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The Supermarine Spitfire of WWII

Updated on September 12, 2015

WW2's Supermarine Spitfire

Here is a brief history of one of Great Britains best fighter planes of World War 2. The SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE helped defend their country in the sky during the BATTLE OF BRITAIN and beyond. Below is a brief history and some specifications on this great airplane.

The Early days of the Spitfire

It's first design goes back to 1931 when a guy named Mitchell presented it to Air Ministry as a new 250 mph fighter with an open cockpit. After it's first flight in 1934, Mitchell and his team did not like it and went to work on a new design. In 1936 the new prototype took it's first flight.

They needed to give it a name and first came up with Shrew. The name Spitfire was presented by Sir Robert Maclean, who was the director of Vickers-Armstrong where the plane was made. He said he called his daughter "a little spitfire", who was probably a troublemaker.

Further developments of the Spitfire Aircraft

In the mid 1930s, planes were being built with the new all metal, low wing style, enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. The SPITFIRE took advantage of these new features with the MERLIN ENGINES. The fuselage of the SPITFIRE was kinda complex with the curves and number of section's incorporated into the framework. a mixture of standard and flush rivets were used to attach the skin to the frame. The flush rivits were used where airflow was most important. In later years flush rivits were used all over and gave the Aircraft overall less drag. The wing was an ellipticle shape and was thinner. The design was enginered to be as thin as possible and still include the retractible gear and armament. The wing was very complex to build and when the factory was bombed and the manufacturing went out to sub-contractors there was a big learning curve before they could get back up to manufacturing.

Spitfires in flight

The Engine

Early on, because of not having Fuel Injection, the SPITFIRES and HURRICANES could not just go into dive. The Carburator would be starved of fuel because of the negative G's. They learned to overcome this by doing a half roll before diving. The use of the Carburator gave more power to the Engine than they would get from Fuel Injection, so they did switch to Fuel Injection. Later a diaphragm was designed to help cure this carburator problem.

Where were the Spitfires built

A factory was built at CASTLE BROMWICH to build Spitfires along with the facility at Southampton. The Germans eventually were able to destoy the two factories. The tooling had been relocated so they where not lost and the production went to sub-contractors around Southampton. Four towns and airfields would be the spitfire's focal points: Southampton, Salisbury, Trowbridge and Reading.

Have you had the pleasure of seeing an actual spitfire in flight?

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Merlin engines

The SPITFIRE went on to be used in the BATTLE OF BRITAIN and was found in every theater of war. It was used for Photo Reconnaissance, Air Defence and Escort. The SPITFIRE was the first to get photos of the V1 and V2 facilities in Germany. The plane went on in use after World War 2 by many countries. The last Spitfire was built in 1947.


Maximum Speed: Mk VB was 374 mph

Mk XIV was 448 mph

Ceiling: Mk VB was 37,000 ft

MK XIV was 44,500 ft

Range: Mk VB was 1,135 miles

Mk XIV was 850 miles

Powerplant: Mk VB was 1,440 hp

Mk XIV was 2,050 hp

Armament: Mk VB had Two 20 mm canon and four .303 caliber machine guns, bomb load of one 500 lb or two 250 lb

Mk XIV hd two 20 mm canon and four .303 caliber machine guns, bomb load of 1,000 lb bomb.

Thanks for stopping by to look, leave a meassage if you like.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      With the finding of crated spitfireâs in Burmer, I am asking the question again "were spitfireâs ever built and crated around England" this is to help me with an article on crated spitfireâs being buried at RAF Colerne

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      amazing info i have learnt loads.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      only ever seen one in flight a MK IX flying at ALBION PARK/WOLLONGONG NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA a yearly air show

      an unbelievable sight and sound

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      i need information on the spitfire in wwii

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      atirial 8 years ago

      Great lens! Would you be interested in adding it to the British Aviation group?

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very nice site. Have you seen the Haynes Workshop Manual for the Spitfire? it seems to be a well researched piece of work and great fun .

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      Reign_Of_Rain 9 years ago

      Great lens, some nice vids on the spitfires, and overall great information!