A reasonably successful effort to bring anti-tank capability to the Desert Air Force.
Let’s take a look at a late model Hurricane.
In early 1941 the Hurricane was the most used British airframe around the world. The Mark II version, with the XX series Merlin engine, was entering service. The Spitfire Mark II was a similar upgrade, but Spitfires would primarily be kept for home defense for quite some time.
A new weapon was undergoing final development at this time. A 40 mm auto cannon, actually two models by Vickers and Rolls-Royce. The Vickers “S” type would become the main gun produced. This is the same size gun as the 2 pounder used by British tanks of the time. With the auto-load and 15 round magazine it allowed for a lot of armor piercing shot from an aerial platform. The Hurricane, with its good handling and rugged structure was a good fit for this gun.
The final sub-type of the Hurricane Mark II was designed to use this weapon. It would carry a single auto-cannon under each wing, and have a .303 machine gun in each wing to help aim the heavy guns. Obviously this outfit meant this Hurricane had virtually no air-to-air capability; so for the first time, Hawker’s fighter was not a fighter. Over 300 lbs of armor was added to engine, radiator and cockpit to improve survivability at low altitude over the battlefield.
294 of this sub-type were built.
The majority of those built were sent to North Africa. No. 6 Squadron was the first to use it in combat in June 1942. They were very successful in the fighting withdrawal that ended at El Alamein, Egypt. More squadrons re-equipped with the type and it was viciously effective in October during the second Battle of El Alamein and subsequent drive across North Africa. At this time the Desert Air Force was getting very innovative in its use of close support, often setting up desert air fields deep behind enemy lines so German and Italian forces could be hit from all directions at once or very deep into enemy held territory.
The Hurricane IId saw combat in both North Africa and the Far East. But in Europe (North Africa, Mediterranean, Italy), No. 6 Squadron remained the type’s biggest proponents; using it until May 1944. At that point they re-equipped with the last version of Hurricane, the Mark IV. They were the only British Hurricane Squadron in service to the end of the War.
This is a No. 6 Squadron Hurricane Mk IId in North Africa, late 1942.
The kit is Hasegawa. It is really a nice kit, that gets some criticism for the parts breakdown so any version of Hurricane can be built from the same basic molds. I mostly have no problem with that, with care I get a level of fit I’m happy with (yeah, yeah, I won’t win any contests… don’t care…). But oddly, and this isn’t the first time had this issue with this kit, I find it really tricky to get it to sit level. The gear struts look like they’re seated correctly, but they still come out at slightly different angles. I can photograph it so this flaw isn’t too glaring, but it jumps out when you look at it square on. Frustrating, but not a huge big deal.
The decals were one of the oldest sets I hadn’t used yet from Ministry of Small Aircraft Production. The sheet had yellowed some, but I think they performed well enough. Better than Hasegawa’s own decals did (I used some kit decals for stencils. For a quality company, Hasegawa sure has problems with decals!)
Always a favorite Dave…
It manages a high “cool” factor for an aging airframe.
I will always remember Monogram’s Hurricane in the early 60s and how I played with it changing the armement using gray putty to stick them.
Even before I bought my own models, it was that same Hurricane kit at a friend’s house that got me hooked on modeling.
Don’t start me with reminiscing the good olf days Dave…
Extremely informative, thank you! I hadn’t realised that the DAF had air fields behind enemy lines. That sounds awfully close to cheating !!
I think it only worked because of the vast wastelands, where no one would stumble across them.
Very nice, Dave! Pretty incredible that the Hurricane was able to manage the recoil forces. The leveling issue must be minor, it doesn’t show. I have sometimes had success leveling a model by shaving off some of the bottom surface of the high wheel, worth a try if it bugs you.
I’m glad it doesn’t show! I did push, twist and bend for a while to straighten things up. Flattening a wheel sounds like another possible fix!
I was also surprised they weren’t all shaken to pieces, but at least some of the airframes had a pretty long service life.
Very interesting Dave and an excellent model. Incidentally, my father worked in 6 sqn in the Middle East (post war) and their Vampires & Meteors had a flying can opener on the fin. This (I believe) continues today. The Hurricane left a long legacy.
I know a lot of units still trace their heraldry back to WWII (or earlier), but it’s especially cool when its something so fun.
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