The Hurricane was most famous for its role in the Battle of Britain. But the type would continue to be improved for later service.
After the jump, a brief look at a later model Hurricane.
By late 1940 the Hurricane Mk II was entering service. Its main improvement was the more powerful XX Series Merlin engine. But even this improved version was clearly inferior as a pure fighter to the Spitfire, which also received the uprated engine at this time.
So Squadrons equipped with the Hurricane specialized in missions more in keeping with the type’s strengths. That would most famously lead to ground attack/close support work. But the Hurricane was also found to be better than the Spitfire for night flying. Its more steady and predictable handling allowed pilots to focus more effort on their nocturnal combat role and not just flying the machine.
By late 1941 the Mk IIc variant, with four 20 mm cannon was entering service. This was much more effective fire power than earlier versions with either 8 or 12 .303 machine guns.
In early 1942, Hurricane IIc equipped Number 1 Squadron was assigned to night intruder missions. This meant they would cross the English Channel to attack German air bases in France at night. One experienced pilot, a Czech refugee named Karel Kuttelwascher would prove to be extraordinarily gifted at this work. By the end of that summer No. 1 Squadron would have 21 kills, 15 of these by Flt Lt Kuttelwascher (although he actually transfered to a Mosquito unit in July). This, combined with three kills he had scored during the Battle of Britain (and possibly 1-3 more with the French Air Force during the Battle of France) made him the most successful Czech Ace of World War II.
This example is from the Hasegawa kit. This is currently the best Hurricane available in 1/48, although the soon to be released Airfix kit is expected to be better. It is nicely detailed and looks the part, but it features complex engineering and many little fiddly parts. Its a fun kit, but I can imagine better. I really like the plane as Karel Kuttelwascher’s “Night Reaper” too; its an exciting and aggressive look.
Without this plane the Battle of Britain would have been lost. I believe the night fighter role of this plane helped the Allied cause immensely.
The Hurricane IIc packed a powerful punch with it’s 20mm cannon. Such an underrated aircraft and yet vital to the British war effort, in the UK, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Continental Europe and on the Atlantic convoy route. Terrific work Dave.
Yeah it was very successful in the close support role.
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