Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Interesting aircraft; Bristol Beaufighter
Another marvellous aircraft that often gets over looked in the aviation history of the Second World War. Tough and robust, the Beaufighter was a real monster, loaded to the gills with weaponry and versatile enough to operate against a wider range of targets than most other ground attack aircraft. The Beaufighter was a development of an earlier mid war bomber; the Blenheim, but unlike the Blenheim, and the intermediate Beaufort design, the Beaufighter was designed as a fighter bomber rather than a bomber and saw extensive service throughout the war and in most theatres in this role. Almost six thousand were built.
Like so many British aircraft, the key to understanding the Beaufighter is practicality; The Germans usually went for cutting edge designs, the Americans for power. The Russians went for mass production and the British went for solid, reliable dependability. The results speak for themselves. Two standard issue Bristol Hercules engines, gave the slug like Beaufighter a meager top speed of 515 km/h, slower than other Allied ground attack aircraft such as the Mosquito, the Hawker Typhoon, the P47 Thunderbolt or the P38 Lightning, but with slower speeds came greater stability on the gun run and more time to target. The Beaufighter probably wasn't the best ground attack aircraft of the war, it probably wasn't even the best British ground attack aircaft (I'd say that was the Typhoon) but I love it anyway. I've always had a weakness for fat girls and when they are heavily armed, it just makes them all that more sexy!
Bringing four 20mm Hispano nose cannons, six .303 wing mounted machine guns, and eight 60lb rockets (or an anti ship torpedo) out to a range of 2,816 km, there is no doubt that the 'Beau' was heavily armed.
See also this video post about Beaufighters; Whispering Death