Thursday, October 30, 2008

Short Singapore and Rangoon

The Short Rangoon was a military version of the same company’s Calcutta flying boat. Five Rangoons were built for the RAF, and served with No.203 Squadron in Iraq.
The Short Singapore was the oldest of a group of biplane flying boats still in RAF service at the start of the Second World War, although the last squadrons to use it replaced their aircraft before entering combat.

Supermarine Walrus, Sea Otter, Seamew and Seagull

The Supermarine Seagull was a biplane amphibian, originally designed to operate as a spotter for naval gunfire at the start of the 1920s. It was then almost completely redesigned for the RAAF in 1933 as the Seagull V, and this version of the aircraft entered British service as the Supermarine Walrus.
The Supermarine Seamew was a biplane amphibian designed to satisfy Air Ministry specification 29/24, but which had a low priority at Supermarine and never entered service.
The Supermarine Sea Otter was designed as the replacement for the Walrus, but although the first aircraft made its maiden flight in September 1938 Supermarine was busy with the far more important Spitfire programme, and only a small number of Sea Otters saw active service late in the Second World War
The Supermarine Walrus was one of the unsung workhorses of the Fleet Air Arm and RAF during the Second World War, operating as a fleet spotter and air sea rescue aircraft and fighting in just about every theatre of the war.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fokker T.VIII-W

The Fokker T.VIII-W was a twin-float twin-engined torpedo bomber and reconnaissance sea plane built for the Dutch, but that saw service in small numbers in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF during 1940.

Supermarine Southampton, Scapa and Stranraer

The Supermarine Southampton was the first flying boat designed after the First World War to enter RAF service, and was the first of a series of successful military flying boats designed by Reginald Mitchell.
The Supermarine Scapa was an improved version of the Southampton flying boat, developed after Supermarine was taken over by Vickers, and using technology developed for the Schneider races.
The Supermarine Stranraer was the last of a series of large biplane flying boats designed by Reginald Mitchell, and was essentially a larger version of the Supermarine Scapa, itself an improved version of the earlier Southampton.

Saro London and Lerwick

The Saro A.27 London was one of the last generation of large biplane flying planes to serve in the RAF, operating alongside the Supermarine Stranraer in Coastal Command in the years immediately before the Second World War.
The Saro Lerwick flying boat was one of the least successful aircraft to serve with the RAF during the Second World War, and demonstrated the danger of ordering a new design off the drawing board.

Short Sunderland

The Short Sunderland flying boat was one of the mainstays of Coastal Command during the Second World War, and was one of the longest serving military aircraft of its era, with an RAF career that lasted from 1938 until 1959. We start with a look at the development of the Short Sunderland, before moving on to look at the service career of the Sunderland. We also add a picture gallery for the Sunderland.
The Short Sunderland Mk I entered service in 1938, and was one of the few modern aircraft available to Coastal Command at the start of the Second World War.
The Short Sunderland II was introduced in 1941, and was the first version of the aircraft to carry ASV radar.
The Short Sunderland III was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the aircraft, accounting for 463 of the total of 749 Sunderlands that were built.
The Short Seaford was originally developed as the Sunderland Mk IV, and was an attempt to use the Bristol Hercules engines of the Short Stirling on the Sunderland.
The final version of the Sunderland to enter service was the Sunderland V, which remained in use in the RAF from early in 1945 until 1959.

Auster, Proctor, Northrop N-3PB, Rota, DH91 Albatross

The British Taylorcraft Auster was a light aircraft used in large numbers by the RAF for artillery spotting and communications duties.
The Percival Proctor was a radio-trainer and communication aircraft, developed from the Percival Vega Gull, and produced in large numbers during the Second World War.
The Northrop N-3PB floatplane patrol-bomber was the first aircraft to be produced by the independent Northrop Aircraft Inc after its foundation in 1939
The Avro Rota was the name given to twelve Cierva C.30A autogiros built under licence for the RAF by Avro during 1934-35.
The de Havilland D.H.91 Albatross was a pre-war passenger aircraft produced in very small numbers, and which served as a transport aircraft during the Second World War.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vickers Warwick, Wellesley, Vincent and Type 253

The Vickers Vincent was a version of the Vildebeest torpedo bomber modified to operate as a general purpose aeroplane, a role that combined army-cooperation, ground attack and light bombing functions and was designed for Imperial policing
The Vickers Type 253 general purpose biplane was the first aircraft to use the geodetic construction method devised by Barnes Wallis, and made famous on the Wellington bomber.
The Vickers Wellesley was the first aircraft built entirely using Barnes Wallis’s geodesic construction method to enter service, and is best known for establishing a new world distance record in 1938.
The Vickers Warwick was one of many examples of promising aircraft whose development was delayed by the choice of engines. It was originally designed as a twin-engined heavy bomber, and like the Avro Manchester was to use the Rolls Royce Vulture.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vickers Vildebeest, Vespa, Venture and Valiant biplane

The Vickers Type 131 Valiant was a general purpose biplane produced by Vickers as a private venture, and was designed to satisfy Air Ministry specification 26/27
The Vickers Venture was an improved version of the Vixen II, designed to act as reconnaissance aircraft in an army-cooperation role.
The Vickers Vespa was designed as an army co-operation and reconnaissance aircraft, to replace the First World War-era Bristol Fighter. None were ordered by the RAF, but the Vespa was sold in small numbers to Bolivia and the Irish Free State, while the original prototype, in a greatly modified form, broke the World Height Record in September 1942
The Vickers Vildebeest was a land based biplane torpedo bomber, designed in the late 1920s to defend the British coast, but which was still the only torpedo bomber available to Coastal Command at the start of the Second World War.

Amistad Mutiny

The Amistad Mutiny was a relatively small incident which was to have long term political impact on US public opinion about the slave trade and sour relations between the US and Spanish governments

Private Johnson Gideon Beharry

Private Johnson Gideon Beharry is the first British serviceman to be awarded teh Victoria Cross since 1982, and the first living recipient since 1965.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Galleries for the StuG and for No.215 Squadron, RAF

Today we add two picture galleries with items contributed by our readers. The first is dedicated to the StuG and StuH armoured vehicles, and contains nine plans contributed by Peter Müller and Wolfgang Zimmermann. The second contains a collection of documents related to No.215 Squadron, RAF during the Second World War.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Keystone bomber

Huff-Daland Airplanes Incorporated was formed in 1920 by Thomas Huff and Elliot Daland, at Ogdensburg, New York. It would become a key early supplier of bombers to the US Army Air Corps, although most would be better known under the Keystone name that was adopted in 1927
The Huff-Daland XHB-1 Cyclops was the only one of the three entries in the Army Air Corps’ Heavy Bomber sequence to actually be produced, and was a modified and expanded version of the Huff-Daland LB-1.
The Huff-Daland XHB-3 was a mid-1920s design for a twin-engine monoplane heavy bomber, and was the final entry in the US Army Air Corps’s short-lived Heavy Bombardment series.
The Huff-Daland LB-1 was the first in a long series of bombers better known as the Keystone bombers (after a change of company name).
The Huff-Daland XLB-3 was one of three attempts to turn the same company’s single engined LB-1 into a twin engined aircraft.
The Huff-Daland XLB-5 was the second attempt to produce a twin-engined version of the company’s LB-1 light bomber, coming between the Huff-Daland XLB-3 and the Keystone XLB-3A.
On 8 March 1927 the new owners of Huff-Daland renamed the company as the Keystone Aircraft Corporation. Over its brief five year existence Keystone would produce nearly 200 bombers for the Army Air Corps, and the Keystone Bomber was the standard American bomber during the early 1930s
The Keystone XB-1 Super Cyclops was the first aircraft in the “B” category for US Army bombers, and was an experimental bomber notable for the inclusion of two rear-firing gun positions at the back of the two engine nacelles.
The Keystone XLB-3A was the third attempt to produce a twin-engined version of the Huff-Daland LB-1 light bomber.
The Keystone LB-5 was the first of the series of twin-engine biplane bombers developed from the single-engined Huff-Daland LB-1 to enter service with the US Army Air Corps
The Keystone LB-6 was a modified version of the LB-5 twin-engined biplane light bomber, with larger wings, a longer fuselage and new engines.
The Keystone LB-7 was the highest numbered entry in the US Army Air Corps Light Bomber series to enter production, although the 18 aircraft ordered were actually built before the very similar LB-6.
The Keystone LB-8 was the designation given to the seventeenth LB-7 light bomber after it was given Pratt & Whitney R-1860-3 radial engines.
The Keystone LB-9 was the designation given to the last LB-7 after it was re-engined with geared Wright Cyclone
The Keystone LB-10 was the direct predecessor of the Keystone B-3A Panther and the series of biplane bombers that followed, and was the last entry in the LB Light Bomber series to be ordered into productionengines.
The Keystone LB-11 was the designation given to the second-to-last LB-6 while it was being used as an engine test-bed.
The Keystone XLB-12 was the designation given to the first LB-7 light bomber after it had been re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1860-1 radial engines.
The Keystone LB-13 was the designation given to seven Keystone bombers that were originally to be powered by geared Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radial engines.
The Keystone LB-14 was a short-lived designation given to a version of the LB-10A light bomber that was to be powered by Pratt & Whitney GR-1860 radial engines.
The Keystone B-3A Panther was the fourth version of the Keystone bomber to be produced in significant numbers, and the first to receive a designation in the new B (bombardment) sequence, adopted by the Army Air Corps in 1926.
The Keystone B-4A Panther was ordered alongside the B-6A, and together they were the last biplane bombers to enter American service.
The Keystone B-5A Panther was a twin-engined biplane bomber produced in 1930 by equipping the last 27 B-3A Panthers with Wright engines.
The Keystone B-6A Panther was the final development in a series of bombers descended from the Keystone LB-5, and was the last biplane bomber to enter US Army service.
The Atlantic XHB-2 was a large twin-engine monoplane bomber designed by Antony Fokker’s American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft.

Monday, October 06, 2008

US inter-war Attack aircraft

The Curtiss A-3 was a ground attack aircraft produced for the US Army Air Corps by modifying the existing O-1 Falcon observation aircraft.
The Curtiss XA-4 was a single A-3 attack aircraft modified to test the 440hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine.
The Curtiss A-8 Shrike was a ground attack aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps and which would eventually enter service as the A-12
The Curtiss YA-10 was the designation given to the first YA-8 Shrike when it was given a Pratt & Whitney Hornet air-cooled radial engine.
The Curtiss A-12 Shrike was a ground attack aircraft produced for the US Army Air Corps in 1934.
The Curtiss XA-14 Shrike was a two-man twin-engined ground attack aircraft designed in 1934 for the US Army Air Corps.
The Curtiss A-18 Shrike was the service-test version of the XA-14 twin-engined ground attack aircraft.
The Curtiss XA-43 was a design for a twin-engined attack aircraft proposed in 1945 as the Model 29, but which eventually flew as the XF-87 Blackhawk
The Northrop XA-13 was the first of a series of attack aircraft based on the Northrop Gamma, one of the first aircraft produced by the newly founded Northrop Corporation in 1932
The Northrop XA-16 was the designation given to the XA-13 after it was given a different engine in an attempt to imrpove visibility.
The Northrop A-17 was the standard US Army Air Corps attack aircraft during the second half of the 1930s.
The Douglas A-33 was the designation given to thirty-one Douglas 8A-5s that had been ordered by the Norwegian government in 1940, but were taken over by the US Army Air Force after the German invasion of Norway

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter

The Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter was the first Sopwith aircraft to be produced in large numbers during the First World War, and performed as a scout, a bomber and a fighter for the RAF, the RNAS and for the French.
The Sopwith 9700 Type 1 ½ Strutter was a single-seat bomber version of the standard two-seat 1 ½ Strutter fighter-reconnaissance aircraft, produced for the RNAS and intended to operate as a strategic bomber
The Sopwith Ship Strutter was a version of the 1 ½ Strutter designed to be launched from platforms installed on top of the main gun turrets of battleships and battle cruisers.

Armstrong Whitworth, Avro, Saunders-Roe, Sopwith

The Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Co Ltd was most famous for the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, one of the main British bombers at the start of the Second World War, but it had a history that stretched back to the First World War, and by 1939 was part of a larger company that also included Hawker and Avro.
A. V. Roe and Company, better known simply as Avro, was one of the most famous of all British aircraft manufacturers, best known for the iconic Avro Lancaster bomber. Originally founded in 1910 by the aircraft pioneer Alliot Verdon Roe, by the time the Lancaster appeared the company was part of the Hawker Siddeley Group, while Roe himself had moved on to form Saunders-Roe Ltd.
Saunders-Roe was formed in 1928 when Sir Alliot Verdon Roe, the founder of Avro, purchased S. E. Saunders Ltd, a builder of amphibious aircraft based on the Isle of Wight.
The Sopwith Aviation Company was founded in 1912 by Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, already a noted pioneer pilot, and in the Sopwith Camel produced the most famous British fighter of the First World War.

Nos.39, 41, 42 and 43 Squadrons, RAF

No.39 Squadron began and ended the Second World War as a regular bomber squadron, but spent the four years from January 1941-January 1945 operating as a maritime reconnaissance and anti-shipping squadron, serving around the Mediterranean.
No.41 Squadron operated the Supermarine Spitfire for the entire duration of the Second World War, taking part in the fighting over Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and flying sweeps over occupied France before moving to Europe to join the Second Tactical Air Force.
No.42 Squadron began the Second World War as a torpedo bomber squadron equipped with the obsolete Vickers Vildebeest, and performed that role for the first half of the war. It then briefly operated in the Mediterranean at the time of the battle of El Alamein, before moving on to Burma, where it spent the remaining years of the war operating as a fighter bomber squadron.
No.43 Squadron fought as a Hurricane squadron during the Battle of Britain and in Operation Torch, then as a Spitfire squadron in North Africa and Italy.