Spitfire Mark IXb
There were 5665 Spitfire IXs produced -- almost 1300 of them in the configuration flown by 421 Squadron and shown here. They were superlative aircraft. From the moment it burst upon the European scene, the Spitfire IX was equal to or superior to anything the Germans could throw into the air -- with the obvious exception in late 1944 of the Me 262!! But from January 1943 through the early summer months of 1944, the Spitfire IX was the best short-range fighter in Europe.
The aircraft shown above was received 21 May 1944 as a replacement for MJ235 the aircraft flown by F/O Jimmy Davidson on Ramrod 905, a massive raid by nine squadrons of Spitfires (three squadrons under Chad Chadburn's command, three under Johnny Johnson's command, and three under the ADGB Digby Wing including RCAF 402 Squadron). They grouped at Hawkinge and then swarmed over Amiens, Cambrai and Brussels. The flak was unbelievable. Seventeen trains were destroyed and twice that number were damaged but, as the AFHQ report stated,"twenty-one RAF aircraft and twenty pilots were lost." In 127 Wing 403 lost one, 416 lost one and 421 Squadron lost two pilots -- Ralph Nickerson and Jimmy Davidson. Nickerson evaded and holed out in Dieppe until the Allies liberated it, but Davidson spent the rest of the war in a prison camp.
This aircaft -- NH415 -- lasted only three weeks. Upon delivery it became the favourite of F/L Frank Clark who flew it almost continuously until his death 13 June 1944 when his life ended in collision with W/C Chad Chadburn.
|wing span||36 feet 10 inches|
|length||31 feet 1 inch|
|height||12 feet 10 inches|
|track||5 feet 8 inches|
|wing area||242 square feet|
|dihedral||mean 6 degrees|
|gross take-off weight||7,480 pounds|
|climb||5.7 minutes to 20,000 feet|
|maximun true air speed||330 at 0 feet|
|maximun true air speed||376 at 15,000 feet|
|maximun true air speed||376 at 21,000 feet|
|maximun true air speed||408 at 27,000 feet|
|cruise range||430 miles|
|cruise range with 90 gal slipper||880 miles|
There are lots of Spitfire sites around the web, here are a few of them:
provides a first-person description of flying a Spitfire Official Spitfire Society web site by Steve Graham
Spitfire Operational History
Y2K Spitfire Restoration Project
Paul's Spitfire Page
Eagle Squadrons 244 American pilots volunteered for service in the Eagle Squadrons, Number 71, 121, and 133 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command
Doug Tidy's website -- Doug served in Sailor Malan's 74 Squadron
the Supermarine page.
Angels Eight Home Page
last updated 22 December 2006 in sunny Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.