During the Munich Crisis, the Bristol Aeroplane Company recognised that the Royal Air Force (RAF) had an urgent need for a long-range fighter aircraft capable of carrying heavy payloads for maximum destruction. It’s a tough question. The addition of six .303 Browning machine guns made the Beaufighter the most heavily armed fighter aircraft in the world, capable of delivering a theoretical weight of fire of up to 780 lb (350 kg) per minute; the practical rate of fire was much lower due to gun overheating and ammunition capacity. Malta Triq is-Sajf, SPB2601 Bugibba, Saint Paul’s +356 2750 9592 +356 7707 1419, +48 604 585 389 firstname.lastname@example.org NOTES: Shapes below depict aircraft from wingtip-to-wingtip / nose-to-tail assuming aircraft are being viewed from overhead perspective (the nose pointing towards the top of the screen). Another Mediterranean wreck lies in 34 metres (112 ft) of water near the Greek island of Paros. The P-38 was an excellent all around aircraft - it didn't earn the moniker "forked tail devil" for being a slouch. According to aviation author Philip Moyes, the performance of the second prototype was considered disappointing, particularly as the Hercules III engines of the initial production aircraft would likely provide little improvement, especially in light of additional operational equipment being installed; it was recognised that demand for the Hercules engine to power other aircraft such as the Short Stirling bomber posed a potential risk to the production rate of the Beaufighter. , In April/May 1941, this new variant of the Beaufighter entered squadron service in a detachment from 252 Squadron operating from Malta. On 16 November 1938, Bristol received formal authorisation to commence the detailed design phase of the project and to proceed with the construction of four prototypes. It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27.  Often, one command opted for modifications and features that the other did not. The Beaufighter was the only heavy fighter aircraft available, as the Westland Whirlwind had been cancelled due to production problems with its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines.  When Beaufighters were developed as fighter-torpedo bombers, they used their firepower (often the machine guns were removed) to suppress flak fire and hit enemy ships, especially escorts and small vessels.  Early modifications to R2052 included stiffening of the elevator control circuit, increased fin area and lengthening of the main oleo strut of the undercarriage to better accommodate weight increases and hard landings. ", "Bristol Beaufighter Mark Ic Serial Number A19-43. 254 Squadron, was uncovered by shifting sands on Cleethorpes beach near Grimsby. It was later superseded by the twin-engined Havilland Mosquito which was lighter, faster but just as … Though a bit heavy and slower than hoped, the design was available for production when Britain entered World War II that September. As the aircraft's accompaniment of four 20 mm cannons were mounted in the lower fuselage, the vacant nose could accommodate the radar antennas needed, and while early airborne interception equipment was too bulky to fit in single-engine fighters of the day, it could be accommodated in the Beaufighter's spacious fuselage. The navigator-radar operator sat to the rear under a small Perspex bubble where the Beaufort's dorsal turret had been. The most famous of these was the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, during which Beaufighters were used in a fire-suppression role in a mixed force with USAAF Douglas A-20 Boston and North American B-25 Mitchell bombers. ", "Bristol Beaufighter Mark VIc Serial Number A19-130", "Hidden Wreck of RAF Fighter Emerges from Sands on Cleethorpes Beach", Period newsreel on the Beaufighter, featuring footage of RAF operations by Coastal Command and in North Africa, Documentary on the Beaufighter, focusing on its Australian service, Australian 1943 propaganda film on the destruction of a Japanese invasion convoy in the Bismark Sea involving Beaufighters, A picture of a Merlin-engined Beaufighter II, Bristol Beaufighter further information and pictures, "Beaufighter – Whispering Death, The Forgotten Warhorse", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bristol_Beaufighter&oldid=995787507, World War II British night fighter aircraft, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, A Beaufighter belonging to 31 Squadron of, 6 x .303 Browning machine guns in wings four starboard two port (optional, replacing internal long range fuel tanks), 1 × manually operated 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning for observer. Your selected aircraft are compared in side-by-side arrangement below. Beaufighter Mk VI The Hercules returned with the next major version in 1942, the Mk VI, which was eventually built to over 1,000 examples.  Due to wartime shortages, some Beaufighters entered operational service without feathering equipment for their propellers. Only two Mk Vs were built. The strike variant of the Torbeau was called the Mk.XIC. The initial rejection was later reversed, upon the introduction of a new electrically driven feed derived from Châtellerault designs brought to Britain by Free French officers, which was quite similar to Bristol's original proposal. The impressive, powerful and heavily-armed Beaufighter was one of Bristol’s most important aircraft contributions to the Second World War. Production .  On 22 March 1941, the first production Beaufighter Mk II, R2270, conducted its maiden flight; squadron deliveries commenced in late April 1941. From late 1944, RAF Beaufighter units were engaged in the Greek Civil War, finally withdrawing in 1946. Mark X Beaufighters were also flown on long range daylight intruder missions over Burma. 272 Squadron RAF) was identified about 0.5-mile (0.80 km) off the north coast of Malta. Bristol made proposals of a fixed four cannon version and a turret fighter with twin cannons; the former was preferred by the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. , Further armament trials and experimental modifications were performed throughout the Beaufighter's operational life. VIC. In 1942, long range patrols of the Bay of Biscay were routinely conducted by Beaufighters, intercepting aircraft such as the Ju-88 and Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor operating against Allied anti-submarine patrols. The wing of the Beaufighter used a mid-wing cantilever all-metal monoplane arrangement, also constructed out of three sections. , Bristol's proposed recoil-operated ammunition feed system was rejected by officials, which led to a new system being devised and tested on the fourth prototype, R2055. The bomb bay of the Beaufort had been entirely omitted, but a small bomb load could be carried externally. , During early development, Bristol had formalised multiple configurations for the prospective aircraft, including variations such as a proposed three-seat bomber outfitted with a dorsal gun turret with a pair of cannons, the Type 157 and what Bristol referred to as a sports model, with a thinner fuselage, the Type 158. Coastal Command sank 366 German transport vessels and damaged 134. A total of 10,663 persons were rescued by the Command, including 5,721 Allied crews, 277 enemy person… The areas for the rear gunner and bomb-aimer were removed, leaving only the pilot in a fighter-type cockpit. , The role of the Beaufighters during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea was recorded by war correspondent and film-maker Damien Parer, who had flown during the engagement standing behind the pilot of one of the No. "The Bristol 156 Beaufighter.". , In 1941, to intensify offensive air operations against Germany and deter the deployment of Luftwaffe forces onto the Eastern Front, Coastal Command Beaufighters began offensive operations over France and Belgium, attacking enemy shipping in European waters. The concept of the Beaufighter has its origins in 1938.  In October 1938, the project, which received the internal name Type 156, was outlined. These powered three-bladed Rotol constant-speed propellers; both fully feathering metal and wooden blades were used.  The second prototype, R2053, which was furnished with Hercules I-M engines (similar to Hercules II) and was laden with operational equipment, had attained a slower speed of 309 mph at 15,000 ft. The result was the Bristol Beaufighter, which entered service a year after the outbreak of war at a time when it was most sorely needed. To meet demand, both the Fairey and Weston production lines were, at times, only producing Coastal Command Beaufighters.  While there was some scepticism that the aircraft was too big for a fighter, the proposal was given a warm reception by the Air Staff. In April 1943, the first successful torpedo attacks by Beaufighters was performed by 254 Squadron, sinking two merchant ships off Norway.  This was one of the heavier, if not the heaviest, fighter armament of its time. Although the Northrop P-61 Black Widow fighter began to arrive in December 1944, USAAF Beaufighters continued to fly night operations in Italy and France until late in the war. The Beaufighter proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain, its large size allowing it to carry heavy armament and early airborne interception radar without major performance penalties. , The twin Bristol Taurus engines of the Beaufort, having been deemed insufficiently powerful for a fighter, were replaced by more powerful two-speed supercharger-equipped Bristol Hercules radial engines. At night the onboard radar let the aircraft detect enemy aircraft. It is a twin-engine two-seat long range day and night fighter. In late April 1941, the first two Beaufighter Mk II aircraft, R2277 and R2278, were delivered to 600 and 604 Squadrons; the former squadron being the first to receive the type in quantity in the following month. Comparing the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito Multirole Heavy Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft against the Bristol Beaufighter Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter / Night-Fighter Aircraft. The North Coates Strike Wing operated as the largest anti-shipping force of the Second World War, and accounted for over 150,000 tons (424,500 m3) of shipping and 117 vessels for a loss of 120 Beaufighters and 241 aircrew killed or missing.  The cannons were supplemented by six .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in the wings (four starboard, two port, the asymmetry caused by the port mounting of the landing light). Within six months the first F.11/37 prototype, R2052, had been completed.  The volume of production involved, along with other factors, had led to a shortage of Hercules engines being expected, jeopardising the aircraft's manufacturing rate.  The DAP Beaufighter was an attack and torpedo bomber known as the "Mark 21". However, it was heavy on the controls and not easy to fly, with landing being a particular challenge for inexperienced pilots. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site.  On 12 August 1940, the first production Beaufighter was delivered to RAF Tangmere for trials with the Fighter Interception Unit. Over 13,000 men and women served in Coastal Command during the Second World War, and 5,866 lost their life through doing so. As some models of the twin-engined Beaufighter could not stay aloft on one engine unless the dead propeller was feathered, this deficiency contributed to several operational losses and the deaths of aircrew. Through the summer, the squadrons conducted daytime convoy escort and ground-attack operations but primarily flew as night fighters. Share this post.  Success with the Merlin-equipped aircraft was expected to lead to production aircraft in 1941. The suggestion coincided with the delays in the development and production of the Westland Whirlwind cannon-armed twin-engine fighter. See more ideas about Bristol beaufighter, British aircraft, Wwii aircraft. 30 Squadron in New Guinea and No.  The extra power had presented vibration issues during development; in the final design, the engines were mounted on longer and more flexible struts, which extended from the front of the wings. The high-speed, low-level attacks were very effective, despite often atrocious weather conditions, and makeshift repair and maintenance facilities. 100 Group, the bomber support unit.  The fourth prototype, R2055, had its regular armament replaced by a pair of 40 mm guns for attacking ground targets, the two guns being a Vickers S gun mounted on the starboard fuselage and a Rolls-Royce BH gun mounted on the port fuselage; these trials led to the Vickers gun being installed on an anti-tank Hawker Hurricane IID. These were initially fed from 60-round drums, requiring the radar operator to change the ammunition drums manually—an arduous and unpopular task, especially at night and while chasing a bomber. , The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was a keen operator of the Beaufighter during the Second World War.  Evaluation of the Beaufort concluded that it had great structural strength and stiffness in the wings, nacelles, undercarriage and tail, so that the aircraft could be readily developed further for greater speed and manoeuvrability akin to a fighter-class aircraft. By the end of the war, some 70 pilots serving with RAF units had become aces while flying Beaufighters. The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter (often called the Beau) was a multi-role aircraft developed during the Second World War by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the UK. To obtain adequate ground clearance, the engines were mounted centrally on the wing, as opposed to the underslung position on the Beaufort. As the war progressed, fighter aircraft became increasingly multipurpose and able to combine mobility with precision bombing capability. , By fighter standards, the Beaufighter Mk.I was rather heavy and slow, with an all-up weight of 16,000 lb (7,000 kg) and a maximum speed of 335 mph (540 km/h) at 16,800 ft (5,000 m). On 20 April 1942, the RAAF's first Beaufighter IC (an Australian designation given to various models of the aircraft, including Beaufighter VIC, Beaufighter X, and Beaufighter XIC), which had been imported from Britain, was delivered; the last aircraft was delivered on 20 August 1945. 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