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Spitfire Mk IX with a B wing


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On another forum a poster wishes to build a 1/32 model of a Mk IX Spitfire flown by P/O Donald Moffat-Wilson. The aircraft is featured on a Montex mask set as MK471 coded SK-N from 165 sqn. and is shown as a standard Mk IX with C wing and aero vee carb intake. The poster also adds a photo of the pilot standing in front of his Mk IX aircraft which appears to show a B wing and an early short carb intake and for good measure it also has a torpedo drop tank fitted. According to Morgan & Shacklady the first 100 Mk IXs were converted from MK V aircraft and featured both B & C wings in the BS & BR serials ranges. Question is has anyone ever seen a photo of a Mk IX with a B wing? Could it be that the outer cannon stubs have been removed and faired over, the photo is not clear enough to say either way. I seem to recall a post on here where it says it was a fair amount of trouble to do. My interest was piqued over this unusual aircraft and I would like to hear what the Spitfire boffins have to say.

TRF

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IXb in squadron records usually was a shorthand for low altitude type.  There were no B-wing IXs, however there were apparently some C-wings with no cannon stub in the outer position and a special(?) fairing.  Warbird MH434 is an example.  I believe this fairing was more common on Ç-wing Seafires.

 

B-wing could only carry 1x20mm and 2x0.303 each side whereas C-type was supposed to be a "universal" one that could be fitted with 1x 20mm and 2x 0.303 (Browning in different bays to the B-) or 2x20mm or 4x0.303 each wing.  It was slightly stronger and had revised undercarriage arrangements.  The eight machine gun version used special castings in the cannon stubs for the two 303s in the cannon bays so the disposition of the armament would be different from the classic BoB A-wing, whether any C-type actually used the 8 gun option is a good question but it's set out in the relevant RAF manual for the Mk.V.

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The old chestnut of a Spitfire IXb has been the subject of previous debate but no such beast ever existed. The initial Mk IX's were fitted with the Merlin 61 or 63 but this was soon replaced with the Merlin 66 so in order for the groundcrews to differentiate between the two for maintenance purposes the early ones were informally referred to as 'A's and the latter ones as 'B's. However In reality the new IX's fitted with the Merlin 66 were classified as LF.IX's where as the original IX's with Merlin 61/63's were classified as F.IX's.

 

As far as the RAF were concerned Mk IX's only ever existed in 3 versions, F.IX, LF.IX and HF.IX with the suffix 'e' added where this wing was fitted instead of the standard/normal 'c' wing. Also as the 'c' wing was the standard wing for the IX the suffix 'c' was never applied as it was a given, this only being done retrospectively by historians and us modellers!

 

Hope this helps.

 

Regards

Colin.

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I don't have a photo hosting service so will refer you to www.absa3945.com/PertesBritagne/CotesArmor/12juin/moffat_wilson-GB.htm to see the photo of the aircraft in question. As stated previously MK471 is the aircraft in which Moffat-Wilson was killed and would have been a standard lateish Mk IX with a C wing and aero vee carb intake as per the Montex profile. The aircraft in the photo the pilot is standing in front of only has the single cannon barrels on either side and a short carb intake so my contention it is a different aircraft to MK471. According to 165 squadron records they had BR601, BS127, BS227 (Mk IXC), BS242, & BS439 which are from the first batch of MK Vs converted to Mk IXs and I believe that the aircraft in the photo is one of these. Maybe the statement on page 309 of the Morgan & Shacklady book regarding the fitment of both B & C wings to the initial batch of 100 converted Mk Vs is in error.

TRF 

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fastterry:

That link doesn't work at all. I think in order to be click-able, you have to use the link icon in the editor (8th from the left). I copied/pasted the link, but got a "page not found" message.

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The term 'B wing' was an armourers shorthand for a 20mm + 2x0.303" per wing. A being the 4x0.303" and C being for the bomb rack capable newly designed wing able to be fitted with 2x20mm. 

Fitting the necessary radiators to the old style of wing would involve a hideous number of hours. 

Grant

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Ok the extra radiator probably seals it and the fact that the 60 series Merlin with the mass further forward would require the extra rake of the u/c standard on the C universal wing. Thank you for your replies.

TRF

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As well as clarifying the old canard about IXb types as my earlier post,  these pages from the Spitfire Site discuss the points you've noted (and more about the multiple variant details on this mark).  Unfortunately it doesn't help identify the particular airframe the OP seeks to identify!

 

Carburettor intake

"Early Mk. IXs had short carburettor intakes (shorter and significantly chunkier than the Mk. V). During 1944 the long Vokes Aero-Vee filter unit became more or less standard, both in production and as retrofits. This unit was from the outset intended as standard on the Mk. VIII which mainly went to tropical theatres, but the planned move of numerous Spitfire Mk. IX-equipped squadrons into primitive airstrips on the continent following D-day justified this modification to all aircraft. The introduction of the air filter necessitated reposition of the external starter battery socket from the lower nose cowl to the starboard cowling panel."

 

And from a forum this post about the cannon fairing is from Edgar Brooks who was well regarded as a student of the Spitfire by many on Britmodeller.

"The controversy, over the apparent "B" wings, on several Mk.IX airframes, was caused by a late 1942/early 1943 modification to the wings' leading edges, which saw the "outboard cannon front mount casting" cut off, and faired over, since it was viewed as being redundant, due to the (almost) universal use of the "C" armament, and the use of that compartment, in the IX, to carry the hot-air pipes out to the outer .303" Brownings. This modification was rescinded in November 1943, when both of the castings were, once again, needed for the coming "E" armament. The fact that the RAF also used (unofficially) the terms "A" & "B" to designate engine types on the IX, compounded the felony even more."

 

Hope this is of interest, even if it hasn't helped identify the plane in the photo.

Cheers

Will

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The abovementioned removal of the outer stub on some aircraft can sometime be a problem in the identification of the type of wing. To sort this, I suggest looking at the shape of the cannon barrel fairing as these were different on the B and C wing: on the B the fairing had a truncated conical shape for its whole length, on the C wing this was only after a certain point on the fairing while this started at the leading edge as a cylinder.

With the Spit IX is less of a problem as no B wing was used on this version but on the Mk.V it can be a problem and I've seen more than one picture miscaptioned in books as the author simply applied the equation no stub = Mk.Vb, while in reality there were Mk.Vc without the same stub and the picture showed one of them

 

Edit: of course there are other even more prominent feature to identify a B wing, like the bulges over and under the wings, my suggestion is for all those cases where none of these is clearly visible. The location of the outer MG was also different but this is a bit more tricky to tell at first glance

Edited by Giorgio N
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Strictly, no outer stub was cut off, but a modification was introduced for a new casting with only the one stub.  This was not only seen on the batch of Mk.IXs but was also standard on the Seafire Mk.III.  (Possibly the Mk.II as well?)  I'm not sure I've ever seen photos of a Mk.Vc without this stub, but should be distinguishable from a Mk.Vb because the cannon is mounted further forward and so the barrel protrudes more.  However I understand that Malta personnel would generate serviceable Spitfires by using B wings on fuselages with "C" serials, or indeed vice versa. 

 

The B wing was not just armourer's slang but significantly different from the universal or c wing, in addition to the armament  The undercarriage had the additional rake and a stronger roof to the wheel well without the bulge, to try to remove a known weakness.  This is why B winged aircraft can be seen later in service life with two stiffeners over the wheel well.  (Yes, Shuttleworth's Mk.Vc has them too.  One reason for being careful with postwar examples.)  The wheel therefore also sits lower in the wing so the door requires a bulge to "wrap around" the leg whilst still making a seal with the hole.  Good luck with distinguishing that in most WW2 photos!

 

I think that at least one early prototype with a Merlin 60 had a B wing, so if anyone is really desperate for this option...  But no production ones.

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44 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I'm not sure I've ever seen photos of a Mk.Vc without this stub, but should be distinguishable from a Mk.Vb because the cannon is mounted further forward and so the barrel protrudes more. 

 

Hi Graham,

 

I agree, a rarity. Here is an example that illustrates the difference nicely and is the Universal ("C") Wing without a stub. The following image is a RAAF Mk.Vc, sometimes erroneously labelled a Mk.Vb, with the cannon stub removed. I read somewhere it was local mod. Note that this aircraft has no tropical filter, well blanked MG ports and no outboard MG spent case ejection port. Possibly a cleaned up air frame for tests. It is fitted with the Universal ("C") Wing as evident by (1) the inboard MG being one bay outboard from the inside edge of the aileron, (2) the cannon fairing has a parallel portion off the leading edge going to a taper unlike the Vb which is tapered from the leading edge, (3) the cannon is protruding further out than the B, (4) no underside cannon blister and (5) the cannon has a spent case ejection port. 

 

 

Spitfire RAAF Mk VC A58-175

 

 

Ray

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One thing that occurred to me in an idle moment last night is that there are two 'C' wings, one set with one radiator (Mk V) and the other set with two radiators (Mk VII, VIII, IX etc). The armament layout is the same for both wings but does the Mk V C wing have the forward raked uc of the twin radiator C wings? Just thinking out aloud and too lazy to go through the books.

TRF 

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Yes the Mk.Vc also had the extra forward uc rake. 

 

Worth noting the radiator functions (Edit: see @Dave Swindell response later in the thread that explains this very well.) - the starboard radiator for engine cooling and the port radiator for oil cooling and then also including the intercooler for the two-stage supercharger explaining the more symetrical layout in later marks. 

 

 

 

Ray 

Edited by Ray_W
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On 2/16/2021 at 6:55 AM, fastterry said:

On another forum a poster wishes to build a 1/32 model of a Mk IX Spitfire flown by P/O Donald Moffat-Wilson. The aircraft is featured on a Montex mask set as MK471 coded SK-N from 165 sqn. and is shown as a standard Mk IX with C wing and aero vee carb intake. The poster also adds a photo of the pilot standing in front of his Mk IX aircraft which appears to show a B wing and an early short carb intake and for good measure it also has a torpedo drop tank fitted. According to Morgan & Shacklady the first 100 Mk IXs were converted from MK V aircraft and featured both B & C wings in the BS & BR serials ranges. Question is has anyone ever seen a photo of a Mk IX with a B wing? Could it be that the outer cannon stubs have been removed and faired over, the photo is not clear enough to say either way. I seem to recall a post on here where it says it was a fair amount of trouble to do. My interest was piqued over this unusual aircraft and I would like to hear what the Spitfire boffins have to say.

TRF

 

Attached is a well known pic of another Spitfire MK.IX with the outer 'chimney pot' removed. This is MH324, BQ-E, of No. 451 Sqn RAAF, with Abooukir filter.

There was an Air Min mod that covered removal of the outer 'chimney pot', as well as modifying the panel with the large fairing for the cannon feed to have a narrow fairing. IIRC this was Mod. No. 782, (or that may only cover the mod for the narrow fairing?). @gingerbob will know better than I.

Peter M

 

9eda8e8a-6e9a-4221-9154-af93a4c3003c.jpg

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20 hours ago, Ray_W said:

 

Hi Graham,

 

I agree, a rarity. Here is an example that illustrates the difference nicely and is the Universal ("C") Wing without a stub. The following image is a RAAF Mk.Vc, sometimes erroneously labelled a Mk.Vb, with the cannon stub removed. I read somewhere it was local mod. Note that this aircraft has no tropical filter, well blanked MG ports and no outboard MG spent case ejection port. Possibly a cleaned up air frame for tests. It is fitted with the Universal ("C") Wing as evident by (1) the inboard MG being one bay outboard from the inside edge of the aileron, (2) the cannon fairing has a parallel portion off the leading edge going to a taper unlike the Vb which is tapered from the leading edge, (3) the cannon is protruding further out than the B, (4) no underside cannon blister and (5) the cannon has a spent case ejection port. 

 

 

Spitfire RAAF Mk VC A58-175

 

 

Ray

 

Hi Ray,

 

Not all that rare. Here's another one. I have shots of several with the mod.

958a9ecb-08ad-40cd-99cd-5c3c1b4ef715.jpg

 

In the latter part of 1943, the RAAF promulgated Spitfire Order No. 2 which detailed the removal of the outer chimney pot and the modification of the 'double cannon blister' to a 'single cannon blister' configuration. This mod was to be incorporated in all A/C which had not received Air Min Mod. No. 782. A number of No. 79 Sqn aircraft did receive the modification and it is apparent in photos. The aircraft in your post is a standard No. 79 Sqn machine, A58-175, UP-Z.

 

The full mod proved to be time consuming and, in April 1944, the RAAF promulgated issue 2 of the order, dropping the requirement to remove the outer 'chimney pot'. Only the mod to the cannon feed fairings was to be done.

 

I have written on this topic on Britmodeller before, but can't recall when.

 

Peter M

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14 minutes ago, Magpie22 said:

I have written on this topic on Britmodeller before, but can't recall when.

 

Hi Peter, 

 

Thanks for the clarification on the RAAF mods.  I was hoping you would drop by. Yes I do recall you writing something on this. Such as in this thread:

 

 

And there is more. Quite the regular topic. Possibly also buried in the "All the Spitfire Questions" threads as well.

 

Ray

 

 

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Of course, there was one major drawback to removing the outer cannon projection - nowhere to hang your rifle!!  😧

 

8d75f4fe-c2be-4afb-ba81-5f47020658fe.jpg

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layouts of C wing(black lines) vs 20mm Mk IX(red lines)
The 20mm barrels are not at same place.
note also the location of .303, between ribs 12/13 on MkVc, and 13/14 on Mk IX.

 

 

spacer.png

 

 

two versions of Mk IX wings

spacer.png

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9 hours ago, fastterry said:

One thing that occurred to me in an idle moment last night is that there are two 'C' wings, one set with one radiator (Mk V) and the other set with two radiators (Mk VII, VIII, IX etc). The armament layout is the same for both wings but does the Mk V C wing have the forward raked uc of the twin radiator C wings? Just thinking out aloud and too lazy to go through the books.

TRF 

 

7 hours ago, Ray_W said:

Yes the Mk.Vc also had the extra forward uc rake. 

 

Worth noting the radiator functions - the starboard radiator for engine cooling and the port radiator for oil cooling and then also including the intercooler for the two-stage supercharger explaining the more symetrical layout in later marks. 

 

Ray 

@fastterry The C Universal wing referred to the armament layout with various combinations of 20mm cannon and 0.303mg's, and didn't infer that the wing could be swapped between different marks of Spitfire. As you surmise there were significant differences between a mk V C wing and a Mk VIII of IX C wing for the differences in engine, oil and intercooler radiators and gun heating pipework. The arrangement and fittings for the armament however was common.

There was no change in the wing construction between various marks for altering the undercarriage geometry (though there were changes to the wheel well shape and roof construction to take account of this and addition of torque links). The increased undercarriage leg rake was affected by inserting a wedge shaped shim between the wing and the leg hinge bracket which had the effect of angling the hinge pin down slightly which increased the rake of the undercarriage leg when extended, but also meant the leg sat slightly lower in the well when retracted, which meant the leg doors had to be curved slightly to meet the wing instead of being flat.

@Ray_W  as per above for the undercarriage

Re the radiators, close but not quite. The radiator matrices under each were wing were split into 2 segments each, with approx 2/3 -1/3 split. The larger section under each wing was an engine cooling radiator - outboard section under the stbd wing, inbd section under the port wing. The smaller outboard section on the port side was the oil cooler, and the smaller inboard section on the stbd side was the intercooler radiator.

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6 minutes ago, Dave Swindell said:

Re the radiators, close but not quite. The radiator matrices under each were wing were split into 2 segments each, with approx 2/3 -1/3 split. The larger section under each wing was an engine cooling radiator - outboard section under the stbd wing, inbd section under the port wing. The smaller outboard section on the port side was the oil cooler, and the smaller inboard section on the stbd side was the intercooler radiator.

Yes, thanks for the correction.

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36 minutes ago, BS_w said:

note also the location of .303, between ribs 12/13 on MkVc, and 13/14 on Mk IX.

 

Please check this, I think you will find the  Black "C" wing is actually a "B" Wing. 

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1 hour ago, Ray_W said:

 

 

 

Please check this, I think you will find the  Black "C" wing is actually a "B" Wing. 

correct, I'm mistake

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I'll stick by my comment that the removal of the bulge on the original Spitfire inner wing in favour of a flat stronger upper surface over the wheel well meant than the wheel sat lower and so did the leg, rather than the change on rake angle being the driver.  Possibly both modifications were involved, but short of attempting to follow through the redesign as if the original designer, I'm not sure how to distinguish between the two.  I must admit that skew angles were something of a head-scratcher when I did Tech Drawing at school, and baffled me when I met them again on the Jetstream aileron push rods.

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