Development of a new carrier-based strike aircraft for fleet Her Majesty, called to replace the obsolete torpedo bombs, was launched by the Fairy firm back in 1937. However, the British for a long time could not agree on the final requirements for a universal attack aircraft, combining the qualities of a deck torpedo bomber, a dive bomber and a reconnaissance aircraft.
In flight torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk. I (photo from www.key.aero)
The prototype of the Fae aircraft, called the Barracuda (a kind of sea pike), made its first flight only in December 1940 of the year. It was a three-seater single-engine monoplane with a high wing. Unusual for his appearance was given by Youngman's flaps, mounted in a suspended position under the rear edge of the wing, which, depending on the angle of deflection, increased the lifting force of the wing (during takeoff) or played the role of air brakes (during landing or diving).
"Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.I (Youngman's flaps are clearly visible) (photo from www.key.aero)
To compensate for the strong impact of the perturbed air flow from the flaps installed at a negative angle on the elevators, the aircraft received a high tail. For ease of placement on aircraft carriers, the Barracuda received a wing that was folding and swiveling along the fuselage (with a portion of the console with the Youngman flaps installed turned up) and the brake hook (hook).
"Barracuda" Mk.II with folded wings on an aircraft carrier aircraft lift (photo from www.aviarmor.net)
The crew of the Barracuda was located in a triple cabin with a common lantern. For ease of observation of the situation on the flight route, the navigator and the gunner used rectangular windows in the fuselage.
Torpedo "Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.II on the field airfield (photo from barracudaproject.co.uk)
The first production model was the "Barracuda" TV MKI, which made its first flight on 18 on May 1942 of the year. On the plane was installed engine horsepower 1260. It immediately became apparent that the overloaded torpedo bomber lacked such power. The maximum speed of the Barracuda TV Mk.I at the height of 535 m was 378 km per hour, and cruising 311 km per hour (and this is without a combat load). The flight range with a load was 845 km, and the practical 5608 ceiling meters (without suspensions).
Torpedo bomber "Fairey" "Barracuda" TV MKI (Fig. From the site wardrawings.be)
With the launch of the first production of the Barrakud TV MKI, a series of air crashes occurred, caused by violations of speed limits when working with flaps (the planes fell into an overturned peak and, without a reserve in height, fell into the water).
Modification of TV Mk.I released a small series (30 machines) and equipped them with only training squadrons.
"Barracuda" TV Mk.II arrives on landing (Youngman's flaps and brake hook in the appropriate position) (photo from www.key.aero)
The most massive military modification of the "Barracuda" was the TV Mk.II. The first flight of the "Barracuda" took place in August 1942. The aircraft, equipped with a more powerful 1640-powerful Merlin-32 engine and a four-propeller, showed slightly better flight characteristics.
Torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Barracuda" Mk.II. (Fig. from wardrawings.be)
The maximum speed of horizontal flight without load at an altitude of 535 m was 386 km per hour, and at an altitude of 6100 m - 367 km per hour. Practical ceiling without load made 6585 m, and with a torpedo only 5060 meters. The flight range with combat load did not exceed 1104 km, and in reconnaissance flight (without load) was about 1850 km. These figures were worse not only than those of their “modern” counterparts in the workshop, but also inferior in combat range to their predecessors: the Fairy torpedo bombers Suordfish and Albacor.
Torpedo "Barracuda" TV Mk.II at the time of the discharge of the torpedo (Fig. From the site armoryhobbyshop.com)
The armament of all "military" modifications was almost the same. To defend the rear hemisphere, the radio operator gunner used a twin 7,7-mm Vickers machine gun. The main armament of the torpedo bomber was 457 mm (735 kg) aviation torpedo suspended under the fuselage. Instead of a torpedo they could be suspended: one 744-kg or 680-kg sea mine or one 726-kg armor-piercing bomb or one or two 227-kg air bombs. Conventional or deep bombs could be suspended under the wings at six suspension nodes: two 227 kg or four 204 kg (deep) or six 113 kg, as well as light bombs (16 pcs.), Sonar buoys (16 pcs.) And floating smoke bombs (4 pcs.). The total weight of the combat load did not exceed 816 kg.
"Fairy" "Barracuda" Mk.II on board the carrier "Indefatigeybl" with 113-kg depth charges under the wing, Pacific Ocean, 1945, (photo from surfingbird.ru)
To carry out reconnaissance missions and combat enemy submarines Barracudas, the TV Mk.II was equipped with ASV Mk.II / Mk.IIN radars of the UHF with dipole antennas placed on the wings (the detection range of large surface targets to 66 km, and the submarine to 20 km).
Under the wing of the "Barracuda" TV Mk.II hang 113-kg aerial bomb at the coastal airfield, 1945 g. (Photo from pro-samolet.ru)
After the cessation of the production of the ASV Mk.II radar in 1944, the “Barracuda” began to install the ASV Mk.XI radar of the centimeter range, the fairing of which was placed in under the rear fuselage. New modification received the designation TV Mk.III. The characteristics of the new radar were similar: the detection range of surface ships up to 60 km, cabin of the submarine up to 20 km and snorkel to 8 km (with a calm sea and at low altitude). However, the radar installed in the tail section of the Barracuda had a negative effect on the behavior of the aircraft in flight in the search for targets mode: the tail, wagging from side to side, reduced the accuracy of determining the coordinates. It was also the result of a lack of engine power.
Torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.III (Fig. From wardrawings.be)
The rest of the new modification of the "Barracuda" TV Mk.III practically did not differ from the Mk.II. The total number released during the war "Barracuda" was 2572 units.
In flight “Fairy” “Barracuda” TV Mk.III, 1945, (photo from www.britmodeller.com)
The short range (in comparison with other “classmates”) and the lack of power of the Barracuda engines of the TV Mk.II / Mk.III had a significant impact on the combat fate of the strike aircraft as a torpedo. The command of the fleet of Great Britain considered it more expedient to use the Barracuda as a diving bomber.
Suspension 726-kg armor-piercing bomb on the "Barracuda" TV Mk.II on board the aircraft carrier "Formidebl", August 1944 g. (Photo from commons.wikimedia.org)
The first baptism of fire "Barracuda" took place in September 1943, with the landing of Allied forces in Salerno (Italy). The first barrack squadron "Barracudas" TV Mk.II was deployed on the aircraft carrier "Illastries", which operated together with other British aircraft carriers "Formideybl" and "Unicorn."
A striking episode in the use of the Barracuda TV Mk.II was its participation in the operation to destroy the German battleship Tirpitz in the northern Norwegian fjords.
Statement of the combat mission of the air group on board the aircraft carrier "Fury" before the attack of the battleship "Tirpitz", April 1944 (photo from ww2today.com)
To hunt the Tirpitz, the British command formed at the beginning of 1944, a carrier-based mix of two squadrons (Victories and Fury) and four escort aircraft carriers under the cover of four cruisers and 14 destroyer destroyers. On squadron aircraft carriers were deployed four squadrons "Barracuda" a total of 42 aircraft.
"Barracuda" TV Mk.II from the lower hangar of the aircraft carrier "Furyes" roll out on an air lift, April 1944, (photo from usiter.com)
The most effective from the point of view of using the Barracuda was a blow to the German 3 battleship 1944 of April, in which 40 diving bombers torpedo bombers Barracuda TV Mk.II accompanied by 81 fighter (40 Marlets, 20 Helltete 21, 726 Xtelmte Martels, 227 Helltete fighters, XNUMX Xtlumete marltet, XNUMX Helltete, and XNUMX fighter (XNUMX Marlets, XNUMX Helltete), participated in the attack. XNUMX "Corsair"). “Barracuda” managed to achieve four direct hits of XNUMX-kg of armor-piercing bombs during two raids, however, due to the low height of the dump, they could not penetrate the armored deck of the battleship. Direct hits of ten XNUMX-kg bombs caused serious damage to the ship's superstructures. The battleship Tirpitz was disabled for three months. British losses amounted to only three "Barracudas" and one fighter.
"Barracuda" TV Mk.II landed on the deck of "Victories" after a successful raid on the battleship "Tirpitz", April 1944, (photo from aviadejavu.ru)
Subsequent similar attacks on Tirpitz were of little effect. The British command concluded that the 227, 454 and 726-kg bombs were ineffective for such a well-armored ship as the battleship was. Heavy aviation was used, which put an end to the Tirpitz biography of 12 in November 1944 of the year with three direct hits from the Tollboy 12000-pound bombs dropped from Lancaster. Two more close ruptures of these powerful air bombs turned the battleship upside down, and he sank.
"Barracuda" TV Mk.II after an emergency landing on the deck of the aircraft carrier "Formidable", August 1944 (photo from www.pewteraircraft.com)
The combat use of the Barracudas from the aircraft carrier Indomitable in the summer of 1944 in the Indian Ocean in a tropical climate revealed a noticeable decrease in engine power and flight range (to 30%). The use of powder rocket boosters from 1944 since August made it easier to take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier, but did not solve the problem in principle.
The Barracuda torpedo bombers and the Corsair fighters on the deck of the Illastries aircraft carrier after a raid on the Andaman Islands (Indian Ocean), 21.06.1944 (photo from www.picsearch.com)
The British found the alternative to the Barracuda as a torpedo bomber in the face of the Lend-Lease American Avengers (Tarponov), who became the main attack aircraft of the Royal Navy during operations in the Pacific theater in the last year of the war.
Torpedo "Grumman" "Avenger" TV Mk.II (TBM-1C) (Fig. From wardrawings.be)
In the article “Deck aircraft in World War II: from Taranto to Midway. Part III ”was considered the first serial modification of the American torpedo-carrier“ Grumman ”TBF-1“ Avenger ”, whose combat debut took place during the battle for the Midway Atoll in June 1942 of the year.
Torpedo "Grumman" "Avenger" TV Mk.II in 1944 coloring book at the air show, today (photo from www.angelfire.com)
Torpedo "Grumman" "Avenger" TVM-3 in flight, our days (photo from www.belgian-wings.be)
The British lend-lease "Avengers" ("Tarpon") were widely used in anti-submarine operations in conjunction with the British torpedo-carriers "Suordfish" and "Barracuda" from the decks of aircraft carriers.
"Barracuda" TV Mk.II on the deck of the escort aircraft carrier "Pretoria Castle" in readiness for takeoff with the help of a catapult (photo from www.wwiivehicles.com)
Due to the presence of the radar "Barracuda" TV Mk.II / Mk.III were actively used to ensure the escorting of convoys and anti-submarine operations, the production of sea mines When operating from the short decks of convoy aircraft carriers, gun powder accelerators were used to reduce the length of the Barracuda run. At the beginning of 1945, three squadrons were transferred to the Air Force Coast Command.
"Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.II at the coastal airfield, 1945, (photo from www.airliners.net)
A pair of "Barracudas" TV Mk.II and Mk.III in a joint flight to search for enemy submarines, 1945 g. (Photo from barracudaproject.co.uk)
It was possible to eliminate the lack of power only by installing a new, more powerful engine on the Barracuda. The latest serial modification was the Barracuda TV MK.V, which made its first flight after the end of the war in November 1945 of the year. By abbreviated order, the entire 30 aircraft of this modification were built.
Torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.V (Fig. From the site wardrawings.be)
With the 2020-powerful Griffon-37 engine, the maximum speed increased to 434 km per hour at the height of 535 m with a low average speed of 273 km per hour. The practical ceiling increased to 7320 meters, but the flight range did not increase. The extended engine hood degraded the view from the cockpit.
“Fairy” “Barracuda” TV Mk.V, ASH radome fairing has not yet been installed (photo from www.helmo.gr)
The “Barracuda” TV MK.V received a more durable fuselage, a larger wing with a straight edge and an elongated keel of a larger area. Removable radome with a new radar ASH placed on the front edge of the left wing console. The detection range of the centimeter range radar was: large surface ships 55 km, surfaced submarine 30 km, aerial target (bomber) 9 km.
"Fairy" "Barracuda" TV MK.V at the factory airfield, May 1946, (photo from wikimedia.org)
The armament of the TV Mk.V was located on one ventral and four underwing assemblies of a total weight of up to 908 kg. Defensive armament in the rear of the cabin was not installed (), however, if necessary, it was possible to install one 12,7-mm Browning machine gun ().
Torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.II, 1943 g. (Photo from www.makettinfo.hu)
Attempt of the British to create in the face of "Barracuda" a universal strike aircraft did not bring proper success. Not having established itself as a deck torpedo-carrier, the “Barracuda” TV Mk.II / Mk.III performed well as a diving bomber, anti-submarine and patrol aircraft. The last Barracudas of TV Mk.III with the ASV radar were decommissioned by the 815 training squadron, after replacing them with Avengers, in 1953 year.
"Fairy" "Barracuda" TV Mk.III in flight, post-war time (commons.wikimedia.org)
The forerunners of Barakuda, the Fairy biplanes, the Fairy’s Soordfish and Albacore torpedo biplanes, served in the fleet of Great Britain until the end of the war. The first was put into service in 1936 year, and the second in 1940-m (For more information about them, see the article "Deck aircraft in World War II: from Taranto to Midway"). The main task of the outdated aircraft after 1941 was the fight against submarines from the decks of escort (escort) aircraft carriers, where the low speed of biplanes was not a hindrance to them, and the probability of meeting enemy fighters was small.
Torpedo-bomber "Fairy" "Albacore" TV Mk.I (Fig. From the site wardrawings.be)
Torpedo bomber "Fairy" "Suordfish" TV Mk.II (Fig. From the site wardrawings.be)
To combat submarines, in addition to the 113-kg of Suordfishi Mk.II depth bomb from the middle of 1942, 127-mm unguided rockets from rail launch guides installed under the wing (four pieces under each lower wing console) were used. The missiles were equipped with an inseparable warhead (steel bar), which punched the boat casing, going under the periscope or snorkel, at a depth of 10 m, making it impossible to dive.
“Suordfish” TV Mk.II sits on the deck of the Smiter escort carrier, April 1945 (photo from aviadejavu.ru)
Scout-bomber "Fairy" "Suordfish" Mk.III, transferred to the Air Force Coast Command. Equipped with ASV radar and armed with 113 kg bombs. 1945 year (Fig. From aviadejavu.ru)
The Suordfish Mk.III (in the series with the 1943 of the year) was equipped with ASV Mk.XI anti-submarine radar, the fairing of which was located under the fuselage (instead of a torpedo). A radar screen was installed at the back of the cabin (instead of the third crew member). Armament was placed only on the wing nodes of the suspension.
"Fairy" "Suordfish" Mk.III in the air museum in Duxford, England, 22 in January 2015 (photo from www.jetphotos.net)
"Fairy" "Suordfish" Mk.III in the air museum of Duxford, England, 29 June 2011 (photo from i.flugzeugbilder.de)
Often "Suordfish" Mk.III and Mk.II flew out to combat patrol by a pair of "reconnaissance-hunter". There are fourteen German submarines on the Suardfish battle account. The last combat contact with the enemy submarine took place in April 1945 of the year. Production of “obsolete” biplanes continued until August 1944. Total was built 2392 aircraft.
"Fairy" "Suordfish" Mk.II at the airshow, Duxford, England, 2012 (photo from www.gagdaily.com)
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To be continued ...