WAR IN THE AIR : Updates 2009

Updates from: 20142013201220112010200920082007

30 December

The Vultee Aircraft Corporation was a short-lived company, originally formed as a subsidiary of the Cord Corporation in 1932. It became an independent company in 1939, but merged with Consolidated in January 1943 to form Consolidated-Vultee, or Convair.

The Vultee Vengeance was a dive bomber originally purchased by the French, and that entered production for the RAF, but that didn't reach service until the concept of the dedicated dive-bomber had been discredited

The Vultee Vengeance dive-bomber was produced in large numbers for the RAF, but was virtually obsolete by the time it entered service, and only served in the Far East

The Royal Australian Air Force was the second most important operator of the Vultee Vengeance dive-bomber, receiving a large number of aircraft both from British orders and directly from the United States, and using it in combat over New Guinea.

The Vultee A-31 Vengeance was the designation given to early Vengeance dive-bombers produced on lend-lease orders, which required all military equipment to have an official American designation.

The Vultee A-35 Vengeance was the designation given to the last 930 Vengeances, armed with the standard American 0.50in machine guns instead of the 0.30in guns used on the A-31 Vengeance.

21 December

The Hawk 75 was the first modern monoplane fighter to be designed by Curtiss, coming after a long series of successful Hawk biplanes. It entered American service as the P-36, the first modern monoplane fighter to be used in large numbers by the Army Air Corps, but it earned most fame with the French Armée de l'Air, where as the Hawk 75 it was the most successful fighter during the Battle of France

The Curtiss Hawk 75A-C1 was the designation given to around 266 Curtiss Model 75s that formed the most effective part of the French fighter forces during the German invasion of 1940.

The Curtiss Model H75A was the main export version of the P-36/ Hawk 75, and saw extensive service with the French Armée de l'Air in 1940, as well as serving with the RAF and SAAF as the Mohawk, and in China, Argentina, Norway, the Netherlands and Finland.

The Curtiss Model 75H was a simplified version of the Hawk 75 built with a fixed undercarriage and designed for export to smaller powers

The Curtiss Model 75J was the designation given to a single demonstrator aircraft when it was equipped with an external mechanical supercharger

The Curtiss Model 75K was a study for a version of the Hawk 75/ P-36 that was to have been powered by a 910hp Pratt & Whitney R-2180 Twin Hornet. None were built.

The Curtiss Model 75M was a version of the Hawk 75 with a fixed undercarriage, thirty of which were produced by Curtiss and another 82 in China.

Twelve Curtiss Model H75Ns were ordered by Siam (Thailand). These were similar to the Model 75Ms produced in China, with a non-retractable undercarriage and powered by an R-1830 Cyclone engine

The Curtiss Model H75O was a version of the Hawk 75 produced for Argentina

The Curtiss Model 75Q was the designation given to two demonstrator machines similar to the earlier Model 75H, with a fixed undercarriage and the same Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine

The Curtiss Model 75R was the third designation given to a Curtiss-owned Hawk that was used to test external superchargers

The Curtiss Mohawk I was the designation given to a small number of Hawk H75A-1s that escaped to Britain after the German victory in France

The Curtiss Mohawk II was the designation given to a small number of Hawk H75A-2s that escaped from France to Britain after the German victory in June 1940

The Curtiss Mohawk III was the designation given to twenty Hawk H75A-3s originally ordered by France but taken over by the RAF after the fall of France.

The Curtiss Mohawk IV was the most numerous version of the Hawk 75 to enter RAF service, and saw front line service with the RAF in India and with the South Africa Air Force in East Africa.

The Curtiss P-36A was the main US Army Air Corps version of the Curtiss Model 75

The designation Curtiss P-36B was temporarily given to a single P-36A that was used to test 8:1 supercharger gearing

The Curtiss P-36C was the second and final production version of the P-36C built for the US Army Air Corps

The Curtiss XP-36D was the designation given to P-36A 38-174 early in 1939 when it was armed with two 0.30in machine guns in each wing, in the same way as in the French H75A-2s

The Curtiss XP-36E was a single P-36A (38-147) that was given the heaviest armament carried by any American version of the aircraft

The Curtis XP-36F was a single P-36A (38-172) that had a 23mm Madsen cannon mounted under each wing

The Curtiss P-36G was the designation given to thirty Hawk H75A-8s ordered by Norway just before the German invasion of 1940

The Curtiss XP-42 was an experimental version of the P-36 that was developed in an attempt to reduce the drag caused by radial engines.

9 December

The Henschel Hs 122 was a tactical reconnaissance aircraft developed to replace the Heinkel He 46, and which became the basis of the Henschel Hs 126

The Henschel Hs 126 was the Luftwaffe's main short range reconnaissance aircraft in the early years of the Second World War, taking part in the invasion of Poland, the campaign in the west in 1940 and the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Henschel Hs 128 was a dedicated high-altitude and supercharger research aircraft that made its maiden flight just before the start of the Second World War.

The Henschel Hs 130 was a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft developed from the experimental Hs 128

The Henschel Hs 123 was the second dive-bomber to be used by the Luftwaffe, replacing the Heinkel He 50, before being replaced by the famous Ju 87.

The Henschel Hs 129 was a dedicated ground attack aircraft, and a capable 'tank killer', but was never available in large enough numbers to have any significant impact

The Henschel P.76 was a design for a larger version of the Hs 129A that would have solved some of that aircraft's main problems

The Henschel Hs 117 'Schmetterling' (Butterfly) was a ground-to-air guided missile that almost entered service in the last days of the Third Reich.

The Henschel Hs 297 was the original designation given to a Henschel proposal for an air-to-ground missile made in 1941

The Henschel Hs 296 was a guided missile that used elements from three earlier Henschel missiles

2 December

No.94 Squadron spent the Second World War serving as a fighter squadron based in and around the eastern Mediterranean.

No.95 Squadron was formed in 1941 to operate the Short Sunderland flying boat from bases in West Africa, where it remained until the end of the war.

No.100 Squadron went through two very different incarnations during the Second World War, first as a torpedo bomber equipped with the obsolete Vickers Vildebeest, and then as a Lancaster squadron with Bomber Command.

No.111 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to receive the Hawker Hurricane, and served as a fighter squadron throughout the Second World War, taking part in the campaign in France in 1940, the Battle of Britain, Operation Torch and the invasions of Italy and the south of France.

No.112 Squadron served as a fighter squadron during the Second World War, first as a Gladiator equipped squadron in North Africa and Greece, then as a Tomahawk and Kittyhawk squadron in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and finally as a Mustang squadron.

1 December

The Heinkel He 59 was a large twin-engined biplane floatplane that had been designed in 1930 to serve as either a bomber or reconnaissance aircraft, and that saw some limited service at the start of the Second World War.

The Heinkel He 60 was a sturdy single-engined twin-float biplane that was used as coastal and marine reconnaissance aircraft, as well as operating from German battleships and cruisers.

The Heinkel He 114 was a disappointing single engined biplane floatplane designed to replace the Heinkel He 60 as a shipboard reconnaissance aircraft.

The Heinkel He 115 was the most successful German floatplane of the Second World War, and served as a reconnaissance and attack aircraft.

27 November

On 27 August 1939 the Heinkel He 178 became the first aircraft to take to the skies powered entirely by a turbojet engine, twenty months before the first flight by a British jet aircraft.

The Heinkel He 162 Spatz, better known as the Volksjäger, or People's Fighter, was a single-engined jet fighter went from a basic design to its maiden flight in three months at the end of 1944, but that had barely entered service before the end of the Second World War.

The Heinkel He 280 was the first jet powered fighter aircraft to take to the skies, although it never entered mass production

23 November

The Heinkel He 65 was a short-lived design for a high speed passenger aircraft that was abandoned in favour of the He 70

The Heinkel He 70 was designed as a high-speed four seat passenger aircraft, and with its streamlined fuselage and elliptical wings was a forerunner of  many later Heinkel military aircraft, not least the He 111, early versions of which used a very similar wing

The Heinkel He 170 was an export version of the military version of the high speed He 70, originally designed as a prestige airline for Lufthansa.

The sole Heinkel He 270 was a final attempt to produce a useful military version of the fast He 70 passenger aircraft

The Heinkel He 119 was an unusual twin-engined high speed reconnaissance and bomber aircraft that used a pair of engines to power a single propeller

20 November

The Heinkel He 45 was a biplane developed as a bomber in the period before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, but that entered service as a reconnaissance aircraft in the newly public Luftwaffe.

The Heinkel He 46 was a short-range reconnaissance and army co-operation aircraft that was designed as a biplane but entered service as a parasol wing monoplane

The Heinkel He 49 was the designation given to the first three prototypes of the aircraft that entered service as the Heinkel He 51, the first fighter aircraft to be used by the Luftwaffe after its official formation in April 1935.

The Heinkel He 50 was a biplane dive bomber developed for the Japanese Navy before being taken up by the Luftwaffe

The Heinkel He 51 was the first fighter aircraft to be used by the Luftwaffe after its official formation in April 1935

The Heinkel He 52 was a high-altitude version of the He 51, the first fighter aircraft to serve with the new Luftwaffe after its official formation

The Heinkel He 66 was the designation given to a small number of Heinkel He 50 dive-bombers produced for export to Japan and China

14 November

The Junkers Ju 60 was a single engined transport aircraft produced in 1932 that was the precursor of the Ju 160, which saw use with the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

The Junkers Ju 89 was a long range bomber that was developed in 1935-36, part of an early German attempt to develop a strategic bomber force that was abandoned early in 1937.

The Junkers Ju 90 was a four engined transport aircraft that was developed from the Ju 89 heavy bomber

The Junkers Ju 160 was a single engined transport aircraft developed from the Ju 60 and that same service with the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

The Junkers Ju 252 was one of a number of aircraft designed in an attempt to replace the aging Ju 52/3m, but only a small number were produced, and for most of the Second World War the Luftwaffe was left without a modern transport aircraft.

The Junkers Ju 287 was a revolutionary design for a fast jet bomber with swept-forward wings that flew in prototype before the end of the Second World War.

The Junkers Ju 322 Mammut (Mammoth) was a massive all-wooden glider built to the same specifications as the more successful Messerschmitt Me 321.

The Junkers Ju 352 Herkules was a wooden version of the Ju 252 transport aircraft, itself developed in an attempt to replace the Ju 52/3m.

The Junkers Ju 390 was one of three long-range bombers designed to bomb New York from bases in Europe, and on one test flight actually reached within 12 miles of the city.

 

12 November

The Junkers Ju 86 was a disappoint medium bomber developed at the same time as the Heinkel He 111, and that had been phased out of front line service by the start of the Second World War

The Junkers Ju 86A was the first production version of the Ju 86 medium bomber, but suffered from poor stability and was soon replaced by the Ju 86B.

The Junkers Ju 86B was the designation given to civil versions of the Ju 86 medium bomber that were intended for the German market

The Junkers Ju 86C was a civil version of the Ju 86 that was given the same 42cm fin at the back of the fuselage as the Ju 86D bomber

The Junkers Ju 86D was the second production version of the Ju 86 bomber and differed from the Ju 86A mainly in having a 42cm extension at the rear of the fuselage.

The Junkers Ju 86E was the first military version of the Ju 86 to be powered by BMW radial engines in place of the diesel engines of earlier versions

The Junkers Ju 86G was the final version of the aircraft to be produced as a standard medium bomber, and was given a new nose that greatly improved visibility from the cockpit.

The Junkers Ju 86K was the designation given to the export version of the Ju 86 bomber. At lease eight different versions were produced, and were sold to Sweden, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, Chile, Portugal and Bolivia

The Junkers Ju 86P was a high altitude bomber and reconnaissance aircraft that gave an extra lease of life to the otherwise unsuccessful Ju 86 medium bomber.

The Junkers Ju 86R was an improved version of the Ju 86P high altitude bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, capable of reaching 14,800m (48,500), an increase in service ceiling of 10,000ft over the earlier aircraft.

The Junkers Ju 86Z was the designation given to civil versions of the Ju 86 built for the export market. It was produced in at least five versions, including one that was later used against the Axis powered by the South Africa Air Force.

The Junkers Ju 186 was a design for a high-altitude research plane based on the Ju 86 bomber

The Junkers Ju 286 was to have been a six engined high-altitude bomber based on the Ju 86

9 November

No.1 Squadron, IAF, was the only squadron of the Indian Air Force to be formed before the outbreak of the Second World War, and served as an army co-operation squadron and then a fighter-bomber squadron over Burma.

No.2 Squadron, IAF, was an army co-operation and reconnaissance squadron that saw a short period of front line service over Burma between December 1944 and May 1945.

No.3 Squadron, IAF, served on the North West Frontier for most of the Second World War, only spending two months early in 1945 operating over Burma.

No.4 Squadron, IAF, served as a fighter-bomber squadron over Burma between April 1944 and April 1945, before taking part in the Allied occupation of Japan.

No.6 Squadron, IAF, served as a tactical reconnaissance and ground-attack squadron for five months over the winter of 1943-44, before moving to the North West Frontier for the rest of the war.

No.7 Squadron, IAF, served as a ground attack squadron over Burma between July 1944 and May 1945, first with the Vultee Vengeance and later with the Hawker Hurricane.

No.8 Squadron, IAF, served over Burma from December 1943 until the end of the war, first as a dive-bomber squadron, and then from January 1945 as a Spitfire equipped fighter squadron.

No.9 Squadron, IAF, was a fighter-bomber squadron that took part in the campaign in Burma between April 1944 and April 1945.

No.10 Squadron, IAF, was a ground-attack squadron that served in Burma from December 1944 until July 1945.

No.12 Squadron, RIAF, was a post-war fighter squadron that became a transport squadron before Indian independence.

No.101 Squadron, IAF, was a short-lived coastal defence squadron, formed in April 1942 and disbanded in November.

No.104 Squadron, IAF, was a coastal patrol squadron that operated over the Indian Ocean from April-June 1942.

5 November

No.27 Squadron, S.A.A.F., served as a coastal reconnaissance unit from South Africa, before moving to Algeria during 1944 to fly anti-submarime patrols.

No.28 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a transport squadron that served in the Mediterranean from its formation in 1943 until the autumn of 1945.

No.30 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a medium bomber squadron that operated in Italy from August 1944 until the end of the Second World War.

No.31 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a heavy bomber squadron that operated from bases in the Mediterranean from its formation in 1944 until the end of the war.

No.34 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a heavy bomber unit that operated from Italy from July 1944 until the end of the Second World War.

No.40 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was first formed as an army co-operation squadron, but spent most of the Second World War serving as a tactical reconnaissance unit equipped with single engined fighters.

No.41 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was formed as an army co-operation squadron during 1940, serving in East Africa, then spent most of 1943-44 operating as a fighter unit in the eastern Mediterranean.

No.44 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a a transport squadron that operated in the Mediterranean from July 1944 until the end of 1945.

No.60 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a photographic survey and reconnaissance squadron that operated in East Africa and the Mediterranean.

4 November

No.21 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a medium bomber squadron that operated the Maryland, Baltimore and Marauder bombers in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

No.22 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a maritime patrol squadron that spent most of its existence operating from South Africa before moving to Gibraltar in June 1944.

No.24 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a medium bomber squadron that operated in the Western Desert, Sicily and over Italy between 1941 and the end of the Second World War.

No.25 Squadron, SAAF, was formed as a coastal reconnaissance unit, and spent two years patrolling off the South African Coast, before moving to the Mediterranean, where it joined the Balkan Air Force.

No.26 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was an Wellington equipped reconnaissance unit that flew anti-submarine patrols from West Africa from 1943 until the end of the war.

2 November

No.9 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a short-lived fighter squadron that spend its entire existence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

No.10 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a fighter squadron that operated in Egypt and Libya for a short period during 1944.

No.11 Squadron, S.A.A.F. went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as an army co-operation squadron in East Africa, and later as a Spitfire-equipped fighter squadron in the Eastern Mediterranean.

No.12 Squadron, S.A.A.F., spent most of the Second World War operating as a bomber squadron, first in Italian East Africa, and then in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

No.15 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a bomber squadron that served in East Africa, North Africa, as an anti-shipping and submarine unit over the Aegean and as a day bomber squadron in Italy.

No.16 Squadron, S.A.A.F., went through three incarnations during the Second First World, first as a coastal reconnaissance unit, then as a bomber unit in East Africa and finally as a maritime patrol squadron in the Mediterranean.

No.17 Squadron, S.A.A.F., went through two incarnations during the Second World War - a short-lived period as a transport squadron in 1939 and a longer period as a maritime patrol squadron.

No.19 Squadron, S.A.A.F., had two short incarnations during the Second World War, first as a transport squadron in 1939 and later as a ground attack squadron operating over the Balkans.

31 October

No.4 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) operated as a fighter-bomber squadron, taking part in the desert battles between Operation Crusader and El Alamein, the advance into Tunisia, and the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

No.5 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) was a fighter squadron that took part in the fighting in North Africa in 1942 and early 1943, the invasion of mainland Italy and took part in raids over the Balkans.

No.7 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) was a fighter squadron that took part in the fighting in North Africa from the summer of 1942 until the German surrender in Tunisia, then served in the eastern Mediterranean before moving to Italy in the spring 1944.

30 October

No.1 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) took part in the campaigns in East Africa, North Africa, Sicily and Italy, most of the time providing escorts for Allied bombers.

No.2 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) was a fighter squadron that served in East Africa, North Africa and Italy, sometimes providing fighter support for the Allied armies, but more often operating as a fighter-bomber squadron.

No.3 Squadron (S.A.A.F.) was a fighter squadron that took part in the fighting in East Africa and in Italy, after arriving in North Africa just as the fighting there came to an end.

2 October

The Breguet 690 was a three-seat twin-engined fighter produced in response to a French Air Ministry specification of 1934 but that entered produced as the Br 691 two-seat attack bomber.

The Breguet 691 AB2 was a two-seat attack bomber developed from the Br 690 twin engined fighter

The Breguet 692 AB2 was the designation given to a version of the Breguet 693 two-seat attack bomber that would have been powered by two 980hp Gnôme & Rhône 14N radial engines.

The Breguet 693 AB2 two-seat attack bomber was one of the newer aircraft designs to be in service with the French Armée de l'Air during the Battle of France of 1940, and was a re-engined version of the Br 691

The Breguet 694 was a three-seat reconnaissance aircraft based on the Br 693 two-seat attack bomber

The Breguet 695 was a version of the Br 691/603 two-seat attack bomber that was powered by two Pratt & Whitney engines in an attempt to make up for a shortage of French built aircraft engines during pre-war attempts to increase the strength of the Armée de l'Air

The Breguet 696 was a two-seat bomber based on the Br 693 two-seat attack bomber

The Breguet 697 was the designation given to a standard Br 691 attack bomber given more powerful engines in an attempt to prove that the aircraft could be used as a heavy fighter

The Breguet 698 Bp2 was the designation given to a design for a dive bomber based on the Br 691 two-seat attack bomber

The Breguet 699 B2 was the designation given to a bomber version of the Br 693 two-seat attack bomber that would have been powered by two 825hp Pratt & Whitney SB4G radial engines

The Breguet 700 C2 (Destroyer) was the designation given to a heavy fighter that would have been based on the Br 691 two-seat attack bomber, which had itself been developed from the Br 690 twin-engined fighter

30 September

The Bloch MB.200 was a twin-engined day bomber that entered service with the Armée d l'Air in 1934, and was still in use in small numbers at the start of the Second World War.

The Bloch MB.210 BN5 five-seat night bomber was the most numerous French bomber at the start of the Second World War, although it was already in the process of being replaced by more modern aircraft, and had declined in importance by the start of the Battle of France in May 1940

The Bloch MB.211 BN4 was the designation given to the second prototype of the Bloch 210 night bomber to reflect a change of engine from air cooled radials to liquid cooled inline engines.

The Bloch MB.212 was the designation given to the prototype Bloch 211 four-seat night bomber after its inline engines were replaced with Hispano-Suiza air-cooled radial engines during 1936.

29 September

The Amiot 340 was a three-seat twin engined bomber based on the graceful Amiot 370 racing aircraft and which was the basis for the Amiot 350 family of bombers

The Amiot 350 was one of a number of variants on the Amiot 351/354 twin-engined bomber that were designed in an attempt to use as many different engine types as possible.

The Amiot 351 was one of only two members of the Amiot 350 family of twin-engined bombers to actually enter service with the French Armée d l'Air before the Battle of France

The Amiot 352 was a version of the Amiot 351/354 twin engined bomber that was to have been powered by two 1,100hp Hispano-Suiza 12Y50/51 liquid-cooled inline engines

The Amiot 353 was a version of the Amiot 351/354 twin engined bomber that would have been powered by two 1,030hp Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled inline engines.

The Amiot 354 was the most advanced member of the Amiot 350 family of twin engined bombers to enter production

The Amiot 355 was a member of the Amiot 351/354 family that was to be powered by 1,030hp Gnôme & Rhône 14P engines as part of an attempt to use as many different types of engines as possible to speed up production of the entire family of aircraft.

The Amiot 356 was a version of the Amiot 351/354 twin engined bomber that was to be powered by 1,130hp Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines

The Amiot 357 was to have been a high-altitude pressurized bomber based on the Amiot 350 family of twin engined aircraft.

28 September

The Amiot 140 was a twin-engined stressed skin bomber that was the precursor of the Amiot 143, one of the French bombers in service at the time of the German invasion in 1940

The Amiot 141 was the designation given to a modified version of the prototype Amiot 140M twin engined bomber that was never built.

The Amiot 142 was a prototype for a version of the Amiot 143 twin engined bomber that would have been powered by liquid cooled engines.

The Amiot 143 was one of the most numerous French bombers at the outbreak of the Second World War, but was virtually obsolete by the start of the German offensive in the west in May 1940 and the four bomber groups still equipped with the type suffered heavy losses

The Amiot 144 was designed in an attempt to improve the performance of the twin engined Amiot 143M bomber.

The Amiot 145 was the designation given to a proposed version of the Amiot 144 that was to be powered by two 1,100hp Hispano-Suiza 14Har inline engines in an attempt to improve the poor performance of the Amiot 144.

The Amiot 146 was the designation given to a proposed version of the Amiot 144 that was to be powered by two 1,100hp Gnôme & Rhône 18Lars radial engines in an attempt to improve the poor performance of the Amiot 144

The Amiot 147 was the designation given to a proposed version of the Amiot 144 that was to be powered by two 880hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ydr inline engines, possibly in an attempt to improve the poor performance of the Amiot 144

4 August

No.180 Squadron was formed around the North American B-25 Mitchell in 1942 and operated that aircraft over Northern Europe until the end of the Second World War.

No.93 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first using the 'Pandora' aerial mine, and then as a standard fighter squadron operation in North Africa, Italy and southern France.

31 July

No.87 Squadron spent the Second World War as a fighter squadron, first with the BEF in France, then with Fighter Command, until at the end of 1942 moving to the Mediterranean, taking part in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy and over the Balkans.

No.89 Squadron spent the entire Second World War operating as a night-fighter squadron on overseas stations, first in the Middle East and later over Burma.

No.91 Squadron was formed in 1941 from a Reconnaissance Flight, but soon became a conventional fighter squadron, flying sweeps over Occupied France, supporting the D-Day invasions and taking on the V-1 Flying Bomb.

30 July

After a short existence as a communications squadron in early 1940 No.81 Squadron spent most of the Second World War operating as a fighter squadron, serving in Russia, Britain, North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Italy and India.

No.84 Squadron had a relatively short active career during the Second World War, handicapped by a lack of aircraft or by the choice of aircraft for much of the time. After fighting in Greece between November 1940 and April 1941 the squadron moved to the Far East, and was involved in the retreat from Sumatra, but after that its active career was limited to six months flying the Vultee Vengeance over Burma in the first half of 1944.

No.86 Squadron served with Coastal Command during the Second World War, first flying anti-shipping strikes with the Blenheim and Beaufort before converting to the very long range Liberator to fly anti-submarine patrols.

29 July

No.74 Squadron began the Second World War as a home-based Spitfire squadron, taking part in the fighting at Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. It then spent two years in the Middle East before returning to Britain to take part in the Normandy invasions and the campaign in northern Europe, ending the war operating from bases inside Germany.

No.79 Squadron began the Second War as a home-based Hurricane squadron. After taking part in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain the squadron moved to the Far East, and operated over Burma until the end of the war.

No.80 Squadron was a fighter squadron that spend most of the Second World War operating in North Africa and the Mediterrean before returning to Britain in 1944 to take part in the D-Day landings.

1 July

The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the only American-built purpose build night fighter to enter service during the Second World War, and was one of the largest and most sophisticated fighter aircraft of its era.

Although the Northrop P-61 Black Widow night-fighter didn’t enter service until mid 1944 it did see combat in both the Pacific and European theatres, and was in action for long enough to prove that it was a successful design

The Northrop F-16A Reporter was an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft based on the XP-61E Black Widow

30 June

The Northrop P-61A was the first production version of the Black Widow night-fighter, and the first version to enter combat.

The Northrop P-61B was the main production version of the Black Widow night-fighter, with 450 being produced. Early production P-61Bs were very similar to late production P-61As, but with an eight inch long extension to the nose to allow the aircraft to carry the improved SCR-720C airborne radar set.

The Northrop P-61C was the final production version of the Black Widow night-fighter, and differed from earlier aircraft in having more powerful turbo-supercharged engines.

The Northrop XP-61D was the second designation given to the two prototypes for the up-engined P-61C Black Widow, and was adopted after a series of engine changes.

The Northrop XP-61E was a two-man long-range escort fighter version of the Black Widow night-fighter originally developed to escort bombers to Japan

The Northrop XP-61F was the designation given to a planned two-seat version of the Black Widow night-fighter.

The Northrop P-61G was the unofficial designation given to sixteen Black Widow night-fighters converted to perform as weather reconnaissance aircraft.

The Northrop P-61H was the designation given to a version of the Black Widow night-fighter that would have had the four gun turret replaced by a large internal fuel tank

The Northrop F2T-1 was the designation given to twelve surplus P-61A Black Widows used as training aircraft by the US Marine Corps

The Northrop XFT was the first Northrop designed aircraft to be built for the US Navy, and was an experimental all-metal low-wing monoplane single seat fighter aircraft rather surprising based on the Northrop Delta transport aircraft

4 May

The Martin AT-23 was the first designation given to a number of Marauder bombers converted to act as target tugs.

The Martin TB-26 was the second designation given to a number of Marauder bombers converted to act as target tugs, replacing AT-23

The Martin JM was the US Navy designation for a number of B-26 Marauders acquired for use as trainers and target tugs

Although the RAF received a sizable number of B-26 Marauders, only two squadrons were ever equipped with the type, both in the Desert Air Force, and only one Marauder squadron was ever active at any one time

The controversial Martin B-26 Marauder saw most service with the Ninth Air Force, operating with eight Bombardment Groups. After a terrible introduction into the European Theatre as a low-level bomber the B-26 found its niche as a medium bomber, and ended the war with the best loss ratio of any bomber in the Ninth Air Force

The Martin B-26 Marauder was used in large numbers by the revived French Armée de l'Air from 1943, and was used during the fighting in Italy and southern France.

The South Africa Air Force received 100 Marauders IIs, using them to equip five squadrons of the Desert Air Force, although by the time the Marauders began to arrive all five squadrons had moved to Italy, where they remained until the end of the war

24 April

The Martin B-26 Marauder was one of the more controversial American aircraft of the Second World War, earning an early reputation as a killer aircraft before going on to suffer the lowest loss rate of any American bomber in the European theatre

The Martin B-26 Marauder was the designation given to the first 201 Marauders, ordered straight off the drawing board in 1940 and delivered during 1941.

The Martin B-26A Marauder was the second production version of the aircraft. It differed from the B-26 in having the 0.30in nose and tail guns replaced with more powerful 0.50in guns, and by having the fittings for an auxiliary fuel tank in the aft bomb bay.

The Martin B-26B was the most numerous version of the Marauder. At first it differed from earlier versions in having more powerful engines and increased armament, but starting with the 642nd aircraft it was also given longer wings and larger tail fin in an attempt to make it easier for inexperienced pilots to fly

The Martin B-26C Marauder was the designation given to those B-26s built at Martin's factory in Omaha, Nebraska

The Martin XB-26D Marauder was the designation given to a single B-26 that was modified to test a wing de-icing system that used ducts to direct hot air from the engines onto the wings

The designation Martin B-26E Marauder was associated with two different projects, involved either an adjustment of the angle of incidence of the wings or the movement of the aircraft's dorsal turret.

The Martin B-26F saw the last major change to the design of the Marauder medium bomber, a 3.5 degrees increase in the angle of incidence of the wing, which was introduced to improve the aircraft's poor take-off performance

The Martin B-26G was the final production version of the Marauder bomber and was part of an effort to increase the number of parts that Army and Navy aircraft had in common.

The Martin XB-26H Marauder was the designation given to a single TB-26G trainer that was modified to test out a new arrangement of landing gear that was being designed for the new generation of jet bombers.

22 April

Millard F. Harmon (1888-1945) was a senior American airman of the Second World War who spent most of the war serving in the Pacific, taking part in the fighting in the Solomon Islands before holding a number of overlapping and sometimes contradictory positions under Nimitz in the central Pacific.

George Howard Brett (1886-1963) was a senior USAAF officer who was on a tour of the Middle East and China at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, and in the aftermath took command of all American forces in Australia in December 1941, holding that post through some of the disastrous early fighting in the Pacific.

Frank Maxwell Andrews (1884-1943) was a pioneer of strategic air power and a senior USAAF officer who served in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and briefly as commander of the European Theatre of Operations, US Army (ETOUSA) while Eisenhower was in North Africa

21 April

General Henry Harley 'Hap' Arnold (1886-1950) was the most senior American airman of the Second World War, and a dedicated believer in the power of strategic bombing.

Major General Frederick Anderson (1905-1969) was an American pioneer of strategic air warfare. First as commander of VIII Bomber Command and then as deputy commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe he played a major role in the American bombing campaign against Germany

General John K. Cannon (1895-1955) was a senior USAAF officer who by the end of the Second World War had risen to command the Mediterranean Allied Air Force, having spent most of the war in that theatre.

17 April

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was the standard Corps Reconnaissance aircraft of the RFC and RAF in the second half of the First World War and superseded the B.E.2c and B.E.2e, the much maligned aircraft that had performed that role since 1914

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.9 was a version of the R.E.8 that had its unequal span wings replaced with the two-bay equal span wings of the B.E.2d.

16 April

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.1 was a refined version of the B.E.2, originally designed to be light enough to carry armour plating without reducing its performance but that was actually used as a test bed for experiments in stability

The Royal Aircraft Factory H.R.E.2 was a floatplane biplane with some similarity to the B.E.2, developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1913-14.

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.3 was a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft similar to the R.E.2 with its floats removed but with a more powerful Austro-Daimler engine.

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.4 was a design for an aircraft capable of operating from small fields surrounded by high trees.

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5 was the first aircraft in the Factory's Reconnaissance Experiment series to enter production, although only in small numbers.

The Royal Aircraft Factory H.R.E.6 was a design for a three-seat floatplane biplane.

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7 was based on a high altitude version of the R.E.5. Although it was produced in relatively large numbers the Royal Flying Corps never really had a use for the aircraft and its front line career only lasted for six months in the first half of 1916.

15 April

Today we open a picture gallery devoted to the de Havilland Mosquito

14 April

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8 was a member of the B.E.2 family that was powered by a Gnome rotary engine.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8a was produced by fitting the rotary engined B.E.8 with the wings of the B.E.2c, giving it ailerons in place of the wing warping controls of the basic B.E.8.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.9 was one of the more unusual aircraft to be designed during the First World War and was a tractor biplane with a gun position mounted in front of the propeller.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.10 was to have been a version of the B.E.2c constructed with a steel-tube fuselage instead of the wooden frame of the standard B.E.2c.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 was a single seat version of the B.E.2c with a more powerful engine, originally designed to operate as a bomber or photographic reconnaissance aircraft, tasks for which the second crewman of the B.E.2c was not required

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12a was produced in an attempt to improve the performance of the single seat B.E.12 by giving it the wings from the B.E.2e, which at the time was believed to be a vast improvement on the basic B.E.2c

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12b was a higher powered version of the basic B.E.12 that was designed as a Home Defence aircraft but that entered service after the Zeppelin raids it was designed to counter had almost stopped.

6 April

We start with a list of Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2/ B.E.12 Squadrons of the First World War.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c was the most controversial British aircraft of the First World War. Designed to be a stable reconnaissance platform it was a perfectly capable military aircraft until the arrival of the Fokker E.I, when its built-in stability and lack of any defensive armament made it a sitting duck

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2d was a version of the B.E.2c with dual controls and a modified fuel system that was produced in small numbers between October 1915 and early 1916.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2e was produced in an attempt to improve the military performance of the B.E.2c. Taken in isolation these efforts were successful, for the B.E.2e was the fastest version of the B.E.2, but the improvements weren't enough to compensate for the ever-increasing capacity of German fighter aircraft

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2f was the designation given to existing B.E.2cs that had been modified to the B.E.2e standard by giving them the unequal span wings and modified tail of the newer design.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2g was the designation given to existing B.E.2ds that had been modified to the B.E.2e standard by giving them the unequal span wings and modified tail of the newer design.

3 April

The Royal Aircraft Factory (R.A.F.) was responsible for the design of most Royal Flying Corps aircraft in the early years of the First World War.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.1 was the first tractor biplane to be designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, and was the immediate predecessor of the B.E.2 and its variants, the mainstay of the early R.F.C.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was the second in the Factory's series of experimental tractor biplanes, and was also the prototype for the B.E.2a and the family of aircraft that followed.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2a was a two seat tractor biplane that became the standard equipment of the pre-First World War Royal Flying Corps.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b was a slightly improved version of the B.E.2a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, developed early in 1914 to increase crew comfort.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.3 was the third entry in the BE.1/2 family and differed from the earlier aircraft in having heavily staggered wings

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.4 was structurally identical to the B.E.3 but with a more powerful engine

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.5 was one of a number of similar aircraft all based on the original B.E.1 built by the Aircraft Factory in the years before the First World War.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.6 was one of a series of early R.A.F. aircraft that were official produced by reconstructing damaged aircraft, in this case the Factory's own S.E.1.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.7 was a higher powered version of the B.E.3 and B.E.4, two experimental members of the B.E.2 family that were distinguished mainly by their staggered wings.

1 April

The Airco D.H.5 was designed in 1916 as a replacement for Geoffrey de Havilland's earlier D.H.2 pusher aircraft, but it was outclassed by its British contemporaries and was most useful as a ground attack aircraft

The Airco D.H.6 was Geoffrey de Havilland's first training aircraft, and was a deliberately simple aircraft designed to be produced in large numbers in preparation for the massive expansion of the R.F.C. planned for 1917.

The Airco D.H.7 was a design for a single-seat single-engined tractor fighter, to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Falcon engine.

The Airco D.H.8 was a design for a pusher aircraft that would have been armed with the 1 ½ pounder Coventry Ordnance Works gun (the C.O.W. Gun)

The Airco D.H.9A was a single-engined day bomber produced by matching the fuselage of the unsuccessful Airco D.H.9 with a 400hp Liberty 12 engine. The resulting aircraft was one of the most successful bombers of its period and remained in front line service with the RAF until 1931.

The Airco D.H.10 Amiens was a two-engined heavy bomber based on the earlier D.H.3, but that arrived too late to make any contribution to the fighting during the First World War.

The Airco D.H.11 Oxford was designed as a potential replacement for the D.H.10 twin-engined day bomber, but never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

The Airco D.H.12 was to have been a twin engined day bomber based on the D.H.11 Oxford

The Airco D.H.14 Okapi was a single-engined day bomber designed to replace de Havilland's earlier single engined bombers, but that never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

The Airco D.H.15 Gazelle was an experimental version of the D.H.9A, built as a flying test bed for a 500hp B.H.P. Atlantic twelve cylinder watercooled engine

31 March 2009

The Airco D.H.1 was the first production aircraft designed by Geoffrey de Havilland after his appointment as Chief Designer for the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Ltd in June 1914.

The Airco D.H.2 was the first purpose built fighter aircraft to enter British service, and played a major part in the defeat of the Fokker monoplanes and the end of the Fokker scourge.

The Airco D.H.3 was Geoffrey de Havilland's first twin engined aircraft and was designed as a day bomber with the range to hit German industry.

The Airco D.H.4 was the Royal Flying Corps' first purpose-built day bomber, filling a role that until then had been carried out by aircraft that had been designed for other duties. 

The Airco D.H.9 was an unsuccessful single engined day bomber designed to replace the D.H.4 but that was let down by its original engine.

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