ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best of British, The Supermarine Spitfire

Updated on July 1, 2014

A True Flying Legend

It was the summer of 1940. Great Britain had it's back to the wall, having been pushed out of France by Nazi Germany at Dunkirk. The losses were imeasurable, and many were starting to wonder if life as they then knew it would continue.

Life was certainly going to become harder for everyone, with mass evacuations from the major cities to the west country, rationing was in effect, restricting the daily goods like meat that people had taken for granted for so long.

What the population of Britain needed was a symbol of grace, of power, and the strength to hold back wave after wave of Nazi bombers that were sure to arrive any day now. Something that would inspire fear in the pilots that opposed it by the very mention of it's name.

What they needed was the Supermarine Spitfire, and luckily for us all, it was ready just when we needed it the most


Spirit of Kent

Origins of the Spitfire

Oh how easily could this wonderful plane have been called something so mundane as the "Shrew" or the "Shrike." These were the original names proposed by the Air Ministry in 1930 whilst investigating the need and a new day and night fighter / interceptor armed with a minimum of four machine guns.

Supermarine was just one of the companies interested in putting forward a tender for the project. R J Mitchell designed the Type 224 to meet the Air Ministry's specs. With an open cockpit with inverted gull wings and fixed undercarriage, it had a top speed of 228 mph and was utterly rejected after only one prototype being flown, despite achieving a greater minimum speed in level flight that requested.

Mitchell returned to the drawing board. The Type 300 was born with the now classic elliptical wing housing 6 machine guns, it's slim profile allowing the plane to carve through the air at greater speeds than originally thought . Due to not carrying is fuel in the wings, the Spitfire's range would be limited, but as as interceptor protecting Britain that was not such a concern. Of greater concern in fact was the location of the fuel tank, between the engine and the cockpit, meaning a stray lucky bullet meant certain and agonizing death to the pilot.

The engine was a Rolls Royce Merlin, powerful and reliable, but for the fact that it was carburetor fed as opposed to fuel injection, meaning that if the pilot tried to nose the aircraft into a dive, the engine would cut out! This was something the Luftwaffe pilots would take advantage of in the Battle of Britain.

Spitfire to the front, hurricane to the rear
Spitfire to the front, hurricane to the rear

First Productions Spitfires

R J Mitchell died shortly after the maiden flight of the Spitfire, never getting to see the pivotal role it would play in the Battle of Britain.

The Mark I was issued to RAF squadrons in 1938

  • Top Speed 347mph
  • Engine output 1030bhp at 16250 feet
  • Bullet proof windscreen
  • Armour plating for the pilot
  • 3 blade propeller
  • Mainstay of the Battle of Britain (although some Mark II's were in service also)

If you enjoyed this article

Please don't forget to click the green "Rate Up" button and "share" it with your friends via Email, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking sites.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)