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Ranger626

Beaufighter question

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Can anyone tell me when Beaufigher Mk. Ic aircraft switched from drum magazines for their 20mm cannon to belt feed magazines?    Was it done at some specific date or block number in the production run?   Or did it occur in dribs and drabs as a field modification and when the mod kits may have become available?    Specifically, I am trying to determine if Australian 30 Squadron aircraft were likely to have had belt fed cannons in spring 1943.    I am grateful for any solid information or informed opinion anyone is willing to share.    

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May I suggest you use the edit facility, and change your thread heading to " Did Australian 30 Squadron Beaufighter have have belt fed cannons in spring 1943."  as that at a glance shows what you want to know.

IIRc @Pete M.  or @Magpie22  posted up some info on Beaufighter ammo feeds,   I suspect that by 1943 belt feeds are the answer, and I'd be surprised if they were not retro fitted as well, but is purely a guess.

HTH

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Your memory has failed you, Troy. :blush:😁 'Twas not I.

 

@Sydhueyis the man to answer this one. 

 

I'm away from my references at the moment but, IIRC, the first 400 Beaufighters had the drum feed. I believe that this applied to some of No. 31 Sqn's early Beaufighter MK. IC A/C in 1942/43. Later A/C all had the magazine feed.

Over to you Syd!!

Peter M

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Australian Beaufighters were either the home built DAP Mk21s orBritish built Ic. The Australian Ic were not all Ic, but also included other later marks.

 

The Ic was a development of the MkI, and underwent several changes compared to the original MkI. 

 

The Ic’s that we’re delivered to Australia early in the supply were from a Weston built batch of Ic’s (T4800 block) and these were, as far as I am aware, all built with belt fed 20mm cannons.

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As Peter said , first 400 Beau's built were drum fed ,  the Mk VI was belt fed , just not sure of the serial split on the Ic's with drum to belt, RAAF Beau Ic's A19-1 to A19-72 in the T4920 to T5099 block, I have photo's with machines in Port Moresby with the cannons removed with the drums on the grnd next to them , just can't find the serial they changed at , the change happened in Sept 41 on production aircraft , so you need to know the serial batch production dates to work it out, the RAAF Ic's were all Fairey built.

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Further to Syd's reply, the attached description, below, from "Beaufighter over New Guinea", the story of No. 30 Squadron RAAF, by George Dick, may be of some interest. It confirms Syd's observation that some of No 30 Squadron's Beaus had drum fed cannon. George describes the problems of changing the drum magazines in those MK.Ic Beaus. He was a navigator in Beaus, so he would know. The question remains which of No. 30's Beaus had drum fed and which had magazine fed cannon. As Syd stated all the RAAF's Beau Mk.Ic aircraft were Fairey built. Fairey deliveries of the Beaufighter Ic started in June 1941, so there were several months of production until the change over to magazine fed cannon occurred. 

 

The aircraft the RAAF received from Weston were MK.VIc, Mk. X, and Mk.XI, but not  the Mk.Ic - these all came from Fairey.

 

Peter M

61bb1f52-3007-4bd3-bfb9-0179b9ce2bd2.jpg

 

Edited by Magpie22

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Beaufighter by Chas Bowyer has all of the serials supplied to the RAAF and their A19 numbers they became. 

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6 minutes ago, Gomtuu said:

Beaufighter by Chas Bowyer has all of the serials supplied to the RAAF and their A19 numbers they became. 

Yes, we have that info, and the histories of each A/C in RAAF service. The problem is finding out which A/C had which cannon fit.

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2 hours ago, Gomtuu said:

I would say just the T serials 

Some, but not all.

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Of course I meant the T series that were supplied to the RAAF, without looking at the individual histories, some went to 30 squadron but some might have gone to the other Beau squadron that was working up at the time.

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Further information re RAAF Beaufighter Mk.Ic fitted with drum-fed cannon and magazine-belt-fed cannon.

 

I am indebted to researcher Garry Shepherdson for drawing my attention to a document that I forgot I had on file. Garry is doing in-depth research on the RAAF’s attack squadrons, (Hudson, Beaufort, Ventura, Mitchell, Beaufighter, etc), based in the North West Area. He will be publishing on the subject.

 

In May 1943 the Commanding Officer of No. 31 Squadron, Wing Commander C.F. Read, wrote to the Area Engineering Officer of the North Western Area, detailing the differences in his Beaufighter equipment. The squadron was, at that time, equipped with Mk.Ic and Mk.VIc aircraft. There were many differences between the marks in engines, armament, speed and range, and even across the Mk.Ic, in armament.

 

He noted that, of the aircraft on the squadron strength,

those in the A19-16 to -51 range, inclusive, had drum-fed cannon, and

those in the A19-57 to -72, range, inclusive, had belt-fed cannon.

 

Based on this information, it would be reasonable to assume that Fairey built, Beaufighter Mk.Ic aircraft

T4648 to T5071, (A19- 1 to A19- 51 in this range), inclusive, had drum- fed cannon and 

T5083 to T5099, (A19-57 to A19-72 in this range) had belt-fed cannon.

What the fit was on T5072 to T5082, inclusive, is unknown. A19-52 to A19-56, (T5072 to T5076 and T5081) fall within this range. Of those, (in mind of the original query), A19-53 and -54 served with No. 30 Sqn.

 

Peter M

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