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Manual Britains Fleet Air Arm in World War II

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The former concern lent itself, albeit unconsciously, to producing some of the ugliest, if not to say most un-aerodynamic machines ever to take to the air, the Blackburn and the Dart being the designs in question.

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There were three strands of operational activity to. Reconnaissance The primary, perceived role for FAA aircraft, namely reconnaissance, was taken up by the Avro Bison, whose appearance vied with the Blackburn in ugliness; the Blackburn also commenced service in The massive fuselages on both designs with their large side windows for observation purposes contributed greatly to the 'ugliness' factor.

Although all three featured almost the same wingspan and fuselage dimensions, the FIIID presented a much neater overall outline. It was also the only one of this trio capable of operation as a seaplane. The FIIIF was by far the most graceful among its spotterreconnaissance contemporaries; on the other hand both FIll variants suffered one disability, in that the crew of three were positioned in open cockpits compared to the partially or totally enclosed locations for all crewmembers but the pilots on the Bison and Blackburn.

A fioatplane version of the Hawker Osprey Mk. The aircraft's silver finish provides a superb background for the roundels, fin-fiash and aircraft serial! The Walrus, known as the 'Shagbat' among the FAA fraternity during World War I, proved an excellent choice for its declared function, since it possessed a range of miles while cruising at 95mph, and an operational ceiling of 18, ft. The final aircraft to occupy a spotter-reconnaissance slot was the Seafox, another Fairey production. This neat aircraft, which entered service during , was designed for operation from catapult-equipped warships, with cruisers in specific mind.

However, unlike the Walrus, it was never land-based, whereas the Supermarine design was fitted with a retractable undercarriage. The emergence of escort carriers from late onwards saw the Navy dispense with the Seafox's services by mid Range and endurance are principal requirements for all types of military aircraft, particularly in the reconnaissance role.

As regards range, the Seafox possessed a standard capability of miles, while the Walrus extended this figure by a further miles. The FIIIF served for a full eight years, by which point the Blackburn was long retired and the spotterreconnaissance function was being shared, although in a diminishing manner, with yet another Fairey design, the Seal.

To some degree, the Royal avy seemed firmly wedded to the biplane concept even as the war clouds began to loom up during the mids, a position that is evidenced by the ordered replacement for the Seal, the Fairey Swordfish. This was yet another biplane design, whose impact upon the conduct of the War at sea would prove vital, in spite of the aircraft's apparent obsolescence from onwards Although floatplanes had formed a prominent segment of RNAS operations during World War I, the Service was then destined to function without a specifically designed floatplane up to , when the Supermarine Company's Walrus appeared upon the scene.

This chunky biplane with its Pegasus engine mounted in 'pusher' configuration between the wings was to claim a place in Royal Navy historical annuls not far short of that to be earned by the Fairey Swordfish. The original spotterreconnaissance role was extended to encompass air-sea rescue duties, with the RAF the principal exponent of this equally vital function. It would be before its replacement, the Sea Otter in many respects a 'cleaned-up' Walrus , anived.

Another Hawker Osprey Mk. The Osprey served with a total of six FAA Catapult Flights and two Flights based on carriers during the s and in fact was only declared obsolete in I Total numbers constructed came to in all, including two prototypes. S is a Hawker Osprey Mk. The central float has a small skid under the rear end, while the beaching gear possesses generous-sized wheels. A total of forty-nine Ospreys Mk. The second and third types intended for torpedo operations - the Ripon and Baffin - bore progressively slimmer fuselages and neat engine mountings, with the latter switching from the in-line Napier Lion to the Bristol Pegasus un-cowled radial that raised maximum speed to mph.

The Ripon appeared in and could lift torpedo or bomb loads extending up to 1, Ibs. Maximum speed was mph at 15, ft. The design was superseded by the Baffin in , whose air-cooled Pegasus motor was a Company change-over from the Napier Lion.

Fleet Air Arm Battle Honours

A maximum speed increase to mph and range of miles along with a capacity for a b. The final Blackburn design was the Shark, whose Armstrong-Siddeley Tiger VI produced hp to produce a maximum speed of mph, and which also entered service during However, unlike its predecessors the Shark's planned role was to be expanded from simple torpedo operations to also acting in the spotter-reconnaissance function. This was a clear indication of the Admiralty's continuing desire to possess aircraft that could be operationally versatile, but it was a desire that would result in designs that proved to be partial or even total failures, with tragic consequences for many of their crews.

Maximum speed rose to mph, while range. The offensive capability of Naval aircraft was destined to be split between the carriage of bombs and torpedoes. The range of standard ordnance capable of being lifted off carrier decks during World War II generally did not extend beyond a maximum of 1, Ibs.

However, these weapons were just not on hand prior to the outbreak of the Conflict. In the case of the dedicated attack aircraft most were able to lift individual bombs up to Ibs. A bomb of this capacity could inflict serious or even mortal damage on thin-hulled warships such as destroyers and cruisers, but their effect upon the hulls of battleships was likely to range from minimal to nil. The introduction of the airdropped torpedo, in contrast, was to raise the spectre of inferiority for all classes of warship when it came to surviving assaults from this weapon.

The Blackburn Company dominated the scene in this technical respect between the World Wars, producing four distinct designs for the torpedo-dropping role. The Dart entered service in and was only declared obsolete in Osprey Mk. The aircraft's attitude provides a good indication of how close the propeller blades are to the ground. This airframe along with S and S I featured the use of stainless steel in its construction.

Ospreys Mk. The endurance figure was established as being a fraction under five hours. The Fairey Swordfish has already been mentioned in the section dealing with spotter-reconnaissance aircraft provided for the FAA. However, its true value to the Navy during the ever-looming World Conflict would be to operate so effectively in the first-stated element of the torpedo-spotterreconnaissance role demanded of it.

What evolved as the T. The all-fabric covered machine could mount a single 1, lb. The respective maximum and cruising speeds of and mph promised mortal problems for the three-man crew if faced by fighters or heavy AA ;ire. On the other hand the Swordfish's superb manoeuvrability would prove a valuable counter to the worst that enemy aerial or surface gunfire could throw in its path.

The slow-speed flying performance was firstclass, and added to the pilot's confidence particularly when taking-off and landing-on a carrier, including the escort carriers with their minimal deck dimensions compared to their 'Big Brother' Fleet examples! The ultimate irony in referring to the Swordfish's comprehensive operational use in World War II lies in the fact that it was an obsolescent design even in , which was forced to soldier on until replaced in service. In addition, it outlived its intended direct replacement aircraft, the Fairey Albacore, and kept pace with its immeasurably more advanced torpedo-bomber contemporary, the Grumman Avenger during the latter course of World War II.

Fighters The role of the fighter within Navy circles was initially regarded as one of pure defence for its parent carrier and the warships in the immediate vicinity. The Fairey Flycatcher, along with the Nieuport Nightjar and Parnall Plover already in service, commenced this duty in and replaced both the afore-mentioned contemporaries within twelve months. Over the ensuing eight years the stocky but manoeuvrable aircraft comprised the entire Fleet fighter strength, both afloat and on shore across the length and breadth of the British Empire.

It was also fitted with floats and used either in an amphibian role with wheels mounted on the floats or fired off catapults. The fighter that began to displace the Flycatcher around came from the Hawker stable, and possessed much of the features of the Company's Fury ordered by the RAP. More important was the. Dive-bombing, by contrast, requires a sturdy airframe with particular emphasis on resisting the great stress placed on the airframe during recovery from a dive.

The result was a hopeless compromise at least from the Skua's perceived use as a fighter, since the maximum speed was a pedestrian mph - not greatly in advance of the Osprey, and a full 20 mph lower than the latest biplane design the Sea Gladiator that displaced the Nimrod fighter a matter of months following the Skua's service debut! The 4 II 2-hour endurance and range of miles provided a good base for operations as a dive-bomber or patrol aircraft, although the maximum bomb weight that could be carried under the central fuselage was only lbs. The Blackburn Roc fighter was even more of a farce.

For a start its armament was totally contained in the Boulton-Paul turret behind the pilot, in addition to which its maximum speed was just mph. The few Rocs that were embarked On FURIOUS during the Norwegian Campaign constituted the sole example of active service for the aircraft during World War II; withdrawal from front-line units swiftly occurred and training and target-towing activities took up the remainder of its military career.

The fact that the Roc is an mythical species of bird only adds an ironic footnote to the aircraft's blighted history! I and II, compared to less than mph at a similar altitude for the Flycatcher. The climb-rate was similarly boosted from around 1, ft. On the other hand the Flycatcher's endurance was estimated at 1 hr. Armament on both aircraft consisted of twin Vickers machine guns synchronised to fire through the propeller. However, the Navy intended the Osprey to be utilised in a combined fighter-reconnaissance role. This was not surprising, since overall performance was similar to the Nimrod in terms of maximum speed and climb-rate, while it enjoyed a greater endurance of 2 hrs.

Although the Royal Navy aviation planners could be accused of lagging behind their contemporaries in the RAF in terms of converting from biplane to monoplane designs, they did not totally ignore this vital factor for future operations. The basic nail in the Skua's operational 'coffin' was contained in the Specification requirement itself, which called for a combined fighter and dive-bomber function. The whole essence of any fighter's function is to fly at the same or greater.

This Osprey Mk. The aircraft toured Spain during with Spanish registration letters EA-KAJ that can just be discerned beneath the British registration fuselage detail. Blackburn Sharks of No. A Blackburn Shark of No. The large landing gear struts and wheels could comfortably absorb heavy deck landings. Swordfish Mk. The crews are standing to attention but would not be much warmer when sitting down! The term 'Fleet' certainly did not apply to the aircraft's speed factor following its entry into service during the latter half of , but at least its slim-line monoplane layout and eightgun battery presented the Fleet Air Arm carriers, other warships and convoyed merchantmen with a reasonable form of defensive cover against marauding Axis aircraft.

The changeover from a Squadron structure to a smaller one, known as a Flight and each consisting of just six aircraft, occurred in The numerical sequence was based on multiples of ; numbers to denoted Fleet Fighter Flights, Nos. Although over sixty numbers were involved within this total allocation, no more than twenty-seven would be utilised between their introduction and the ensuing changeover to a new Squadron number system during Finally, an element ofNo.

This time round, the numbers commenced at to avoid confusion with the RAP. Each unit complement figure was raised from six to between nine and twelve, which was a reflection of the number of carriers then on hand six as well as their general ability to accommodate at least two if not three or even four Sqdns. Carrier Hangar Design The original internal stowage of aircraft on the Navy's carriers faced a lateral limitation in hangar layout.

The duct outlets were so located that the engine-smoke emissions were kept clear of the flight deck in order to cut down the risk of turbulence and poor visibility affecting take-off and landing operations. The longitudinal strength member of the hull was the hangar deck in all four instances, while the flight deck served as a relatively lightweight aircraft platform, with little ability to absorb bomb damage. The Admiralty acknowledged this potentially fatal limitation before commissioning the first of the seven major carriers operating during World War II.

The three lift wells formed a triangular layout extending on either side of the island, and were positioned off-center in order to maintain the flight deck's strength factor. The ever-present risk of being attacked by land-based bombers when operating in confined waters such as the North Sea and Mediterranean - both preserves for centuries of the Royal Navy - directed attention towards a comprehensive.

An additional horizontal color band extends on either side of the 'Type A' roundel and probably denotes a Flight or Sqdn, CO's aircraft,.

Fleet Air Arm Squadron Battle Honours

The hangar area ft. A lesser-armoured layer of 1 ll2-inches was applied to the non-hangar ends of the flight deck and the hangar deck ends bore a I-inch thickness of armour. The armour provision did not extend to the lift surfaces due to the inordinate weight factor that would have adversely affected their operation. The ARK's steering compartment was also furnished with 3-inch armour protection.

The resultant increase in aircraft capacity from thirty-six to forty-eight was balanced by the reduction in side armour thickness to 1 inches The value of all this armour provision was to payoff during World War II, with the three carriers' so affected by bomb strikes all surviving the experience even if they were rendered out of commission for many months.

This is a bow-on angle picture of EAGLE that provides an indication of her original battleship structure, including the pointed forward edge of the fiight deck. On the other hand she accommodated just half the forty-eight aircraft complement of her contemporaries. FueVOrdnance The sizeable quantifies of fuel and ordnance required to be housed in Royal Navy aircraft carriers posed a specific safety question - how to store the material in such a manner that both were readily accessible for use while also ensuring that the vessel's own security was maintained.

The volatility of fuel tanks was arguably increased as their content was reduced through usage, thanks to the resultant accumulation of vapour that usually occurred within the increasing air pocket. Seawater has a heavier density than aviation fuel and was fed into the tanks to hopefully obviate the chance of vapour build-up as the fuel content was used up. A second safety measure was introduced by surrounding the tanks with seawater. The parallel question of safe ordnance stowage was addressed by placing the magazines as far away as possible from the open area of the hangar.

This measure was as good a safeguard against hits from bombs or torpedoes as could be achieved. The original longitudinal and converging layout of wires that were to be picked up by hooks attached to the aircraft's axles proved to be marginally efficient and was abandoned early on. In , experiments were carried out using three varying designs configured in a lateral as opposed to longitudinal manner.

Only the third differed from the other two friction-based systems, in that the wires were controlled hydraulically and were selfcorrecting and in that the wire engaged by the aircraft's arresterhook returned to its original position. The benefit of this 'arrest' action applied not only to the aircraft so involved but also to aircraft already positioned further up the flight deck, in that the risk of a collision through a failed landing was at least minimised if not prevented altogether.

Flexible safety barriers were generally on hand ahead of the final arrester wire in order to further prevent such accidents, but although largely effective, there were to be occasions where even this secondary measure did not succeed. Nevertheless the introduction of proper arrester equipment was a solid advance in ensuring safe and speeded-up flight deck procedures for flying operations.

Flight Deck Handling of Aircraft Although aircraft take-off and landing speeds progressed steadily upwards between the two World Wars, the absolute. A Swordfish Mk. The photographer's location and the existence of the homing beacon on the carrier's mast-top suggests he is standing on the lower flight deck of FURIOUS. KS was one of a number fitted out with floats. Aircraft is mounted on a wheeled attachment positioned in the center of its floats, and appears ready for take-off from its carrier's flight deck. The drag effect of the floats in flight must have furthered reduced the already modest maximum speed performance of the 'Stringbag'l.

Two 'Stringbags' from No. The aluminium finish is still in use but the black diagonal band identifying the Sqdn. The question of swift handling of aircraft both on launch and recovery was of prime importance. The absence of arrester wires as well as a flexible crash barrier to permit a safe 'deck park' for already-landed aircraft, affected recovery operations in particular, since the aircraft handlers had to get each aircraft safely onto the lift and out of the way to ensure the safe arrival of the following machine should its pilot make an extended landing.

The resultant time-span between each pair of movements could extend up to several minutes even under sound weather conditions and efficient operation by the deck personnel, so that the rear element of a medium or large Force could be left dangerously short of fuel before their turn to land was on hand. The need for the aircraft carrier to turn into wind meant that the warship, which was seen as a support element of any Fleet movement, was all too often detached from the formation should the wind direction be materially different from the latter's steaming course. A second danger followed on from these course deviations; this was the added vulnerability of the carrier, even with a destroyer escort, to either V-Boat attack or a similar assault from surface warships such as cruisers.

The FAA aircrew faced a primary hazard that was largely absent from landing approaches made onto airfields. The relatively narrow width of flight decks and the sometimes wayward motion of the carrier, particularly in heavy sea or swell conditions, allowed for little or no latitude should a landing aircraft be thrown off its final approach or skid on landing.

With this in mind, retractable palisades were fitted along the after section of the flight deck. Although it was naturally laid to the pilot to land his aircraft safely, the increasing speed of approach of designs entering service, particularly in the run-up to World War II, led to the introduction of the Deck Landing Control Officer DLCO. Equipped with hand-held 'bats' and located on the port-after section of the flight deck, this individual's duty was to indicate to a pilot whether his line of approach was correct. This was achieved by extending his arms and lifting them up or down to indicate whether the aircraft's vertical attitude was too low or high, while angling both arms right or left to indicate the aircraft's horizontal attitude.

A 'left-hand down' action for example indicated that the pilot should lower the starboard wing. A too low approach speed was indicated by the bats being circled in towards the DLCO. A horizontally extended right arm confirmed that the pilot was making too fast an approach. Finally, crossed 'bats' in front of his body as the aircraft was about to over-fly the carrier's 'round-down' was the DLCO's signal for a hopefully sound touchdown; in the event of what was judged to end in a bad landing the DLCO would raise his right-hand 'bat' and make a vigorous circular motion as a sign to 'go around' - advice that was not always followed by the pilot in question!

The need for a form of 'booster' equipment to ensure the safe take-off of an aircraft, especially when the flight deck length was restricted - for example in the case of a partial or full launch of the carrier's aircraft complement - was ultimately. A Swordfish that is adapted to a floatplane configuration is running up its Pegasus engine and will soon advance down the slipway of the Naval shore Establishment of Portland on the English Channel, at which stage the wheel-mountings will be detached from the floats.

The Supermarine Walrus was ordered in after two years of prototype trials and a total of were constructed before production ceased in The aircraft was powered by a Bristol Pegasus rated at hp and mounted in a distinctive 'pusher' manner between the wings.


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Three Swordfish from No. They are further identified as belonging to this unit, to whom the number range was allocated between and September This device had originally come into service with the U. Navy using compressed air as well as powder. However, the launch procedure was slower when applied to a sequence of aircraft launches, this being due to each aircraft having to be settled upon a 'cradle' frame that threw its load into the air when the forward end of the catapult channel was reached.

The Admiralty took charge of sixteen front-line and eleven secondline Sqdns. Five of the seven carriers were fully commissioned with the remaining pair reduced to training status. In support in Britain were five airfields in current operational use with four more either about to be assigned to the Fleet Air Arm or under construction. The small size of the Fleet Air Arm in relation to its worldwide operational brief was a serious enough technical and strategic deficiency.

However, even more serious at least in the short term, was the dearth of trained support personnel remaining within the Force's ranks.

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A good proportion of the RAF ground crew elected to remain in their Service, along with the pilot element provided by the Junior Service. The middle and senior ranking officer cadre did not possess too many individuals who had come up through the ranks of the FAA since ; the career prospects for those personnel who might have elected to remain with the Navy away back then were probably regarded as poor to nil.

This contrasted with the potentially better promotion prospects within the newly created RAP. The lack of aviation personnel stationed at the Navy's school and weapons-training establishments between the Wars not only prevented any liaison structure between the Air Arm and the other Navy Branches, but also reinforced the sense of its isolation from, and reduction to a subsidiary element within, the mainstream of Naval operations. In essence, the Naval vessels would afford their own survival prospects through their defensive armament, with little or no support required from the aviation Department.

First, the limitations of the 'Asdic' detection equipment meant that U-Boats were not even likely to be automatically picked up, let alone challenged and dispatched by the escort vessels. Within a mere two weeks of hostilities commencing the vulnerability of these warships to counter-attack was harshly revealed. Barely had the aircraft landed and the crew dispersed to the wardroom when two out of a salvo of torpedoes released by U smashed into her port side. The combination of her forward motion coupled with the extensive damage to her hull induced a deadly spiral effect that saw her slip under the relatively smooth Atlantic surface.

Over sailors and airmen were drowned and all of Nos. Swordfish was lost. The seeming ability of a U-Boat to penetrate the combined screen of destroyer escorts and circling anti-submarine aircraft and deliver its attack unimpeded was probably the most pertinent reason for the Admiralty's immediate suspension of these Group patrols. For one of the surviving pilots, Lt. Charles Lamb, today's experience was the first in a succession of similar incidents during World War II.

There was an ironic twist to the naval aviator's survival on this occasion. Several hours before the carrier was struck Lamb's crew had taken off in response to. Although World War II on land had erupted into violent action from the beginning with the German assault upon Poland, a virtual state of inertia took hold on the Western Front. Activity here was largely limited to patrol and counter-patrol sorties although the French Army did make a wholesale incursion into enemy territory for a few days in September, before making an equally wholesale retreat back to their own frontlines! The ensuing eight months in the West witnessed a stalemate situation that earned for itself the title 'Sitzkrieg' in Germany, 'Drole de Guerre' in France and 'Phoney War' in America.

The position in the Atlantic and North Sea provided a sharp and mortal contrast with the Land Campaign from the very start of the Conflict. U-boats had begun their deadly rain of destruction on Allied shipping right away, while several surface warships such as the GRAF SPEE, having sailed from Germany in late August , were ranging the broad ocean expanses in search of suitable commercial prey. The vast spread of the British Empire placed a constant strain on the nation's Armed Forces as War again enveloped Europe, and ultimately much of the Globe.

The Royal Navy's initial attempt to combat the U-Boat threat included the use of the two available aircraft carriers as central pivots in anti-submarine 'hunting' Groups operating off the two main Atlantic Approaches to Britain. This scenario. This was headed for in the hope of at least taking the submarine down with their Swordfish, still carrying its depth charges, but which was now faced with 'ditching'. Such was his apprehension at running out of fuel the fuel gauge had been on the 'empty' mark for several minutes that he ignored the batsman's frantic signals to 'abort' his landing attempt; the carrier was still turning into wind and Lamb's approach was therefore cross-wind, rendering the aircraft liable to hit the deck at a crab-wise angle.

As it so happened, the Swordfish safely engaged a wire and halted properly. The subsequent sinking of the carrier provided Lamb with a far better prospect of survival compared to his and his crew's chances of being picked up from the 'ditching' that had loomed up only a short time before! ARK ROYAL's good fortune in evading a torpedo attack on 14 September was to be but the first in a string of 'near-miss' incidents that would weave a legend-like pattern around the carrier over the ensuing two years of her operational. On 26 September, the rendezvous with a Hudson from RAF Coastal Command occurred simultaneously with a number of 'bogeys' appearing at altitude.

These took the form of He s of I. The latter-named bombers made dive-bombing runs on ARK, but prompt evasive action by the helmsman ensured what were SC explosive bombs missed. However, Adolf Francke, one of the pilots of what were Ju 88s of I. A subsequent Luftwaffe reconnaissance effort picked out two warships that were in fact cruisers, but were mistakenly taken to be the two battleships; this misnomer naturally led to the conclusion that ARK ROYAL had in fact been sunk.

In the event, it was just as well the carrier's deck had not been struck on her unarmored flight deck, while the concussive effect of near misses could have rendered a varying degree of damage to her hull. The Fairey Seafox came into FAA service during to perform a spotter-reconnaissance role, a duty it fulfilled until I This example still bears the pre-war silver finish that would give way to full camouflage in One of its most notable actions was during the Battle of the River Plate in December The aircraft: from No.

The undersides were in Sky. The latter function was being performed by tandem-engine Do 18 flying boats, and it was one of these machines that had the misfortune to encounter the above-mentioned fighter flown by Lt. McEwen, who promptly attacked and shot it down. Three aircraft from No. When the formation reached the scene it was to find the Germans in the process of shelling their target.

The U-Boat was dived upon and the bombs released with lethal effect - not for the submarine but for two of the Skuas! Both pilots had descended to minimum level before releasing their loads, whose explosive effect fatally damaged the control surfaces and forced each to seek a hasty and fortunately successful 'ditching'. The airmen managed to swim over to the freighter whose crew had already abandoned ship but their relief at gaining a deck under their feet was shortlived.

It so happened that U surfaced again and sent a boarding party onto their prey. This was the same day. South Atlantic Action Between September and early December , a steady string ofAllied merchant shipping losses was recorded in the Atlantic. These were plying their trade in the northern and southern reaches of the Atlantic respectively. However, the Royal Navy's bid to track her down finally bore fruit on 13 December off the Uruguayan coast. The German guns fired a lb. Early strikes on. A thirty lb. The Skua entered service in as the FAA's first monoplane design, and was operated both as a dive-bomber and fighter-reconnaissance aircraft up to AJAX managed to launch one of her two No.

Seafoxes, and Lts. Lewin and Kearney set about their duty of 'spotting' for the cruisers' guns, while keeping an eye open for the Arado adversary carried by the German warship. In the course of the running battle extending over some ninety minutes, EXETER was effectively disabled as regards her entire firepower and retired from the scene. Lewin was again launched and prepared for another 'spotting' operation.

Langsdorff having 'scuttled' his ship; the flashes Lewin had taken for gunfire were in fact the 'scuttling' charges being activated. The Seafox's part in the action had undoubtedly been vital in accurately sustaining the assault upon what was a technically superior fighting vessel compared to its RN adversaries. In so doing, Lewin and his machine had fulfilled the task that the Admiralty has originally envisaged as the basic if not sole reason for introducing aircraft into its. Three Blackburn Rocs fiy a 'Vee' formation sometime during The rear mounted gun turret held four.

However, the first five out of seven of the heavily armed specialist vessels were on the high seas by mid and over the next two years would exact a painful toll in Allied shipping. Their main armament of between six and eight guns supported by torpedo tubes made them serious opponents for warships up to cruiser class, while the Royal Navy's Armed Merchant Cruisers AMC , all converted liners, were hopelessly outgunned and liable to become victims themselves in any encounter. Apart from encouraging all vessels to sail in convoy, the search went on for the various supply rendezvous locations that allowed the enemy craft to remain at sea for extended periods.

By late , at least five of the nine vessels so configured had been destroyed in individual actions, but one of these KORMORAN - exacted a very high price. Even though SYDNEY was certainly at 'action stations' the ensuing battle left her severely battered, in flames and fading across the horizon according to German survivors. Fleets in the first place! Raiders - the Elusive Menace There was a third strand to the Kriegsmarine initial Campaign against Allied merchant shipping, which was of a more insidious nature and accordingly more difficult to identify compared to the U-Boats and surface warships.

Whereas the latter could be physically identified, the armed raiders converted from merchant hulls enjoyed an anonymous outline that allowed them to steal up upon their prey before raising the Nazi ensign and commencing what was all too often a one-sided action. As it happened the basic brief was to hunt down known surface warships or to trap any merchant vessels attempting to get to Germany through the British blockade.

This was the day that the azi. This is the first production Roc UOS? Note the vertical angle of the main landing gear when the aircraft is on the ground. Another Roc is photographed after camoufiage has been applied. Note the large ventral fin fairing fitted around the tail wheel. The entire vertical fin is taken up with the National marking, while the fuselage Type B roundel is surrounded by an enlarged yellow rim. The aircraft's serial number has either been over-sprayed or not yet applied. To find out more about the cookies used on our website, see our cookies policy.

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Fleet Air Arm In The Med (1940)

To help you plan your visit. View all 4 comments. The author, through a skillful economy of words, relates his experiences as a fighter pilot in Britain's Fleet Air Arm through 5 years of war. The Fleet Air Arm, which was detached from the Royal Air Force in the late s, entered the war with several handicaps. One of which was a paucity of quality aircraft. As the war went on and the Fleet Air Arm expanded and was tested in a variety of battles from the Mediterranean Taranto and Malta to the Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean, and the Far East, it The author, through a skillful economy of words, relates his experiences as a fighter pilot in Britain's Fleet Air Arm through 5 years of war.

As the war went on and the Fleet Air Arm expanded and was tested in a variety of battles from the Mediterranean Taranto and Malta to the Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean, and the Far East, it developed into an invaluable tool in the Allies' efforts to check and defeat the Axis Powers. He writes with understatement, which nevertheless succeeds in giving the reader a clear view of how the war shaped him. View 1 comment. Andrew Sergi rated it it was amazing May 11, Tom Oman rated it it was amazing Nov 24, Tjn rated it liked it Aug 12, Doug Shirlaw rated it really liked it Jan 19, Allan rated it liked it Nov 15, Mostly nautical romp around lesser-known corners of WWII training in Canada, sailing around the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, around Africa, to Murmansk late in the war , where most of the danger comes from accidents, rather than enemy action with the exception of a perilous convoy escort to Malta.

The author is involved in one air-to-air battle in which a German bomber was damaged, and one light strafing of a Vichy french aerodrome on Madagascar. But he suffers an aerial collision over Great Mostly nautical romp around lesser-known corners of WWII training in Canada, sailing around the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, around Africa, to Murmansk late in the war , where most of the danger comes from accidents, rather than enemy action with the exception of a perilous convoy escort to Malta. But he suffers an aerial collision over Great Britain during training, and he crashes other airplanes at least twice once because one of his landing gear doesn't extend , and breaks his back.

He ends the war in the unglamorous role of "batsman" the guy who instructs the planes how to adjust for landing on the carrier , and he wins a poetry prize for his poem "Against the Lightning", about serving on an aircraft carrier. Nicholas Sumner rated it liked it Aug 29, John Voyce rated it really liked it Apr 29, Natalie marked it as to-read Nov 11, Amber Drive added it Sep 16, Norman marked it as to-read May 15, Lee marked it as to-read Oct 15, Bevan Lewis marked it as to-read Feb 01, Michal marked it as to-read Feb 01, Charles marked it as to-read Feb 07, Joe Whitfield-Seed marked it as to-read Jul 07,