Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Artie

Spitfire Mk.Vc, 103 M.U at Aboukir. ..

Recommended Posts

Hi all.....
While looking for some info regarding Spitfires at the Mediterranean theatre, I came across those interesting planes from 103 Maintenance Unit at Aboukir, specially the modified ones for High Altitude interception missions. The mods that were made to the planes seem very interesting. I mean the pointed wings, four bladed propellers, the lack of armour and the different undernose filters.
Were those planes fitted with any armament.??? The plane coded "B", reg. BR114 shows what seems to be some aluminuim overpainting over certain fuselage points...was it brushed aluminuim paint or peeled off paint showing metallic airframe???

TIA and best ragards....

spit.V.77.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Artie,

indeed a cool Spit. I guess the extendet wingtip is also a Aboukir mod. It look's moore roundet to me as the factory applied ones. Armament looks like two machine guns.

Claus

Vc_BR114__001gs-vi.jpgVc_BR114_B_001gs-vi.jpgVc_BR114_B_002gs-vi.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought that these 4 bladed Spits were Mk.VII`s? The silver looking stuff around the panel lines was filler I think, to help smooth the airflow over the fuselage.

There were two Mk.VII`s, one had twin machine guns and one had twin cannons. The lighter MG armed aircraft was to climb faster to reach the altitude of Ju 86`s and then disable it so that the cannon armed Spit could finish it off,..that was the theory anyway! Both aircraft were later converted into PR aircraft for high altitude work over Crete.

Cheers

Tony

Edit,..... doh,.....I meant HF.VI,..... not VII,...... my Latin isn`t what it used to be!

Edited by tonyot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some good replies here when I asked about this and I still haven't passed the photos on to Tony (please pm your email address)!

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234939179-spitfire-vc-high-flight-questions/

From "Seahawk" last time (I'm carefully selecting quotes directly from his post :D ):-

"When the Ju 86R problem first arose, 103 MU were given permission to modify 3 newly-arrived Spitfire Vc s to counter them: these were BP985, BR114 and BR234 (source: Cull: Fighters Over The Aegean, p.182). Of these BR114 was coded "B" (Cull, p.188 plus photos). I have never seen a photo of either of the other two. Around the start of September 1942 it looks as if BP985 was passed on to the Delta Defence Flight at El-Gamil near Port Said (Cull, p. 187).

As Graham says, five Spitfire HF.VIs were sent out from the UK to reinforce the modified Spitfire Vc s: these were BS106, BS124, BS133, BS134, BS149 (sources: Shacklady: Spitfire - The History, p.259, Moss: Supermarine Spitfire (Ducimus), p.48). With the added weight of their pressurisation equipment plus Vokes filters, they proved less successful than the locally modified Spitfire Vc s. Their props were cannibalised to improve the performance of the Mark Vs (source: Price: Spitfire Mark V Aces). Of the Mark VIs, BS124 was coded "A". I can't recall seeing photos of any of the others. It sounds from Tony's post above that all 5 survived to be passed on to 680 Sq for PR duties."

The .5 x 2 armed Spit 'B' was referred to as the "striker" and the other one 'A' as the "marker". The battery in the "striker" was replaced with a lighter one giving only enough power for the reflector sight so the radio was removed too. The two aircraft flew together at 25,000 ft with the "marker" in contact with ground control and leading the "striker" to a visual sighting of the Ju86P whereupon it would begin its pursuit.

Photos of 'B' BR114 and 'A' BS124 courtesy of Pete Malone:-

BR114_02-vi.jpg

BR114_03-vi.jpg

BR114_04-vi.jpg

7242010113209PM_0123-vi.jpg

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much, that's avery useful information....Now I can give a good use to my Airfix kit...!!!!!

Regards..!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These two aircraft are fascinating. Question though: if BR114 was the "striker", was it not pressurized like BS124 (being a VI)?

BR114 has extended wing tips (I think field mod, rather than factory) but it doesn't seem to have the air scoop for the compressor on the starboard nose like a VI.

Interesting aircraft :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BR114 was not pressurised. It & the others were modded by 103MU when the VIs couldn't do the job. They were stripped to lighten them with only 1 machine gun in each wing, I've seen both .303 & .50cal ,mentioned, maybe they had both at different times. Their Merlins had been modded to have higher compression ratios & locally made extended wings were fitted. Panel lines were filled & rubbed back, these are the different coloured lines seen around the engine cowls, some show them as silver, others a reddy brown colour. :unsure: Modded thus they could fly higher than the pressurised VIs.

Steve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While hunting for something else, I ran across a site which has a a whole series of photos taken by the sites father during the war.

http://www.joewillis.co.uk/dev/index.htm

In Memory of my Father - Joseph Albert Willis

When the war started, he joined the Royal Air Force and saw action in the Western Desert and Italy. Later in the war he was placed with Bomber Command in Lincolnshire.

And there are a load of photos from the western desert. I have emailed to ask to post pics here but no response.

this is the most interesting in respect of this thread

http://www.joewillis.co.uk/dev/index_htm_files/4254.jpg

Despite the spurious caption, what we have here is another shot of BR114, showing one thing clear in this, but not the other is a deep chin, usually associated with Photo Recon Spitfire, for a larger oil tank.

, note the light coloured (bare metal?) circular oil cooler, partly shown above, but very clear here, as well as the filled panel lines.
Hopefully I'll get permission to post this up.
The other photos are well worth a browse, in particular the 1942 set
various bits of German kit and very neat shot of a Hurricane IID.
HTH
T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, glad this has popped up again. Troy, would the 4 blade unit be the same as the one fitted to a MkIX. Fancy using up one of my old Airfix MkVb/Vc kits doing this aircraft and wondering if I can use the prop from a Hasegawa MkIXc.

Going to be trying some of John Adams mods on the nose profile too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was said that the Mk.VIs were used as PR aircraft - the presence of this large oil tank suggests that this aircraft was too.

There also appears to be a local mod presumably tapping the exhaust for heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry to resurrect  this subject, but well under way in building BR114 and have been looking at the history.  People have noted that the modified nose section usually seen in PR versions.  My theory is that these VC's were newly arrived and had been flown to Aboukir after being modified for long journeys on Aircraft carriiers,    This included reducing the armement, fitting larger fuel tanks and fitting a larger oil tank which necisitated the nose modification.

 

As these VC were stripped to reduce weight, the larger oil tank would have been removed, but maybe at a later stage  of modification  as the cjhanges were ongong

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bulged nose for the larger oil cooler were fitted to those aircraft (perhaps 15 in all) that were modified to reach Malta from Gibraltar non-stop.  Serials I've seen are all in the EP/ER ranges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/12/2013 at 20:26, tonyot said:

I thought that these 4 bladed Spits were Mk.VII`s? The silver looking stuff around the panel lines was filler I think, to help smooth the airflow over the fuselage.

There were two Mk.VII`s, one had twin machine guns and one had twin cannons. The lighter MG armed aircraft was to climb faster to reach the altitude of Ju 86`s and then disable it so that the cannon armed Spit could finish it off,..that was the theory anyway! Both aircraft were later converted into PR aircraft for high altitude work over Crete.

Cheers

Tony

Edit,..... doh,.....I meant HF.VI,..... not VII,...... my Latin isn`t what it used to be!

I'm going to bump this, in light of this thread,  for @ReccePhreak

 

 

and to see if perhaps @Magpie22 aka Peter Malone might want to repost images, and just in case he has not seen the Jo Willis image as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2015 at 6:04 PM, Troy Smith said:

and very neat shot of a Hurricane IID.

Troy,

 

Would the serial of that Hurricane be KW704 'R' and am I correct in thinking it might be a No. 6 Squadron kite? I really like this one as a modeling project. What do you think? Very sorry in advance for the thread drift!

Mike

 

Wow- this just in! Tried a search for Hurricane Mk IId KW704, and look what I found! I think the grainy color photos were taken from a movie clip. Some well-known photos of No. 6 Squadron IId's and KW704 seems to be one of them..."Sweet mystery of life- at last I've found you!"

 

https://www.docdroid.net/m6kq0Os/hurri-tank-busters-flypast-2018-01.pdf

Edited by 72modeler
added text and link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Troy,

Your wish is my command! 😁

 

I am aware of three MK.VC that were modified for high altitude interception duties at 103 MU Aboukir. They were BP985, BR114 and BR234. There may have been others - I am no expert in this field. BR234 is of particular interest to me as it one of the aircraft intended for delivery to Australia but, hijacked from the Nigerstown and diverted to the Middle East. It would appear that BR114 was the first to arrive in the Middle East at the end of June 1942. The other two arrived in theatre in early August. It is recorded that intercepts were being flown by 20 August. It is unlikely that the second two aircraft could have been modified in a couple of weeks, so I assume that the early interceptions were flown by BR114. An article in Flight, 1946, seems to support this.

 

I have a number of shots identifiable as BR114. These appear to have been taken shortly after modification. Obvious changes are the four bladed prop from a Spitfire VI, armament reduced to two mg's and all 'bumps' removed from wing, flat sided canopy, armour removed, Including the from the windscreen), no aerial mast, dorsal ID lamp or other protuberances, aboukir filter (replacing original Vokes), pidgeon chested nose to cover larger oil tank, (this could have been a new larger tank because the modifed engine was burning more oil at altitude, but a new cowling would have been required anyway to cover the larger oil tank which was a standard VcT fit, as a 'temperate' cowl would not have fitted over it), and extended wingtips. There also appear to be some changes to the upper cowling, presumably associated with mods to the Merlin 46. I'll leave it up to the viewer to sort out camouflage, other than stating the obvious, that it is not standard.

 

2fe9ca69-f1c7-4d39-818c-c971e21566e7.jpg

 

58d2342f-bd0d-475d-b5c3-eff10785df6b.jpg

 

99bd54c7-4f07-45c6-a13d-9a21ca54b839.jpg

 

194db92c-3ee4-45a8-9192-330d8521cc7f.jpg

 

53b49f97-0fa3-471d-bcc8-1a3546814781.jpg

 

 

After its initial operations BR114 was cleaned up and seems to have done the rounds of several units, including No. 451 Sqn RAAF. The windscreen now appears to armoured and the upper cowling returned to its normal configuration.

 

217423a4-7c5a-44f2-9efa-7dff53adacbf.jpg

 

As well as the modified Vc's, several Spitfire VI aircraft were used for the intercepts. They operated in pairs with the Spit V as the 'striker' and a Spit VI acting as the 'marker'. The latter guided the 'striker' into position as the 'striker' carried no radio and only the 'marker' could communicate with ground control. The aircraft below, BS124, was one of those aircraft. Note the two cannon, 'B' type, wing with extended tips. I understand the mg's were removed.

 

3c6dd171-5c2f-43ca-aa52-027b60f218f9.jpg

 

479d82f6-d6fe-4072-a2ef-6415c85eaad5.jpg

 

A rather florid article was published in 'Aeroplane Spotter' in October 1946 describing some of the high altitude operations. Alfred Price also gave some coverage in his Osprey book on Spitfire V Aces.

 

The pic in the Aeroplane Spotter article purports to show BR114, but it does not appear to match any of the other shots of that aircraft. I believe that it may be BP985 or BR234. Interesting is the fuselage roundel that appears to be the Red/Blue type with no Yellow surround. Could this be a modified version of the R/W/B roundel without Yellow surround that was originally applied to BR234? Pure conjecture on my part!

 

932132ce-ac63-4687-994b-98daf9b54406.jpg

 

Finally, I wish to acknowledge Tony O'Toole who helped me with some of the material I have used in this post.

 

Peter Malone

 

Edited by Magpie22

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yowzah! Great photos, @Magpie22! They're all neat Spits, but BS124 is the bee's knees! Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

Mike 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Yowzah! Great photos, @Magpie22! They're all neat Spits, but BS124 is the bee's knees! Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

Mike 

You mean like this?

f23e3809-d21d-4dda-9d12-f59ed95c7496.JPG

 

/Finn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2020 at 12:30 PM, Magpie22 said:

Troy,

Your wish is my command! 😁

.......

 

194db92c-3ee4-45a8-9192-330d8521cc7f.jpg

 

53b49f97-0fa3-471d-bcc8-1a3546814781.jpg

 

That looks like there are two openings just below the spinner, was it part of the mods ?

Or are these specks from oil leaks ?

What a bunch of awesome photos anyways, thanks Magpie,

They contain enough information to build a highly accurate model.

 

Cheers

Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, occa said:

That looks like there are two openings just below the spinner, was it part of the mods ?

Or are these specks from oil leaks ?

What a bunch of awesome photos anyways, thanks Magpie,

They contain enough information to build a highly accurate model.

 

Cheers

Martin

Martin,

Referring back to my original scans, I do not think they are openings/intakes. They look more like patches affixed with the ubiquitous red dope. Why they are there, or what they are covering, I have no idea. You can also see a similar application where the under cowling meets the panel to which the Aboukir filter is fitted.

Cheers,

Peter

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to copy and re-post what has already been repeated several times so, Magpie, re your post on 'Fri' presumably 6 March you say, quote:

 

'There also appear to be some changes to the upper cowling, presumably associated with mods to the Merlin 46. I'll leave it up to the viewer to sort out camouflage, other than stating the obvious, that it is not standard.'

 

Could I ask you to be more specific on the changes to the upper cowling: to my eye there doesn't appear to be any obvious changes.

 

Just love all the pictures especially those showing the locally manufactured wingtips.

 

I ask myself that if 4 bladed props, ex Mk Vls, were used on the striker a) Why not the wingtips as well? b) What propellers did the 'denuded' Vls use ? 

If it's just a matter of timing ie wingtip and other mods were made before the arrival of the MkVls, what propellers were used on the striker and from whence did they come?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I understood it, the striker was also a Mk.V, but with more armament.  When the Mk.VIs arrived, they were found to be too heavy.  Presumably it was easier to improve the modified Mk.Vs by swopping bits than start again stripping the Mk.VIs.  The propeller then used on the Mk.VIs would have been the standard three blader.  Or spare four bladers when they arrived, presumably later, or the spares would have been used on the modified Mk.Vs anyway.

 

The Merlin 46 was standard on those Mk.Vs sent to Australia.  I don't recall any suggestion of different cowlings.  Given that the key difference from the Merlin 45 was the gearing, this doesn't point to any change being required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/12/2013 at 22:29, Nick Millman said:

Some good replies here when I asked about this and I still haven't passed the photos on to Tony (please pm your email address)!

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234939179-spitfire-vc-high-flight-questions/

From "Seahawk" last time (I'm carefully selecting quotes directly from his post :D ):-

"When the Ju 86R problem first arose, 103 MU were given permission to modify 3 newly-arrived Spitfire Vc s to counter them: these were BP985, BR114 and BR234 (source: Cull: Fighters Over The Aegean, p.182). Of these BR114 was coded "B" (Cull, p.188 plus photos). I have never seen a photo of either of the other two. Around the start of September 1942 it looks as if BP985 was passed on to the Delta Defence Flight at El-Gamil near Port Said (Cull, p. 187).

 

As Graham says, five Spitfire HF.VIs were sent out from the UK to reinforce the modified Spitfire Vc s: these were BS106, BS124, BS133, BS134, BS149 (sources: Shacklady: Spitfire - The History, p.259, Moss: Supermarine Spitfire (Ducimus), p.48). With the added weight of their pressurisation equipment plus Vokes filters, they proved less successful than the locally modified Spitfire Vc s. Their props were cannibalised to improve the performance of the Mark Vs (source: Price: Spitfire Mark V Aces). Of the Mark VIs, BS124 was coded "A". I can't recall seeing photos of any of the others. It sounds from Tony's post above that all 5 survived to be passed on to 680 Sq for PR duties."

The .5 x 2 armed Spit 'B' was referred to as the "striker" and the other one 'A' as the "marker". The battery in the "striker" was replaced with a lighter one giving only enough power for the reflector sight so the radio was removed too. The two aircraft flew together at 25,000 ft with the "marker" in contact with ground control and leading the "striker" to a visual sighting of the Ju86P whereupon it would begin its pursuit.

Photos of 'B' BR114 and 'A' BS124 courtesy of Pete Malone:-

BR114_02-vi.jpg

BR114_03-vi.jpg

BR114_04-vi.jpg

7242010113209PM_0123-vi.jpg

 

Nick

 

Not possible to see pictures, snif, snif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Already made in 1/72, but always problem to put picture on the site

 

Regard

 

Alain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...