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About KevinK

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  1. Yes, and there were Spitfires of 73 Sqn which were fitted with rockets, too, for a short time! That was why I said "cleared" to use rockets. In Dec 1944 there was a communist uprising in recently-liberated Greece and 73 Sqn was detached from Yugoslavia to provide (very) close air support to the British Army. Rockets were available and were believed to be the best weapon for the targets involved. The squadron engineering officer fitted the available (possibly ex-Beaufighter?) rocket rails and missions were flown from Athens airport with rockets being fired almost downwind, in the circuit as the fighting perimeter tightened. All this was done by local squadron initiative: there was no A&AEE clearance of the Spitfire to fire rockets at this time - not that the aircraft had a problem, but there had not been an operational need. Consequently, when 73 Sqn rejoined 253 and 6 Sqns in 281 Wing, the local mod to fire rockets was removed. It may be that 260 Sqn's Mustangs had the same sort of history. It will be interesting to read the relevant (next?) volume of Chris Shores' current mighty Mediterranean Air War history when it is published. When a Mk VIII was used, the wing tanks were always filled: no reason not to, given the available performance. Operationally, the Spitfire burned about 50 gal/hr, so the net result was an additional 40 min or so of fuel. My Dad said the same thing as Quill about preferring the Mk VIII to the IX. He said that it was a little better all around - more fuel, slightly faster, numerous improvements such as the revised wing - but the main difference was the build quality, the Mk VIIIs being Supermarine-built rather than Castle Bromwich. I think that it's an indefinable thing unless you've flown them both! For completeness - I once asked my Dad which Mark of Spitfire he preferred, having flown the Mk I, V, VIII, IX and 22: he said that for pure flying, he would take the Mk V with a Merlin 55, but as a fighting aeroplane he preferred the Mk VIII with a Merlin 66.
  2. Sorry Graham, but that's not entirely true. The Spitfire VIIIs and IXs of 253 and 73 Sqn carried 2 x 250 lb bombs on the wing racks and a 30, 45 or 90 imp gal tank on the centreline. The missions flown were dive-bombing missions against road and rail targets in Yugoslavia: typical anti-train strikes would involve dive-bombing the tracks as well as the train itself. Tunnels and marshalling yards were also attacked in this manner. The Hurricanes of 6 Sqn themselves needed Spitfire escort, because the Hurricane's performance was so low as to make it very vulnerable to light AA. The Hurricane also didn't quite have the range, as its drop tanks used the same wing stations as the rockets, so 6 Sqn a/c carried only four rockets and one 44 gal tank. I agree that rockets would have been useful, but the only aircraft in the theatre cleared to use rockets in 1944/45 were Hurricanes and Beaufighters. However, my father, who flew Spitfires with 253 Sqn said he found the gun armament useful: cannon for locomotives and .303 for trucks, easily selectable during an attack with the rocking gun button - the mnemonic was "BBC" from top to bottom - "Brownings, Both, Cannons". Agreed that the extra 18 gal/ side of the Mk VIII made it preferable, but I once asked my Dad this very question. He remarked that they never had enough Mk VIIIs to send out anything other than a mixed formation of VIIIs and IXs.
  3. Possibly for NW Europe, but RAF Spitfires in Italy and Yugoslavia definitely used them for fighter-bomber operations. 253 Sqn was equipped with a mixture of Mk VIIIs and IXs and used 30, 45 and 90 gal slipper tanks for a wide variety of missions: the torpedo-type tank was not used. As part of Balkan Air Force, 253 operated initially from the east Italian coast, across the Adriatic to attack targets in Yugoslavia, needing tanks for the range to penetrate far inland. Later, after the island of Vis was liberated they used Vis for refuelling to enable deeper penetration, going on four-hour sorties as far as Romania on at least one occasion. Drop tanks were essential to their operations.
  4. KevinK

    Lock Down.

    This is a very irresponsible thing to say without any evidence whatsoever.
  5. There is a filter. The way the air intake works is: On the ground - door closed - air flows upward, through the filter and to the engine. In the air - door opened - air bypasses the filter and goes straight to the engine. This arrangement allows filtering when needed for dust/grass/debris/ but avoids the power loss of a filter pressure drop in-flight.
  6. Well remembered: that sounds like Bruce Robertson's "Aircraft Camouflage and Markings 1907-1954".
  7. You're thinking of the wrong raid: that happened on the Copenhagen Shell House raid and was the result of an accident.
  8. I believe that these AE-35 units have a known reliability problem.... Otherwise, very impressive work and photography.
  9. Blackburn Kangaroo, Lincock, Shark, Skua; Armstrong Whitworth Ape; Gloster Goldfinch; Hawker Cygnet, Hart, Hind, Heron, Tomtit, etc; Sopwith Pup, Camel, Cuckoo; everything by Beagle ..... and the Sea Slug missile! I'm interested.
  10. Simple - just build a Swedish Navy Lancaster!
  11. You just might get a chance to see one in the next couple of days: the Silver Spitfire has reached Padua on its round-the-world flight. Their website shows France next, then meandering around Europe - including back to France before arrival back at Goodwood. Unfortunately, there are no specific locations listed, only countries... Kevin
  12. ...and then...and then - as Smithy says, do some research. A few years ago, I was going through some of my Dad's very few wartime photos with him. He flew Spitfires with 253 Sqn in Italy and Yugoslavia and I noticed on one photo - which showed four pilots at readiness on the island of Vis in early 1945 - not one was wearing the same kit: indeed I thought that most looked like varieties of army uniforms. When I asked Dad, he said that - yes, they habitually flew in army khaki rather than RAF blue because they knew that if you came down in enemy-occupied territory, your best bet was to join up with the Partisans, who eventually might be able to get you back out. This wasn't altruism by the Partisans: they would expect you to fight for them while in their care. This meant that you needed to blend in with them and khaki was better than blue for this. Similarly, no sheepskin flying boots, the best hiking/walking boots you could find were what you wore. Additionally, they would expect you to have a weapon with you so you would be useful to them: some flew with a service revolver but Dad said he always flew with a Sten gun in pieces stitched into his jacket so he could be really useful. Kevin
  13. Don't forget that the Flycatcher was an Inpact kit originally, so not really representative of the traditional Lindberg kits.
  14. Very well put: my thoughts as well.
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