back british WWII fighters

British WWII's fighters

prepared by Jirka Wagner


Hawker Hurricane, Sea Hurricane


The Hurricane was designed to Air Ministry Specification F.36/34, the prototype making it's first flight on November 6th, 1935. Put into production in 1936, the first production Hurricane I flew in October, 1937.

Although it was no longer in production when the war ended the Hurricane was still in service as a first-line aircraft. It served on seventeen battle fronts - in the British Isles, France, Norway, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, The Middle East, The Far East, Russia, in the Battles of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Northern Convoys, to mention the most important - as a fighter, fighter-bomber, an R.P. fighter, a "tank buster", a catapault fighter, and a carrier fighter. In 1944-45, equipped with rocket projectiles (R.P.), the Hurricane was used with great effect against enemy shipping in the Adriatic, and as a fighter-bomber it served with distinction in Burma.

Well over 14,000 Hurricanes were built, the last one being delivered from the Hawker factory in September, 1944.

Hurricane Mk I

Rolls-Royce Merlin II or Merlin III engine. Armament consisted of eight .303-in Browning machine guns, four in each wing. Originally had fabric covered wings, two blade wood fixed-pitch airscrew and was without armour or self-sealing tanks. In 1939 the Mk. I was fitted with either the D.H. or Rotol constant-speed airscrew, ejector exhaust stacks, metal covered wings, armour, etc. In the Battle Of Britian the Hurricane Mk. I accounted for more enemy aircraft than any other type of aircraft and altogether in the first year of the war Hurricane squadrons accounted for more than 1,500 confirmed victories over the Luftwaffe, almost half the total of enemy aircraft destroyed by the RAF in that period. In 1940 the Mk. I was fitted with air cleaner and desert equipment for service in the Middle East.

Hurricane Mk. II

Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine with two-speed supercharger. Except for slight alterations to the wings to cater for increased armament, a new engine mounting for the longer engine and strengthening of the fuselage and landing-gear to take care of the increased power and weight, no other structural changes were necessary. There were four basic versions :-

Mk. IIA (1940), with Mk. I metal wings equipped with eight machine-guns.

Mk. IIB (1940), with two additional guns in each wing outboard of the landing light, to make a total armament of 12 .303-in guns, six in each wing.

Mk. IIC (1941), with an armament of four 20mm (.737in), British Hispano cannon, the four cannon wings were initially rebuilt from damaged Mk. I metal wings.

Mk. IID (1943), which had an armament of two 40mm (1.575 in), Vickers or Rolls-Royce cannon and two .303in guns, together with additional armour for low attack.

In 1941 both the Mk. IIB and IIC were provided with racks for carrying two 250-lb or 500-lb bombs or alternatively two 45 or 90 gallon droppable fuel tanks, and both were equipped with tropical equipment for service overseas. The Mk. IIB fighter-bomber first went into action over occupied France in November, 1941. In both the fighter-bomber and long-range versions, the Mk. II retained all its qualities as a fighter.

Hurricane Mk. III

The Mk. III was the British-built Mk. II fitted with the Packard Merlin engine. It was never in production as the Mk. III

Hurricane Mk. IV

Rolls-Royce Merlin 21 or 22 engine. Fitted with wings capable of carrying the following alternative armaments and loads :-
Two 40mm Vickers cannon and two .303in guns
Eight rocket projectiles and two .303in guns
Two 250lb or 500lb bombs and two .303in guns
Two 45 or 90 gallon drop tanks and two .303in guns
Also fitted with 350lbs of additional armour. Max speed 314 mph, range 495 miles.

Hurricane Mk. V

Rolls-Royce Merlin 27 or 32 engine with increased take-off output. Same alternative armament and loads as the Mk. IV. Only two built. (NL255 the prototype, and two converted Mk. IVs to Mk. V standard, (KX405 and KZ193))

Hurricane Mk. X

Packard Merlin 28 engine driving a Hamilton Standard Hydromatic airscrew. Built in Canada by the Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) Company Ltd. Corresponded to the British-built Mk. I

Hurricane Mk. XII, XIIA, and XIIB

Packard Merlin 29 engine. Built by CCF. Corresponded to British-built Mk. II, Mk. IIA, and Mk. IIB.

Sea Hurricane Mk. I

Rolls-Royce Merlin II or III engine. Conversion from Hurricane Mk. I. In three versions :-

Mk. IA, (1941), fitted with catapault spools, slinging gear, and naval radio for use from C.A.M. ships, which were introduced in the spring of 1941 for the air protection of convoys at sea.

Mk. IB, (1941), fitted with both catapault spools and deck arrrester gear for aircraft carrier use.

Mk. IC, (1942), with the same airframe as the Mk. IB but with Hurricane Mk. IIC four cannon wings.

The first enemy aircraft to be destroyed by a catapulted Sea Hurricane IA was shot down on August 3, 1941. The Mk. IB was the first single-seat carrier fighter monoplane to be used by the Royal Navy. It first went into operation in the Mediterranean in June, 1942, particularly distinguishing itself in the defence of Malta convoys in the summer of that year.

Sea Hurricane Mk. II

Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine. Conversion of the Hurricane Mk. II. Fitted with deck arrester gear and naval radio, but without catapault points.

Sea Hurricane Mk. IIA

Packard Merlin 29 engine. Canadian built. A conversion of the Hurricane Mk. XIIA.

Hooked Hurricane Mk. II

Some Hurricane IIs were fitted with arrester hooks in 1943 for use as trainers on dummy carrier decks ashore. Unlike the Sea Hurricane Mk. II they retained standard R.A.F. equipment.


Single-seat fighter ,and fighter bomber.
Low-wing cantilever monoplane. Centre-section of parallel chord and thickness and two tapering outer sections. Centre section in one piece has girder spars, tubular strut drag bracing and a non-stressed metal covering. Outer wings, which are pin-jointed to the centre-section, have two spars with double webs at the inboard ends and single webs toward the tips. The gun bay at the inboard end is diagonally braced but outboard of this the wing is of the fully stressed-skin type with two light auxiliary spars in addition to the main spars. Remainder of the framework consists of flanged plate ribs and lateral stringers, the whole being covered with a stressed-metal skin, which is flush riveted over the leading-edge. Fabric-covered ailerons. Hydraulically operated split flaps between ailerons and fuselage.
Rectangular rigidly braced structure of steel and aluminium-alloy square-ended tubing assembled by flat-plate fittings and hollow rivets, faired to an oval section and covered forward with detachable metal panels and aft with fabric over light wooden formers.
Tail Unit:
Cantilever monoplane type. Fin attached to fuselage by two fin posts. Fixed tail plane with adjustable ttrimming-tabs in each aerodynamically-balanced elevator. Aerodynamically and statically-balanced rudder. All metal framework with fabric covering.
Landing Gear:
Retractable type. Two Vickers shock-abossorber struts hinged at the extremities of the centre section front spar and retracted inwards and slightly backwards by Dowty hydraulic rams to bring wheel between spars when raised. The slight backward motion is imparted by a hinged back strut which slides onn a guide at right angles to the span of the wing. Dunlop wheels and pneumatic brakes. Dowty or Lockheed non-retractable tail-wheel unit.
Power Plant:
One Rolls-Royce Merlin 12 cylinder Vee liquid cooled engine. Rotol or De-Havilland three-blade constant-speed airscrew. Main fuel tanks (two) in centre-section between spars with gravity tank in fuselage. Tanks are protected with self-sealing rubber. Ducted radiator under fuselage below cockpit. Oil tank in leading edge of centre-section on port side. Oil-cooler incorporated in main radiator.
Enclosed pilot's cockpit over wing. Sliding canopy with quick-release for emergency exit. Further emergency escape panel in side of fuselage between upper longeron and canopy. Front and rear armour protection, and bullet-proof windshield.
Armament and Equipment:
Either eight Browning .303in machine guns; twelve Browning .303in machine guns; four 20mm Hispano cannon; or two 40mm guns and two .303in maching guns, all wing mounted. Wing racks for two 250lb or 500lb bombs or auxiliary fuel tanks, or rails for eight rocket projectiles. Night flying equipment with landing lights in leading edge of outer wing sections, navigation lights, oxygen equipment, radios, etc.
Span 40ft; Length 32ft 3in; Height (on wheels) 13ft 1.5in; Wing area 257.5 sq ft; Track 7ft 10in.

From: Colin James Pratt-Hooson (Hawker.Hurricane@Unforgettable.Com)

Jirka Wagner


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