(Full Length Documentary) The Story of The Supermarine Spitfire
IN this first segment of the “Warbird Series” we present an interesting, colourful and indepth look at Britain’s “Angel of the Skies” and was very much the winning factor in the notoriously infamous as well as famous “Battle Of Britain” or rather how I see it ” Battle To Save Britain”.
The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft.
It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts, with approximately 54 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.
It’s not hard to make the case that the Spitfire was one of the most significant new technologies in history. A brilliant, manoeuvrable, and superfast fighter, the Spitfire—and its pin-up pilots, brave to the point of insouciance—became the symbol of British resistance to the bombers of the Nazi air force, the Luftwaffe. The plane, with its distinctive elliptical wings, was a miraculous piece of engineering.
“She really was a perfect flying machine,” said one pilot. A Californian who traveled to Britain to sign up for the Royal Air Force agreed: “I often marvelled at how this plane could be so easy and civilized to fly and yet how it could be such an effective fighter.”
“I have no words capable of describing the Spitfire,” testified a third pilot. “It was an aircraft quite out of this world.” (The source of these quotes is Leo McKinstry’s excellent history, Spitfire: Portrait of a Legend.)
It wasn’t just the Spitfire pilots who rated the plane. The top German ace, Adolf Galland, was asked by Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, what he required in order to break down the stubborn British resistance. “I should like an outfit of Spitfires” was the terse reply. Another German ace complained, “The bastards can make such infernally tight turns. There seems to be no way of nailing them.”
Story of the “Spitfire” Classic Movie Film Full Length
This film is very engaging and touching. The stars are Leslie Howard and David Niven. Great Actors.
It is the story of the creator of the “Spitfire”, R. J. Mitchell . What an honorable hero he was. He literally gave his life (his strength and health) to create this plane. He saw what was happening in Europe, before most, and knew he must complete his “mission” before his health gave way…
This plane helped win WWII.
Thanks to the Spitfire, Britain’s tiny Royal Air Force defied overwhelming odds to fight off the Luftwaffe’s onslaught in the Battle of Britain. It was a dismal mismatch: Hitler had been single-mindedly building up his forces in the 1930s, while British defense spending was at historical lows. The Luftwaffe entered the Battle of Britain with 2,600 operational planes, but the RAF boasted fewer than 300 Spitfires and 500 Hurricane fighters. The wartime Prime Minister himself, Winston Churchill, predicted that the Luftwaffe’s first week of intensive bombing would kill 40,000 Londoners. But thanks in large part to the Spitfire’s speed and agility, the Germans were unable to neutralize the RAF.
This meant the Germans were unable to launch an invasion that could quickly have overwhelmed the British Isles. Such an invasion would have made D-Day impossible, denying the United States its platform to liberate France.
Never was so much owed by so many to so few was a wartime speech made by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 20 August 1940. The name stems from the specific line in the speech, Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few, referring to the ongoing efforts of the Royal Air Force pilots who were at the time fighting the Battle of Britain, the pivotal air battle with the German Luftwaffe with Britain expecting a German invasion. With the battle won a few months later and German plans postponed, the Allied airmen of the battle ultimately became known as “The Few“.
Sir Winston Churchill’s famous speech!
It would likely have cost the lives of 430,000 British Jews. It might even have given Germany the lead in the race for the atomic bomb, as many of the scientists who moved to the United States to work on the Manhattan Project were living in Britain when the Spitfires turned back the Luftwaffe. Winston Churchill was right to say of the pilots who flew the Spitfires and the Hurricanes, “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”‘
Another of Sir Winston Churchill’s wartime speeches
It is only a small exaggeration to say that the Spitfire was the plane that saved the free world. The prototype cost the government roughly the price of a nice house in London: 10,000 pounds. Simply to say, it saved Britain and turned the tide of war in Europe!.
Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
And it with this I bring forth music – which was very much a part of the Battle Of Britain or rather the “Battle For Britain” whether it be the British or the Germans.
A review of The First of the Few in the New Statesman and Nation on 29 August 1942 mentioned the score: “Walton’s music deserves special recommendation. His fugal movement for the assembly of parts of the Spitfire adds immensely to the most moving sequence in the film”.
Audio of William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue for symphony orchestra.
The Spitfire Prelude and Fugue was first performed at Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool on 2 January 1943 with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer. This was part of an all-Walton concert sponsored by the British Council. The prelude, called by Stephen Lloyd “one of Walton’s finest marches”, is the music heard over the opening credit titles in the movie. The earliest extant non-British recording of the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue comes from the Carnegie Hall concert of 6 February 1949 in which Leopold Stokowski conducted theNew York Philharmonic. It has been released on a Pristine Audio CD.
That is why the story of how the Spitfire was developed against the odds offers a lesson for those of us who hope technology will solve the problems of today. It was developed in an atmosphere of almost total uncertainty about what the future of flying might be. In the previous war with Germany, which ran from 1914 to 1918, airplanes were a brand-new technology and were used mainly for scouting missions.
Nobody really knew how they could most effectively be used as they matured. In the mid-1920s, it was widely believed that no airplane could exceed 260 miles per hour, but the Spitfire dived at over 450 mph. So it is hardly surprising that British air doctrine failed for such a long time to appreciate the potential importance of fighter planes. The idea of building fighters that could intercept bombers seemed a fantasy to most planners.
A Tribute to R.J. Mitchell – the designer of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire- and his son Dr. Gordon Mitchell.
(Video) Mitchell’s son, Dr. Gordon Mitchell was left to tell his father’s story in two books, R.J. Mitchell: World Famous Aircraft Designer and R.J.Mitchell: Schooldays to Spitfire. In 1946, Gordon married Alison Barrow and they had three children: David, Adrian and Penny.
They spent the majority of their life in Tilehurst, Reading. On 30th April 2005, Alison died after a long illness. Gordon Mitchell died on 24th July 2009 two weeks after suffering a fall in his home in the Cotswolds. In the late 1980s, Gordon’s daughter Penny gave birth to two children, Nick and Emma. In September 2005, all of Mitchell’s family went to London to watch the dedication of a statue made by Stephen Kettle that was displayed in the Science Museum until January 2008.
The Spitfire seemed especially fantastical as it fired directly forward, meaning that in order to aim at a target, the entire plane needed to change course. A design that struck many as much more plausible was a twin-seater plane with a gunner in a turret. Here are the words of one thoughtful and influential observer in 1938, one year before Germany and Britain went to war:
“We should now build, as quickly and in as large numbers as we can, heavily armed aeroplanes designed with turrets for fighting on the beam and in parallel courses … the Germans know we have banked upon the forward-shooting plunging ‘Spitfire’ whose attack … if not instantly effective, exposes the pursuer to destruction.”
Summary of the Supermarine Spitfire
The only regrettable fact in the “Spit’s” history is that its inspired designer, R.J. Mitchell could not live to see the result of his work on the whole course of the war.
Manufacturers: Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, and produced in subsidiary factories.
Type: British single-seat fighter developed from S5, S6 and S6B of Schneider Trophy fame and from the F7/30 type to meet requirements of F36/34.
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin
Speed: Maximum, 387mph at 18,500ft
Range: Very difficult to assess, as duration varies from three to six hours, according to the nature of duties undertaken.
Rate of climb: 2,300 ft per minute
Armament: Mk 1A – 8 Browning .303 machine guns (4 in each wing).. Mk.IIA – 8 Machine guns, but higher h.p. engines. Mk.V 2 20mm Hispano cannons and 4 machine guns. Mk.VC – 4 cannons. Mk.V (Plus) – 4 cannon and new four-bladed airscrew.
Dimensions: Span: 26ft 10in, length: 28ft 11in, height: 11ft 5in, wing area: 242 sq ft.
Construction: Single spar wings, stressed skin covering, flush riveted; tail unit same; fuselage: monocoque, flush riveted, stressed skin covering; retractable undercarriage.
Distinguishing features: Low-wing monoplane with simple tail unit amd retractable undercarriage. Sharp-pointed nose. Elliptical or petal-shaped wings. Dihedral from roots. Radiator under starboard wing. Flat top to fuselage. Small egg-shaped fin and rudder. Graceful and well-curved bottom.
Summary of recognition features: “Elliptical”
Developed from the Schneider seaplanes by the late R.J. Mitchell (and to the same specification as the Hurricane), it has kept in the very forefront of fighter progress. With Rolls Royce engines throughout its many modifications, it can safely claim to have the measure of anything the Luftwaffe can send against it.
In the cloudy days of 1940, Spitfires and Hurricanes achieved results which are known throughout the world, and have been worthily eulogised by far more worthy than can be set down here. This is the legend of the Supermarine Spitfire.