Torpedo Armed Beaufighters

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Sep 21, 2011
Brisbane, Qld
I am a Junior Member (but a senior citizen) and started modelling aircraft (1:48 scale) in late Oct 2011. My 5th model was a Beaufighter TF Mk X of 1944 by Airfix model No.61067. The decal option I selected was S/N NT950 Sqn Code MB-T, an aircraft of 236 Sqn RAF. Airfix instructions and illustrations showed this aircraft armed with a torpedo. Many photographs of the MB-T, with torpedo appear on many websites.

However, photographs of the real aircraft do not show it armed with a torpedo. My research indicates that the only squadron with Coastal Command, at North Coates, in 1944 and armed with torpedoes was 489 Sqn RNZAF. This fact is confirmed by a living member of the crew of an aircraft of 489 Sqn.

This apparent error is perpetuated in the pending issue of FlyPast magazine special issue on the Beaufighter. The cover shows an illustration of MB-M, of 236 Sqn, launching a torpedo from a most improbable altitude.

Any expect like to comment please.

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I've got a profile of Mk.X 236 Sq,MB-T S/N NT950 with yellow codes and invasion stripes from the Squadron-Beaufighter in action book. No mention of it carrying torpedoes. I've got three other books to look through.


EDIT: Found a B&W photo of MB-T S/N LZ293 with dull red codes and carrying rockets in 1944.
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Hi Gunner 105, interesting question and my post probably doesn't directly answer your question, but there is evidence that by 1944 Coastal Command maritime strike operations were moving away from torpedoes and concentrated on rockets as the principal means of attacking ships. Torpedoes were an effective weapon, but rockets were cheaper and when aimed well, caused a heck of a lot of damage. They were actually quite inaccurate in practise, so required some real low level seat-of-the-pants flying for better accuracy. There were still torpedo aircraft in service at that time and the Bristol Brigand was originally designed to replace the Beaufighter in the maritime strike role and was able to carry a torpedo, but with haste after the end of the war, land based maritime strike squadrons disappeared relatively quickly.

According to one source of info on the Beaufighter I have, the first Beaufighter strike wing was formed at North Coates in November 1942, "...consisting of No.143 Sqn for fighting, No.236 Sqn for bombing and No.254 Sqn for torpedo-bombing, the last version being known as the Torbeau." Incidentally, it was a 236 Sqn Beaufighter that carried out the infamous 'raid' on Paris in broad daylight, dropping a French 'tricolour' on the Champs-Elysees in June 1942.
From what I've seen so far, it appears that 236 Sqn were mainly armed with RPs. Although photos of their aircraft show the torpedo crutches under the fuselage, associated with the TFX, all photos show the aircraft armed with 8 rocket projectiles only, plus the guns of course. There is no mention of torpedo ops in the sources I consulted, but that's not to say the squadron did not, at some time earlier, employ torpedos before arming with the more effective rocket projectiles.
The Beau X could carry a torpedo OR rockets, not normally both, and the wiring circuits and crutches would normally be left in place. I've checked four sources, and all seem to suggest that the squadron used RPs for their shipping strikes, born out by photo evidence of their aircraft. This photo shows MB-T armed with 8 RPs.
Hope this helps.


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Gunner. I've been through four Beaufighter books(my 2nd favorite aircraft) and couldn't find anything on torpedo carrying 236 Sq aircraft. If you want great detail shots I highly recommend the books from A.J. Press, "Bristol Beaufighter Parts 1 and 2". They are written in Polish and English and contain very detailed photos including the torpedo setup if you chose to go with a torpedo carrying aircraft.

Forgot to add, the yellow codes shown in the Squadron signal book are incorrect - they were Dull Red, as shown in the previously posted photo. Checked a bit further, and all mention of the Squadron's ops is with RPs, with only 489 and 254 Sqns mentioned with torpedos, previously with Beau IVs.
Books used as reference include, 'Beaufighter at War (Bowyer), 'Squadrons of the RAF Commonwealth, 1918 - 1998 (Halley/Air Britain), 'Aircraft of the RAF since 1918 (Thetford), 'Warpaint - Beaufighter' and 'Squadron Signal Beaufighter', plus magazine articles and selected chapters from other works.
I don't think it is incorrect. Here is a small picture of the Beaufighter I found via the net. In the image the torpedo front mount ( rack ) can be clearly seen. So.. she might have carried it or not depending on a task that was ordered.




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And something interesting here.... it seems to be another MB-T marked Beau. But its serial is different.

I have found that the Beau in the pic above was the Beaufighter TF Mark X, LZ293 MB-T of No. 236 Squadron RAF based at North Coates, Lincolnshire. The Beaufighter TF Mark X, NT950 MB-T of the same squadron based there as well. Unfortunately the NT950 was shot down off the Dutch coast on 3 October 1944.

The shot below ( this time a little bit larger) was taken on June the 5th 1944.....


.............. FlyPast magazine special issue on the Beaufighter. The cover shows an illustration of MB-M, of 236 Sqn, launching a torpedo from a most improbable altitude.



No wonder it looks a little bit strange. But the cover seems to be an edited part of the Airfix top-box art for the Beaufighter kit of 1/72 scale only ( the shot below).The entire art presents the Beau being under an attack of Bf 109G. As memo serves fighters or bombers were dropping their external load ( internal as well , what ever it means...:lol: ) when preparing to a dogfight or to a defense often . Always the reason was the same... making a plane lighter, faster and more manoeuvrable during a struggle. I think the artist of the art just wanted to show a such behaviour of a crew.

Oh.. we criss-crossed posts Evan. Thank you my friend. :D

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