Brit Planes

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

Moderator: John W. Howard

Post Reply
User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:47 pm

Hello Gents:
I am trying to find out what type of British planes were still flying in late 1944 to the end of the war, which had a non-metal fuselage and might have resembled a Spitfire. Did Spits have any portion of their fuselage made of non-metal?? I keep thinking of the Hurricane which I believe had a metal frame but a doped canvas fuselage. Were there any Hurricanes flying that late in the war??? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
John W. Howard

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:48 pm

John ,as far as I'm aware - I haven't seen an OOB for the RAF in the Far East for some years - there were still Hurricanes flying as Hurribombers thaat the end of the war in India and Burma.

Lat week on an AHF query I found that one of the Fighter Command Polish squadrons was still flying Hurricanes in EUROPE as late as 1944, but again in a tactical recon role a bit like other squadrons had in the Fighter COmmand offensive of 1941 into Western Europe.

There MAY also have been Hurricane squadrons flying in North African rear echelons at that point, and I think training and conversion squadrons in Canada flying Canadian-built MkXs.

EDIT: just checked , there were indeed 11 Hurribomber squadrons in the Far East in late 1944, in 221 and 224 Group at Imphal and Chittagong respectively, most equiped with MkIVs. Many of these were still in existence and flying op s right up to VJ Day.

In the Med, No. 6 Sqn retained it's antitank-firing (guns, rockets or bombs) Hurricanes until the very end of the war, fighting in Sicily, italy and the Balkans.

The last Western European Hurricane sorties in the ground-attack role were flown in late 1943, and once withdrawn was increasingly used for special applications...such as the Air Despatch Letter Service Squadron flying despatches from Belgium to London being an example. Many squadrons and airfields got them as hacks and communications aircraft. They were also - now that they were available in numbers for the role - flying for Coastal Command on coastal patrols and convoy escoprt in home waters. They were also used for fighter affiliation training, being flown in mock attacks on bombers to provide training for airgunners.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:51 pm

On the more technical aspects - the Spitfire ALWAYS had an aluminium monocoque fuselage, so it wasn't that. But the whole rear section of the Hurricane's fuselage - from the rear of the cockpoit to the tail - was indeed doped linen "canvas" over wooden formers, spaced around a three-tube metal spar.

John - what's the context???
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:34 pm

Hello Phylo:
I should have specified Western Europe. Between late November 1944 and the end of the war, my father's infantry platoon rescued a Brit pilot from his aircraft in France or Germany. He was injured pretty badly; his feet were tangled in the rudder pedals. The GI's had to cut into the cockpit with bayonets to free his feet so they could extract him from the plane. My father and the others thought the plane was a Spitfire, but that could have just been supposition, because it was a British single in-line engine plane. To cut the pilot out, they were cutting and prying metal, but my father felt that the wings were doped fabric. This leads me to believe it was a Hurricane. The aircraft also had a sliding canopy.
The odd thing about all of this is where it happened; far from a usual British area of operation. My father fought in Alsace, the Saar, then south into Bavaria. Isn't it a little odd that in that time and place a Brit aircraft would be in that area?? I wonder if he was flying out of Italy into southern Germany. The other possibility is that it was a Free French aircraft, which makes sense because the 1st French Army was always on the US 7th Army's southern flank. Did the free French fly Brit aircraft at that time of the war in that area??
I would really like to find out the type of aircraft and the identity of the pilot if possible. Some years back I obtained a list of all Spitfire losses during that period of time and almost all of them were in Northern Europe where Brit aircraft normally operated; nothing seemed to be a possibility. Now I am wondering if the aircraft was a Hurricane instead. My father is still alive and has always wondered if the pilot survived after being taken to the hospital. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
John W. Howard

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:26 pm

The GI's had to cut into the cockpit with bayonets to free his feet so they could extract him from the plane. My father and the others thought the plane was a Spitfire, but that could have just been supposition, because it was a British single in-line engine plane. To cut the pilot out, they were cutting and prying metal, but my father felt that the wings were doped fabric. This leads me to believe it was a Hurricane. The aircraft also had a sliding canopy.
John, the timeframe rules out Hurricanes, but DOES "opt in" Spitfires of some mark, Typhoons and Tempests....ALL of which could be lingering over over the Allied front line at that point in the war, particularly the fighterbombers looking for targets-of-opportunity. I don't know where you'd go to find details now on that aspect.

The only sticker however is the doped fabric aspect...
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Hi Phylo:
I think it was more than likely a Spitfire, flown by Free French or Brits. The Free French had there own markings, but it is possible they had Brit planes which had not been painted to Free French colors. Muddying the waters are the RAF Free French squadrons. I found my list of Spit losses which includes RAF Free French losses, and I will check it again. The other avenue of approach is my father's battalion records; they should have a record of the incident, because the pilot was taken to the battalion aid station. It is one of those lose ends from the war, my father would like to clear up. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by phylo_roadking » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:59 am

The other avenue of approach is my father's battalion records; they should have a record of the incident, because the pilot was taken to the battalion aid station
John, that'll help IF it records the pilot's name, nationality or unit. If it doesn't, it'll only record the amount of detail passed UP the admin paperwork line by the men on the ground.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:39 pm

Hello Phylo:
There were seven Free French Squadrons flying Spitfires, all with a Brit squadron designation up until 1945, in Europe. If they changed there paint scheme or not, or when or not, is a question. But I believe the plane in question was indeed a Spitfire, probably flown by a Frenchman. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

User avatar
Rodger Herbst
Associate
Posts: 648
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 5:47 am

Re: Brit Planes

Post by Rodger Herbst » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:17 am

Hello John, long time since my last post.

Was the Typhoon supposed to replace the Spitfire but failed and became a ground support aircraft? Seems I read that someware long ago, if true what was it's failure points?

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:29 pm

Hi Rodger!!!!
Good to see you around again :D Apparently the Typhoon had problems with its engines early on in its development; its rate of climb wasn't very good and it did not perform very well at altitude when it finally got there. It also had fuselage problems. Eventually they got these things sorted out and it demonstrated very good speed and did some damage to German aircraft attacking England. Towards the end of the war it was an excellent ground-attack fighter. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

User avatar
Liam
Enthusiast
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2002 5:17 am

Re: Brit Planes

Post by Liam » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:15 pm

Could it have been a Morane-Saulnier 406?
Hitler...there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!! Mel Brooks, The Producers

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Sun May 02, 2010 10:21 pm

Hello Liam:
The Morane has the "look", but I am not sure how many the Free French may have been flying towards the end of the war. They did have some Spitfire Squadrons, so those appear to be more likely. Best wishes and thanks for the idea :D
John W. Howard

Quelimane
New Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:51 am

Re: Brit Planes

Post by Quelimane » Mon May 10, 2010 10:12 am

The French had an assortment of their older types still flying operations at the end of the war, but they were only used against the Atlantic Pockets, where there were no US ground fgorces after the fall of Brest. These certainly included inline-engined Dewotine D520s, but I am not sure what they were built of.

Q

User avatar
John W. Howard
Moderator
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 10:55 pm

Re: Brit Planes

Post by John W. Howard » Wed May 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Thanks for the imput, Q, and welcome to the forum :wink:
John W. Howard

Post Reply