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Great Britain's Fairey Battle bomber

Photos

  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber
  • Fairey Battle Mk I bomber
  • Fairey Battle Mk I bomber
  • Fairey Battle Mk I bomber
  • Fairey Battle Mk II bomber
  • Fairey Battle Mk II bomber
  • Fairey Battle bomber

Design

The design for the Fairey Battle occurred in the early 1930s and was based on a Air Ministry specification put out in April 1933.1,2 The intent of the Battle was to replace the Hawker Hart and Hind biplane bomber then in service.2,4

The Battle was of all metal construction.2

Crew

The crew was located in a cockpit.2

Prototype

The prototype of the Fairey Battle first flew on March 10, 1936.1,2 The first order was place for 655 Battles.2

Production

  • Fairey Battle: 2,1852
    • Production: ? - September 19402
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd2

Variants

  • Fairey Battle Mk I: Bomber.3
  • Fairey Battle Mk II: Advanced trainer.3

Usage

First Assignment

The Nos 52 and 63 Squadrons received the Battle in March 1937.1,2

By 1938 17 squadrons were equipped with the Battle.1

France

Once war broke out in 1939, ten Battle equipped squadrons (Nos 12, 40, 88, 98, 103, 105, 142, 150, 218, 226)4 were moved to France with the Advanced Air Striking Force.1

On September 20, 1939, a Fairey Battle shot down a German aircraft, the first of World War II.2

Battles were unfortunately used without fighter escort and suffered severe losses.1 On September 30, 1939, No. 150 Squadron went on a bombing mission where four out of five of the aircraft were shot down.4

First Victorian Crosses of World War II

The very first Victorian Crosses to be awarded in World War II were posthumously to a Battle crew that attacked the Maastricht bridges on May 10, 1940.1,4 These men were Flying Officer D. E. Garland and Sergeant T. Gray of No. 12 Squadron.1,4

In this attack four of the five aircraft were shot down.1

Losses Mount

On May 14, 1940, 70 (712,4) Battles raided Sedan, and of those 40 were lost.1,2 They were from the Nos 12, 103, 105, 150, and 218 Squadrons.4

Trainers

After the severe losses the Battles were withdrawn from front line duty and converted into trainers.1,4 Some were shipped to Canada to be used in air gunnery schools.1,2,4

Belgium

Belgium received Battles.1

Specifications

  Battle
Type Light bomber4
Crew 34
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin II4
Cylinders V 124
Cooling Liquid4
HP 1,0304
Dimensions  
Span 54'4
16.46 m4
Length 42' 1.75"4
12.85 m4
Height 15' 6"4
4.72 m4
Wing area 422 sq ft4
39.2 sq m4
Weight  
Empty 6,647 lb4
3,015 kg4
Loaded 10,792 lb4
4,895 kg4
Performance  
Speed at 10,000' / 3,050 m 241 mph4
388 kph4
Climb 920'/minute4
280 m/minute4
Service ceiling 25,000'4
7,620 m4
Range 900 miles4
1,450 km4
Armament  
Starboard wing 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG4
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG4
Bombs - Internal 4: 250 lb4
4: 113 kg4
  Battle Mk I
Type Bomber2, Light bomber1
Crew 23, 31
Pilot, gunner, radioman2
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk I2
Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk II3
Rolls-Royce Merlin III piston1
Cylinders Inline1, V-122
Cooling Liquid2,3
HP 1,0301,2
Mk II: 9903
Dimensions  
Span 54'1,2,3
16.46 m1
Length 45' 1.75"1, 52' 1"2, 52' 2"3
12.9 m1
Height 15' 6"1,2,3
4.72 m1
Wing area 422 ft2 1
39.2 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 6,647 lb1
3,015 kg1
Loaded 10,792 lb1,2, 10,800 lb3
4,895 kg1
Performance  
Speed 270 mph3
Speed at 13,000' / 3,960 m 241 mph1,2
388 kph1
Climb to 5,000' / 1,525 m 4.1 minutes1
Service ceiling 23,500'1,2
7,165 m1
Range 1,000 miles3, 1,050 miles1,2
1,690 km1
Armament  
Forward firing 1: MG2
1: 7.7 mm MG1
Starboard wing 1: MG3
Rear cockpit 1: MG2,3
1: 7.7 mm MG1
Bombs 43
1,000 lb1,2
454 kg1
  Battle Mk II
Type Trainer3
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin3
Cooling Liquid3
HP 1,0303
Dimensions  
Span 54'3
Length 42'3
Height 15' 6"3
Weight  
Loaded 10,600 lb3
Performance  
Speed 270 mph3
Range 1,000 miles3

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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