Geskiedenis Podcasts

Blackburn Skua -aanval op Haugesund, Noorweë

Blackburn Skua -aanval op Haugesund, Noorweë

Blackburn Skua -aanval op Haugesund, Noorweë

Geneem uit Fleet Air Arm, HMSO, gepubliseer 1943, p.110


Hulle het mekaar neergeskiet en dan van mekaar afhanklik vir oorlewing in die Noorse wildernis

In die wit was 'n Noorse film uit 2012 wat losweg gebaseer is op werklike gebeure uit die Noorse veldtog van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, toe die Geallieerdes probeer het dat die Duitsers Noorweë verswelg in hul vinnig verspreide militêre verowerings.

Die film is 'n prettige en boeiende dramatisering van hoe die bemanning van 'n Duitse Heinkel He 111-bomwerper en 'n Britse Blackburn Skua (wat die Duitse bomwerper neergeskiet en kort daarna neergestort het) einde April 1940 in die afgeleë Noorse wildernis oorleef het.

Daar is, soos verwag kan word, baie verskille tussen die film en die werklike gebeure, maar beide die ware verhaal en die gefiksionaliseerde verhaal is fassinerende verhale oor oorlewing tydens 'n onstuimige tyd.

Nadat Duitsland Pole binnegeval het en die Britte en Franse amptelik in oorlog was met die Derde Ryk, het daar baie min konflik tussen hierdie lande ontstaan. Almal het hul verdediging teenoor mekaar begin verskerp, en vlootgevegte het in die Baltiese en Noordsee begin uitbreek. Dit was meestal te danke aan die Duitse pogings om hul voorraad broodnodige Sweedse ystererts in te laat vloei om hul oorlogsmasjien te voed.

Baie van hierdie yster kom via Noorweë. Die noordelike hawe van Narvik was van besondere belang omdat die yster daarvandaan kon gestuur word wanneer die Oossee in die winter gevries en verraderlik was.

'N Britse Blackburn Skua

Namate Europa in oorlog neergedaal het, het Noorweë sy weermag, vloot en lugmag begin mobiliseer om te waak teen partye wat sy neutraliteit skend. Die Britte en Duitsers het al hoe meer gewaagd geword om dit net te doen om mekaar met vloot en vliegtuie te tref. Vroeg in 1940 was Hitler vasbeslote om Noorweë binne te val om sy strategiese belangrikheid vir die oorlogspoging teen die Geallieerdes te verseker.

Die hele Noorse veldtog duur van 9 April tot 10 Junie 1940 totdat die Duitse inval in Frankryk die grootste deel van die Geallieerde magte na die suide verskuif het en Noorweë gevange geneem is. Die Noorse regering het in Londen in ballingskap gegaan.

Ondanks al die gruwels van oorlog, het 'n mate van samewerking tussen vyande in die woestyn plaasgevind, al was dit net om te oorleef.

Die Heinkel -bomwerper wat deur luitenant Horst Schopis gevlieg is, is deur kaptein R.T. Partridge en sy radio -operateur R.S. Bostock in hul Skua. Schopis se stertskutter Hans Hauck was dood toe hy geraak het, maar Schopis, saam met Unteroffizier Josef Auchtor en Feldwebel Karl-Heinz Strunk, die oorblywende oorlewendes van sy bemanning, staar nou die enorme, koue onbekende in die gesig.

Hulle was egter nie alleen nie. Partridge en Bostock het op 'n bevrore meer beland, nie te ver weg nie, nadat hul enjin onklaar geraak het.

Die twee spanne was die naaste aan Grotli, Noorweë, maar omring deur berge en mere, en myle van enige pad af.

'N Duitse Heinkel He 111 bomwerper. Deur Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Terwyl hy probeer om sy stotterende vliegtuig in 'n veilige landing te bring, sien hy 'n ou rendierjagter se kajuit nie te ver weg nie. Hulle het daar deur die sneeu gestap, maar die Duitse bemanning sou gou met pistole en messe gereed wees.

Deur vinnig te dink en die taalversperring in 'n mengsel van Duits en Engels te probeer afbreek, het Partridge die Duitsers oortuig dat hy en Bostock oorlewendes was van 'n neergestorte Vickers Wellington Bomber (en nie die as wat hul vliegtuig neergesit het nie).

Die filmaanpassing van hierdie gebeure loop vanaf hierdie punt redelik natuurlik. Dit beeld albei bemanningslede saam in die kajuit uit, die Britte sit verontwaardig as krygsgevangenes terwyl hulle hul kamermaats begin warmmaak en almal meer saamwerk gedurende 'n reeks baie stormagtige nagte terwyl die kos vinnig opraak.

Volgens Schopis ’ -herinneringe het Partridge op die eerste dag wat hulle ontmoet het, voorgestel dat die Duitsers in die kajuit bly en dat die Britte elders skuiling soek. Die nag het die Britte die Grotli -hotel raakgeloop, wat vir die winter gesluit was, maar beskutting bied teen die harde weer.

Die Duitsers het die volgende oggend opgedaag en almal het saam ontbyt gedeel.

Partridge en Strunk het die dag vertrek om mense te soek en hopelik albei spanne te red om te sterf. Dit het geen nut om een ​​van die twee partye dood te vind as gevolg van die hongersnood toe die seisoene uiteindelik verander het nie

Hulle het vinnig 'n Noorse ski -patrollie gevind, naby genoeg aan die hotel, sodat Bostock die skoot kon hoor skiet wat volgens hom Feldwebel Strunk was wat sy kaptein vermoor het. Maar dit was Strunk wat dood gelê het, na bewering deur die ski -patrollie geskiet toe hy na sy pistool reik.

Schopis en Auchtor is deur die Noorwe in hegtenis geneem, na die Britte oorgegee en uiteindelik na 'n krygsgevangenekamp in Kanada gestuur waar hulle die res van die oorlog deurgebring het.

Onder die vermoede van hul samewerking met Duitsers het Partridge en Bostock daarin geslaag om die Noorweërs te oortuig dat hulle ten minste Engels was deur hulle uniforms en klere -etikette en 'n halwe kroonmuntstuk te wys. Deur 'n groot gelukskoot het die bevelvoerder van die ski -patrollie toevallig onderlinge kennisse met Partridge gehad.

Die twee Britse pamflette is vrygelaat en na Alesund, 'n stad aan die Noorse kus, baie kilometers ver en onder swaar Duitse aanval geloop. Die skip wat hulle en ander Britse soldate moes ontruim, het nooit aangekom nie, en hulle het 'n motor gesteel en na die noordooste na Andelsnes gery, waar hulle daarin kon slaag om terug te keer na Engeland.

Patridge ’s Skua te sien in die Fleet Air Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset Engeland. Dit is van die bodem van die meer teruggevind, waarop Partridge destyds gevries het. Deur Alan Wilson – CC BY-SA 2.0

In Junie 1940, terwyl die Duitse slagskip Scharnhorst aangerand word, is Partridge neergeskiet en deur die Duitsers gevange geneem en die res van die oorlog as 'n krygsgevangene deurgebring. Bostock, wat weer met 'n Blackburn Skua vlieg, is in dieselfde geveg dood.

Baie jare later, in 1977, ontvang Schopis 'n oproep van Partridge, en die twee ontmoet mekaar as vriende in hul geboortestede München en Londen.

Patua's Skua is teruggevind en word uitgestal in die Fleet Air Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset, Engeland. Schopis se vernielde Heinkel wag nog steeds bo -op die eensame berge naby Grotli, Noorweë.

Deur Colin Fraser vir Oorlogsgeskiedenis aanlyn


Blackburn Skua (B-24)

Geskryf deur: Staff Writer | Laaste wysiging: 24/10/2017 | Inhoud en kopie www.MilitaryFactory.com | Die volgende teks is eksklusief vir hierdie webwerf.

Die Blackburn "Skua" (B-24) was 'n twee-sitplek, enkelmotorige duikbommenwerper / vegvliegtuigontwerp van Brittanje voor die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Die vliegtuig is ontwerp deur G.E. Klein en eerste gevlieg in prototipe vorm op 9 Februarie 1937, het die reeks in November 1938 bekendgestel en tot 1941 geveg, waarna dit as 'n vooroplossing verouder is. Dit het tot in Maart 1945 in die tweede linie gespeel, en die oorlog in Europa eindig in Mei. 'N Totaal van 192 Skua -vliegtuie is vir die Fleet Air Arm (FAA) van die Britse koninklike vloot gebou vir diens in die oorlog (veral as sy eerste vliegtuigvliegtuig).

Die Skua is gebore uit spesifikasies van die lugbediening O.27/34 van 1934 en was van sy moderne tyd ontwerp (tweedekker met oop kajuit was nog steeds die relatiewe norm vir die FAA). Metaalverf is tydens die konstruksie daarvan gebruik, en 'n ingeslote kajuit en intrekbare onderstel was saam met die voormelde eenvlerkvlerke. Die enjin is konvensioneel op die neus gesit en ry met 'n drie-lomp skroefeenheid. Die sterteenheid bestaan ​​uit 'n enkele, afgeronde vertikale vin en laag gemonteerde stabiliseerders. Die bemanning van twee sit in tandem (rug-aan-rug) onder 'n ligte kappie.

Bewapeningsgewys is die vliegtuig voltooi met 'n battery vaste 7.7mm Browning-masjiengewere wat vorentoe geskiet is, en die agterste bestuurder bestuur 'n enkele 7.7mm Vickers K-masjiengeweer op 'n buigsame bevestiging. Op hierdie manier het die vliegtuig 'n kwaliteit wat meer gelyk is aan 'n swaar vegter as 'n hoëprestasie vegvliegtuig. Daar was ook 'n bepaling om 'n bom van 250lb of 500lb langs die middellyn van die romp te dra vir die duikbomrol (integrale lugremme het gehelp tydens die aksie). Elke vleuel kan ook toegerus wees met rakke vir tot 8 x bomme met 'n kleiner deursnee.

Na die suksesvolle toets- en evalueringsfase, is die vliegtuig laat in 1938 in diens geneem by die 800 Naval Air Squadron. Die tipe het toe sy weg gevind aan boord van die Britse Royal Navy -draers wat in 1939 op pad was, en toe die oorlog in September 1939 uitbreek, was die Skua byderhand in nuttige getalle en deur die FAA in diens geneem.

Ondanks hul klassifikasie as vegters, presteer Skuas swak in die toegewyde vegterrol omdat hulle ontwerp ondermagtig en swaar was, maar hulle het uitgeblink in die duikbom -rol waarvoor hulle ook ontwerp is. 'N Tekort aan moderne vegters deur die Britte het die tipe gedwing om meer gevegte in die toegewyde vegterrol te sien, ondanks die feit dat hulle deur Duitse tipes soos die Messerschmitt Bf 109 -reeks geklassifiseer is. Nietemin het Skuas die eer gekry dat hy die eerste Duitse vliegtuig van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog op 25 September 1939 neergeskiet het ('n Luftwaffe Dornier 18). Skuas is daarna in diens geneem vir die Noorweë -veldtog, waar hul duikbomvermoë goed gebruik is en verskeie vyandelike skepe geëis is (insluitend KMS Konigsberg gesink deur drie direkte treffers).

Behalwe hierdie aksie, werk die reeks op al die vroeë fronte waarby Britse vlootvliegtuie betrokke was: die Noordsee, die Atlantiese Oseaan en die Middellandse See. Hulle word meer en meer in die begeleidingsrol vir ander tipes bomwerpers ingedruk, en eers in 1941 word beter alternatiewe beskikbaar - naamlik die Fairey Fulmar en die Hawker Hurricane. As sodanig is die Skua tot aan die einde van die oorlog in 1945 na die sekondêre rolle van afrigter en teiken sleepboot gedelegeer.

'N Ware onbesonge held van die begin van die Britte in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, maar nie minder nie as 27 Fleet Air Arm-eskaders was toegerus met Skua-vegters. Die Royal Air Force (RAF) het ook 'n kontingent bedryf as deel van die Anti-Aircraft Co-operation force.


Blackburn Skua -aanval op Haugesund, Noorweë - Geskiedenis

Hier is 'n paar foto's van die redding van 'n Blackburn Skua gisteraand in Orkdalsfjord

Dankie vir die plasing. Baie interessant dat een van die Skua -wrakke opgehef word. Watter vliegtuig individu ??

Dankie vir die plasing. Baie interessant dat een van die Skua -wrakke opgehef word. Watter vliegtuig individu ??

Reekse wat tot dusver hier aangehaal is, is L2899 of L2986

Na my wete is dit L2896. Onbevestigde bron het gesê dat dit vandag agter op die vlieëniersitplek gevind is. Ook letter A gevind op stertvin.

Re reeksnommer
Diegene wat hier gegee word, gee nie veel op in inligting nie.

L2899
Del 803 Sqn DL dett Donibristle 13.2.39 (DLT Courageous) - 3.39 PD 4.9.41.

L2986
Del D Flt 2 AACU Eastchurch 6.6.39 D Flt 2 AACU na Gosport 4.9.39 D Flt 2 AACU Donibristle 13.4.40 FAA Gosport15.6.40 Getoets Lee SS na mod 13.7.40.

L2896
TOC 803 Sqn Worthy Down 2.39 - 8.39 West Freugh (806 Sqn?) 4.40 Aan SAL vir herstel 6.6.40 Donibristle 10.1.41 772 Sqn Machrihanish 1.43.

Verwysing: FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 (Air Brit)
So miskien is die vlieëniersitplek vroeër van L2896 na 'n ander lugversorging verander?

Hallo weer,
Ek het deurgaans deur die Air Brit -boek gesoek en ook "Fledgling Eagles".
Ek het gevind -
7 Mei 1940
Lt.G.S. Russell met LA. H. Pickering het in Ofotfjord in die see neergestort. Russell het 'n vingerpunt verloor; beide vliegtuie wat gered is, was na bewering 'quotA8G' & serienommer L2918.
Maar op 14 Mei 1940, sonder brandstof, het luitenant T.E. Grys ​​met LA. A.G. Clayton -mag het by Andoya geland in 'quotA8S' reeksnommer L2918.
8 Mei 1940
S/Lt P.N. Charlton met NA. F.Culliford het in Ofotfjord gesit, albei gered, maar ook dat hulle Tovik, Skanland (?)
Daar word gesê dat hul lugversorging 'serienummer L2916' was.
Ook op 14 Mei 1940 het luitenant W.P. Lucy saam met luitenant M.C.E. Hanson, DSC in & quotA8H & quot reeksnommer L2925 in die see gegaan by Tranoy Light Ofort Fjord, beide MIA.
Daar was baie meer wat verlore gegaan het, maar ek dink in ander dele van Noorweë, insluitend & quotA7L & quot; reeks L2931 van Lt (A) WCAChurch en SubLt (A) DG Willis is albei op 27 April 1940 dood toe hul lugversorging in vlamme uitgebars het en verloor het sy enjin duik in die see.

Ek hoop dat hierdie inligting help.
Nog 'n herdenking het amper ongemerk verbygegaan.
Alex

Re reeksnommer
Diegene wat hier gegee word, gee nie veel op in inligting nie.

L2899
Del 803 Sqn DL dett Donibristle 13.2.39 (DLT Courageous) - 3.39 PD 4.9.41.

L2986
Del D Flt 2 AACU Eastchurch 6.6.39 D Flt 2 AACU na Gosport 4.9.39 D Flt 2 AACU Donibristle 13.4.40 FAA Gosport15.6.40 Getoets Lee SS na mod 13.7.40.

L2896
TOC 803 Sqn Worthy Down 2.39 - 8.39 West Freugh (806 Sqn?) 4.40 Aan SAL vir herstel 6.6.40 Donibristle 10.1.41 772 Sqn Machrihanish 1.43.

Verwysing: FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 (Air Brit)
So miskien is die vlieëniersitplek vroeër van L2896 na 'n ander lugversorging verander?


Tensy die geskiedenis van L2986 met L2896 verruil is - dit is nie die eerste keer dat dit gebeur het nie.

Hallo almal.
Net terug van Trondheim na die demontage en voorbereiding van die Skua vir die reis na Bodo.
Ons het die serienummer L2896 op die brandstoftank in die neus gevind, onder die kajuitvloer en op die vlieëniersitplek. Boonop op die gewone plek op die romp geverf, alhoewel die laaste syfer gedeeltelik ontbreek weens groot skade aan die stert. L289 is duidelik en maklik om te lees. Die laaste syfer, die '6', is beskadig en moeilik om te lees, maar dit lyk asof die '9' onderstebo gekantel is. Dit is in gedagte, en die feit dat ons dit op verskillende items geskryf het, is goed genoeg vir my. As ons volgende week begin om al die besonderhede en onderdele in Bodo te bewaar, het ons natuurlik 'n fyn oog vir die reeksnommer.

Dankie vir die opdatering, Bengt. Dit klink inderdaad asof dit L2896 is. Kan u die & quotA & quot op die stertvin bevestig?

Dankie vir die opdatering, Bengt. Dit klink inderdaad asof dit L2896 is. Kan u die & quotA & quot op die stertvin bevestig?

Ja. 'N' A '. Op die vin geverf in 'n liggroen kleur met 'n swart buitelyn. Kan hierdie groen kleur 'Green Flight' binne die eskader beteken?

Hm, die groen kleur is inderdaad ongewoon! Ek is in die versoeking om 'n voorlopige profiel te maak, maar ek dink ook jy !!

Word die vlieënier nog steeds as Casson (?) Beskou, of wat sy naam ook al was? Indien wel, kan die groen kleur van die brief verband hou met die feit dat hy 'n groepleier is of so?

Hm, die groen kleur is inderdaad ongewoon! Ek is in die versoeking om 'n voorlopige profiel te maak, maar ek dink ook jy !!

Word die vlieënier nog steeds as Casson (?) Beskou, of wat sy naam ook al was? Indien wel, kan die groen kleur van die brief verband hou met die feit dat hy 'n groepleier is of so?

Ja, dit is korrek. Hy was die eskader CO. Hy en sy navigator, Lt. Fanshawe, is saam met Pow's geneem.

Hi,
Goeie nuus oral, want die bemanning was POW.
Air Brit FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 het dit in Skua L2991. (?)
FTR Ark Royal in & quotA7A & quot, neergeskiet ná DB -aanval op SCHARNHORST in Trondheim, en neergestort het by Langvika, Stjornfjord, Fosen, Cat W, 13.6.40.

Hi
Ek glo dit was Skua 6A: L2995 wat by Stallvika in Stjrnfjord gesloop het. Waarnemende majoor Richard Thomas Partridge is uit die see gered, luitenant Robert Southey Bostock (KIA)
Met betrekking tot L2896:
http://ktsorens.tihlde.org/flyvrak/orkdalsfjord.html

Wat laat u besluit van L2896 na L2995, asseblief?

Is daar oorskot in die wrak gevind?

Bemannings van die Agt a/c wat verloor is -
800 Eskader
Bostock - vermoor - L2995
Crawford - vermoor - L3028
Cunningham - POW - L3000
Finch -Noyes - Gedood - L3000
Gallagher - vermoor - L3028
Martin - POW - L3047
Patrys - POW - L2995
Tremeer - Ontbreek - L3047
803 Eskader
Bartlett - POW - L2955
Casson - POW - L2991
Fanshawe - POW - L2991
Filmer - POW - L2963
Harris - vermoor - L2992
McKee - POW - L2963
Richards - POW - L2955
Stevenson - POW/DoW 31/5/41 - L2992

Name wat gekoppel is aan reeksnommers in FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 (Air Brit).

Hallo Alex
Jammer oor hierdie verwarring. Nee, ek het nie van plan verander nie. Dit was L2896 wat verlede Dinsdag uit die Orkdalsfjord gehaal is.

Ek weet nie of daar oorblyfsels gevind is in L2995 wat op dieselfde datum as L2896 in Stjrnfjord gesloop het nie

groete Kjell
Hallo Kjell,

Wat laat u besluit van L2896 na L2995, asseblief?

Is daar oorskot in die wrak gevind?

Baie dankie vir u antwoord.
Dit is nou duidelik dat
Casson en Fanshawe was in Skua L2896 en nie in Skua L2991 soos voorheen in die Air Brit -boek opgeteken nie.

Mag diegene wat nog steeds as 'vermis' aangeteken is, in vrede rus.

Dankie vir u goeie werk.
Alex

Hier is my persoonlike interpretasie van Skua L2896, gebaseer op foto's en inligting van Bengt.

Ek dink nogal 'n ongewone kleurskema in vergelyking met wat ons van amptelike dokumentasie en vorige kennis sou verwag. En die groen letter is hoogs onverwags.


Vliegtuie in die lug + geskiedenis van FAF

Die Blackburn B-24 Skua was 'n laevlerk, tweesitplek, enkel-radiale enjinvliegtuig wat deur die British Fleet Air Arm bestuur is, wat die funksies van 'n duikbomwerper en vegvliegtuig kombineer. Dit is in die middel van die dertigerjare ontwerp en het in die vroeë deel van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog diens gedoen. Dit het sy naam gekry van die seevoël.

Gebou volgens die spesifikasies van die lugdiens O.27/34, was dit 'n laagvlerk-eenvliegtuig van metaal (duraluminium), met 'n intrekbare onderstel en ingeslote kajuit. Dit was die Fleet Air Arm se eerste diensvliegtuig en was 'n radikale vertrek na 'n mag wat hoofsaaklik toegerus was met tweeklankmotors met oop kajuit, soos die Fairey Swordfish.

Die prestasie vir die vegterrol word in die gedrang gebring deur die grootmaat en gebrek aan krag van die vliegtuig, wat gelei het tot 'n relatief lae spoed, en die hedendaagse merke van Messerschmitt Bf 109 bereik 470 km/h op seevlak oor die Skua se 362 km/h.
Die bewapening van vier vaste, voorwaarts-vuur 7.7 mm Browning-masjiengewere in die vlerke en 'n enkele buigsame, agterwaarts-vuurde 7.7 mm Vickers K-masjiengeweer was destyds effektief.

Vir die duikbomrol is 'n bom van 110 kg of 230 kg op 'n spesiale swaaiende "trapeze" -kruk onder die romp gedra (ietwat soos dié van die Junkers Ju 87), wat die bom in staat gestel het om die skroefboog by die loslating skoon te maak. Vier 20 kg bomme of agt 10 kg Cooper bomme kon ook in rakke onder elke vlerk gedra word. Dit het groot lugremme / kleppe van die Zap-tipe gehad, wat gehelp het met duikbomme en op vliegtuigdraers ter see beland het.

Twee prototipes is in 1935 by Blackburn bestel en die eerste, reeksnommer K5178, vlieg eers op 9 Februarie 1937. Beide prototipes is aangedryf deur die Bristol Mercury XII radiale enjin, maar na proewe toe 'n produksieorder vir 190 vliegtuie geplaas is, moes hulle beskik oor Bristol Perseus XII -enjins.

Die eerste eenheid wat die Skua ontvang het, was 800 Naval Air Squadron aan die einde van 1938 by Worth Down. Teen November het die eskader HMS Ark Royal begin en in 1939 gevolg deur 801 en 803 eskaders. Met die aanvang van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog was Skuas spoedig in aksie en op 14 September stap drie van Ark Royal af om die SS Fanad-kop te hulp te gaan wat deur 'n U-boot aangeval is. Toe hulle aankom, word die Fanad-kop deur U-30 beskiet en al drie duik om die duikboot aan te val, wat vinnig na veiligheid geduik het. Twee van die Skuas is deur die ontploffings beskadig en moes sloot. U-30 keer terug na Duitsland met die bemanning van die twee verwoeste Skuas, wat die eerste vlootvliegtuie geword het wat krygsgevangenes in die konflik was.

Skuas word oorspronklik erken vir die eerste bevestigde dood deur Britse vliegtuie tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, 'n Dornier Do 18 -vliegboot is op 26 September 1939 oor die Noordsee neergeskiet deur drie Skuas van die 803 Naval Air Squadron, wat van Ark Royal af gevlieg het. ('N Vroeëre oorwinning deur 'n Fairey Battle op 20 September 1939 oor Aken, is later deur Franse bronne bevestig). Op 10 April 1940 het 16 Skuas van 800 en 803 NAS onder leiding van luitenant -kommandant William Lucy, wat van RNAS Hatston in die Orkney -eilande gevlieg het, die Duitse kruiser Königsberg in die hawe van Bergen gesink tydens Operasie Weserübung, die Duitse inval in Noorweë.

Königsberg was die eerste groot oorlogskip wat ooit in 'n oorlog gesink is deur 'n lugaanval en die eerste groot oorlogskip wat ooit deur duikbomme gesink is. Lucy het later ook 'n vegas geword wat met die Skua vlieg. Hierdie twee Skua-eskaders het groot verliese gely tydens 'n poging om die Duitse slagskip Scharnhorst op 13 Junie 1940 van 15 vliegtuie tydens die aanval te bombardeer, agt is neergeskiet en die bemanning doodgemaak of gevange geneem. Onder laasgenoemde was beide eskaderbevelvoerders, kaptein RT Partridge (RM) en luitenantkommandant John Casson (RN).

Alhoewel dit redelik goed gevaar het teen as-bomwerpers oor Noorweë en in die Middellandse See, het die Skua groot verliese gely toe hulle met moderne vegters gekonfronteer word, veral die Bf 109 en hulle is in 1941 uit die voorste diens onttrek. Die meeste Skuas is vervang deur 'n ander tweesitplek , die Fairey Fulmar, wat die Skua se voorwaartse bewapening verdubbel het en 'n spoedvoordeel van 80 km/h gehad het.
'N Aantal vliegtuie is omskep in sleepbote na die onttrekking aan die diens in die voorste linies. Ander is as teikensleepbote van die fabriek voltooi en deur die RAF en Fleet Air Arm in hierdie rol gebruik (Fleet Requirements). Hulle is ook gebruik as gevorderde opleiers vir die Fleet Air Arm. Die laaste Skua wat in diens was, is in Maart 1945 van die hand gewys.

Die Blackburn Roc was 'n baie soortgelyke vliegtuig wat ontwikkel is as 'n rewolwer, met al sy wapens in 'n dorsale rewolwer. Die Roc sou na verwagting saam met die Skua vlieg. Rocs is aan Skua -eskaders geheg om die vlootankerplek by Scapa Flow vroeg in 1940 en kortliks van HMS Glorious en Ark Royal tydens die Noorse veldtog te beskerm. Skuas en Rocs het tydens Operasie Dynamo en Operasie Ariel, die ontruiming van die geallieerde magte uit Duinkerke en ander Franse hawens vegvliegtuie en bombardemente oor die Engelse Kanaal gevlieg.
--------------------------------
Algemene eienskappe
Bemanning: twee
Lengte: 10,85 m
Spanwydte: 14,08 m
Hoogte: 3,81 m
Vleueloppervlakte: 29,6 m2
Leeg gewig: 2.498 kg
Laai gewig: 3.740 kg
Motor: 1 × Bristol Perseus XII radiale enjin, 890 pk (664 kW)
Maksimum spoed: 362 km/h op 1 980 m
Kruisspoed: 300 km/h
Reikwydte: 700 km
Diensplafon: 6.160 m
Stygtempo: 8,0 m/s
Bewapening: 4 × 7,7 mm mg + 1 × 7,7 mm Lewis in kajuit agter

Bomme: 230 kg halfwapenrusting onder die romp, of 8x14 kg oefenbomme onder vlerke
----------------------------------
Oorlewende vliegtuie
Geen ongeskonde Skuas oorleef nie. In April 2007 is die enigste byna volledige Blackburn Skua in Orkdalsfjorden in Noorweë op 242 meter diepte ontdek. As gevolg van 'n motorongeluk, moes die Skua, gevlieg deur John Casson, leier van 803 -eskader, 'n noodwaterlanding in die fjord maak. Beide bemanningslede het oorleef en die volgende vyf jaar as krygsgevangenes deurgebring. Ondanks pogings om die vliegtuig so saggies moontlik na die oppervlak te bring, het die stert afgebreek. Die enjin het in die sloot losgemaak. Die romp, kajuit en vlerke is gered. Die Skua sal herstel word in die Noorse lugvaartmuseum in Bodø.


In 1974 is L2940 teruggevind uit die Breidalsvatnet -meer, naby Grotli in die Skjåk -munisipaliteit in Noorweë. Kaptein RT Partridge (RM) het 'n Heinkel He 111 afgeskiet en daarna op 27 April 1940 'n noodlanding op die ysbedekte meer gemaak. Oorlewendes van albei vliegtuie het onafhanklik na 'n berghuis gegaan waar hulle mekaar teëgekom het.
Hierdie voorval dien as basis vir die film Into the White.


Blackburn Skua, 800 Squadron FAA, HMS Ark Royal, Oktober 1939

04:23-7 dae gelede #1 2021-06-11T04: 23

Die Blackburn Skua is ontwerp om beide 'n duikbomwerper en 'n vegvliegtuig te wees. Deur vliegtuie aan te skaf wat meer as een taak kan doen, kan die Fleet Air Arm alles wat dit moontlik kan doen, uit sy skraal diensvermoë uitbrei. Hoe skraal dit was en watter geringe oorweging die FAA was, kan deur die begroting van die Ministerie van Lug vir 1935 geïllustreer word, die jaar toe Blackburn begin het met die ontwerp van die Skua. Dit het voorgestel dat negentien nuwe vliegtuie by die Fleet Air Arm gevoeg word, terwyl daar voorgestel word dat elf nuwe eskaders teen die einde van die jaar in die Royal Air Force gevorm word, as die eerste stap in 'n program om ongeveer veertig nuwe eskaders in die volgende drie jaar te vorm.
Die Skua was 'n baanbrekersmasjien vir die Fleet Air Arm toe sy prototipe in 1937 vlieg. Alhoewel tweedekker nog algemeen in die Royal Air Force was, het nuwe produksie aan die gang gemaak dat die eenvliegtuig binnekort sou oorheers. Met die Skua sou die Fleet Air Arm ook 'n eenvliegtuig hê, en een van die modernste soorte, 'n laagvlerk-enkelpaneel met 'n all-metal beklede velkonstruksie, met 'n intrekbare onderstel, ingeslote huisvesting vir sy bemanning van twee, en 'n multi-geweer battery in sy vlerke gemonteer.
Dat die Skua ontwerp was om 'n duikbommenwerper te wees, was net so baanbrekend soos sy konstruksie en opset. Die verkryging van 'n duikbommenwerper was 'n innovasie vir die Royal Navy. Admiraal Henderson, wat sy loopbaan onder leiding van vliegdekskepe gemaak het, begin met HMS Furious kort na die Groot Oorlog, het in die tegniek geglo. Die lugministerie het dit nie gedoen nie, maar onder die ingewikkelde reëling tussen die lugministerie en die admiraliteit kon laasgenoemde sy eie spesifikasies skryf. Teen die tyd dat die ontwikkeling van Skua aan die gang was, is admiraal Henderson aangestel as beheerder, wat verantwoordelik is vir die bepaling van vermoëns en ontwerpparameters van oorlogskepe vir die Royal Navy.

Die Skua was bedoel om vyandelike oorlogskepe te betrek, hetsy op die oop see ten behoewe van die vloot in aksie, of in verrassingsaanvalle op hawens. Dit was 'n ware duikbommenwerper. Die Skua kon veilig duik en veilig uittrek op baie lae hoogtes, as gevolg van lugremme onder sy vlerke, wat die vliegtuig nie in sy duik kon versnel nie. Die Skua kan 'n swaar bom op die middellyn dra en dit los terwyl hy duik deur middel van 'n 'trapezie' wat die bom van die propeller se skyf weggevee het. Die swaarste bom wat beskikbaar was vir die gebruik van die Skua, was die halfhonderd pond pantserbom. Ongeveer gelykstaande aan 'n elf duim dop, kan dit katastrofiese skade aan minder vaartuie aanrig, maar kan die lewens van die meeste kapitaalskepe min skade berokken.
Die byrol van die 'vlootvegter' wat vir die Skua in die vooruitsig gestel is, het nie onderskep en aanvallende patrollie ingesluit nie, rolle wat tydens die lewensduur deur die gebeure ingedruk sou word. Stryers wat deur draers gedra word, sou verhoed dat vyande se verkenningsvliegtuie die vloot ontdek of opspoor, en met die vloot in die geveg, moes vyandelike vliegtuie verhinder om hul skepe te help. Geen groot spoed of behendigheid was nodig om sulke take uit te voer nie, en Skuas het baie geleenthede gehad, in die noordelike waters en die Middellandse See, om vyandige verkenningsvliegtuie af te sien. Die Skua was in staat om suksesvol te wees teen vyandelike bomwerpers, hetsy ten bate van skepe of grondmagte. Wat die Skua nie kon doen nie, was om moderne landvegters op gelyke voet te betrek, te ontwerp en te groot en te swaar, en daarom te traag om dit te doen.

Blackburn se ontwerp is laat in 1938 vir diens aanvaar slegs nadat die swak stal- en draaiseienskappe van die prototipe voldoende reggestel is (deur die neus te verleng, die stertvliegtuig se span te vergroot en die vlerke te kantel). Die lugministerie het daardie somer 'n laaste poging aangewend om die produksie van die Skua te beëindig, omdat dit verouderd was as 'n vegvliegtuig (wat dit beslis was in vergelyking met opkomende enkelstoelvegters in die RAF). Die vlootraad het teengehou dat daar niks anders beskikbaar was om die vegter of die duikbomwerpers te vervul nie, en dat laasgenoemde die belangrikste gebruik van die Skua was.
Skuas het gedurende 1939 in Fleet Air Arm -eskaders begin stroom. 800 eskader, die 'senior' eskader van die FAA, het die eerste drie in Januarie ontvang. Dit is na die see geneem vir diensproewe saam met die Hawker Osprey -tweedekker aan boord van die HMS Ark Royal, en die kombinasie van die vloot se nuutste moderne vliegtuig met die vloot se nuutste en grootste vliegdekskip het groot aandag getrek, wat Blackburn aangewakker het deur 'n kragtige advertensieveldtog met die Skua, waarin die vliegtuig nogal die vinnige en kragtige moderne vegmasjien gelyk het.

Toe die oorlog met Nazi -Duitsland begin, het 800 Squadron en 803 Squadron, wat aan HMS Ark Royal was, elk nege Skuas, en 801 Squadron, toegewys aan HMS Furious, het 'n dosyn gehad. Ark Royal, Furious en HMS Courageous is na die Western Approaches gestuur, waar hul vliegtuie duikbote sou opspoor en met bomme reageer op verslae van duikbote wat gesien is. Twee Skuas van 803 vierkante meter, wat by 'n duikboot opduik, het hul aanval so laag gedruk dat die ontploffing van hul eie honderd pond bomme hulle uit die lug geslaan het (en sonder skade aan die U-boot, wat vliegtuigbemanning gered het). Ondanks 'n web van soekende vliegtuie en vernietigers in die nabye begeleiding, het Duitse duikbote hul weg na die draers gevind. Ark Royal het die torpedo's van 'n U-boot raakgesien en vermy, waarna begeleiers vernietigers gesink het. HMS Courageous is egter getref en gesink deur 'n U-boot se torpedo's.
HMS Ark Royal het laat in September saam met slagkruisers in die Noordsee gesorteer ten bate van 'n Royal Navy-duikboot in nood naby die Duitse kus. 800 vierkante meter Skuas het twee Duitse vlieënde bote afgejaag om die hoofskepe te sien en in die skadu te stel, en Skuas van 803 vierkante meter het met 'n derde gery. Die posisie van die mag is egter aangemeld. Toe die Duitse enjin met tweemotorige bomwerpers nader kom, was die vliegtuie van Ark Royal, Skuas ingesluit, in die hangers, sonder brandstof en van ammunisie, vir die veiligheid van die skip in geval van 'n treffer. Daar was amper een, 'n bom van 1000 kg naby die boog om eerlik as 'n treffer gerapporteer te word. Die Duitse bomwerpers het hul besigheid sonder hindernis of haas uitgevoer, maar sonder sukses, en die ondoeltreffendheid van die vuurvliegtuigvuur wat deur 'n groot groep vaartuie, insluitend hoofskepe, veral in die lig van duikbomaanvalle, veroorsaak het, het die Admiraliteit gelei tot die verantwoordelikheid van die kanonniers was om die verdediging teen lugaanvalle te laat vaar, en om te beveel dat vegters wat deur die vervoer gedra word, die kanonniers moet help deur bomwerpers te gebruik.

Aan die begin van Oktober het die Admiraliteit bevestig dat die Graf Spee van Nazi -Duitsland los was in die Suid -Atlantiese seevaarte. HMS Ark Royal is beveel om die huisvloot na die Suid-Atlantiese Oseaan te verlaat en daar by Force K (die gevegskrywer HMS Renown en verskeie vernietigers) by Freetown aan te sluit. Ark Royal bereik Freetown op 12 Oktober met 'n halfdosyn Skuas van 800 vierkante meter en drie skraal eskaders Swordfish.
Force K op see wat Graf Spee soek, kan vliegtuie met draers in diens neem net soos die vloot altyd gedink het dat dit hul toppunt was. Hulle sou die sig baie kilometers verder as die horison verleng. As die steengroef opgemerk word, sou hulle HMS Renown help om in die geveg te jaag deur Graf Spee in sig te hou en selfs te slaan om dit in 'n lang jaagtog te vertraag. Daar sou nie meer as 'n vlot-vliegtuig of twee wees deur lugverset, wat die Skuas maklik kon hanteer nie.

It is one of the minor yet intriguing 'might have beens' in naval history, what could have occured had Force K encountered the Graf Spee. A strike would certainly have been launched from Ark Royal if the enemy vessel were sighted at any distance from the guns of HMS Renown. A dozen or more Swordfish coming in low from all directions with torpedos, while half a dozen Skuas overhead dove down with bombs equal to Graf Spee's main deck armor, might well have put paid to the German ship, and made Graf Spee the first capital ship sunk by air attack on the high seas.
It was not to be, however. On November 18, Force K departed Freetown for the Cape of Good Hope to rendezvous there with a pair of heavy cruisers, after report was received Graf Spee was in the Indian Ocean south of Madagascar. By the time Force K reached the Cape, on December 1, Graf Spee had doubled back into the South Atlantic, where it was soon to meet the cruisers of Force G off Montevideo.
While HMS Ark Royal was with Force K, when the Skuas of 800 Squadron went aloft they remained near the carrier, while search at distance was carried out by Swordfish. The Skuas spent so much of their time immured in the enclosed hanger deck the flyers dubbed themselves 'the pit ponies', after the animals once employed down the mines. Still, on December 8, one Skua came down in the sea. The wireless man was rescued, but the pilot was lost.

HMS Ark Royal was to remain in the South Atlantic till February 6, 1940, when it set sail for Portsmouth. It arrived there the day after Valentine's, and remained for a month's refit. 800 Sqdn took its Skuas to Hatston in the Orkneys, where it was joined by 803 Sqdn and a freshly formed Skua unit, 806 Squadron. During March they flew convoy protection patrols over the North Sea, engaging German U-boats (rarely) and bombers (fairly often). The remaining Skua squadron, 801, was ashore at Scapa Flow with the Home Fleet.
A Royal Navy operation to mine Norwegian waters collided with a German invasion of the place on April 9. 800 Sqdn and 803 Squadron flew their Skuas through the night to attack German vessels in Bergen harbor at dawn on April 10, sinking the German light cruiser Konigsberg at anchor. The Germans had quickly seized airfields in Norway, and flew in a strong force of bombers, which soon made the coastal waters untenable for English warships without a scrap of air cover. HMS Ark Royal, with the Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 801 Sqdn, and HMS Glorious, with the Skuas of 803 Sqdn, were dispatched to provide air cover for Allied forces at sea and on land, arriving April 25. The situation for Allied ground troops in central Norway had become dire, and their evacuation began in early May even as a fresh landing was made on the north coast at Narvik. 806 Sqdn Skuas, flying from HMS Furious, joined the three Skua equipped squadrons now operating from Ark Royal, but when the Narvik effort collapsed, 801 Sqdn disembarked from Ark Royal at Scapa Flow.

In Norway, Skuas made dive bombing attacks on German shipping in harbor and German occupied airfields, and flew frequent offensive patrols over the coast to protect ground forces, and break up bomber formations heading out to sea. The impression Skuas were not up to the task in Norway owes more to their being far too few of them by compare to the German aerial fleet mustered there than to the aeroplane's (quite real) deficiencies. While German bombers were generally faster than the Skua, over the North Sea Skua pilots had learned they could get enough speed diving without their brakes to manage a firing pass. Skua pilots found over Norway that deploying the brakes in level flight made the aeroplane much more manuverable, which proved some defense against the only fighters available to the Germans in Norway, twin-engined zerstoerer such as the Me110, and Ju88s fitted with a gun-pack.
Skuas were flown in aid of the Dunkirk evacuation even as they continued to cover Allied forces disengaging from battle in Norway. Frem late May and into June, 806 Sqdn and 801 Sqdn engaged in both dive bombing in direct support of ground forces, and offensive patrols. There were some successes against bombers, but the Skuas were roughly handled by Me109s. June 13 brought another demonstration of the Skua's vulnerability to the Me109. Fifteen Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 803 Sqdn took off from HMS Ark Royal to attack the Scharnhorst at Trondheim, as part of a combined operation that became a ghastly muddle, with eight of the Skuas downed by defending German fighters.

By late June Skuas ceased operating over the channel. 801 Sqdn went to Hatston, and during the summer flew long-range raids to bomb installations on the Norwegian coast, while 806 Sqdn embarked on the new carrier HMS Illustrious for training on the new Fairy Fulmar fighter, an aeroplane better armed if not much faster than the Skua. HMS Ark Royal, carrying the Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 803 Sqdn, patched up after the Trondheim debacle, set sail for the Mediterranean on June 17, to provide air cover for the fleet there now that Italy was entering the war. The Ark Royal operated in the Mediterranean till it was sunk late in 1941, with several sojourns into the Atlantic, three times after German surface vessels (including the Bismark), and once to attack Vichy French forces.
Employed against the Vichy French and Italian navies the Skua's operations took on much the same contours as in Norway and the North Sea. Skuas flew to drive off reconnaissance aeroplanes, and intercepted formations of bombers intent on attacking English warships. Single seat land-based fighters were largely absent. HMS Illustrious joined Ark Royal in midsummer, with 806 Sqdn, which still had Skuas in reserve for the frequent occasions the new Fulmars were out of repair. 803 Sqdn left Ark Royal for re-equipping with the Fulmar in October. It was not till June of 1941 the Skua was taken off front-line operations in the Mediterranean, with the final departure of 800 Sqdn from HMS Ark Royal. 801 Sqdn, flying under Coastal Command orders from St. Eval, had already been stood down by May, and was being re-equipped with Sea Hurricanes.

This model represents Skua L2878, 'L' of Yellow Section, 800 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, as it probably appeared when embarked on HMS Ark Royal in the South Atlantic. Though allocated to Ark Royal, 800 Sqdn was ashore at Hatston when the war began, and orders to see a black port wing (an important identification marking for ground observers) would have seen to. I have made the demarkation the join of the folding wings, since this would expose the undersurface, and be fair easier to paint. I think the colored wing-tip on the port wing undersurface would have been retained, and doing so would not be difficult. 800 Squadron does not seem to have got camouflage paint till Ark Royal returned to Plymouth in February, 1940 (803 retained its peacetime finish only till October, when it disembarked Ark Royal for Hatston).

This model is one from the shelf of doom, brought out by our Shelf Queen Group Build. When the Special Hobby 1/72 Skua kit was new I took a run at it. I don't recall much about the original build, except that the engine was a gem, I put a lot of effort into the cockpit, and had to trim the turn-over pylon a bit to get the canopy on.

At the end I did not like the finish I'd got with silver acrylic, noticed I had misaligned (and sealed down) the fuselage roundels, and the last straw was decals for 803 Sqdn chevron stripes (from the old Pavla/Octopus kit) dissolving on contact with water. A while later I stripped the paint, and in the course of this, all the little bits came off, and the big pieces separated. I stuck the wings and tailplane back on, and the whole affair resided for years in a box.

When I decided to take it up, I decided the plain finish of 800 Squadron was a better choice than trying to make or procure 803 chevron stripes. I was fortunate enough to receive information on Ark Royal's Skuas at this time from FAA boffins at BritModeller. The finish is Tamiya rattle-can silver over foil. I foiled intending to brush on a thin coat of silver lacquer, a procedure which I had previously got a good result from, but true enough to form for this, I could not make the trick work this time --- I had not got brushmarks before, but this time I did. I noted the problem early enough it was easy to remove what had been applied. There probably should be 'universal carrier' bomb racks under the wings, but I am by now disinclined to scratch such to acceptable standard.

(Moment of 'D'oh': I only noticed after posting up pictures I have got the black walkway wrong. It should extend a bit onto the butt-end of the wing's folding portion. Guess I got carried away by the trickiness of freehanding just the stationary stub of the wing roots. It will be an easy fix.)


Blackburn Skua attack on Haugesund, Norway - History

Royal Navy Aircraft - WW2 Monoplanes Part 1

Skua, Roc, Fulmar Buffalo and Kingfisher

Blackburn Skua II, 803 Sqn Fleet Air Arm, HMS ARK ROYAL, Mediterranean, July 1940

This is the Octopus 1/72 limited run kit from Czech company Pavla. Far exceeding the Frog version below, it is nevertheless not an easy build.

The Skua holds a number of "firsts" - the first operational Fleet Air Arm monoplane, the first aircraft to destroy an enemy ship by dive bombing (800 Sqn - the German Cruiser Konigsberg) and first FAA kill of WW2 (803 Sqn - a Do18 Flying Boat). Apart from that, its career was not particularly successful. Another, less glorious "first", was the first aerial attack on a U- Boat the two aircraft involved both missed their target, but the ensuing bomb explosions downed both of them into the sea.

A typical product of the Air Ministry's obsession with multi- role naval aircraft, it was truly "jack of all trades, master of none"

The subject of this particular model participated in the controversial Royal Navy attacks on the French Mediterranean fleet in July 1940 , aimed at preventing the French Fleet's use by the Axis forces. Flown by Lt J M Christian RN, with Observer Sub Lt Gore- Langton, it was involved in combat with French Curtis H- 74 fighters over North Africa.

Blackburn Skua II - 803 Sqn RNAS Hatston/HMS ARK ROYAL/GLORIOUS, Norway, May 1940

This is the old Frog Kit (also available from Revell, Novo and Eastern Express etc.) with some spare decals from the Octopus kit above. It's not a very accurate representation, particularly beneath the wings, where the storage for the single dive bomb is completely missing. Its wing chord is also woefully too narrow (compare with the Octopus kit above).

The Skua is mainly remembered for its performance during the Norwegian campaign, where despite being flown with outstanding skill and bravery, it was clearly outclassed by faster German fighter and bomber aircraft from the start. Nevertheless, Skuas also made a significant contribution in other theatres, particularly during the desperate fighting at the beaches of Dunkirk and around Calais, where a handful of Skuas from 801 Sqn provided exceptional and intense air support to the trapped British & French troops.

Blackburn Roc, L3154, 805/806 Sqn Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Donibristle/Eastleigh/RAF Detling, 1940.

This limited run kit is not the easiest, cheapest, or indeed most accurate kit around. But let's be honest Roc kits are pretty thin on the ground!

After the decision to withdraw RAF Fighter aircraft from France and retain them for home defence, a hotch- potch of Royal Navy aircraft were committed to assist by operating over the beaches of Dunkirk and Calais in May and June 1940. For the most part, this meant the poorly regarded Skua and Roc, already discredited by their woeful performance in Norway.

Like its contemporary, the Bolton Paul Defiant , the Blackburn Roc followed the unsuccessful concept of the turret- armed fighter. Developed from the multi- role Skua, Rocs saw very little front- line service, and almost all of that was based ashore, before it became painfully obvious that they were no match for the Luftwaffe and they were withdrawn to training and support roles.

Nevertheless, the Roc did participate in some of the crucial events of the early war, including the defence of the Home Fleet's base at Scapa Flow, the Norwegian Campaign (when several Rocs saw their only sea- based service onboard HMS ARK ROYAL), Dunkirk, Cherbourg & St Malo evacuations in June 1940, plus it played a small part in the Battle of Britain (in defence of the Dockyard at Portsmouth). RAF- manned ROCs were even used as static ground based anti- aircraft mounts at RAF Gosport.

Only one confirmed victory is credited to the Roc, a Ju88 shot down during the Dunkirk evacuations by an 806 Sqn Roc, (Mdshipman A G Day RN).

For more information on the Roc, please have a look at this excellent website: http://freespace.virgin.net/john.dell/blackburn_roc.htm

Fairey Fulmar Mk1, 803 Sqn FAA, HMS FORMIDABLE, Mediterranean, April 1941.

The excellent Vista Fulmar kit has also appeared in Revell, SMER and Airfix boxes. Not perfect, but recommended! (link to build page)

Although it was certainly no star performer, by an accident of history, the Fairey Fulmar was in the right place when it was needed, and is actually the Fleet Air Arm's highest scoring fighter. Developed as a replacement for the Skua in the Fighter/Reconnaissance role, it saw most success in the Mediterranean, defending convoys against Italian and German bombers, but also played pivotal roles in the hunt for the Bismark, the Arctic convoys, the Indian Ocean and North Africa. It also provided night fighter cover for the famous Taranto attack , destroying seven Italian fighters.

Derived from the unsuccessful Fairey Battle fast bomber, the Fulmar was developed in great secrecy and saw front line service from June 1940 until 1944, including development as a night fighter. When it first appeared it was a big disappointment to FAA pilots, since it was already outclassed by the opposing Axis aircraft due to its size and the requirement to carry an Observer, but compared with its predecessors, its heavier armament, excellent range/endurance and improved speed were certainly welcome.

Fulmars scored 112 kills between Sept 1940 and Aug 1942, more than a third of the total FAA victories during the entire war. The aircraft modelled here was flown by Lt Donald Gibson RN, Senior Pilot of 803 Sqn, in HMS FORMIDABLE. It was lost on 18 Apr 1941 after Gibson was wounded during an attack by Italian aircraft. Although he was able to land back onboard, his arrestor hook parted and the aircraft went overboard. Gibson was quickly rescued, but sadly his Observer was killed.

Fairey Fulmar Mk.II, 809 Sqn FAA, HMS VICTORIOUS, Operation Torch, November 1942.

This is the SMER issue, with the Airwaves brass etch wing fold added:

During Operation Torch, the Allied Invasion of North Africa, participating Fleet Air Arm aircraft were temporarily re- marked in US markings, as it was felt that the French defenders would be more sympathetic to the US and therefore less likely to attack them.

Brewster Buffalo - 778 NAS RNAS Yeovilton, RN Fighter Pool 1941

Matchbox's Buffalo is a reasonable kit, although its undercarriage is very fragile and the canopy framing is overly heavy. This is a Chinese Matchbox issue, built out the box, with minor additions inside the cockpit. Decals are a mix from the kit and my spares box.

The Buffalo was an unmitigated disaster in UK service chosen by the USN over its direct competitor, the Grumman Wildcat, it was a reasonable design, but let down by Brewster's lack of volume manufacturing expertise and dodgy cost cutting tactics on behalf of both manufacturer and customer, such as the use of worn out second hand ex- civil engines. The USN realised what was happening and bailed out, leaving Brewster to dump its dodgy aircraft on desperate European nations.

RN Buffaloes were part of French & Belgian orders taken over by the British Purchasing Commission in Washington - not their biggest success! Most UK Buffalos went to Commonwealth and RAF Squadrons in Singapore, where they were quickly lost to the Japanese. Three were used by the RN in Crete, where they were found to be poorly built (e.g. guns failing due to over- tight wiring that snapped when fired) and worse than useless. Some fought successfully with RN Squadrons in the Western Desert the remainder ended life in Yeovilton as fighter trainers and local defence aircraft.

It wasn't a bad aircraft the Finns used the Buffalo with great success against both Germans and Russians but only after they had rebuilt them to their own satisfaction. A case of poor build standards and sloppy procurement, British disappointment was repeated 2 years later with the Brewster built Corsair III, leading to a US Senate Investigation of Brewster, amidst (unproven) accusations of sabotage, Nazi sympathisers and enemy agents within their workforce.

Vought Sikorsky OS2U Kingfisher, 765 NAS Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Sandbanks 1943

The old Airfix Kingfisher is still a nice kit, seen here with Aeromaster decals for a FAA training machine. (Link to build page)

The Kingfisher entered USN service as an observation scout aircraft in 1940,but also saw widespread service as a search and rescue aircraft. Over 100 were supplied to the Royal Navy from the summer of 1942 under lend- lease arrangements.

Able to fly from either land (with a conventional fixed undercarriage) or from catapult equipped ships at sea (when fitted with floats), Fleet Air Arm Kingfishers were operated from British Merchant Cruisers in the South Atlantic and Eastern Fleet, as well as being used as trainers in the West Indies and at home.

Click on the thumbnail below to go directly to the aircraft model, or simply scroll down

Skuas began WW2 in bright aluminium finishes which were gradually toned down, losing the colourful fuselage carrier codes and eventually gaining camouflage on their upper surfaces.

This Skua, using the FROG kit and Special Hobby decals, represents an aircraft from HMS ARK Royal at the outbreak of the war, shortly before 803 sqn scored the first confirmed British air to air victory of WW2

Blackburn Skua Mk II, 803 Sqn Fleet Air Arm, HMS ARK ROYAL, July 1939

Top of Page Main Index

Blackburn Skua (B-24)

The Blackburn "Skua" (B-24) was a pre-World War 2 naval (carrier-capable) two-seat, single-engine dive bomber / fighter design of Britain. The aircraft was designed by G.E. Petty and first-flew in prototype form on February 9th, 1937, saw series introduction in November of 1938 and fought on until 1941 by which time it was made obsolete as a frontline solution. It continued in second-line roles up until March 1945 and the war in Europe ended that May. A total of 192 Skua aircraft were built for the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the British Royal Navy for service in the war (notable as its first monoplane fighter).

The Skua was born from Air Ministry Specification O.27/34 of 1934 and was of an all-modern design for its time (biplanes with open-cockpits were still the relative norm for the FAA). Metal skinning was used throughout its construction and an enclosed cockpit and retractable undercarriage was featured along with the aforementioned monoplane wings. The engine was set conventionally at the nose and drove a three-bladed propeller unit. The tail unit was comprised of a single, rounded vertical fin and low-mounted stabilizers. The crew of two were seated in tandem (back-to-back) under a lightly-framed canopy.

Armament-wise, the aircraft was completed with a battery of fixed, forward-firing 7.7mm Browning machine guns in the wings and the rear operator managed a single 7.7mm Vickers K machine gun on a flexible mounting. In this way, the aircraft held a quality more akin to a heavy fighter than a high-performance fighter mount. There was also a provision to carry a 250lb or 500lb bomb along fuselage centerline for the dive bombing role (integral air brakes helped in the action). Each wing could also be outfitted with racks for up to 8 x bombs of smaller diameter.

After its successful testing and evaluation phase, the aircraft was brought into service with the 800 Naval Air Squadron in late-1938. The type then found its way aboard British Royal Navy carriers heading into 1939 so, when war broke out in September of 1939, the Skua was on hand in useful numbers and pushed into service by the FAA.

Despite their classification as fighters, Skuas performed poorly in the dedicated fighter role due to their design being underpowered and heavy but they excelled in the dive bombing role for which they were also designed. A shortage of modern fighters by the British forced the type to see more combat in the dedicated fighter role despite their being outclassed by German types like the Messerschmitt Bf 109 series. Nevertheless, Skuas were credited with shooting down the first German aircraft of World War 2, this on September 25th, 1939 (a Luftwaffe Dornier 18). Skuas were then pressed into service for the Norway Campaign where their dive bombing capability was put to good use and several enemy ships were claimed (including KMS Konigsberg sunk by three direct hits).

Beyond this action, the series operated in all of the early fronts involving British navy warplanes: the North Sea, Atlantic and Mediterranean. More and more they were pressed into the escort role for other bomber types and it was not until 1941 that better alternatives became available - namely the Fairey Fulmar and the Hawker Hurricane. As such, the Skua was relegated to secondary roles of trainer and target tug until the end of the war in 1945.

A true unsung hero of the early-going for the British in World War 2, no fewer than 27 Fleet Air Arm squadrons were equipped with Skua fighters. The Royal Air Force (RAF) also operated a contingent as part of the Anti-Aircraft Co-operation force.


Captain Eric Brown – a personal reflection

There’s very little I can add to the many tributes to the incomparable Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, written by those far better placed than me to assess the great man’s career. As I had the privilege to meet him and speak to him on a number of occasions, I wanted to offer a brief personal reflection on the sad loss for the aviation world and the country that his death represents.

One of the things that has always struck me about Captain Brown’s career is that it contained so many highlights that on their own would be notable, never mind as part of a career that incorporates many, many such achievements. Most know Brown as a test pilot, and it is undoubtedly as a test pilot that his greatest contribution was made, but his combat career was itself remarkable. Again, many people have heard about his time with 802 Squadron flying Grumman Martlets, helping develop the head-on attack, and surviving the sinking of HMS Audacity. Fewer are familiar with the flights that Brown undertook with 801 Squadron, when he had only just finished training and before he had even been assigned to a frontline squadron. This was the reason I had for first speaking to Captain Brown, nearly ten years ago now.


Captain Eric Brown delivering a talk for the Royal Aeronautical Society

In late 1940, 801 Squadron was flying the Blackburn Skua fighter/dive-bomber. The Skua was a decent dive-bomber but its ‘fighter’ role was secondary and it was never meant to go up against modern, land-based single-seaters. Brown was temporarily drafted in due to losses, which gives some idea of what he and the other aircrews on the squadron were being called upon to do. The squadron had flown during the Norwegian Campaign of Spring and Summer 1940, when British forces attempted to help Norway repel the German invasion. They failed, but 801 Squadron was charged with keeping up the attack on German forces in Norway after the Allies had been ejected. This involved sending the slow, vulnerable Skuas all the way to Norway from Hatston in Orkney and back.

‘That was a tight trip for distance,’ Captain Brown told me – which was, as it turns out, a characteristic piece of understatement. The trip from Hatston to Bergen was right on the edge of the Skua’s endurance, about four and a half hours, allowing precious little for any combat at the destination. On occasion, the Skuas were escorted – if it can really be called that – by RAF Blenheim long-range fighters, but on this trip it was just the Skuas.

The squadron successfully reached Bergen and bombed some oil tanks, but then, in Captain Brown’s words, ‘collected a shoal of Me109s, and they pursued us along the fjord’.

This was only a couple of months after an attempt to dive-bomb the battle cruiser Scharnhorst had led to more than half the attacking force being shot down, so the 801 Squadron crews must have known what their chances were. A pilot who was shot down in that mission and spent the rest of the war as a PoW told me that with a bomb attached the Skua ‘was useless against Me109s – even one’. This was no exaggeration. The Skua was over 100mph slower than the Messerschmitt, far less handy, and had very little armour. Even freed of its bomb, the aircraft was at a severe disadvantage.

Captain Brown described to me, with no hint of embellishment or ‘line shooting’, how he’d escaped the Messerschmitt’s attentions, initially by clinging to the wall of the fjord at very low level, and eventually by actuating the dive brakes, causing the Skua to slow dramatically and almost causing a collision. Other pilots had managed this successfully in the past, but it’s telling that on his first brush with the enemy, and flying with a back-seater he was unfamiliar with, he had the presence of mind to pull the trick and make it work. ‘He left us pretty well alone after that,’ Captain Brown said. ‘He fired on us, and he hit us before he broke away, but not very much.’ The modesty and sangfroid shines through.

I spoke to Captain Brown once or twice over the next few years, and heard him speak a couple of times too. This was always a great pleasure, as he was not just a fascinating man but a great public speaker too – largely by letting his knowledge and experience tell the story without any need for bombast. His natural charm made him instantly likeable and won over every audience I ever saw him address.


Captain Brown seemed to have time for everyone who wanted to speak to him

The next cause I had to interview him was nearly eight years later, during my work on the biography of one of his contemporary test pilots, Duncan Menzies. Although they were both test pilots, and both concerned with naval aircraft, I wasn’t confident that they would have come into contact very much – Menzies was, by that stage in his career, a production test pilot for Fairey at Stockport, Brown was with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. I mentioned Menzies during a chat at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, and to my surprise, Brown not only knew Menzies but remembered a fair bit about him. He asked me to telephone him at home in a couple of weeks when we could go through his recollections in more detail.

This was another feature about Captain Brown. He didn’t hesitate to offer help and time to a virtually unknown author without there being anything in it for him. I can only imagine the demands on his time that there must have been, especially since the BBC TV documentary about him the previous month (due for repeat tomorrow at 7pm). And yet he gladly volunteered to assist. When the time came, we spoke for over an hour about his recollection of Duncan, and giving a valuable alternative perspective on the Fairey aircraft of the time. At the end of the conversation he told me to ring him again if there was anything occurred to me that I hadn’t asked him about. He was 95 at the time, and his memory can only be described as pin-sharp.

As I said earlier, there’s nothing I can add to the tributes – James Holland’s fantastic documentary, for one – and if anyone hasn’t read Brown’s fantastic books, Wings on my Sleeve, Wings of the Navy, Wings of the Luftwaffe etc etc – stop reading this now and go and read them.

These are just a couple of moments in Captain Brown’s life. And as I said earlier, so many of the things he has done would qualify his career for greatness by themselves. The record for deck landings and types flown, the work testing Luftwaffe types after the war, his contribution to the science of naval aviation… Not to mention interrogating Herman Goering and singing with the Glenn Miller orchestra!


Captain Brown landing a de Havilland Sea Vampire aboard HMS Ocean in 1946, the first deck landing for a jet aircraft – see HMS Illustrious, Prototypes and Trials

I think for me, what stands out is his courage, and the very quiet, very modest way he expressed it. To take a couple of examples, there were times when he had to recreate conditions that had killed pilots, even caused their aircraft to break up. And yet he went ahead and carried out the tests. I’ve just submitted a manuscript to the publisher for a book on the Fairey Barracuda, which was one of these aircraft. Unexplained crashes were killing crews when the aircraft attempted to pull out after a steep dive, as they would have to do during a torpedo or dive-bombing attack. Some even ‘folded up’ in mid-air, as crews who witnessed the incidents described. Brown tested the aircraft, found some pretty scary handling characteristics, worked out what the problem was and allowed the Fleet Air Arm to avoid the problems in future. On another occasion, he took up one of the three DH108 transonic research aircraft (all of which eventually crashed, killing three test pilots) and replicated the flight to the edge of the feared ‘sound barrier’ that had killed Geoffrey de Havilland, surviving a violent pitch oscillation, recovering the aircraft and shedding a great deal of light on the circumstances of de Havilland’s death.

I can only add that I feel utterly privileged to have breathed the same air as such an amazing human being. In addition to writing about history, I also write fiction, and I can say with some confidence that if I attempted to write a fictional character who did a quarter of what Captain Eric Brown achieved, it would be laughed out as completely implausible.
Blue Skies, Captain.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.


WWII Bomber Surfaces After 68 Years

A British bomber that crashed in a Norwegian fjord while attacking Nazi invasion forces has been recovered after 68 years under water.

Klas Gjoelmesli, leader of the volunteer project, said the Blackburn Skua will be the only complete example of the dive-bomber in the world after it is restored.

"We can build it up again. The wings are there, and the cockpit is OK," Mr Gjoelmesli said.

The Skua, flown by Wing Commander John Casson, was leading an attack on the German battleship Scharnhorst that was moored in Trondheim during the opening days of the Nazi invasion of Norway, which began on April 9, 1940.

"It is forgotten history," said Gjoelmesli. He said the Skuas were among the few Allied planes involved in the defence of central Norway, since they could be launched from aircraft carriers in the North Sea or had just enough fuel range to stage attacks from the Orkney Islands.

Mr Gjoelmesli said several were shot down and crashed during the raid, but the one recovered crash-landed on the water, and its pilot and gunner survived.

The aircraft, which was discovered in 2007, was raised from a depth of almost 800 feet in an effort that involved a crane barge, a research ship and remotely operated submarines.

Another Blackburn Skua was recovered from a Norwegian lake in 1974, but was incomplete. It is now on display in unrestored condition at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, in Yeovilton.