10 Facts About the Fairey Swordfish

10 Facts About the Fairey Swordfish

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The Fairey Swordfish, affectionately known as the ‘Stringbag’ by its crews, was the British Fleet Air Arm’s primary torpedo strike aircraft of the early years of World War Two.

It looked like something left over from the First World War but in fact had only been introduced into service in 1936. In many ways this was a sad reflection of the state of procurement of British naval aircraft pre-war, especially when the US and Japan were producing fast monoplane naval aircraft, and yet the Swordfish would go on to give sterling war service.

1. Its outer skin was fabric

The Fairey Swordfish was a biplane, utilising a steel tube skeleton over which was stretched a fabric skin. Its single Bristol Pegasus engine produced 1065hp. The aircraft carried a crew of 3 (pilot, observer and air gunner/wireless operator) who occupied a cockpit open to the elements.

2. It was armed with torpedoes and later with rockets

The Swordfish could carry either a single 18″ torpedo or a bomb load of up to 1500lbs. It could also carry mines, flares and later on in the war, eight unguided rockets mounted on rails under the wings. Later versions could also be fitted with Mark XI ASV (Air-to-Surface) radar.

A Fairey Swordfish drops a torpedo.

3. It could handle all weathers

The rugged and reliable Swordfish was an ideal aircraft for carriers, especially small escort carriers, being able to operate in atrocious weather conditions that would ground more modern aircraft.

4. It was relatively slow

The Swordfish had a maximum speed of 139mph, ‘going downhill’ as some crews described it. Although headwinds might cut this to less than 100mph. Ironically this pedestrian pace made things difficult for enemy fighters as they would rapidly overshoot, and in the hands of a skilled pilot, the slow but highly manoeuvrable Swordfish could be a difficult target.

On 8 May 1940, off the Norwegian coast near Narvik, a lone Swordfish from the carrier Ark Royal successfully fought off attacks by three German aircraft. The aircrew signalled back to their carrier laconically: ‘From Swordfish 4F. Delayed by three Heinkels.’

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5. Six Swordfish took on the mighty Scharnhorst in 1942

On the afternoon of 12 February 1942, six Swordfish of 825 Squadron took off in a gallant but ultimately doomed attempt to attack the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the English Channel.

The flight was led by Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde, a veteran of the attack on the Bismarck. But the attack was hastily put together and Esmonde and his crews knew the odds were against them. Wing Commander Tom Gleave, station commander at Manston airfield, shook hands with Esmonde just before takeoff and recalled later:

“He knew what he was going into. But it was his duty. His face was tense and white.”

Faced by a storm of anti-aircraft fire from the German warships, as well as large numbers of enemy fighters, all six Swordfish were shot down. Just five aircrew survived. Esmonde was later awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

A flight of Swordfish bombers launched a doomed raid on the Scharnhorst.

6. They proved themselves at Taranto…

On the night of 11 November 1940, in an attack that would serve as a model for the Japanese at Pearl Harbour, a flight of twenty Swordfish carried out an attack on the anchored Italian Fleet in Taranto harbour that left three Italian battleships out of action.

7. …and outdid themselves against the Bismarck

The German battleship Bismarck sunk the famous British battle cruiser HMS Hood on 24 May, 1941 for the loss of all but three of her crew. Two days later, on 26 May, a strike force of fifteen Swordfish flying from the carrier Ark Royal sealed the fate of this massive warship. Two torpedoes struck home, with one hitting the stern to jam the Bismarck’s rudders and render her at the mercy of pursuing Royal Navy surface ships.

The carrier Ark Royal.

8. A Swordfish made the first sinking of a U-Boat by Fleet Air Arm aircraft

13 April 1940 saw the first sinking of a U-Boat by a Fleet Air Arm aircraft. A Swordfish fitted with floats, catapulted off the battleship HMS Warspite, surprised the U-64 at anchor off Bjerkvik, Norway, and sank her with two anti-submarine bombs.

9. The Swordfish made the first sinking of a U-Boat using rockets

By 1943 Swordfish might have been obsolete as a torpedo strike aircraft, but as a U-Boat killer it was proving very successful. On 23 May, a Swordfish flying from the escort carrier HMS Archer sank the U-752 with rockets, the first operational use of this new weapon.

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10. It outlived its successor

The Fairey Albacore was intended to replace the Swordfish but never really did so.

The Albacore was really just a cleaned-up version of the Swordfish with an enclosed cockpit, but it was still a biplane and in some aspects of performance was actually a retrograde step from the Swordfish.

As late as January 1945, 119 Squadron of RAF Coastal Command, having previously flown Albacores on night anti-shipping missions, was re-equipped with Swordfish fitted with surface search radar.

The Fairey Albacore.


Winton, John 1980 Find, Fix & Strike by John Winton B T Batsford Ltd

Price, Alfred 1973 Aircraft versus Submarine Janes Publishing Co Ltd

Carter, Ian 2004 Coastal Command 1939-45 Ian Allan Publishing

Batchelor, John, Preston, Antony & Caster, Louis S. 1979 Sea Power Phoebus Publishing

How an Outdated Biplane, Took Out the Gigantic Battleship Bismarck

The Second World War was a period of greatly accelerated development in the field of aviation: this was the first war in which jet fighters were used, and bigger bombers than the world had ever seen rained down death from the skies.

It is tempting to think that these types of airplane – the biggest, fastest, most powerful, most technologically advanced models – were solely responsible for winning the air war.

However, in focusing entirely on the flashiest, most impressive planes, it’s easy to lose sight of the plainer, simpler and smaller aircraft that played an equally important role in the Allied victory. One of these models was the Fairey Swordfish, nicknamed the “Stringbag,” a basic torpedo bomber biplane used extensively by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during WWII.

A Swordfish I during a training flight from RNAS Crail, circa 1939–1945

It was one of these humble planes that, reminiscent of Luke Skywalker taking out the Death Star in Star Wars, managed to disable one of the German Kriegsmarine’s most gigantic ships. Another Stringbag was also the first Allied plane to sink a German U-boat, and then later yet another of these unassuming airplanes was the first to sink a U-boat at night.

Stringbags also relentlessly harried the Axis shipping fleet in the Mediterranean, accounting for over a million tons sunk by the end of the war – not a bad tally for an outdated biplane!

Workers carrying out salvage and repair work on a wing of a Swordfish

Looks and performance-wise, the Fairey Swordfish bore a much closer resemblance to the airplanes of the First World War rather than those of the Second. With its open cockpit, fixed landing gear and its pair of stacked wings, by no stretch of one’s imagination could this humble plane have been described as “cutting edge” even in 1933, when the first prototype was built.

However, despite its outdated design, it was no less important to the Allied war effort than its more technologically-advanced compatriots. Indeed, the Swordfish’s antiquated appearance was deceptive – not so much in terms of its flat-out performance, but rather in terms of the roles it was able to perform.

A Fairey Swordfish floatplane being hoisted aboard the battleship HMS Malaya in October 1941

In addition to being armed with two basic but reliable 7.7mm machine guns, one fixed in position for the pilot in the front and one trainable at the rear for the gunner, the Swordfish was able to carry a wide variety of ordnance: anti-ship mines, depth charges, bombs, flares, or a ship-sinking 1,610-pound torpedo.

The plane was also used for a variety of roles, including reconnaissance, bombing, escort duty, or naval artillery spotting.

Swordfish on the after deck of HMS Victorious, 24 May 1941. The next day, nine Swordfish from Victorious attacked Bismarck.

Because of the variety of ordnance the Swordfish could carry and the diversity of its roles, it was given the nickname “Stringbag,” likening the plane to a popular style in women’s handbags at the time. Humorous as it was, the nickname was apt and it stuck.

As a basic three-seater biplane with a simple Bristol Pegasus motor that cranked out 690-odd horsepower, the Stringbag wasn’t going to be breaking any speed records in the air. However, the simple design meant that maintenance of the aircraft was easy, and that the planes were reliable.

A Swordfish, circa 1943–1944

The twin wings meant that the Stringbag had an excellent lift and could take off or land on a relatively short strip of land. This made Stringbags perfect for use on naval aircraft carriers, with their very limited landing and takeoff space.

Stringbags were also extraordinarily maneuverable, making up for their slow speed with excellent agility. Their fabric-covered, all-metal understructures were sturdy enough to deal with harsh landings, and this meant that they were ideal for night use – an excellent advantage, when they could fly all but invisible to Axis ships or other targets below.

A Swordfish taking off from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, with another passing by astern, circa 1939

These planes weren’t without their disadvantages, of course. They were at a severe disadvantage when it came to air-to-air combat against Axis fighter planes, and the open cockpit meant that the men in the plane would suffer immensely in the cold. Early in the war, Stringbags didn’t have communication radios, so they had to rely on hand-held signalling devices.

Nonetheless their advantages generally outweighed their disadvantages, and Stringbags saw extensive use throughout the war. In one of the most famous incidents in which they were involved, a Stringbag was instrumental in the sinking of one of the Kriegsmarine’s mightiest ships, the battleship Bismarck.

The Royal Navy’s HMS Ark Royal in 1939, with Swordfish biplane fighters passing overhead. The British aircraft carrier was involved in the crippling of the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941

The Bismarck was, at the time of its production, the most powerful warship ever made. In a sortie into the Atlantic aimed at crippling Britain’s crucial supply lines, the Bismarck battled and sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood.

Realizing the Bismarck had to be stopped, Britain launched a pursuit, but the Bismarck managed to evade her pursuers. The only ship close enough to have a chance of disabling the giant was HMS Ark Royal, which had a few Stringbags equipped with torpedoes aboard. The Stringbags took off an hour before sunset on May 26, 1941 to take on the German behemoth.

A Swordfish III of RAF 119 Squadron being refueled at Maldegem, Belgium, (1944–1945). The fairing of the aircraft’s centimetric radar can be seen below the engine

As the Stringbags, each carrying a single torpedo, approached the Bismarck they dived low, hoping to evade the flak that filled the air from the ship’s anti-aircraft guns. One Stringbag, piloted by Lieutenant Commander John Moffat, got the Bismarck in its sights.

Moffat and his observer, Flight Lieutenant JD Miller, had to time the release of their torpedo with extreme precision. They only had one chance to do this, and if they missed or the torpedo hit the crest of a wave in the extremely choppy sea, it was mission over. With flak flying all around them, and Miller waiting for the exact moment, Moffat’s hands were surely sweating on those controls.

A Swordfish III of RAF 119 Squadron being refueled at Maldegem, Belgium, (1944–1945). The fairing of the aircraft’s centimetric radar can be seen below the engine

Finally, the moment came, and the torpedo was dropped. Against all odds it hit home, striking the mighty battleship in a small area of vulnerability: the rudder, which the torpedo succeeded in jamming mid-turn.

With her rudder jammed to port, and thus unable to move in anything but endless circles, the Bismarck became a sitting duck. British naval ships later surrounded the Bismarck and eventually sank her after extensive bombardment.

Stringbags also played a key role in the night attack on Italy’s Taranto naval base. Two waves of Stringbags launched a surprise attack on the naval base on the night of November 11, 1940, and succeeded in destroying or disabling the bulk of Italy’s naval fleet – an attack that would be carefully studied by the Japanese, who would use similar tactics to attack Pearl Harbor.

Stringbags also saw extensive use in taking out Axis shipping lines, especially in the Mediterranean, where they sunk over a million tons throughout the war. All in all, this humble airplane proved its worth to the British Royal Navy many times over during the course of WWII.

9 Vickers Machine Gun

Another outdated British weapon from World War II was the Vickers machine gun. When the war started, the Germans used the excellent MG 34 and MG 42 machine guns. These weapons came into service right before the war or during it. On the other hand, the British entered the war with the Vickers, an archaic machine gun designed in the early 20th century with late 19th-century technology.

Unlike more modern machine guns, the Vickers was water-cooled. Vickers based their design on the Maxim machine gun, which was created in the late 1800s. Basically, they took the design and made it lighter and more efficient.

To prevent overheating, the gun used a water pump to cool the barrel. During World War I, the Vickers was the main machine gun of the British armed forces. Surprisingly, they were still using the same gun 25 years later in World War II.

British infantry used mass firing tactics to soften up German defenses and take advantage of the Vickers&rsquo firing rate. In combat, the gun was absurdly dependable in all environments. Modified Vickers were used on airplanes and surface ships.

The designed stayed in service throughout the war and beyond. British forces used the Vickers through the 1960s, when the guns were finally replaced by more modern weapons. Not bad for a machine gun designed in the 19th century.


The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936. In all, 2391 aircraft were built, the first 692 machines by Fairey Aviation and the remainder under licence by Blackburn Aircraft Company at their works at Sherburn-in-Elmet and Brough, Yorkshire. In service the Blackburn-built aircraft became unofficially known as “Blackfish”. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this very distinguished aircraft was its longevity. Although by all normal standards it was already obsolete at the outbreak of WW2, it confounded everyone by remaining in operational service throughout the whole of the war, and thereby gained the distinction of being the last British bi-plane to see active service. Indeed, it outlasted its intended replacement, the Albacore, which disappeared from front-line service in 1943.

The secret of the Swordfish lay in its superb handling qualities which made it uniquely suitable for deck flying operations and the problems of torpedo or dive bombing attacks. Pilots marvelled that they could pull a Swordfish off the deck and put it in a climbing turn at 55 knots. The aircraft manoeuvred in a vertical plane as easily as it would at straight and level, and even when diving from 1,000ft, the ASI would not rise much beyond 200 knots. The controls were not frozen rigid by the force of the slipstream, and it was possible to hold the dive within 200ft of the water. Even its lack of speed could be turned to advantage. A steep turn as sea level towards an attacker just before he came within range and the difference in speed and tight turning circle made it impossible for a fighter to bring its guns to bear for more than a few seconds. The approach to a carrier deck could be made at extremely slow speed, yet control response remained firm. It is not hard to imagine what that means to a pilot attempting to land on a dark night when the carrier’s deck was pitching the height of a house. Swordfish (or “Stringbags” as they were often nicknamed) in addition to sinking more than 300,000 tons of German/Italian Axis shipping, were responsible for the destruction of over 20 U-Boats. Operating from adapted merchant vessels, the Merchant Aircraft Carriers (MAC Ships), Swordfish aircraft could be carried with the convoys, providing both a deterrent to submarines and a boost to the merchant sailor’s morale.

Amongst their many battle honours, those which stand out above the rest are the Battle of the Atlantic, the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto in November 1940, the operation to seek, pursue and destroy the German Battleship Bismarck in May 1941, and the ill-fated operation against the German Battlecruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Heavy Cruiser Prince Eugen as they made their famous ‘Channel Dash’ in February 1942. But above all, the Swordfish carved its name in the history books by its exploits in protecting convoys. From August 1942 they sailed on the Russian convoys. On one such convoy, Swordfish embarked in the escort carriers Vindex and Striker flew 1,000 hours on anti-submarine patrol in the space of 10 days, and in September 1944 Vindex’s Swordfish sank four U-Boats in a single voyage. Such feats were accomplished despite frequently experiencing the most appalling weather conditions, often at night and with all the additional arctic hazards of snow and ice on the decks. Of the Atlantic convoys, it was Winston Churchill himself who said that “..the Battle of the Atlantic was the only one I feared about losing..”, and the sheer magnitude of this battle can be appreciated by recognising that the Allies lost more than 4,600 ships, and that the Germans lost 785 submarines. It was the introduction of air power at sea which turned the tide in the Allies’ favour, and the contribution made to this battle by Swordfish aircraft was very substantial.

Fairey Swordfish Mk.I W5856

This aircraft, a “Blackfish” built by Blackburn Aircraft at Sherburn-in-Elmet, first flew on Trafalgar Day (21 October) 1941. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet for a year and was returned to Fairey’s Stockport factory for refurbishment. Used for advanced flying training and trials, the aircraft was sent to Canada where it was again used in a training role and stored in reserve after the war’s end. Passing through the hands of at least two civilian operators after disposal, she was purchased by Sir William Roberts and brought to Scotland to join his Strathallan Collection. Bought by British Aerospace for presentation to the Swordfish Heritage Trust, the partly-restored airframe went to BAe Brough for complete restoration to flying condition, the work being completed in 1993.

W5856 is painted in the pre-war colours of 810 Squadron embarked in HMS Ark Royal. The horizontal stripes on the fin denote the Commanding Officer’s aircraft, and the blue and red fuselage stripes are the colours for Ark Royal with the letter code ‘A’ being for the ship, 𔃲’ for the second squadron and ‘A’ for the first aircraft of that squadron. The long yellow fuselage strip identified 810 as Yellow Squadron in the summer air exercises held in 1939.

In September 1996 W5856 was adopted by the City of Leeds and now proudly wears the City’s coat of arms and name on her port side just forward of the pilot’s cockpit.

This aircraft, also a ‘Blackfish’, was built in 1943 at Sherburn-in-Elmet. Later that year she was part of ‘L’ Flight of 836 Squadron (the largest ever Fleet Air Arm Squadron) on board the MAC ship Rapana, on North Atlantic Convoy duties. Following her active service she was used for training and communications duties from the Royal Naval Air Station Culham near Oxford and Worthy Down near Winchester.

In 1947 Fairey Aviation bought LS326 and displayed her at various RAeS Garden party displays. The following year she was sent to White Waltham for storage and remained there getting more and more dilapidated until Sir Richard Fairey gave orders for the aircraft to be rebuilt. The restoration work completed in October 1955 and thereafter she was kept in flying condition at White Waltham registered as G-AJVH and painted Fairey Blue and silver.

In 1959 LS326 was repainted for a starring role in the film ‘Sink the Bismarck!’. In October 1960 she was presented to the Royal Navy by the Westland Aircraft Company and has been flown ever since. For many years she retained her “Bismarck” colour scheme and in 1984 D-Day invasion stripes were also added for the 40th Anniversary celebrations when she overflew the beaches of Normandy. Since 1987 she has worn her original wartime colour scheme for North Atlantic convoys with ‘L’ Flight of 836 Squadron. Following extensive work by BAeS Brough to her wings, LS326 flew again on 1 July 2008 for the first time in nine years.

LS326 was adopted by the City of Liverpool, the name she proudly wears on her port side.

Swordfish aircraft

The Swordfish entered service when monoplane carrier aircraft were already appearing, and although performance exceeded expectations, it was not spectacular. The first aircraft reached service units in 1936. The Swordfish was a large biplane, but because it is single-engined it tends to look deceptively small from a distance and on photographs Swordfish var i bruk helt frem til slutten av den andre verdenskrig, og den siste produksjonsvarianten Swordfish Mk III var utstyrt med radar for antiubåtkrigføring. I alt ble 2391 Swordfish bygget. 692 av Fairey Aviation frem til 1940, og 1699 av Blackburn Aircraft Company frem til 1944 Saab's Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) brings a new level of operational confidence to the global MPA market. The winning combination of Bombardier's Global 6000 ultra-long-range aircraft, General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada's acoustics processor and Saab's pedigree in total airborne surveillance solutions, ensures a new era in maritime air power Swordfish Multi-Role Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab introduced the Swordfish long-range, multi-role maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) mission system on Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier's Global 6000 jet aircraft and Q400 turboprop aircraft platforms in February 2016

Fairey Swordfish - Aircraft - Fighting the U-boats - uboat

  1. A Swordfish made the first sinking of a U-Boat by Fleet Air Arm aircraft 13 April 1940 saw the first sinking of a U-Boat by a Fleet Air Arm aircraft. A Swordfish fitted with floats, catapulted off the battleship HMS Warspite, surprised the U-64 at anchor off Bjerkvik, Norway, and sank her with two anti-submarine bombs
  2. Although Swordfish numbered no more than 27 aircraft, they sank an average 50,000 tons (50,800 MT) of shipping every month. During one month, they sank a record 98,000 tons (99,572 MT). Swordfish attacked enemy convoys at night although they were not equipped with night instrumentation
  3. The Swordfish was revealed as a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) system, one that can be adapted to either the Bombardier Global 6000 or Q400, depending on customer preference. In broad terms, an MPA is used to monitor a country's littoral waters and adjoining seas, including its sea-lines-of-communication (SLOC) or sea lanes, which serve as conduits for international trade

Swordfish - Store norske leksiko

  1. The Swordfish initiative and the Global 6000 aircraft are truly a perfect match, says Stéphane Leroy, Vice President of Specialized Aircraft at Bombardier. The redundancy built into the baseline Global 6000 aircraft - such as the four variable frequency generators as well as an auxiliary power unit and RAM air turbine generator - ensures safety and reliability on MPA missions
  2. Fairey Swordfish at the Imperial War Museum Duxford (1980s). This is an incomplete list. Swordfish Mk.I W5856, Swordfish Mk.II LS326, Swordfish Mk.III NF389 These three aircraft form part of the Royal Navy Historic Flight W5856 and LS326 are in flying condition NF389 is being restored to airworthy condition by the Flight.. Swordfish Mk.II, HS618 Displayed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum
  3. Fairey Swordfish Mk2 (LS326/L2) full engine start up, power checks, taxi and take off from RNAS Yeovilton (EGDY) The aircraft is owned by The Royal Navy and.
  4. Torpedo bombers first appeared immediately prior to the First World War. Generally, they carried torpedoes specifically designed for air launch, which were smaller and lighter than those used by submarines and surface warships. Nonetheless, as an airborne torpedo could weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (910 kg), more than twice the bomb load of contemporary single-engined bombers, the aircraft.
  5. The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during World War II. Affectionately known as the Stringbag by its crews, it was already outdated when the war started, but was operated as a primary attack aircraft into 1942
  6. About this model aircraft This Fairey Swordfish model aircraft kit is made to order in the UK using top quality materials and precision laser-cutting. Part of a range that featured realistic appearance and excellent flying qualities together with simple construction. An ideal introduction to the world of rubber powered balsa wood kits
  7. Apr 25, 2016 - A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936. In all, 2391 aircraft we

Fairey Swordfish Mk.I W5856 This aircraft, a Blackfish built by Blackburn Aircraft at Sherburn-in-Elmet, first flew on Trafalgar Day (21 October) 1941. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet for a year and was returned to Fairey's Stockport factory for refurbishment Swordfish aircraft left one of their many marks in the British assault on Taranto through Operation Judgment. Taranto served as an important Italian naval base in the Mediterranean. Once France fell so too did her naval capabilities in the northwest Mediterranean, thus this sea - for all intents and purposes - came under control of the Axis powers The Fairey Swordfish was powered by a Bristol Pegasus engine which was a British nine-cylinder, single row, air-cooled radial aero engine. The engine was first designed by Roy Fadden of the British Aeroplane Company, and was used to power both civilian and military aircraft throughout the 1930s and 1940s The Fairey design for the Swordfish began as a private venture to satisfy a need to replace Greek Fairey IIIF aircraft. The original was known as the TSR1 (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), but was not too successful and was significantly re-designed as the TSR2 and re-engined with the Bristol Pegasus before being regarded as satisfactory

A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936. In all, 2391 aircraft were built, the first 692 machines by Fairey Aviation and the remainder under. Swordfish would fly 4,177 patrols, sink 10 U-boats and share in the destruction of five more. Already obsolescent when the first one landed on an aircraft carrier, this ugly duckling, outliving several designs meant to replace it, was the only naval aircraft in frontline service from the first day of the European war to the last Swordfish: Vehicle Type: WW2 Carrier Aircraft: Corgi Aviation Archive 1:72 Scale Fairey Swordfish Mk I. 815 Squadron Fleet Air Arm HMS Illustrious. AA36306. Limited Edition - 2168 of 2860. As new, never out of box, all original packaging in good condition. Back to home page Return to top

Fairey Swordfish in action - Aircraft No. 175. by W. A. Harrison | 1 Jan 2001. 5.0 out of 5 stars 2. Paperback More buying choices £14.95 (11 used & new offers) atlas editions 4909322 1:72 Fairey Swordfish 'Sink the Bismark' Model Plane. £27.95 £ 27. 95. FREE Delivery. Feb 25, 2019 - Explore Lee Walker's board Swordfish on Pinterest. See more ideas about Swordfish, Fairey swordfish, Aircraft The Swordfish Mk II is defended by: . 1 x 7.7 mm Vickers K machine gun, dorsal turret (600 rpg) Usage in battles. This aircraft will ultimately be outperformed by any aircraft it faces, so its key strength is the payload Nov 26, 2018 - Explore Charles Lofton's board Swordfish on Pinterest. See more ideas about Swordfish, Fairey swordfish, Aircraft

The Swordfish remained in front-line service until V-E Day, having outlived multiple aircraft that had been intended to replace it in service. (Source: Wikipedia) (Photo: Rocket-armed Fairey Swordfish on a training flight from RNAS St Merryn in Cornwall, 1 August 1944 A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936 Swordfish. Historic Flight. A biplane operated by the Royal Navy prior to and throughout WWII and now a significant national asset which has come to represent the very essence of both the Fleet Air Arm and wider naval ethos of the 'can-do, will-do' attitude . They were at a severe disadvantage when it came to air-to-air combat against Axis fighter planes, and the open cockpit meant that the men in the plane would suffer immensely in the cold

The Swordfish Descend Upon the Bismarck. The Swordfish lifted off shortly after 7 pm on May 26, gained altitude, located Sheffield and this time used it as a way-finder rather than a target. Once Bismarck was spotted, the pilots split into five sub-flights of three aircraft each In a clear attempt to target Boeing's P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), Saab has highlighted its 'Swordfish' MPAs as an alternative to large, costly airliner-type platforms

Here is the Fairey Swordfish Color Profile and Paint Guide. Cybermodeler Online. Celebrating 21 years of hobby news and reviews. Home What's New Features & Reviews Model Kit Top Gun Subject & Color Refs Search About Us. PROUDLY SPONSORED BY: Notice: The appearance of U.S. 72nd Aircraft. A forum discussion board for 1/72nd scale aircraft and armor fans. FORUMS. DISCUSSIONS. MESSAGES. NOTIFICATIONS. 72nd Aircraft > Showcase > Photos of Completed Models > Swordfish. Moderator:renscho. Share. Share with: Link: Copy link High dash speed and long endurance make the Saab Swordfish MPA an ideal maritime patrol aircraft. The Saab Swordfish MPA comes with an advanced sensor and C4I package comprising 360° rotating multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical sensors with laser payload, automatic identification system (AIS), identification friend or foe. Fairey Aviation Company Limited var en britisk fly som eksisterte i første halvdel av 1900-tallet. Selskapet hadde sine baser i Hayes, London, Heaton Chapel og Manchester.Selskapet var kjent for bygging av et stort antall viktige militærfly, inklusive the Fairey III familien, Swordfish, Fairey Firefly og Gannet. Det var sterkt tilstedeværende i forbindelse med marinens fly for hangarskip. . The Museum's Aircraft - Fairey Swordfish Mk II HS618. This aircraft actually served in the Battle of the Atlantic. It was built under licence by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd and delivered to 834 Naval Air Squadron in May 1943

Nov 30, 2019 - A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936. In all, 2391 aircraft we A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936 Dec 30, 2015 - My dad was a rear gunner in ww11 in one of these aircraft. See more ideas about Swordfish, Fairey swordfish, Aircraft Saab, a Swedish defense firm, has offered its Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for South Korean Navy's requirement to procure six new aircraft to supplement its MPA fleet of 16 P-3C and.

The Fairey Swordfish was a biplane torpedo bomber designed by the Fairey Aviation Company. Originating in the early 1930s, the Swordfish, nicknamed Stringbag, was operated by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, in addition to having been equipped by the Royal Air Force (RAF) alongside multiple overseas operators, including the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Royal Netherlands Navy Swordfish aircraft operated from escort carriers, patrolling in the mid-Atlantic gap, helping keep U-boats submerged and providing vital air cover for the convoys. The Fairey Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd BANGKOK — Over the past two years, Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab has put its advertising muscle into promoting a maritime patrol aircraft it called Swordfish Photo about Historic swordfish aircraft with torpedo. Image of propeller, swordfish, historical - 163367

Swordfish Redefines Tomorrow's Maritime Patrol Aircraft

English: A Swordfish aircraft with the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The Swordfish evolved from the prototype Fairey TSR.II (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance), designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin of the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., first flew in 1934 and entered service with No.825 Squadron in 1936 The Fairey 'Swordfish' was a torpedo bomber biplane designed by the Fairey Aviation Company and W.S. Hunt for use by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Initially, Swordfishes operated from the large fleet carriers. Later Swordfishes operated from escort carriers and 'MAC' (Merchant Aircraft Carrier) ships, and were very effective against U-boats The venreable old Swordfish now rests at the Shearwater Aviation Museum at Dartmouth NS. Canada a tribute to the brave men who flew the Stringbag in every theatre of operation during WWII. Incidentally this aircraft sunk more enemy tonnage than any other aircraft and was the only aircrft to see service throughout the entire war. repl

Swordfish Multi-Role Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA

  • Fairey Swordfish Mk II-ASV (ASW) From Azur Lane Wiki. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Fairey Swordfish Mk II-ASV (ASW) T1. T1. Type: ASW Bomber: Rarity: Aircraft Carrier.
  • The Swordfish had its origins in the early 1930s, when it was developed by the Fairey Aviation Company in Middlesex for use in spotting for British naval guns, general reconnaissance, and torpedo.
  • The Swordfish Mk I is a rank I British bomber with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. The Swordfish is a plane often overlooked by new players, but it is common for more experienced players to hold a special love for ugly ducklings
  • Since there were insufficient aircraft carriers to escort convoys across the Atlantic the British converted 19 grain ships and oil tankers to Merchant Aircraft Carriers (MAC). The grain ships, fitted with a 400 foot flight deck, hangar and elevator, operated four Swordfish while the tankers with a 460 foot flight deck had no hangar to accommodate their three Swordfish
  • This attack was made by 15 Swordfish aircraft, armed with torpedoes set to 22 ft., and lasted from 2055 to 2125. It was first reported that the aircraft had scored no hits and it seemed that the remaining chance for the British forces had gone but at 2130 Bismarck suddenly turned north and soon after came the welcome news that one hit, and possibly two, had after all been scored

10 Facts About the Fairey Swordfish - History Hi

  • Swordfish production ended on the 18 th August 1944 by which time 2391 aircraft had been built, 692 by Fairey and 1,699 by the Blackburn Aircraft Company (referred to as Blackfish) at Sherburn-in-Elmet. The final Swordfish was delivered in August 1944 and the last front-line FAA flew Swordfish on the 21 st May 1945 when 836 Squadron was disbanded
  • 327 results for swordfish, aircraft Save swordfish, aircraft to get e-mail alerts and updates on your eBay Feed. Unfollow swordfish, aircraft to stop getting updates on your eBay Feed
  • Fairey Swordfish Mk.I L9781 No.820 Sqn FAA HMS Ark Royal 1939. Aircraft 650 shows the Ark Royal's colours of a blue/red/blue band, aircraft belonging to No.814 Sqn carried the same colours, but in a chevron pattern

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier, one of the first to use an angled landing deck. The ship was laid down as Irresistible, but was renamed in honour of the famous WW2 aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, from the deck of which Swordfish aircraft took off that inflicted critical damage on the formidable German battleship Bismarck Sep 12, 2020 - Explore dturc#33's board Swordfish on Pinterest. See more ideas about Swordfish, Fairey swordfish, Ww2 aircraft Shop for swordfish Aircraft in the Shapeways 3D printing marketplace. Find unique gifts and other personal designs in Shapeways Miniatures

Fairey Swordfish - Aviation Histor

  • RAF Serial : Type : Aircraft History: V4683: Mk.I : NOTE: One source quotes this serial as one of the six RAAF Swordfish, however, this appears to be a blackout block serial number, so the aircraft should not exist!Our theory is that this is a misprint for V4685 which seems to have followed a similar path to the other five aircraft
  • Feb 6, 2018 - Explore Kristjan Pedersen's board Swordfish on Pinterest. See more ideas about Swordfish, Fairey swordfish, Wwii aircraft
  • The Swordfish II was a remodeled MONO Racer built by Doohan. Originally designed for high-speed racing, the craft was given armaments and converted into a space-ready fighter.Spike Spiegel owned and flew the ship. 1 Design 2 History 3 Gallery 4 Video Gallery 5 Background 6 Notes and references The Swordfish was 13.8 meters long by 13.3 meters wide and 4.8 meters tall weighing 8.4 metric tons.
  • Aug 28, 2017 - Explore Etiennedup's photos on Flickr. Etiennedup has uploaded 3214 photos to Flickr
  • WWII British aircraft: Fairey Swordfish The Fairy Swordfish was a torpedo-spotter-reconnaissance biplane operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and was nicknamed the stringbag because of the large variety of weapons it could carry. Boasting the most spectacular successes of any biplane in World War II, The Swordfish sank or disabled three Italian battleships and a cruiser in the attack on.

. History: When British naval intelligence determined that a large number of Italian warships lay at anchor in Taranto harbour in November 1940, an attack was organized, to be carried out by 21 single-engine carrier-based biplanes. The operation was a huge success -- three battleships were severely damaged, a cruiser and two destroyers were hit, and two other vessels were sunk History The Fairey Swordfish was an aircraft that, although appearing to be obsolete at the outbreak of World War II, achieved a combat record far in excess of what anyone expected. A large biplane, the type was used as a torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, anti-submarine type, and trainer by Commonwealth air forces and navies

Profile: Saab Swordfish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA

[1] SWORDFISH ORIGINS * The Swordfish started out in 1933 as a private venture by Fairey Aviation Company Limited, in the form of the three-seat Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance I (TSR.I) aircraft, developed by a team under Marcel Lobelle, a Belgian who was Fairey's chief designer Dec 4, 2014 - Explore Ian Rowbottom's board Fairey Swordfish on Pinterest. See more ideas about Fairey swordfish, Swordfish, Aircraft Royal Navy Torpedo Bomber. Historical Notes. Wikipedia. This fabric-and-metal biplane began development in 1933, fulfilling the triple roles of Torpedo Bomber, Spotter, and Reconnaissance Carrier-based aircraft. Operating from fleet carriers or more usually escort carriers. TBF Avenger, F4F Wildcat / Martlet and Fairey Swordfish. Water-based aircraft. Martin PBM Mariner, Short Sunderland and PBY Catalina. Very-Long Range aircraft. These aircraft helped to reduce the mid-ocean air gap utilized by U-boats Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bombers of the Fleet Air Arm on a training flight from Crail in Scotland, 1940. A3532.jpg 3,219 × 2,480 2.38 MB Fairey Swordfish Mk I.svg 1,429 × 1,680 748 K

Video: A look at Saab's Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft

The Saab Swordfish is a family of multi-role maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) based upon the Bombardier Q400 turboprop and Global 6000 jet. Swordfish mission system is designed to carry out a wide range of maritime C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions and combat roles , 2013 - ferdinand-von-portus: Fairey Swordfish - nice plane

Fairey Swordfish Military Wiki Fando

Sjekk Fairey Swordfish oversettelser til Norsk bokmål. Se gjennom eksempler på Fairey Swordfish oversettelse i setninger, lytt til uttale og lær grammatikk The Swordfish' MPA consisting of Bombardier's Global 6000 ultra-long-range aircraft, General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada's acoustics processor and Saab's pedigree in total airborne surve If the Swordfish has lived on among the many British legends of the Second World War, the man whose name the aircraft bore has not. Sir Richard (Dick) Fairey was one of the pioneers of the British aviation industry his career spanned an early apprenticeship before the First World War through to the creation of the Fairey Delta 2, the jet that broke the world speed record in 1956, the. The Fairey Swordfish was a carrier based biplane torpedo bomber used by the British Royal Navy in World War II. One of the most famous instances that rose this plane to fame is the moment they helped sink Germany's best battleship the Bismarck on May,27th,1941 in the North Atlantic. The Swordfish entered service in 1936

Fairey Swordfish LS326/L2 Start Up & Take Off - YouTub

Note: A rare look into the cockpit of a Swordfish (or 'Stringbag' as it was affectionately known by crews). NF370 was built in 1944 and delivered to the RAF in Febuary of 1945. There are no records of it being entered in either of the RAF.. Your Swordfish Aircraft stock images are ready. Download all free or royalty-free photos and vectors. Use them in commercial designs under lifetime, perpetual. SAAB is actively marketing its new business jet-sized Swordfish multi-role maritime patrol aircraft which it hopes will offer a competitive alternative to larger platforms. BILL READ FRAeS reports from Linkoping in Sweden Amercon 1/72 Scale - Fairey Swordfish Mk1 HMS Furious Aircraft 1940. £18.85. Click & Collect. Free postage. or Best Offer. 1:72 Fairey Swordfish Bomber Fighter Alloy Model Aircraft Collectibles Gifts. £24.05. Free postage. 1/72 Scale FAIREY SWORDFISH Bomber Fighter Alloy Aircraft Collectibles Preparing myself mentally for a build of an 860 squadron Swordfish, I noticed a cable between the main landing gear legs. What has been seen cannot be Fairey Swordfish Mk.II, what's between the legs? - 72nd Aircraft

Torpedo bomber - Wikipedi

aircraft/loadouts Swordfish MKII and Swordfish MKIV. By GandhiKhan, March 29, 2017 in Passed for Consideration. GandhiKhan 116 GandhiKhan 116 Warrant officer Member 116 168 posts Gender: Male Location: Confusion, Confusionville Interests: Tanks. Newsfeed. The newsfeed doesn't contain any items. More about the Fairey Swordfish propellers. The Fairey Swordfish-page contains all related products, articles, books, walkarounds and plastic scale modeling projects dedicated to this aircraft.. This topic is categorised under: Aircraft » Propeller » Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish World War Photo

The Fairey Swordfish is a single-engine two- or three-seat torpedo bomber biplane aircraft produced by the British manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company Limited. The Fairey Swordfish was produced as landplane with wheel landing gear and as a floatplane

18 Veron Fairey Swordfish - The Vintage Model Compan

Fairey Swordfish (suom. miekkakala) oli brittiläinen toisessa maailmansodassa lentotukialuksilta toiminut torpedopommittaja.. Swordfish oli kaksitaso, ja jo sodan alussa auttamattomasti vanhentunut, mutta silti sitä käytettiin koko sodan ajan, ja Swordfishin seuraajaksi tarkoitettu Fairey Albacore itse asiassa poistui palveluskäytöstä ennen Swordfishiä The Fairey Swordfish biplanes were also utilised in Malta. In fact, by the end of the war, they had caused more damage to Axis shipping than any other Allied Aircraft. This particular plane was forced to ditch into the sea in April 1934 due to engine failure, and was discovered at outside of St Julian's Bay in 2017

Swordfish Aircraft Aircraft, Fairey swordfish, Wwii aircraft

Here is the Fairey Swordfish Modeler's Online Reference which provides the modeler with a one-stop resource for photo references, kit reviews, and available aftermarket options in all of the popular scales Built by Blackburn Aircraft at Sherburn-in-Elmet in August 1943. Served 836 Squadron aboard two light aircraft carriers until November 1944. Shown at Fairey Aviation at Ringway with a Barracuda V and Halifax. Registered G-AJVH in May 1947 as a comms aircraft. Returned to the Royal Navy in April 1959 and currently airworthy. - Photo taken at Manchester - International (Ringway) (MAN / EGCC) in. Trivia. A plane more in line with WW1-era aircraft, it was woefully outdated even before the war started. An order was put forth by the British Air Ministry to replace the current Fairey III, and with Fairey's proven track record in creating recon planes, they designed a working prototype by 1933, the TSR I (Torpedo-Spotter-Reconnaissance I) Like the Swordfish, the AirTractor is an over-designed, heavily-built aircraft designed to take rough treatment. The weak point for the crop dusters began to be the Pratt and Whitney Wasp radials that powered them—not the engine itself (a proven performer) but the parts, the expertise, the age and access to fuel Media in category Fairey Swordfish LS326 The following 68 files are in this category, out of 68 total. Bournemouth Air Festival 2013 (9628401705).jpg 1,936 × 1,089 617 K

The fact that it remained in service so long may be related to the failure of the Germans to complete the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. It had no danger of encountering fighters, when far from land. The slow speed made it able to operate in worse weather, and therefor farther north than a monoplane could have. David R. Ingham 18:23, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

It was actually because the Swordfish was almost perfect for operating of the small Escort carriers, and could fly (as you state) in almost any weather, as well as being able to carry, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, mines, depth charges, etc., as well as ASV radar. The small size of the escort carrier is also why the Grumman Wildcat/Martlet was able to be useful long after it was obsolete, as it could also be operated of the smaller carriers. Had Germany launched the Graf Zeppelin then that would have had a similar implications for other allied carrier-based aircraft, such as the Martlet/Wildcat, Hellcat, Barracuda, Albacore, etc., not just the Swordfish. Against the Bf 109T that it was intended to equip the Graf Zeppelin with, they would all have had a pretty hard time, only the Seafire being a match for the Messerschmitt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 22 July 2010 (UTC) A Wildcat would be more than a match for a Bf 109T (which was, after all, merely a navalized Bf 109E), let alone a Hellcat.-- (talk) 05:10, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

The article claims that radar was not introduced until 1943. One of the references for the article, http://www.kbismarck.com/article2.html , says that it was used by the a/c that hit the Bismarck. So, was that a prototype fitment? Greglocock 01:16, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The article refers to "centimetric radar" invented in the autumn of 1942. This was an improved form and capable of detecting much smaller objects and not picked up by the existing German radar search receivers. In 1941 the FAA Swordfish certainly carried radar. (See references Kemp p. 277 & Kennedy p. 111 in main article)

Jpacobb (talk) 18:12, 5 September 2011 (UTC)jpacobb

It would be great to include information on where the crewmembers sat. Are they in a row? Is the pilot first? Also, under history it is not clear what "HMS Warspite spotted fall of shot" means. User:JHamiltonGreenHarbor May 2007

In then-contemporary Royal Navy terminology 'Spotting' (as in the 'Torpedo/Spotter/Reconnaissance' designation for the Swordfish) meant observing ('spotting') the impact points of a battleship's big guns and then radioing back corrections to the ship. In the days before the widespread introduction of radar it was easy enough to get azimuth (i.e., direction) of a target correct, but range was another matter. A battleship's guns might have a range of ten to fifteen miles or more, and gauging the correct elevation for the guns (i,e. the range to the target) from the ship itself was not possible over such distances. So, the 'spotter' aircraft was flown-off and would then position itself somewhere where it could see the shells impacting. The battleship would then fire its guns and the aircraft would radio back to the ship corrections such as 'Down 5 degrees', 'Up 2 degrees', etc., to zero-in the guns onto the target. When this had been achieved and the target was seen by the spotter to be being hit the message radioed back was 'On target' and the ship would then continue firing on the current bearing/elevation. In Army terminology the corresponding role was carried out by an 'Air Observation Post' (AOP) aircraft such as the Auster. The term 'spotter' has the same meaning in the term trainspotter, meaning someone who takes an inordinate interest in seeing/observing something. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

The article makes out the swordfish's nickname came-by in comparison to the 1930's to 1960's stile of shopping bag the 'string-bag'.This is false, the nickname was applied to the swordfish due to the ground crews ability to repair the swordfish. The swordfish on most fleet air arm carriers where often said to be ' made out of bits of string and patch's. I intend to change this article on October the 14th 2007. If you wish to object to me edditing this article, please raise your objections by October 14th 2007. I thought it is only polite to give a fortnight's warning before changing any persons work. Bye TheJackle 23:41, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Well actually it was I who added the current (correct) explanation several years ago although I didn't have a reference to-hand at the time, luckily someone else has read the relevant book and re-instated the text. I prefer to take Charles Lamb's word for it, as he was there at the time: Lamb, Charles.War in a Stringbag. London: Cassell & Co., 2001. ISBN 0-304-35841-X. As he said, it got its nickname because of what it could carry - like a housewife's 'string bag' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 22 July 2010 (UTC) For whatever reason which perhaps only Their Lordships know, the Swordfish was comprehensively tested ('clearance trials') by the A&AEE at such places as Martlesham Heath and later Boscombe Down for safely carrying and dropping just about every FAA and naval air-droppable store that was then, or subsequently became available. That meant several Marks of 18" torpedo, numerous types and sizes of mine, bomb, rocket, depth charge, etc., and the notable thing about the Swordfish was that if you mentioned some obscure type of store, and enquired if it was cleared for the Swordfish, the answer was almost invariably 'yes'. Hence 'it could carry anything'. BTW, the term 'clearance' means that the bomb or other weapon being dropped or fired 'clears' the aeroplane safely without causing damage to or posing a danger to the aircraft. New aircraft and new weapons are tested for this, hence 'clearance trials'. If an aeroplane has been tested with a particular weapon and has passed successfully the aircraft is said to be 'cleared' for that weapon and that weapon may be carried and used by it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 2 January 2014 (UTC) Article on Charles Lamb here Charles Lamb (Royal Navy officer). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:20, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

From article (see May 1941.) "(These two points are disputed and may be an urban myth.)" — Robert Greer (talk) 15:35, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

In the article about the Taranto Raid it is stated that the Swordfish were able to perfom night missions. How was the RN to be able to do this not even the USN was capable nightraids during the whole Pacific Campaign.

see Mitschers risky attack in the Battle of the Phillipinean Sea.-- (talk) 23:10, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

All RN (FAA) and RAF pilots had full night flying training throughout the war, whereas IIRC, for the US, because of the haste with which the expanded flying training schools were organised after Pearl Harbour it was deemed unnecessary to train pilots, other than night fighter ones, for night flying. It took the RAF and FAA roughly as long again to train a pilot to fly at night as it did to train a pilot to fly in the first place, so it doubled the time taken to train a pilot. The US didn't regard this as being needed as their doctrine advocated daylight (VFR) operations almost exclusively and in 1941-42 they were in a desperate hurry to increase the number of pilots available. For the RAF and FAA however, their flying training organisation had been set up during the relatively quiet phase of the war and was based all over the British Commonwealth and USA, and so training could be carried out in a more measured fashion, and because of the longer 'lead-in' of pilots available to them they never needed to reduce training to daylight only. The reason that all RAF pilots had full IFR (night flying) training was because a pilot from a day fighter squadron might later find himself being transferred to a bomber squadron (and vice-versa), and by 1941 most of RAF Bomber Command's operation were at night, so it was important that any pilot could be used in any role. This is also the reason that the USAAC/USAAF never really considered going over to night bombing when their losses became serious, as they would have needed to re-train their bomber pilots to fly at night, which would have taken considerable time and halted their bomber offensive completely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

". torpedo release altitude of 18 ft (5.5 m).[1] Maximum range of the early Mark XII torpedo was 1,500 yd (1400 m).[2] The torpedo traveled 200 yd (180 m) forward from release to water impact, "

Thats physically impossible. If a torpedo is released 18 feet above the water, at any speed, it is not going to travel 600 feet ( 200 yd ) before it hits the water. Unless it is actually a cruise missile, which the torpedos the Swordfish was dropping, were not.Eregli bob (talk) 04:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree it is impossible. If dropped from 18 feet, a torpedo would fall for under 1.2 seconds and travel horizontally about 227 feet if released at 121 knots. Kennedy gives the rules for release as speed 90 knots, height 90 feet, range 900 yards [1]

Jpacobb (talk) 18:28, 5 September 2011 (UTC)jpacobb

I've seen the claim made elsewhere in several sources that the Swordfish escaped the Bismark's anti-aircraft fire because they were flying slower than the ship's gun predictors could allow for. The claim seems to not make sense to me. But I'm not knowledgeable at all about the Bismark or Naval AA gunnery so I'm wary of sticking in a "dubious-discuss" in the article. I will however, set down here why I think its odd the Bismark found it difficult to engage slow flying aircraft.

  • Any aircraft making a torpedo attack must fly low and slow to ensure the torpedo enters the water cleanly (see above, 90 feet, 90 knots). Having a gun predictor with a minimum speed greater than this makes no sense.
  • The Bismark was designed in the mid-30's, during the biplane era, when the designers would surely think attack by slower, biplane aircraft as being likely.
  • Do you even need a gun predictor when an torpedo-carrying aircraft is flying directly towards you - a zero deflection shot is the term I think?

The trouble is, so few of the Bismark's crew survived to report on what the battle was like from their point of view. So unless somebody is willing to trawl the interrogation reports of the Bismark survivors, its easy for 'facts' to go unchallenged for decades. My personal suspicion was was that it was a newly commissioned ship, the gunners were still inexperienced and perhaps they just weren't very good (am I right in thinking the Swordfish attack was the Bismark's first ever engagement with hostile aircraft). However I'll happily stand corrected if there are reliable sources supporting the orthodox view of the attack.Catsmeat (talk) 10:57, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

The Swordfish was a very capable dive-bomber. FAA doctrine called for the Swordfish to make torpedo attacks using a steep diving approach to the target, level off for just a few seconds, drop the torpedo and turn sharply away. This meant that the aircraft was never "straight and level" long enough for medium calibre AA fire firecontrol to generate an accurate fire control solution. All WW2 AA computers could only make accurate predictions based upon targets moving in a straight line. It seems likely that this was the reason that none were shot down by Bismarck. However, it is difficult to find a reference for this.Damwiki1 (talk) 16:40, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

I was always under the impression that torpedo gunnery always required a certain length of run-in to the target on a straight and level course in order to accurately determine the speed and course of the ship, and the exact relative vectors of the aircraft and vessel before dropping the torpedo. Any attempt to simply "point and shoot" it is going to end in almost certain failure, since the minimum range of a torpedo before it arms itself is long enough that simply flying in the direction of the ship and letting in drop is so far away it's almost certainly going to miss. I think "a few seconds" is probably more like 10 seconds or so. On top of that, the version of the story that I'm familiar with is that the Swordfish made their run on the Bismarck at such a low level that most of the guns couldn't depress far enough to engage them, since they'd have to fire below 0deg to hit them. That suggests to me a dive at long range for the small caliber guns the larger would have trouble engaging the targets. Then a short run in at very low level towards the target, maybe 8-10 seconds? During this time, as the range decreased, fewer and few guns could be brought to bear as the angle steepened. I do suspect that inexperienced gunners were a factor as well, though they'd never been in combat before this. There is no substitute for actually shooting at a real airplane. In the US, where they had radio-controlled targets, when gunners were firing at targets, they were not supposed to actually HIT the target. too expensive! I imagine that the Bismarck had mostly done theoretical "dry-runs" with their AA before this, and so weren't entirely proficient. Add to that the fact that a ship's own AA is really more of a deterrent than an effective defense. A single ship cannot generate sufficient firepower to protect itself it can prevent the enemy from taking their sweet time and blowing them up at leisure, but it can rarely shoot down more than a percentage of the attackers, even with highly proficient crews and massed guns, like the US Navy had later in the Pacific War. Only massed fleets with massed guns can put up a really adequate wall of AA fire, and even then it's no guarantee you'll stop every attacker. I think it is a combination of factors, along with some plain luck on the side of the British crewmen, that all of the Swordfish got away successfully. AnnaGoFast (talk) 00:47, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

A 1996 documentary with Paul Beaver here: [1] mentioning at 1:15:05 that the Bismarck's AA fire control was unable to cope with the slow-flying Swordfish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

Ross Kemp, in "Raiders" page 6 (Random House, London, 2012 9781780890555)says that the Swordfish "would account for sinking a greater tonnage of Axis shipping than any Allied aircraft of the war" I thought this should be included in the introductory section for this article if true. On Page 9, he says that the Swordfish was able to escape being shot down by Me 109's because it was so much more manoeuvrable, and could take an awful lot of damage (bullets would just go straight through the fabric-covered surfaces). In Norway, German fighters sometimes crashed into the steep rock faces of coastline while trying to shoot down Swordfish as they twisted and turned.Sitalkes (talk) 12:33, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like your average over-dramatic book about a favored aircraft. I'd like to see some actual numbers, not just a general claim that "the Swordfish sunk the most". it's easy to say things like that by using dubious number selection processes. Not that it's not entirely possible, but I wouldn't like to just take some authors word for it. Than any Allied aircraft? That's hard to swallow. As for maneuverability, it could maneuver at lower speeds than the average fighter, but it was far from nimble, IIRC. A very stable aircraft, as a torpedo bomber should be, one that likes to fly in a straight line. It's certainly possible that there were instances of Axis fighters flying into the ground trying to attack Swordfish, but random anecdotes don't really prove anything. there were literally tens of thousands of aircraft lost during the war, in every conceivable way. There are stories about Kawanishi H6K's defending themselves by flying feet off the water a fighter trying to attack was in great risk of flying into the water before he could pull out of a dive. It happened, but the fact that it happened doesn't really say anything about the aircraft itself. it was still horridly vulnerable, as was the Swordfish. The Swordfish may have escaped Bf 109's on occasion by simply flying slower than the Bf 109 could, but the author seems to be suggesting that the Swordfish was impossible to shoot down, because it was so nimble, and Bf 109's decided not to screw with such a scary customer anymore, which is just ridiculous. The fact that it could have been worse doesn't really help anything. The Swordfish was a great plane, but authors like this seem to over-state their case for the sake of dramatics. They always strike me as books written for fanboys, and less than factual in many ways. Or at least, they kind of "alter reality" in order to pay tribute. I've read quite a few myself. There are some good facts in them, but you've got to take them sith a grain of salt, and think "what is he really saying here". AnnaGoFast (talk) 00:58, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

I have to agree with Anna on this one - there was a lot of nonsense about the more vulnerable aircraft during the war - particularly about how much damage they could sustain and still return which was usually a sign a lot were not returning, but that couldn't be said at the time, or in the Swordfish's case, about being immune to interception from being too slow. Aircraft can readily destroy tanks and trucks and trains that are moving and even zig-zagging so that isn't very convincing. Additionally, the tonnage sunk claim faces some serious competition from the Avenger. - NiD.29 (talk) 03:09, 11 April 2016 (UTC) To say nothing of the Dauntless, the Helldiver, and (if we're counting Axis aircraft) the Aichi D3A. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 6 November 2017 (UTC) Swordfish were based on Malta and sunk considerable tonnage while operating from there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 28 February 2018 (UTC) I would challenge this as well. I'd like to see the actual figures. I've seen lots of debate about the planes that sunk the most tonnage, and *they don't even mention* the Fairey Swordfish. The Grumman Avenger and the Helldiver sunk a lot of tonnage. I think the actual figures seem to be pretty scarce, so it may actually not be clear which plane was the most.

The section on the channel dash/operation Cerberus mentions "the Swordfish were intercepted by roughly 15 Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Messerschmitt Bf 109 monoplane fighter aircraft". I am afraid I don't have access to the sources but presumably one of these should be either ME110 or FW190?


Founded in 1915 by Charles Richard Fairey (later Sir Richard Fairey) and Belgian engineer Ernest Oscar Tips on their departure from Short Brothers, the company first built under licence or as subcontractor aircraft designed by other manufacturers. [i] The first aircraft designed and built by the Fairey Aviation specifically for use on an aircraft carrier was the Fairey Campania a patrol seaplane that first flew in February 1917. In the third report of the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors, reported in Flight magazine of 15 January 1925, aviation figures prominently. C. R. Fairey and the Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd, was awarded £4,000 for work on the Hamble Baby seaplane.

Fairey subsequently designed many aircraft types and, after World War II, missiles.

The Propeller Division (Fairey-Reed Airscrews) was located at the Hayes factory, and used designs based on the patents of Sylvanus Albert Reed. C. R. Fairey first encountered Reed's products in the mid-1920s when investigating the possibilities of the Curtiss D-12 engine. The Curtiss company also manufactured propellers designed by Reed. Another example of utilising the talents of independent designers was the use of flaps, designed by Robert Talbot Youngman [ii] (Fairey-Youngman flaps) which gave many of the Fairey aircraft and those of other manufacturers improved manoeuvrability. [ citation needed ]

Aircraft production was primarily at the factory in North Hyde Road, Hayes (Middlesex), with flight testing carried out at Northolt Aerodrome (1917–1929), Great West Aerodrome (1930–1944), Heston Airport (1944–1947), and finally at White Waltham (1947–1964). [2] Losing the Great West Aerodrome in 1944 by requisition by the Air Ministry to build London Heathrow Airport, with no compensation until 1964, caused a severe financial shock which may have hastened the company's end.

One notable Hayes-built aircraft type during the late 1930s and World War II was the Swordfish. In 1957, the prototype Fairey Rotodyne vertical takeoff airliner was built at Hayes. [3] After the merger with Westland Helicopters, helicopters such as the Westland Wasp and Westland Scout were built at Hayes in the 1960s. [4]

Receipt of large UK military contracts in the mid-1930s necessitated acquisition of a large factory in Heaton Chapel Stockport in 1935 that had been used as the National Aircraft Factory No. 2 during World War I. Flight test facilities were built at Manchester's Ringway Airport, the first phase opening in June 1937. A few Hendon monoplane bombers built at Stockport were flown from Manchester's Barton Aerodrome in 1936. [5] Quantity production of Battle light bombers at Stockport/Ringway commenced in mid 1937. Large numbers of Fulmar fighters and Barracuda dive-bombers followed during World War II. Fairey's also built 498 Bristol Beaufighter aircraft and over 660 Handley Page Halifax bombers in their northern facilities [ where? ] . Postwar, Firefly and Gannet naval aircraft were supplemented by sub-contracts from de Havilland for Vampire and Venom jet fighters. Aircraft production and modification at Stockport and Ringway ceased in 1960. [6]

On 13 March 1959 Flight reported that Fairey Aviation Ltd was to be reorganised following a proposal to concentrate aircraft and allied manufacturing activities in the United Kingdom into a new wholly owned subsidiary called the Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd. The Board felt that the change, taking effect on 1 April 1959, would enable the Rotodyne and other aircraft work to be handled by a concern concentrating on aviation. It is proposed to change the company's name to the Fairey Co. Ltd, and to concentrate general engineering activities in the Stockport Aviation Co. Ltd, whose name would become Fairey Engineering Ltd. Under these changes, the Fairey Co. would become a holding company, with control of policy and finance throughout the group.

The government in the late 1950s was determined to rationalise the UK's aero industry. The Ministry of Defence saw the future of helicopters as being best met by a single manufacturer. [iii] The merger of Fairey's aviation interests with Westland Aircraft took place in early 1960 shortly after Westland had acquired the Saunders-Roe group and the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. [8] Westland Aircraft and the Fairey Company announced that they had reached agreement for the sale by Fairey to Westland of the issued share capital of Fairey Aviation, which operated all Fairey's UK aviation interests. Westland acquired all Fairey's aircraft manufacturing business (including the Gannet AEW.3) and Fairey's 10% investment in the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) [ citation needed ] Fairey's workforce employed on manufacture of the outer wings of the Airco D.H.121. [ citation needed ] (later to be the HS 121 Trident) was transferred to Westland. Fairey received 2,000,000 Westland shares of 5 shillings each and a cash payment of approximately £1.4m. The sale did not include Fairey Air Surveys or the works at Heston which was home to the weapon division, which had a contract for research into advanced anti-tank missile systems. Fairey's remaining net worth was approximately £9.5m.

The collapse of the Fairey Group Edit

In 1977 the Fairey Group went into receivership and was effectively nationalised by the Government. Fairey went into liquidation when it introduced a Britten-Norman Islander production line into its subsidiary company, Avions Fairey, and overproduced the plane and subsequently faced redundancy payments of about £16 million in Belgium. The companies involved were as follows:

  • Fairey Hydraulics Ltd, Heston, Hydraulic power controls and filters for aircraft sold in 1999 to a management buyout, the name changed to Claverham Ltd, bought in 2001 by Hamilton Sundstrand.
  • Fairey Engineering Ltd, Stockport, General, and nuclear engineering
  • Fairey Nuclear Ltd, Heston, Nuclear components and light engineering see also Dungeness nuclear power station
  • Fairey Industrial Products Ltd, Heston, Management company
  • Fairey Filtration Ltd, Heston, Industrial filters
  • Fairey Winches Ltd, Tavistock, Vehicle overdrives, winches, and hubs
  • Jerguson Tress Gauge and Valve Co Ltd, Newcastle, Liquid Level indicators
  • The Tress Engineering Co Ltd, Newcastle, Petrochemical valves
  • Fairey Marine Holdings Ltd, Hamble, Management company
  • Fairey Marine (East Cowes) Ltd, East Cowes, Ship, and boat building
  • Fairey Exhibitions Ltd, Hamble, Exhibition stand contractors
  • Fairey Marine Ltd, Hamble, Boatbuilding and repair
  • Fairey Yacht Harbours Ltd, Hamble, Boat handling, berthing, and storage
  • Fairey Surveys Ltd, Maidenhead, Aerial and geophysical survey and mapping
  • Fairey Surveys (Scotland) Ltd, Livingston, Aerial and geophysical survey and mapping
  • Fairey Developments Ltd, Heston, Management company:

The Fairey Britten-Norman Aircraft Company was taken over by Pilatus, then a subsidiary of the Oerlikon group in Switzerland.

The rescue action was taken by the Government under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 acquiring from the official receiver of the Fairey Company Ltd the entire share capital for £201,163,000. The companies were managed by the National Enterprise Board (NEB). In 1980 The Fairey Group was purchased by Doulton & Company Limited (part of S Pearson & Son) from the NEB. At the time, Pearson's interests in manufacturing were concentrated in the Doulton fine china business. The engineering interests were strengthened in 1980 by the acquisition of the high technology businesses of Fairey, and their merging with Pearson's other engineering interests in 1982. However, these businesses were disposed of in 1986 as part of Pearson wishing to concentrate on core activities acquired by Williams Holdings they became Williams Fairey Engineering Ltd. [ citation needed ]

Other parts of the combined Fairey – Doulton group saw a management buy-out from Pearson, listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1988. During the 1990s this company concentrated on expanding its electronics business, acquiring a number of companies, and disposing of the electrical insulator and hydraulic actuator businesses. In 1997, the company acquired Burnfield, of which Malvern Instruments was the most significant company. Servomex plc was acquired in 1999. In July 2000, the acquisition of the four instrumentation and controls businesses of Spectris AG of Germany for £171m was the largest ever made by the company and marked an important strategic addition to the company's instrumentation and controls business. The reshaping of the group was marked with the change of name from Fairey Group to Spectris plc in May 2001. [ citation needed ]

Avions Fairey Edit

On 27 August 1931, Avions Fairey SA was founded by Fairey engineer Ernest Oscar Tips. Fairey aircraft had impressed the Belgian authorities and a subsidiary, Avions Fairey was established to produce Fairey aircraft in Belgium [9] The company staff left Belgium ahead of the German invasion of the Low Countries and returned after the war to build aircraft under licence for the Belgian Air Force. With Fairey's financial troubles in the later 1970s, the Belgian government bought Avions Fairey to preserve its involvement in the Belgian F-16 project. See also Tipsy Nipper.

Fairey Aviation of Canada Edit

Formed in 1948 the Fairey Aviation Company of Canada Limited [10] and grew from a six-man operation to a major enterprise employing around a thousand people. In March 1949, the company undertook repair and overhaul work for the Royal Canadian Navy on the Supermarine Seafire and the Fairey Firefly and later the Hawker Sea Fury and also undertook modification work on the Grumman Avenger. The Avro Lancaster conversion programme created the need for plant expansion. The Lancaster was followed in service by the Lockheed Neptune and again the company undertook a share of the repair overhaul and service of these aircraft. The company was engaged in the modification and overhaul of the McDonnell Banshee.

Fairey of Canada also developed a component and instrument design and manufacturing organisation. The company began manufacture of Hydro Booster Units which control flight surfaces hydraulically rather than manually. Other flight controls were designed and manufactured for the Avro CF-100. The Canadair Argus used Fairey-designed hydraulic actuators. The company also produced the "Bear Trap" helicopter /ship handling system for the Royal Canadian Navy. In the early 1960s the company undertook the conversion of the Martin Mars flying boats to water-bearing firefighters.

Drawing on the parent company's expertise in the design of hydraulic equipment led to local manufacturer of the Fairey Microfilter, which had applications in industries beyond aviation. Yet another Fairey designed and manufactured component was the Safety Ohmmeter. This instrument had many applications in missiles, mining, quarrying and similar fields. The company was appointed agent for RFD Inflatable Marine Survival Equipment. This agency included sales, service inspection and repair of inflatable liferafts.

The West Coast Branch of the Fairey Aviation Company of Canada Limited was formed in 1955 at Sidney, Vancouver Island. The plant was located at Patricia Bay Airport. This facility handled mainly repair, overhaul and modification of military and civil aircraft including the conversion of ex-military Avenger aircraft to commercial cropdusting roles. Additionally, the company diversified into designing and manufacturing items of hospital equipment.

Following the failure of the UK parent, Fairey Canada was acquired by IMP Group International.

Fairey Aviation Company of Australasia Pty. Ltd Edit

The Australian branch of Fairey Aviation was formed in 1948 as Fairey-Clyde Aviation Co Pty. Ltd, a joint venture with Clyde Engineering and incorporated the aircraft division of CEC. The name was changed in November 1951. Based in Bankstown, Sydney, the factory overhauled aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy, converted RAN Firefly AS.5s to Trainer Mark 5 standard. The Special Projects Division built the Jindivik, Meteor, and Canberra drones at Woomera missile test range. Fairey Australasia was the first company to be established at the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE). This was in 1949 when the firm was involved in supporting research trials of the scale model of the Fairey vertical-take-off aircraft. Shortly afterwards the company expanded to manufacture the RTV.l research rockets that were fired in Australia. From this developed a design and production factory that specialised in the manufacture of airborne and ground equipment for target aircraft and missile fields including the Tonic towed target, which can be carried and streamed by a Jindivik 3A.

In 1957 a miniature camera by the name of WRECISS (Weapons Research Establishment camera interception single-shot) was designed and developed by the WRE at Woomera and manufactured by the Fairey Aviation Co of Australasia Pty Ltd, at Salisbury, South Australia. In most surface-to-air missile installations the cameras have been mounted in the nose telemetry bay. Although the firing lever must be replaced after each mission, it is estimated that some 30 per cent of the WRECISS can be re-used without repairs and a substantial further proportion can be repaired relatively cheaply. Its film was Ilford Photo SR101 in the form of 0.93in discs punched from 35 mm strip weight 801 diameter 1.5in length 1.25in field of view 186 deg exposure time 0.3 millisecond effective relative aperture, approximately f/8. One hundred ninety-two cameras were made in the initial production run. [iv] In 1988 this company was merged into AWA Defence Industries of Australia.

Aerial Survey Edit

Fairey Air Surveys, Ltd, was initially headquartered at 24 Bruton Street, London W1. and later at Reform Road, Maidenhead, with companies across the world. The aircraft (Douglas Dakotas) and technical offices were based at White Waltham, Berks, along with a special research laboratory. Here the company undertook the design and development of anti-vibration isolators which were incorporated into camera mountings. Both mapping and geophysical work was undertaken. The UK based aircraft were sent out to work all over the world. The company undertook aerial surveys for local authorities within the UK and for many overseas Governments. Maps were also published under the Fairey-Falcon imprint. Over the years the companies names were changed to reflect Fairey ownership and operated into the late 1970s, later becoming Clyde Surveying Services Ltd. Fairey Surveys was absorbed into what eventually became Blom Aerofilms. Subsidiary companies were as follows:—

  • Fairey Surveys (Scotland), Livingston, Aerial and geophysical survey and mapping.
  • Aero Surveys, Vancouver International Airport, Canada. This company was equipped to handle processing and mapping. Aircraft included two Ansons and one P-38. Operated in partnership with Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. [11]
  • Air Survey Company of India, Dum Dum Airport, Calcutta. This branch was fully equipped for processing and mapping. Aircraft included a DC-3 and three DH Rapides (known in 1946 as the Indian Air Survey & Transport Limited).
  • Air Survey Company of Pakistan, Dunolly Road, Karachi, 2. This was an office only and no aircraft or ground equipment were permanently based there.
  • Air Survey Company of Rhodesia, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. Fully equipped for processing and mapping. An Anson or a Dove from the UK fleet was available for operations.

Other companies were located in Nigeria, Zambia and the Republic of Ireland. [12]

Heaton Chapel Edit

The Fairey factory at Heaton Chapel, Stockport can trace its roots back to when Crossley Bros. Ltd having had by the end of 1916 supplied large numbers of tenders and aero engines to the Royal Flying Corps acquired premises at High Lane, Heaton Chapel to expand production. In 1917, following the Government's decision to build three National Aircraft Factories was taken, Crossley Motors Ltd was formed to manage National Aircraft Factory No.2 as it was known. The factory continued to produce aircraft until November 1918. After the First World War the site switched to vehicle production. The factory was taken over by Willys-Knight and Overland Motors for the manufacture of cars and commercial vehicles and retained by them until 30 November 1934 when it was acquired by Fairey. In 1935 the Fairey company received a substantial order for Hendon night bombers and established production lines at the Heaton Chapel factory. The production facilities at Heaton Chapel were incorporated as the Stockport Aviation Company Limited on 11 February 1936 and the Company took a site at Ringway (now Manchester Airport), where test flights were carried out.

After the end of aircraft production the Heaton Chapel works became Fairey Engineering Ltd and began production of medium and heavy engineering including portable bridges for military and emergency services use, notably the Medium Girder Bridge. Its bridges are in service with the British Army, U.S. Army and many other NATO forces. Fairey Engineering Ltd also made Nuclear Reactor cores and fuelling machines for Dungeness B and Trawsfynydd.

The company became Williams Fairey Engineering in 1986, and was then taken over by the Kidde portion of the American United Technologies Corporation. in 2000, and became now known as WFEL Ltd. In 2006 the Manchester Evening News reported that private equity investors Dunedin Capital Partners backed a management buy-out of WFEL from UTC which employs 160 people at its factory on Crossley Road, Heaton Chapel.

Land Rover hubs and overdrives Edit

In the post-war period, from the late 1950s onwards, Fairey acquired Mayflower Automotive Products, including their factory in Tavistock, Devon, and with it the designs of its products, including winch and free-wheeling front hubs for Land Rover vehicles. By the 1970s Fairey was manufacturing a wide range of winches, covering mechanical, hydraulic and electric drive and capstan/drum configurations. Fairey winches formed the bulk of the manufacturer-approved winch options for Land Rover throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1975 Fairey designed and manufactured a mechanical overdrive unit for Land Rovers. Vehicles fitted with the unit carried a badge on the rear saying "Overdrive by Fairey", with the Fairey logo (see above).

This branch of products effectively ceased in the early 1980s when new product development at Land Rover and a trend for manufacturers to build accessories in-house forced Fairey to drop out of the sector. The American company Superwinch bought the Tavistock works and continued making Fairey-designed winches for a few years. The site is now Superwinch's European base and manufacturing facility. Fairey-designed hydraulic winches are still in production, but the large majority of manufacture is of Superwinch-designed electric drum winches. The Fairey Overdrive is still in production in America.

Fairey aircraft Edit

Year of first flight in brackets

    – 1917 – 1917 – 1917 – large biplane family, starting late 1917 – 1917 – 1920 – biplane fighter, 1922 – 1923 – 1923 – 1925 – long range seaplane 1925 – 1925 – biplane bomber, 1925 – 1928 – 1929 – 1929 – biplane torpedo bomber, reconnaissance floatplane, 1930 – 1931 – general purpose 1934 – 1934 – biplane torpedo bomber, 1934 – single-seat fighter 1935 – monoplane night bomber 1935 – light bomber, 1936 – reconnaissance floatplane, 1936 – 1937 – carrier-borne fighter, 1940 – carrier-borne biplane torpedo bomber, 1938 – carrier-borne dive bomber/torpedo bomber, 1940 – carrier-borne fighter, 1941 – divebomber, 1945 – gyrodyne (autogyro/compound helicopter) 1947 – gyrodyne 1954 – trainer 1948 – carrier-borne ASW (later AEW) aircraft, 1949 – carrier-borne AEW aircraft – experimental delta wing 1950 – record-setting delta-wing, 1954 (1955) – autogyro/compound helicopter 1957

Avions Fairey aircraft Edit

Subcontract production Edit

As well as producing their own designs, Fairey produced other aircraft under subcontract.

During the Second World War, Fairey produced nearly 500 Bristol Beaufighters and nearly 600 Handley Page Halifax(326 B Mk III and 246 B Mk V) [14] Post war they held subcontracts for production of the de Havilland Vampire, and its successor the de Havilland Venom.

Fairey imported 50 Curtiss built D-12 engines in 1926, renaming them the Fairey Felix. [15]

Fairey's interest in missile production had been kept separate from the Fairey Aviation Co Ltd and its subsequent absorption into the Westland Group in 1960. Production was therefore invested in Fairey Engineering Ltd but by 1962 this had been transformed into a 50/50 joint venture with the British Aircraft Corporation (Holdings) Ltd known as BAC (AT) LTD, with offices at 100 Pall Mall, London SW1 and a share capital of £100. This was separate to the BAC Guided Weapons division.

The Fairey company was also involved in the early development of pilotless aircraft which led to the development of radio controlled pilotless target aircraft in Britain and the United States in the 1930s. In 1931, the Fairey "Queen" radio-controlled target was developed, building a batch of three. The Queen was a modified Fairey IIIF floatplane, (a catapult launched aircraft which was used for reconnaissance by the Royal Navy). Apart from installing radio gear the Queen also had some aerodynamic modifications to improve stability, however the first couple of pilotless flights came to quick endings as the drones crashed as soon as they left the catapult launcher on HMS Valiant.

In 1960, Fairey announced an agreement between Fairey Engineering Ltd and the Del Mar Engineering Laboratories, Los Angeles, California, to distribute a range of subsonic and supersonic towed target systems (RADOP) for air-to-air and surface-to-air guided weapon training in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Commonwealth and the UK.

The parent Fairey Company and its Australian subsidiary were heavily involved guided weapon development. The Weapon Division of Fairey Engineering Ltd was responsible in the UK for the Jindivik [19] Mk 2B Pilotless target aircraft. This had a Bristol Siddeley Viper ASV.8 turbojet, giving a speed of 600 mph (970 km/h) and an operational ceiling in excess of 50,000 ft.

The "Fairey V.T.O" was a vertical take-off delta wing aircraft was designed to explore the possibility of making an aircraft launched from short ramps with low acceleration. Shown for the first time at the Society of British Aircraft Constructors (SBAC) Show in 1952, the Fairey VTO Project was used to test the basic configuration of future research craft. Each wing had a large aileron and the vertical fin carried a large rudder. The V.T.O. obtained 900 lbf (4.0 kN) thrust from each Beta nozzle and, for launching, used two solid-fuel boosters of 600 lbf (2.7 kN) each, bringing the total thrust up to 3,000 lbf (13 kN)—obviously more than the total weight. The Beta I rocket had two jets, one of which could be swivelled laterally and the other vertically, according to signals from an autopilot. The resulting mean thrust line could thus be varied to maintain controlled flight at low airspeeds. Fairey carried out many successful tests, the first of which was from a ship in Cardigan Bay in 1949.

Fairey Rocket Test Vehicle 1, formerly known as LOPGAP ("Liquid Oxygen and Petrol Guided Anti-Aircraft Projectile"). The original design can be traced back to the 1944 Royal Navy specification for a guided anti-aircraft missile known as LOPGAP. [20] In 1947, the Royal Aircraft Establishment took over development work and the missile was renamed RTV1. Several versions of the basic RTV1 were developed.

The Fairey Aviation Company of Australasia Pty Ltd was awarded a contract to build 40 RTV1e rockets. The first of which were completed in early 1954. Components were built by the Royal Australian Navy Torpedo Establishment (hydraulic servo units), EMI (guidance receivers and amplifiers) and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (magnesium castings). Some parts were also imported from the UK. Assembly was undertaken at Salisbury, South Australia by the Special Projects Division of Fairey. Test firings took place in 1955–56 but by this time the RTV1 was considered obsolete RTV1e was the beam guidance test vehicle. Radar guidance was provided by a radar unit which projected a narrow beam. Different versions of the test vehicle were created and each was concerned with a different aspect of control, guidance, propulsion and aerodynamics of the complete rocket. The RTV 1e was a two-stage liquid fuel rocket used for research and development into problems associated with beam riding missiles. It was fired at an angle of 35 degrees with a maximum altitude of about 12,000 feet. The vehicle was launched by seven solid booster rockets which had a burn time of four seconds, after which the liquid fuel sustainer motor took over.

At the 1954 Farnborough Airshow, Fairey Australia displayed a massive missile resembling the RTV-1. The base was formed by a booster unit about 6 ft high and 20 inches in diameter, stabilised by four large and four small fins and housing seven five-inch motors. The main body was about 17 ft in length with a diameter of 10 in. The body was fitted with four wings and four small control vanes.

Fairey Australia also displayed an aerodynamic test vehicle, described as a "three-inch winged round". This was a simple projectile, without guidance, to aid investigations into the properties of various wing/body assemblies at high supersonic speeds. The example shown was about 6 ft long, and had a finely finished, white-painted body apparently made of seamless tube. About two-thirds of the way back from the nose was fitted a laminated-wood wing of about two feet span, positioned across a diameter of the body, with a root chord of some 18 inches and a quarter-chord sweep of about 50 degrees.

In April 1947 Fairey released details of its first guided missile [21] It was an anti-aircraft weapon designed for use in the Pacific war but not completed in time for use by the British Army (who originally ordered it) or for the Royal Navy. The Ministry of Supply requested that the work be completed, and the Stooge was the outcome. It had a length of 7 ft 5.5 in (2.273 m), a span of 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), a body diameter of 17 in, and weighing 738 lb (335 kg), with a warhead. Propulsion was by four 75 lbf (330 N)-thrust solid-fuel main rockets, but initially four additional booster rockets delivering further 5,600 lb thrust accelerated the Stooge off its 10 ft (3.0 m) long launching ramp. Unlike later designs, the Stooge was intended for high subsonic speeds—and limited ranges. The Stooge consisted of two-stage propulsion, an autopilot, radio control equipment with additional ground unit, and a warhead. The Stooge required a launching ramp and transport. The missile was extensively tested at Woomera [22]

The Malkara missile was designed in Australia by British and Australian companies. It was a heavy wire-guided missile for deployment from vehicles, light naval craft and fixed emplacements. This weapon replaced the Fairey "Orange William" project for the MoS which would later lead to Swingfire. Fairey Engineering had the sales agency for all countries outside the US, and was also appointed by the Australian Department of Supply's to assist in the introduction of the Malkara to operational service and to design and produce modifications. The missile was in service with the Royal Armoured Corps, deployed on a special vehicle—the Humber Hornet, made by Wharton Engineering—which carried two rounds on launchers and two rounds stowed. The Hornet could be air-dropped, had a crew of three. For training purposes the Malkara Mk I was used, with a range of some 2,000m (6,600 ft). The operational weapon was the Malkara Mk 1 A, which had a different type of tracking flare, thinner guidance wire, and other improvements to give approximately double the range of Mk 1.

The Fairey Fireflash was an early air-to-air weapon guided by radar beam riding. Developed as "Blue Sky" – a derated version of the Red Hawk missile. It was in service briefly before being replaced by the de Havilland Firestreak.

Green Cheese was a tactical nuclear anti-ship missile for use with the Gannet. Problems with Gannet led to continued development with the Blackburn Buccaneer but it was cancelled.

Fairey Marine Ltd was begun in the late 1940s by Sir Richard Fairey and Fairey Aviation's Managing Director, Mr Chichester-Smith. Both were avid sailing enthusiasts. Utilising techniques developed in the aircraft industry during WWII both men decided that they should produce sailing dinghies and so recruited Charles Currey to help run the company when he came out of the Navy. In the following years, thousands of dinghies were produced by Fairey Marine including the Firefly, Albacore, Falcon, Swordfish, Jollyboat, Flying Fifteen, 505 and International 14's along with the much smaller Dinky and Duckling. Later on in the 1950s they produced the larger sailing cruisers, the Atalanta (named after Sir Richard's first son's wife), Titania, Fulmar and the 27-foot (8.2 m) Fisherman motor sailer (based on the Fairey Lifeboat hull) along with the 15 Cinderella (outboard runabout) and the 16'6" Faun (outboard powered family cruiser).

In 1937, workers at the Fairey aviation plant formed a brass band. For some sixty years the band was associated with the company and its successors, although the Fairey Band has now had to turn to external sources for financial backing. Throughout its history though the band has retained its identity with the company under guises as the Fairey Aviation Works Band, Williams Fairey Band and later Fairey (FP Music) Band. The band has recently returned to roots, rebranding as just The Fairey Band. The Fairey Band has won many national and international titles throughout its proud history.

Remembering the Sinking of the Bismarck

Under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours of May 19, 1941, the most formidable battleship to have ever been built slipped into the Baltic Sea on its maiden voyage. An ocean-bound castle, the thickly armored Bismarck was the first full-scale battleship constructed by the German navy since World War I.

Accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, the largest warship afloat broke out into the frigid, open waters of the North Atlantic on a top-secret mission, codenamed Operation Rheinubung, to attack the Allied convoys crossing the ocean between the United States and Great Britain with oil, food and other supplies. Nazi leaders hoped that their “unsinkable” state-of-the-art battleship would sever the Allied lifeline and starve the British into submission.

Having received reports that Bismarck was loose in the Atlantic Ocean stalking its prey, the British dispatched a fleet to track down the Nazis’ daunting battleship. Among those in pursuit were the recently commissioned battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood. Launched in 1918, Hood was Britain’s largest battle cruiser and perhaps the most famous warship afloat.

A view of the German battleship Bismarck firing on a merchant ship in the north Atlantic. (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

At dawn on May 24, the tandem of British ships approached at full speed toward the enemy inside the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland. From 14 miles away, Hood fired the first shots. Saltwater geysers erupted around Bismarck as the shells that screamed overhead at 2,000 miles per hour narrowly missed their marks. Aboard Bismarck, Admiral Gunther Lutjens, commander in chief of the German Fleet, froze with indecision. As Hood continued to close in and fire, Bismarck Captain Ernst Lindemann finally took charge from his superior and ordered the battleship’s guns to return the salvos.

Bismarck and Hood traded thundering blows for four minutes until the Germans finally found their target. Bismarck’s shells ripped though the battle cruiser’s deck and hit close to the main tower. Then an armor-piercing shell tore deep into Hood’s ammunition magazine, unleashing a massive explosion that launched a column of fire 600 feet up into the air. The sailors aboard Prince of Wales felt the huge concussion and watched in horror as Hood buckled, broke in two and sank beneath the waves. Only three of Hood’s 1,421 crew members were pulled from the water alive. It was the Royal Navy’s largest loss of life ever from a single vessel.

Bismarck hardly escaped the nautical brawl unscathed. With his ship taking on seawater and hemorrhaging oil from a ruptured tank, Lutjens decided not to pursue the retreating Prince of Wales but to limp his wounded battleship back to the safety of port in Nazi-occupied France. Seeking revenge, British Admiral John Tovey called on all available ships in the British Home Fleet to hunt down Bismarck before it could reach land.

English battleship HMS Rodney built in 1922 which sank the german ship Bismarck in 1941. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

On May 26, time grew critical as Bismarck approached within 12 hours of the protective air cover of the Luftwaffe. Tovey ordered an attack to be launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which had sailed north in storm-tossed seas along the Iberian Peninsula. Torpedo-equipped British Fairey Swordfish bombers took off from the warship’s deck and were quickly swallowed by storm clouds. Through the gale, the antiquated biplanes closed in on their target and launched their torpedoes�ore realizing too late that they had accidentally attacked one of their own, HMS Sheffield. Fortunately the torpedoes’ warheads failed to detonate, averting a deadly accident.

The bombers returned to Ark Royal and rearmed for a second attack into the teeth of the storm, this time against the correct target. Britain’s buzzing biplanes descended like gnats upon Germany’s fire-spitting steel dragon. The courageous pilots in the biplanes’ open cockpits flew low so Bismarck’s sailors couldn’t train their guns, and the battleship’s anti-aircraft defenses had trouble with the bombers’ slow speeds. British torpedoes from the archaic bombers managed to strike the modern metal behemoth’s weakest point—its undefended rudders. The attack tore an enormous hole in Bismarck’s hull and disabled its steering mechanism. Capable of only sailing in large circles, the helpless Bismarck spent the night surrounded by only the open ocean and the enemy.

German battleship Bismarck on the road to Denmark and Norway. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

Wanting to reduce the risk of friendly fire, Tovey waited until the morning to continue the attack. At daybreak on May 27, three British warships approached the crippled battleship and opened fire. Fierce barrages ensued over the next 90 minutes as the British ships closed in from a distance of 16 miles to 3,000 yards. With Bismarck still afloat, Tovey ordered the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire to fire her torpedoes at the enemy. The weapons hit their mark, and around 10:40 a.m. Bismarck slipped below the waves𠅏inished off by either the last British salvo or a German decision to scuttle the mighty battleship. Hundreds of Germans sailors bobbed in the gale water, and British ships picked up 110 survivors before a U-Boat warning caused them to leave the wreckage and approximately 2,000 dead behind. Less than 10 days after its maiden voyage began, the “unsinkable” Bismarck sat upon the murky bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Earlier this week, on the 75th anniversary of Hood’s sinking, Britain’s Princess Anne unveiled the bell that had been recovered from the wreck of the British battle cruiser. Salvaged in August 2015 by an expedition funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the historic bell is now on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, England. “There are very few things that have this amount of history, it’s an amazing object when you see all the inscriptions,” Allen told Britain’s Press Association. “I think it’s great to have a tangible artifact here, that the families of the men who went down on the ship and the survivors can have an amazing artifact like this so they can come and give remembrance to the amazing sacrifice that those men made that fateful day.”

Watch the video: 10 FACTS about TREES. Top Curious


  1. Rowdy

    something does not come out like this

  2. Canice

    I better just shut up

  3. Hagan

    the idea Magnificent and timely

  4. Sefton

    Lovely question

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