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RAF 64 squadron Spitfire IX.


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No, but for its partners I have SH.V BS600 and SH.K BS315.  Not registration numbers,  they are for cars, but serial numbers.

 

Note that there are differences between early  F. Mk.IXs and the kits usually provided, which are (inevitably?) LF Mk.IXs.  The air intake is larger than that of a Mk.V but less bulky than the late Aerovokes.  There is a large intake for an oil cooler in the port wing root., and no gun camera.  Of the early aircraft, there are differences between RR and Supermarine-modified Mk.V airframes with large bulges on the upper cowling before the smooth standard one appeared. There are also different ways of painting the camouflage on the extended nose.  Plus, of course, the larger wing bulges designed to cover the optional four cannon armament.

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Your last photo and caption are snipped from the old Aircam No.4.  Looking at the marginally better version there, I can't see any clear evidence that there's a serial painted up at all (or that hasn't be obliterated by the fuselage band).  There may be a fragment of a character visible aft of the band about where the black blob (dirt on the negative?) is and I'd nornally expect to see it but I don't think anyone could use this photo to prove you wrong if you omitted the serial altogether.

 

NB from your 2nd photo that this aircraft still has the Mk I/II/V style asymmetrical walkway markings (ie the spanwise line on the starboard wing extends all the way to the root) rather than the later symmetrical type more commonly seen on Mk.IXs.

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On these aircraft it is not uncommon to find the serial in a much smaller size near the top of the band.  I'm not clear that this isn't what is showing in the top photograph.  Serials can be obscured by temporary markings such as the D-Day bands, but it would be very unlikely to be missing from an aircraft with permanent markings such as the standard Fighter Command Sky band.  However, without a clear view...

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the reply's I should have pointed out that a friend has all the serial numbers on the first batch of Mk IX's  for 64 squadron they are BR581 (SH-Z), 592, 594, 596, 600 (SH-V), 601 (SH-F), 602 (SH-G), 603, 604, 605, 624

BS105, 126. I was hoping someone else may have documentation that would fill in the blank. Also this sight has two profiles that show how the serial numbers would have looked,even though they put them on the wrong planes.

 

https://www.markstyling.com/latespitfires3.htm

Edited by barneybolac
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The photos confirm that this example had the 'c' wing fitted where as some early IX's also had the 'b' wing as this was presumably easier for Castle Bromwich to convert existing Vb's already on the production line and use up the existing airframe/wing assemblies already good to go.

 

The IX'b' seems to be quite a rare bird these days as most if not all that I've seen restored have the 'c' or even 'e' wing but a very fine example of the IX'b' is the venerable MH434 that still flies today and is quite superb after all these years. I first saw it back in 1971 at a small air show at Shobdon airfield in Herefordshire and I still have the programme to prove it!

 

I must admit that my first impressions from the photos of this particular Spit were that it was in fact an updated Vc as the nose just doesn't seem to be long enough to be a IX for me, but clearly my eyesight is no longer what it was.

 

Kind Regards

Colin.

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There were no Mk.IX with the b wing, this is an old myth based on a misunderstanding.  All 100 of the early Mk.IXs were converted from Mk.Vc airframes at Supermarine or RR.  OK, that discounts prototypes: I believe that there might have been one.  The designation Mk.IXB was an in-service nickname for the early LF Mk.IXs.   All the Castle Bromwich Mk.IXs were built as Mk.IX from the start, a little later on..

 

MH434 did not have a b wing.  It had an uncommon (except on Seafires) cannon/leading edge fitting that lacked the outer cannon position.  Only a small batch of Mk.IXs were completed with this.  This was thoroughly discussed some years ago on this forum, with important contributions from Edgar Brooks and Peter Arnold.

 

Wirth repeating here, I think, is that the correct designations are F. Mk.IX, LF Mk.IX, LF Mk.IXe and HF Mk.9e.  Unless there were HF Mk.IX with the c wing, but I don't think so.  Oh, and Tr Mk.IXs.  The first two Marks lacked the c suffix because there was no need for it; all wings were the same until the introduction of the modifications for the 0.5 Browning in the inner bay.  It has been used postwar by journalists and modellers partly from ignorance and partly for clarity.  After all, it was basically the same wing as on the Mk.Vc.

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Thank you for clarifying and updating my knowledge of the Spit as MH434 has always been referred to as a IXb previously in various magazines (Flypast etc.) and Shacklady also refers to EN554 as being of this type as well, hence my misunderstanding.

 

Kind Regards

Colin.

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Just another question due to my ignorance but I thought there were also HF Mk9 versions, fitted with the series 70 Merlin rated for better altitude performance, although not sure which wing type they would have. Presume it would have been the 'c', or possibly even the 'e' in the latter low back configuration more common with the XVI?

 

Apologies again for my lack of knowledge here as I'm no guru when it comes to Spits and simply basing this upon the relatively few references I have plus the different kits that are out there in 72nd scale.

 

Kind Regards

Colin.

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There were indeed HF Mk.IXs with the Merlin 70.  These were all fairly late so I assumed, as above, that they would have the e wing.  The only photo I recall seeing had the earlier canopy - Mk.IXs with the teardrop were rare.  (And, I suspect, often mistaken for Mk.XVIs.)

 

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I was always under the impression that RAF fighters had yellow leading edge bands as a recognition aid, not to help groundcrew avoid walking into a wing in 'pre-dawn darkness', as stated in the caption attached to the first photo.

 

Am I wrong?  Gentle replies welcome!

 

Jonny

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26 minutes ago, Jonny said:

I was always under the impression that RAF fighters had yellow leading edge bands as a recognition aid, not to help groundcrew avoid walking into a wing in 'pre-dawn darkness', as stated in the caption attached to the first photo.

 

Am I wrong?  Gentle replies welcome!

 

Jonny

No, you are right, if that was the case, it would be seen in other theatres.  It's a NW Europe ID marking.

see

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Modeling-References/Camoflage-Markings/01-Supermarine-Spitfire

 

On 01/08/2020 at 20:22, fishplanebeer said:

The photos confirm that this example had the 'c' wing fitted where as some early IX's also had the 'b' wing as this was presumably easier for Castle Bromwich to convert existing Vb's already on the production line and use up the existing airframe/wing assemblies already good to go.

 

The IX'b' seems to be quite a rare bird these days as most if not all that I've seen restored have the 'c' or even 'e' wing but a very fine example of the IX'b' is the venerable MH434 that still flies today and is quite superb after all these years. I first saw it back in 1971 at a small air show at Shobdon airfield in Herefordshire and I still have the programme to prove it!

 

As Graham say.  No. Myth.  

Two points on this.

 

First, why make a new Spitfire with an improved engine, but with the old cannon wing.  IIRC the B wing had a drum with with 60 rounds, the C wing had a belt feed and a 140 rounds.

 

Second, and probable cause of the confusion.

 

there were unofficial spitfire IX A and IX B designations.   

 

Quote

According to the official Pilot’s Notes (3rd edition, 1946):

 

INTRODUCTION1.(i) The variants of the Spitfire IX,XI and XVI are distinguished by prefix letters denoting the general operating altitude or role and the suffix letter (e) is used where .5-inch guns replace .303-inch guns. The aircraft are all essentially similar, but the following table shows the main features that give the various versions their distinguishing letters:

 

F IXMerlin 61; 63 or 63A; two 20-mm. and four .303-in. guns

LF IXMerlin 66; two 20-mm. and four .303-in. guns.

LF IX (e)Merlin 66; two 20-mm. and two .5-in. guns.

HF IXMerlin 70; two 20-mm. and four .303-in. guns.

HF IX (e)Merlin 70; two 20-mm. and two .5-in. guns.

PR XIMerlin 61; 63, 63A or 70.

F XVIMerlin 266; two 20-mm. and two .5-in. guns.

(ii) Merlin 61 and 63 engines have S.U.float-type carburettors, but on Merlin 66, 70 and 266 engines these are replaced by Bendix-Stromberg injection carburettors.

(iii) All these marks of aircraft are fitted with Rotol 4-bladed hydraulic propellers and on the majority of aircraft the wing tips are clipped.

(iv) Later Mk. IX and XVIs have “rear view” fuselages which incorporate “tear-drop” sliding hoods.

 

Semi-officially, however, other suffix letters have also been used to describe these aircraft. The use of the “c” suffix is fairly established today to distinguish aircraft with the universal wing and the standard armament of two belt-fed cannon and four .303-calibre guns – typically carried by series production Mk. IXs, although the intended “c” type was four cannon and no machine guns.

 

More rarely seen are the suffixes A and B.

 

These have caused some confusion, as these letters in earlier Spitfire marks define eight-gun and two drum-fed cannon and four machine gun armament configurations, respectively.

 

It would seem that the designations IXA / IXB were used ad-hoc by the RAF units during the early part of the Mk. IX’s operational career, to distinguish the low-altitude-optimized Merlin 66-equipped LF IX (called Mk. IX B from the initial Merlin 61/63/63a-equipped F IX (called Mk. IX A). These designations are sometimes seen in pilot’s log books, squadron Operational Record Books, etc.

 

see

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfire-mk-ix-xi-and-xvi-variants-much-varied.html

 

Finally, the C wing undercarriage lesg are raked further forward the the A and B wings, and they have curved UC doors as well.

 

HTH

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One correction:  on the majority of these aircraft (in the full list) the wings were not clipped.  In fact, clipped wings would be in the great minority as on these aircraft they were only required to reduce the stress on the wing roots during dive bombing, so were not introduced except on FB squadrons from late 1944.  However at least some Mk.IXe did have clipped wings with teardrop canopies - I've just modelled a SAAF one like that.  But wingtips were detachable and could be exchanged for the other option.

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16 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

n fact, clipped wings would be in the great minority as on these aircraft they were only required to reduce the stress on the wing roots during dive bombing, so were not introduced except on FB squadrons from late 1944.

And even then not in all cases. 126 Wing pictures with IXs invariably show the standard tips. 
Clipped wings may reduce wing stress, but mostly were done for better roll rates. 
A disadvantage is that they reduce lift - on landing with clipped wings, that means a speed increase of 10-15Mph.

Not to mention take-off from soggy airstrips (1944 was a very wet and cold autumn and winter) where you need that lift when carrying 500lbs or sometimes even 1000lbs bomb loads.

Wings (and aircraft) would be checked and replaced when necessary. It's not that they had a shortage of those...

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The roll rate requirement was mainly for the Mk.V, to be able to match the Fw190 which could roll to the side and be away leaving the Mk.V with no chance of catching it.  The more powerful Mk.IX suffered less from this.  The clipped wings were not introduced on the Mk.IX until wings kept coming off on bombing missions, whereupon investigations showed the (familiar) signs of overstressed wing roots.  There was a generous supply of spare aircraft  but not to be just thrown away and pilots get a bit depressed if similarly regarded.  Had there been any requirement for an increased roll rate then they would have been introduced well before late 1944.

 

Not all Mk.IX units in 2 TAF were dedicated fighter-bombers.  Yes, the problem could be alleviated by continuous checks on the wing roots but not solved, and if it goes away with clipped wingtips then this has to be a preferred solution.  By this stage the units were moving onto hard surface runways anyway - as evidenced by the change in the axle angles and the new bump on the inner wing to clear the wheels at their new angle.

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9 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Yes, the problem could be alleviated by continuous checks on the wing roots but not solved, and if it goes away with clipped wingtips then this has to be a preferred solution.

Yet it wasn't employed in (at least) four Squadrons tasked with rail interdiction. 

Not even on the XIVs of 402 Sqn.

There is also no mention in the books of requests for such, as far as I can tell from reading*.

 

*No 126 Wing RCAF, Donald Nijboer

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It is mentioned in other histories of the type.  It is entirely consistent with other experiences of the Spitfire inner wing including the original a/b design and the c wing on Mk.VIIs and early Mk.VIIIs with the extended wing attempting to dogfight at lower levels.

 

Does your book suggest that 126 Wing requested clipped wings to improve their roll rate?

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33 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Does your book suggest that 126 Wing requested clipped wings

See above :) 
One recurring theme though is the attrition rate in airframes & replacements brought over. 
My guess would be that it was just more expedient to do the checks and replace wings or complete aircraft than taking off the tips.

 

Remember, these Spits were mostly LF.IXc's and e's (from September onwards) , flown with reatively heavy loads (30 gallon tanks & 2x250lbs, or 500lbs) from ALGs such as B.84, B.88 and in atrocious weather going after ground targets while running the gauntlet of lots of medium/light flak.

 

Some easily found period pictures:

 

y4m7JywHMKFsMuOFa792WYMhGuK9eOeDPDiDCQN8

y4m93OeUsRhfJGMIKcsBHBgxiifLUnuso-GC_xdm

 

 

y4mav1EwR87bFRAeQlow6DjcPx3JOdtvNzbryaXC

 

January 1945

y4mP-kSffe7Jtsvh3MnLJ80AozukAj7l39unTY4T

 

y4mXiyZRpDPIdXhaGUam0hICxR6P80cGOh8WFw-1

 

 

 

 

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Bear in mind that photos taken in September/October may well have been too early for the problem to have been identified and the chosen solution standardised across the entire fleet (or as much as possible - the wingtips may have been exchangeable but enough of the clipped tips had to be produced and distributed.  I don't think it is said anywhere that the adoption was immediate and universal, although sense would suggest it was as widespread as could be attained.  However, my argument is, was and will be, that the reason for the adoption had nothing to do with roll rate and everything to do with losses because of wing failures. 

 

In "above" you suggest reasons - good ones - why tips should be retained.  You don't say that this was at the request of the unit mentioned.  However such reasons cannot have been advanced until after the adoption of the clipped wings, and sufficient experience gained to highlight the matter as a problem (which has to be more than a distaste for such things).  Which would suggest the possibility that 126 Wing operated first (like all other Mk.IX units) with standard wingtips, then went to clipped wings, and then back to standard.   

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I'm inclined to disagree with that last assessment based on photographic and documentary evidence throughout the period from D-day onwards.

With the emphasis put on bombing (to which these units were specifically tasked) and the description of the tactics used - including period diagrams - you would expect some mention of that, and there isn't either way. It just doesn't come up at all?

[edit]

I also have some daily report bundles for March 1945 from 2TAF ops from other units - in Danish however - and those have photos from other 2TAF bases - Eindhoven, Schijndel, Evere. Again, same pattern.

 

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