The Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is a single-seat British fighter plane used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued in action as a front line fighter into the 1950s, built in greater numbers than any other British plane. It was the only Allied fighter in production throughout the war.

The Spitfire was a short-range, high-performance interceptor designed by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works (a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong). The Spitfire’s elliptical wing, designed by Canadian Beverley Shenstone, had a thin cross-section, allowing a higher top speed than contemporary fighters like the Hawker Hurricane.

During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was England’s saviour. More Hurricanes fought in the battle, probably because it was a simpler aircraft and much easier to build, but the Spitfire had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than the Hurricane and would usually take on the German fighters leaving the Hurricanes to pick off the bombers.

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