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


Grimsby Mariner said...

I'd second that choice. A squadron were based not far from where I live during the war on anti-shipping patrols and they have a memorial in the town.

brando said...

"I've always had a weakness for fat girls and when they are heavily armed, it just makes them all that more sexy!"

I actually laughed out loud.

mlj said...

I'm working on a project about an area in west London where all the road names are linked to aviation, since the estate is very near Heathrow, and actually located on where an old airport used to be. The area is called Brabazon Estate - do you know that airplane? Apparently the Brabazon was an elegant thing that turned into a bit of a white elephant..

Thanks for sharing.

Jan (moif) said...

Oh yes, I know that one quite well. The Brabazon was supposed to bring Britain's aerospace industry into the post war age. Instead it was a massive waste of time as Boeing had a number of far better jet powered designs, all ready for commercial use. The sad irony is, it was the British, as part of the war effort, who essentially gave the Americans the technology to build their jet liners.

The best thing about the Brabazon from my perspective was the fact that it had eight engines set into a curious configeration with two engines to each propeller.