Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII


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Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII

Externally the Mk XVIII was very similar to late production Mk XIVs. It had the bubble canopy and cut back fuselage. It was armed with the “e” wing, with two 20mm cannon and two .50in machine guns, or four 20mm cannon. 300 were produced, 200 of which were FR (Fighter Reconnaissance) aircraft, which sacrificed some fuel capacity to carry two F.24 vertical cameras and one F.24 oblique camera. It used either a 2,035 hp Griffon 65 or a 2,340 hp Griffon 67. The Mk XVIII saw service after the Second World War, in Malaya and in Palestine.

Prototypes - Mk I - Mk II - Mk III - Mk V - Mk VI - Mk VII - Mk VIII - Mk IX - Mk XII - Mk XIV - Mk XVI - Mk XVIII - Mk 21 to 24 - Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires - Spitfire Wings - Timeline


Supermarine Spitfire (late Merlin-powered variants)

The British Supermarine Spitfire was facing several challenges by mid-1942. The debut of the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in late 1941 had caused problems for RAF fighter squadrons flying the latest Spitfire Mk Vb. [2] Rolls-Royce engineers were already working on a new version of the Merlin incorporating a two-stage supercharger the combination of the improved Merlin and the Spitfire Mk Vc airframe in a "stop-gap" design allowed the RAF to combat the Fw 190 on equal terms.

Spitfire
A restored Supermarine Spitfire VIII, A58-758, in the colours and markings of Wg. Cdr Bobby Gibbes of 80 Wing RAAF, based on Morotai in 1945.
Role Fighter / Photo-reconnaissance
Manufacturer Supermarine
Designer Joseph Smith
First flight September 1941 (Mk III with Merlin 61)
Introduction June 1942 (Mk IX)
Retired 1955, RAF
Primary user Royal Air Force
Produced 1942–1945
Number built 8,996 (20,346 total) [1]
Variants Seafire, Spiteful, Seafang

In a second stream of development Supermarine was working on an improved, reinforced, Spitfire airframe which incorporated several new features and was designed for the Merlin 60 and 70 series engines. [3] This new airframe later formed the basis for the Rolls-Royce Griffon powered Spitfires. This article presents a history of the Spitfire powered by two-stage engine variants and also describes some of the "drawing board" projects and experimental Spitfires. The Griffon powered variants are described in a separate article.


G-BUOS

A real piece of aviation history. Only 40 hours since total restoration.

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DESCRIPTION

A real piece of aviation history. Only 40 hours since total restoration.
Also refer http://www.warbirdregistry.org/spitregistry/spitfire-sm845.html

Spitfire Mk FR.XVIIIe SM845 was built at Chattis Hill, England in 1945 and it was delivered to 39 MU (Maintenance Unit) on May 30, that year. Full service history on enquiry.

Price excludes import taxes if sold internationally

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  • Registered United Kingdom
  • Registration G-BUOS
  • Serial SM845
  • Year 1945
  • Make Vickers-Supermarine
  • Model Mk XVIII Spitfire
  • Airframe TTSN 220 hours
  • Exterior
  • Interior
Location
  • Country United Kingdom
  • City Kirmington
CONTACT SELLER
John Rayner

Platinum Fighter Sales (JR)

United States

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Spitfire vs. Spitfire: Aerial Combat in Israel’s War of Independence

Two Israeli Spitfires escort a B-17 of 69 Squadron on a bombing mission against Egyptian forces late in 1948.

Israel’s War of Independence was punctuated by wild aerial engagements that underscored the conflict’s confusing nature.

Around noon on January 7, 1949, two patrolling Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilots in Supermarine Spitfires spotted a column of black smoke rising from the Al-Auja–Rafah area of the Sinai Desert. Getting nearer, they saw an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) motorized column under attack by what they assumed were Spitfires of the Royal Egyptian Air Force (REAF). Although one hostile Spitfire had been shot down by IDF gunfire, three others were still circling. The IAF duo raced to the rescue. Minutes later, all three remaining “hostiles” had been shot down. Except they were not Egyptian.

The IAF pilots realized too late that their adversaries were actually British Royal Air Force (RAF) reconnaissance Spitfires whose pilots had also been attracted by the smoke—confusion that led to the fatal misidentification. Like most things in the Middle East at this time, however, the circumstances were much more complex than at first sight. Not least was the fact that one Israeli Spitfire was flown by a Canadian World War II ace and the other by an American former test pilot, both IAF volunteers who had once served with the British.

The incident occurred on the final day of Israel’s War of Independence. But its origins lay deep in the complex web of Middle Eastern politics that preceded and followed the end of the British Mandate in Palestine at midnight on May 14, 1948, and the recommendation of a U.N. commission that separate Arab and Jewish states should be established in Palestine.

Exhausted by years of continuous warfare and having just relinquished their Indian empire, the British were in no mood to cling to a volatile Middle Eastern territory at the cost of yet more lives. But they needed to organize an orderly withdrawal. The immediate postwar period of the British Mandate from 1946-47 had been far from peaceful, especially for an RAF depleted by massive demobilizations. Moreover, the RAF’s unwelcome task of locating and identifying ships transporting Jewish “illegal” immigrants, mainly Holocaust survivors, for the Royal Navy to intercept, led to its bases being singled out for attack by Jewish militants. A radar station was blown up and weapons were stolen from RAF armories. Then, on the night of February 25-26, 1946, during simultaneous attacks on three RAF bases, Jewish raiders destroyed or damaged 22 Handley Page Halifax bombers, seven Spitfires and four Avro Ansons.

Following these and other attacks, the RAF presence in Palestine had by mid-1947 been reduced to five squadrons, including Nos. 32 and 208 flying Spitfires. Other units had relocated to Cyprus or the Suez Canal Zone. As Arab hostility toward the Jews increased, British forces that had been fully occupied in defending themselves against mainly Jewish attacks also had to intervene in Arab-Jewish conflicts.

Well before the British departure, the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah had formed an air wing, the Sharut Avir (SA), flying a ragtag assortment of civil aircraft in support of the isolated Jewish settlements. One of its pilots was young Palestine-born Ezer Weizman, who had learned to fly with the RAF but not yet seen combat. Although the British made no serious efforts to interfere with the SA’s activities, they kept a cautious eye on developments.

Meanwhile, anticipating war with their prospective Arab neighbors, Jewish agents and their supporters in the U.S. and Europe were searching for modern aircraft and combat-experienced crewmen, preferably Jewish. Many came forward, including numerous non-Jews, or “Machals,” who volunteered for ideological reasons or because they missed combat.


Former Bell test pilot Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin with an S-199. (Lawrence Nyveen)

Instructed by their Soviet masters to rid themselves of Western equipment, the Communist Czech authorities agreed to sell the agents 25 Avia S-199s, Czech-built Messerschmitt Me-109Gs fitted with Junkers Jumo 211 engines instead of the usual Daimler Benz DB 605s (a pairing that resulted in unpleasant flying characteristics and the nickname “Mule”). The Czechs also agreed to train a number of Jewish pilots, Weizman among them. In America Israeli agents purchased four P-51 Mustangs, three B-17s and later a number of North American T-6s that were converted to the attack role, plus an assortment of transport aircraft, initially used to airlift some of the S-199s from Czechoslovakia.

The war with the Arab states of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq and Syria began immediately after the end of the British Mandate and the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Arabs had rejected the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine that was intended to create Arab and Jewish states side by side. The conflict had several phases, a detailed description of which is outside the scope of this article. Ultimately, with the IAF able to quickly establish air supremacy, Israeli victories on the ground came in swift succession on all fronts, leading to a rapid expansion of the new nation’s territory. Although their main opponents, the numerically superior Egyptians, were British-trained and -equipped, they had no combat experience and never offered serious opposition to the IAF’s veterans.

Meanwhile the soon-to-depart RAF was not immune from the conflict. On the morning of May 22, Egyptian Spitfire LF Mark IXs attacked Ramat David airfield, near the British enclave at Haifa (which the RAF was preparing to evacuate). Two RAF Spitfires were destroyed on the ground and eight others damaged. During a second raid a Douglas Dakota transport was destroyed while landing, killing two crewmen and two airmen. A third REAF attack did little damage, since the RAF had by then mounted a standing patrol of No. 208 Squadron Spitfires over the airfield. Five Egyptian Spits were shot down, one by groundfire, one each by Flying Officers Geoff Cooper and Roy Bowie and two by Flying Officer Tim McElhaw. The REAF later said its pilots had mistaken Ramat David for “the Zionist airfield at Megiddo,” which—as the IAF had yet to acquire Spitfires—suggests the Egyptian fliers were weak on aircraft recognition.

Not that the Israelis weren’t keen to obtain Spitfires. They would eventually rebuild two using parts salvaged from crashed RAF and REAF aircraft. McElhaw recalled an incident at Ramat David when an egg seller from a Jewish kibbutz furtively brought in an offer to the officers’ mess to pay £8,000 to anyone who would fly a Spitfire into Tel Aviv airfield. The plot specified that the pilot would later be taken out to sea, dropped in the water, rescued and returned with a cover story that he had been seen ditching. The pilots were amused by the offer, but there were no takers.

The Israelis eventually got their Spitfires through an agreement with the Czechs in June 1948 to purchase 59 LF Mk. IXs. These ex-RAF aircraft had formed the nucleus of the new Czech air force but for political reasons had to be discarded by 1948. IAF pilots would fly them across Europe to Israel in stages.

Mistaken identity may have been responsible for an Israeli “attack” on RAF Amman on May 31-June 1. Knowing that members of the Arab League were to meet in the Trans-jordanian capital, the Israelis decided to bomb Amman in a show of defiance, using a scratch force comprising a Beech Bonanza, a Fairchild Argus and a de Havilland Dragon Rapide. Their bombs killed six Arab civilians and injured eight others. Whether by accident or design, four crude bombs and three incendiaries exploded within the perimeter of the RAF base, slightly damaging two Ansons but resulting in no casualties. British forces in Transjordan were put on the alert, and a stripped-down Percival Proctor communications aircraft was briefly converted into a “night fighter.”

While bitter fighting continued between Israeli and Arab forces, the RAF sought to monitor developments through reconnaissance flights over the Sinai and Israel using unarmed de Havilland Mosquito PR Mark 34s of No. 13 Squadron, based at Kabrit in the Canal Zone. Suspecting that at least some of the intelligence gained from these flights was being passed to the Egyptians, the IAF made several unsuccessful attempts at interception, failing because they had no aircraft capable of reaching the required altitude—that is, until four P-51Ds arrived in crates from the U.S. in late September. After assembly, these were allocated to the IAF’s Hatzor-based 101 Fighter Squadron, to augment its S-199s and Spitfires.

On November 20, Flying Officer Eric Reynolds and navigator Flight Sgt. Angus Love were assigned to the “Palestine milk run.” Having flown the route several times before, they had no reason to believe it would be anything other than routine. Probably through overconfidence, they stayed well below the PR 34’s maximum altitude of 43,000 feet while heading for Palestine’s northern coast to photograph Israeli airfields. Sighting the Mosquito, 101 Squadron dispatched a P-51 flown by U.S. Army Air Forces combat veteran Wayne Peake, a non-Jewish volunteer. Even though Peake’s oxygen system malfunctioned, he managed to take the Mustang up to 30,000 feet, 2,000 feet above the Mosquito, then fired off a long burst that initially seemed to have no effect. But after turning out to sea and losing altitude, the PR 34 exploded and crashed, killing Reynolds and Love. Back at Hatzor, the oxygen-starved Peake at first claimed he had shot down a four-engine Halifax bomber.

The IAF sent Weizman up in an amphibian to look for survivors, but he found only wreckage. Mosquito overflights were suspended, and RAF intelligence faced angry questions over its failure to register the IAF’s acquisition of fighters that could fly above 30,000 feet.

Israel’s last push of the war, code-named “Chorev,” was conceived in early December 1948 with the objective of finally ousting the Egyptians from the Negev, safeguarding Israel’s southernmost communities and giving the fledgling country an unassailable negotiating position with the Arab nations. The IAF would once again be at the forefront of the offensive, with 101 Squadron deploying five Spitfires, two P-51s and six S-199s.

As Chorev progressed, increasing activity by REAF Spitfires and other aircraft based at El-Arish led the Israelis to undertake a daring commando raid against the airfield and auxiliary landing grounds. At one satellite base they captured an unserviceable Spitfire LF Mk. IX they planned to tow back to Israeli-held territory. Alarmed, the REAF began evacuating their main El-Arish base.


208 Squadron flew the Spitfire Mk. XVIII. More powerful than the Spitfire Mk. XI, the Israeli fighter proved more maneuverable. (RAF Museum, Hendon)

The RAF’s 205 Group, based in the Canal Zone, began monitoring the Israeli advance through photorecon missions flown by Nos. 13 and 208 squadrons over the northern Sinai. Mosquitos of 13 Squadron had recommenced flights over Israel in early December. By the war’s final week, the Egyptians were appealing to the British for assistance. The RAF had already allowed the REAF to use three of its early-warning radar sets, in case the IAF tried to reach Egypt’s heartland. Now the British formally agreed to provide refueling facilities at various RAF airfields in the Canal Zone, and also allow Egyptian aircraft to land if at serious risk. In the meantime, stunned by the speed of the Israeli advance, the British foreign secretary advised his American counterpart that if the Israelis didn’t withdraw from Egyptian territory, the British would take action against them under the 1936 Egyptian Treaty. President Harry Truman demanded that Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion order the Israeli forces to withdraw. After token protests, the Israeli leader instructed the IDF to begin pulling back to the international frontier. But it was not until later that a U.N.-brokered cease-fire was finally agreed to, commencing at 1600 hours on January 7, 1949.

On January 1, meanwhile, RAF Fayid had sent a 13 Squadron Mosquito and two 208 Squadron Spitfires to monitor developments along the front. Four 208 Squadron Spits later photographed the REAF Spitfire captured by the Israelis from El-Arish being towed toward the frontier along the Abu Ageila–Al-Auja road.

A sandstorm on January 6 halted military operations by both sides, but RAF Mosquitos and Spitfires carried out a tactical reconnaissance of the Egyptian-Israeli frontier. The pilots reported considerable activity along the Al-Auja– Rafah road, and 208 Squadron’s commanding officer decided further recon would be needed the following day—setting the scene for tragedy.

Four 208 Squadron pilots were assigned to the mission: Flying Officer Cooper and his wingman, Sergeant Frank Close, and Flying Officer McElhaw and Sergeant Ron Sayers. (Cooper and McElhaw had shot down REAF Spitfires over Ramat David on May 22, 1948.) Their brief was to establish the position of Israeli forces in northeast Sinai by surveying the Al-Auja–Rafah road. Although the pilots were instructed not to cross into Israeli territory, their commanders made it clear that information on the whereabouts of the towed-away REAF Spitfire would not be unwelcome. All the aircraft were fully armed.

Getting airborne from Fayid at 1115 hours on January 7, the Spitfire FR Mk. XVIIIs flew to Abu Ageila, then separated into two sections. Cooper and Close flew at 500 feet, with McElhaw and Sayers providing top cover at 1,500 feet, over an expanse of featureless desert along the border between Egypt and Israel. Their route included a number of turning points where it would have been easy for the formation to penetrate the border—which the RAF pilots almost certainly did during their unsuccessful search for the captured Egyptian Spitfire. They then turned back toward Rafah inside Egyptian territory, heading west to Fayid.

The patrol was unaware that, about 15 minutes earlier near Rafah, five REAF Spitfire LF IXs had strafed an Israeli motorized column, setting three trucks on fire. Sighting the black smoke, the RAF planes veered toward the burning vehicles, Cooper and Close dropping down to near ground level to photograph the scene.

The Israelis in the column, convinced they faced a second wave of Egyptian attackers, opened fire with machine guns, hitting both RAF aircraft. Close’s Spitfire caught fire almost immediately, but he managed to climb to 500 feet and bail out, although his feet caught in the parachute rigging and he landed head first, breaking his jaw. Cooper’s aircraft was less seriously damaged, and he climbed out of immediate danger.

Bewildered, McElhaw and Sayers dropped down to investigate. Also attracted by the smoke were the two patrolling 101 Squadron Spitfire LF IXs, flown by Royal Canadian Air Force ace John McElroy and American Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin, also ex-RCAF and a former U.S. Navy and Bell X-1 test pilot. Sighting the four Spitfires, they assumed these were the REAF airplanes responsible for strafing the convoy. Moreover, since the Israelis almost invariably flew in pairs, it was an IAF operational assumption that any larger grouping must be hostile. As Weizman explained, “If you encountered a foursome they evidently weren’t ours—so shoot ’em up if you can.” Although the IAF Spitfires still had RAF radios and McElroy and Goodlin could hear excited English voices discussing Close’s loss, they failed to connect those transmissions with the incident below. They prepared to attack.

The three remaining RAF pilots evidently did not see the approaching IAF Spitfires, or perhaps had been lulled into a false sense of security by the British-style camouflage and red airscrew spinners similar to their own. Before the British realized the danger, McElroy had fired a burst into Sayers’ aircraft, killing him and downing his Spitfire.

McElroy then turned his attention to McElhaw’s Spitfire. He later said, “I took one look and saw it wasn’t one of ours by the markings, ours had tails painted with big red and white stripes…. so I dropped my sights on him, it was about 400 yards, and I let fly.” His victim recalled: “The first sign I had of trouble was an R/T call [from Cooper], ‘Look out, there’s one behind you!’ I looked out and saw one behind me. That was the end of it. I was simply shot down while orbiting the Close wreckage.” McElhaw bailed out, unhurt.

Goodlin had been pursuing Cooper, who put up more of a fight. The American later wrote: “I could not gain close proximity to the Spit 18 due to the lesser power in my Spit 9. At about 16,000’ the Spit 18 rolled over and dived back towards me at an impossible deflection angle, with machine-guns blazing and exhaust smoke rolling out under both wings.” Taking advantage of his Spitfire IX’s greater maneuverability, Goodlin managed to shoot Cooper down. He recalled, “I only recognized the RAF roundels after the Spit 18 had fired on me, when we were in the scissors engagement and I had no alternative but to fight back to save my own bacon.” (Cooper evaded capture, but McElhaw and Close fell into Israeli hands. They were eventually put on a ship to Cyprus).


Canadian John McElroy shows off his combat-damaged rudder on January 7, 1949. (ISF/GPO)

After landing, McElroy and Goodlin were greeted with disbelief over their claims to having shot down three RAF Spitfires. Weizman recalled that not everyone was delighted: “These two clowns may have been unperturbed, but we weren’t. We were breathless with agitation. After all, the British are the British. They’re no Egyptians.” But Weizman would soon put his misgivings aside to go into action against the British during a mission originally intended to be a final demonstration of force against the REAF at El-Arish. Four IAF Spitfires participated.

Concerned at having heard nothing from the 208 Squadron patrol, the RAF sent seven Hawker Tempest VIs from 213 Squadron and eight from 6 Squadron to escort four 208 Squadron Spitfires in a search. Over Rafah the RAF formation was observed by Weizman’s four Spitfires, who initially mistook the Tempests for “British Spits” and their underwing drop tanks for bombs. Weizman gave the order to attack. During the confusion of the first pass, volunteer pilot Bill “Sure Shot” Schroeder, an ex–U.S. Navy combat veteran, shot down the 213 Squadron Tempest of Pilot Officer David Tattersfield, who died instantly. Only then did the 213 Squadron pilots realize that their guns, although loaded, had not been cocked by the ground crews.

Seeing the IAF Spitfires attack, four 6 Squadron Tempests— flying top cover under the command of Squadron Leader Denis Crowley-Milling—gave chase, and although their guns fired, they couldn’t jettison their drop tanks (the release pins of the jettison levers had been overtightened). Weizman, meanwhile, had scored hits on a 6 Squadron Tempest flown by Sergeant Douglas Liquorish, but his Spitfire also sustained minor damage after being fired on by Flight Lt. Brian Spragg’s Tempest.

Thanks to their red spinners, which were identical to those of the IAF attackers, the four 208 Squadron Spitfires were in double jeopardy. Flying Officer Roy Bowie of 208 Squadron recalled, “In the melee we were anything but safe as Spitfires were treated as hostile by the Tempests until proven otherwise.”

It was not the RAF’s finest hour. Air Chief Marshal Sir David Lee later described the day’s events as a “dramatic and humiliating confrontation with the Israelis.” The RAF pilots went home vowing revenge. Crowley-Milling remembered, “When we landed back we armed up and begged Headquarters to let us take out the Israeli Air Force at their base.” The IAF pilots likewise prepared to defend themselves. But to the Israelis’ surprise—and to the disappointment of the Egyptians—there was no retribution. The British Foreign Office slapped the Israelis on the wrist with a demand for compensation for the equipment and personnel lost (which was never paid), and the Air Ministry issued a statement that, henceforth, any Israeli aircraft encountered over Egyptian territory would be regarded as hostile by the RAF and dealt with accordingly.

The next day the IAF’s 101 Squadron pilots sent a note to their 208 Squadron counterparts: “Sorry about yesterday, but you were on the wrong side of the fence. Come over and have a drink sometime. You will see many familiar faces.”

At war’s end, when most of the foreign volunteers left the IAF, their departure was unlamented by Ezer Weizman. He noted that their “previous combat experience had always given us the feeling that they looked down on us from a position of superiority, allowing themselves an occasional smile at the ‘natives.’…I’m glad they came when they did, but I’m equally glad they left us to face our problems.” Weizman himself went on to greater things, serving as commander of the IAF from 1958-66 and president of Israel from 1993-2000.

RAF veteran Derek O’Connor, who writes from Amersham, Bucks, UK, is a frequent contributor on British aviation topics. For further reading, he recommends: Spitfires Over Israel, by Brian Cull and Shono Alomi with David Nicolle Wings in the Sun, by ACM Sir David Lee On Eagles’ Wings: The Personal Story of the Leading Commander of the Israeli Air Force, by Ezer Weizman and Fighters Over Israel, by Lon Nordeen. A documentary about the IAF’s birth, Above and Beyond, is currently appearing at film festivals and will premiere nationwide early next year (see the trailer at playmountproductions.com).

Originally published in the November 2014 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.


Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII - History

Date:07-JAN-1949
Time:
Type:
Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk XVIII
Owner/operator:208 Squadron Royal Air Force (208 Sqn RAF)
Registration: TP340
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip - Israel
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Suez Canal Zone, Egypt
Narrative:
Just before noon on 7 January 1949, four Spitfire FR18s from No. 208 Squadron RAF on a reconnaissance mission in the Deir al-Balah area flew over an Israeli convoy that had been attacked by five Egyptian Spitfires fifteen minutes earlier. The pilots had spotted smoking vehicles, and were drawn to the scene out of curiosity. Two planes dived to below 500 feet altitude to take pictures of the convoy, while the remaining two covered them from 1,500 feet.

Israeli soldiers on the ground, alerted by the sound of the approaching Spitfires and fearing another Egyptian air attack, opened fire with machine guns. One Spitfire was shot down by a tank-mounted machine gun, while the other was lightly damaged and rapidly pulled up. The remaining three Spitfires were then attacked by patrolling IAF Spitfires flown by Slick Goodlin and John McElroy, volunteers from the United States and Canada respectively. All three Spitfires were shot down, and one pilot was killed

Two pilots were captured by Israeli soldiers and taken to Tel Aviv for interrogation, and were later released. Another was rescued by Bedouins and handed over to the Egyptian Army, which turned him over to the RAF. Later that day, four RAF Spitfires from the same squadron escorted by seven No. 213 Squadron RAF and eight No. 6 Squadron RAF Hawker Tempests went searching for the lost planes, and were attacked by four IAF Spitfires. The Israeli formation was led by Ezer Weizman. The remaining three were manned by Weizman's wingman Alex Jacobs and American volunteers Bill Schroeder and Caesar Dangott.

The Tempests found they could not jettison their external fuel tanks, and some had non-operational guns. Schroeder shot down a British Tempest, killing pilot David Tattersfield. Weizmann severely damaged a British plane flown by Douglas Liquorish, but his own plane was lightly damaged by RAF pilot Brian Spragg. Two other British aircraft were lightly damaged during the engagement. The battle ended after the British wiggled their wings to be more clearly identified, and the Israelis eventually realized the danger of their situation and disengaged, returning to Hatzor Airbase

This combat caused an attitude of "stunned dismay" in the ranks of the RAF and was the cause of some tension between the Israeli forces and the RAF pilots until the war officially ended in July 1949
Only one of the British aircraft were armed, Squadron Leader Anderson's.


Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII - History

Only One T Mk IX has survived.

ML 417 (originally a LF IXc clipped wing became HS 543) was the last T IX delivered. It was taken on Charge by the RAF on 28.4.44 and allotted to 443 RCAF Squadron based at Ford in Jun 42. Coded 21-T it saw action during D Day landings and by late Jun was based at St Croix-Sumer, Normandy. Claimed two FW 190 probables on 13 Jul and two Bf 109s on 19 Jul all over Roune. Claimed two 109s destroyed on 29 Sep and later passed through hands of 442, 401 and 441 Squadrons. Purchased by Vickers Armstrong on 31.10.46 for conversion to the trainer version.

Delivered RIAF on 15.11.48, thisaircraft served with the AFS (India) till 1949 and then was with the CTU in Hakimpet till 1953. It then moved to Palam where it was sent to the IAF museum in 1967. It was sold to Senator Norman Gaar of Kansas City in 4.71 and flew after restoration as a single seater in the UK on 10.2.84. Sold/Shipped to US in January 2002 to Freidken Family. Based at Planes of Fame , Chino, CA.

PR Mk XI: This was the unpressurized version of the PR Mk X version. A Merlin 63A replaced the Merlin 77. Total 471 produced. The only IAF units to operate the type were Nos 6, 7 and 15 Squadrons, No 15 being raised on the type in Aug 51. Ex RAF serials of this type were in the MB, PA and PL series with a few Mk VIIIe sharing the PA letters. One PR XI airframe –

PA 908 was handed over by 681 Squadron RAF on 29.12.47 after being declared BER on 9.5.46. Thus this aircraft never flew with the RIAF but immediately became a ground instructional airframe-M-342 at Allahabad. It was found in Poona in 1984 and sold to Jeet Mahal of Canada and today lies at the USAAF museum at Dayton Ohio painted as MB 950.

With a Hurricane IIc and a Mosquito FB IV in the background, a Spitfire PR Mk XI of 681 Squadron RAF is seen in the RAF PR blue scheme with SEAC markings at Monywa, Burma in ’44. These very aircraft were handed over to 6 and 7 Squadrons RIAF in 1945 and may have formed the basis for the raising of 15 Squadron RIAF on PR XIs in Jan 53.

Mk XIV: With the success of the experimental installation of the Griffon engine on the Mk V airframe (called the Mk XII), a completely new redesign of the Spitfire was planned around the MkVIII airframe with a new wing and the Griffon engine. This redesign was to appear as the Type 394, Mk XVIII. However, long before the new fighter appeared, there was an operational demand in 1943 for a fighter capable of greater performance at higher altitudes. To meet this demand, yet another type was evolved by mating the Griffon engine and the Mk VIII airframe. The result was the type 379 Spitfire Mk XIV. As had been the case with the Mk IX, built as a “stand in” for, but in larger numbers than the Mk VIII, so the Mk XIV was built in greater numbers than the Mk XVIII. Thus the MK XIV became the first to be fitted with a 2,050 hp Mk65 Griffon with deep symmetrical radiators and five bladed propellers. The completely redesigned airframe featured a new fuselage, broad chord fin, inboard ailerons and retractable tail wheel. The F XIV had twin 20mm and four .303 guns while the F XIVe had the twin 20mm plus two .5in gun arrangement. The FR XIVe had the same guns, cut down rear fuselage and teardrop hood, clipped wings, F24 camera and extra fuel. Production totaled 957. Almost all IAF units operated this type. Ex RAF serials were in the MV (shared with VIIIc), NH, and RM, RN, TX and SM (shared with XVIIIe also) series.

Spitfire F Mk XIVe (Griffon 65) RN 193 was taken on charge by the RAF on 10.2.45 and arrived Bombay on 15.5.45 for No 136 Squadron RAF “HM-A”. Here it is seen at Kuala Lampur in post war tail band. This aircraft was handed over to the RIAF in 1947 and served with the No 2 (India) Group Command Flight (still in H-MA markings). This aircraft was disposed of on 25.9.47.

Of the famous names attached to the Mk XIV was, then, Squadron Ldr Nur Khan (later Air Mshl and Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force). Who, while carrying out an air test on RN 133 (ex ‘FF-B’ No 132 Squadron RAF) on 28.7.47 with No 4 Squadron RIAF at Iwakuni, suffered a tyre burst and the aircraft was declared Cat FA. The aircraft was SOC on 24.7.48.

NH 803 arrived Karachi on 16.10.45. Transferred to 9 Squadron RIAF 1946. U/C failed to lock down on 20.2.47 and collapsed on landing at Nagpur. Flg Offr Zaheer-OK. Aircraft SOC 26.6.47.
NH 927 was a FR XIVe (Griffon 65) clipped wing which was TOC/RAF on 6.5.45, arrived Karachi 14.10.45 to ACSEA, India census 5.46 with 6 sqn. This ac is seen at Chakeri./ Kanpur in Aug 47 (No 320 MU). This picture was taken at Chakeri just before the aircraft was destroyed by dropping Concrete blocks on it on 28.8.47.

Six Mk XIV have survived to date. These are as follows:

Ex No 202 SP RAF
To RIAF 29.12.47
IAF history not known coded ‘42’ & ‘G’ at different times
With NCC at Calcutta in 1977
Sold Haydon- Baillie in 1978
Today owned by Kermit Weeks, Florida and is pending restoration.

To RAF 27.2.45 - Loaned to 8 Squadron RIAF 15.10.45. Landed tail wheel retracted at Hakimpet 12.5.46 (Plt Offr SM Ahmed). To IAF inventory 29.12.47. Became ground instructional airframe ‘T-20’ at IAF technical College Jalahalli.

Sold War Birds of Great Britain in 1978. First flight 14.8.92 with spurious code ‘OI-C’ but original serial MV 293. Airworthy.

To RAF 10.2.45. Arrived Bombay 14.10.45 To AFS (India) 5.46 and IAF inventory 29.12.47.

Ground instructional airframe T-44 at Nagpur 1970. Hulk recovered by Hayden- Baillie in 1977. Restored to static condition for Luftfahrtmuseum, Laatzen, Hanover, Germany 1992. Displayed as MV 370/’EB-Q’ (Squadron code for No 41 Squadron RAF)

Taken on Charge RAF – 26.2.45. Arrived Karachi 28.7.45 and loaned to AFS (India) 5.46. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47.

Coded ‘54’ and ‘D’ at different times.

Became ground instructional airframe T3 at the IAF Technical College at Jalahalli but recovered from Patna AFB by Haydon- Baillie in 1977. Restored at Cranfield and flew again on 9.4.83. Presently in USA as NX749DP. Airworthy.

NH 749 in its derelict state in Patna in 1977.

Taken on charge RAF 14.3.45.Arrived Karachi 28.7.45. Loaned to 9 Squadron IAF 5.46. Engine cylinder blew during ground run 27.2.47. Declared Cat E. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47. Subsequent history not known Sold by IAF in 1981 to Doug Arnold and restored in 7.93. To New Zealand 3.94 and registered ZK-XIV. Airworthy. The aircraft had an accident in 1996 and is currently under restoration.

FR XIVe NH 799 in a dis-assembled state on its arrival in UK and its later restored status with Doug Arnold's Warbirds of Great Britain. Photo Courtesy: Flypast

Taken on charge RAF- 1.3.45. Arrived Karachi 5.45. Transferred to RIAF 12.47 to AFS (India). To Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun 1953/54. Rediscovered in 1972

Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978. Restored and flew again 22.5.95. Marked SM 832/’YB-A’. To France 2.98 as F-AZSJ and operated out of Dijon. Airworthy.

Mk XVIII: Almost identical in appearance to the Mk XIV, the Mk XVIII incorporated a new wing design, as opposed to the “universal” wing fitted to the interim Mk XIV. Armament remained the ‘E’ wing version. The Mk XVIII carried an additional two vertical cameras over the single oblique installation of the MkXIV and all aircraft had full span wings. Initially the MkXVIII s flew with the Griffon 65 until the Griffon 67 was introduced with an additional 300 hp. Becoming the most powerful Spitfire ever, it will also be remembered as probably the most beautiful. Production totaled 300. Ex RAF serials commenced with NH (shared with Mk XIVe and VIIIe), SM and TP. Since the Mk XVIII arrived in the late 40s, many have survived.

A total of nine ex IAF Mk XVIIIs are on the war bird register today. These are detailed below:

SM 845 - Thisaircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 28.5.45. Arrived Karachi 11.2.46. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47. Almost certainly served with either 2, 9 or 101 Squadrons. RIAF serial HS687.

Found Kalaikunda and recovered by Historic Flying Limited. Flew after restoration on 7.7.2000, registered G-BUOS. Airworthy.

This aircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 30.8.45 and arrived in Karachi on 11.2.46.

Loaned to No 6 Squadron RIAF. Thisaircraft crashed on landing at Ranchi on 20.12.46
Backloaded to No 47 MU and sold to RJ Parkes. Re sold to RIAF as HS 877 on 16.7.49. Service history not known. It ended up as a gate guardian at HQ Western Air Command, Delhi in 1972.

Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978 and was restored as D-A (for Doug Arnold, owner) with registration G-BRAF and flew 12.10.85. Currently in storage but airworthy.

Became HS 986, TOC RAF 11.10.45. To 47 MU 8.47. Sold to RJ Parkes for RIAF 6.49.

No 1 BRD IAF until 5.52. Then 14 Squadron 5.52 and back to 1 BRD in 6.54. To IAF museum in 1967 and extant.

SM 986/HS 986 as seen in the IAF Museum in spurious scheme(in olive green and air force blue, the only two colours easily available to the IAF museum). Photo Copyright : Jagan Pillarisetti

Became HS649. TOC RAF 2.6.45. Arriving Karachi on 31.1.46. TO RIAF Dec 47. Service history not known. Coded ‘NL’ at one time. Was part of a Haydon-Baillie recovery in 1977 from Kalaikunda. Fuselage sent to UK and wings to USA. Converted to high back and exchanged with National War and Resistance museum, Overloon, Netherlands and marked as NH 649 in lieu of a known RAF serial (at that time).

Became HS 653. TOC RAF 20.6.45 Arrived Karachi 12.2.46.

To RIAF Dec 47. Coded ND at one time. Service history not known. Discovered at Barrackpore in 1977. Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978 and sold to Rudolf Frasca. Restored and located at Frasca Air Museum, Urbana, Illinois, USA.

Became HS 654. TOC RAF 19.6.45. Arrived Karachi 30.3.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Served 9 Squadron and AFS (India). Discovered in Kalaikunda in 1977. Coded NG at one time. Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1977 and sold to Rudolf Frasca. Restored by Historic Flying Limited in 1992 and UK registered G-BTXE. Back to USA registered N280TP and flown as TP280/Z. Located at Frasca Air Museum, Urbana, Illinois, USA.

Became HS 662. TOC RAF 17.7.45 Arrived Karachi 12.2.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Service history not known. Found Kalaikunda in 1977. Recovered Haydon- Baillie 1978. Restored as N41702 and then N93232Z. Fatal crash on 19.4.94. Currently again under restoration.

TP 298/HS 662 as seen at Kalaikunda in 1977.

Became HS 674. TOC RAF 22.10.45. Arrived Karachi 31.1.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Coded ‘NB’ at one time. Service history not known. Found IIT Kharagpur in 1979. Initially sold to Jeet Mahal of Vancouver , Canada but export not allowed. Re sold to ‘sandy’, Bedfordshire, UK 17.8.94. Currently with JM Limbeuf Rouen, France.

Became HS 683. TOC RAF 8.12.45 Arriving Karachi 11.2.46. To RIAF 31.12.47. Service history not known. Presented by AVM Harjinder Singh to Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh in the fifties. HS 674 painted on. Believed to be a composite airframe of both HS 674 and HS 683.

PR Mk XIX: This was the final photo recce version 2,050hp Griffon 65 with the unpressurised cockpit then the 67 with pressurized cockpit. This aircraft with deep slipper tank could make a 2900 Km trip. It was also the last of the Spitfire marks flown by the RAF (1 Apr 54). Production totaled 225. RAF serials of aircraft handed over to the RIAF commenced with the serials PM and PS. Only one ex RIAF/IAF PR MK XIX has survived.

This Spitfire became HS 694 and was TOC RAF 20.9.45. It moved to No 9 MU on 4.6.52 and was sold to Vickers Armstrong on 15.2.53 and then onto No 1 PR Squadron IAF in 1953. It moved to No 1 BRD in 1955 and back to No 1 PR Squadron till 1957 and then stored at Palam till 1970. Recovered to Canada on 3.2.71 and then to Swedish AF Museum in 1982.

A PR MK XIX of 101 PR Flt at Palam in the early 1950s. Note overall PR blue scheme and white band on tail. Thisaircraft appears to have PR blue spinner as well, although other commentators have said that these were black.

Fifteen Sixteen units of the IAF had the pleasure of operating the Spitfire. These were Nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 Fighter and No 1 PR Squadron (later 101 Squadron) and Advanced Flying School (India), Ambala, later renamed to No.1 Air Force Academy, and lastly the Conversion Training Unit, Hakimpet. and No 2 FTS (Flying Training School).

No 1 Squadron (Tigers) : Formed 01.4.43 at Drigh Rd with Wapiti IIa for Army Co-op then Hart, Audax and Lysander. Converted to Fighter unit with Hurricane Mks I and IIb from Sep 44. With Spitfire LF VIIIc from Nov 45 at Kohat. Samungli 02 Apr 46, then Yelahanka 18 Jun 46. Detachment at Miranshah from 27 Oct 45 to 7 Apr 46 and again from 27 Mar 47 with few FR XIVe. Reduced to 8 from 16 MkVIII from 15 May 47 and moved to Peshawar. Re equipped Tempest F.II Jul 47 and assets transferred to RPAF 15 Aug 47. Re-raised in 1951 by renumbering No.15 Squadron on 26 Jan 1953. Flew Vampires, Mysteres and MiG-21s. Today flying Mirage 2000 H/TH.

8 Squadron pilots ‘scramble’ and ‘brief’ for a photo shoot at Samungli in 1946. Note SEAC bands still applied to their Mk VIIIe s. The pilots are Haider, Thandi, Zahid, Phillip, Beg, Subia, Mendoza and Aziz.

No 2 Squadron (Winged Arrows) : Formed 1.4.41 at Peshawar with Wapiti IIa for army co –op, then Lysander from 24 Nov 41. Converted to Tac R role with Hurricane IIb from 7 Sep 42 then Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jan 46 at Kohat. Samungli from 9 Nov 46 then Poona 10 Feb 47. Manned detachments at Miranshah from 2 Apr 46 to 6 Jun 46 then Aug 46. Reduced to 8 from 16 Mk VIII 31 May 47. Re equipped F/FR XVIIIe Dec 48 till Oct 53. Currently flying MiG 27 ML.

A No 2 Squadron LF VIIIc in the post war silver scheme in Indian markings. Thisaircraft (almost certainly MT 915, Merlin 66) was taken on charge by the RAF on 15.11.44 and arrived India on 4.2.45. Reflected in RIAF India census of 5.46, taken on charge by 2 Squadron from 20.1.46 till 4.47. Retd RAF and struck off charge on 31.7.47. Its IAF service is unknown.
Another view of a 2 Squadron F VIII in SEAC scheme but with type ‘D’ Indian roundels and single letter ID. The serial is a mystery as no ‘NT ---‘ existed and no VIIIs existed in any T---- serials.

No 3 Squadron (Cobras): Formed 1.10.41 as FR unit at Peshawar with Audax I. Converted to FB role with Hurricane IIc from Nov 43. With 16 LF VIIIc from Nov 45 at Risalpur and at Kolar from 2 Jan 46. Re equipped with Tempest F.II from Sep 47. Currently flying MiG 21 Bison (Bis Upgrade).

A 3 Squadron MkVIII in SEAC markings but no White ID bands (onlyaircraft in theater would have these applied) rests at Peshawar. Note white spinner with a colored tip (red?)

No 4 Squadron (Oorials): Formed 1 Feb 42 as Tac R unit at Peshawar with Lysander II. Then Hurricane IIc for FGA from Aug 43. Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jun 45 at Yelahanka. Some F/FR XIVe from Jan 46 to Mar 46. Embarked for Japan on 6 Mar 46 as part of Commonwealth occupation forces, based Iwakuni from 31 Mar 46 with F/FR XIVe and Miho (Hiroshima) from 6 May 46. Returned to India 19 Jul 47 leaving all aircraft in Japan. Re equipped Kanpur/Chakeri on Tempest F.II. Today Flying MiG 21 Bis.

No 4 Squadron RIAF embark HMS Vengeance for trip to Japan end Mar 46. One FR Mk XIVe wears the serial RN 202? And the other MV2--. Theseaircraft sport the RAF ‘C’ type roundel whilst many other 4 Squadronaircraft sported both the silver and camouflage schemes with the SEAC Blue and Sky Blue roundel but no white ID bands in Japan.

No 6 Squadron (Dragons): Formed 1.12.42 at Trichinapoly with Hurricane IIb for Tac R. Converted to Spitfire LF VIIIc and F/FR XIVe from Nov 45 at Kohat (also had few PR.XI). Ranchi from 10 Jan 46 disbanding on 30 Apr 47. Reformed next day at Mauripur (Karachi) as Dakota unit. Ceased to exist on 15 Aug 47 pending formation as PAF unit. Later reformed as IAF Liberator unit. This unit had the honour of being commanded by Squadron Ldr JC Varma DFC (1.8.46 to 11.1.47), the only other Indian (sources state that Flt Lt MS Pujji whilst with 43 Squadron RAF flying the Spifire Mk Vc claimed two Bf 109s destroyed and one probable over Europe in 1943) to bring down an enemy aircraft in WW II (a JAAF Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Oscar) flown by Cpl Tsuneo Nabeta of the 204th Sentai on 15.2.44 over Taung Bazaar). Currently flying Jaguar M.

No 7 Squadron (Bison, later Battle Axes): Formed 1.12.42 at Vizagapatnam with Vengeance I, later III. Hurrican IIc from Nov 44. Converted to Spitfire F/FR XIVe (also some LF VIIIc and PR XI) from Dec 45 to Mar 46 at Gwalior. Then Kohat, Miranshah and Risalpur on 30 Apr 47. Re equipped with Tempest F II at Agra from May 47. However re equipped with Spitfires (due spares problems with Tempest) which served till early 49 alongside Vampires and took part in Kashmir operations in 47/48. Currently flying Mirage 2000 H/TH.

The earliest record of an aircraft carrying the Battle Axe emblem - A Spitfire XVIII borrowed by Air Marshal R Ivelaw-Chapman for a visit to Kanpur. Gp Capt Harjinder Singh is the receiving Officer.

No 8 Squadron (The Eighth Pursoot): This was the only IAF squadron to be equipped with Spitfires and fly them in action during WW2. Also formed 1.12.42 with 7 Squadron at Trichinapoly with Vengeance I and III. Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jul 44 at Samungli. Operated four Mk V/Trop in Nov 44 from Amarda Road pathfinding for Allied P-51s and P-47s. Nidania from 29 Dec 44 and Baigachi from 23 Feb 45. Flew operations from ‘George’ strip south of Cox Bazaar from 3.1.45. Two flights operated from Akyab forward strip carrying out patrols along the beachs and covered the landing of the 26 Indian Div at Ramree island. Embarked for Rangoon 19 Jul 45. Took over 16 Spitfires VIIIs from 607 Squadron RAF at Mingaladon. Carried out “cab-rank” patrols with one 500 lb bomb alongside RAF Thunderbolts against Japanese forces escaping west of the Rangoon-Toungoo Rd. Spitfires also dropped supplies to the Burmese guerillas of force 136 behind enemy lines. The last operational sortie by a RIAF Spitfire was on 13.8.45 when a lone aircraft dropped supplies to a small groups of V-Force men in the Kyaukki area. 8 Squadron Spitfires escorted the two Japanese aircraft transporting Lt Gen Numata from Elephant Point to Mingaladon outside Rangoon to sign the instrument of surrender. The Squadron returned to India 24 Jan 46 then Trichinopoly with F/FR XIVe on 4 Feb 46. Moved to Kolar and re equipped with Tempest FII from Oct 46. last Spitfire left behind on moving to Poona on 13 May 47. Currently flying MiG 21 FL.

A Spitfire FR XIVe clipped wing MV 364 ‘A’ of 8 Squadron at Kolar in 1946. Note the SEAC markings with ‘D’ type roundel in Indian Colours. The exact date when Indian markings were applied is not known. However, this appears to have occurred around mid-1946.

No 9 Squadron (Wolf pack): Formed 3.1.44 at Lahore with Hurricane IIc. Converted to LF VIIIc from May 45 at Baigachi. Then to Ranchi Oct 45 and to Hmawbi /Rangoon in Nov 45 with some F/FR XIVe. Back to Willingdon in Jan 46 and Gwalior in Feb. Totally re equipped with F/FR XIVe , moved to Peshawar in Mar 46 and Bhopal on 14 Jan 47. Reduced to 8 XIVs and then re equipped with Tempest F II and transferred to RPAF on 15 Aug 47. Re raised as an RIAF unit in 1948 on F/FR XVIIIe and served until Oct 53. Re-raised as a Folland Gnat Unit in 1964. Currently flying Mig 27 ML.

No 10 Squadron (Daggers): Formed 20 Feb 44 at Lahore with Hurricane IIc. Converted to Spitfire LF VIIc from May 45 at Yelahanka (six LF VIIIc from 17 Squadron RAF). Moved to Kajamalai/ Trichinapoly May 45 and then to Ulunderpet in Nov 45. Then to Hmawbi on 22 Nov 45 and back to Baigachi and Barrackpore on 15 Feb 46. Finally to Chakeri on 15 May 47 to convert to Tempest MkIIs. Currently flying MiG 27 ML.

No 12 Squadron (Yaks): Formed 1.12.45 with LF VIIIc at Kohat. To Risalpur on 28 Jan 46 and Bairagarh on 23 Jun 46, converting to Dakotas from Aug 46. Currently flying AN-32.

No 14 Squadron (Fighting Bulls): Formed 15 Aug 51 with F/FR XVIIIe at Ambala. To Barrackpore in 52 and back to Halwara in 57. Became last piston engined front line unit of the IAF. Converted to Hunters in 1957. Currently flying Jaguar S.

A No 14 Squadron FR Mk XVIIIe lies with a broken back after overshooting the Runway at Halwara. Note the black tail band (also wing tips) applied to all Spitfires and Tempests at that time

No 15 Squadron (Flying Lancers): Formed 20 Aug 51 at Ambala as PR unit with PR Mk XI FR XVIIIe. Disbanded Jan 53, Spitfires going to No.1 Squadron. Re raised, Currently Mig 21 Bis unit.

No 16 Squadron (Black Cobras) Formed in 1951 with F/FR XVIIIe. Ceased to operate Spitfires in 1954. Currently operating Jaguar S.

No 101 Squadron (Falcons): Formed as No 1 PR Flt in Jan 48 at Jammu with FR XVIIIe and then with PR XIX from 49. Disbanded 1958. Re raised in 1968 on Su-7s, currently flying MiG 21 M in PR role.

Advanced Flying School (India): Formed 1 Apr 46 from No 1 (Indian) Advanced Flying Unit, No 1 Service Flying Traing School and No 151 OTU at Ambala and absorbed into RIAF on 1 Jun 47. Flew LF VIIIc, F/Fr XIVe and XVIIIe and finally T.IX from 1949 to 51. AFS was renamed to No.1 Air Force Academy in 1950.

Spitfire FR XIVe NH 786 of the SFTS RIAF Ambala seen at Peshawar during 1946. It was written off on 2.8.46 when the engine failed during aerobatics and the aircraft was force landed 12 miles east of Ambala Plt Offr SMS Haque being injured.

No 2 Flying Training school (FTS): Formed at Jodhpur, temporarily used T.IXs from 1949 to 57.

Conversion Training Unit: Formed at Hakimpet (N of Secunderabad) in August 1951, taking up aircraft from No.1 Air Force Academy which had moved to Begumpet. Flew LF VIIIc, XVIIIe and T.IXs from 1951 to 55. A total of ten Pilot courses (Nos.55 to 64) were trained on the Spitfire, with some batches sharing the load with Tempest IIs and Vampire FB52s. Of these ten courses, three (59,60,61) were solely on Spitfires. Renamed Jet Training Wing and subsequently to Fighter Training Wing. Today it is known as Air Force Station Hakimpet and flies Kiran Mk1As and Mk IIs.

Wg Cdr Don Michael and his pupils at Conversion Training Unit, Hakimpet. Plt Offr (later Air Mshl) Prithi Singh is on his left. Note the white band on the black spinner of this Mk XVIIIe with zero length rocket rails. Plt Offr (later Wg Cdr Retd, Chief test Pilot then Chairman HAL) IM Chopra poses by an Mk XVIII. Note white spinner with black (??) roundels. Photo Courtesy : Wg Cdr IM Chopra (Retd) via Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava Plt Offr (later Wg Cdr Retd) GV Kuriyan with his first photo with a Mk XIV. Note the bomb racks and camo scheme. Photo Courtesy : Wg Cdr GV Kuriyan Flight Cadet Peter Maynard Wilson (later Air Cmde Retd, PVSM and VrC) with a Spitfire FR XIVe at AFS Ambala. Photo Courtesy : Air Cmde Peter Wilson (Retd) via K Sree Kumar

* Phrase inscribed on the Silver Trophy presented to the Royal Air Force by Supermarine and Rolls Royce, implying that the old soldier is retiring finally after doing its duty in war.

Acknowledgements: I would wish to thank the following people without whose research, love for the IAF and the Spitfire and support, this article would not be possible, in no particular order they are:

Helmut Terbeck, Harry van Der Meer , Ray Sturtivant , Peter Arnold, Phil camp, Simon Watson, Pushpinder Singh , Jagan Pillarisetti (PVS Jagan Mohan) and my father.

Editors Note: Article corrected as on 26.11.2005. Original statements retained but struck through. New text statements are in Red.

This article was the inspiration for the book titled "Spitfires in the Sun" - a comprehensive history of the Spitfire in the Indian Air Force


Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII - History

Only One T Mk IX has survived.

ML 417 (originally a LF IXc clipped wing became HS 543) was the last T IX delivered. It was taken on Charge by the RAF on 28.4.44 and allotted to 443 RCAF Squadron based at Ford in Jun 42. Coded 21-T it saw action during D Day landings and by late Jun was based at St Croix-Sumer, Normandy. Claimed two FW 190 probables on 13 Jul and two Bf 109s on 19 Jul all over Roune. Claimed two 109s destroyed on 29 Sep and later passed through hands of 442, 401 and 441 Squadrons. Purchased by Vickers Armstrong on 31.10.46 for conversion to the trainer version.

Delivered RIAF on 15.11.48, thisaircraft served with the AFS (India) till 1949 and then was with the CTU in Hakimpet till 1953. It then moved to Palam where it was sent to the IAF museum in 1967. It was sold to Senator Norman Gaar of Kansas City in 4.71 and flew after restoration as a single seater in the UK on 10.2.84. Sold/Shipped to US in January 2002 to Freidken Family. Based at Planes of Fame , Chino, CA.

PR Mk XI: This was the unpressurized version of the PR Mk X version. A Merlin 63A replaced the Merlin 77. Total 471 produced. The only IAF units to operate the type were Nos 6, 7 and 15 Squadrons, No 15 being raised on the type in Aug 51. Ex RAF serials of this type were in the MB, PA and PL series with a few Mk VIIIe sharing the PA letters. One PR XI airframe –

PA 908 was handed over by 681 Squadron RAF on 29.12.47 after being declared BER on 9.5.46. Thus this aircraft never flew with the RIAF but immediately became a ground instructional airframe-M-342 at Allahabad. It was found in Poona in 1984 and sold to Jeet Mahal of Canada and today lies at the USAAF museum at Dayton Ohio painted as MB 950.

With a Hurricane IIc and a Mosquito FB IV in the background, a Spitfire PR Mk XI of 681 Squadron RAF is seen in the RAF PR blue scheme with SEAC markings at Monywa, Burma in ’44. These very aircraft were handed over to 6 and 7 Squadrons RIAF in 1945 and may have formed the basis for the raising of 15 Squadron RIAF on PR XIs in Jan 53.

Mk XIV: With the success of the experimental installation of the Griffon engine on the Mk V airframe (called the Mk XII), a completely new redesign of the Spitfire was planned around the MkVIII airframe with a new wing and the Griffon engine. This redesign was to appear as the Type 394, Mk XVIII. However, long before the new fighter appeared, there was an operational demand in 1943 for a fighter capable of greater performance at higher altitudes. To meet this demand, yet another type was evolved by mating the Griffon engine and the Mk VIII airframe. The result was the type 379 Spitfire Mk XIV. As had been the case with the Mk IX, built as a “stand in” for, but in larger numbers than the Mk VIII, so the Mk XIV was built in greater numbers than the Mk XVIII. Thus the MK XIV became the first to be fitted with a 2,050 hp Mk65 Griffon with deep symmetrical radiators and five bladed propellers. The completely redesigned airframe featured a new fuselage, broad chord fin, inboard ailerons and retractable tail wheel. The F XIV had twin 20mm and four .303 guns while the F XIVe had the twin 20mm plus two .5in gun arrangement. The FR XIVe had the same guns, cut down rear fuselage and teardrop hood, clipped wings, F24 camera and extra fuel. Production totaled 957. Almost all IAF units operated this type. Ex RAF serials were in the MV (shared with VIIIc), NH, and RM, RN, TX and SM (shared with XVIIIe also) series.

Spitfire F Mk XIVe (Griffon 65) RN 193 was taken on charge by the RAF on 10.2.45 and arrived Bombay on 15.5.45 for No 136 Squadron RAF “HM-A”. Here it is seen at Kuala Lampur in post war tail band. This aircraft was handed over to the RIAF in 1947 and served with the No 2 (India) Group Command Flight (still in H-MA markings). This aircraft was disposed of on 25.9.47.

Of the famous names attached to the Mk XIV was, then, Squadron Ldr Nur Khan (later Air Mshl and Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force). Who, while carrying out an air test on RN 133 (ex ‘FF-B’ No 132 Squadron RAF) on 28.7.47 with No 4 Squadron RIAF at Iwakuni, suffered a tyre burst and the aircraft was declared Cat FA. The aircraft was SOC on 24.7.48.

NH 803 arrived Karachi on 16.10.45. Transferred to 9 Squadron RIAF 1946. U/C failed to lock down on 20.2.47 and collapsed on landing at Nagpur. Flg Offr Zaheer-OK. Aircraft SOC 26.6.47.
NH 927 was a FR XIVe (Griffon 65) clipped wing which was TOC/RAF on 6.5.45, arrived Karachi 14.10.45 to ACSEA, India census 5.46 with 6 sqn. This ac is seen at Chakeri./ Kanpur in Aug 47 (No 320 MU). This picture was taken at Chakeri just before the aircraft was destroyed by dropping Concrete blocks on it on 28.8.47.

Six Mk XIV have survived to date. These are as follows:

Ex No 202 SP RAF
To RIAF 29.12.47
IAF history not known coded ‘42’ & ‘G’ at different times
With NCC at Calcutta in 1977
Sold Haydon- Baillie in 1978
Today owned by Kermit Weeks, Florida and is pending restoration.

To RAF 27.2.45 - Loaned to 8 Squadron RIAF 15.10.45. Landed tail wheel retracted at Hakimpet 12.5.46 (Plt Offr SM Ahmed). To IAF inventory 29.12.47. Became ground instructional airframe ‘T-20’ at IAF technical College Jalahalli.

Sold War Birds of Great Britain in 1978. First flight 14.8.92 with spurious code ‘OI-C’ but original serial MV 293. Airworthy.

To RAF 10.2.45. Arrived Bombay 14.10.45 To AFS (India) 5.46 and IAF inventory 29.12.47.

Ground instructional airframe T-44 at Nagpur 1970. Hulk recovered by Hayden- Baillie in 1977. Restored to static condition for Luftfahrtmuseum, Laatzen, Hanover, Germany 1992. Displayed as MV 370/’EB-Q’ (Squadron code for No 41 Squadron RAF)

Taken on Charge RAF – 26.2.45. Arrived Karachi 28.7.45 and loaned to AFS (India) 5.46. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47.

Coded ‘54’ and ‘D’ at different times.

Became ground instructional airframe T3 at the IAF Technical College at Jalahalli but recovered from Patna AFB by Haydon- Baillie in 1977. Restored at Cranfield and flew again on 9.4.83. Presently in USA as NX749DP. Airworthy.

NH 749 in its derelict state in Patna in 1977.

Taken on charge RAF 14.3.45.Arrived Karachi 28.7.45. Loaned to 9 Squadron IAF 5.46. Engine cylinder blew during ground run 27.2.47. Declared Cat E. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47. Subsequent history not known Sold by IAF in 1981 to Doug Arnold and restored in 7.93. To New Zealand 3.94 and registered ZK-XIV. Airworthy. The aircraft had an accident in 1996 and is currently under restoration.

FR XIVe NH 799 in a dis-assembled state on its arrival in UK and its later restored status with Doug Arnold's Warbirds of Great Britain. Photo Courtesy: Flypast

Taken on charge RAF- 1.3.45. Arrived Karachi 5.45. Transferred to RIAF 12.47 to AFS (India). To Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun 1953/54. Rediscovered in 1972

Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978. Restored and flew again 22.5.95. Marked SM 832/’YB-A’. To France 2.98 as F-AZSJ and operated out of Dijon. Airworthy.

Mk XVIII: Almost identical in appearance to the Mk XIV, the Mk XVIII incorporated a new wing design, as opposed to the “universal” wing fitted to the interim Mk XIV. Armament remained the ‘E’ wing version. The Mk XVIII carried an additional two vertical cameras over the single oblique installation of the MkXIV and all aircraft had full span wings. Initially the MkXVIII s flew with the Griffon 65 until the Griffon 67 was introduced with an additional 300 hp. Becoming the most powerful Spitfire ever, it will also be remembered as probably the most beautiful. Production totaled 300. Ex RAF serials commenced with NH (shared with Mk XIVe and VIIIe), SM and TP. Since the Mk XVIII arrived in the late 40s, many have survived.

A total of nine ex IAF Mk XVIIIs are on the war bird register today. These are detailed below:

SM 845 - Thisaircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 28.5.45. Arrived Karachi 11.2.46. Transferred to RIAF Dec 47. Almost certainly served with either 2, 9 or 101 Squadrons. RIAF serial HS687.

Found Kalaikunda and recovered by Historic Flying Limited. Flew after restoration on 7.7.2000, registered G-BUOS. Airworthy.

This aircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 30.8.45 and arrived in Karachi on 11.2.46.

Loaned to No 6 Squadron RIAF. Thisaircraft crashed on landing at Ranchi on 20.12.46
Backloaded to No 47 MU and sold to RJ Parkes. Re sold to RIAF as HS 877 on 16.7.49. Service history not known. It ended up as a gate guardian at HQ Western Air Command, Delhi in 1972.

Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978 and was restored as D-A (for Doug Arnold, owner) with registration G-BRAF and flew 12.10.85. Currently in storage but airworthy.

Became HS 986, TOC RAF 11.10.45. To 47 MU 8.47. Sold to RJ Parkes for RIAF 6.49.

No 1 BRD IAF until 5.52. Then 14 Squadron 5.52 and back to 1 BRD in 6.54. To IAF museum in 1967 and extant.

SM 986/HS 986 as seen in the IAF Museum in spurious scheme(in olive green and air force blue, the only two colours easily available to the IAF museum). Photo Copyright : Jagan Pillarisetti

Became HS649. TOC RAF 2.6.45. Arriving Karachi on 31.1.46. TO RIAF Dec 47. Service history not known. Coded ‘NL’ at one time. Was part of a Haydon-Baillie recovery in 1977 from Kalaikunda. Fuselage sent to UK and wings to USA. Converted to high back and exchanged with National War and Resistance museum, Overloon, Netherlands and marked as NH 649 in lieu of a known RAF serial (at that time).

Became HS 653. TOC RAF 20.6.45 Arrived Karachi 12.2.46.

To RIAF Dec 47. Coded ND at one time. Service history not known. Discovered at Barrackpore in 1977. Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1978 and sold to Rudolf Frasca. Restored and located at Frasca Air Museum, Urbana, Illinois, USA.

Became HS 654. TOC RAF 19.6.45. Arrived Karachi 30.3.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Served 9 Squadron and AFS (India). Discovered in Kalaikunda in 1977. Coded NG at one time. Recovered by Haydon-Baillie in 1977 and sold to Rudolf Frasca. Restored by Historic Flying Limited in 1992 and UK registered G-BTXE. Back to USA registered N280TP and flown as TP280/Z. Located at Frasca Air Museum, Urbana, Illinois, USA.

Became HS 662. TOC RAF 17.7.45 Arrived Karachi 12.2.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Service history not known. Found Kalaikunda in 1977. Recovered Haydon- Baillie 1978. Restored as N41702 and then N93232Z. Fatal crash on 19.4.94. Currently again under restoration.

TP 298/HS 662 as seen at Kalaikunda in 1977.

Became HS 674. TOC RAF 22.10.45. Arrived Karachi 31.1.46. To RIAF Dec 47. Coded ‘NB’ at one time. Service history not known. Found IIT Kharagpur in 1979. Initially sold to Jeet Mahal of Vancouver , Canada but export not allowed. Re sold to ‘sandy’, Bedfordshire, UK 17.8.94. Currently with JM Limbeuf Rouen, France.

Became HS 683. TOC RAF 8.12.45 Arriving Karachi 11.2.46. To RIAF 31.12.47. Service history not known. Presented by AVM Harjinder Singh to Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh in the fifties. HS 674 painted on. Believed to be a composite airframe of both HS 674 and HS 683.

PR Mk XIX: This was the final photo recce version 2,050hp Griffon 65 with the unpressurised cockpit then the 67 with pressurized cockpit. This aircraft with deep slipper tank could make a 2900 Km trip. It was also the last of the Spitfire marks flown by the RAF (1 Apr 54). Production totaled 225. RAF serials of aircraft handed over to the RIAF commenced with the serials PM and PS. Only one ex RIAF/IAF PR MK XIX has survived.

This Spitfire became HS 694 and was TOC RAF 20.9.45. It moved to No 9 MU on 4.6.52 and was sold to Vickers Armstrong on 15.2.53 and then onto No 1 PR Squadron IAF in 1953. It moved to No 1 BRD in 1955 and back to No 1 PR Squadron till 1957 and then stored at Palam till 1970. Recovered to Canada on 3.2.71 and then to Swedish AF Museum in 1982.

A PR MK XIX of 101 PR Flt at Palam in the early 1950s. Note overall PR blue scheme and white band on tail. Thisaircraft appears to have PR blue spinner as well, although other commentators have said that these were black.

Fifteen Sixteen units of the IAF had the pleasure of operating the Spitfire. These were Nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 Fighter and No 1 PR Squadron (later 101 Squadron) and Advanced Flying School (India), Ambala, later renamed to No.1 Air Force Academy, and lastly the Conversion Training Unit, Hakimpet. and No 2 FTS (Flying Training School).

No 1 Squadron (Tigers) : Formed 01.4.43 at Drigh Rd with Wapiti IIa for Army Co-op then Hart, Audax and Lysander. Converted to Fighter unit with Hurricane Mks I and IIb from Sep 44. With Spitfire LF VIIIc from Nov 45 at Kohat. Samungli 02 Apr 46, then Yelahanka 18 Jun 46. Detachment at Miranshah from 27 Oct 45 to 7 Apr 46 and again from 27 Mar 47 with few FR XIVe. Reduced to 8 from 16 MkVIII from 15 May 47 and moved to Peshawar. Re equipped Tempest F.II Jul 47 and assets transferred to RPAF 15 Aug 47. Re-raised in 1951 by renumbering No.15 Squadron on 26 Jan 1953. Flew Vampires, Mysteres and MiG-21s. Today flying Mirage 2000 H/TH.

8 Squadron pilots ‘scramble’ and ‘brief’ for a photo shoot at Samungli in 1946. Note SEAC bands still applied to their Mk VIIIe s. The pilots are Haider, Thandi, Zahid, Phillip, Beg, Subia, Mendoza and Aziz.

No 2 Squadron (Winged Arrows) : Formed 1.4.41 at Peshawar with Wapiti IIa for army co –op, then Lysander from 24 Nov 41. Converted to Tac R role with Hurricane IIb from 7 Sep 42 then Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jan 46 at Kohat. Samungli from 9 Nov 46 then Poona 10 Feb 47. Manned detachments at Miranshah from 2 Apr 46 to 6 Jun 46 then Aug 46. Reduced to 8 from 16 Mk VIII 31 May 47. Re equipped F/FR XVIIIe Dec 48 till Oct 53. Currently flying MiG 27 ML.

A No 2 Squadron LF VIIIc in the post war silver scheme in Indian markings. Thisaircraft (almost certainly MT 915, Merlin 66) was taken on charge by the RAF on 15.11.44 and arrived India on 4.2.45. Reflected in RIAF India census of 5.46, taken on charge by 2 Squadron from 20.1.46 till 4.47. Retd RAF and struck off charge on 31.7.47. Its IAF service is unknown.
Another view of a 2 Squadron F VIII in SEAC scheme but with type ‘D’ Indian roundels and single letter ID. The serial is a mystery as no ‘NT ---‘ existed and no VIIIs existed in any T---- serials.

No 3 Squadron (Cobras): Formed 1.10.41 as FR unit at Peshawar with Audax I. Converted to FB role with Hurricane IIc from Nov 43. With 16 LF VIIIc from Nov 45 at Risalpur and at Kolar from 2 Jan 46. Re equipped with Tempest F.II from Sep 47. Currently flying MiG 21 Bison (Bis Upgrade).

A 3 Squadron MkVIII in SEAC markings but no White ID bands (onlyaircraft in theater would have these applied) rests at Peshawar. Note white spinner with a colored tip (red?)

No 4 Squadron (Oorials): Formed 1 Feb 42 as Tac R unit at Peshawar with Lysander II. Then Hurricane IIc for FGA from Aug 43. Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jun 45 at Yelahanka. Some F/FR XIVe from Jan 46 to Mar 46. Embarked for Japan on 6 Mar 46 as part of Commonwealth occupation forces, based Iwakuni from 31 Mar 46 with F/FR XIVe and Miho (Hiroshima) from 6 May 46. Returned to India 19 Jul 47 leaving all aircraft in Japan. Re equipped Kanpur/Chakeri on Tempest F.II. Today Flying MiG 21 Bis.

No 4 Squadron RIAF embark HMS Vengeance for trip to Japan end Mar 46. One FR Mk XIVe wears the serial RN 202? And the other MV2--. Theseaircraft sport the RAF ‘C’ type roundel whilst many other 4 Squadronaircraft sported both the silver and camouflage schemes with the SEAC Blue and Sky Blue roundel but no white ID bands in Japan.

No 6 Squadron (Dragons): Formed 1.12.42 at Trichinapoly with Hurricane IIb for Tac R. Converted to Spitfire LF VIIIc and F/FR XIVe from Nov 45 at Kohat (also had few PR.XI). Ranchi from 10 Jan 46 disbanding on 30 Apr 47. Reformed next day at Mauripur (Karachi) as Dakota unit. Ceased to exist on 15 Aug 47 pending formation as PAF unit. Later reformed as IAF Liberator unit. This unit had the honour of being commanded by Squadron Ldr JC Varma DFC (1.8.46 to 11.1.47), the only other Indian (sources state that Flt Lt MS Pujji whilst with 43 Squadron RAF flying the Spifire Mk Vc claimed two Bf 109s destroyed and one probable over Europe in 1943) to bring down an enemy aircraft in WW II (a JAAF Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Oscar) flown by Cpl Tsuneo Nabeta of the 204th Sentai on 15.2.44 over Taung Bazaar). Currently flying Jaguar M.

No 7 Squadron (Bison, later Battle Axes): Formed 1.12.42 at Vizagapatnam with Vengeance I, later III. Hurrican IIc from Nov 44. Converted to Spitfire F/FR XIVe (also some LF VIIIc and PR XI) from Dec 45 to Mar 46 at Gwalior. Then Kohat, Miranshah and Risalpur on 30 Apr 47. Re equipped with Tempest F II at Agra from May 47. However re equipped with Spitfires (due spares problems with Tempest) which served till early 49 alongside Vampires and took part in Kashmir operations in 47/48. Currently flying Mirage 2000 H/TH.

The earliest record of an aircraft carrying the Battle Axe emblem - A Spitfire XVIII borrowed by Air Marshal R Ivelaw-Chapman for a visit to Kanpur. Gp Capt Harjinder Singh is the receiving Officer.

No 8 Squadron (The Eighth Pursoot): This was the only IAF squadron to be equipped with Spitfires and fly them in action during WW2. Also formed 1.12.42 with 7 Squadron at Trichinapoly with Vengeance I and III. Spitfire LF VIIIc from Jul 44 at Samungli. Operated four Mk V/Trop in Nov 44 from Amarda Road pathfinding for Allied P-51s and P-47s. Nidania from 29 Dec 44 and Baigachi from 23 Feb 45. Flew operations from ‘George’ strip south of Cox Bazaar from 3.1.45. Two flights operated from Akyab forward strip carrying out patrols along the beachs and covered the landing of the 26 Indian Div at Ramree island. Embarked for Rangoon 19 Jul 45. Took over 16 Spitfires VIIIs from 607 Squadron RAF at Mingaladon. Carried out “cab-rank” patrols with one 500 lb bomb alongside RAF Thunderbolts against Japanese forces escaping west of the Rangoon-Toungoo Rd. Spitfires also dropped supplies to the Burmese guerillas of force 136 behind enemy lines. The last operational sortie by a RIAF Spitfire was on 13.8.45 when a lone aircraft dropped supplies to a small groups of V-Force men in the Kyaukki area. 8 Squadron Spitfires escorted the two Japanese aircraft transporting Lt Gen Numata from Elephant Point to Mingaladon outside Rangoon to sign the instrument of surrender. The Squadron returned to India 24 Jan 46 then Trichinopoly with F/FR XIVe on 4 Feb 46. Moved to Kolar and re equipped with Tempest FII from Oct 46. last Spitfire left behind on moving to Poona on 13 May 47. Currently flying MiG 21 FL.

A Spitfire FR XIVe clipped wing MV 364 ‘A’ of 8 Squadron at Kolar in 1946. Note the SEAC markings with ‘D’ type roundel in Indian Colours. The exact date when Indian markings were applied is not known. However, this appears to have occurred around mid-1946.

No 9 Squadron (Wolf pack): Formed 3.1.44 at Lahore with Hurricane IIc. Converted to LF VIIIc from May 45 at Baigachi. Then to Ranchi Oct 45 and to Hmawbi /Rangoon in Nov 45 with some F/FR XIVe. Back to Willingdon in Jan 46 and Gwalior in Feb. Totally re equipped with F/FR XIVe , moved to Peshawar in Mar 46 and Bhopal on 14 Jan 47. Reduced to 8 XIVs and then re equipped with Tempest F II and transferred to RPAF on 15 Aug 47. Re raised as an RIAF unit in 1948 on F/FR XVIIIe and served until Oct 53. Re-raised as a Folland Gnat Unit in 1964. Currently flying Mig 27 ML.

No 10 Squadron (Daggers): Formed 20 Feb 44 at Lahore with Hurricane IIc. Converted to Spitfire LF VIIc from May 45 at Yelahanka (six LF VIIIc from 17 Squadron RAF). Moved to Kajamalai/ Trichinapoly May 45 and then to Ulunderpet in Nov 45. Then to Hmawbi on 22 Nov 45 and back to Baigachi and Barrackpore on 15 Feb 46. Finally to Chakeri on 15 May 47 to convert to Tempest MkIIs. Currently flying MiG 27 ML.

No 12 Squadron (Yaks): Formed 1.12.45 with LF VIIIc at Kohat. To Risalpur on 28 Jan 46 and Bairagarh on 23 Jun 46, converting to Dakotas from Aug 46. Currently flying AN-32.

No 14 Squadron (Fighting Bulls): Formed 15 Aug 51 with F/FR XVIIIe at Ambala. To Barrackpore in 52 and back to Halwara in 57. Became last piston engined front line unit of the IAF. Converted to Hunters in 1957. Currently flying Jaguar S.

A No 14 Squadron FR Mk XVIIIe lies with a broken back after overshooting the Runway at Halwara. Note the black tail band (also wing tips) applied to all Spitfires and Tempests at that time

No 15 Squadron (Flying Lancers): Formed 20 Aug 51 at Ambala as PR unit with PR Mk XI FR XVIIIe. Disbanded Jan 53, Spitfires going to No.1 Squadron. Re raised, Currently Mig 21 Bis unit.

No 16 Squadron (Black Cobras) Formed in 1951 with F/FR XVIIIe. Ceased to operate Spitfires in 1954. Currently operating Jaguar S.

No 101 Squadron (Falcons): Formed as No 1 PR Flt in Jan 48 at Jammu with FR XVIIIe and then with PR XIX from 49. Disbanded 1958. Re raised in 1968 on Su-7s, currently flying MiG 21 M in PR role.

Advanced Flying School (India): Formed 1 Apr 46 from No 1 (Indian) Advanced Flying Unit, No 1 Service Flying Traing School and No 151 OTU at Ambala and absorbed into RIAF on 1 Jun 47. Flew LF VIIIc, F/Fr XIVe and XVIIIe and finally T.IX from 1949 to 51. AFS was renamed to No.1 Air Force Academy in 1950.

Spitfire FR XIVe NH 786 of the SFTS RIAF Ambala seen at Peshawar during 1946. It was written off on 2.8.46 when the engine failed during aerobatics and the aircraft was force landed 12 miles east of Ambala Plt Offr SMS Haque being injured.

No 2 Flying Training school (FTS): Formed at Jodhpur, temporarily used T.IXs from 1949 to 57.

Conversion Training Unit: Formed at Hakimpet (N of Secunderabad) in August 1951, taking up aircraft from No.1 Air Force Academy which had moved to Begumpet. Flew LF VIIIc, XVIIIe and T.IXs from 1951 to 55. A total of ten Pilot courses (Nos.55 to 64) were trained on the Spitfire, with some batches sharing the load with Tempest IIs and Vampire FB52s. Of these ten courses, three (59,60,61) were solely on Spitfires. Renamed Jet Training Wing and subsequently to Fighter Training Wing. Today it is known as Air Force Station Hakimpet and flies Kiran Mk1As and Mk IIs.

Wg Cdr Don Michael and his pupils at Conversion Training Unit, Hakimpet. Plt Offr (later Air Mshl) Prithi Singh is on his left. Note the white band on the black spinner of this Mk XVIIIe with zero length rocket rails. Plt Offr (later Wg Cdr Retd, Chief test Pilot then Chairman HAL) IM Chopra poses by an Mk XVIII. Note white spinner with black (??) roundels. Photo Courtesy : Wg Cdr IM Chopra (Retd) via Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava Plt Offr (later Wg Cdr Retd) GV Kuriyan with his first photo with a Mk XIV. Note the bomb racks and camo scheme. Photo Courtesy : Wg Cdr GV Kuriyan Flight Cadet Peter Maynard Wilson (later Air Cmde Retd, PVSM and VrC) with a Spitfire FR XIVe at AFS Ambala. Photo Courtesy : Air Cmde Peter Wilson (Retd) via K Sree Kumar

* Phrase inscribed on the Silver Trophy presented to the Royal Air Force by Supermarine and Rolls Royce, implying that the old soldier is retiring finally after doing its duty in war.

Acknowledgements: I would wish to thank the following people without whose research, love for the IAF and the Spitfire and support, this article would not be possible, in no particular order they are:

Helmut Terbeck, Harry van Der Meer , Ray Sturtivant , Peter Arnold, Phil camp, Simon Watson, Pushpinder Singh , Jagan Pillarisetti (PVS Jagan Mohan) and my father.

Editors Note: Article corrected as on 26.11.2005. Original statements retained but struck through. New text statements are in Red.

This article was the inspiration for the book titled "Spitfires in the Sun" - a comprehensive history of the Spitfire in the Indian Air Force


Spitfajer je jednomotorni, niskokrilac sa eliptičnim oblikom krila, jednosed, metalne konstrukcije. Njegova uloga je pre svega bila lovac za velike visine, ali je i služio kao lovac bombarder i izviđač. Projektovao ga je Redžinald J. Mičel (1895-1937) (engl. Reginald J. Mitchell ) počev od decembra 1934. godine. Prvi prototip Spitfajera poleteo je 5. marta 1936. godine, probni pilot je bio Jozef Samers, dok je prvi serijski proizvedeni Spitfajer Mk I poleteo 14. maja 1938. godine. Nakon smrti R. J. Mičela 11. juna 1937. godine, vođstvo dizajnerskog tima preuzima Džozef Smit (engl. Joseph Smith ) koji je bio član dizajnerskog tima od samog početka projekta. Prva jedinica RAF-a koja je bila naoružana novim lovcem bila je 19. lovačka grupa stacionirana u Daksfordu. Do početka Drugog svetskog rata Spitfajerom je bilo naoružano devet lovačkih grupa.

Verzija koja je ušla u službu 1938. godine imala je plafon 9.723 m i maksimalnu brzinu 580 km/h, a poslednja ratna varijanta imala je plafon 12.200m i brzinu od 710 km/h. U toku životnog veka Supermarin Spitfajera napravljeno je oko 40 verzija ovih aviona a ukupno je proizvedeno 20.351 primerak, što je najviše proizvođen avion u Velikoj Britaniji. U Velikoj Britaniji za vreme rata u proizvodnji ovog aviona je učestvovalo 10 firmi.

Prvo veće borbeno angažovanje, osim izviđačkih verzija koje su od početka sukoba pratile pokrete neprijateljskih trupa Spitfajer je imao prilikom evakuacije savezničkih snaga iz Denkerka. Za svega 10 nedelja borbe izgubljeno je 48 Spitfajera. Međutim, ovako visoki gubici nastali su kao posledica zastarele taktike koju su koristili britanski piloti, a ne zato što je avion bio loš.

Pred kraj Bitke za Britaniju iz nove fabrike počeli su da stižu Spitfajeri Mk IIa koji su još uvek bili naoružani sa 8 mitraljeza kalibra 7,7 mm ali su imali jači motor Merlin XII snage 1175 KS. Sredinom 1941. godine pojavila se verzija Mk IIb koja je bila naoružana sa dva topa kalibra 20 mm i četiri mitraljeza kalibra 7,7 mm.

U martu 1941. godine u naoružanje britanskih lovačkih eskadrila počeo je da se uvodi Spitfajer Mk V sa jačim motorom od 1440 KS. Varijanta "a" je bila naoružana sa 8 mitraljeza, varijanta "b" sa dva topa i četiri mitraljeza dok je varijanta "c" imala univerzalno krilo koje je moglo da primi različite kombinacije topova i mitraljeza (neke varijante ovog aviona bile su naoružane i sa četiri topa kalibra 20 mm). Mogao je da nosi podtrupni rezervoar za gorivo i jednu bombu od 225 kg ispod trupa ili dve od 112 kg ispod krila. Mk V je sa 6.479 proizvedenih primerka ubedljivo najbrojnija verzija ovog aviona.

Druga najrasprostranjenija verzija ovog aviona bio je Mk IX koji je razvijen kako bi se uspostavila ravnoteža u vazduhu koja je bila poljuljana uvođenjen u borbu novog nemačkog lovca Fw-190. Mk IX je dostizao maksimalnu brzinu od 658 km/h i bio je naoružan sa dva topa i četiri mitraljeza.

Jedna od poslednjih verzija ovog aviona koja je učestvovala u Drugom svetskom ratu bio je Mk XVI sa motorom Merlin 266 od 1720 KS. Pojavio se u drugoj polovini 1944. godine a do kraja rata njime je bilo naoružano 15 lovačkih grupa.

Krajem rata u RAF-u je Spitfajerima bilo naoružano 68 lovačkih grupa, 16 na Dalekom istoku, a ostale u Evropi. Nakon rata izrađeno je još 300 komada Spitfajera Mk XVIII koji je bio poslednja lovačka verzija ovog aviona. Poslednja proizvedena verzija Spitfajera uopšte bio je Mk 24.

Na aerodromu Benin kraj Bengazija u Libiji 22. aprila 1944. godine formirana je 1. vazduhoplovna eskadrila NOVJ. Komandir 1. vazduhoplovne eskadrile bio je major Mileta Protić. Obuka je izvođena na školskim avionima Harvard i na lovcu bombarderu Hoker hariken. Po završenoj obuci kompletna eskadrila je krajem jula iste godine prebazirana na aerodrom Kana u Italiji i uključena u sastav 281. lovačke grupe BAF-a (BAF - Balkan Air Force). U štabu BAF-a bio je postavljen jugoslovenski oficir za vezu čiji glavni zadatak je bio da koordinira aktivnosti NOVJ sa BAF-om. 1. vazduhoplovna eskadrila bila je naoružana sa 16 aviona Spitfajer Mk V.

Početkom 1945. godine 1. vazduhoplovna eskadrila je zajedno sa 2. vazduhoplovnom eskadrilom prebazirana na aerodrom na ostrvu Vis, a osim ovog aerodroma dejstvovale su i sa ratnih aerodroma Zemunik i Škabrnje kod Zadra. U borbenim dejstvima protiv nemačkih jedinica koje su se povlačile ka zapadu eskadrila je dala značajan doprinos uništivši veliki broj neprijateljskih ciljeva na zemlji. Do kraja rata gubici 1. vazduhoplovne eskadrile iznosili su 8 Spitfajera i 7 poginulih pilota. U borbenim dejstvima poginuo je i komandir eskadrile major Mileta Protić.


This 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Missed the Nazis, Flew Over Asia Instead

by Daniel Patrascu

Together with the Hurricane, the Spitfire managed to fend off the Nazi aerial assault over the English Channel, and even if the Hawker-made fighter carried the biggest burden during the Battle of England, Spitfire&rsquos habit of scoring better against the enemy made it a public favorite, and a star that endures to this day.

The Spitfire, like many WWII combat aircraft, was a single-seater. Starting in 1938, over 20,000 of them were made and launched in combat in the service of the Allied forces. Naturally, the Royal Air Force (RAF) was the main customer for the plane, but other nations used it too, and it wasn&rsquot until 1961 when the last flight of the Spitfire took place.

Generally, the Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered Spitfires could reach speeds of 370 mph (600 kph), had a range of 479 mi (771 km) and came equipped with machine guns and cannons.

Production of the fighter did not stop when the war ended. The one we have here, for instance, was built the same year Germany was defeated, 1945. First deployed with the RAF&rsquos 9th Squadron, it moved over to Asia in 1947, becoming part of the Indian Air Force fleet. This particular Spitfire is of the Mk XVIII variety, coming with a stronger wing structure and the capability to carry extra fuel.

Sometime in the 1970s, the plane was brought back to the UK for a technical restoration. The first flight following this operation took place in 1992, after which it got sold to an American customer. Now located in Germany, the Spitfire is again looking for a new owner, for an undisclosed price.


Mk 22 [ edit | edit source ]

Supermarine Spitfire Mk 22
300px
General Historical Information
Place of origin Great Britain
Category Fighter
General Ingame Information
Used by Great Britain
Guns 4x 20 mm Hispano Mk V
560 rounds
Historical Picture


The Mk 22 was the penultimate version of the Spitfire at all and was of limited use.

In the game you can easily distinguish them from the others because it has a six-bladed propeller and four 20-mm cannons - improved Hispano Mk V type, which has a slightly higher rate of fire. The engine is far more powerful than one of its predecessors, which makes the Spitfire Mk 22 one of the fastest piston-driven fighters in the game.


Watch the video: 2012 New Garden Airshow - Jim Beasley u0026 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIII