Hawker Typhoon, Most Feared by Tank Crews

By:      Norm Goyer

The Hawker Typhoon had a similar profile as the German Fw.190 so stripes were applied  under the wing. This idea was carried out with the planes used on D-Day.

The Hawker Typhoon had a similar profile as the German Fw.190 so stripes were applied under the wing. This idea was carried out with the planes used on D-Day.

I would like to thank Wikipedia for the history and specifications of the Typhoon. NG

This World War II British ground attack aircraft always reminded me of an English Bulldog with an attitude problem. It is unfortunate, but the Typhoon and the Tempests were never popular with the model aircraft  RC crowd because they are almost impossible to balance properly due to the short nose. Don’t forget, it has been model builders who are keeping the popularity of many aircraft alive by building replicas. The Hawker Typhoon was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. While the Typhoon was designed to be a medium-high altitude interceptor, and a direct replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, several design problems were encountered, and the Typhoon never completely satisfied this requirement. Other external events in 1940 delayed the release of the Typhoon.

The Hawker Typhoon had serious problems when first introduced, it was almost shelved.

The Hawker Typhoon had serious problems when first introduced, it was almost shelved.

Nicknamed the “Tiffy” in RAF slang, the Typhoon’s service introduction in mid-1941 was also plagued with problems, and for several months the aircraft faced a doubtful future. However, in 1941, the Luftwaffe brought the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 into service: the Typhoon was the only fighter in the RAF inventory capable of catching the Fw 190 at low altitudes and, as a result, secured a new role as a low-altitude interceptor. Through the support of pilots such as Roland Beamont, the Typhoon also established itself in roles such as night-time intruder and a long-range fighter. From late 1942 the Typhoon was equipped with bombs; from late 1943 ground attack rockets were added to the Typhoon’s armory. Using these two weapons, the Typhoon became one of the Second World War’s most successful ground-attack aircraft.

The first problem encountered with the Typhoon after its entry into service was the seepage of carbon monoxide fumes into the cockpit. In an attempt to alleviate this, longer exhaust stubs were fitted in November 1941 and at about the same time the left cockpit doors were sealed. The Pilot’s Notes for the Typhoon recommended that unless the fix has been embodied it is most important that oxygen be used at all times as a precaution against carbon monoxide poisoning. But, tail flutter was even more difficult to solve. Severe tail flutter would actually rip the complete tail off during a high speed dive. In August 1942, Hawker’s second test pilot, Ken Seth-Smith, was carrying out a straight and level speed test from Langley, Hawker’s test center. The aircraft broke up over Thorpe, killing the pilot. Hawker’s designer Sydney Camm immediately ruled out pilot error which had been suspected in earlier crashes. Intensive investigations revealed that the elevator mass-balance had torn away from the fuselage structure allowing intense flutter to develop, failing the structure and causing the tail to break away. Immediate modifications to the structure, and the control runs, effectively solved the structural problem. (Much earlier Philip Lucas had landed a prototype aircraft with structural failure but this had been due to other failings.) The modifications were a partial remedy, although there were still failures right up to the end of the Typhoon’s service life. The 24 cylinder Sabre engine was also a constant source of problems, notably in colder weather, where it was very difficult to start.

The  Typhoon was the most feared aircraft of German tank commanders.

The Typhoon was the most feared aircraft of German tank commanders.

The first two Messerschmitt Me 210 fighter-bombers to be destroyed over the British Isles fell to the guns of Typhoons in late 1942, and during a daylight raid by the Luftwaffe on London on 20 January 1943, five Fw 190s were destroyed by Typhoons.

As soon as the aircraft entered service it was immediately apparent the profile of the Typhoon resembled a Fw 190 from some angles, and this similarity caused more than one “friendly fire” incident with Allied anti-aircraft units and other fighters. This led to Typhoons being marked up with high visibility black and white stripes under the wings. By D-Day in June 1944, 2 TAF had 18 operational squadrons of Typhoon IBs, while ADGB had a further nine. The aircraft proved itself to be the most effective RAF tactical strike aircraft, both on interdiction raids against communications and transport targets deep in North Western Europe prior to the invasion, and in direct support of the Allied ground forces after D-Day. A system of close liaison with the ground troops was set up by the RAF and army: RAF radio operators in vehicles equipped with VHF R/T travelled with the troops, often close to the front line. In situations where air support was needed they were able to call up Typhoons operating in a “Cab Rank“, which then continuously attacked the targets marked for them (usually with smoke shells fired by mortar or artillery) until they were destroyed.

Hawker aircraft including the Hurricane, Typhoon and Tempest served England well during World War II.

Hawker aircraft including the Hurricane, Typhoon and Tempest served England well during World War II.

Hawker aircraft including the early Hurricane, the Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury were a great asset to Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. German tank commanders were terrified of the Typhoons. They stated that their only defense was to exit the tank and “run like Hell.”

Specifications Typhoon Mk Ib

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 31 ft 11.5 in (9.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 41 ft 7 in (12.67 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 4 in  (4.66 m)
  • Wing area: 279 ft² (29.6 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,840 lb (4,010 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 11,400 lb (5,170 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 13,250 lb  (6,010 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 or 4-blade de Havilland or Rotol propeller × Napier Sabre IIA, IIB or IIC liquid-cooled H-24 piston engine, 2,180, 2,200 or 2,260 hp (1,626, 1,640 or 1,685 kW) each

Performance

Armament

  • Guns: 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon
  • Rockets: 8 × RP-3 unguided air-to-ground rockets.
  • Bombs: 2 × 500 lb (227 kg) or 2 × 1,000 lb (454 k

 

 

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