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Great Britain's Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber / dive bomber

Photos

  • Fairey Barracuda Mk II torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda Mk II torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda
  • Fairey Barracuda
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber

Design

The Fairey Barracuda was to meet requirements put forth in 1937 and to replace the Albacore.1,2,3,4

The Barracuda was to have the Rolls-Royce Exe engine, but when the engine was abandoned the fuselage had to be altered to fit the Merlin.1,2,4,5 This delay and the decision that the Firefly was more urgent delayed the entry into service of the Barracuda.1,2 The Barracuda became the Fleet Air Arm's first monoplane torpedo bomber.2,3,5

The Barracuda was of all-metal construction.3

The fuel tanks were self sealing.5

Tail

The tail plane was initially mounted low in the prototype, but due to turbulence caused by the Youngman flap/dive brake it was mounted higher in the production aircraft.2

Prototype

On December 7, 1940, the Barracuda prototype was first flown.1,2,3,4 The second Barracuda prototype flew on June 29, 1941.3

The first aircraft carrier landing for the Barracuda was on May 18, 1941.5

Production

The first production aircraft to fly was in May 1942.2 Production went until early 1946.2

  • Prototypes: 22
  • Barracuda Mk I: 231,2,4, 253
  • Barracuda Mk II: 1,6351,2,4
    • Fairey1,4: 2251
    • Blackburn1,4: 7001
    • Boulton Paul1,4: 6921
    • Westland1,4: 181
  • Barracuda Mk III: 9121,2,4
  • Barracuda Mk V: 302
  • Total: 2,5723, 2,6022
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.3, Blackburn3, Boulton Paul3, Westland3

Variants

  • Prototype: Had low mounted tail plane.2,5
  • Barracuda Mk I: Tail plane almost near top of rudder.5
  • Barracuda Mk II: Had a ASV Mk IIN radar.1,4 First flew on August 17, 1942.3
  • Barracuda Mk III: Had ASV Mk X radar.1,2,3,4,5
  • Barracuda Mk V: Intended for use in Pacific.2 Had a radar in a pod on the port wing.2 The structure was changed.2 The tail fin was made taller.2

Usage

First Use

The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) received delivery of the Barracuda in January 1943.1,2,3,4

There were 17 squadrons equipped with the Barracuda.2

Salerno

The landing in September 1943 at Salerno was the Barracuda's debut in combat.2,3

Tirpitz

On April 3, 1944, 42 Barracudas were used in the strike on the Tirpitz.1,2,3,4,5 The Barracudas achieved 15 direct hits dive bombing.2,3 Only two aircraft were lost.2

The Barracudas were launched from the HMS Victorious and Furious.3 Hellcats, Seafires, Wildcats, and Corsairs escorted.3

Pacific

The Barracuda was first used against the Japanese at Sabang, Sumatra on April 19, 1944.5

In 1944 and 1945 the Barracuda was used extensively in the Pacific.1

Post War Use

Some Barracudas served until 1953 in the British Fleet.3

Specifications

  Fairey Barracuda Mk I
Type Torpedo bomber2, Dive bomber2
Crew 2 - 32
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 302,3,4,5
Cylinders V 122
HP 1,2601,3,4, 1,3002
Propeller blades 32,3, 3 blade Rotol5
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"2
14.99 m2
Length 40' 3"2
12.27 m2
Height 15' 1"2
4.6 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,700 lb2
3,946 kg2
Loaded 13,500 lb2
6,124 kg2
Armament  
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" MG2
Torpedo 1: 18"2
1: 2,610 lb2
1: 46 cm2
1: 1,184 kg2
OR  
Depth charges 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
OR  
Bombs 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
  Fairey Barracuda Mk II
Type Torpedo bomber2,3,4,5, Dive bomber2,4
Crew 2 - 32, 31,3,4,5
Pilot, Observer / Navigator, Rear Gunner / Radio Operator5
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 piston1,2,3,4,5
Cylinders Inline1, V 123,4
Cooling Liquid3
HP 1,6401,3,4, 1,6452
Propeller blades 42,3, 4 blade constant speed Rotol5
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"1,2,3,4,5
14.99 m1,2,4, 15 m5
Length 39' 9"1,3,4, 40' 3"2, 40' 6"5
12.11 m1, 12.12 m4, 12.27 m2, 12.35 m5
Height 15' 1"1,2,3,4, 15' 5"5
4.6 m1,2,4, 4.7 m5
Wing area 367 ft2 1,4,5
34.09 m2 1,4, 34.1 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 9,350 lb1,4, 9,407 lb2
4,241 kg1,4, 4,267 kg2
Loaded 13,500 lb3, 14,100 lb1,2,4
6,396 kg1,2,4
Performance  
Speed @ 1,750' 228 mph3
Speed @ 1,750' /
533 m
228 mph2,4
367 kph2,4
Speed @ 1,750' /
535 m
228 mph1
367 kph1
Cruising speed 172 mph2
277 kph2
Climb 950'/minute2
290 m/minute2
Climb to 5,000' /
1,525 m
6 minutes1,4
Service ceiling 16,600'1,2,3,4
5,060 m1,2,4
Range 1,150 miles1,2,4
1,850 km1,2,4
Range with full load 686 miles2,3
1,104 km2
Armament 2: MG3
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Vickers "K" MGs1,4,5
Torpedo 1: 18"2,5
1: 1,610 lb3, 1,620 lb1,4, 2,610 lb2
1: 46 cm2
1: 735 kg1,4, 1,184 kg2
OR  
Depth charges 4: 450 lb1,4
2,000 lb2
4: 204 kg1,4
907 kg2
OR  
Bombs 6: 250 lb1,4
2,000 lb2
6: 113 kg1,4
907 kg2
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
  Fairey Barracuda Mk III
Type Torpedo bomber2, Dive bomber2
Crew 2 - 32
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 321,2,4,5
HP 1,6401,4, 1,6452
Propeller blades 42
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"2
14.99 m2
Length 40' 3"2
12.27 m2
Height 15' 1"2
4.6 m2
Armament  
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" MG2
Torpedo 1: 18"2
1: 2,610 lb2
1: 46 cm2
1: 1,184 kg2
OR  
Depth charges 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
OR  
Bombs 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
  Fairey Barracuda Mk V
Type Torpedo bomber2, Dive bomber2
Crew 25, 2 - 32
Pilot, Observer / Navigator / Radio Operator5
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon 372, Rolls-Royce Griffon VII5
Cylinders V 122
HP 2,0202
Propeller blades 42, 4 blade Rotol5
Dimensions  
Span 53' 2"5
16.21 m5
Length 40' 3"5
12.27 m5
Height 15' 3"5
4.65 m5
Wing Area 425 sq ft5
39.5 sq m5
Weight  
Loaded 16,400 lb5
7,450 kg5
Performance  
Speed at 11,000' /
3,355 m
264 mph5
422 kph5
Climb to 5,000' /
1,525 m
2.5 minutes5
Range at 159 mph /
254 kph
735 miles5
1,180 km5
Range - Maximum with Drop Tanks 1,200 miles5
1,920 km5
Armament 1: 0.5" MG5
Torpedo 1: 18"5
OR  
Bomb 2,000 lb5
OR  
Depth Charge 2,000 lb5
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb5

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, 1998, Chris Bishop
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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