Aircraft Recognition No. 2, Vol. 1

Aircraft R e cog nit ion October ,1942 The Hawker Hurricane THE MOST VERSATILE aeroplane that the War has produced is the Hawker Hurricane. Beginning the War as an eight-gun fighter, the Hurricane has since been the subject of a series of developments designed to enhance its performance and its hitting power, with the result that to-day, at the opening of the fourth year of the War, the Hurricane is still one of our first-line fighters and is also fulfilling a number of other functions, not all of which can yet be disclosed. The prototype of the Hurricane first flew on November 6th, 1935, and it was put into production in 1936. The Mk. I fitted with the Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine began togo into service early in 1938, the first R.A.F. unit to be equipped with this type being No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron. The Mk. I was armed with eight .303 in. Browning machine-guns, four in each wing and firing outside the airscrew disc, each gun having a rate of fire of 1,100 rounds per minute. When it went into service the Hurricane was entirely fabric-covered and the engine drove a two-blade fixed-pitch wooden airscrew. It did not have ejector exhausts, armour, or bullet-proof tanks and windscreen. The demand for greater performance later led to the introduction of variable-pitch airscrews, first the D.H. two-position type and later the D.H. or Rotol constant- speed models. Ejector exhaust manifolds agave further slight increase in speed and rate of climb. The next modification was the fitting of metal-covered wings which were stronger and stiller although weighing 70 lb. less than the fabric-covered wings. For the first year of the War the Hurricane I bore the brunt of fighter operations in Great Britain and was the only monoplane lighter togo into action overseas. In the Battle of Britain Hurricane squadrons accounted for more enemy aircraft than squadrons equipped with any other type. The Hurricane fought in France with the Advanced Air Striking Force and the Air Component attached to the Army. In Norway, No. 46 (Fighter) Squadron took part in the Narvik operations. It was taken North in the aircraft-carrier Glorious and on May 26th, 1940, the whole squadron flew ashore. In eleven days the squadron made 249 sorties, took part in 26 combats and definitely destroyed 11 enemy aircraft and damaged eight. On June 7th it returned to the Glorious and although the Hurricane had never before been landed on a carrier and none of the pilots had deck-landing experience all the machines were landed-on safely. The next day the Glorious was sunk and the machines of No. 46 Squadron went down with it. In all, in that first year of the War, Hurricane squadrons accounted for more than 1,500 confirmed victories against the Luftwaffe, almost half the total of enemy aircraft destroyed by the R.A.F. in that period. Towards the end of 1940 the Hurricane II began togo into service. The principal differences between this model and the Mk. I were in power-plant and armament and except for slight alteration to the wings to cater for the increased armament, the strengthening of a few struts in the fuselage and the landing gear to take care of the increased power and weight, and anew engine mounting, no other structural alterations were necessary. The engine used in the Mk. II is the Rolls-Royce Merlin XX with two-speed supercharger and two variations of arma­ment are now available. Some early Mk. II Hurricanes were provided with Mk. I metal wings equipped with The lower left-hand illustration shows theM k.IIc fitted with jettisonahle tanks which give this 4-cannon lighter an effective range of over 1,000 miles. These tanks can he fitted to all other fighter versions. The upper right-hand view shows the Mk.IlB “ Hurribomber” carrying its two 250 II). bombs. These bombs have little effect on the performance and manoeuvrability of the Hurricane and once they are dropped it regains its full effectiveness as a multi-gunned fighter. Three of the several variants of the Hawker Hurricane are shown in the accompanying views. In the centre is the Mk.l 8-gun fighter which has formed the basis of all subsequent develop­ments.
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