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Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber

Photos

  • Fairey Swordfish reconnaissance
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 1
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 2
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 3
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 4
  • Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 5
  • 1941 torpedo-bomber comparison
  • 1941 Torpedo-bomber production comparison

Design

The design of the Swordfish was designed to meet Air Ministry Specification S.38/34.4,6

The bi-plane had an open cockpit.1 The frame was metal with a fabric covering and was very resilient to damage.1,3 The pilot used "Gosport tubes" to communicate to the other crew.1

The 7.7 mm Vickers in the front was synchronized to fire through the propeller.1

The Swordfish had a metal frame with a fabric cover.4

Wings

To allow more room on a carrier the wings of the Swordfish could be folded back.3

Landing Gear

The Swordfish's gear could be replaced by floats.3

Prototype

The prototype, known as the T.S.R. II, was flown on April 17, 1934 / 19346.1,2,3,4 Part of the trials was a catapult launch off of the HMS Repulse.3

Production

Between 1934 and August 18, 19442 2,3911 / 2,3962 Swordfish were produced.1 Blackburn constructed 1,699 Swordfish.1

  • Swordfish: 2,3964
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.3, Blackburn4,6
    • Production: ? - August 18, 19444, 1940 - mid 19446
  • Swordfish Mk I:
  • Swordfish Mk II:
  • Swordfish Mk III:
  • Swordfish Mk IV:

Variants

  • TSR II: Prototype.4
  • Swordfish Mk I: Met Specification S.38/34.4 Slight swept back top wing.2,4
  • Swordfish Mk II: Stronger lower wing to allow for the mounting of rockets.2,3,4,6
  • Swordfish Mk III: Had a radar (ASV Mk 10) scanner between the mainwheels.1,2,3,4,6
  • Swordfish Mk IV: Conversion of a Mk II to have a enclosed cabin.2,3,4,6 Used by Canada.3,6
  • Floatplane: Had floatplanes, but the drag and weight reduced its speed a lot.1

Usage

Entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1936 (July 19363) and was known as the "Stringbag."1

At the start of the war there were 13 squadrons in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.1 A total of 689 Swordfishes had been delivered.2,4

The first U-Boat sunk by the Fleet Air Arm was made by the Swordfish on April 13, 1940.1

Swordfish sank more ships than all the Royal Navy's battleships combined.1

Taranto

Twenty one Swordfish were used in the attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11, 1940.1,2,4,6 They took off from the HMS Illustrious.1,4 Two battleships, a cruiser, and a destroyer were sunk.1,4

Bismarck

Swordfishes were key in slowing down the Bismarck in its last battle.2,4,6

Channel Dash

Swordfishes were used in the near suicidal attack on the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen during their escape through the English Channel in February 1942.2,4

The End

On May 21, 1945 the last Swordfish squadron was disbanded.1,3

Specifications

  Fairey Swordfish
Type Mine Laying5, Reconnaissance5, Torpedo-bomber5
Crew 2 - 36, 35
Pilot, observer / gunner6
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus III5
1: Bristol Pegasus XXX6
Cylinders Radial5, Radial 96
Cooling Air5
HP 7005, 7506
Dimensions  
Span 45' 6"5,6
13.87 m6
Length - Landplane 35' 8"6, 36' 4"5
10. 9 m6
Length - Seaplane 40' 6"6
12.3 m6
Height 12' 10"5
Height - Landplane 12' 4"6
3.75 m6
Height - Seaplane 14' 7"6
4.45 m6
Weight  
Empty - Landplane 4,700 lb6
2,134 kg6
Loaded 7,700 lb5
Loaded - Reconnaissance 6,750 lb6
3,065 kg6
Loaded - Seaplane 7,510 lb6
3,410 kg6
Performance  
Speed 150 mph5
Speed at 5,000' / 1,525 m
Reconnaissance Landplane
144 mph6
230.4 kph6
Speed at 5,000' / 1,525 m
Torpedo-Bomber Landplane
138 mph6
220.6 kph6
Speed at 5,000' / 1,525 m
Reconnaissance Seaplane
134 mph6
214.4 kph6
Speed at 5,000' / 1,525 m
Torpedo-Bomber Seaplane
125 mph6
204.8 kph6
Range 750 miles5
Armament  
Fuselage 1: MG5
1: 0.303" Vickers MG6
Rear cockpit 1: MG5
1: 0.303" Vickers MG6
Bombs / Torpedo 1,500 lb6
680 kg6
OR  
Rockets - HE 8: 60 lb6
8: 27.2 kg6
OR  
Rockets - AP 8: 25 lb6
8: 11.4 kg6
  Fairey Swordfish Mk I
Type Torpedo3, Torpedo-bomber6
Crew - torpedo 23, 36
Crew - reconnaissance 33
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus III M.33
1: Bristol Pegasus III6
OR 1: Bristol Pegasus XXX6
Cylinders Radial 93
Cooling Air3
HP 6903
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 45' 6"3
Length 36' 4"3
Height 12' 10"3
Weight  
Loaded 9,250 lb3
Performance  
Speed @ 4,750' 139 mph3
Service ceiling 10,700'3
Range 546 miles3
Armament  
Forward firing 1: MG3
Rear cockpit 1: MG3
Torpedo 1: 1,610 lb3
OR  
Bombs 1,496 lb3
OR  
Rockets 83
  Fairey Swordfish Mk II
Type Torpedo-bomber1,2,4, Reconnaissance1, Anti submarine2,4
Crew 2-31, 32,4
Pilot, radio operator/gunner1
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus XXX piston1,2,4,6
Cylinders Radial2,4, Radial-91
HP 7501,2,4
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 45'1, 45' 6"2,4
12.87 m2,4, 13.87 m1
Length 35' 8"2,4, 36'1
10.87 m1,2,4
Height 12'1, 12' 4"2,4
3.76 m1,2,4
Wing area 607 ft2 1,2,4
56.39 m2 1,2,4
Weight  
Empty 4,690 lb1, 4,700 lb2,4
2,132 kg1,2,4
Loaded 7,493 lb1, 7,510 lb2,4
3,406 kg1,4, 3,407 kg2
Performance  
Speed 138 mph1
222 kph1
Speed at
sea level
138 mph2,4
222 kph2,4
Climb 1,220' per minute2,4
372 m per minute2,4
Service ceiling 10,690'1, 19,250'2,4
3,260 m1, 5,865 m2, 5,867 m4
Range 546 miles2,4, 1,028 miles1
879 km2,4, 1,658 km1
Armament  
Fuselage 1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG1
Forward firing 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG2,4
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm Lewis or Vickers K MG1
1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG2,4
Torpedo 1: 1,600 lb1
1: 18" / 45.7 cm2,4
1: 730 kg1
1: 0.457 m2,4
OR  
Bombs 1,500 lb1
680 kg1
OR  
Rockets 81
8: 60 lb2,4
8: 27.2 kg2,4
  Fairey Swordfish Mk III
Type Torpedo-bomber6
Crew 26
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus XXX6
  Fairey Swordfish Mk IV
Type Trainer6
Crew 36
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus XXX6

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  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. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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