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Blackburn Roc


Bert
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The Roc is credited with shooting down 1 & damaging another. The destroyed claim happened on the 29th May 1940 when a Roc operating as part of a flight with two Skua from 806 NAS in support of the Dunkirk evacuation shot down a Ju88. This from the Mushroom book on the Skua & Roc, I can't find the damaged one, but from memory of an article in Aeroplane, a Roc vs a Luftwaffe SAR plane over the channel ended in a draw.

Steve.

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The Mushroom book also makes mention of it, I couldn't see it initally because by this time the Rocs had been relegated to second line duties. In this instance while flying an ASR sortie south of the Isle of Wight, Clarke, then a pilot officer so the plane was possibly operating with the RAF at this time, Sept 1940, came upon a Luftwaffe He59 also flying an asr mission. Both planes were at sea level & Clarke mentions his frustration in getting into a position from which the turret guns could be properly aimed at the low flying heinkel. Strikes were seen but then he had to climb to avoid crashing into the sea & the engagement ended at that point so only a damaged could be claimed.

Steve.

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3 Rocs were also embarked with 801 Squadron on Ark Royal during her first deployment (of 3) off Norway in 1940. These aircraft (7P, 7R, 7Q) were utilised for CAP twice - both on 28.4.40 - with the same pilots. On the first of these fighter patrols (as they were referred to at the time) 12.15-13.30 hrs a He111 was engaged before being s/d by AA fire from the fleet (7P Lt R.C.Hay RM, 7Q Lt J.E.H.Myers RN and Mid G.C. Baldwin RN).

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Further to the above, Roc`s were also used to dive bomb a German gun battery on the French coast in 1940 during the final stages of the Battle of France. I mentioned this in an article that I wrote in Model Aircraft Monthly some time ago but cannot remember the details off hand! Here is the model that I built to represent this attack, complete with bombs;

r7.jpg

roc51-2.jpg

I also think that they were used alongside night camouflaged Skuas over the Channel and North Sea from Eastleigh against E Boats, probably in a flare dropping role in conjunction with British MTB`s, but I have been unable to find conclusive proof of this yet.

All the best

Tony O

Edited by tonyot
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Some more action involving Rocs from the Mushroom Models book.

9th June 1940, Skua & Rocs of 801 NAS bombed an E boat base in Boulogne harbour

20th June, 4 Skuas & 5 Rocs of 801 bombed a new gun emplacement being built at Cap Blanc Nez, the Roc of Sub-Lt Day & NA Berry being shot down by ground fire. 801 was released from duty with Coastal Command after this & shortly thereafter 801 became a wholely Skua Squadron. The action against the He-59 I quoted above being the only other involving a Roc I've been aware of. I can see nothing in that about Rocs flare dropping & nothing to identify why the Roc at Eastleigh was painted black, the only similar incident mentioned was of a Skua target tug towing flares to light up E boats for a Swordfish patrol. Dodgy in the extreme I'd have thought.

Steve.

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Hiya Steve,

Yup you are correct about the above, I`m sure that I mentioned these in my article too? The Roc towing a flare was carried out by the same Mr.Clarke from the RAF`s 2 AACU who had the run in with the He 59, he said that it was extremely dodgy indeed and that he was waiting for a night fighter to creep up and shoot him down at any moment!!

I`m still looking into the nocturnal sorties carried out by the Eastleigh based Skuas and Rocs which had Black painted undersides. They also had a few Sea Gladiators and Swordfish which had Black painted undersides at Eastleigh at the same time too and it is not a trick of camera film type either as they are photographed parked alongside more conventionally painted a/c! The Skuas and Rocs with Black undersides and toned down B Type roundels had their Light Stores Carriers loaded with flares during sorties and did not carry bombs.

Sorry but I cannot post any photos here as they are only on loan to me but here is another 48th scale Special Hobby Roc that I`ve built based upon them;

roc5.jpg

All the best

Tony

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I'm not aure if this book has been mentioned before, but you should try and find the book "Skua!" -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skua-Dive-Bomber-Peter-C-Smith/dp/1844154556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366551392&sr=1-3

which, although a history of Blackburn Skua, includesa full history of the Roc as well - service history as well as development.

The Roc did see a fair bit of service use, particularly over Dunkirk, but also over the North Sea during the Norwegian cMPAIGN. and it was used from RN carriers. The big problem with the Roc over the North Sea was its' inferior range (compared to the Skua), which meant it couldn't work in conjunction with the Skua.

The reason for this is simple, when you think about it. The Skua's radio set-up was in the rear fuselage. It coulsn't be there in the .roc because of the turrt, hence it was placed in the port fuselage, just in front of the turret (so thae gunner could, with a lot of difficulty, operate it. This in turn meant a reduction in size of the port fuselage fuel tank. Smaller fuel tank = less fual = less range. So operating together with the Skua reall;y wasn,t an option.

Incidentally, the Skua! book has drawings of the rear cockpit fom the A/C's handbook, showing that the Speciall Hobby's 1/48th scale Skua's rear pit assembly is completely mythical.

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