Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'll Get You Red Baron!

The RAF turns 90 today and Time magazine has a nice picture gallery at the link. It does not highlight the Sopwith Camel however. Few institutions can lay claim to saving freedom for the world. The RAF is one of them. Happy Birthday to the few who so many owe so much.

5 comments:

lietzy said...

Interesting that the Time photo essay promotes the Spitfire as the significant plane of the RAF. We toured the Pima Air Museum in Tuscon, AZ on our spring training trip, and I became aware of the little known historical fact that there were far more Hawker Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain than Spitfires. I guess that Supermarine just had a better PR guy.

Dave S. said...

Supermarine also had a better plane, which may also explain its emphasis over the Hurricane.

It is odd that the photo exhibit did not include the Camel while including the almost universally reviled BE.2, although the Wikipedia article notes its brief successful career as a Zeppelin interceptor.

lietzy said...

"Better" in the context of WWII fighter planes is like arguing the merits of chocolate versus vanilla ice cream. While heavier and slower than the Spitfire, the Hurricane was more resistant to exploding cannon shells and bullet damage, was more reliable, was easier to fly, and provided a more stable gun platform. Plus it shot down more German planes in the Battle of Britain, despite its technical deficiencies to the Spitfire. Put another way, while the Spitfire was a thoroughbred, the RAF need the workhouse Hurricane to plow the Luftwaffe into the ground.

(and you guys probably thought I had left all my geekdom behind me).

Dave S. said...

A geek heart still beats under that upscale lifestyle!

I hesitate to debate further but merely wonder if there is any difference between the kinds of planes the two fighters shot down. In other words, was the Hurricane directed against the bombers while the Spitfire handled the fighter escorts? In that case it would be clear that neither plane could have done the whole job by itself.

That, of course, evokes images of the RAF map rooms with officers pushing little units around the big map of Britain. That would have been great to do for our gaming weekends. Perhaps your next chateau can have a purpose-built Grand Game Room (detailed model of Fort Knox optional).

lietzy said...

The wine tasting room can easily be converted into the Battle Ops room (it would actually look quite nice, what with the wood wainscotting and all -- plus I could break out the brandy and sherry).

I commend to you the very fine Wikipedia entry on the Hurricane. While it does provide support for your excellent point about which type of enemy aircraft each British fighter engaged, there are myriad examples of the Hurricane being utilized as a fighter to fighter dogfighting aircraft.