Into the Fray - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I

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Supermarine Spitfire of 610 Squadron during the Battle of Britain Aviation Art print by Chris French FGAvA

 

A companion piece to the artist's earlier "Chance Encounter", "Into the Fray" looks at the other British icon of the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire.

 

Without doubt faster and more famous than the Hawker fighter, the Supermarine aircraft was available in fewer numbers during the Battle, with doctrine demanding that they attack the German fighter escorts. Of course, battles never unfold as doctrine would demand and both Hurricane and Spitfire were hurled against fighters and bombers alike.

 

Here, Spitfires of 610 (County of Chester) squadron are just about to engage Dornier Do-17. It was quickly recognised that the tactic of a vic-formation attacking from the six o'clock position was both more open to defensive fire from the bombers and susceptible to fighter intervention, while the range of 600 yards was found to be too distant for the eight .303" calibre guns to have any effect. To counter these tactical issues, pilots began flying more openly and in pairs, harmonised guns to between 250-400 yards and began attacking bombers from either the eight or twelve o'clock positions.     

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