Hawker or Supermarine?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jerry W. Loper, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Jerry W. Loper

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    From 1939 to 1945, which aircraft manufacturer's planes were more vital to the RAF's war effort and eventual victory? This includes all the different types for both Hawker (Hurricane, Typhoon, Tempest, etc.) and Supermarine (Spitfire, Seafire, etc.).
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I'll go with Hawker. From things I have read, the Hurricane was the true savior of England in the BoB. That alone would make it worthy of the title, IMO.
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #3 Colin1, Dec 17, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
    It's not an easy question
    Hurricanes were operational sooner, were cheaper and easier to build. There were roughly twice as many of them during the Battle of Britain as there were Spitfires. An RAF Fighter Command composed entirely of Hurricanes would have been run ragged by the Bf109E; not every Hurricane pilot was a Ginger Lacey.

    The Spitfire ran into trouble with the arrival of the Fw190, Fighter Command attempted to redress the balance by accelerating the new Hawker fighter into front line service. The Typhoon was more dangerous to its pilots than the Fw190 could hope to be; the ability to catch a Fw190 is one thing but I'm not sure I'd want to catch one in a Typhoon.

    Both manufacturers came on song again with the Spitfire IX in 1942 and the Tempest V in 1944 and stayed on song until the end of the war. The Spitfire XIV played the high altitude role sufficiently well and the Tempest was better at low to medium altitude.

    Supermarine finally admitted that their Spitfire was no longer really a Spitfire with the Spiteful and Hawker were readying the Sea Fury but war's end and the advent of the jet age put paid to their debuts.

    Success was intertwined between both manufacturers and I can't really see how this can be bifurcated in order to compare one degree of success with the other. We'd have lost the war during the Battle without the Hurricane, we'd have lost the war if we'd continued after the Battle with the Hurricane... The Spitfire got a kick in the teeth from the Fw190, the Typhoon provided us with a stop-gap salvation of sorts until the Mk IX was rolled out.

    The partnership continued as described with the Mk XIV/Tempest V and would have continued with the Spiteful/Fury lines.

    Supermarine and Hawkers were something of a tag team, I can't imagine how we would have fared one without the other.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Colin has hit the nail on the head, the Hurricane/Spitfire combo were a great combo. One point is gun placement, the hurricane for example faired much better against bombers with its 4 guns close together giving a more concentrated fire. I could be wrong but I have read that the Hurricane could fire longer bursts than Spitfire.
     
  5. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I would choose Hawker as being the most vital manufacturer, and part of my reasoning might get me lynched but bear with me, I firmly believe the Spitfire was one of the greatest aircraft of all time from any nation BUT............

    What else did they do?

    Supermarines were a flying boat company first and foremost and the Shagbat was the saviour of many a life but the Stranraer was already obsolete when the war began and there was no real improvement to the Walrus formula until the war was over, and helicopters were then making the rescue flying boat obsolete anyway.

    In terms of combat aircraft, the original Spitfire, the type 224, was pants, the Spiteful had vicious tendencies and Supermarines jet fighters, the Attacker and Swift, were both woefully inadequate in comparison to, and were replaced by, their contemporaries from Hawker with the Sea Hawk replacing the Attacker and the Hunter FR.10 replacing the Swift FR.5 (the only version to serve successfully) despite them being developed at the same time!

    The Supermarine 316 might have been the greatest heavy bomber of WW2, we will never know, but fpr me the Stirling-like carriage of the bomb load in cells counts against it.

    The Hurricanes contribution to the modernisation of the RAF and the winning of the BoB does not need spelling out of course. Hawker boobed too, the Tornado is best forgotten but the Typhoon excelled as a fround attack type and led directly into the Tempest and Fury. When they entered the jet field the P.1040 was mint and developed into the Sea Hawk which evolved into the Hunter. The P.1083 and P.1121 were realistically excellent prospects in the 50's and the P.1005 might have usurped the Mossie in WW2, like the Supermarine 316 we will never know.

    Not forgetting also a continuous legacy that can be traced, in a straight line, from the Sopwith Tabloid to the Harrier GR.9 of today

    Vote Hawker!
     
  6. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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  7. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    Colin1, I think you mean the Spitfire XIV (14) not the XVI (16). :) The XVI (16) is a Packard engined Mark IXE.

    Supermarine was actually part of Vickers-Armstrong, which also produced the Wellington, a pretty important bomber.

    For overall contribution to the war effort, i think the nod has to go to Supermarine. 20K+ Spitfires compared to 18K+ Hurricanes/Typhoons/Tempests. Newest models of Spitfires in every theatre on the front lines right up till the end of the war, while Hawkers newest planes were only in front line service in Northern Europe.
    Development problems of the Typhoon/Tempest mid to late war, with production numbers of approximately 4000+, compared to over 10,000 of the various late war marks of Spitfire, makes Supermarine the end game winner.
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Good spot dude
    Latin was never my strong point... :)
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Hawker was to blame, but Napier has the share too.

    All said, Spit IX, XII and XIV (among other marks) were well-balanced machines and could do whatever a contemporary Hawker design could, but without all that trouble the Hawkers experienced.
     
  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I think Colin summed it up pretty well. They both worked together well but then I also agree with Claidmore and that is why for this I will lean towards Supermarine. However both had a substational contribution to the war effort. Just latterly I think because of the developmental problems of the later Hawkers and the smaller number of problems encountered by the late Spitfires.
     
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