Hawker Hurricane Mk IIb

Hurricane Mk IIb Z2315, a former Russian operated aircraft on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford displayed in No. 111 Squadron RAF markings.

The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–40s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire’s role during the Battle of Britain in 1940, but the Hurricane inflicted 60 per cent of the losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the engagement, and fought in all the major theatres of the Second World War.

Bristol Fighter F.2B

The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War developed by Frank Barnwell at the Bristol Aeroplane Company. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter, other popular names include the “Brisfit” or “Biff”.

This Bristol Fighter F.2B was on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

The definitive F.2B version proved to be an agile aircraft that was able to hold its own against opposing single-seat fighters; its robust design ensured that it remained in military service into the 1930s.

Handley Page Victor XH648

The Handley Page Victor is a British jet-powered strategic bomber which was developed and produced by Handley Page, and which served during the Cold War. It was the third and final V bomber to be operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant. The Victor had been developed as part of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent. It was retired from the nuclear mission in 1968, following the discovery of fatigue cracks which had been exacerbated by the RAF’s adoption of a low-altitude flight profile to avoid interception.

Handley Page Victor XH648 is being restored at Duxford.

Victor XH648 was originally built as a B1 model. Its first flight was on 27 November 1959 and it was delivered to No.57 Squadron at Honington on 21 December that year.

In October 1960, it returned to Handley Page at Radlett, Hertfordshire for conversion to a B1A status. This involved equipping it with new electronic countermeasure equipment, improved radio and radar equipment and changing the engines to Sapphire Mark 20701s.

Following conversion and test flights, XH648 was delivered to RAF Cottesmore on 11 May 1961 to join No.15 Squadron. Flown as part of the Far East Air Force during the confrontation with Indonesia in 1962-63. On return from Indonesia, XH648 remained with 15 Squadron until it was delivered back to RAF Honington to join 55 Squadron on 3 April 1964.

Less than a year later, in 1965, it was converted by Handley Page into a two-point tanker, making it a B (K) IA model. This involved the fitting of Mark 20B refueling pods under each wing. It then returned to 55 Squadron, who shortly afterwards moved to RAF Marham, where XH648 resided for the next ten years.

On 23 June1975, Victor XH648 was transferred to 57 Squadron, also based at RAF Marham, where it supported the Squadron’s final year as a Mark I tanker squadron. It was retired to Duxford on 2 June 1976.

Vickers VC10 at Duxford

As well as military aircraft there are a fair few civilian aircraft on display as well. I posted photographs of most of them before in August last year, but I hadn’t included this Vickers VC10.

The VC10 at Duxford is in BOAC livery.

The Vickers VC10 is a mid-sized, narrow-body long-range British jet airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd and first flown at Brooklands, Surrey, in 1962. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes from the shorter runways of the era and commanded excellent hot and high performance for operations from African airports.

American Air Museum at Duxford

One of the big displays at Duxford is the American Air Museum. Opened in 1997 the museum came about following the acquisition of several American aircraft and a major cross Atlantic fund raising effort.

The dimensions of the building were dictated by the need to accommodate the museum’s B-52 Stratofortress bomber with its 61m wingspan and a tail 16m high

The American Air Museum in Britain is a story of two nations united through war, loss, love and duty.

C-47 Skytrain which flew with the 316th Troop Carrier Group and participated in three major Second World War airborne operations; the June 1944 Normandy landings, Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the River Rhine in March 1945.

ZE359 is a former United States Navy F-4J from 1968 until it was converted to a F-4J(UK) for service with the Royal Air Force from 1984.

Flown to Duxford on retirement and restores to original United States Navy markings of VF-74 as 155529.

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II A-10A 77-0259 was last flown by the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing and it was flown to Duxford on retirement from the United States Air Force in 1992 from its base at nearby RAF Alconbury.

General Dynamics F-111E, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, it was based at RAF Upper Heyford with the 20th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force prior to arriving at Duxford for display in 1993.

Lockheed U-2C operated by the United States Air Force from 1956 until retired and presented to the museum in 1992 to represent the type as flown at nearby RAF Alconbury.

Boeing B-29A Superfortress, a former United States Air Force B-29A, it was recovered from the China Lake range in 1979, restored to flying condition as G-BHDK and flown across the Atlantic to Duxford, arriving in March 1980. Painted as 461748 to represent an aircraft of the 501st Bomb Group United States Army Air Force and named It’s Hawg Wild.

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, on display outside since 1983 and moved inside the American Air Museum in 1997.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, F-BDRS was operated by the French Institut géographique national (National Geographic Institute) before acquisition in 1974 as a spare parts source for the airworthy Sally B. In 1978 it was donated to the Imperial War Museum and displayed as 231983 IY-G of the 401st Bomb Group United States Army Air Force based at RAF Deenethorpe

Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, is the only example of its type on display outside the United States.

There was also a Dodge WC54 Ambulance on display

As well as a Bell UH-1H Iroquois.

V1 and Launcher Ramp

The V-1 was the first of the so-called “Vengeance weapons” series  deployed for the terror bombing of London. It was developed at Peenemünde Army Research Center in 1939 by the Luftwaffe. Because of its limited range, the thousands of V-1 missiles launched into England were fired from launch facilities along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The Wehrmacht first launched the V-1s against London on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landings in France.

This V1 flying bomb and ramp was on display at The Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

V1

The V1 flying bomb was powered by an Argus 109-014 pulse-jet engine, carried a warhead of approximately 850kg, and was guided to its target by an autopilot. The maximum range was typically 149 miles, with a maximum speed of 400mph.

Although some V1s were air-launched, most were catapulted from specially constructed ramps.

V1 Ramp

I’ve always thought that either a Dutch or French Resistance or UK Commando raid on a V1 base to stop them launching would make for an interesting game. Why send in ground troops when a bombing raid would work just as well? Then I was thinking about adding in the complication of a chemical or biological armed V1 that would need to be taken care of on the ground. There were some real raids on V1 bases as part of Operation Crossbow., which was the code name in World War II for Anglo-American operations against the German long range reprisal weapons (V-weapons) programme. In 1965 a film Operation Crossbow, based on these raids, was released.

Battlefront released a 15mm version in their Hit the Beach Boxed set.

For 20mm gamers there is a 1/72nd model kit of the V1 and launch ramp available.

If you are playing Bolt Action, then Charlie Foxtrot Models do a MDF kit of the ramp for 28mm gamers, but you probably need to buy the Tamiya 1/48th scale plastic kit for the V1 itself. That kit does come with a trolley as well.

V1

There was a V1 at the Imperial War Museum in London.

M53/59 Praga

The M53/59 Praga is a Czechoslovak self-propelled anti-aircraft gun developed in the late 1950s. It consists of a heavily modified Praga Praga V3S six-wheel drive truck chassis, armed with a twin 30 mm AA autocannon mounted on the rear for which the vehicle typically carries 900 rounds of ammunition, each gun being gravity fed from distinctive 50 round magazines. The vehicle has an armoured cabin.

FV4201 Chieftain MBT

The FV4201 Chieftain was the main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. This is the one on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

A development of the Centurion, the Chieftain introduced the supine (reclining) driver position to British design allowing a heavily sloped hull with reduced height. A new powerpack and improved transmission gave it higher speed than the Centurion despite being heavier due to major upgrades to armour protection and the armament.

A development of the Centurion, the Chieftain introduced the supine (reclining) driver position to British design allowing a heavily sloped hull with reduced height. A new powerpack and improved transmission gave it higher speed than the Centurion despite being heavier due to major upgrades to armour protection and the armament.

I did consider buying some for Team Yankee, but was put off by apparent issues with the smoke dischargers on the side of the turret. Certainly for a 1970s version of Team Yankee you couldn’t use the new Challenger, and would need to use the Chieftain.

There was also one on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.