On February 13, 1939, 74 Squadron took delivery of its first Spitfire. Ldr. In the UK, we are taught about the Battle of Britain as children, with an emphasis being placed on the Spitfire’s contribution. Pilot John Flinders as no. “I was teaching the doctor to fly, as all medical officers were permitted to fly, and there were two blokes playing golf,” he explained. The Royal Air Force's preferred tactic was to deploy the Hurricanes against formations of â¦ Although many others simply spoke about how iconic they were! They couldn’t find him. One of their conversations resulted in abandonment of the Vic formation of three aircraft in favor of the finger-four formation. In fact, the Hurricane outnumbered the Spitfire throughout the battle, and shouldered the burden of the defence against the Luftwaffe; however, because of its higher performance, the overall attrition rate of the Spitfire squadrons was lower than that of the Hurricane units, and the Spitfire units had a higher victory-to â¦ As well as restorations, several companies have designed and built replica Spitfires. 74 Squadron members includes Malan (circled in red) and Freeborn (circled in white). He had only recently agreed to talk publicly about his wartime experience as the pilot who had flown more operational hours during the Battle of Britain than any other. “And if you had no money to lend him he would take it out of your pockets. Freeborn’s outspokenness undoubtedly worked against him in the rigid hierarchy of the RAF, as did his relatively humble upbringing. As squadron adjutant, Freeborn excused himself from sandbag duty on account of the growing pile of paperwork on his desk. To do this, they solicited designs from Britain’s aircraft manufacturers for such an aircraft. Several foreign, British-allied nations were also considering the aircraft as well. But it wasn’t. No framed greenhouse, but not blown out at the â¦ Post any other information or your opinion if you want about these two planes in here.----- Hurricane vs Spitfire: Costs After looking at the Hurricane and Spitfireâs specifications, it may be tempting to draw a conclusion as â¦ HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. Supermarine was one of these aircraft manufacturers, sending in the Type 224 monoplane. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The incident has become known as the Battle of Barking Creek, which is curious given that Barking Creek is in east London and Freeborn shot down Hulton-Harrop many miles north over rural Essex. Zero Report of Combat - 2/3/43 Duration of engagement was approximately eight (8) minutes from the time of first attack on enemy formation, which was well enough disposed for its purposes. I did not follow as many E/A were engaged and I had noted another of our A/C damaged. Although the Type 224 was the superior aircraft, RAF higher ups were skeptical of monoplane designs. But then he said, ‘It’s one of ours.’ When the adrenaline is running, you don’t realize these things. Did that include lying to protect his reputation? In 1939, Supermarine Aircraft, then a division of Vickers-Armstrong, listed the price for one Supermarine Spitifre at Â£12,604. The Spitfire and Bf 109E were well-matched in speed and agility, and both were somewhat faster than the Hurricane. Featured image courtesy of Kieren Pitts via Flickr. He was neither well-connected nor had he been to the right school, important factors in the class-conscious higher echelons of the wartime RAF. For the overwhelming majority of them, they preferred the Spitfire. For the most part, during the war, fighter aircraft and interceptors were different from one another. So instead I half rolled, went through some cloud and of course I came out behind him. It created friction between Malan and myself, but not the rest of the squadron. In 1931, the RAF wanted a new fighter, soliciting aircraft manufacturers to send in new designs. Mortimer J. Adler, American philosopher, educator and writer. The RAF and Supermarine made a few tweaks to the K5054 before calling it the Spitfire. No Spitfire of any Mark had a radiator under the fuselage, whereas every Hurricane, from the prototype to the "Last of the Many" did. “Two of our A/C [aircraft] went down immediately,” he wrote. That month Malan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Freeborn became the de facto commander of B Flight. Go!” Freeborn and Byrne turned in their cockpits and saw two aircraft flying a mile behind and about 1,000 feet below the dozen 56 Squadron Hurricanes, which they took to be fighters escorting the unseen Luftwaffe bombers. He was a brilliant pilot, but he was as evasive on the ground as he was in the air, a mix of showman and politician. This feature originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Aviation History. Byrne had landed and was under close arrest, and when I landed [squadron commander] George Sampson was waiting and I’m under close arrest. Dave. Today, most people view both the Hurricane and Spitfire as some of the best WWII-era fighter aircraft ever made. One of his sergeant pilots, Bill Skinner, recounted how a Junkers Ju-88A was shot down over France in May 1940: “The Nazi crew were seen to get out and shake their fists at us. I can see to this day the old farmer who was alongside ploughing, and this 109 went on, straight through his cottage, and he’s shaking his fist at me.”, Having shot down one of his own pilots, it was a relief for Freeborn to dispatch an enemy for whom he felt no pity. I then returned to Hornchurch.”, The first of Freeborn’s two kills gave him particular satisfaction. On top of this, modern pop culture, through many aviation-themed movies have also distorted the role of modern fighter jets somewhat. During the Battle of Britain, Spitfires were the very public face of the battle. “He was controlling the squadron at 32,000 feet and 10/10ths cloud and he said there are bandits,” recounted Freeborn. During WWII, a fighter aircraft was any aircraft, who’s sole purpose was to engage (and hence fight) enemy aircraft. Written for Malan by some actor friend of his who wrote for films.”, Freeborn died in 2010, the last of 74 Squadron’s Battle of Britain aces. Following the Allied defeat at Dunkirk, Spitfires, along with other brand new British aircraft were ordered to evacuate to Britain to avoid the aircraft being capture, tested and reengineered by the Germans. “I used to take the piss out of Stephen and say, ‘Oh, you should have seen him, climbing up his bloody shroud lines,’” remembered Freeborn. Freeborn broke off the attack with a sense of euphoria, believing he had just shot down his first German. 56 Squadron embark on a mission from North Weald. Malan wasn’t liked. Several of these bombing runs destroyed Spitfire factories, which sent productio of the Spitfire all over the â¦ As a part of their bombing campaign, the Luftwaffe bombed factories as well as military bases. In 1934, the RAF’s WWI-era fighters were ageing too much for the RAF and they sought a replacement. The most common variant of the Supermarine Spitfire is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB. Deighton also noted that the Hurricane had a tighter turning radius than the Spitfire-800 feet for the Hurricane compared with 880 for the Spitfire. During WWI, Pemberton-Billing (the forerunner of Supermarine) had produced a series of fighter aircraft and bombers. Hurricanes of RAF No. Never saw him. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, the Royal Yugoslav Air Force fielded its Hurricanes against the Luftwaffe’s Bf.109s. Following the war, the company had reformed as Supermarine and produced air racing aircraft. Although the Spitfire has more weapons (almost double what the Hurricane has!) The fighter plane the Spitfire was faster than the Hurricane, but the Hurricane was more manouvreble.My friends in Britain who flew in that battle, said in the end it was sheer numbers that beat the enemy. A Spitfire could climb higher and turn faster because of its wing design. these eight guns are weaker than the four used on the Hurricane. Hurricanes served in the defense of Malta, the defense of the Soviet Union and against Rommel in Libya. In my 2012 Quadrant essay Hermann Goering and the burning of the Bialowieza I made a comment that at the start of the war the Luftwaffeâs Messerschmitt 109 fighter was about on a par with the RAFâs Spitfire, but superior to the Hurricane. Harbourne Stephen had a blazing row with him after he heard of his habit of buzzing Luftwaffe pilots who had bailed out. So the right combination would be either the P-51D, Vs the Spitfire LF Mk.IX, or P-51H, Vs the Mk.24. As a kid my dad made me know what a Hurricane and Spitfire look like. Sailor Malan was 74 Squadron’s ace of aces, finishing the war with 27 victories. A Hawker Hurricane Mk. Although Freeborn and Malan despised one another, they shared a mutual respect for their flying ability. (Imperial War Museum CH158). You could only do what you could do.”. The RAF fighters made good teammates—except during their first wartime encounter. Gareth Seagull is a traveler and former Airbus A320 pilot. “He told him he was a downright bloody liar.”, The court-martial lasted half a day and, after considering the evidence, the tribunal acquitted Freeborn and Byrne. The final time we spoke I asked him what it was that had made him such a good pilot. The role of WWII fighter aircraft differ greatly from modern fighter aircraft. Freeborn and Malan remained in 74 Squadron despite their mutual dislike. This was true in relation to the Mark I Hurricanes which came up against the Me â¦ The paper also hinted at Malan’s other side in describing “his coldly calculating attitude” as a pilot. Due to the Hurricane’s popularity, with it having served in many important WWII battles, many people are restoring Hurricanes to flying condition. The Hurricane is more blunt and "solid". “I was a very good pilot, there was no one in the squadron as good as me, not even Malan,” claimed Freeborn. By the outbreak of WWII, there were several Hurricane squadrons within the RAF. “I caught this one knocking bloody seven bells out of a Spitfire over Dunkirk,” he remembered of the Messerschmitt Me-109E he encountered on the French coast. Instead, the inferior biplane Gloster Gladiator was accepted into service. Topic: Spitfire vs Hurricane. Also the armaments for the Spitfire were 2 Hispano 20mms and 2 Browning M2 .50 cals, not 4 20mms and 4 .303s. Following the British victory in the Battle of Britain, Spitfires were dispatched to deal with German forces. I, dismissed them as “a lot of rubbish.” (Courtesy of Bob Cossey, 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association). I was shouting at him to get out of the bloody way, either shoot or let me shoot it. British propaganda of the era depicted Spitfires as taking on legions of Bf.109s whilst Hurricanes attacked German bombers. Alongside Hurricanes, some squadrons of Spitfires were placed in France as deterrent. Immediately following the end of the war, fighter aircraft remained in relatively similar roles. After looking at the Hurricane and Spitfire’s specifications, it may be tempting to draw a conclusion as to which is the better aircraft. Today, as in many countries across the world, we remember those who lost their lives to war and those whose lives were â¦ In the inter-war period, Hawker had continued to produce military aircraft on a reduced scale as well as racing and general aviation aircraft. POWs Roger Bushell and Vincent “Paddy” Byrne flank a Luftwaffe guard at Luft Stalag III before the “Great Escape.” (Courtesy of Bob Cossey, 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association), Malan, who reportedly described Freeborn’s actions as “impetuous,” confirmed he had given the order to engage but also claimed that moments later, on realizing his mistake, he had called “friendly aircraft—break away!” Freeborn, Byrne and Flinders all said they never heard the counterorder. Freeborn was in no mood for pleasantries. Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States. He spent a year in the U.S., during which he fell in love with the P-51 Mustang, his favorite of all the aircraft he flew. A turning radius quoted as 800 feet for the Hurricane and 880 feet for â¦ Your email address will not be published. Although skeptical, the RAF was interested in the fighter, believing that if it could be mass-produced, it would continue Britain’s tradition of being the strongest military in the world (at the time). All rights reserved. As usual, I asked several different groups about their opinions on both the Spitfire and the Hurricane. During the invasion of France, Hurricanes worked alongside French aircraft. Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, English astronomer who confirmed Einstein's theory of relativity. These aircraft are fairly cheap, fetching anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 depending on the company and size of the aircraft. The most common variant of the Supermarine Spitfire is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB. Air Koryo: Inside North Korea’s Most Secretive Airline…, 8 Ã .303 in Browning Mk II machine guns (350 rounds per gun). “I never did daft things like that, or if you do, you do them properly, not the way he did it.”, A lineup of No. They couldn’t have cared less. Freeborn got a crash course in how to fly the Spitfire as he sat in the cockpit on the grass runway at Hornchurch. Asked for his opinion of Malan’s famous “Ten Rules for Air Fighting,” which became an unofficial guide for new pilots, Freeborn snorted with derision: “A lot of rubbish. Yellow Section—Flying Officer Vincent “Paddy” Byrne; his no. Some of these are full size, whilst others are only 2/3 the size. Gavin Mortimer is a British historian whose published works include histories of Merrill’s Marauders and the London Blitz. Due to the changing nature of German aircraft, the RAF ordered several variants of the Hurricane and Spitfire to be built. “He was a swine. The slightly larger Hurricane was regarded as an easier aircraft to fly and was effective against Luftwaffe bombers. Used these days as night-fighters by the enemy. Trainer variants discarded, all combat variants of both the aircraft require only one crew member- the pilot. However, with the widespread introduction of jets in the 1950’s, and the onset of the Cold War, both the Hurricane and Spitfire were retired. Perhaps the fairest assessment of what happened that September morning is to attribute it to the fog of war. E/A fell as T/p broke up, falling in a spiral. Ia re-enact the Battle of Britain during a Duxford Airshow. He gave us the order to attack and we attacked. At 0645 hours on September 6 there was another scramble and Flight Lt. Adolph Malan, nicknamed “Sailor” because of his stint as a naval cadet, led Red Section through a thick ground mist into a clear blue sky. Eighty years ago, the air war over Britain did not start well for the Royal Air Force in a âfriendly fireâ incident involving Spitfires and Hurricanes. These aircraft were subsequently shot down and later evaluated by the Luftwaffe. Freeborn and Byrne had a first-class defense team. 74 âTigerâ Squadron at RAF Hornchurch, east of â¦ Asked if he followed Adolph "Sailor" Malan’s “Ten Rules for Air Fighting,” John Freeborn, seen atop his Spitfire Mk. Many of the people I interviewed stated this fact as well. [Stephen] would say I was a rotten bugger for doing that, but I didn’t shoot any, not at all.”. However, almost 25% more Spitfires were produced in total. In the dogfight with the Messerschmitts he had lost two pilots, including his friend Don Cobden. Had my grandfather been a Spitfire pilot, I could see my views being very different (assuming he still had the same knowledge). However, the RAF wanted to preserve its new fleet of Hurricanes, with their primary objective being to withdraw to England. Freeborn, in comparison, lacked Malan’s diplomacy, and there was probably some envy at the South African’s suave charm. We got 14 and 6 pence a day during the Battle of Britain.”, In time Freeborn saw many of his friends killed: Cobden, Douglas Hastings, Peter St. John, Wally Churches and Peter Chesters, the last as he attempted a victory roll over the airfield in April 1941. “Practicing all the time,” he replied. Indisputably, they brought out the best in each other. 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