1,000-lb) bombs

The Hellcat finally enahled the


Americans to defeat the Mitsubishi
AOM . This VD-| aircraft was used in
the photo-reconrarsance rore.

ffi U***an TBF Avenger


Destined to become one of the best
shipborne torpedo-bombers of the
war, the Grumman TBF-Avenger flrst
saw combat druing the great Battle of
Midway. The XTBF-I prototype was
first flown on 1 Augn:st 1941 after an
order for 286 arrcraft had already been
placed, The first TBF-I aircraft
appeared rn January 1942 and VT-8
('Torpedo-Eight') received its first air-
craft during the following May, On 4
June sx of VT-B's aircraft were laun-
ched at the heiqht of the Battle of Mid-
way, but only one returned - and this
!.nth one dead gunner and the other
wounded, Despite thrs inauspicious
start, productlon was accelerating as GrummanTBF Avenger of theUSNarry. Armamentof the dorsal turretwasone0.S'calibremachine-gun.
General Motors undertook production
in addition to Grumman, producing the 444krn/h(276 mph) at 5029 m lenglh 12.48 m (40 ft I 1.5 in); herght ^ 907 kg (2,000 lb) ofbombs, orone
TBM-I version. Sub-variants included (16 500 ft)i initial climb rate 628 m 4,70 m(15 ft5 in); wingarea4552m' torpedo, inweaponsbay
the TBF-IC with tlvo 20-mm cannon in (2,060 ft) per mrnute; sewice ceiling (490,0 sq ft)
the winqs, the TBF-IB which was sup- 9174 m (30, I00 ft); range 1625 km Armament: two frxed forward-firing Avengers replaced the hopelessly
plied to the UK under Lend-l,ease, the (1,010miles) 12,7-mm (0,5-in) guns, one 12.?-mm outclassedDeva stator on the
TBF-ID and TBF-IE with ASV radar, Weights: empty 4783 kg (10,545 lb); (0,S-in) gun in dorsal turet and one tor pedo s qu adrons from I I 4 2
and the TBF-II with a searchltght in maximumtake-otr8117 kg (17,895 lb) 7,62-mm (0,3-in) gun in ventral onwards. The se Avengers are seen
the bomb bay, Productron ofthe TBF-I Dimensions: span 16.51 m (54 ft 2 in); position, plm an offensive load of up to on a practice totpedo run,
and TBM-], as well as sub-variants,
were 2,290 and 2,882 respectively,
General Motors (Eastern Divison)
went on to produce 4,664 TBM-3 air-
craft with R-2600-20 engines, and the
sub-variants corresponded with those
of the TBF-1s, The UK received 395
TBF-1Bs and 526 TBM-3Bs, and New
Zealand 63, The TBM-3P camera-
equrpped aircraft and the TBM-3H
with search radar were the final war-
tLme versions, although the Avenger
went on to serve with the US Navy until
I954.

Specification
Grumman (General Motors) TBM-3E
Avenger
Type: three-crew carrierborne
torpedo-bomber
Powerplant: one 1416,8-kW (1,900-hp)
Wright R-2600-20 radial piston engine
Performance: maxrmum speed

';c,d
NIZI UK

;G Fairey Aibacore
,', rclly eclipsed by the Swordfish,
l;Lich it was intended to replace, the
9airey Albacore was in essence a
:.:aned-up version of the celebrated
S:hgbag' wrth an enclosed cabin to N4159
-'-i
r::prove the operational efficiency of
-:: crew and a Bristol Taurus radial to
;:r'nde higher performance despite
:::siderably qreater werghts. Frrst
':-,rn in December 1938, the initial
prrtotype was fltted with a wheel land-
-:-g gear, whrle the second had twin F airey Albacore of the F lee t Air Arm. I t w as no t as well like d a s i ts
l:ats, The Albacore, which was tnevit- predecessor, the Swordfish, despite its enclosed cockpit.
-,y called the 'Applecore' in service
:jered from the Swordfish in beinq Righ t : I nevitably called thelU
:sed operationally only on the 'Applecore' , the Albacore gave good
meeled type of ianding gear, The if undistinguished sewice, especially
:.-ce entered sewice with the Royal in North Africa and the
l.a-ry's Fleet Air fum in 1940, and pro- Mediterranean, This aircraft is seen
::ctron amounted to 798 aircraft, The dropping a practice 457-mm ( I f -in)
-:lbacore was first flown in action dur- torpedo.
'-g attacks on Boulogne in September
-:10, Most Albacores were land-
:,.<ed throughout their careers, but tic, fuctic, Mediterranean and Indian
--:-e type's brref moment of g1ory ar- oceans; and the type was also used
:-','ed when the Albacores from the with some success as a support aircraft
:::rier HMS Formidable severely during seaborne invasions, notably
::maged the ltalian battleship Vittono those of Sicily, Italy and northern
-sxeto
, during the Battle of Cape Mata- France, the last in the hands of Royal
:a:i rr March 1941. After this time the Canadian Air Force squadrons.
-:..lbacore was occasionally used for 259 kr/h (161 mph) at 2134 m (7,000 ft);
::mbing in the Western Desert, usual- Specification climb to lB29 m (6,000 ft) in 8,0 minutes;
-r- at night to prevent the depredations FaireyAlbacore service ceilinq 6309 m (20,700 ft);
:: A-ns fighters, and the type played an Type: three-crew naval torpedo- range 1320 km (820 miles)
r::-Dofiant part in the operatrons lead- bomber Weights: empty 3266 kq (7,200 lb);
-:,9 up to the Battle of Alametn in Octo- Powerplant: one 794. 2-kW ( 1,065-hp) maxrmum take-off 57]'5 kq ( 12,600 lb)
':er Bristol Taurus II radial piston engine Dimensions:span 15,24 m (50 ft 0 in);
1942.In carrter operations the Alb-
:-:cre saw service in the North Atlan- Performance: maximum speed lens'th 12, 13 m (39 ft 9,5 in); height

UK
NIZ
re Fairey Barracuda
-::ended to replace the Albacore, it-
a replacement for the Swordfish,
=lf
:le Fairey Barracuda was an
l:cgether more advanced aircraft
::rceptually, and was desrgned as a
'' gh-performance monoplane to meet
= 1937 requirement. The intended
Eswerplant was the Rolls-Royce Exe,
programme was delayed sub-
=d the when this engine was aban-
=annally
iued and the structure had to be re-
-,-ed to accommodate a Merlin engine
::m the same manufacturer, Thus the FaireyBarracudaMkll of theFleetAirArm, completewith anti-submarineradar andunderwing depth bombs.
Sarracuda prototype did not fly until 7
l=cember 1940, and it was im- Specification
apparent that the perform- FaireyBarracuda Mk II
=-edrately Type: three-crew shipborne torpedo-
of the heavy Barracuda would be
=ce by the power available: the anddive-bomber
-:rited
:i9.6-kw (1,260-hp) Merlin XXX in the Powerplant: one 1222,9-kW (1,640-hp)
Barracuda Mk I and the 1222,9-kW Rolls-Royce Mer[n 32 V- 12 piston
.- 540-hp) Merlin 32 for the Barracuda engme
lilk II and Barracuda Mk IIL AT a time Performance: maximum speed
uren production priorrties were 367 ktn/h(228 mph) at 533 m ( 1,750 ft);
-iorded mostly to the RAF, deliverles c[mb to 1524 m (5,000 ft) in 6,0 minutes;
:: the Barracuda to the Fleet Air Arm service ceilng 5060 m ( 16,600 ft);
;rere slow to start, and it was January range 1851 km (], lS0miles)
-343 before Barracuda Mk Is began to Weights: empty 4241 ks (9,350 lb);
::ter sewice with the Fleet Air Arm, maximumtake-of 6396 kq(14, 100 lb)
Tire Barracuda Mk I was little more Dimensions:span 14,99 m (49 ft 2 in);
ran a sewice{est type, only 23 being lenqth 12 12 m (39 ft 9 in)neight 4,60 m
:uilt, The two main wartime models ( 15 ft I in); wing area 34,09 m
nere thus the Barracuda Mk II with (367,0 sq ft)
-iSV Mk IIN radar (1,635 built by Armament: two 7. 7-mm (0, 303-in)
ia:rey, Blackburn, Boulton Paul and Vickers 'K'machine-gnrns in the rear
and the Barracuda Mk I11 cockpit, plus one 735-kg (1,620-lb)
:::pedo-reconnaissance
"'estland) version wlth torpedo, or four 204-kg (450{b) depth
]SV Mk X radar (912 built by the pa- charges, or sx 1 13-kg (250-1b) bombs
:ent company), The Barracuda saw
:::Jy limited service in home waters, Altogether more advanced than the
-:e highpoint of its career being a Albacore, the Barracuda was
:::gh1y successful strike on the German delayed by difficulties with engine-
cattleship Tirpttztn April 1944; but in mounting. When it did reach seruice
:e Pacific campaigns of 1944 and 1945 in J anuary I 943, the aircraft
:e Barracuda was one of the more acquitted itself well, especially
.:ominent British aircraft, during the attacks on Tirpitz.
Attacking the Tirpitz
Following the sinking of f/re Bismarck , the British turned their attention to her sister, ron of Fairey Swordfish and Grumman Wild-
cats for anti-submarlne and flghter defence, At
theTirpi{z.lt took another three and ahalf years before shewas sunk byRAF 04,24, Operation 'Tungsten' began with the
ii"Ziitert, but in the meantime she was attacked time and time again by aircraftof launch of the Barracudas of the 8th TBR Wing,
theFleetAirArm. accompanied by an escort of 40 fighters. They
The flnal sinkrng of the German battleship 7lr- voy PQ. 17, but hastiiy returned to Norway after arrived at the fiord just as the enemy ship was
prtz is credited to the RAF's 'Dambusters', the learning that HMS Victonous was once again ready for departure, the escorting Wildcats
Avro Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron, accom- with the Home Fleet. and Grumman Hellcats appearing over the sur-
panied by the similarly equipped No 9 Squad- The next attack on Tirpitz was to have been rounding hrlls to machine-gnrn the target, whilst
made at her moorings in Altenflord early in the Vought Corsairs remained at height in case
ion, who put pard to her in November 1944 ]t is
debatable, however, whether she wouJd have 1943 by Swordfish from HMS Dasher, but that German fighters should appear, With the ele-
escort carrier blew up near the Isle ofArran on ment of surprise, all the Barracudas were able
been available to them as a static target had it
27 March, many lives betng lost, It was not until to make an attack, and they succeeded in mak-
not been for the earlier efforts of the Fleet Air
Arm. a year later that a fresh strike could be ing six direct hrts on the stationary targel A
Foilowing the sinking rn May 1941 of her mounted, but by this time more modern equip- furlher attack an hour later by the other TBR
ment was avarlable in the shape of the Fairey wing was less fortunate, a smoke screen having
sistership Bismarck, Ihe Tirpitz became the
primaryheadache of the Bntish Admrralty who Barracudas oi the 9th and 52nd Naval Torpedo been laid in the meantlme, but nevertheless
Bomber Reconnaissance Wings, Simulated they claimed a further eight hits as well as some
ieared-that she too might break out to raid probables. The crews were too weary to carry
Atlantic and Arctic convoys, That thrs fear was attacks were carried out durtng March 1944 on
well founded was amply demonstrated In a dummy taretet in Loch Eriboll ln north west but a proposed foliow-up attack the following
March 1942 when she lelt her refuge in Trond- Scotland; then the wings regrouped their day and this was consequently cancelled'
helm whilst convoy PQ, 12 was bound from Ice- souadrons for the actual attack, HMS Fuious Further attacks were then planned, but
land to the USSR. During the morning of 9 was to embark Nos 830 and 83 t Squadrons with these were dogged by ill luck. A raid on 26
March, a spotting aircraft irom HMS Victoious nine aircraft each for the operation, whilst Nos Aprit was cancelled because ol poor weather
sighted the enemy ship, and a strike-was 827 and 829 Squadrons had 12 aircraft each in conditions, another on 15 May was recalled
mounted by Fairey Albacores ol Nos 817 and HMS l/icfonous, after take off as a result of reports of heavy
832 Squadions. All succeeded in dropping cloud over the target, and bad weather caused
Midgetsubattack yet another cancellation on 28 May, The next
therr torpedoes, but none found the target, and
two of the attacking aircraft falled to return The Ttrpitz had been damaged six months effective attack was therefore that carried out
This was destined to be the Fleet Air Arm's first earller rn an attack by midget submarines as on 17 Juty under the codename Operation
she lay at anchor in Kaaflord, but was ready for 'Mascot'. Nos 827 and 830 Squadrons again par-
and only chance of finding lhe Ttrpitz on lhe
sea running trials tn Aitenfiord at the beginning trcipated, but this time from HMS Formjdable'
open sea, She made one further foray in July
of April 1944. However, by the early mornlng_of acCompanied by the 9th TBR Wing comprising
tg+Ztor an rntended attack on the rll-fated con-
3 Abril the two fleet carriers were with the Nos 820 and 826 Squadrons aboard HMS lnde-
Home Fleet Battle Squadron, only 193 km (120 fatigable. On this occaston a single strike was
Of all the Fleet Air Arm aircraft used against the miles) to the north west of the fjord. Accom- carried out, by 44 Barracudas, accompanied
Tvpitz, it was the Fairey Barracuda which bore the panying the fleet cartiers were the escort car- by 48 flghters, but the element of surprise was
brint of the attack. Barracudas scored many hits riers HMS Emp eror, Fencer, Pursuer and Sear- lost when the strike force was spotted from a
on the battteship, effectively crippling it and newly-built mountaintop observation post This
rendering it immobile for the Lancasters of the cier, the first three with two fighter squadrons
RAF to tinish it otf with'Tallbovs'. each, and the last named with a mixed squad- enabled the enemy to lay a dense smoke-
Carrier Aircraft of World War II
screen, and as a consequence only one near-
miss was recorded,
^ Barracudas were agaln the main striking
:o.rce tn Operation 'Goodwood' rn late Augmsl
The Formidable carried Nos 826 and-822
Squadrons, while Fudous had No, 827 Squad-
::n and lhe Indefattgable had No. 820 Squad-
::n, ali three ships carrytng fighter esccrt,
::mprising Corsairs, Supermarrne Seafires.
-.ellcats and Fairey Fireflies. In addi:icn Gr..tm,
:-an Avengers and Wrldcats were carnei tn
:-e escort carners HMS l/abob and I:..r,le-
:=-" The first strike ('Goodwood I rcr_.-: -:-..;*..
:::ved fruitless as a result cl iur::et bad
'.=l:her, and an evening strike c-.' _-_:_--i.
lrcdwood Ii') was also abor-r'.'= l.-.= :::--=
'.'..=s reduced
that day when ihe -.-e::: :=.'
.-:im to an acoustrc torpedo la;_::.:: :-.- _'-
:fJ rhough she succeeded rn r=;::.:: ::::
.'. +ntully afier struggling :nore -:: _:- . s
- -urO miles) in a listing condt.-::
'GoodwoodIII'
::r=-r :a:::.: c*, alihough the lormer pene- Displaying its mostungainly lines, extended dive-
:a:ej -:-: :l:-:.:red deckrng, it failed to ex- flaps and strange undercarriage, a Barracuda
c-: :e - :-= : -:--. Arr Arm's best opportunity of leaves the catapult. The type ii the foreground, the
r*..:.:: i :,':,-. sinkrng the shrp was thus.lost.
. Supermarrhe Seafire, provided fighter cover
(alongwith Hellcats andCorsairi) for the
i- :'.:- :=-: : :. .: i-rlusr ( Goodwood IV') was
c:le :-::: -=:a:ed by a smoke screen, and Barracuda during the attacks on tie Tirpitz.
i:3 -i-s -,'.-=r:
re::rded in the resultrng blind
a.,ac-< ped 28'Taliboy'bombs, eachweishrnq 5443 <r
l:.= ',.-: :'.'.:.= . .rc:tz'ltas Jtnaliv sealed on l2 (12 000 1b), At least two of these icor6d cre:,
\c-,-e::-r:: -i-l ;;hen RAF Lancasters drop- hits, and the ship capsized,
ffi f*irey Firefly
converted to FireflY TT.Mk 4 target
Numbered amongst the most success-
ful aircraft ever used by the Fleet Air tugs, Then followed the Firefly AS.Mk
Arm, the Fairey FireflY served in its 6 inti-submanne reconnaissance and
various versions for nearly 15 years, a strike aircraft, the flnal version to enter
total of 1,702 being produced before first-line servtce, of which 152 were
production ceased in 1956, The pro- delivered as such, including some
iotype took the air on 22 December converted from Mk 5s on the Produc-
1941, and the first production Firefly tion line, rn addition to many other Mk
F.Mk I entered service in March 1943, 5s converted after seeing service
Later production Mk Is were fitted with Other versions of the Firefly included
ASH radar, in whtch form they became trainers and target drones, the last to
Firefly FR.Mk I reconnarssance appear being the FireflyU.Mk 9 drone
flghters, A number of aircraft were in 1956.
pioduced as Firefly NF.Mk I night- The Firefly was an immediate suc-
fiohters eoutnped with a different cess on enteiing sewice, participating
ridro for'nighr flying, and with in attacks on the German battleship
shrcuded exhausts, Another night- ?rrpjtz as well as taking part in numer-
flghter version, the FireflY NF.MK II, oui Norwegian raids, It was equally
Md ALMk X radar mounted on each successful in the Pacific, making raids
aoainst Tapanese occupred islands Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB V- 12 piston Fairey Firefly MkIs reached
wing, whiist the PireflY F.Mk IA was a squadron sewice in October I 943,
modification of the Mk I brouQht up to eirlv in 1-945, and aqainst the Japanese
mairiland shortly before V]-day ln the Performance: maximum sPeed aid were soon active against such
FR.Mk I standard by the addition of fargefs as tfte Tirpitz. A transter to the
post-war years several squadrons took 509 km/h (316 mph) at 4267 m
ASH radar. A trial modification fltted Far Eastsaw more action tor the
in active-part in the Korean War, and (14,000 ft); serviceceilingBS34 m
wrth a Griffon 61 and a nose radiator (28,000 ft); ranse 2092 km (I,300 miles) aircraft, but, as with the Fulmar, it
was designated Firefly F.Mk 3, but thlq one squadron later cafiied out attacks
against Malayan bandits, Weights: empty4423 kg (9,750 Ib); was hampered by its size and two-
was superseded bY the FireflY FR'Mk mancfew.
4 reconnaissance flghter with a Grtffon
maromum take-off 6359 kg ( 14, 020 ]b)
74. Thrs went into sewice in 1946, but Specification Dimensions: span 13,56 m (44 ft 6 in);
Fairey Firefly F.Mk I length 11.46 m (37 ft 7 in): heisht 4, l4 m Armament: four 20-mm cannon, Plus
ftom l94B it gtave way to variants of the
Firefly Mk 5 with imProved equiP- Tvpe: two-seat carrierborne frghter ils iii
inlr *ind area 30 47 mt eight 27.2-kg (60jb) rockets or two 454
(1,0001b) bombs
P6irrerplant: one 1294-kW ( 1, 735-hp) (328,0 sq ft)
ment, the survling FR,Mk 4s being

ffi tairey Fulmar F airey F ulmar M k I in s tandard


Armfinish.
e arly w ar F Ie et Air

The first true shipborne monopiane


fi.qhter for the Fleet Arr Arm, the eight-
q;n Fairey Fulmar tends to be over-
Iooked in ihe part it played in the first
three years of the war, until replaced
by deck-operating adaptations of the
Hirrncane and Spitfire, and by the
Martlet. Developed from the Falrey
P,4/34 light bomber prototypes which
flew in 1937, the Fulmar fleet flghter
prototype was flown on 4 January 1940'
with production aircratt betng com-
pleteil soon after. Early trials showed Right: Although Powered bY the
ihe aircraft to have a disappointlnQt sime Merlin engine as the Hurricane
performance, although 1t was recog- and Spi tfire, the Fulm ar w as
nized as being a fatrly large aeroplane considerably larger and carried an
with the same engine as the Hurricane extta crew member. I t was not the
single-seater, In 1942, after 127 pro- equal of the best enem7 fighters, but
duCtion Fulmar Mk I fighters had been give a good account of itself'
completed, the Fulmar Mk II
appeared with 939,6-kW (1 260-hP)
Merlin XXX, an engtne which raised Veneto. Early in i942, as Japanese nav-
the top speed to 438 krn/h (272 mph). al forces sailed into the Indian Ocean
Fuhar Mk ls of No, 808 Squadron of to threaten Ceylon, two squadrons of
the Fleet Air Arm were listed in RAF Pulmars were based there as Part ol
Fighter Command's order of battle Colombo's air defences; when con-
duiing the Battle of Britain, although fronted for the first time by the much
superior carrierbased Mitsubishi A6M Powerplant: one 939. 6-kW ( 1, 260-hp) maximum take-off 4627 kg ( I0, 200 lb)
they were not engaged in combat BY piston Dimensions: span 14. 14 m (46 ft 4 5 in);
flghters the Fulmars were utterly. out- Rolls-Royce Merlin XXX V- 12
November 1940, however, Fulmars lenqth 12 24 m (40 ft 2^in) treight 3 25 m
were in action from HMS llluslrious at cl-assed and almost all were shot down
Performance: maxlmum speed (10 ftB in), wingarea3l.77 m
the time of the Battle of Taranto, and or damaged, A total of 450 Fulmar Mk (342,0 sq ft)
439krn/h(272 mph) at 5029 m
soon afterwards from lrk RoYal de- lls was built, and some sewed as night-
(16,500 ft); initial climb rate 402 m Armament:eight 7.7-mm (0 303-tn)
fending the vital convoys saillng to fighters,
(I,320 ft) per mlnute; service ceiling machine-guns inwings, and a few
Malta, At the Battle of Cape Matapan
Fulmars fromFormidable escorted the Specification 8291 m (27,200 ft); ranqte 1255 lff (780 arrcraft also had a single trainable 7,7-
FaireyFulmarMkII miles) mm (0,303-in) machine-gnrn rn the rear
Albacores and Swordfish which torpe- cockpit
doed the ltalian battleshrp Vittorio Typel two-seat carrierborne fighter Weishts: empty 3349 kg (7,384 lb);

ffi tairey Swordfish


Specificatron S,38/34 with slightly
Of all aircraft regarded as anachron-
isms the Fairey Swordfish torPedo- swept-back top wing; constructton
bomber must be the supreme exam- was all-metal wrth fabric covering. By
ple, for even back in the I93Os tt the outbreak of war in 1939 a total of 689
lnoeared archaic and cumbersome aircraft had been delivered or were on
Siemminq from an earlier design
whose prototype had crashed, the flrst
prototybe Swordfish (the TSR.II) firct A F airey Swordtish Mk I I is'struck
hew oii 17 April 1934 and the produc- down' Iollowing an anti'submarine
tion Swordfish Mk I was PrePared to patrol.

rJCO
Fairey Swordfi sh (continued)

S qn serving
F airey Swordfish Mk I of No. 820
aboard IIMS Ark Royal rh / 939. This aircraft is
carrying the standard 457-mm ( 18-in) torpdo.

Yhroughout the later months of the


}|-
raz Swordfishwere used ongeneral
ertacLs agarnst G erm an shipping in
thdffortlr Sea. These were often
qall vesse/s a nd their light defenes
poved inadequate against the tough
-:
S*ordfish. Rockets were the
fuouredweapon tor these strikes.
:rjer. sewing with both wheel and
fca: landing gear aboard Royal Navy
=-rers, battleships.
rm::zuisers
battle-cruisers
in the torpedo-spotter re-
o
particrpated was the action at Taranto
on I I November 1940, when Swordfish
aircraft from HMS 1ftis&-rbus severely
F airey Swordfis h M k I I of N o. I I I
invasion stripes.

wrth ASV radar between the landrng


legs, and the Swordfish Mk IV conver-
sion of the Mk 1I with a rudimentary
enclosed cabin, Production ended on
S qn aboard H MS Biter in I I 44, complete with

222kt'/h(I3g mph) at sea level; initi;i


climb rate 372 m (1,220 ft) per minute
service ceiling586T m (19,250 ft);
range 879 km (546 miles)
sn:aiqqance role, Among the memor- damaged three Italian battleships; the 18 August 1944, by which time a total of Weights: empty2132 kq(4,700 lb);
atl: events in which the old 'Stnnqbag crippling of the Brsmarc]< rn the Atlan- 2,396 Swordfish had been completed, maximum take-off 3406 kq (7, 5 l0 lb)
tic; and the zuicidal attack on the Ger- Dimensions:span 12.8? m(45 ft6 in):
funingly an anachronism in World man warships, Schamhorst, Gaerse- lensrth I0.87 m (35 ft B in) heght 3.76 rr
War II, the Swordfish remained nau and Prinz Eugen durlng their Specification (I2 ft 4 in); winqarea 56,39 m
wnzatched by any other British naval famousescapeup the English Chamel FaireySwordfrsh MkII (607,0 sq ft)
airsalt in terms of battle honou$. At rn February 1942. Productron of the Type: three-crew torpedo/anti Armament: one fixed forward-firing
&eftearf of firi was the aircraft's Sword-fish was undertaken largely by submanne aircraft 7, 7-mm (0,303-in) machine-gur ard

iarmense sf urdjness and basrcAood Blackbum, the Swordfish I'lk tr being Powerplant: one 559.3-kW (750-hp) one trainable 7.7-mm (0,303-in) qnmm
kign. This typically we ll-worn rntoduced with a strengthened lower Brstol Pegasus XXX radial piston rear cockpit, plus an offensive load of
whg to allow eight rocket projectiles englne one 457-mm (lB-in) torpedo or eight
tun-b. to be mounted, the Swordfish Mk III Performance: maximum speed 27,2-kg (60-1b) rocket projectiles

:iii

fl
mt
t:

{i
*
#
F
$
NIZ
Ft€ ::Hawker Sea Hurricane
that unless the pilot could reach land Specification Dimensions:span i2,20 m (40 ft 0 in);
Sased on the RAF'S Hurricane, the Ienqth 9,83 m (32 fl 3 in); height 4.00 m
he had no choice but to'ditch his afu- Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IIC
Hawker Sea Hwricane was lntroduced ( l3 Tt 1 5 in); wing area 23.92 m2
craft, The CAM-ship task and aircraft Type: carrierborneflghter
:: crcvrde modern fighter Protectlon Powerplant: one 954 S-kW ( 1, 280-hP) (257,5 sq ft)
::r-convoys of merchant ships Over- were later passed on to the RAF's Mer-
chant Shrp Fighter Unit at SPeke Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V- i2 Piston Armament: four 20-mm cannon
313 were-delivered, the majodty of
When the first escort carrters came englne
:em being conversions of Hurricanes,
Performance: maximum sPeed After the failure of such types as the
rcluding many which had seen oPer- into service with the Royal Narry, Sea
Hurricanes were attached to several of 505 krn/h (3i4 mph) at 5944 m SeaGladiator andFulmar to provide
aional sertnce, A number were mod- (19,500 ft); service ceiling 10516 m adequ ate fi gh ter protection, the
rications of newly delivered Cana- them, seetnq sewice in the Arctrc and
the Mediterranean until betnq re- (34,500 ft); range 1207 km (750 miles) Hurricanewas hastily adaPted for
iial-builtaircraft,
Weights: empty 2617 kg (5,770 1b); carrier decks. The resultwas afine
The f,rst version to appear was the placed in 1943 by Seafires and Wild-
cats. maximum take-off3S1 I kg (7,740 lb) fighter which saw much action.
Sea Hurricane Mk IA fltted with cata-
pult spools so that they could be flown
lom ipecially fltted merchant ships in
:he event of the aPPearance of an
enemy aircraft, This was followed by
the Si:a Hurricane Mk IB, which in
addrticn to the spools had deck arres-
ier gear to enable it to be used for
carrier operations, The Sea Hurricane
Mk lC, oi which onlY a tew were Pro-
ciuced, had four wing-mounted 20-mm
cannon in place ofthe machine-gnrns of
ihe earlei versions. Re-engined with
the Rolls-Royce Merlin XX it became
the Sea Hurricane Mk IIB when fitted
,mth machine-quns, and lhe Sea Hurri-
cane Mk IIC with cannon. Canadian-
bLlit aircraft also used these designa-
trons, irrespective of their original
mark numbers.
Sea Hurricanes first entered oper-
ational service in February 1941 with
No, BO4 Squadron for deployment from
catapult-armed merchantmen, or
CAM-ships as they were generallY
known. The first carrier squadron to
equrp was No, BB0 Squadron in March
l94l seeinq action in JulY from HMS
Furious during a raid on the Arcttc port
of Petsamo, The following month an
alrcraft of No, 804 Squadron catapulted
from HMS Maplin accounted for a
Focke-Wulf Condor, The disadvan-
tage of this method of operation was

ffi Hrrp"r*arine Seafire


war the Griffon-engined verslons re-
Weishts: empty 2449 kg (5,400 1b):
maxrmum take-of f 3175 kq (7,000 Ib)
Dimensions:span 11.23 m(36 ft l0 in);
Followrng the success ofthe Sea Hurri- rear fuselage were fltted to the Seafire
F.Mk 46, a reconnatssance version mained in service until 1954, many with lenoth9. 12 m(29ft I I in): height 3.48 m
cane adaptation, a Spitflre VB was reserve squadrons, ( 1 I Tt 5 rn); wing area22.48 m
fitted with a 'V' arrester hook and satis- beinq the Seafire FR.Mk 46 The final (242.0 sq ft)
factorv tdals were carried out in HMS version, the Seafire F.Mk 47, and the
Seafire FR.Mk 47 variant, had power- Specification Armament: two 20-mm cannon and
Illustrious towards the end of 1941 A four 7. 7-mm (0. 303-in) machine-gnrns,
folding wings and other chanqes Supermarine Seafire F.Mk III
number of these aircraft with 'B' type Type: carrierborne flghter plus provtsion for one 227-kq (5001b)
wings were similarlY modifled and The Seaf,re participated successful-
Iy in the Norih African landings in Powerplant: one 1096-kW ( 1,470-hp) bomb or two I I3-kq (2501b) bombs
nam-ed Supermarine Seafire Mk IB, In
November 1942, and later at Salerno Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, 50 or 55 V- 12
Mav 1942 the Seafire Mk IIC began to piston engine S eafir e s were Potent figh ter s with
come off the production line. fitted with and the south of France. Its principle
Performance: maximum sPeed high performance for a deck'
the 'C type Spitfire wing with proviston failing was highliqhted at Salerno, lainched aircraft bul suflered a
where Iack ofwindspeed over the car- 566 km,h (352 mph) at 3734 m
for foui 20-mm cannon, and having a (12,250 ft); serviceceiling 10302 m great deal from weak
reinforced fuselage, catapult spools rier decks led to numerous collapsed
landinq qears. Severa) squadrons (33,800 ft); ranse 748 km (465 miles) on indercarriages and relatively high
and rocket-assisted take-off gear internai fuel landingspeed.
(RATOG). A low-altitude version was were aitrve in the Pacific and afler the
ihe Seafire L.Mk IIC, and a few were
fitted with cameras for photographic
reconnaissance work, being desig-
nated Seafire LR.Mk IIC, A manually-
operated foldinq wing was introduced
on the Seafire F.Mk III, and as with the
earlier mark there was a Seafire Ir.Mk
III variani for low-altitude work, a few
beino modified as the Seafire LR'MK
III foi photo-reconnaissance duties
In 1945 the Griffon-engined Seafire
F.Mk XV appeared, with a stingtYPe
affester hook, being followed bY the
Seafire F.Mk XVII with a clear-view
bubble hood, cutawaY rear fuselage
and increased fuel capacity The Sea-
fire FR.Mk XVII reconnaissance
variant had two cameras, Based on the
Spitfire F,Mk 21, the Seafire F.Mk 45
h-ad a later Griffon fitted with either a
flve-blade propeller or two three-
blade counter-rotatinq propellers The
clear-view bubble hood and cutaway

t560
Armed Forces of the World

hSfr
Rsgcl NavgParl t2i bl!

!-r./

. l-*"
I

,':s. Unfortunately th s n'a<3: :--- :- :


. -: vulnerable to exterli - : : :

. \avy's capabilit €s :- r -'

= -'face
ship numbe's
l 3 ncy.
' =.

-lwever, to fulfil the pe a:=


. ss5igned to it, the ?o1 a . ,

Submarines and rnajor surf ace vesseis


'':ce fleet of destroyers:-: Atpresentthedeterrentforce of the L( ::. : . ::
: :wo flotrllas each comn-:-:- upon the oontinuous presence of one cr i-r:": :':-
'Resolr.rtion' class SSBNs (st"ateg.c - j j : ..-. -
=
.'esent the Flag Officer ; :.
'ag in a 'County' class c+-. : marines, nuclear-powered) on submergec :i:-,
Armed with the Polaris 43 missile with rn;e : i--
kiloton 'Chevaline'warheads with advanceo c.:: . :
and penetration aids to defeat Soviet AB'r' ::
'=:^dhasthesthDesro.:-:: -: ': - fences, each submarine can engage up to 1 6 s:::-
' =- qale Squadrons ava ;: - -. :. rate targets at ranges up n 4627 km (2,875 rr =.
. -3atantsofthe ioya \a.. , . , with a high kill probability To enhance the deier':^:
,': HMS Endurance, toge:-a'.. - - -:--- -: .-.-: - into the 21st centuny' the first of a class of fo-.
.: airassetsafloat, srr:::--: :':-:- . : .' class Trident SSBNs will commission in 1994 ::
,socommanderofNATO.-:...'-,,- : - -- r: " -- - replace the Polaris boats on a one for one bas s
Armed with '1 6 Trident D5 missiies. each carry ng
elght independently targeted '100-kiloton yield wa'-
heads over 9600-km (5,965-mile) range, these ne,.,
SSBNs will be protected by a growing force of f leei
SSNs (attack submarines, nuclearpowered). Tne
oldest Lloats in the force are five'Valiant' and 'Chur-
*-'
='' chill' class vessels, which are backed up by six mod-
ern 'Swiftsure' class boats and a growing number of
the anechoic sound-absorbing tile-coated'Trafalgar'
class SSNs. 1'hey are armed with the 22-km (13,7-
mile) range 35-kt Mk 24 Model 1 Tigerfish dua
ASWanti-ship wire-guided torpedo, together with
Mk B anti-ship torpedoes and Sub-Harpoon under-
water-launched sea-skimming anti-ship missiles. ln
the late 1980s the Tigerf ish will be supplemented by
the new 60+ kt Spearfish heavyweight dual-role
torpedo and a new long-range undewater-launched
guided ASW missile that will carry a Stingray light-
weight torpedo derivative as its payload.

ffMSInvincible, the firstof her class ofVTOI'


aircraft carriers, Ieaves part during avisit to the
United States, The newly-installed Phalanx 20-mm
Close-inWeapon System is prominentin its
position on the flight deck.
Armed Forces of the World RoyalNaw ffi
To support the fleet submarines in their opera-
tions and to provide a submarine force capable of
operating effectively in the continental-shelf and
coastal-sea areas where the SSNs are at a disadvan-
tage, the Royal Navy has 13 'Oberon' and two 'Por-
poise' class conventional diesel-powered boats
These are to be replaced from the late 1980s on-
wards by 10-1 2'Upholder'class vessels based on
the Vickers Type 2400 design. These boats will com-
bine the shape, internal arrangement and sensor
capability of the SSN wlth a new quieter convention-
al submarine propulsion plant and battery. Apart
from their normal operational roles, both the con-
ventional submarine types provide a method of in-
serting covert SAS units into enemy territory with-
out being detected, as they demonstrated during
the Falklands war when they landed numerous re-
connaissance teams all round the Falkland lslands.
The conventional boats and to a certain extent the
SSNs are also tasked with the Royal Navy's offen-
sive minelaying operatlons during wartime. Unfortu-
nately the mines they carry for this, the Mk 5 ground
and the Mk 6 buoyant, are of World War ll vintage
and have long since become obsolete. However,
families of new modular ground mines are available
in the UK but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has
shown no interest save in saying that new actuator
systems will be procured for the old mine stocks
This reliance on obsolete weapons for the sub-
marine service is not new, especially when it is
realized that the Mk B Model 4 torpedo in use today,
and which sank the Argentine cruiser General Bel-
grano, was in fact orlginally designed in the mid-
1920s, some 60 years ago. ln terms of training and
other equipment, the submarine servlce is among
stocks of nuclear depth bombs and tactical freeJall A laden utility landing cratt (LCU) is manoeuvred
the world's best and very often proves itself so within the dockingwell of the amplubiousassault
against other NATO navies in exercises. gravity bombs in their magazines. To complement
sJub IIMS Intrep id. W ilh H M S E earless, Intre.pid
ln 1966 the Royal Navy was told that its fixed- ihese they also have a wide range of conventional pr6vides almoit all the Royal Navy's amphibious
wing aircraft strength was to be scrapped. Over a ASW, air-to-surface and air-to-air stores for a con- capability.
perlod (and using various subterfuges to get around ventional conflict. However, in a carrier-to-carrier
engagement such as that with a Soviet 'Kiev' class Portsmouth as a training vessel before going to
political and Treasury objections) the three-shlp'ln-
WOL or'Kremlin' class conventional fixed-wing car- scrap when HMS Ark RoYal, the third 'lnvincible',
vincible' class of light aircraft-carrier was evolved to
rier, the small number of Sea Haniers carried would commissions.
carry the BAe Sea Harrier V/STOL fighter-bomber'
not be enough. The only carrier that the Royal NaW The two LPDs (amphibious transport docks),
Carrying an air group of six V/STOL jets and 9-12
has available to embark a significant number of air- HMS Fearless and HMS lntrepid, form the maior
Westland Sea King anti-submarine and AEW (air-
craft, HMS Hermes, is considered manpower- component of the amphibious warfare forces, and
borne early-warning) helicopters, these ships are
intensive and is now languishing alongside at were the prime lnstruments of British ability to re-
designed for the ASW role. They also carry limited
take the Falklands; without their specialized equitr
ment an amphibious landing would have been im-
possible. There is, however, a need in the next year
or so to order replacements if the continued policy
of being able to project the Royal Marines on amphi-
bious operations throughout the world is to be main-
tained. Although the MoD is apparently looking at
the situation as part of a study, it ls probable that any
positive attitude displayed will only result in an order
placed too late to provide any continuity.
The other maior surface ships are the large des-
troyers HMS Bristol, HMS Fife and HMS G/amor-
gan, which were to have been deleted prematurely
under the 1982 Defence Review findings. But be-
cause of the Falklands reappraisal and the fact that
all three units offer extensive flagship facilities not
found in any other surface ships save the carriers
and LPDs, all three will serve on into the early 1990s.
The Eristol is especially useful to the Navy as she is
one of the few HN flagships that has the necessary
data links to communicate directly with US Navy and
French navy action lnformation systems. lt js possi-
ble that the vessels will eventually be superseded
by the Type 22Batch 3 frigates or a Sea Dart-armed
derivative of this type.
HMS Bristol wa s to have been the fust of ei ctass
desr'gned lo es cort the abortive CYA,-O I fleel
carrier proiect, but no other 'Type 82' was buil|
Tlre vesie/ias'lound a use as a flagship, her large
size allowing comprehensive command and
control facilities.