Spitfire variants - When did they begin service?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jank, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Jank

    Jank Member

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    What were the best Spitfire variants to see combat throughout 1943 and when did they begin service?

    I know there are a lot of Spitfire experts here.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Hop

    Hop Member

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    Spitfire I - pre war
    Spitfire II - September 1940

    Both these were out of frontline service by 1943

    Spitfire V - Spring 1941. Still a lot around in 1943

    Spitfire VI - 1942. Small numbers built, high alt version of the Spitfire V.

    Two stage Merlins:

    Spitfire VII - 1942. Small numbers built.

    Spitfire VIII - 1943. Refined airframe, more fuel, similar performance to Spit IX. Only served overseas.

    Spitfire IX - 1942. Early versions had Merlin 61, later versions from early 1943 onwards had more powerfull Merlin 63, 66 or 70.

    Griffon engines:

    Sptifre XII - Small number built, in service from early 1943. Designed for low alt operations.

    There were other marks for recce, but those were the fighter versions. When looking at performance, it's important to realise it didn't remain static as time progressed. For example, the Spitfire V was intoduced with 12 lbs boost, by summer 1942 that was increased to 16 lbs, which gave several hundred hp extra, and greatly improved low level speed and climb rate. Later, cropped superchargers on the Spitfire V gave excellent low alt performance at the expense of high alt performance.

    Out of those, the best performance all round would be the Spitfire LF IX.
     
  3. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Double post
     
  4. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    A little more specific information to back up Hop:

    Squadron operations began:

    Spitfire Mk. I: August, 1938 (No 19 Sqdn)

    Spitfire MK II: August, 1940 (No 611 Sqdn)

    Spitfire Mk V: February 1941 [conversion from Mk I] (No 92 Sqdn)

    Spitfire VI: April, 1942 (No 616 Sqdn)

    Spitfire VII: March, 1943 (No 124 Sqdn)

    Spitfire VIII: August, 1943 (No 145 Sqdn)

    Spitfire IX: June, 1942 (No 64 Sqdn)

    Spitfire XII: February, 1943 (No 92 Sqdn)

    Spitfire XIV: January, 1944 (610 Sqdn)

    Spitfire XVI: October, 1944 (??)

    Spitfire XXI: March, 1945 (91 Sqdn)
     
  5. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Let me just spill the beans and explain why I am trying to determine this. Italy bowed out of the war on June 8, 1943. I am trying to determine which was the best Spitfire in frontline service by that date.

    It boils down to a Series 5 v. Best Spitfire matchup.
     
  6. Hop

    Hop Member

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    Spitfire F IX with Merlin 63 or Spitfire LF IX with Merlin 66. The LF IX was better at lower altitudes (below about 20,000ft), the Spitfire F IX better above that.
     
  7. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    On 8 September.
    July, with the operations over Sardinia and Sicily was a very hot month for the RA.
     
  8. Jank

    Jank Member

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    You are right. I don't know what I was thinking.

    So would the Spitfire Mk. IX have been the best British plane serving in frontline service as of September 8, 1943?

    I have the impression that the Spitfire Mk. IX was slightly better in a fur ball than any of the Series 5 fighters and that the Spitfire Mk. IX was probably the only fighter in existence that could equal the Series 5 fighters in a close in, twisting and turning fight.
     
  9. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    I'd say that a Spitfire Mk Vb/c with a low-altitude Merlin (45M, 50M, 55M) with a cropped impeller would be even more capable in a classic turning dogfight than a Spitfire IX, provided it was below 10,000 feet.

    They were lighter (better power to weight ratio and climb) and most had clipped wingtips for dramatically improved rate of roll and a little extra speed.
     
  10. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Just a thought wouldn't the MKV already be in theatre from North Africa and they were the equal or better of anything of anything Italians had fielded in any strength and the MkIX's were used to counter the 190 threat for which the MkV's were outclassed by on the channel and escorting the 8th airforce on their early sorties . Plus the I'm not aware of any desert kit being available for the MkIX'S would be needed when operating from some Sicilian locations
     
  11. Jank

    Jank Member

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    The only one of the Series 5 fighters that were fielded in any "strength" was the Macchi Mc.205 Veltro. The Reggiane Re.2005 and Fiat G.55 were both superior to the Veltro and in front line service before Italy capitulated on September 8th but in pitifully small numbers.

    How did the Veltro stack up against the Spitfires?
     
  12. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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  13. Jank

    Jank Member

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    I just read it. Incredible!

    Just as you said, the Macchi pilots apparently felt quite confident that the Mc.205 had an advantage over the Spitfire up to 6,000m.
     
  14. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

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    If the Mc.205 was outflying the Spits below 20,000ft, I wonder how the higher altutude G.55 would have performed against them?
     
  15. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    I would like to get some opinions regarding Spitfire production. Merlin variants were produced in much larger numbers than Griffon's, which were inducted to service later in the war. Spitfire MkXIV would be a good example. Performance was excellent but it was never built in Mk V or IX numbers. Some reasons could be:

    - Bomber Command has priority for aircraft production.
    - Spitfire Mk IX was good enough for 1944/45 after Luftwaffe had suffered massive losses.
    - RAF could get similar performing aircraft in the USA.

    Any others?
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Do you mean only "Spitfires"? Or Seafires as well?
    Getting Seafires on the carriers was a pretty big deal....
     
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