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  #11  
Old 13th February 2020, 17:23
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

Don't forget they were not fighters and therefore not Dowding's
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  #12  
Old 13th February 2020, 19:00
rof120 rof120 is online now
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Recce-Spitfires not fghters

Oh yes, of course I am fully aware of this but the basic aircraft was the same with a few changes to get a PR-Spit: removing the eight guns (or did they retain a few for self-defence? I don't think so.), canopy with bulges and obviously some good cameras. In theory Fighter Command's C-in-C could have refused to see several precious Spitfire-airframes (with engines) changed into unarmed recce AC. At the time (1939) Spitfires were precious few and hotly wanted by FC.

These Spits were not Fighter Command aircraft, this is true, but they could not be delivered secretly to other units than to FC squadrons without Dowding being aware of this.
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  #13  
Old 13th February 2020, 19:10
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Re: NUMBERS OF Spitfires in France, May-June 1940

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Originally Posted by Andy Fletcher View Post
Rof120,

You have to bear in mind that at no time were there ever eleven or nine Spitfires in France at the same time. 212 Sqn was basically the overseas element of the PDU and pilots and machines were interchangeable. Probably the most Spitfires that were in France at one time was half a dozen or so.

- Not bad either.

Regards Dowding, it was he who Cotton, the driving force behind the formation of the 'PRU', persuaded to supply two Spitfires in 1939 for his (Cotton's) experiment. By the time of the invasion of France the experiment had proved so successful that people more senior than Dowding were pushing for results.

Cheers

Andy Fletcher
- Perhaps they conned poor defenceless Dowding by asking first for two Spits only. Later they raised the number but it was too late to say "No" for the reason you mentioned.
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  #14  
Old 13th February 2020, 19:51
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

Regards Dowding being aware of Spitfires being diverted to the PDU I would say he was fully aware. During the period in question the PDU, the parent unit Spitfires operating in France belonged to, was sub-ordinate to Fighter Command for administrative purposes. So personnel and equipment came from Dowding's Command. However, Fighter Command had no operational control over PR Spitfires in the UK or the Continent.

As to whether he agreed with this diversion of resources or even had any say I don't know. As stated previously by the time of the German invasion of France much higher authority than Dowding was taking notice of what was being achieved and resources were to be allocated accordingly whether AOC Fighter Command agreed or not.

Best regards

Andy Fletcher
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  #15  
Old 13th February 2020, 19:56
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

I don't think that there was anything special about the supercharger on the Mk.I that would have come as any great surprise to the Germans. Indeed Hooker considered it less than ideal and his improvements were adopted on later marks. However this involved superior airflow from careful shaping not some magic gadget.

The French were given one Spitfire with an eye on issuing a significant order for them. Presumably the Germans got that one too.
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  #16  
Old 13th February 2020, 20:15
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

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Originally Posted by Graham Boak View Post
I don't think that there was anything special about the supercharger on the Mk.I that would have come as any great surprise to the Germans.

- I believe you but in any case it was interesting to the enemy to know what exactly was hidden under the engine cowling.

Indeed Hooker considered it less than ideal and his improvements were adopted on later marks. However this involved superior airflow from careful shaping not some magic gadget.

- That's OK for me. What mattered was the result, no matter how it was achieved. The French had an excellent supercharger (Szydlowski-Planiol) for the D.520. Are you aware that when they had to stop fighting the French were on the verge of introducing much more powerful aero-engines (made by Hispano-Suiza) with fuel injection too (like on the DB 601a engine of the Me 109). By August, 1940, French fighters, especially Dewoitine 524s etc., would have started giving the "Teutons" a licking. (Siiigh)

The French were given one Spitfire with an eye on issuing a significant order for them. Presumably the Germans got that one too.

- Yes, probably. IIRC this idea was shelved because at the time the Spit airframe (or engine) could not receive any cannon and French Air HQ wanted cannon-armed fighters (they were right and the RAF wanted the same thing). I'm not sure, though. Or perhaps it was just too late.

Last edited by rof120; 16th February 2020 at 16:31.
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  #17  
Old 13th February 2020, 23:08
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

A book about fighter aircraft engines is coming in April:

https://www.calum-douglas.com/curren...rsepower-race/

The next book is about turbocharger design:

Contents - a bit small

https://www.calum-douglas.com/contents/
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  #18  
Old 14th February 2020, 16:11
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Aero-engines, superchargers

Thanks Ed. 1st one looks quite authoritative. 2nd one too but yes, information is scarce for the moment.

As usual with anglo-american and even German authors they ignore the designs - sometimes remarkable ones - achieved in other countries. 1940 French aero-engines (Hispano-Suiza in-line engines and Gnome-Rhône radials) used in actual combat were less than ideal except for Dewoitine 520s (HP 12 Y 45) but greatly improved designs were in the pipe (in particular HP 12 Y 51 and HP 12 Z) and, as I mentioned above, would have been deployed approximately from August, 1940 on and German fighter pilots, in particular, would have been at a great disadvantage with their ol' 109s and DB 601s. See books "Les moteurs aéronautiques français" (2 volumes), Docavia IIRC. At least two new French fighter designs which existed already 1940 were able to fly faster than 700 km/h (435 mph) - Dewoitine D.551 and Bloch 157, slower than that with full military equipment (guns, ammo, etc.) - about 675 km/h but just like in all other countries improvements would have been made after the first deliveries. No doubt they were carefully looked at by the Germans (especially the superlative engines) at Lechfeld, Daimler-Benz', BMWs etc.

In the USSR as well as in Switzerland French aero-engines were used, made under license and strongly improved in the course of the years as they would have been in France too given time, reaching high power values like 1,600 ch (hp?) for the latest Soviet fighters with in-line engines (Yak, MiG). In the USSR tens of thousands of these engines, possibly well over 100,000, were produced (radials too IIRC) plus thousands in Switzerland. Their users were fully satisfied with these engines and never tried to make and use other ones. So the blindness of almost all anglo-american authors for everything which is not made "in English" or in German (they love to have these bad guys to look like heroes) is really very annoying. In particular Soviet and Swiss experts were just as good as others.

Of course I am not criticizing you Ed. You're a very knowledgeable man and ready to help. Thanks again.
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  #19  
Old 14th February 2020, 19:55
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

I am in contact with the author of the book about aero-engines. He has spent many years in archives in Europe and elsewhere. Perhaps you can share what you know on his Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSecretHorsepowerRace/

Your sensitivity about certain things is partly understandable and partly not.

Regards,
Ed
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  #20  
Old 14th February 2020, 20:05
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Spitfire in France, May-June 1940

I'm afraid that there is a world of difference between having highly promising engines under development, or even in early production, but quite something else to get these into production and then into aircraft and then into service in significant numbers. Compare these promises (for that is what they are) with the historical development of similar engines elsewhere. For example at the same time the British had the Sabre and Vulture already flying in fighter and bomber airframes with production lines established: the Griffon and Centaurus were not so far behind. The Germans had the DB603 running... I agree that there is no reason to doubt the capabilities of the French industry, but equally there is no reason to doubt that they would have been likely to run into very similar problems as faced by other nations. And the service timescales are always longer than the ambitions.
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