Hawker Hurricane: the true hero of the Battle of Britain

Hawker Hurricane: the true hero of the Battle of Britain ...

The Hawker Hurricane is one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War. With its distinctive outline and impressive service history, this aircraft deserves a place in aviation history.

The Hawker Hurricane, which is largely overshadowed by its cousin, the Supermarine Spitfire, is arguably one of the most fundamentally important aircraft of the war. Let's talk about this hero of the Battle of Britain.

What was the significance of the Hawker Hurricane?

The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter jet that was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the 1930s and 1940s. It was developed and built mostly by Hawker Aircraft Limited. It was made famous by its participation in the "Battle of Britain" in 1940, while the far more striking Supermarine Spitfire dominated the public's attention.

The Hurricane was responsible for the largest part of the Luftwaffe's losses and, like the Spitfire, participated in all of the major battles of the Second World War. Consequently, the aircraft suffered some of the RAF's largest losses during the war.

Sir Sydney Camm, RAF officials and aircraft designer in the early 1930s, discussed developing a monoplane version of the Hawker Fury biplane.

Hawker decided to go ahead with the plans and construct the jet, which would later lead to the development of the formidable Hurricane.

Both of which would be critical to fighter planes during the war, were added by the manufacturers.

The gamble paid out, and the aircraft quickly fetched the attention of the Air Ministry, who in 1934 purchased Hawker's Interceptor Monoplane. On November 6, 1935, the prototype Hurricane K5083 flew for the first time.

The Hurricane was put to the test in June 1936, and the first production aircraft went into service in October 1937.

The Hurricane's main selling point was its relatively straightforward construction, which made maintenance and repairs relatively simple compared to other frontline fighters of the day. However, it also used high-strength steel tubing for the aft fuselage and a sheet metal structure for the forward fuselage.

Hurricanes were already installed in 18 RAF fighter squadrons at the start of WW2. As it turns out, this would be a boon for the RAF.

In many battle zones, the aircraft was used to defender the Luftwaffe, including in dogfights with Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters.

The Hawker Hurricane would be a formidable competitor, allowing for the development of many variations, including fighter-bombers and fighters, as well as ground-support versions.

The "Sea Hurricane" was redesigned slightly to enable it to be launched with a catapult, and was even modified for use by the Royal Navy. By the time production was stopped in July 1944, about 14,480 Hurricanes had been produced and deployed in Britain, Canada, Belgium, and Yugoslavia in 24 different versions.

What are the main statistics of the Hawker Hurricane?

We'll focus on one of the most iconic models, the Mark IIC, since the Hawker Hurricane was developed in many variations.

The first flight was on the 6th November 1935.

December 1937: The official introduction

Retired:1944-45 (phased out by Hawker Typhoon)

At 21,000 feet (6,400 meters), the top speed is 340 mph (547 kph).

Crew: 1

5,785 pounds (2,624 kg) unladen

Service ceiling: 11,000 m.

Range: 600 km (970 km)

Wingspan: 40 feet (12.19 meters)

Length:32feet 3inches (9.83m)

1 numberRolls-Royce Merlin V-12 in-line liquid-cooled piston engine, 1,185hp (883 kW) at 21,000ft (6,400m)

Armaments:4 number 20mm (0.79in)Hispano Mk IIcannons, and up to 2 number250lb or 1 number 500lb (110 or 230kg) bomb, or 8 number 3-inch (7.62 cm) rockets

Was the Hawker Hurricane superior to the Spitfire?

This is one of the most common questions ever asked about these two aircraft by aircraft enthusiasts, especially those interested in the Second World War. It is also difficult to answer, as it is frankly comparable to comparing apples to oranges.

Both airplanes were exceptional for their periods, but they were developed from the start for completely different roles. For this reason, a solution would require additional qualifications.

In what sense is it better? Speed? Maneuverability? Ability to shoot down enemy fighters or bombers?

The latter is easy to answer, since the Hawker Hurricane intended to serve this purpose.

The Hurricane provided better visibility and made shooting much more steady. The Spitfire, on the other hand, was a slightly better plane: it was smaller, it could climb faster, and the controls were much more responsive. However, it was less effective at knocking out heavier targets, like bombers.

Add in the fact that the Spitfire tended to be a superiority fighter, specifically tasked with keeping Hurricanes safe from enemy fighter screens. Therefore, you would expect them to make more fighter kills than bombers, and vice versa for the Hurricane!

Both of them had good and bad things to say about them.

But, don't take our word for it: "The Spitfire and the Hurricane went together like peanut butter and jelly."

A former pilot of the No. 65 (Spitfire) Squadron has pointed out that the Hurricane did more damage to the enemy bombers than the Spitfire. However, without the Spitfire squadrons to combat the Messerschmitts, the damage suffered by the Hurricane might not have been enough to win the battle.

Are there still Hawker Hurricanes left?

Only a handful of Hawker Hurricanes have survived almost fifteen thousand flights since the 1930s and 1940s. Official numbers vary, but according to sources like the RAF, only about twelve or so are still airworthy.

Others exist, but most are in various stages of repair, with the majority currently serving as museum displays across the world.

Two examples include Hurricane LF363(an Mk IIC), who is believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service with the RAF. This aircraft is currently on display at the Battle of Britain Memorial (BBMF) in Lincolnshire, UK, and Hurricane PZ865(also an Mk IIC), which is believed to be the last Hurricane ever built.

This aircraft is also on display at the BBMF.

And so, those famous WW2 aircraft anoraks, are yours for today.

The Hawker Hurricane is still one of the most famous aircraft from the Second World War and remains a popular aircraft enthusiast throughout the world. The aircraft would have a relatively short period of active service but would serve with distinction, earning its place in history.

Several of the classic war machines still exist today, so make a stopover.

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