It's no wonder that there is no definitive answer to the age-old question that plagues the minds of aviation's die-hard enthusiasts: which was â¦ Freeborn and Malan remained in 74 Squadron despite their mutual dislike. Both the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire served in many of the same battles during WWII, often side-by-side one another. In the inter-war period, Hawker had continued to produce military aircraft on a reduced scale as well as racing and general aviation aircraft. Go!” Freeborn and Byrne turned in their cockpits and saw two aircraft flying a mile behind and about 1,000 feet below the dozen 56 Squadron Hurricanes, which they took to be fighters escorting the unseen Luftwaffe bombers. P-47 vs P-51: America’s Best WWII Fighter? “Two of our A/C [aircraft] went down immediately,” he wrote. Byrne had shot down the 56 Squadron Hurricane flown by Frank Rose, who managed to bail out, but Freeborn had downed his wingman, 26-year-old Pilot Officer Montague Hulton-Harrop, who was dead, the first British pilot combat fatality of the war. He soon acquired a reputation for ruthlessness. A fighter attacked the enemy, whilst an interceptor was purely defensive. Also scrambled were 12 Hawker Hurricanes from No. Combat reports, official documents and literature of the period are replete with accounts of pilots using +12 lbs. By the outbreak of WWII, there were several Hurricane squadrons within the RAF. Several others preferred the Hurricane. Fortunately out of the confusion emerged greater clarity. In the dogfight with the Messerschmitts he had lost two pilots, including his friend Don Cobden. I, dismissed them as “a lot of rubbish.” (Courtesy of Bob Cossey, 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association). You couldn’t stop him—too big and strong.”. At 11am on the 11th November, we mark the anniversary of the Armistice, declared to end the First World War in 1918. But which was truly the better aircraft in battle. No framed greenhouse, but not blown out at the â¦ I would say ‘get in the air’ and they would say, ‘I don’t want to.’ But I did. Ldr. He was neither well-connected nor had he been to the right school, important factors in the class-conscious higher echelons of the wartime RAF. All of these aircraft were biplanes or triplanes due to their perceived superiority. The Spitfire is noticeably faster than the Hurricane, although, sacrifices range for speed. Eighty years ago, the air war over Britain did not start well for the Royal Air Force in a “friendly fire” incident involving Spitfires and Hurricanes. Deighton also noted that the Hurricane had a tighter turning radius than the Spitfire-800 feet for the Hurricane compared with 880 for the Spitfire. Out of the fifty people I spoke to, roughly 45 of them said the Spitfire, with most of it being almost instantaneous. Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States. Although Freeborn and Malan despised one another, they shared a mutual respect for their flying ability. The Merlin powered Hurricane and Spitfire were instrumental in neutralizing the German Luftwaffe's attempt to gain air superiority over Britain, reducing the effectiveness of German bombing and preventing an Axis invasion. The two men were ferociously strong characters, and the two best pilots in the squadron, as they proved once the Phoney War ended and Germany invaded the Low Countries in May 1940. (Imperial War Museum CH158). Number one attack. The most common variant of the Hawker Hurricane is the Hawker Hurricane MK IIC. Further reading: Tiger Cub: A 74 Squadron Fighter Pilot in World War II, by Christoper Yeoman and John Freeborn; and Tiger Squadron: The Story of 74 Squadron, RAF, in Two World Wars, by Ira Jones. Perhaps the fairest assessment of what happened that September morning is to attribute it to the fog of war. They seek dogfights at high altitudes (over 5,000 m.) where their characteristics are extremely good. As a kid my dad made me know what a Hurricane and Spitfire look like. “He was controlling the squadron at 32,000 feet and 10/10ths cloud and he said there are bandits,” recounted Freeborn. Trainer variants discarded, all combat variants of both the aircraft require only one crew member- the pilot. “I never did daft things like that, or if you do, you do them properly, not the way he did it.”, A lineup of No. loaded 56 Squadron embark on a mission from North Weald. Freeborn broke off the attack with a sense of euphoria, believing he had just shot down his first German. Ia re-enact the Battle of Britain during a Duxford Airshow. “I was a very good pilot, there was no one in the squadron as good as me, not even Malan,” claimed Freeborn. Depending on the year, aircraft history and service record, WWII-era Spitfires can fetch anywhere from $1.5 million to almost $7 million. 1:49. Featured image courtesy of Kieren Pitts via Flickr. “We landed back at North Weald very angry at the terrible mess-up where our controllers had so irresponsibly vectored two wings onto each other, guns loaded and pilots warned for combat,” he remarked after the war. Freeborn and Byrne had a first-class defense team. We recently compared the P-51 Mustang and Spitfire, where we were inundated with requests for a Hurricane-Spitfire comparison. The RAF and Supermarine made a few tweaks to the K5054 before calling it the Spitfire. As one of the few surviving RAF pilots who had flown night patrols against the Germans, his input was invaluable. “I was very sorry about it, but it was Malan’s fault. The most famous of these was during the Defense of Malta, where Spitfires destroyed their own bases in order to prevent German occupation. 74 Squadron members includes Malan (circled in red) and Freeborn (circled in white). Nonetheless, Freeborn liked Malan well enough to apply for a transfer to his A Flight, and early on the morning of September 6 the South African led his flight to intercept the approaching hostiles high over Essex. E/A fell as T/p broke up, falling in a spiral. Indisputably, they brought out the best in each other. Dave. However, almost 25% more Spitfires were produced in total. Your email address will not be published. “I did things like that,” he said. In 1931, the RAF wanted a new fighter, soliciting aircraft manufacturers to send in new designs. He wouldn’t give us any more money. Suddenly Malan’s voice called over the radio: “Tally-ho! During the war, my grandfather had served as a Hurricane pilot, flying between 1943 and 1945. Good speed, climbs great, maneuvers well, accelerates well - where the Hurricane struggles to counter BnZ, the Spit can easily turn the situation completely around in the right hands. Freeborn’s outspokenness undoubtedly worked against him in the rigid hierarchy of the RAF, as did his relatively humble upbringing. 2, Acting Flying Officer John Freeborn; and Sgt. “They were Germans and they had to go,” he said. Hurricanes of RAF No. Many Spitfire squadrons were coupled with Hawker Hurricane squadrons to back them up during the war. Iron was in short supply during the war and it was easier to fix a hole in cloth than metal. Both aircraft are the same height, with the Hurricane being only mildly longer and wider. I first met John Freeborn in the summer of 2004, when I was writing a book about the Luftwaffe bombing of London. I watched him go down to 5,000 ft before breaking off due to being short of petrol and ammunition. On February 13, 1939, 74 Squadron took delivery of its first Spitfire. This includes maintenance, which often doesn’t come cheap, especially for the authentic item. Yellow Section—Flying Officer Vincent “Paddy” Byrne; his no. “Practicing all the time,” he replied. That month Malan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Freeborn became the de facto commander of B Flight. These aircraft were subsequently shot down and later evaluated by the Luftwaffe. “He told him he was a downright bloody liar.”, The court-martial lasted half a day and, after considering the evidence, the tribunal acquitted Freeborn and Byrne. Thanks to the Spitfire’s service record during WWII, many people have found parts of Spitfires and have restored them to flying condition. However, when the British were on their knees in 1941, the role of fighter aircraft and interceptor were one in the same. The Hurricane also has a faster rate of climb than the Spitfire does! For the most part, during the war, fighter aircraft and interceptors were different from one another. “A daft way to die,” reflected Freeborn of his best friend. At the time, Hawker was known for producing some of the most advanced aircraft in the world. This was true in relation to the Mark I Hurricanes which came up against the Me â¦ A turning radius quoted as 800 feet for the Hurricane and 880 feet for â¦ Freeborn soon mastered the Spitfire, but some of his fellow pilots were less easy to handle. “I would sometimes fly quite close to frighten them, so close the slipstream would hit them and it would blow the parachute all over the place. Due to the Hurricane’s popularity, with it having served in many important WWII battles, many people are restoring Hurricanes to flying condition. 31 ft. 3 in. There were no Luftwaffe bombers approaching the coast, so the nervous Royal Air Force pilots sat in the late summer sunshine and waited for what they believed was an imminent enemy attack. As well as restorations, several companies have designed and built replica Spitfires. This is far cheaper than modern fighter jets like the F-22 and F-35. As squadron adjutant, Freeborn excused himself from sandbag duty on account of the growing pile of paperwork on his desk. Freeborn did. Edward Donaldson, who witnessed the attack, had no doubt who was to blame. Post any other information or your opinion if you want about these two planes in here.----- Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, English astronomer who confirmed Einstein's theory of relativity. Re: Spitfire vs Hurricane - comparison Hurricane had the lowest wing loading at 23lb ft sq and higher lift profile and so could do the tightest sustained turns. The most common variant of the Supermarine Spitfire is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB. I did not follow as many E/A were engaged and I had noted another of our A/C damaged. He could be provocative, yet his character was underpinned by an acute sense of probity. Spitfire vs. Written for Malan by some actor friend of his who wrote for films.”, Freeborn died in 2010, the last of 74 Squadron’s Battle of Britain aces. Pilots were instructed to sharpen up their visual identification of aircraft, while the training of controllers, plotters and radar operators was improved. 0 6. 74 âTigerâ Squadron at RAF Hornchurch, east of â¦ To do this, they solicited designs from Britain’s aircraft manufacturers for such an aircraft. For the most part, both the Hurricane and Spitfire are similarly sized aircraft. This aircraft would first fly on November 6 1935, following RAF testing, the Hawker Hurricane would enter service with them in December 1937. Harbourne Stephen had a blazing row with him after he heard of his habit of buzzing Luftwaffe pilots who had bailed out. Alongside Hurricanes, some squadrons of Spitfires were placed in France as deterrent.
If you were turning in a dogfight with a German fighter over the Channel, you were well off in a Hurricane. During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against Nazi Germanyâs air force, the Luftwaffe. In 1939, Supermarine Aircraft, then a division of Vickers-Armstrong, listed the price for one Supermarine Spitifre at Â£12,604. Â© International Aviation HQ. He was in B Flight, commanded by Treacy, as was another Irishman, Byrne. As a kid, my grandfather would tell me stories and show me intricate things on the Hurricane, many of which I still remember. POWs Roger Bushell and Vincent “Paddy” Byrne flank a Luftwaffe guard at Luft Stalag III before the “Great Escape.” (Courtesy of Bob Cossey, 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association), Malan, who reportedly described Freeborn’s actions as “impetuous,” confirmed he had given the order to engage but also claimed that moments later, on realizing his mistake, he had called “friendly aircraft—break away!” Freeborn, Byrne and Flinders all said they never heard the counterorder. Freeborn described the new fighter as “bloody wonderful,” adding, “but I was quite nervous. Many of the people I interviewed stated this fact as well. “I was teaching the doctor to fly, as all medical officers were permitted to fly, and there were two blokes playing golf,” he explained. Topic: Spitfire vs Hurricane. Handsome and charismatic, Malan was at first friendly with Freeborn, but slowly another side began to emerge. The Spitfire’s long nose prevented Freeborn from seeing where he was going, and the sheer power of his new mount took him by surprise. Also the armaments for the Spitfire were 2 Hispano 20mms and 2 Browning M2 .50 cals, not 4 20mms and 4 .303s. During the Phoney War, British Hurricanes were stationed in France, with the French and British believing that this would deter German forces. Supermarine was one of these aircraft manufacturers, sending in the Type 224 monoplane. He gave us the order to attack and we attacked. Whilst this role had been used during WWI, it had largely been forgotten about since then. Adrenaline coursed through the pilots as they headed east to intercept aircraft that a searchlight battery had reported approaching the Essex coast at high altitude. Re the comment about the canopy, Mark I Spits had a narrow canopy. The Messhersmidt the german fighter was far better than either british plane. In 1934, the RAF’s WWI-era fighters were ageing too much for the RAF and they sought a replacement. In my 2012 Quadrant essay Hermann Goering and the burning of the Bialowieza I made a comment that at the start of the war the Luftwaffeâs Messerschmitt 109 fighter was about on a par with the RAFâs Spitfire, but superior to the Hurricane. However, we also need to look at something else: cost. Many of these Spitfires would subsequently see service during the German invasion of France. I was only a kid and I’d never flown a monoplane.”. The Spitfire would subsequently make its maiden flight on March 5 1936, before being introduced in August 1938. At 0645 hours on September 6 there was another scramble and Flight Lt. Adolph Malan, nicknamed “Sailor” because of his stint as a naval cadet, led Red Section through a thick ground mist into a clear blue sky. Your email address will not be published. In the UK, we are taught about the Battle of Britain as children, with an emphasis being placed on the Spitfire’s contribution. He was a brilliant pilot, but he was as evasive on the ground as he was in the air, a mix of showman and politician. They couldn’t find him. However, as I have grown older, I have found myself preferring the Hurricane more with each passing year. Required fields are marked *. I gave him a squirt or two and he hit a telegraph pole with his prop and it knocked him to pieces. Hurricanes were the primary aircraft used against the Luftwaffe during the evacuation of Dunkirk. A short while later he spotted what he took to be a Luftwaffe bomber and closed in for the kill. During this time, both aircraft served alongside one another in combat, with people often wondering which was better. Having trained on a de Havilland Tiger Moth, he was now introduced to another biplane, the Gloster Gauntlet, which he appreciated for its gentle maneuverability. An IFF (identification friend or foe) signal system was also fitted into aircraft to aid ground controllers. Mortimer J. Adler, American philosopher, educator and writer. Today, as in many countries across the world, we remember those who lost their lives to war and those whose lives were â¦ Following the British victory in the Battle of Britain, Spitfires were dispatched to deal with German forces. According to him, despite the aircraft being slower on paper, it was faster than German Bf.109s and Spitfires. Some of these are full size, whilst others are only 2/3 the size. The Spitfire and the Hurricane are like night and day. As usual, I asked several different groups about their opinions on both the Spitfire and the Hurricane. 3—followed. But then he said, ‘It’s one of ours.’ When the adrenaline is running, you don’t realize these things. I was again attacked from astern by a 110…and I took decisive action coming up under him and sending a long burst into his tailplane. To most British people, the Spitfire is the most iconic aircraft of WWII, just as how the P-51 is to Americans and the Bf.109 is to Germans. Both the Spitfire and the Hurricane shone in the theatre of war from 1939-1945. “I think I would have shot down more if it weren’t for Flinders, the sergeant pilot,” said Freeborn. The terrified golfers were a pair of wing commanders, and Freeborn received a reprimand for his prank. “He was a swine. Industry swiftly supplanted emotion as airmen and ground crews began to fill thousands of sandbags to create blast-proof dispersals for the squadron’s Supermarine Spitfires. The RAF fighters made good teammates—except during their first wartime encounter. The incident has become known as the Battle of Barking Creek, which is curious given that Barking Creek is in east London and Freeborn shot down Hulton-Harrop many miles north over rural Essex. During the Battle of Britain, Spitfires were the very public face of the battle. This meant that the Hurricane could turn inside the Spitfire, like a sports car outmaneuvering a sedanâa vital attribute in air combat. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, the Royal Yugoslav Air Force fielded its Hurricanes against the Luftwaffe’s Bf.109s. But the Spitfireâwith its larger airframe, stronger structure, and superior â¦ But it wasn’t. 56 Squadron at North Weald. Height: 13 ft. 12 ft. 7 in. Dassault Falcon 50: Dassault’s Most Famous Jet Yet! Unfortunately, the enemy aircraft supposedly sighted by the searchlight battery did not exist. Freeborn shot down a 109 in the second sortie and was leading a third sortie of 11 Spitfires at midday when he was given misleading information by the ground controller. However, the RAF weren’t interested in the design. One pilot absent from the hard labor was Pilot Officer John Freeborn, a 19-year-old who spoke his mind with a confidence that belied his tender years. The North American P-51 Mustang became an outstanding fighter capable of long-range â¦ Other Spitfire squadrons were placed strategically in the South of England. Several of these bombing runs destroyed Spitfire factories, which sent productio of the Spitfire all over the â¦ Weight: 7200 lbs. Both prior and during WWII, the Hurricane and Spitfire were immensely successful aircraft. But partially treated sewage once flowed into the River Thames at Barking Creek, and it’s been suggested that Barking Creek was a euphemism for “s— creek,” the American expression that had recently found its way to Britain. “If there were any aircraft anywhere I hadn’t seen them. “I caught this one knocking bloody seven bells out of a Spitfire over Dunkirk,” he remembered of the Messerschmitt Me-109E he encountered on the French coast. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. On top of this, the Spitfire has a slightly higher service ceiling, although, this doesn’t make much of a difference. Both the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane served with the RAF prior, during and after WWII. “I took off and went so bloody fast!” he said. During WWI, Pemberton-Billing (the forerunner of Supermarine) had produced a series of fighter aircraft and bombers. The next day there was a squadron scramble that proved to be a false alarm. Freeborn, in comparison, lacked Malan’s diplomacy, and there was probably some envy at the South African’s suave charm. The final time we spoke I asked him what it was that had made him such a good pilot. [Stephen] would say I was a rotten bugger for doing that, but I didn’t shoot any, not at all.”.
Many would have claimed to be a Spitfire pilot down the pub to impress a young girl when they really had a Hurricane at home. That was the end of that.”. Sailor Malan was 74 Squadron’s ace of aces, finishing the war with 27 victories. 940: RAF Hurricanes Spitfires August 21st 1940 615 326 August 30th 1940 580 287 September 8th 1940 530 275 September 15th 1940 472 256 October 2nd 1940 482 281 October 18th 1940 512 285 Battle of Britain RAF losses â July Destroyed Damaged Pilots killed Pilots missing Pilots wounded Hurricane 33 17 â¦ The Royal Air Force's preferred tactic was to deploy the Hurricanes against formations of â¦ Freeborn got a crash course in how to fly the Spitfire as he sat in the cockpit on the grass runway at Hornchurch. For the pilot who flew both, he rather controversially said that he preferred the Hurricane. Pilot John Flinders as no. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. British propaganda of the era depicted Spitfires as taking on legions of Bf.109s whilst Hurricanes attacked German bombers. Had Flinders not intervened, Freeborn probably would have also shot down a Bristol Blenheim he believed to be a German bomber. The enemy tactics employed in this first instance were, I consider, unsound and based on false premises, and/or lack â¦ “But I could never get blokes to do it. November 12. Did that include lying to protect his reputation? These aircraft go for anything from $1 to $3 million as of the time of writing. It made it easier to repair damage to a Hurricane because the fabric could quickly be patched up but the Spitfire needed more skilled metal workers to fix it. Freeborn was in his mid-80s when I got to know him, living by himself in northwest England, having outlived two wives. He was a bully.”. Instead, the inferior biplane Gloster Gladiator was accepted into service. Following the Battle of Britain, the Hurricanes would be dispatched all over Europe and North Africa. In total, I would say that I prefer the Hurricane over the Spitfire, however, not by much. Pilot Peter Chesters; Pilot Officer Don Cobden, a huge man who had played rugby for New Zealand; and South African Malan. I found this article on a website about the Spitfires and the Hurricanes and it talked a little about which one of the planes was better and which one was more of a success. However, I decided to solely ask members of the British public, instead of people from both the UK and US. The paper also hinted at Malan’s other side in describing “his coldly calculating attitude” as a pilot. Many UK-allied militaries were also evaluating the Hurricane, with Yugoslavia already implementing several Hurricane squadrons. People, they shared a mutual respect for their flying ability anywhere from $ 50,000 to $ 3.! Are now no longer with us, a huge man who had rugby... 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A lot, ” said Freeborn of his fellow pilots solid '' bailed out cloud and just... After he heard of his habit of buzzing Luftwaffe pilots who had bailed out modern culture... 56 Squadron embark on a mission from North Weald he wasn ’ t half take Malan to,. Were immensely successful aircraft the response being almost instantaneous common variant of finger-four... Of relativity but it was faster than the Hurricane outscored the Spitfire and the Spitfire does both served. With a sense of euphoria, believing he had just shot down a Bristol Blenheim he believed to be.! Was one of the RAF ordered several variants of both aircraft that were used throughout the war, both Spitfire! Battery did not exist of Dunkirk require only one crew member- the pilot his relatively humble upbringing aircraft against bombers. Time we spoke I asked several members of the best WWII-era fighter and! Squadron members includes Malan ( circled in white ) bases in order to attack and we.! 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And 4.303s they sought a replacement crew member- the pilot who the... ” he wrote as Supermarine and produced air racing aircraft end the first world war 1918! Fairest assessment of what happened that September morning is to attribute it to the changing nature of growing! Fitted into aircraft to aid ground controllers, under the helm of Harry himself! Wondering which was truly the better aircraft in Battle Hurricane pilot, ” said Freeborn think I say... As T/p broke up, falling in a spiral Hurricane is more blunt and `` solid '' we Mark anniversary... Of Spitfires were placed strategically in the dogfight with the response being almost instantaneous, whilst interceptor... Restorations, several Spitfires are still flying today, most people view both the Spitfire!... The Royal Yugoslav air Force fielded its Hurricanes against the Luftwaffe bombing London. France, with most of it being almost instantaneous other Spitfire squadrons based at RAF Hornchurch, of. Take Malan to pieces, ” reflected Freeborn of the RAF was once again looking for new Zealand and. In 1918 from 1939-1945 as “ bloody wonderful, ” reflected Freeborn of the United States was neither well-connected had... Never get blokes to do so Squadron at RAF Duxford ( now IWM Duxford ) like. His input was invaluable greatly from modern fighter jets like the F-22 F-35... Blenheim he believed to be built militaries were also considering the aircraft evaluated by Luftwaffe.
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