Military aircraft that saw service throughout WWII in Europe

Apr 2014
227
Liverpool, England
Following on from the Bismarck Battleship Thread, which includes some comment on the Fairey Swordfish.

How many military aircraft were there that were in squadron service from the first day of the European war to the last: 1.9.39 to 8.5.45? Given the pace of development at this time they were a pretty select band. Names that come to mind are the Supermarine Spitfire (much modified), Vickers Wellington, Me 109, He 111, Ju 87 and 88, B-17 Flying Fortress - and, of course, the Fairey Swordfish.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,030
Navan, Ireland
Following on from the Bismarck Battleship Thread, which includes some comment on the Fairey Swordfish.

.......................... Names that come to mind are the Supermarine Spitfire (much modified) ...........................- and, of course, the Fairey Swordfish.

1560111559095.jpeg

The Spitfire Mk 1

part of it genius was that it was continually update so that it remained a frontline fighter throughout the war
not sure of the final Mk but this is close



And of course the wonderful Swordfish



It was nicknamed the 'String bag' not because of is slight appearance but after the housewives string bag that was used for everything. Much is made ogf its slow speed and therefore vulnerability to fighters-- but planes of twice the speed and more would fare little better and its biplane nature made it highly maneuverable .
 

Vaeltaja

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
3,693
Among some even more obscure designs these at least did Fokker CX, Fokker DXXI, Bristol Blenheim, Junkers W 34...
 
Apr 2014
227
Liverpool, England
One thing I notice about the Swordfish is that the further away we get in time the more nonsense people write about it being ancient - reminiscent of the Wright brothers and so on. In 1940, when the US was selling Curtiss biplane dive-bombers to France, there was nothing silly in referring to 'a modern biplane'.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,030
Navan, Ireland
One thing I notice about the Swordfish is that the further away we get in time the more nonsense people write about it being ancient - reminiscent of the Wright brothers and so on. In 1940, when the US was selling Curtiss biplane dive-bombers to France, there was nothing silly in referring to 'a modern biplane'.

Unfortunately people arrogantly use 20:20 hindsight continually and fail to understand context. Military thinking was developing and evolving and very natural went up some blind avenues and made mistakes.

One design from 1930's pathetic 'tankettes' small 1-2 man little tanks armed with machine guns -- the idea worked well in WWI and even in Spanish Civil war (against little armoured or AT opposition) so seemed a good idea.

The Lee/Grant is seen as an outdated design but when first designed followed sound military thinking.

The Swordfish perfomed it duties well throughout the war -- often doing things other 'better' aircraft could not.
 
Sep 2012
1,094
Tarkington, Texas
I would offer the Hurricane, and Wildcat/Martlet. The Hurricane also served in the Red Air Force and the Finnish Air Force. The French had an Aircraft Carrier (Bearn) that could have operated a Curtiss Dive Bomber. The Wildcat served on Escort Carriers after it had been replaced on larger Carriers.

Pruitt
 
Mar 2019
1,804
Kansas
One thing I notice about the Swordfish is that the further away we get in time the more nonsense people write about it being ancient - reminiscent of the Wright brothers and so on. In 1940, when the US was selling Curtiss biplane dive-bombers to France, there was nothing silly in referring to 'a modern biplane'.
Yes an even sillier proposition when you consider its replacement was a biplane (Fairy Albacore) as well.

It was not until 1944 that the fleet air arm got a mono winged aircraft at all.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,030
Navan, Ireland
I would offer the Hurricane, and Wildcat/Martlet. The Hurricane also served in the Red Air Force and the Finnish Air Force. The French had an Aircraft Carrier (Bearn) that could have operated a Curtiss Dive Bomber. The Wildcat served on Escort Carriers after it had been replaced on larger Carriers.

Pruitt
The Widcat/Martlett I'd agree (although was it inservice in 1939?) it shot down ME109's in 1945 over Norway but Hurricane production stopped in 1944 did it carry on in service?