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A fiCly illustrmtmd rywf#m €, &33fmffi ffifWht*trs mf Wmtrtrd War 3l

Volume 6 Issue ?2

Published by
Orbis Publishing Ltd
@ Aerospace P"ublishing Ltd 1985
Colour profiles, diagrams and cutaway
drawings @ Pilot Press Ltd

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of WbrldWbrll
World War II saw a stunning evolution in the capability of the Rolling out above theEnglish
countryside, a Spitfire M k XII
single-seat fighter aircraft. Few people obsewing the light, prepares for a sweep over occupied
shofi-ranged aircraft of the firct year of the war would have France. By late 1943 an invasion of
Europewas being planned in detail,
predictedthe multitude of tasksto come itsway insucha and RAF fighters were soon to
shorttime. operate from thefields of Normandy.

When devastatinq war once more burst on Europe in September 1939 inq service in late 1943.
the state of preparedness of the Alhed air forces varted from the RAF's On the Eastern Front Germany's attack on the So-,':-. -:------- '=.
optrmistic mediocrity to the downright ineptness of the French and accompanied by almost total destruction of the outdatei -:-j-:::,, .
Polish arr forces, generally born of years of pacifism and parsimony. The equipment of the Red Arr Force in 194l, a disastrous srhratr:r, j.: .' :: '-
monoplane fghter was in widespread use, albeit with little more than a some extent allevrated by the supply of Western aircraft to i - ..=: l,_ --=.
couple of years' service behrnd it in most cases, Biplanes sttll served, if resistance in the air, In an amazingly short time, however ha;-:-: :-: = -
only to fill gaps yet to be occupied by more modern aircraft, the aircraft industry far to the East, the Soviets managed tc -:-::-'-t= ,
The flnest A11led fighter rn service in 1939, the immortai Supermarine number of promising new fighters, the Yakovlev Yak-3 anC - :, - -r: -
Sprtflre, served on only a handful of squadrons, was not regarded as fully La-S among them,
operational, and demanded specral servrcing facilities at three or four The last two years of the war found the Allies almost e:.-::'.' :=
nomrnated fighter bases, Yet within a year thrs aeroplane came to equipped wrth fighters whose development had been underta-<:-. ,' :. : -
epitomize everythrng that was best in the RAF's ftght against the Luftwaf- 1y during the war, thereby drawrng on combat experience Tne :-::.,'.',
ie, and served in ever-improving versions long beyond the end of the Tempest joined the Typhoon (which nevertheless proved an €-r:: = ,'
war, Indeed lt left its eariy partner, the Hawker Hurricane, far behrnd in ground-attack weapon), while Griffon-powered Spitflres forrne 1 - --: -
the race to forge a weapon capable of matching Germany's great duo of proportion of Fighter Command's air combat force, The US.:-:-: '.''=.
fighters, the Messerschmitt Bf I09 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190. By 1941 RAF almost entirely equrpped with the classic Lockheed P-38 P-1r a:.: :-: -
Fighter Command had adopted the Spitfire Mk VB wrth its two 20-mm trio as well as iate-series P-40s, In the Red Air Force the Lavcc:.-<-:. -:--
cannon and four rifle-calibre machine-guns, as its standard equipment, and Yakovlev Yak-9 were proving more than a match for the :-a ::- '" -,
It was the shock lntroduction in 194 I by the Luftwaffe of the superb Fw I:uftwaffe fighters, flown as they were by hastily-trained yo';-;: :-- .
190, however, that fired the starting gmn for the technological race to whtle in the Paciflc the American and British flghters all but a-------. =.
accelerate fighter development. In the RAF the Spitfire Mk lX was the air forces of Japan, In the field of jet fighters, where 1ii a-:l=.::
rushed into service, as was the Hawker Typhoon, the latter strll with Germany unquestionably led the Alhes, only the RAF rr-r:-:l:l
many engine and airframe problems yet unresolved, American entry introduce very smalI numbers of early Gloster Meteors.
-nto the war at the end of 1941 did little to improve the fighter scene,
reither the Bel1 P-39, Curtrss P-40 nor Republic P-43 berng regarded as
Onits introduction the largestfighter ever to equip the USAAF,lieRe-c:::..:
any match for the German flghters. In due course, however, the mar- P-47 gave sterling service. More than 12,000'D' models of this big, bee-,'
riage of the superlative Rolls-Royce Merlin to the North American P-51 fighter were built, at first in the'razorback' form shown here but later',\-::.:. =
Mustang produced the war's flnest long-ranQte single-seat flghter, enter- bubblecanopy.

!s- *
r !g\
ru i,"uo"t tin LaGG-3
Desiqned by a bureau headed by Se-
myon Lavochkin and including V. Gor-
bunov and M, Gudkov, the Lavochkin
LaGG-3 stemmed from the LaGG-I,
whose prototype (the I-22) was flrst n
flown on 30 March 1940, These aircraft
were unusual in retaining an all-wood
structure; only the control surfaces
(and iater the landing flaps) were met-
al, This excellent little fiqhter was
ordered into production in 1940 as the
LaGG-1 with a 783-kW (l 050-hp) Kh-
mov M-105 V-12 engine, but was too ThisLaGG-3 was flown byCaptainG.A. Grigoryev in thewinter of 194213, on
late to see sewice during the Winter the 6th Fighter Aviation Sector of the Central Front.
War with Finland in 1939-40, With a top
speed of 605 km/h (376 mph) and an
armament of one 20-mm and two 12.7-
mm (0.5-in) guns, the LaGG-1 was cer-
tainly one of the world's best fiqhters
early in 1941, but pilots complained of
poor climb performance and heavy
controls, and a new version, the LaGG-
3, was introduced by way of the I-30I
prototype after several hundred
LaGG-]s had been delivered. At the
time oi the German attack two air reg-
iments still flew the older aircraft, but
within a year four regiments had re-
ceived the LaGG-3, their task being to
provide escort for the Ilyushin II-2
close-support aircraft; they carried a
va-riely of armamenl combrnatrons, rn-
cludinq wingr attachments for sx B 2-
cm (3,23-in) rockets or light bombs,
The LaGG-3 featured a constant- Specification Weights: empty 2620 kq (5,776 lb); LaGG-3s of the 9th IAP (Fighter
speed propeller and improved rudder LavochkinLaGG-3 ma-rimum take-off 3300 kq (7, 275 lb) AviationRegiment) sewing on the
balancrng. and was popular in servrce: Type: srngle-seat fiqhter Dimensions:span9,B0 m(32 ft 1,75 in); BlackSea.The LaGG did notfarewell
it proved very robust and was capable Powerplant: one 925-kW ( I 240-hp) length B.B I m (28 fl 1 I in); heiqhr 2.70 m at the hands of the Luftwaffe,
of sustaining considerable battle dam- M- 105PF V- 12 prston engine B n 10 in); winsarea 17 5l m' although this was more a reflection of
age A better fiqhter was urgently Performance: maxrmum speed ( lBB S sq ft) respective pilot training than of any
needed, and the three designers each 575 km/h (357 mph) at 5000 m Armament:one 20-mm ShVAK hub- failure of the aircraft.
built new versrons wrth the M-82 ra- ( I6,405 ft); initial climb rate 900 m finng cannon and two 12.7-mm (0.5-in)
dial. In 1942 the liquid-cooled LaGG (2,950 ft) per minute; serr,rce ceilrg UBS machine-gmns or two 7.62-mm
went out of production after about 9700 m (31,825 ft); ranqre 650 kn (4:4 (0 3-rn) ShKAS machine-guns, plus (3,23-in) rockets or four 50-kg (l 10-lb)
6,528 had been built miles) pronsion for sx underwingt B. 2-cm bombs

ffi tluo"trt in La-5 and La-7

As the Soviet armies reeled back after fighter, and during the qreat ar1.'*1
the initial assault by Germany in the baltles at Kursk in July I 943 La-is .'.'=r=
East durinq 1941, frantic demands employed in a tank-bustingt roie ali
were made for modern equipment to after having drscharged rheu :-c I - .', -
be supplied to the Soviet air force In charge missiles against qrround iallle-
October 1941 Semyon Lavochkin they would climb to qlve flqfhter c.-,-er
started work on the Lavochkin LaG-S to the slower Iiyushrn il-2 suop::- =,:-
fighter with 1194-kW (1 600-hp) M-82 craft. The hiqhest-scoring of ali ,Allei
radial, passing on almost immediately fighter pilots of the war Ivan Kcz:e-
to a development, the lra-s, wrth cut- dub achieved all his 62 combat';cl:r-
down rear fuselage whrch gave im' res whrle flyrng La-Ss La-SFNs;.r-i -=-
proved visibility for the pilot. The pro- 7s between 26 March 1943 and i 9 Apd
totype completed its acceptance trials 1945.
in May 1942 and entered production
tvvo months later; by the end of the A refinement of the La-j, itseff a
year no fewer than l, 182 examples had development of the LaGG - 3, the L a-7
been completed, In March 1943 the was to be the last of Lavochkin's
next and principal version, the La-SFN, mixedwood and metal construction
entered production, a total of 2],975 fighters. By the time of its
aircraft including the later La-? being introduction to the battle in spring
produced before the end of the war; 1944, theGermanswere in retreat all
the La-5FN featured the 123]-kW along the Eastern Front.
(].,650-hp) ASh-B2FN ensine, but its
two 20-mm cannon were sup-
plemented by four 8,2-cm (3.23-in) RS Ivan Kozhedub was the top-scoring
B2 rocket projectiles or two PTAB anti- Allied fighter pilot of the w ar. The
tank weapons. A two-seal lrainer ver- La-7 shownis thatinwhich he made
sion, the La-SUTI, was also produced. the last of his 62' kills', on I I April
Later aircraft were armed with two 23- 1945.
mm guns in place of the 20-mm
weapons, In 1944 the La-7 appeared
with an armament of three 20- or 23-
mm cannon, an uprated ASh-B2FN en- E)*+ * * 1* r + *
gine and a top speed of 680 km/h (423 +*, +* * *.
mph). The first large-scale use of the ;4++*+r+
La-S was during the frgrhtrng around +rta+t
Stalingrad in November 1942; it was
essentially a low/medium-altitude

Lavochkin La-S and La-7 (continued)

Kozhedub flew this La-SFN in the

summer of I 944. The aircraft had
been presented to the unit by the
father ofHero of the Soviet Union
Lieu tenant- C olonel K ony ev in
memoryof hisson.
Tlpe: single-seat fi ghter/fighter-
Powerplant: one 123 l -kW ( 1, 650-hp)
ASh-B2FN radial piston engine
Performance: maxmum speed
647 km/h (402 mph) at 5000 m
(16,405 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,405 ft) in
5,0 minutes; sewice cerling l lOO0 m
(36,090 ft); ranqe 765 km (475 miles)
Weights: empty 2605 kq (5,743 Ib);
normal take-off 3360 kg (7,408 lb)
Dimensions: span9,B0 m (32 ft 1,75 in);
length 8,67 m (28 ft 5,3 in); height .
2,54 m (B ft 4 in): wrng area I 7.59 m2
(189.3 sq ft)
Armament: two nose-mounted 20-mm
ShVAK cannon (on later aircraft 23-mm
NS cannon), plus provision for four 8,2-
cm (3,23-rn) RS-82 rockets or 150 kg
(331 1b) of bombs

Semyon lravochin's la-? featued an

uprated engine, grivingit atop speed of
680 Isn/h (423 mph) and many minor
improvements which made this airctaft
one of the most effective of thewar.
Those made at the Moscow factory
carriedtwo carmon, whilst those built at
Yaroslavl had three.

ru ifrtoy"n-Gurevich MiG-3
Gaining a reputation as a 'hot ship' in
the early years, the Mikoyan-Gurevich
MiG-3 was plagnred by difficult hand-
ling and very poor armament, and
although among the fastest of Soviet
flghters of that period, it proved no
match for the German Bf 109G or Fw
190, Flown in prototype form as the I-6I
rn the spring of 1940, the initial design
Lncluded the 895-kW (1,200-hp) Mrku-
hn AM-35 V-12 engine, and this was
retained in the production MiG-1,
which started appearing in September
1940, Handicapped by the overall
length of the engine, which resulted in
poor pitch and directional stability,
and armed with only three machine-
gn:ns, the MiG-l suffered heavily tn the
opening months of Operation 'Barbar-
ossa', and the MiG-3, delivered during
the second half of 1941, proved ltttle
better with a 1007-kW (1,350-hp) AM-
35A engine, which gtave the fighter a
top speed of640 krn/h (398 mph); intro- Specification lengrth B,15 m (26 ft 9 rn); herght 2.67 m The MiG-3 had been desigined for a
duced at the same time was a constant- Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 (B ft9 rn); wingareal7.44mz high-altitude role but combats on t-h.e

speed propeller, increased wingt Type: single-seat fighter (187.7 sq ft) Eastern Front took place below-
dihedral and sliding cockpit canopy, Powerplant: one 1007-kW ( 1, 350-hp) Armament: one 12, 7-mm (0. S-in) 6000 m ( I 9,685 ft), where the
Handling was only marqinally im- MikuhnAM-35A V-12 piston engine Beresin BS and two 7.62-mm (0,3-in) German Bf 109 had a distincl
proved, so the MiG-3 was transferred Performance: maximum speed ShKAS nose-mounted machine-qnrns performance adv antag e.
to attack bomber escort and close sup- 640 krn/h (398 mph) at 7000 m (later increased bytwo I2,7-mm/0,S-in Cons equ en tly attrition w as high.
porr duties; in 1942 two 12,7-mm (0,5- (22,965 ft); initialclimbrate 1200 m underwing gruns), plus provrsion for srx although many who wete to b&c::e
rn) machine guns were added in (3,935 ft) per minute; sewice ceiling 8,2-cm (3.23-in) underwinq rockets or aces made their first'kilk':fl 'lhel,55
':nderwinq fairings by operational un- 12000 m (39,370 ft); ranse 1250 km (777 two 100-kq (220-1b) bombs fighteL
1's, but gradually the aircraft was re- miles)
piaced by radial-engine flghters such Weights: empty 2595 kg (5,721 1b);
as the La-S. Total production was 3,422, maximum take-ofl3350 kg (7,385 ]b)
:i which 100 were the earlier MiG-i, Dimensions:span 10.30 m(33 ft9.5 in);

AMiG-3 of the 34lAP operatingfrom

Vnukovko in the defence of Moscow
in the winter of 1941/2. The aircraft is
adornedwith that most potent of
Soviet slogans,'For the Fatherland!'
Soviet Fighfer Developtnenf
Launched into a war for which they were disastrously
unprepared, the Soviet Union suffered grievous losses during
the triumphant German offensive. Nowhere was the
qualitatiie gulf between the respective weapanry more
apparent than in the air forces, yet within two years the Soviets
were on equal terms.
To a great extent politically, socially and technologically isolated from the West-
ern world dur:ng the vicious pre-war Stal.nist dictaLorsnip, 1ne Soviet arrrs
-anufactur ng industrV had, before the outbreak of World War ll, struggled at
considerable disadvantage to marntain some degree of technical parity with
other nations. Yet in the field of aircraft design the Soviet aircraft industry had
managed to conceive a number oi good aircra{t in pre-war years, such as the
Tupolev SB-2 bomber and the Polikarpov l-16 monoplane fighter. Development
had been laboured, but both these aircraft in particular had shown considerable
prornise when committed to combat n the skes over revorJtionary Spa n
immediately beiore the world war.
Soviet fighter design at the beginning of the war was in truth hamstrung by
the lack of a powerful, compact and reliable engine of indigenous design, neither
the German nor British engine manufacturers being willing to divulge details of
their latest liquid-cooled powerplants, the Daimler-Benz D8601 and Rolls-Royce
Merlin; indeed, the technical sophrstrcation and cost of such engines were Short of sophisticated aluminium alloys, Soviet designersmade as much use
probably beyond the manufacturng resources of the Soviet industry at that of wood as possible, with a large proportion of aircraft such as the LaGG-3
lime. Instead rhe Soviets had to be contenr witn developn-ent oI such power made of the material.Though the structures wererefined and complex they
planLs as lhe Hispano-Suiza 12v I lew se a d.awbaci. ro tne Frenc^t. were tough and easily repaired, ideal for conditions at the front.
At the beginning of the war in Europe, therefore, the Soviet air force still
possessed no fighter better than the l-16, and the yet older Polikarpov l-15 A tr rd Sov et +ignter arso started del:very Lo tne V-VS n 1940, narely Serryo-
biplane, and these two were deployed agarnst the Finns (with only lim ted A. Lavochkin's LaGG-1 , also powered by an M-105 and built almost entirely o'
success) during the Winter War of '1939-40. There were nevertheless stars in r,,rcod. Handlrngqualitieswereinferiortothoseof theYak-1 andproduction socr
the ascendancy arnong Sovret arrcraft designers, among them Aleksandr S. sw tched to the LaGG-3 with constant-speed propeller, leadinj-edge slats anc
vakovlev, Arrem L M kovan and M <na I L Gurev cn, lhe rasi two comb ninq i^ a ^ cro\ eo ar-amenl prov:s.on
design bureau (thereby forming the famous'MiG'partnership) to produce the --.s r':o o'fighters, namely the M G-1, Yak 1 ano LaGG-3. thus ;nc'eas ng
MiG-1 fiqhter, whose prototype first flew in the spring of 1940. As with most prov cied the strength of the Soviet fighter arm dur ng the first year of desperate
Soviet aircraft of the early war period, considerable use was made of wooden f ghtlng on the Eastern Front. They also formed the basis of almost all futur:
construction in this fighter, but its princrpal weakness lay in the long, hea','1' .ta'r rLe +ighter oevelopmenr. F,own by experienced pilots. they were j--.'
Mikulin AM-35 V-1 2 engine, which demanded very careful use of the throttie capable of matching the older Luftwaffe fighters in the air. However, expe.-
duringtake-off andlandingbecauseotinadequatelaieralcontrol;gunarman"ert enced Sovret pilots were a relaiive scarcity, havtng suffered calamitous casua ,
was poor (one 12.7-mmlO,5-in and two 7.62-mm/0.3-in synchronized mach ne i es rn the disastrous first weeks of Opeiation 'Earbarossa', and the stead
g u ns), and it was not long \early 1942) bef o re th is tricky ae roplane was relegate d g l\ ng nJmDeTS o'Bf 1OgFs anc Bf tOgGs p.oveo loo rucr io'tne hasr
to ground attack duties. lrarned Sovret Dilots.
Yakovlev's first fighter essay fared much better despite its dependence or fs the German steamroller advance was slowed 6r rhe ground ouring r',
the less powerful M-105 (Hispano-Suiza 12-development) engine The l-26 larler half ol 1942 the Soviet aircrafr industry was frantically developing ne','.
p-ototype of tne Yak-1 had fiown n 1940 and product;or eramples rw -- ; versions of the onginal fighter 1no. Combat elper ence had 6hown the v"ulne',
performance roughly the same as that of the Spitf ire Mk l)were being delivered ab lrty of rvooden construction and efforts were made to increase the proportic-
to the V-VS before the end of 1940. Capable of holding its own with the Germar cf metal primary siructures rn most Soviet aircraft, and at the same tin:
3f 109E (but not the Bf 109F), the Yak-1 was selected- for mass production and, rrnproved, larger and faster-firing guns were introduced, although Soviet des ;-
despite movement of its manufacturing plant hundreds of miles to the easi ners tended to clrng to the age-old nose-mounted, synchronized gun arrnamen:
,,,'hen Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 , deliveries were little affected, The Yak-1 gave place to the Yak-7 and Yak-9 senes and also the Yak-3 whic:
.-d oV the end of the year some b00 ai'cralt were in service. :esoite havirg to st ck witn rre V(- l05PF engine, rerurned a speed o'aDoJt 6e -
km'h (410 mph) The Hispano-based engine was still favoureci as this allowec
^e nstallation o{ a nubJirinq 20 n-m ShVAK canron, arthoJgh ^ose-mounLC -
Final developments in the piston-engined Lavochkin stary saw outstanding, 12.l-mm(O.5-in)gunswerea'isoretained EariiertheYak-9had"beenintroducec
all-metal aircraft such as the La-9 entering service. While bearing superficial some of which carried 37- or 45-mm hub cannon, and this outfought the Bf 109:
resemblance to its La-S and La-7 progeniiors, it was to all intents a new design. 'ryhen first flown in action over Stalingrad at the end of 1942. indeed product o-
Allied Fighters of World War II

The I-26 second prototype of the greatseries of piston-engined Yak fighters

seen in 1940, Yakovlevwas a noted designer of light sporting aircraft, and his
simplefighter,largely madeof wood andwelded tube, was anelegant and
eifective design with a good performance and great potential.

ci Yakovlev's family of fighters far outstripped anything achieved in the West

ouring the war, more than 37,000 such aircraft being produced in 50 months.
Development of rhe lt/iG fighter family was less successful, the MiG-i being
replaced in production by the MiG-3 with more powerful AM-35A, constant-
speed propeller, sliding cockpit canopy and increased winq dihedral. Although
Iess of a 'hot ship' than the MiG-1 , the MiG-3 was stjll unpopular and was quickly
relegated to close-support work. The radial-engine l-211 development was sard
to be a considerable improvement but, following the success betng achieved by
the La-7 and Yak-9, did not attract large production orders.
By contrast the disappointing LaGG-3 came to be developed into the success-
iul La-5, La-5FN and La-7 familv. ln much the same way that German (and later,
British) fighter designers sucieeded in marrylng air-cooled radial engines to
fighter airf rames, Lavochkin selecred rhe 1,700-hp (1268-kW) Shvetsov M-82
radial and produced an excellentfighter, the La-5FN, caBable of matching most TheYak-1 family soon splitinto lightandheavy types, with the Yak-t: b=:.
German single-seaters below about 4500 m (14,765 ft), but less suitable at smallest and lightestof them; At low altitudes, theYak-3 soon pravec
higher altitudes. The aircraft was therefore largely developed as a specialist markedly superior to theBI 109G and theFw l90Ain service wtth::-.
ciose-support fighter, the La-7 often be ng armed with underwing rockets. Luftwaffe, but it did notarrive in numbers until tate I944.
These {ighters were tremendously popular among Soviet pilots and, although
having slightly lower speed than the Yak-3 and Yak-9, were exploited to the f uil
by many of the top-scoring fighter aces of the V-VS, of whom lvan Kozhedub
was lhe highest with a score of 62 victories (including a single Messerschmltt
l,Ae 262 jet), all of them gained on Lavochkins.
While Yakovlev and Lavochkin fighters constituted the vast majority of Soviet
fighter production in the last two years of the war, the MiG bureau turned its
attention to the problems of high-altitude fighters, but little or no realistic
progress was made in the development oi a Soviet jet engine until examples of
Gernran turboiets fell rnto Soviet hands earlv in '1 945. Bv then it was too lale to
.'o^s der d velring manpower to th s new f'e'd be'ore ihe eno o' rne war.

Left: Yakovlw produced over 37,000

fighters with the Klimov VK- 105 and
VK- 107 engines, whose main advantage
was that they allowed the carriage of a
large-caiibre hub-mounted carmon.
ThisYak-Twastested with a ShveGov
ASh-82FNV radial engine, which was
not adopted.
il ?"tout"v Yak-I, Yak-3, Yak-7 and Yak-9
It Is sard that 37,000 Yakovlev frghters
were produced dunng World War II,
of which the vast majority were of the
Yakovlev Yak-9 that could outfrght the
German Bf 109G as early as the trme of
the Stalingrad campaign. Developed
prognessrvely from the Yak-l (which
first flew in January 1940), through the
Yak-ZB which sewed from early 1942,
the Yak-9 was frrst flown rn its produc-
tion form in the summer of that year, S enior Lieutenant M.D. B aranov flew
returning a speed of 600 km/h (373 this Yak- 1 in the summer of I 942. The
mph). Numerous versions of thts versa- patriotic slogan behind the cockpit
tile flghter were developed, including reads'Death to the Fascists', a
the Yak-9T antr-tank fighter with 940- popular sentiment at the time.
kW (1,260-hp) Klimov VK-105PF V-12
engine and 37-mm hub-firing cannon,
the Yak-98 flghter-bomber with provr-
sion for 400 kq (BB2 lb) of bombs, the
Yak-9D long-range fiqhter and the
Yak-9DD very long-range escort
fighter, the latter being flown as escort
for USAAF bombers on shuttle ratds
between the UK and the Sovret Umon
late in the war, The Yak-9U fiqhter,
with 1231-kW (1,650-hp) VK-107A en-
gine and a top speed of 700 km/h (435 By late 1944, the phenomenally agileYak-3was being replaced by improved
mph), was the final vetsion to see com- models, but senior ofticers such as Major-GeneralG.N. Zakharov of the 303
bat during the war and represented Fighter Aviation Division often kepl lhem aspersonal mounts.
the point at which Soviet technologry
may be said to have finally cauqht up
with that of ihe West, and came to be
much respected by the best Luftwaffe
pilots rn their final generation of Bf
1O9K and Fw 190D flghters. The Yak-3
was perhaps the war's most manoeuvr-
able monoplane fighter, and entered
service in 1944 as a lightened deriva-
tle of the Yak-l senes.

Right: The early production Yak- I

came to the front in large numbers in
the early days of Barbarossa, and
was disliked by some pilots who
wete used to the /ess advanced
aer odynamics of the. P o li karpov
biplanes which had equipped many
S ovie t avi ation regimen ts.

Tlpe: srnqle-seat flghter
Powerplant: one 123 1-kW ( 1,650-hp)
VK-lOZA V-12 piston engdne
Performance: maximum speed
700 km/h (435 mph) at 5000 m
(16,405 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,405 ft) in
3,8 minutes; service ceilinq I 1900 m
(39,040 ft); rangre B7O km (540 miles)
Weights: empty 2575 kg (5,677 lb);
normal take-off 3098 kg (6,830 ft)
Dimensions: span 9.77 m (32 ft 0,6 in);
Iengrth 8.55 m (28 ft 0.6 in); height
2 44ml9 ft 0 rn); wing area 17 25m'
(185,7 sq ft)
Armament: one 23-mm hub-flring VYa-
23V cannon and hvo 12,7-mm (0.5-in)
UBS machrne-gnrns, plus provision for
two 100-kg (220Jb) bombs

Above: Yak-9Ds of a Guards

regiment operating in the Crimea.
The nearest aircraft is the mount of
Colonel Avdyeyev and bears the
Order ofthe Red Banner. By the
summer of I 944, when the photo was
taken over Sevastopol, Soviet
fighters were often superior.

Right: This Yak- I M was presented by

the young C om m u nis ts of AIm a Alta
and was flown by Sergei Lugansky,
victor at thetime over 32 enemies.

ffi i,t"f.n"ed P-38 Lishtnins
Representinq Lockheed's first fighter
aucraft project, the hvrn-engdne, hvin-
boom Lockheed P-38 Liqhtning was
desigmed to meet a 1937 requuement
for a high-altitude interceptor. First
flown on 27 January 1939, the XP-38
was followed by production P-38s with
nose armament of one 37-mm and four
12.7-mm (0.5-in) gmns and powered by A P-38J of the 432nd Fighter Squadron based on New Gainea in late I 943 . The
Allrson V-17i0-27/29 engtnes; their top J'modelswere the tirst to have relocated radiators and leading-edge
speed of628 lcn/h (390 mph) was grea- tankage.
ter than any other twin-engine fiqhter
m I94I. The first version to be consi- P-3BJ only in havrng - I I l/I 13 engines il
dered fi:lly operational was the P-38D, place of the -89/9ls previously used.
however, and this was reaching Photo-reconnaissance conversions,
squadrons at the time of Pearl Harbor. the F-4 and F-5, were also widely used
The first of an order for I43 aircraft for in Europe and the Far East, Production
the RAF arrived in the UK in Decem- of all Lightnings totalled 9,394.
ber 194 l, but after evaluation the i,igrhl
ning was rejected (on account of a ban Specification
imposed on the export of turbochar- tockheed P-38t Lightningr
qers) and the contract cancelled. In Type: sinqle -seat fighter/fi ghter-
the USAAF the P-3BD was followed by bomber
the P-38E, in which the 37-mm cannon Powerplant: two I I00-kW (1,475-hp)
was replaced by a 20-mm weapon. Allrson V- 1710- 1 I I/1 13 V- 12 ptston
The P-38F, with provision for up to a engrnes
907-kg (2,000-lb) bombload under the Performance: maxmum speed
wings, was foilowed by the P-38G lirith 666 kn/h (414 mph) at 7620 m
mrnor equrpment changes; the P-38H (25,000 ft); climb to 6095 m (20,000 ft) in
cou-ld carry up to i452 kg (3,200 ]b) of T.0minutes; sewiceceilinq 13410 m
bombs, In the P-38J (of which 2,970 (44,000 ft); rNge724 kn(450mries)
were produced) the radiators were 1o- Weights: empty 5806 ks (12,800 1b);
cated in deep 'chin' farrings im- maximumtake-ofl 9798 kar (21,600 lb)
mediately aft of the propellersi with Dimensions:span I5.BS m(52 ft0 tn);
maximum extemal fuel load this ver- lenqth I1.52 m(37 ft t0 ir); height Above : At the AAF T actical C entet in Below : The big Lockheed fighter saw
sion had an endurance of about 12 2.99 m (9 ft 10 in); wrnqarea30.42m'^ Orlando, Florida, technicians load a sewice in a number of variants, the
eours, and it was in. this model of the (327.5 sq ft) P-38 with bombs before a sftrp P-3BM being a night fighter. This two-
F-38 that America's top scoring fighter Amament: one 20-mm and four i2.7- bombingrun. With the retention of seat, radar-equipped model was
pilot of the war, MajorSichard L Bong, mm (0,5-rn) quns in the nose, plus a the full fighter nose armament of used operationally in the Pacific
garned the majority of hrs 40 victories, bombload of up to two 726-kq ( 1, 600- 20-mm and 12.7-mm guns, the P-38 during the latter stages of thewar.It
lhe P-38L was the most-burlt version (a lb) bombs under the wings .could provide its own flak retained the full weapon fit of the day
:otal of 3,923) and dilfered from the suppiession at low level. fighterve$ions.

iLu P-39 Airacobra

- re radical BelI P-39 Airacobra single-
-<3at fighter was designed around the
:lb-firing 37-mm T-9 cannon which
ra flew with much better results with
three USAAF groups based in Nodh
Aftica from the end of 1942. The P-39D
introduced the -83 engrine wrth large-
diameter propeller. Final and most-
built versions were the P-39N and P-
A Bell P-39L Airacobra, operated by
the 93rdF.S, 81s t FG in Tunisia in
I 943 . Successful in Soviet hands , the grven impressive demonstrations was followed by the P-39F, which intro- 39Q with -BS engine; production P-39 proved no match for the agile
: 1935. The Allson V-12 engine was duced an Aeroproducts propeller in amounted to 2,095, bringinq the total of Zero in the Pacific, hutwas
-icated amidships behind the cockpit, place of the former Curttss type, the all P-39s to 9,558. Of these, no fewer reasonably effective in North Afica.
:nving the propeller by an extension P-39J wrth V-1710-59 engine. the P-39K than 4,773 were shipped to the Soviet
s::a-ft, and nosewheel landing gear was with -63 engine and Aeroproducts Union in response to Stalin's desperate
:iopted. The prototype XP-39 was first propeller, and the P-39L with -63 en- appeals for military assistance
April 1939; production P-39D
fc.,vn in grine and Curtiss propeller. The P-39M
a-rcraft entered service with the
-SAAC in l94l and first saw combat in
-:e Pacrfic theatre in April 1942. P-
33Ds also sewed with US forces in
iurope but suffered heavily in action;
--:ey also flew mth one RAF squadron
.)'{c. 601) but persistent problems
:aused them to be withdrawn after
s:arcely a single action. The Auacob-
B€Il P-39 Airacobra (continued)

Bell P-S9NAiracobra
Type single-seat fighter bomber
Pcrwerplant one 895-kW (1,200-hp)
i-Iirson V- l7l0-85 V- l2 piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 642
l<:. h (399 mph) at 2955 m (9,700 ft);
:i.nrb to 4570 m (15,000 ft) rn 3.8
T.rutes; sewiceceiJrng 11735 m
.38 500 ft); ranete 1207 lcn (750 rrules)
Weights: empty 2566 kq (5,657 lb);
nanmum take-otr3720 kg (8,200 lb)
Dimensions: span 10.36 m (34 ft 0 in);
l:-gth9.19 m (30 ft 2 in); heisht3.78 m
:-2hS m); wrngarea 19.79m2
.2.3.0 sq ft)
Armament: one hub-firinet 37-mm grun,
12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-gmns in
rcse decking, and four 7.62-mm (0.3-
:) gn:rs in the wrngs, plus provision for
:ne 227-kq (500Jb) bomb under the

Oiginally designed as an
interceptor, the Airacobra was used
also at low level, where its hub-
mounted 37 - mm cannon w as to
prove most effective in ground
attack. Sovietpilots, fighting at low
level, also achieved considerable
success in air combat.

8,rnis P-40 Warhawk

The USA's most important flghter at
iime of the Japanese attack on
Pdari radiator moved forward and
wrth lnajortty of USAAF P-4Os sewed in the (38,000 ft); ranqe 3BO lan (240 mtles)
duced a slightly shortened nose
Pacific, although many served in the Weights:empty2722kg(6,000 Ib);
deepened, this marked change in Mediterranean theatre alongside the maxrmumtake-offSl7l kq(ll,400lb)
Harbor, the Curtiss P-40 continued to
give vaiuable service for the remain- appearance being identified by a Commonwealth Tomahawks and Kitty- Dimensions: span I l,3B m (37 ft 4 in);
derof thewar, thougrhitnevermatch- changre of name to Kittyhawk m the hawks Total USAAF production was ]engrth10,16m(33ft4in); heght3.76m
edtheexcellenceof thefamousP-38/ RAF (all P-40s in American sewice 12,014, I,IB2Tomahawksand3,34zKlt- (l2ft4in); winqarea?l.9Zm'
P-47lP-51 trio. It had, after all, first being termed Warhawk); the P-40D tyhawks beinq built on British con- (236.0sqft)
flowa as the XITY (later the P-36 with correspondedwiththeKittyhawkMkl tracts. Armament:sx 12.7-mm(0.5-in)
Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radlal) and inRAFservrce, TheftstmajorusAAF machine-enrnsinthewings,plusa
been re-engined as the XP-40 with su- versron was the P-40E (Kittyhawk Mk Specification bombload of up to three 227-kg
percharged Alhson V-17I0 V-12 en- IA), with six ]2.7-mm (0,5-in) winq CurtissP-40N-20Warhawk(Kittyhawk (500-lb)bombs
ginerrOctober 1938. Largeordersfol- enrns, 2,320 being built. A Packard- lBrvl
lcwed, but most P-404 aircraft went to built Rolls-Royce Merlin powered the Type:single-seatfighter/fighter-
teRAF(astheTomalnwkMkl), The P-40F (Kittyhawk Mk II). Most- bomber TheP-40E,seenhereinl942,wasthe
P-408 foiowed with cockpit armour produced version was the P-40N (of Powerplant:onel015-kW(1,360-hp) firsttoseweextensivelywith_the
aadanarmamentof trvo 12.7-mm(0,5- which 5,219 were burlt), this version AllisonV-i7iO-BlV-l2pistonengine USAAFinEuropeandNorthA.frica.
n) and fow 7,62-mm (0,3-in) quns (the reverting to the Allison V-I710 enQdne Performance:maximumspeed CalledKittyhawkinRAFseruiceand

tomatrawt< Mk Itf, in tfre-nRD, itre andfeaturingshacklesforupto680kq 609knr,/tr(37Bmph)at3200m WarhawkwiththeAmericanforces,

P-rtoC (Tomahawk Mk IIB) featured (1,500 ]b) of bombs; in RAF servrce it (10,500ft); c1imbto4570m(15000ft)in theP-4oborethebruntof theinitial
seii-sealingfueltanks.TheP-40Dintro- became the Kiftyhawk Mk IV, The 6,Tminutes; serrnceceilingllSB0m fightinginthePacific'
iLpubli c P-47 Thunderbolt
Evolved from Major Alexander P, de
Seversky's radial-powered P-43, the
big Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was
designed under the leadership of
A-lexander Kartveli to become one of
Amenca's three outstanding fighters of
the war, First flown on 6 May 1941, the
XP-478 was designed around the 1492-
kW (2,000-hp) Pratt & Whitney R-2800
wrth exhausldriven turbocharger in
the rear fuselage; armament was eigrht
i2,7-mm (0.S-in) machine-gnrns in the
winqs, 171 production P-478 fiqhters This P-47M Thunderboltwas based
were built with minor rmprovements at Boxted in the UK in early I 945. I t
and a top speed of 69I ]<n/h (429 mph), was operated by the 63rd FS in the Specification (42,000 ft); maxrmum rangeZC2Z <:--
thr.s version being brought to the UK in famed 56th Fighter Group. Republic P-47D-25 (Thunderbolt (l 260 miles)
January 1943 by the 56th and TBth MKII) Weights: empty 4536 kg (10.0Cr1 t
Frghter Groups; they were first flownin Europe at the end of 1944, while the Type: single-seat long-range fi ghter maxrmum take-offB8oO kq t19 1t - :
combat on B April that year, flying
escort for B-17s. Early P-47s proved to
P-47N with blunt-tipped enlarged Powerplant: one I 7 I 6-kW (2, 300-hp) Dimensions: span 12.43 m (40 ft 9: : :
winq and increased fuel capacity was Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 radial piston length 11.01 m (36 ft 1sl4 in); herghi
possess poor climb and manoeuwabil- developed purely for servrce"in the engme 4.32 m(14 ft 2 in); wing area27.B7 r.'
rty, but were popular on account of Pacific; a total of I,816 was produced Performance: maximum speed (300.0 sq ft)
their ability to survive heavy battle and these flew escod for B-29s in their 689 km,itr (428 mph) at 9145 m Armament: eight 12.7-mm (0 S-Ln.r
damage. A lengrthened fuselage and ratds on.Japan in 1945. A total of 15,675 (30,000 ft); climb to 6095 m (20,000 ft) in machine-gLrns in the wings, plus up ::
provrsion for an under-fuse1age drop P-47s was produced, 9,0 minutes; sewice ceilng 12800 m two 454-kq (1,000{b) bombs
tank identified the P-47C. The major
versioir (of which no fewer than 12,602
were built) was the P-47D wtth water-
injection power boost, and cut-down
rear fuselage with 'bubble' hood on
later sub-varrants; P-47Ds sewed in
the UK, the Mediterranean and the Far
East, In Burma 16 RAF squadrons flew
the P-47B (as the Thunderbolt Mk I)
and P-47D (Thunderbolt Mk II), a total
of 826 being delivered, Developed as
a result of demands for a 'sprint' ver-
sion, the P-47M with rmproved turbo-
charger and a top speed of 762k'rn/h
(473 mph) at 9755 m (32,000 ft) reached

Fighters fromthe 82nd FS, ?8th FG on

the line after amission over @rmanyin
the autunnof 19,[4. Aircraft fromthis
squadron claimedthe first Me262 to be
destroyed by the 8th Air Force on 29
Augnrstthat year.

ffi iiLnh American P-sI Mustang

One of the lruly great fighters of the
war, the North American P-51 Mustang
was originally designed in 1940 to a
British requirement, The prototype
NA-73 was first flown in October that
year wrth a 820-kW (1,100-hp) Alhson
V- 1710-F3F but, although two early air-
craft were evaluated by the USAAF as
XP-S1 aircraft, the type was not
adopted by that air force. Most of the
early aucraft were suppiied to the RAF
i620 aircraft as Mustang Mk IA and
MuSang lvlk II). Their outstanding low-
level speed and range resulted in their
assignment to the ground support
iarmy co-operation) role, After the Bythe invasionof Normandy inJune 1944, theMustangwasrh exlensjyesewicewiththeU1AAF.ThisP-5lB
USA's entry into the war the USAAF operatedoutof Bottishamwith the 374thFS,361stFG, of the SthAir Force over the invasion beaches.
adopted the aircraft, ordering 148 P-
:.s whrch had four 20-mm cannon (in- i,9BB were produced at Inglewood; during the war, Total production of the (25,000 ft); chmb to 9]45 m (30,000 ft):
of four 0,5-in and four 0,3-in)
=ead shackles
wing simiiar P-5lC were built at
1,750 of the P-SI was 15,586, includinq 7,956 P- 13,0 minutes; sewice ceilinq 1277a rr-
Lcmb in the attack category Dallas, Texas, Later arrcraft had the SlDs and 1,337 qenerally similar P-SIK (41,900 ft); maximumranqe334T kn
=< the A-36A,. The British in the mean- amament restored to six gmns, while fighters with an Aeroproducts prop- (2,080 miles)
:le had re-engined four Mustangs increased fuel capacity extended the eller. Weights: empty 3232 kg (7, 125 1b);
lrt Rolls-Royce Merlins, and this ex- range to a maximum of 3347 kn (2,080 maxrmum take-off5262 kq (1 1,600 i-bl
;eCrent transformed the aircraft, In miles), enabling Mustangs to escort Specification Dimensions: span i 1.28 m (37 ft 0 /+ i:.
-r::enca the armament was reduced American bombers to Berlin, The P- Nonh American P-5 lD (Mustangr lenqth 9.85 m (32 ft 33lq in); heisht
.. ::':r 12.7-mm (0.5-in) guns, al1 in the SlD featured a cut-down rear fuselagte IvIknD 3,71 m (12 ft 2 in); wing area 21.65 rn'
n::ss. ard an 895-kW (I,200-hp) Allr and lear-drop' canopy. The Merlin P- Type: single-seat long-range fighter (233,2 sq ft)
:-: V-i710-81 was used in the P-51A, 51 joined the RAF as the Mustang Mk Powerplant: one I I I2-kW ( I,490-hp) Armament: six 12. 7-mm (0, 5-in)
:,- cerng ordered tn 1942. So spec- il (P-51B and P-51C) and Mustang Mk Packard Rolls-Royce Merln V- 1650-7 maclune-gmns in the wings,
were the benefits of the Merlin ry (P-5lD). Fastest of all versions was V-I2 piston enqlne provrsion for up to two 454-kg ( 1,00C-
a Packard-built Merlin (as the V- the lightened P-5lHwith atop speed of Performance: maximum speed lb) bombs or six 127-mm (5-Ln) rocker
-:.-:,-. 'ras used in the P-SIB, of which 784 kn/h (4BZ mph), 555 beins built 704 kn/h (437 mph) at 7620 m proiectiles

TheP-51 Mustangwas a fighter pilot'sdreant-A

lusty product of Anglo-Atnerican technolqy, tfu
M erlin- engined N orth American desgm packed
unrivalled performance into its slim frane. This
example, a P-5 I D, was allocated to the 375th
Fighter Squadron, 36 I st Fighter Group, 8th Air
Force, and was originally based at Bottishan ia
May I 944 before moving to Litue Walden in Esl..
P-51 lYlustcng in Action
On I 3 December I 943 German radar
controller s were plotting an American North American P-518 Mustang cutaway drawing key
119 Engrneaftercooler '152 Towing lugs
raid on Kiel. They were puzzled by one 1 Plasticiphenolfibre)
ruddertrim tab
Seat suspension frame
Pilot'shead/backarmour 120 Engineleads 1 53 Landinggearfairing
fast-moving group, however, until 2 Rudderframe(fabric ReaMard-slidingcleatr 121'l,520hpPackardV-1650
73 1 54 Main€earshockstrut
vision canopy 155 Blasttubes
reports from their own pilots came in- covered) (R-R Merlin) tuE ve-
3 Rudderbalance 74 External rear-view mirror cylinder liquid-aooled 156 Wing frontspar
the Mustang had arrived! 4 Finfrontspar 75 Ringand bead gunsight engrne 157 Gunbay
5 Fin structure 76 Bullet-proof windshield 122 Exhaustfairing panel 158 Ammunition feed chutes
-*', 6 Accesspanel 77 Gyrogunsight 123 Stubexhausts 159 Ammunition boxes
-iely regarded as the flnest long-range sing- 7 Ruddertrim-tabactuating ZB Fnginecontrols '124 Magneto 160 Wing rear spar
-=-seai escort frghter of World War II, the North drum 79 Signalpistoldischarge 125 Coolantpipes 161 Flapstructure
-:'rencan P-5 I Mustang was designed from the I Ruddertrim-tabcontrollink tube 26 Cowling foward f rame
1 162 Starboardailerontab
'163 Starboardaileron
I Rearnavigationlight
27 Coolantheadertank
'128 Armour plate '164 Starboardailerontab
: l=e: to meet a Brltish requirement, and only 10 Ruddermetalbottom
29 Propeller hub adjustment (ground
-er,"r'ards was it taken into service with the '1 '1
Elevator plywood trim tab 130 Spinner setting)
--:- IE 131 Hamilton Standard
1 2 Starboard elevatorirame 1 65 Wing rib strengthening
-J'41 '13 Elevatorbalanceweiqht Hydromalic propeller 'I
66 Outboard section structure
-he Mustang was designed lollowrng a visit '14 Siarboardtailplane 1 32 Carburettorair intake 167 Outersectionsspar
c,,- ne Britrsh Purchasing Mission, whose other structure integralwith i133) 1 68 Wingtip sub-assembly

15 Reinforced bracket(rear '1

33 Engine-mount f ront-f rame 69 Starboard naviqation liqht
;':rchases were versions of existing USAAF

steering stresses) assembly 170 Detachablewingtip

.,,pes. Design commenced in April I940 and 16 Rudderoperating horn
-:ie prototype was flown five months later, a forging
17 Eevatoroperatinghorns
:eccrd achievement. The Mustang's perform- '18 Tabcontrolturnbuckles
19 Fln frontspar/fuselage
::-ce proved far superior to any contemporary attachment
-i::encan aircraft, largely due to rts laminar- 20 Portelevatortab
21 Fabric-covered elevator
':-r; wingand aerodynamically ciean fuselage, 22 Elevatorbalanceweight
le early Allison-engined Mustangs had a su- 23 Porttailplane
p:rb low-levei performance but were hand- 24 Tabcontroldrum
25 Fln rootfairing
-:apped at higher altitudes by their lack of 26 Elevatorcables
27 Tabcontrolaccesspanels
c,:-rer, For this reason the Alhson Mustangs 28 Tailwheelsteering
-,';:re used only on armed tactical reconnaiss- mechanism
29 Tailwheel
::ice missions, an RAF Mustang becoming the 30 Tailwheelleg assembly
1st Allied single-engined flghter to fly over 31 FoMard-retracting
steerable tailwheel
3ermany in October 1942, Four early Mus-
:a:rqs were fltted with Merlin engines and, as
-:rrs produced a marked improvement in hiqh-
=r:itude performance, the Merlin-engined
l'l-.;stang was ordered into production as the
?-5iB, using the licence-built Packard Merlin
The P-5lB was built at North Amer-
-:a:i s Inglewood plant, while arrcraft built at
--ailas were known as P-SlCs. The Merlin- Tailwheeldoors 80 Circuil-breakerpanel
;:,gmed Mustangs went on to see extensive Lifting tube 81 Oxyoen requlator
82 Pilol'sfootrestandseat
:perational service in both European and 34 Fuselage aft bulkhead/
break point mounting bracket '134 lntaketrunk
iacific theatres, wrth the RAF and the USAAF. Fuselage break point 83 Controllinkage 1 35 Engine-mount reinforcing
36 Control cable pulley 84 Rudderpedal tie
Wrth straight-tapered and square-tipped brackets 85 Tailwheellockcontrol 136 Hand-crankstarter
',','rngs of supposedly laminar section, the Mus- 31 Fuselage frames 86 Wing centre-section I 37 Carburettor trunk vibration-
38 Oxygen bottles 87 Hydraulic reseruoir absorbing connection
,arg possessed superb handling characteris- Cooling-air exit flap 88 Portwing fuel tankJiller 138 Wing centre-sectionfront
-:s. the generous flaps and wide-track landtng actuating mechanism
Port Browning 0.5-in guns
139 Wing centre-section end
;=ar providing it with outstanding landing 40 Rudder cables
41 Fuselage lower longeron 90 Ammunilion feed chutes rib
1-ralrtres. Contributing to its exceptionally fine 42 Reartunnel 9'l Gun-bavaccessdoor
140 Starboard mainwheelwell
141 Wing f ront spar/fuselage
43 Cooling-air exit flap
--:-es was the low-drag radiator bath located 44 Coolant radiator assembly 92 Ammunition boxtroughs attachment bracket
-,';eil aft under the fuselage, while the car- 45 Radio and equipment shelf 93 Aileroncontrolcables 142 Ventral air intake (radiator
46 Power supply pack 94 Flap lower skin (Alclad) and oil cooler)
:..:rettor air intake, previously placed above 47 Fuselage upper longeron 95 Aileron profile (internal 143 Starboard wing fuel tank
-j-e nose, was moved to the 'chtn' position and 48 Radio bayaftbulkhead aerodynamic balance 144 Fuel {iller point
(plywood) diaphragm) 145 Mainwheel leg mount/
s=r,-ed immedrately to identify the Packard 49 Fuselage stringers 96 Aileron controldrumand pivot
l,lerhn versions. 50 SCR-695 radio transmittetr mounting bracket 146 Mainwheel leg rib cut-outs
:arly Allison-powered arrcraft in USAAF receiver (on upper sliding
97 Aileron trim-tab control
141 Main gear fairing doors
148 Auxiiiary fuel tank (plastic/
s::ice, origrnally designated the A-36 for the 51 Whipaerial
52 Junction box
98 Aileron plastic (Phenolfibre
trim tab)
composition 90 gal/409
:-:se-support role, were armed with two 20- 53 Cockpitaflglazing 99 Portaileronassembly litres)
::::, and luvo 227-kg (500-lb) bombs, Four 0.S-in 54 Canopytrack 100 Wing skinning 149 Auxiliaryf uel tank(metal
55 SCR-552radiotransmittetr 101 Outersectionsub- 62.5 gal/284 litres)
l:j: armament was retained rn the new P-SIB receiver assembly 150 27-insmooth-contour
r :. -n due course was increased tn both P-5lB 56 Batteryinstallation 102 Portnavigationlight mainwheel
57 Radiator/supercharger 103 Portwingtip 1 51 Axle fork

--i P-51C to six machine-guns; underwing

:=:<s cou1d carry either a pair of 454-kg (1,000-
coolant pipes
58 RadiatorfoMard airduct
104 Leading-edgeskin
105 Landing lamp
: ;:ombs or two 416-litre (ll0-US gal) drop 59 Coolantheadertank/
1 06 Weapons/stores

1 07
500 lb (227 kg) bomb
:--<:. These together with the vital rear fusel- 60 Coolantradiatorventral 108 Gunports
109 Gunbarels
-;= :ank bestowed a range of 3350 km (2 080 access cover
61 Oilcoolerairinletdoor 1 10 Detachable cowling panels

:-es), far qreater than other Alled fighters in 62 Oilradiator 1 1 1 Firewall/integralarmour

:-tr:pe rn I943 63 Oilpipes 1 1
2 Oiltank
13 Oil pipes
64 Flapcontrol linkage
-t operations by the USAAF's 8th Air Force 65 Wing rearspar/fuselage 1 14 Upperlongeron/engine
:';:ltrurope were at this stage of the war facing 66
attachment bracket
Crash pylonstructure 1 15 Oil-tank melal retainlng
--::-e'jtng of a crisis, A-fter a number of 'rookie 67 Aileron control linkage siraps against soft targets in northern France 68 Hydraulichandpump
69 Radiocontrolboxes

16 Carburettor
17 Enginebearerassemby
the American daylight bomber
1943, 70 Pilot'sseat 1 18 Cowlinq panel f rames
=--_.-:n moved farther afleld, only to meet
rii .ltler opposition from massed Iruftwaffe fighter defences, and it immedtately became
=;:: =rs'rhose pilots quickly evolved devastat- obvious that, despite the heavy defensive
-:-:: ::xcs, and began to take a heavy toll of the armament of the bombers, escort fighters were
- --::-ar Boeing B-l7s and Consoiidated B-24s. the only remedy. Unfortunately the P-47 pos-
l, - . diversionary sweeps by P-47 fighter- sessed inadequate range to accompany the
vrere able to distract the German bombers throughout their missions save for re-
Allied Fighters of World War Itr

Abve : The NA-7 3 prototype was

built to a B ritish purchas ing
commr'ssion requirement in only I 17
days.Powered byan I 100-hp(820-
I<W) Allison engine, the result was an
airc-r aft of obviously outs tanding
potential but dis appointing
Above: The Mustang Mk lll. as tIrc
P- 5 1 B/ C was cailed by the RAF.
began arriving in Britain n eatn
I 94 4. M os t MF yerstbns rere rero-
fitted with bulged M alcolm hcrlcjs
(also shown in the cutaway). nuct
more effective than the origina)
s ideways- opening c anopy.

O Pilot Press Limited

P-SI Mustang in Action

latively short-distance rards. The crisis arrived ter the group escorted dayhght bombers to on to destroy more enemy aircraft on the
dunng a single week in mid-August 1943 when Amiens. On i3 December the P-5ls flew with ground and in the air than any other 8th Air
ur raids on Schweinfurt, Regensburg and Bor- the bombers all the way to Kiel, at that trme the Force fighter group, Blakeslee received his
deaux the 8th Air Force suffered the loss of Iongest American fighter sortie of the war. And flrst P-5lBs on 27 February and, in accordance
more than 300 B- 17s. Coming at a time when the on I I January 1944 a 354th pilot, Major James H. with a promise given to General Wrlliam E.
USAAF was desperately workrng to build up a Howard, won the Medal of Honor for his singie- Kepner, commanding the VIII Fighter Com-
really large force of bombers with which to hit handed efforts to protect a bomber formation mand, to have them in action wrthrn 24 hours,
Germany, such losses were reqarded as near- aqainst a iarge number of Luftwaffe fighters led them over Europe the following day; their
catastrophic, For a time easier targets were over Germany; the followrng month, promoted pilots had an average of less than an hour's
chosen until on 14 October the 8th Air Force colonel, Howard assumed command of the flying experience on the aircraft!
returned to Schwetnfurt, but once more lost 60 354rh. The P-51B and P-51C remained the main
bombers. On 22 February the second 9th Arr Force in-service variants in Europe (where they also
P-Si qroup, the 363rd at Rivenhall, became served wlth the 31st, 52nd, 325th and 332nd
First arrival operational, joining the first 8th Air Force Mus- Groups of the l2th and 15th Alr Forces in the
That month, however, saw the first P-SlBs tang group, the 357th based at Leiston, which Mediterranean theatre) untrl mid-1944, when
arrlve in England when the 354th Fiqhter had flown rts first sweep over Rouen I I days the improved P-5lD started arrivlng, This ver-
Group under Colonel Kenneth R, Martin earlier, Before February was out one of the 8th sion, of which 7,956 examples were produced
moved into Greenham Common, and the fol- Air Force's most famous fighter groups, the 4th (6,502 at Inglewood), featured a cut-down rear
lowing month took up its operational base at was also operational tn the P-518; originally fuselage and single-piece slidrng canopy
Boxted, fielding the 353rd, 355th and 356th formed in August 1942 by embracing the three whlch gave much enhanced rear vision for the
Frghter Squadrons. Assrgned to the gth Air ex-RAF 'Eagle' squadrons (Nos 71, 121 and pilot, while the six-gmn armament was standar-
Force, the 354th Group flew its first sweep over I33), the 4th Frghter Group had traded its dized. After the first few aircraft had been deli-
north western France on I December, but Spltfires for P-47s ln March 1943 but, armed vered a small dorsal finwas introduced and this
thereafter became closely involved in de- with the P-51 and under the initial command of was retrospectively incorporated in the earlier
veioping bomber-escort tactics. Frve days Ia- Colonel DonaldJ,M. Blakeslee, the groupwent aircraft.

Iet killeroverGermcng
The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (swallow) was fast and Thunderbolts. The first operational Me 262 unit, enlarged
packed a powerful punch, proving able to intercept any Allied and renamed Kommando Nowotny, suffered its firsf casua/tl'es
aircraft including the previously immune Mosquito. It entered on 3 O ctober I I 44, when tw o M e 2 6 2 s taking off fr om Achmer
service with Erprobungskommando 262 during April I 944, were shot down by L ieu te nant U rb an L. D r ew. L ieutenant
who used the fighter to intercept high-Ilying reconnaissance Drew, flying aNorth American P-5lD Mustang, was a pilotwith
aircraft. The Me 262, Iike any aircraft, was vulnerable while on the 361st Fighter Group then based at Little Walden, England.
the ground or during take-off and landing, and some were lost The superb Mustang was probably the finest American fighter
to pr owling Allied figh ter s. The fir s t M e 2 6 2 to fall to the guns of of thewar,seeingservrbe in every theatre andgoing on toplay
another aircraftwas shot downnear Brussels by twoP-47 a major role in the Korean conflict.
Allied Fighters of World War II

On 6 March 1944 8th Air Force P-Sls of the Unquestionabiy the best-known P-51 prlot rn Top-scoring USAAF pilot in the M editeft anean.
357th Group accompanied B-l7s and B-24s all Europe was Captain Don Gentile, one of the 4th CaptainJohnJ. Voll, is seen with 2 I kills marked on
'-he way to Berlin, their presence keeping bom- Fighter Group's ex-RAF pilots who had set out his P-51D. CaptainVollflew outof Mondolfowith
ber losses from enemy fighters to acceptable to beat Rickenbacker's World War I victory the 308th Fighter Squadron,3l stFighter Group.
proportions. Thereafter, as Luftwaife losses be- score of 26 Thrs colourful pilot had reached a Many missions conststed ofescort for I 5 th AF
gan to mount steeply as the result of increasing score of 2l victories by mid-Aprll medium and heavy bombers.
attacks by American fighters over the German together with an impressive collection of med- (the 'Flying Tigers'), and durrng the Japare-
homeland, the P-51 came to be employed more als, but then committed the cardinal sin of offensive in the Tungtrn Hu region of Noverr_Le:
foequently in the ground-attack role, eventualiy crashing during unauthorized low-level that year gave much-needed close suppcr- ::
berng equipped wrth rockets (either six infan- aerobatics over Debden the Chrnese ground forces. Over Burma A-:is
iry-type Bazookas or 127 -mrn/ 5 -rn proj ectiles) While the achievements of the USAAF's and P-5lBs of the 31 lth Fiqhter Group esccr:=i
under the wings, However, right up to the end Mustangs were perhaps most spectacular over bombrng raids over Rangoon and stra::i
cf the war in Europe P-5ls continued to provide northern Europe, these were by no means the Japanese airflelds at Myitkyina and Bhamo a:::
escort for the heaw bombers, even accom- limit of the P-5I's combat service, although by ln July supported Allied ground for:=s
panying them all the way to the Soviet Union on the war's end the Mustang equrpped all but one including Merrill's Marauders.
the small number of dayllght shuttle raids, In of the 8th Air Force's fighter groups, The RAF Over the Pacifrc the l5th and 2lst Fisr--::
the intercept role the P-51 proved to be received some 800 Allison-powered Mustang Groups received P-5]Ds in late 1944 -'jlie ::
murderous and, during the famousBodeap/affe Mk Is, IAs and IIs, while Merhn-powered Mus- support the invasion of Iwo Jima, and later pr:,
attack of New Year's Day 1945 when about 50 tang Mk IIIs and IVs, which equipped 18 home- vided fiqhter escort for the tremendous Bce--.:
LuJtrivaffe fighter-bombers attacked its base in based RAF squadrons and six in the Mediterra- B-29 raids over Japan itself. In April aric 1.1=-,-
Belgium, the 352nd Fighter Group claimed ab- nean, numbered about 770 and 890 respec- the P-Sls of the 20th Air Force were se:.. ::
cut half the attackers without loss. tiveiy, strike Japanese airflelds on Kyushu to s..t---='
In the Far East the P-5iB and P-SIC entered enemy suicide attacks against the Amer-:-_
service in the CBI (China-Burma-lndia) theatre invasion forces at Okinawa.
in September 1943 with the 23rd Frghter Group Perhaps the finest testimony to the qr.:^'--=.
of the P-51 as a fightrng aircraft rs provriel :;;
the fact that, like the Bntish Spitflre, ihe lr1--s-
tang continued rn first-line service lc:r: ..::
the end of World War II, even in skes :='
came to be dominated by the jet fighter i:_i
as wrth the Spitfire, the Mustang's pilos -r,e:=
fulsome in their appreciation of thrs prloi s a=:--
plane, a truly magnificent weapon.
F|< i
Supermarine Spitfire
Classic creation of desrgner R.J, Mitch-
eli, the Supermarine Spitfire was the
descendant of the race-wtnning
Schnerder Trophy seaplanes, First
5 March 1936, the Spitfire Mk I
flown on
with Merlin II engrine and eight
machine-gruns entered RAF service in
August 1938, this version being heavily
committed to combat in the Battle of
Britain, The Spitfire Mk II wrth Merltn
XII followed in September 1940, the
Spitfrre Mk IIB being armed with ftvo A Spitfire M k VB of No. 306 (Polish)
20-mm quns and four machirie-gnrns. Squadron is depicted as itwould
The photo-reconnaissance Spitffte Mk Specification 756 km (470 miles) have looked on Fighter Command's
Supermarine Spitfire lvlk VB Weights: empty 23 13 kg (5, 100 lb); ' Rhu bar b' sweeps ov er occupied
IV was followed in March 1941 by the
excellent Spitfire Mk V (of which 6,479 Type: single-seat interceptor fighter maximumtake-off3078 kg (6,785 ib) France.
were produced) wrth 1074-kW (1,440- Powerplant: one 1074-kW ( l, 440-hp) Dimensions: span 11,23 m (36 ft 10 in);
hp) Merlin 45; the Spitfire Mk VC Rolls-Royce Merlin 45/46/50 V- l2 length9. I1 m(29 ft I I rn): herght3.48 m Two Spitfire Mk IXs are seen over
fiqhter-bomber could carry one 227- piston engnne (1I ft 5 in); unnq area 22.48 m' (242.0 Anzio in J anuary I 944. The Mk IX was
kg (500-lb) or two 113-ks (250-lb) Performance: maximum speed sq f0 a hasty adaptation of the Mk V
bombs, The Spitfire Mk VB remained 602 kn/h (374 mph) at 3960 m Armament: ftvo 20-mm cannon and airframe to accept a Merlin 6l
the mainstay of Fighter Command be- (13,000 ft); climbto6095 m(20,000 ft)in fow 7, 7-mm (0, 303-rn) machrne-guns in engine. Nevertheless, 5,665 were
hveen mid-1941 and mid-1942 when 7,5 minutes; service ceiling I 1280 m thewings built, second in numbers only to the
the Spitfire Mk IX, with IZ3B-kW (37,000 ft); range on internal fuel Mkv.
(1,660-hp) Merlin 61 with tlvo-stage,
two-speed supercharger joined the
RAF, The Spitfire Mk VI and Spitfire
Mk VII were high-altitude fighters with
extended wingrtips, but the definitive
Spitfire Mk VIII fighter and fighter-
bomber was used principally in the
Mediterranean and Far East, being ful-
ly tropicahzed
The Spitfire Mk X and Spitfire Mk XI
were unarmed photo-reconnatssance
versions and the Spitfire Mk XVI, with
a top speed of 652 km/h (405 mph) was
produced in fighter and fighter-
bomber versrons, A1l the foregoing (of
which 18,298 were built) were pow-
ered by the Rolls-Royce or Packard
Merlin, and the first with I294-kW
(1,735-hp) Criffon IV was the Spitfire
Mk XII, introduced in 1943 to counter
the Fw 190 flshter-bomber. It was fol-
lowed by the 1529-kW (2,050-hp) Gnf-
fon 65-powered Spitfire Mk lilV fighter
and fighter-bomber, The fighter-
reconnaissance Spitfire Mk XWII was
just joining the RAF at the end of the
war and had a top speed of TIZWn/h
(442 mph), In the Fleet Air Arm Seafire
vaiants also served tn Iarge numbers
with both Merhn and Gnffon engnnes.
Total production of the Sprtfue was
20,351, plus 2,334 Seafires,

NIZ ::
re Hawker Hurricane
The first monoplane flghter and the
flrst with a top speed of over 483 km/h
(300 mph) to enter RAF service, the
Hawker Hurricane was desiqned by
Sydney Camm and first flown on 6
November 1935, joining the RAF in De-
cember 1937. The Hurricane Mk I with
l6B-kW (1,030-hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin
il aad an armament of eight 7.7-mm
.1.303-in) machine-guns was Fighter
Command's princrpal fightei in the
tsattle of Britain in 1940, and destroyed
::ore enemy aircraft than all other de-
combined, It was followed by Mk IID introduced the 4O-mm anti-tank were catapulted from merchant shlps I n F ebruary I 9 38, Squadron Leader
-:e Hurricane Mk IIA with 955-kW gmn in 1942, Tbro of these weapons and flown ftom converted merchant J. W. Gillan of No. 1 I 1 Squadron flew
- 280-hp) Mertin XX before the end of were carried under the winqs, and this aircraft carriers, and later served histhen-brand-new Hurricane from
-:10, the Hurricane Mk IIB wtth 12 version was particularly successfrrl in aboard Royal Navy fleet carriers. Al- Edinbur g h to N o r thol t, aver aging
:::a:Lrme-gnrns and the Hurricane Mk North Africa. The Hurricane Mk IV fea- ways regarded as somewhat slow 657 km/ h (408 mph) with a tail wind.
trC -'lrrth four 20-mm cannon duringT tured a'universal wing' which allowed amonq RAF fiqhters, the Hurricane
-:{ L These versions were also able to carriage of up to eight 27.2-kg (60-1b) was highly manoeuwable and capable Powerplant: one 955-kW (1,280-hp)
r:r--ji up to ftvo 227-kg (5001b) bombs, rocket projectiles or any of the exter- of wlthstanding considerable battle Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V- 12 piston
:::o talks or other stores under the nal stores carried by the Mk II. It is damage, engine
.r-:-js: they served as fiqhters, fighter- be[eved 14,23] Hurricanes were pro- Performance: maximum speed
:,:i:ers, night-fighters, intruders and duced, including 1,451 built in Canada Specification 541 krn/h (336 mph) at 38 10 m
::-:::-reconnaissance aircraft on all (Hurricane Mks X, XI and XII), Thts Hawker Hwricane Mk IIC (I2,500 ft); climb to 6095 m (20,000 ft) Ln

:::-= '...:rtrl 1943, and in the Far East total, also included many Sea Hurri- Type: sinqle-seat fighter and fighter- 9, I minutes; service ceiling 10850 m
bomber (35,600 ft); ranqe on internal fuel
-:-- :e end of the war. The Hurricane cane models oJ which early versions
Hawker Hurricane (continued)

-=j kn (460 miles)

Weights:empty 2631 kg (5,800 1b);
::.aximum take-off3674 kq (8, 100 lb)
Dirnensions: span 12, 19 m (40 ft 0 in);
-::glrh 9,75 m (32 ft 0 in); heiqht 3.99 m
. -3
ft I in); wing area 23,92 m2 (257.5 sq

irmament: fow 2O-mm cannon in

plus provision for two 227-kg
i,[{b) bombs, or eight 27,2-kg (60-lb)
r: cket projectiles or hvo 409-litre (90-
-:,-.p gal) drop tanks under the wings
A Hurricane Mk IIB operating withNo.73 Squadron€r.i i.n ::e ,i-es:s:::
Desert in 1942. The scheme is unusual in that the squadron nas re::-:e::-

A formation from No.73 Squadron is Force) andwas heavily involved in Hurricanes were used widely Spitfire became available they switched
seen over France in the early days of the fighting duringMay andJune throughout the Mediterranean theatre. to gtround attack. From 1942 onwards.
the war. The squadron formed part 1940, movingfrom base tobase away Initially they provided fighter cover, but ungnrided rockets became favor.rhe
of the AASF (Advanced AirStriking fr om the adv ancing W ehrm ac ht. as more capable frghters such as the weapons.

Hawker Tempest
lonscious that the Typhoon left much Developed from the thick-winged Typhoon, the Tempest was a fine lowJeve|
:r be desired as an rnterceptor fighter air superiority fighter, and also pertormedwell as a bomher.
-:s soon as it flew in 1940, Sydney
tramm initiated the development of an
,'nproved versron with a lamrnar-flow
:lliptical winq and a Ienqthened fusel-
age to accommodate more fuel. Thrs
arcraft, the Hawker Tempest, was flrst
lown on 2 September 1942 and was
-cliowed by production Tempest Mk V
arcraft which joined Nos 3 and 486
Squadrons in April 1944, The early arr-
:rait Tempest Mk V Series I, were
:rmed wrth four Iong-barrelled 20-mm Specification
:lspano Mk II cannon, but the Tem- Hawker Tempest Mk V
pest Mk V Series 2 featured rmproved Type: single-seat interceptor/ground
:hort-barrelled Mk V gmns, Tempests attackfiqhter
-rere first committed to combat when Powerplant: one I626-kW (2, lBO-hp)
.re German flying-bomb offensive Napier Sabre II H-24 piston engdne
:pened immediately after the Nor- Performance: maximum speed
:randy landings, and the type shot 685 hr/h (426 mph) at 5640 m
rcwn 638 out of the RAF's total of 1,771 (18 500 ft); climb to 4570 m (15,000 ft) in
.cmbs destroyed, Meanwhile, like the 5.0 minutes; service ceiling 11580 m
--'phoon, Tempests were berng em- (38,000 ft); range on internal fuel
:1cyed in the ground-attack role 1 190 km (740 miles)
:eurg equipped to carry up to hvo 454- Weights: empty 4082 kg (9,000 lb);
.:; (1,000-lb) bombs, drop tanks or maximum take-off 6 142 kg ( 13,540 lb)
27,z-kg rocket projectiles.
(60-lb) Dimensions:span 12.50 m (41 ft 0 in);
I:-rever, with rts top speed of 686 }cn/ lenslh I0 26 m (33 :t B in); heisht 4 90 m
:. -26 mph), the Tempest also proved (16 ft I in); wingarea28.06m'(302.0sq
.:- effective frghter agtarnst the new ft)
l:rman arrcraft then berng rntro- Armament:four 20-mm cannon in
:-:ed and there were several lnst- wrnqs, plus provision for hvo 454-kg
( 1,000-lb) bombs, or eight 27.Z-kq (60-
--:es of therr shooting down Messer-
._.-ntt Me 262 jet frghters. The Tem- lb) 7.62-cm (3-in) rocket projectiles or
:es: Mk V equipped 12 wartime RAF longr-range fuel tanks
::-:drons, 800 aircraft being com-
:,:::d (and 1,200 cancelled at the end J une I 944, and a Tempest pilot
,. :-e war). The superb Bristol Cen- playfully buzzes his squadron mates.
-r .::s-powered Tempest Mk II, At this time. the T empest w as using
. -:-::gh flying well before the end of its low-level performance to combat
--:: was too late to see action but the flying-bomb menace. Nearly 640
.=:.': tn the post-war RAF. V- I s were destroyed by the type.
OneDcUinAugusf l94O
The story of the Battle of Britain is well known now, both in the mythical and scholarly
versions.Nevertheless, itremains astruggleinwhich theRAF had to avoid defeatto
ensure the survival of the nation. This is the story of just one of the days at theheight
of the conflict.
As daylight spread over southern England on
Monday 26 August 1940, the constant drone of
German reconnarssance Dornier Do 17s and
Junkers Ju 88s warned RAF Fighter Command
controllers of preparations for the day's raids as
the Luftwaffe sought to discover the where-
abouts of Air Chref Marshal Srr Hugh Dowd-
ing's fighter squadrons, Surprised by the
strength of fighter reactton away from the south
east on the previous day, when raids had been
mounled over Hampshire and Dorset, the re-
connaissance pilots duly noted the presence of
Hawker Hurricane and Supermarrne Spitfrre
squadrons at Kenley and Biggtn Hili, Accor'
dingly Generalfeldmarschdrlle Albert Kessel-
ring and Hugo Sperrle decided on a series of
attacks over a wide front dunng this Monday in
the hope of confusing the defences; free-
chasing Staffeln of Bf 1O9s were ordered to
cover Kent and Sussex in the hope of jumping
RAF squadrons as they were ordered from
sector to sector to meet the widespread raids.
Such was the continurng pattern of attacks
aimed at the desiruction of RAF Frghter Com-
Having been watched on CH radar at Dover
for some 30 minutes as rt burlt up over Belgium ordered off from Kenley, were directed against SpitfireMkls of No.92 Sqn accelerate intothe sun
and the Pas de Calais, the day's first major raid the Heinkels but arrived too late; on turning to take off for the las t sweep of the d ay. By thi s tim e,
by about 40 Hernkel He lils and a dozen Do north again they ran straight into a 'Balbo' (mass and at this stage in the battle, even the most
formatron) of about 80 Bf I09s and lost seven experienced pilots were at the edge of utter
l7s, escorted by 80 Bf l09s and some Bf I lOs, exhaustion. Many of the other pilots were woefulLy
crossed the Kent coast near Deal at about I 1.30, aircraft wrthin 30 seconds. Elsewhere the inexperienced.
As some of the Bf l09s broke away to engage in Defiants of No, 264 Squadron had been
free-chasing around Manston, Lympne and ordered off from Hornchurch and started their before reaching Biqgin HIU Divtng to gain
Hawkinqe (where they found no RAF fighters), complicated cross-over attack manoeuvre speed, the bombers jettisoned their bombs on
and the main force continued westwards, Air against the Dorniers over Herne Bay; after any town or village they crossed as they raced
Vice Marshal Keith Park ordered 40 Hurrt- claiming the destruction of three bombers they back to the coast.
canes and 30 Spitflres into the air from.Keniey were in turn set on by about 50 Bf 109s which Determined to catch the RAF flghters on
and Biggin Hill, The majority olthese went into shot down three of the turret fighters. Seeing their way home to refuel and rearm, Kesselring
action as the bombers passed over Canter- the escort busy with the Defiants, the pilots of sent about 60 Bf I09s on free chases over Kent,
bury, and continued to press their attacks all No. I (Canadian) Squadron charged into the But by 13 00 the skies had all but cleared and
the way back to Maidstone, though they dtd not Dorniers, only to lose three Hurricanes (includ- the German piiots returned empty handed,
manage to penetrate the flghter escort, The ing that of their commanding offlcer, Squadron Many of the Hurrrcane pilots had landed at
purpose of thrs raid (to split the defences) soon Leader E, A, McNab) in the bomber's savage forward bases and were not spotted.
became apparent as the Heinkels turned south cross-flre, However, two further Hurricane The tables had in effect beenturned. Kessel-
to attack Dungeness and Dorniers pushed on to squadrons then eniered the fray and, now for- ringwas already assembling his next bombing
Biggin Hill, No, 616 Squadron's Spitfires, saken by their escorl the Dornters turned back raid, comprising stme 40 Do 17s of KG I and
KG 2, for an attack on Debden and Hornchurch,
north of the Thames, But whereas the RAF
fighters were already prepared, the Bf I09s of
two whole Geschwader had still to be refuel-
led, Soon after 14.00 Dunkrrk CH warned of a
raid flyrng north west of Margate, and some
minutes later this was deiected by Canewdon
CH in Essex, The raid, comprisrng about 80 Do
I7s, accompanied by 80 Bf l 10s and 40 Bf 109s,
split before crossing the Essex coast, hall the
force striklng due west towards the Spitfire
base at Hornchurch, Against the latter Park
ordered off two squadrons of Hurricanes from
North Weald and Kenley, as well as the
Spitfires from Hornchurch itself, and these
proved capabie of turning the raid away, the Bf
l09s already running short of fuel; indeed the
German formation was quickly broken up by
the British fighters, five bombers and four
fighters being destroyed for the loss of five
Aphoto(presumably taken during araid onWest
Malling) demonstrates the remarkably low level at
which some fields were attacked. Just beyond the
blast pen containing a Spittire (ofNo. 66 Squadron,
perhaps) can be seen tft e dusl of a smallish bomb

:iia;ir:"i! .


The Debden raid, comprrsh; --, D: I 7s and with wrongly-fltted radio crystals In the event Hurricanes in the pte-war line astern f orr:'a::::.
-, Bl 1 10s, crossed the coas: ;s. s. i.l of Col- the bombs dropped by the persistent Dornrers break to attack the enemy. Not until after rke :::
rrester, but intense AA f,re -s ',',-eil as the caused some damaqe to station buildtngs at would the RAF perfect the use of wingm.en a:.:
'finger four', which gave the Luftwaffe in the::
::pearance of the Hurricari.: :i No 111 Debden, but at that time all the resident fighter
Schwarme and Rotte a djsljncl advantage i:
: luadron ordered down frci: l''lar:lesham, squadrons had been ordered to thelr forward fi gh ter -ve r su s -fig h te r c o m b a t.
: : :ed this lormaliontospir- l-- -:.. .'..erthan bases, and only a srngle aircraft was damaged,
-. lczen bombers to push on :c .-,:ris Debden Worst hit of the Essex raiders was the forma-
:: l'i: .2 Group,
-:sprte the warnings passed '.:3r-. tion of II and IITKG 2 which had split from the ron claimrng three a-rcrafr des.r:,'=-
:-e hghters at Duxford ulere sic'r,' oif the Debden raid, losing six or seven Do l7s and Thrrd and last major raid ol the ia-.- ','.'=. .
.::rund, and the prlots of N: :.! (Czech) three Bf 1lOs when it ran rnto seven squadrons by Sperrle and lnvolved a force oi a: , - ,
! luadron's Hurrtcanes made :r:-r 'r,,a,l' tndi- of Hurricanes and Spitflres as it passed to the Ills, escorted by more than 100 Bf -,:: ...-
.dually towards Debden despi:e riflculttes east of Chelmsford, the piiots olNo, 310 Squad- 110s sent to attack Portsmouth a:.: i
ampton soon after 16 00 It .rr'as t:ic;l:.: ..,
rhat, wilh mosr ol the hghrer so-ui r: -...
norlh lo meet Lhe ear.her atrack-. .-..
would seriously damage the impcl.=:.
without undue interference, In the :. =
Tangrmere squadrons had not been -:-'.'- -
the day's earlier fightrng, and Par-< .'.
able to meet the Portsmouth raii '.''.=.
fighters, although more than 60 arrc::
ordered ofl The Hurricanes and Sp-:--:.=.
ceeded in destroying four He I I ls a:,:
l09s for the loss of four fighters
Total British losses for this day ar.: -:. -,
I 5 Hurricanes, nine Sprthres and ihr
== - -
destroyed, wrth five pilots and lwo D----..
ners killed. Among those shot dc-;: -. = =
commanding officers ol Nos I (Car,ai,... .
310 (Czech) Squadrons and three r.=
vrv \v4Lvrr/

manders lortunately none \ as sr r- - .

The Germans on the other hand ics: , - ,
three Ju 88s, four He 111s, an He :: :=.,
seaplane, four Bf I lOs and 14 Bi 109s ::. : -' .
Among ihe Cerman casualt-es -/.'a: - .-
penkommandeur of VKG 1, as ',';:-- ..
The Luftwafle raids achrered . =
damage on the ground during lhe r1'.. r: :.
er of Sperrles afternoon raids s*::==:=
reaching their targets, The RAF s ,: s: .

than 30 fighters was infinrtely il:r= :::

losses at this ra e (lhe eifect-.e 'l.-. ..:
lwo whole squadrons rn a srnl-+ l:.'
, tinued would bnng Frghter Cc::': . :
knees in a forecastable perrcd :: :-::.=

continue rt did for more than i I ','

through sheer bad generalshrp :r,
abandoned the task of tryrng :: :
RAF and swiLched its a"acks .;=.:
ish civrlian population, Ald Ftgr:::

Throughout the battle, the main Gerr,a:. :. - :::

was the HeinkelHe I I I, lts broad. sp:::....':
wings becoming familiar over Londc:.. l.::s !: r. :=
jn its tight Kette (vics of three). js on : :.- :' :. -' .- :
capital. Before long, the attack tvas lc -<;i l:---: r: r.- -
hours of darkness.
ffi irfift"tt"-saulnier
Most numerous of French flghters at
the time of Germany's attack in the
West in 1940, the Morane-Saulnier
MS.406 was a curious anomaly, having
been ordered into production in 1937
when rls performance was already notl
ably far below that of current Bnttsh
and German fighters. Moreover, rts
complicated development within the
MS,405-411 family was as wasteful of
effort as it was counterproductive, The
prototype MS.406 was in fact the fourth
development MS.405 and first flew on
20 May 1938 with 642-kW (860-hp) His-
pano-Suiza 12Y31 and'moteur-canon',
typifying the continental practice ofus- 367 to 278, a situation quickly aggrra- Specification By May 1 940, the M5.406 was
ing a hub-flring cannon to avoid the vated by the loss of 37 aircraft on the Morane-Saulnier MS.406 outdated and hopelessly outclassed
need to synchronize its fire, By April g[ound at Cambrai, Damb]ain, Vitry Type: sinqle-seat fighter by the Germans. Nevertheless, it
1938 orders totalling 955 MS,406s had and l,e Quesnoy on the flrst daY, The Powerplant: one 642-kW (860-hp) equipped some I 4 Groupes de
been placed for completion by MS.406 qulckly proved to be outclas- Hispano-Suiza HS IZY 31 V-12 piston Chasse, including the famous
September 1939, but in the event only sed in the arr and during the Battle of engme Cigognes of ldre GC I / 2 at N imes.
572 had been produced by that date. France about 150 were lost in combat Performance: maxmum speed
At the outbreak of war these aircraft (plus some 100 on the grround), The 490 km/h (304 mph) at 4500 m i0. I in); lensth B, 17 m (26 ft 9,7 in);
equipped flve groupes de chasse at aircraft's inferiority was acknow- (14,765 ft); climb to 6000 m (19,685 ft) in heiqht 3.25 m (10 ft B in); wing area
Chartres and Dijon, plus two in Alger- ledged and by the tlme of the Armis- 9,0 minutes; sewice ceilinq I0OOO m 16.00 m'z(172,2 sq ft)
ia; 29 aircraft had been shipped to tice converston to other aircraft was (32,810 ft); ranse 1 100 km (684 miles) Armament: one 20-mm HS404 hub-
T\rnisia and 1O to Indo-China, By 10 already being undertaken by 10 Weishts: empty 1895 kq (4, 178 Ib); firing cannon and hvo 7.S-mm (0,295-
May 1940 the number of combat-ready MS.406 qroupes. normal take-off2540 kg (5,600 lb) in) MAC 1934 machine-Qnrns in the
MS,406s had actually dropped from Dimensions: span 10,62 m (34 ft wmqs


Dewoitine D.520
Best ofall French flghters at the time of
the great German attack in the West of
May 1940 was the Dewoitine D.520,
althoughit was probably no better
than the RAF's Hurricane Mk I;
moreover, no more than 36 had been
delivered to a singTle Erroupe de chasse
when the blow fell. Although the need
for a fighter to replace the D 510 had
been acknowledered as long ago as
i934, the D,520's design was not
started until November 1936; the pro-
totype was flown by Marcel Doret on 2
October 1938, Such delays were
symptoms of the letharqy and procras-
tination that pervaded the French air- Weights: empty 2 125 kq (4,685 lb); A D ewoitine D. 520, based at Rayak in Below : A restored D. 5 20 shows the
craft industry rmmediately before the normal take-off2675 kg (5,897 ]b) central Lebanon une I 94 1. The
in J fine lines of theFrench fighter of
war. Indeed it was not until 2 Novem- Dimensions:span 10,20 m(33 ft5,5 in); prominent striping is to identify the 1940.With a performance similar to
ber 1939 that the flrst production D,520 lengrh 8.76 m (28 Il 8.75 in); height aircraft asVichy French, and so the Hurricane, itwas still outclassed
was flown. First to receive the new 2.57 m(B ft5.2 Ln); wingarea 15.95m' ostensibly neutral. bytheBt 109 but, incapablehands,
fighter was GC V3, and this Groupe (171,7 sq ft) undoubtedly gave a good account of
fust met the Luftwaffe on 13 May, Armament:one 20-mm HS4O4 hub- in) MAC 1934 machine-cnrns in the itself in battle.
shooting down three Hs l26s and an He firing cannon and four 7.5-mm (0.295- wrngs
I I I without loss, Some 43 other aircraft
were quickly dehvered to GC IY3, GC
M, GC IIV3 and GC IIY6, and as new
aircraft were completed A6ronavale
Escadrilles AC I, Z, 3, and 4 were
equipped with a further 52 before the
armistice was signed, Production of
the D.520 continued in the Vichy (un-
occupied) zone, and in due course a
total of 235 D.520s served with Vichy
forces in France and 202 in Africa,
Highest-scoring French fighter pilot
was Adjutant Pierre Le Gloan, a ptlot of
GC IIY6 who destroyed lB enemy air-
craft (out of his eventual total of 22)
while flying D,52Os, Total productron of
the arrcraft was 775.

Dewoitine D.5205 (first 558 aircraft)
Type: single-seat flghter
Powerplant: one 694-kW (930-hp)
Hispano-Suiza 12Y45 V-12 piston
Performance: maximum speed
535 kn/h (332 mph) at 5500 m
(18,045 ft); climb to 4000 m (13,125 ft) in
5,82 minutes; sewice ceiling 10250 m
(33,630 ft); normal range 890 km (553

Armed Forces of the World

Italy's geographical positron n Europe, adjacent to
the Communist bloc and projecting into the eastern
Mediterranean, underlines the country's lmport-
ance in NATO as guardian of the alliance's southern
flank. However, the ltalian armed forces are afflicted
with that international problem, rnflation. which has
meant reduced funding and a more rational
approach to f uture spending. The ltalian air force, or
Aeronautica Militare ltaliana (AMl), has some 310
combat aircraft, most assigned to the 5th Allied
Tactical Air Force, along with Greek, Turkish and
Amerlcan units. Basic AMI unit composition com-
prises the gruppo of 12 aircrall, which equates
roughly to an RAF squadron, up to three gruppl
forming a stormo, or regiment. Manpower strength
is some 70,600.
Most prolific combat type in AMI service is the t! . ia:.:..::: i:jtt,r:
Itaiian-developed Aeritalia F-104S Starfighter, a total
of 205 being delivered and almost 170 currently
eouipping nine units. These replaced most of the
Lockheed F-1 04Gs and are being supplemented by
100 Panavia Tornados. Four gruppiwill receive Tor-
nados, some being assigned the anti-shipping role A further extension of the ltalian arr force's re-
armed with Kormoran missiles, while others fly re- equrpment programme rs the rntroduction lnto ser-
connaissance and strike duties. Later in the '1 980s, vice of the Aermacchi M.8.339 basic trainer. Cur-
the AMI will receive four prototypes and 187 pro- rently B'1 M.B.339s are on order for the lraining
duction Aeritalia/Aermacchi AMX lightweight units, and 'l 5 form the equipment of the famous
fighter aircraft to replace the surviving F/RF-104G, Frecce Tr colori aerobatic team. The three transport
units have between them 12 Lockheed Hercules TheAermacchiM.B.326K s no;', :+..- -- -:: : - ::
Aeritalia G91R and Aeritalia G91Y fleets, The pro-
themuch-improvedM.B.339 t:.:.-s ::=..- .- -- -. .
totype AMX made its first flight in May 1984. but and nearly all the 44 Aeritalia G222s on order. Part of though substantial numbets re.:.:..: ..- : i I . =
crashed shortly afterwards because of engine fail- the AMl, but closely lnvo ved wlth the ltalian navy, Some are used for communtc a:. :.:i- : - :. : -- : - - :
ure. The AMX is a joint ltalian/Brazilian project and are the maritime recon naissance un its f lying 1 B Das- small number have been con','e::t :' | | : : : :
will equip both air forces. sault-Breguet AtLantics. drone configuration.

Armed Forces of the World Italian Air Force

Aeritalia F-1 04S Starfightel

Unit Base
4o Stormo:
9o Gruppo Grosseto
5o Stormo:
23oand 102'Gruppi Rimini-Miramare
9o Stormo:
1 0o Gruppo Grazzanise
36o Stormo:
12"and 156"Gruppi Gioia del Colle
51o Stormo:
22" and 1 55" Gruppi lstrana/Treviso
530 Stormo:
21" Gruppo Cameri
Lockheed F-1 04G Starfighter
Unit Base
3o Stormo:
28oand 132'Gruppi Verona Villaf ranca .

20o Gruppo Grosseto

Fiat (Aeritalia) G91R
Unit Base
2o Stormo:
1 4" and 1 03' Gruppi Treviso-San Engelo
Fiat (Aeritalial G91Y
Unit Base
8o Stormo:
Above:TheFiat 101o Gruppo Cervia-San Giorgio
(Aeritalia)G9l was 32" Stormo:
desigmedtomeeta 1 3o Gruppo Brindisi
NATO requirementfor
alightweighttactical Dassault-Breguet Atlantic
strikefighter.Small Unit Base
numbersof theoriginal 30" Stormo:
single-engined 86o Gruppo Cagliari Elmas
variantswere 41o Stormo:
exported, but only ltaly BBo Gruppo Catania
operates the twin-
Tra i n i n g an d electro nic wa rf a re un its
Left: Four variants of Aeritalia G222RM
thePiaggioPD-808 Unit Base
were produced for the 14o Stormo:
Italian airforce. The 71"Gruppo Pratica di Mare
PD-808 ECM seenhere
is used for electronic Aermacchi M.B.339
countermeasures Unit Base
dudes. 14o Stormo:
B" Gruppo Pratica di Mare
ln addition there are some communications units dell'Esercito (ALE) uses 24 heavylift Boeing Vertol 31 3" Gruppo Rivolto
attached to various stormi f lying a variety of helicop- CH-47C Chinooks built under licence in ltaly, while 212",213" and 2 1 4" Gruppi Lecce Galatina
ters (Agusta-Bell AB.47s and AB.204s) and fixed- some 200 AB.205s and AB.206s fly in the AOP and
Piaggio PD-808GE/RM
wing aircraft (Aermacchi M.B.326s and SlAl- liaison roles. A batch of 1B AB.212s has recently
Marchetti S.208Ms). been delivered for slmilar duties. For anti-tank
Unit Base
1 4o Stormo:
duties, ALE evaluated the Agusta A 109 Hirundo Pratica dl Mare
Naval aviation during the 1970s, but only five machines were re-
306" Gruppo Ciampino
The Marinavia is the ltalian navy's aviation force, ceiv6d, and these remain in use on an experimental
and is principally helicopter-equipped for operations basis, two being armed with TOW anti-tank mis-
Transport and SAR units
'rom ships as well as shore bases. As with other siles. More specifically designed for the attack role
Western navies, the Sikorsky Sea King forms the is the two-seat Agusta A 129 Mangusta armoured Aeritalia G222
neavy ASW element, at least 20 equipping 1o Grup- helicopter and a small evaluation batch has been Unit Base
po at La Spezia and 3o Gruppo at Catania. When the purchased, with a possible order for up to 100 to 2" and 9Bo Gruppi Pisa
navy receives the canier Gurseppe Garibaldiin 1985, follow. Main fixed-wing design is the SlAl-Marchetti
Lockheed C-130H
16 Sea Kings will be deployed in her. Short+ange SM.1019, a refined turboprop development of the
Unit Base
anti-submarine duties are flown by the 4o and 5" older Cessna O-1 Bird Dog. Nearly B0 SM.1019s
50" Gruppo Grazzanlse
Gruppi, shore-based at Taranto with a planned total operated in 10 squadrons assigned to the AOP role.
cf 54 Agusta-Bell AB.212ASWs. Also at Taranto is a McDonnell Douglas DC-9
srnall training unit, 2o Gruppo, equipped with AB.47 Unit Base
and AB.204AS helicopters. 306" Gruppo Ciampino
The fixed-wing long-range maritime patrol force Order of battle Agusta45-61TS
camprises two stornl (the 30o at Cagliari-Elmas and Unit
First-line units Base 41o at Catania) with 18 Dassault-Breguet Atlan- 31o Stormo:
: cs. These aircraft are on the AMI establishment but PanaviaTornado 93" Gruppo Ciampino
:crne under the command of the navy. Unit Base
6o Stormo: Agusta HH-3F
Army aviation 1 54o Gruppo Ghedi Unit Base
:neltalian army has more than 300 helicopters 36o Stormo: 15o Stormo;
:nC '1 00 fixed-wing aircraft. The Aviazione Leggera 1 56o Gruppo Gioia del Colle B2o to 85" Centro SAR Ciampino