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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.

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. This delay and the decision that the Firefly was more urgent delayed the entry into service of the Barracuda. The Barracuda became the Fleet Air Arm's first monoplane torpedo bomber.

The Barracuda was of all-metal construction.

The fuel tanks were self sealing.

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.

Prototype

On December 7, 1940, the Barracuda prototype was first flown. The second Barracuda prototype flew on June 29, 1941.

The first aircraft carrier landing for the Barracuda was on May 18, 1941.

Production

The first production aircraft to fly was in May 1942. Production went until early 1946.

  • Prototypes: 2
  • Barracuda Mk I: 23, 25
  • Barracuda Mk II: 1,635
    • Fairey: 225
    • Blackburn: 700
    • Boulton Paul: 692
    • Westland: 18
  • Barracuda Mk III: 912
  • Barracuda Mk V: 30
  • Total: 2,572, 2,602
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd., Blackburn, Boulton Paul, Westland

Variants

  • Prototype: Had low mounted tail plane.
  • Barracuda Mk I: Tail plane almost near top of rudder.
  • Barracuda Mk II: Had a ASV Mk IIN radar. First flew on August 17, 1942.
  • Barracuda Mk III: Had ASV Mk X radar.
  • Barracuda Mk V: Intended for use in Pacific. Had a radar in a pod on the port wing. The structure was changed. The tail fin was made taller.

Usage

First Use

The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) received delivery of the Barracuda in January 1943.

There were 17 squadrons equipped with the Barracuda.

Salerno

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

Tirpitz

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

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

Pacific

The Barracuda was first used against the Japanese at Sabang, Sumatra on April 19, 1944.

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

Post War Use

Some Barracudas served until 1953 in the British Fleet.

Specifications

  Fairey Barracuda Mk I
Type Torpedo bomber, Dive bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 30
Cylinders V 12
HP 1,260, 1,300
Propeller blades 3, 3 blade Rotol
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"
14.99 m
Length 40' 3"
12.27 m
Height 15' 1"
4.6 m
Weight  
Empty 8,700 lb
3,946 kg
Loaded 13,500 lb
6,124 kg
Armament  
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" MG
Torpedo 1: 18"
1: 2,610 lb
1: 46 cm
1: 1,184 kg
OR  
Depth charges 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb
907 kg
  Fairey Barracuda Mk II
Type Torpedo bomber, Dive bomber
Crew 2 - 3, 3
Pilot, Observer / Navigator, Rear Gunner / Radio Operator
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 piston
Cylinders Inline, V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,640, 1,645
Propeller blades 4, 4 blade constant speed Rotol
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"
14.99 m, 15 m
Length 39' 9", 40' 3", 40' 6"
12.11 m, 12.12 m, 12.27 m, 12.35 m
Height 15' 1", 15' 5"
4.6 m, 4.7 m
Wing area 367 ft2
34.09 m2 , 34.1 sq m
Weight  
Empty 9,350 lb, 9,407 lb
4,241 kg, 4,267 kg
Loaded 13,500 lb, 14,100 lb
6,396 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 1,750' 228 mph
Speed @ 1,750' /
533 m
228 mph
367 kph
Speed @ 1,750' /
535 m
228 mph
367 kph
Cruising speed 172 mph
277 kph
Climb 950'/minute
290 m/minute
Climb to 5,000' /
1,525 m
6 minutes
Service ceiling 16,600'
5,060 m
Range 1,150 miles
1,850 km
Range with full load 686 miles
1,104 km
Armament 2: MG
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Vickers "K" MGs
Torpedo 1: 18"
1: 1,610 lb, 1,620 lb, 2,610 lb
1: 46 cm
1: 735 kg, 1,184 kg
OR  
Depth charges 4: 450 lb
2,000 lb
4: 204 kg
907 kg
OR  
Bombs 6: 250 lb
2,000 lb
6: 113 kg
907 kg
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb
907 kg
  Fairey Barracuda Mk III
Type Torpedo bomber, Dive bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin 32
HP 1,640, 1,645
Propeller blades 4
Dimensions  
Span 49' 2"
14.99 m
Length 40' 3"
12.27 m
Height 15' 1"
4.6 m
Armament  
Rear cockpit 2: 0.303" MG
Torpedo 1: 18"
1: 2,610 lb
1: 46 cm
1: 1,184 kg
OR  
Depth charges 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb
907 kg
  Fairey Barracuda Mk V
Type Torpedo bomber, Dive bomber
Crew 2, 2 - 3
Pilot, Observer / Navigator / Radio Operator
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon 37, Rolls-Royce Griffon VII
Cylinders V 12
HP 2,020
Propeller blades 4, 4 blade Rotol
Dimensions  
Span 53' 2"
16.21 m
Length 40' 3"
12.27 m
Height 15' 3"
4.65 m
Wing Area 425 sq ft
39.5 sq m
Weight  
Loaded 16,400 lb
7,450 kg
Performance  
Speed at 11,000' /
3,355 m
264 mph
422 kph
Climb to 5,000' /
1,525 m
2.5 minutes
Range at 159 mph /
254 kph
735 miles
1,180 km
Range - Maximum with Drop Tanks 1,200 miles
1,920 km
Armament 1: 0.5" MG
Torpedo 1: 18"
OR  
Bomb 2,000 lb
OR  
Depth Charge 2,000 lb
OR  
Mines 2,000 lb

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, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site