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Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber

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Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber dropping a depth charge:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber on the HMS Ark Royal:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber on the HMS Ark Royal

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber in 1938:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish in 1938

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber, destroyed:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish, destroyed
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber taking off from carrier:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish taking off from carrier

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber with floats:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish with floats

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber with floats:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish with floats

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber with floats:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish with floats
Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber

Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber
Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber

Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber in 1937:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber in 1937
Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber on the HMS Glorious in 1937:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber on the HMS <em>Glorious</em> in 1937
Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo-bomber on September 7, 1940, at Kalafrana Bay:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk I torpedo bomber on September 7, 1940, at Kalafrana Bay
Fairey Swordfish Mk II torpedo-bomber in June 1962:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk II torpedo bomber in June 1962
Fairey Swordfish Mk II torpedo-bomber in July 1969 at Portsmouth:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk II torpedo bomber in July 1969 at Portsmouth
Fairey Swordfish Mk III torpedo-bomber in 1948:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish Mk III torpedo bomber in 1948
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 1:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 1

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 2:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 2
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 3:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 3

Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 4:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 4
Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 5:
Great Britain's Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber Part 5

Design

The bi-plane had an open cockpit.1 The frame was metal with a fabric covering and was very resilient to damage.1,3 The pilot used "Gosport tubes" to communicate to the other crew.1

The 7.7 mm Vickers in the front was synchronized to fire through the propeller.1

The Swordfish had a metal frame with a fabric cover.4

Wings

To allow more room on a carrier the wings of the Swordfish could be folded back.3

Landing Gear

The Swordfish's gear could be replaced by floats.3

1941 Torpedo Bomber Comparison

Prototype

The prototype, known as the T.S.R. II, was flown on April 17, 1934.1,2,3,4 Part of the trials was a catapult launch off of the HMS Repulse.3

Production

Between 1934 and August 18, 19442 2,3911 / 2,3962 Swordfish were produced.1 Blackburn constructed 1,699 Swordfish.1

  • Swordfish: 2,3964
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.3, Blackburn4
    • Production: ? - August 18, 19444
  • Swordfish Mk I:
  • Swordfish Mk II:
  • Swordfish Mk III:
  • Swordfish Mk IV:

Torpedo Bomber All Production Comparison

Variants

  • TSR II: Prototype.4
  • Swordfish Mk I: Met Specification S.38/34.4 Slight swept back top wing.2,4
  • Swordfish Mk II: Stronger lower wing to allow for the mounting of rockets.2,3,4
  • Swordfish Mk III: Had a radar scanner between the mainwheels.1,2,3,4
  • Swordfish Mk IV: Was the conversion of a Mk II to have a enclosed cabin.2,3,4 Used by Canada.3
  • Floatplane: Had floatplanes, but the drag and weight reduced its speed a lot.1

Usage

Entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1936 (July 19363) and was known as the "Stringbag."1

At the start of the war there were 13 squadrons in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.1 A total of 689 Swordfishes had been delivered.2

The first U-Boat sunk by the Fleet Air Arm was made by the Swordfish on April 13, 1940.1

Swordfish sank more ships than all the Royal Navy's battleships combined.1

Taranto

Twenty one Swordfish were used in the attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11, 1940.1,2,4 They took off from the HMS Illustrious.1,4 Two battleships, a cruiser, and a destroyer were sunk.1

Bismarck

Swordfishes were key in slowing down the Bismarck in its last battle.2,4

Channel Dash

Swordfishes were used in the near suicidal attack on the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen during their escape through the English Channel in February 1942.2,4

The End

On May 21, 1945 the last Swordfish squadron was disbanded.1,3

Specifications

  Fairey Swordfish
Type Mine Laying5, Reconnaissance5, Torpedo-bomber5
Crew 35
Crew - torpedo  
Crew - reconnaissance  
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus III5
Cylinders Radial5
Cooling Air5
HP 7005
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 45' 6"5
Length 36' 4"5
Height 12' 10"5
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 7,700 lb5
Performance  
Speed 150 mph5
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 750 miles5
Armament  
Fuselage 1: MG5
Rear cockpit 1: MG5
  Fairey Swordfish Mk I
Type Torpedo3
Crew  
Crew - torpedo 23
Crew - reconnaissance 33
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus III M.33
Cylinders Radial 93
Cooling Air3
HP 6903
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 45' 6"3
Length 36' 4"3
Height 12' 10"3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 9,250 lb3
Performance  
Speed @ 4,750' 139 mph3
Climb  
Service ceiling 10,700'3
Range 546 miles3
Armament  
Fuselage  
Forward firing 1: MG3
Rear cockpit 1: MG3
Torpedo 1: 1,610 lb3
OR  
Bombs 1,496 lb3
OR  
Rockets 83
  Fairey Swordfish Mk II
Type Torpedo-bomber1,2,4, Reconnaissance1, Anti submarine2
Crew 2-31, 32,4
Pilot, radio operator/gunner1
Crew - torpedo  
Crew - reconnaissance  
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol Pegasus XXX piston1,2,4
Cylinders Radial2,4, Radial-91
Cooling  
HP 7501,2,4
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 45'1, 45' 6"2,4
12.87 m2,4, 13.87 m1
Length 35' 8"2,4, 36'1
10.87 m1,2,4
Height 12'1, 12' 4"2,4
3.76 m1,2,4
Wing area 607 ft2 1,2,4
56.39 m2 1,2,4
Weight  
Empty 4,690 lb1, 4,700 lb2,4
2,132 kg1,2,4
Loaded 7,493 lb1, 7,510 lb2,4
3,406 kg1,4, 3,407 kg2
Performance  
Speed 138 mph1
222 kph1
Speed at
sea level
138 mph2,4
222 kph2,4
Speed @ 4,750'  
Climb 1,220'/minute2,4
372 m/minute2,4
Service ceiling 10,690'1, 19,250'2,4
3,260 m1, 5,865 m2, 5,867 m4
Range 546 miles2,4, 1,028 miles1
879 km2,4, 1,658 km1
Armament  
Fuselage 1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG1
Forward firing 1: 7.7 mm MG2,4
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm Lewis or Vickers K MG1
1: 7.7 mm MG2,4
Torpedo 1: 1,600 lb1
1: 18"2,4
1: 730 kg1
1: 0.457 m2,4
OR  
Bombs 1,500 lb1
680 kg1
OR  
Rockets 81
8: 60 lb2,4
8: 27.2 kg2,4

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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