The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB
|Dimensions||36'10" by 29'11"
11.23m by 9.12m by 3.48m
|Maximum speed||374 mph at 13,000
602 km/h at 4000 meters
|Climb rate||54 feet per second
16.5 meters per second
|Service ceiling||37,000 feet
|Power plant||1 1470 hp (1096 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 vee-12 liquid-cooled engine driving a three-bladed propeller.|
|Armament||2 20mm Hispano fixed wing cannon
4 0.303 fixed wing machine guns
|External stores||1 500 lb (227 kg) bomb or drop tank|
|Range||470 miles (760 km) on internal fuel|
|Production||20,360 of all types from 8/38:|
|941||PR photoreconnaissance conversions of all types|
The Mark I was equipped with a 1030hp Merlin II and four .303 Browning machine guns.
The IA upgraded to eight machine guns and a
IB had two 20mm
Hispano cannons and four .303 machine guns.
The IIA had a 1175hp Merlin XII and eight
.303, while the
IIB was armed
with two 20mm cannon and four .303.
IV was an unarmed photoreconnaissance plane.
The VA introduced the Merlin 45 and was
armed with eight
VC was armed with a modular wing that allowed a choice of guns plus two
was a high-altitude
interceptor using a 1415hp Merlin 47, pressurized cockpit, two 20mm
used a 1660hp Merlin
61 with two-stage supercharger.
was basically an unpressurized
The IX was
basically a V with the Merlin
61 and a four-bladed propeller, pushing the speed up to 408 mph. It was developed
specifically to counter the FW-190 in Europe.
The XI was a
version using a 1760hp Merlin 63A; the X was a pressurized version of
The XII had
a strengthened airframe and a
1735hp Griffon engine. It was designed to be very fast at low altitude
(372 mph at 5000 feet).
XVI had a
two-stage 2050hp Griffon Mk 65 engine and was typically armed with two
two machine guns.
XVI was a IX with
a 1705 hp Packard Merlin 266.
was derived from the XIV and carried more fuel.
The XIV had a Griffon engine driving a five bladed propeller. It could reach 448 mph.
The Spitfire is the legendary plane that won the Battle of Britain. Though more bombers were brought down by Hurricanes, the Spitfire was better able to mix it up successfully with the German fighters. Thus, when the first Spitfires arrived in the Pacific, their pilots, many of them aces, were confident that they could take on the Zero. However, casualties were initially heavy until the Spitfire pilots learned to respect the Zero and avoid taking it on its own terms. The Spitfire also was handicapped in this theater by its rather short range, acceptable for Europe but not for the far reaches of the Pacific.
The prototype first flew on 5 March 1936, and the first
production aircraft were ordered three months later. The design was
very advanced for its time, and proved sufficiently adaptable to remain
in production throughout the war and into the postwar era. A total of
over 20,000 of all models were produced, more than any other Allied fighter.
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