Spitfire Facts



The Spitfire’s maiden flight was on March 5th 1936. It finally entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1938. It remained in service with the RAF until 1955.


During this time, 20,351 Spitfires were built and about 50 are still flying in 2007.


Though it is assumed that ‘Spitfire’ came from the aeroplane’s awesome firing capabilities, it was also an Elizabethan word that meant someone who had a fiery character. Other names considered for the aeroplane were ‘Snipe’ and ‘Shrew’.


Despite the fame of the Spitfire and its association with the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane actually shot down more enemy planes during this battle.


By 1939, about 10% of all Spitfires had been lost as a result of training accidents.


The Spitfire was the only Allied fighter to be production for the duration of World War Two.


In the later years of the war the Spitfire was used for low-level reconnaissance flights. Occasionally painted pink for this role, the plane that was famous for its firing capabilities was nearly stripped of all its weaponry so that it was as light as possible and therefore as fast as was possible.


The Spitfire first saw action over foreign soil at the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940.


The distinctive roof bulge in the cockpit was to allow for taller pilots.


“I gloried in every minute I spent in my beloved Spitfire.” Anon


“Nothing is perfect in this world I suppose. But the Spitfire came close to perfection.” Anon


November 2007


One thought on “Spitfire Facts

  1. Ken / Reply June 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    It is now generally agreed that the best single seater fighter in the world at the time of the Battle of Britain was the Bf109,although the Spitfire and Hurricane were superb machines.The 109 outclassed the Hurricane in all but turning ability,but of course most combats were not turning fights,but a swift attack in from behind from above or under the tail,with the attacker continuing to dive away,or zoom up for another attack.As regards the Spitfire(and Hurricane),the109 could out climb and outlive the Spitfire,it’s mixture of cannon and heavy machine gun armament was heavier and longer ranging,it’s ceiling was superior,and it was generally superior above 20000 feet.If one wants proof of this then statistics do not lie-official Luftwaffe records show that 610Bf109s were lost in the Battle,and 171 of their pilots killed. The RAF records the loss of some 1200 Spitfires and Hurricanes, and lost 540 pilots killed. Grim statistics that dispel many myths about the Battle.Moreover,the Spitfire mk2 that fought in the latter part of the Battle,was up engined into the mk5 in 1941,with cannon armament.However,the introduction of the improved Bf109F,meant that the Spitfire5 was still inferior to the 109,and the introduction of the superb FW190 in the autumn of 1941 totally outclassed the Spitfire5.The introduction of the Spitfire Mk9 in 1942 went most of the way to redress the balance,but again, in 1941 and 1942, the Luftwaffe out scored the RAF by 3 or 4 to 1 in the RAFs sweeps over France.I would like to hear others views on this.
    I think that what defeated the Luftwaffe fighter force was the numbers game when the Americans entered the fray,and the breakdown of the Luftwaffe training system and the lowering in quality of its pilots.

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