RAF Spitfire question....
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Thread: RAF Spitfire question....

  1. #1

    RAF Spitfire question....

    John here.....question for the RAF folks here...hope this is the right place. Was watching the History Channel today and the episode was concerning Douglas Bader and the Spitfire...My question is :there are 2 tube-like projections, one on each wing....are those the machine gun barrels and if so why only 2?..American fighters had multiple barrels(that were flush w/leading edge)....What size guns were on the Spit? Thanks in advance...John

  2. #2
    SOH-CM-2017 dhasdell's Avatar
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    Cannon were 20mm, machine guns 0.303 or, sometimes, later, 0.5. The tubes might be the cannon, but it depends on what mark of Spitfire.
    Rats - why won't anything work properly first time?

  3. #3
    I may be wrong, as the British do some things differently than we colonials, but I'm pretty sure the cannon had the longer barrels sticking out, but the machine guns either had only the flash suppressor sticking out, or a little bit of the barrel and the flash suppresor. I seem to recall some configurations having the machine guns closest to the fuselage having the longest barrel protrusions, the next one out being slightly shorter, and the third just barely protruding.
    Once again, though, I may well be thinking of a totally separate aircraft. Or maybe different models had different configurations. There were so many models of just the Spit, let alone all the other planes from that era. It was a aeronautical technology explosion.
    Have fun all!
    Pat☺
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  4. #4
    Hello,

    The 2 long tubes are the shrouds for the cannon barrels, Spitfires started out with 0.303 machine guns, which did have barrels flush with wing leading edge. As the 20mm cannons were somewhat larger, then the barrels had to poke out from wings.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supe...e_and_armament

    The actual Spitfire that Gp Capt Bader flew and was famously shot down in, was a mark Va, the a designating 8, 0.303 machine guns fit.

    Ttfn

    Pete

    RAF (retd)

    Ps, I had the experience of meeting Sir, he turned up to the base I was stationed at in a light twin ( Beechcraft Baron or similar) as a passenger, @ 1980. Detailed to meet and greet the aeroplane, was roundly met with "airman... dont you know who I am?" me : No, sir, should I? reply "I am Group Captain SIR Douglas Bader, and where is your beret?"... at which point he was ushered away by the Station Commander... (hats, being FOD hazard, not permitted on flightline)... I mean, he looked nothing like Kenneth More that played him in the film Reach for the sky.

  5. #5
    SOH-CM-2017 dhasdell's Avatar
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    he looked nothing like Kenneth More that played him in the film Reach for the sky.
    Sadly, and apart from looks, I have always suspected that both Kenneth More and Richard Todd ('Guy Gibson') were a lot nicer than the people they portrayed on screen.

    I seem to recall some configurations having the machine guns closest to the fuselage having the longest barrel protrusions, the next one out being slightly shorter, and the third just barely protruding
    Might you be thinking of the Thunderbolt? That was quite a prominent feature
    Rats - why won't anything work properly first time?

  6. #6
    Despite their achievements, particularly those of Gibson, their characters are blatantly misrepresented by film and TV companies. There are plenty of accounts about Gibson's stand-offishness with subordinates but, his achievements are not to be denied. Those of Bader, on the other hand, have been grossly exaggerated by the media and his much vaunted exploits, particularly during the Battle of Britain, were no more than hundreds of other brave pilots. Why he wasn't court martialled and bounced out of the RAF for good following the accident (showing off) that cost him his legs will always remain a mystery to me.
    As for the Battle of Britain, if Hugh Dowding had followed the advice given to him by Leigh Mallory, with Bader's total support, the Battle may well have had a totally different, and disastrous outcome.

  7. #7
    Leigh Mallory didnt exactly like Keith Park, and it's been documented he wasnt pleased at 11 group getting all the action and wanted some it for his 12 group.

    Ttfn

    Pete

  8. #8

    DJS,
    Nice to see refreshingly honest and IMO correct opinions about these two...have to agree with both comments!

    In those days it wasn't so much what you knew, but WHO you knew, and that's why Bader got away with it. Also in the dark days of the war 'we' and the media needed heroes, and so people such as Bader and Gibson were elevated in status, and rightly so for the time.

    Cheers

    Shessi

  9. #9
    As for the Battle of Britain, if Hugh Dowding had followed the advice given to him by Leigh Mallory, with Bader's total support, the Battle may well have had a totally different, and disastrous outcome.
    wiki is in agreement there

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Wing

    Ttfn

    Pete

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