Eighty years ago, a small single-seat fighter was largely responsible for defeating Germany’s attempts to invade Britain. But it wasn’t the Spitfire.
The thing that needs "spelled out" is the Hurricane "parts" were built all over Britain and there never was to my understanding just one place of manufacture, a right wing built in several hamlets and a left wing in several others and so forth so you couldn't knock out production with any single facility loss.The Hawker Hurricane was a fine intercepter in its own right. The story though...
The two airplanes were contemporaries. The RAF issued a specification for new pursuit aircraft to modernize their air combat capabilities in the face of a rearming Luftwaffe. Engine, propellor, armament, climb capabilities were all specified, and both Supermarine and Hawker entries met the specification, with the Spit being somewhat lighter and better performing than the Hurry. With war clouds on the horizon, the RAF made the strategic decision to source both airplanes. Significant in their worry was of being able to field enough airplanes before Hitler brought war.
The RAF knew that the Hurricane would be quicker to tool up, used mostly indigenous materials, used worker skill sets already present in their workforce, and so would make airplanes quickly and ramp up production sooner. Sure it used steel tube structure, a lot of wooden pieces, and a fair bit of fabric covering, but indigenous materials and a ready workforce was why it was quick to tool and get volumes of airplanes ready. The Spit would require more manpower, hiring and retraining to get a workforce ready, and was almost entirely built of strategic aluminum, which was in short supply. It would also require more tooling to go series production than the Hurry, so it would be slower to reach production and ramp up build rates.
Going for both airplanes made for maximizing the number of airplanes available. Having two Hurries for every Spit in 1940 gave the RAF only barely enough airplanes. If the Brits had put all resources in building Spitfires, the RAF would have been overwhelmed, and Germany would have invaded England. Imagine first having to win a fight over Iceland, then trying to win based from Iceland and sub-Saharan Africa. A big part of enough was having two thirds be the Hurries. They were equally capable of getting off, climbing to whatever altitudes were needed, and shooting down bombers and the fighters at the edges of their ranges. Reading contemporary writings of the RAF, the pilots thought they had capable tools, with volunteers from other countries coming to England to bring the fight too. Reading contemporary writings of the Luftwaffe, they were doing their duty and had great fear of both RAF fighters.
Other major influences were that the British had effective radar as well as that the Brits had already managed to obtain much in the way of operational intelligence on Luftwaffe missions. This allowed there to usually be appropriate numbers of RAF fighters where ever the Luftwaffe appeared, causing unsustainable attrition of German crews and equipment.
The German shift of focus from RAF bases and airplane factories to the major cities was no mystery and has been much written about. British bomb missions to Germany enraged Hitler and he ordered vengeance.
Uhhhh, the Finns were mostly fighting the Soviets during WWII. Germany actually aided Finland. But in late '44, Finland and Germany did start fighting over some mineral resources in northern Finland. Germany probably didn't have a lot of air support up there.The Finns had Brewster Buffalo's and the Poles had Calvary, My hat is off to them fighting tanks on mounted horses and the Luftwaffe with Brewster's they had courage.
I worked with a Pole that was in the Calvary. Captured and the Germans march them out in front of a large ditch with machine guns set up in front of them and ask if anyone wanted to fight for the Fuhrer to take one step forward. 100%. Said his sole purpose was to get captured. He did and fought in the English army.The Finns had Brewster Buffalo's and the Poles had Calvary, My hat is off to them fighting tanks on mounted horses and the Luftwaffe with Brewster's they had courage.
A British restoration group is re-building a stock Hurricane as a 2-seater ... all the better to sell expensive ride-alongs. Please note that I do not begrudge the price of ride-alongs considering how many thousands of dollars per hour its costs to keep those rare antique airframes airworthy.BJC, yes, that was the theory, but once the bomber force had been engaged and the covering 109s had joined in the melee, the plan would become obsolete very quickly.
A two-seat scaled Hurricane was built and flown in Italy about a decade ago. It was pretty convincing from some angles.
Dear sppedboat,Hawker Hurricane was designed as a high altitude interceptor...so that is why the wing is very thick.
Yes, Finns are a stubborn lot!Don't forget about the Fokker D.XXI which demonstrated a high kill ratio against the Soviets in the WinterWar. I have tremendous admiration for the Finns and their fight for survival against almost overwhelming odds.