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View Full Version : Spitfire L.F. Mk. IX production, 1943-1944.



Kurfurst__
03-21-2008, 01:53 PM
One of my latest research.

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e133/Kurfurst/Mk9LF_prod43-44.png

I have considerable work behind this graph.

Everyone is free to use it, either partially or the graph in itself, but you are required to make a reference (URL) to my site as a source if you wish to do so, and also to Morgan - Shacklady who did the original research work for individual Spitfire serials in their classic 'Spitfire : The History' monography, which I used as a basis for it.

JtD
03-21-2008, 02:04 PM
Wow, didn't know there were so many. Nice1. Thanks.

Xiolablu3
03-21-2008, 02:05 PM
Cool, quite a few MkIX LF's around in 1943 then.

80 MkIX LF's to add to the other MkIX Merlin 61's, MkIX Merlin 66 F's in early 1943.

Since they were all rushed to the fronts to combat Fw190's, we can be pretty sure they went straight into combat too. Would it be mostly that all 80 go to 4-5 squadrons to convert them fully to MkIX's or would a lot of squadrons recieve 6 or 7 aircraft so they had all round capability?

There were aroun 100 Merlin 61 MkIX's built in late 42 early 43 I believe, so that about 8 squadrons worth of MkIX's flying in early 1943 depending on how severe losses were in the MkIX ranks.

Were there a few Griffon Mk XI's around in early 1943 too? Interesting that MkIX LF manufacture was at its peak and falling just as the Me109G10/14 was coming into service. I guess they just werent suffering many losses, or they started building more MkXIV's.

Would be interesting if it was all MkIX's, MkVIII's AND mk XVI's as they were very similar aircraft.

At least from the graph map makers can safely say that the Spitfire MkIX LF was around in large numbers from mid 1943 on, and some numbers from early 1943.

If only we had a Merlin 61 mkIX for late 1942 online maps.

I must admit that I wouldnt have thought that you would have posted something like this, well done!

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 10:34 AM
Hi,

I am pretty certain that the only other Spitfire Mark with the Merlin 66 was the Mk VIII LF.

I have just finished the analysis on that Marks production. Please see below :

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e133/Kurfurst/Spit_Mk8-9LF_prod43-44.png

I am not finished with the Mk XVI with the very similiar Merlin 266. I presume it 'replaced' - fairly odd word since they were practically identical! - the Mk IX in production in late 1944. Also, I am not ready with 1945 production yet.

However its pretty clear that the production of the two staged LF Marks in numbers started in August 1943.

VW-IceFire
03-22-2008, 11:23 AM
I think the XVI "replaced" the production lines simply because of the shortage of engines or at least the production lines were re-prioritized. Nobody seems to have a solid account of what happened there.

Just that the pilots at the front all wanted to fly the LF.IX and not the XVI. The early Merlin 266s were apparently not up to the same level of performance/quality/something.

hop2002
03-22-2008, 03:10 PM
I don't think the XVI replaced the IX, they were built side by side.

In the Year between September 1944 and September 1945, production was:

HF IX - 187
LF IX - 1,136
LF XVI - 1,037

On the 26th April 1945 the RAF had:
type - UK - overseas
F IX - 248 - 281
LF IX - 876 - 486
HF IX - 205 - 48
LF XVI - 538 - 0
F XVI - 59 - 0

There were a lot more IXs around than XVIs.


There were aroun 100 Merlin 61 MkIX's built in late 42 early 43 I believe,

Production figures for the Spitfire VII, VIII and IX with Merlin 61:

1942
June - 19
July - 50
Aug - 63
Sep - 69
Oct - 81
Nov - 72
Dec - 62

1943
Jan - 65
Feb - 19

And with Merlin 63:

1943
Jan - 13
Feb - 46
Mar - 69
Apr - 110
May - 125
Jun - 229
Jul - 129
Aug - 57
Sep - 136
Oct - 49
Nov - 19

The figures aren't exact because some conversions probably aren't included, and "production" date is based on date of first flight, which isn't always given. If the first flight isn't given I've used the date issued to a maintenance unit or squadron, which may be days, weeks or months after the plane was produced.

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:

On the 26th April 1945 the RAF had:
type - UK - overseas
F IX - 248 - 281
LF IX - 876 - 486
HF IX - 205 - 48
LF XVI - 538 - 0
F XVI - 59 - 0


Just to make it clear, these are aircraft in storage, not with the RAF Squadrons.


Originally posted by hop2002:
If the first flight isn't given I've used the date issued to a maintenance unit or squadron, which may be days, weeks or months after the plane was produced.

Nonsense and its fairly obvious if you have studied the database - all the adjacent serial number aircraft always follow each other at a close date - 2-3 days, or at worst, a week later they went to the MU. Its a different matter when they were issued to, and arrived to an active Squadron, as it depended on a lot of things. Generally the RAF was short on modern fighters, so they tried to push the new Marks into service as fast as possible, as production allowed, and little reserve existed initially.

Basically you are erecting a smokesceen here, trying to imply that many of those were produced 'days, weeks or months' earlier.

Lets see a few examples.

EN286, a Mark IX, flew first on 4-12-42; issued to 6MU on, 6-12-42, to 47MU on 20-12-42

The next in the serial, EN287, another Mark IX flew first on the same day, 4-12-42. Just like EN 286, it was issued to an MU two days later. On the 23rd it was shipped, I believe, via the ship 'Empire Tower' to Gibraltar (arrived 13 January 1943), then to Malta (arrived 1 March 1943), then it arrived to NW Africa, to 126 Squadron, then to 1435 Flight. Its one of the rare aircraft we know the fate of, it was shot down by Bf 109 over Sicily on 12 July 1943.

Then EN288, first flew 7-12-42, issued to 6MU on 9-12-42, two days later than it was first flew etc.

In fact, probably the reason the first record of the aircraft is their arrival to a Maintaince Unit is that either they went there immidiately after their acceptance flight - there are a couple which crashed in their first flight though, but thats just normal.

hop2002
03-22-2008, 03:25 PM
These are aircraft in storage, not with the RAF.

No, this is from the national archives, titled:

"Strength of Aircraft in RAF as at 26th April 1945"

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">These are aircraft in storage, not with the RAF.

No, this is from the national archives, titled:

"Strength of Aircraft in RAF as at 26th April 1945" </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

No, those aircraft are in storage, at least a good portion of them. You know that all too well.

There is a huge difference between a fighter present at frontline Squadron, and fighter sitting in an aircraft storage hall, ready to be issued.
You merely attempt to blend to two things into one, and create an impression of hordes of Spitfires present with units.

But that`s actually useful, because its little understood what great percentage aircraft, in any airforce, are being kept in storage at the time as spares and reserves, compared to frontline strenght.

luftluuver
03-22-2008, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:
On the 26th April 1945 the RAF had:
type - UK - overseas
F IX - 248 - 281
LF IX - 876 - 486
HF IX - 205 - 48
LF XVI - 538 - 0
F XVI - 59 - 0
That is almost 2000 Spits in the UK. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

hop2002
03-22-2008, 03:48 PM
Certainly a lot of them were in reserve, it's your assertion that they were "not with the RAF" that I corrected. These were aircraft with the RAF, held in reserve.

luftluuver
03-22-2008, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
No, those aircraft are in storage, at least a good portion of them.
Is that Supermarine storage or RAF storage?

If they are at a MU then they are on the books of the RAF as MUs were part of the RAF.

hop2002
03-22-2008, 03:55 PM
That is almost 2000 Spits in the UK.

That's just IXs and XVIs. There were 500 XIVs as well. And 426 Tempest Vs, 39 Tempest IIs, 1,234 Typhoon IBs, 782 Mustang III and IVs.

BTW, the document lists "UK" and a variety of overseas areas, but I am sure the aircraft in France, Germany etc are counted as "UK". The MTO is separate, though.

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 03:55 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:
Certainly a lot of them were in reserve, it's your assertion that they were "not with the RAF" that I corrected. These were aircraft with the RAF, held in reserve.

Well its a technical detail if aircraft sitting in storage halls are technically the property of the British, Canadian, American, German air force, and are 'with the RAF', 'with the RCAF', 'with the USAAF', 'with the Luftwaffe' etc.

However when the more casual reader reads a list, and someone says its 'with the RAF', he might misunderstood whats being written there.
Now of course that possibility surely didn`t even cross your mind, I know. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Its good to see that now everyone understands the meaning of your list.

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">That is almost 2000 Spits in the UK.

That's just IXs and XVIs. There were 500 XIVs as well. And 426 Tempest Vs, 39 Tempest IIs, 1,234 Typhoon IBs, 782 Mustang III and IVs. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Seems like aircraft sitting in storage halls ready to be issued was just a common sight in the RAF, as in the Luftwaffe.

Pity that such aircraft inventories don`t give much insight into what aircraft were fighting the battles. Otherwise one would believe in April 1945 it was still all about Hurricanes, Spit Is and Emils (which, being retired, turn up in huge numbers in inventories).

luftluuver
03-22-2008, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
Seems like aircraft sitting in storage halls ready to be issued was just a common sight in the RAF, as in the Luftwaffe.
So we can take your LW a/c count with a grain of salt then?

Kurfurst__
03-22-2008, 04:20 PM
My figures for the Luftwaffe fighter strenghts only contain aircraft with frontline units only, they do not contain reserves, aircraft in storage etc.

For example, on 31 January the Luftwaffe had 314 K-4s with combat units; zero with 2nd line/training units. And, up to 31 January, 1192 K-4s had been produced, but of course some lost in the meantime, which means that around 6-700 additional Ks were in storage/reserve/under repairs/ready to be issued.

Hop`s figures include both storage and frontline aircraft. Apples and oranges.

mynameisroland
03-22-2008, 04:44 PM
The XVI was an upgrade over the Spitfire IX. Most XVIs had clipped wings, bubble canopys and all had enlarged rudder fin area. When you add this to 25lb Merlin rating you get quite an upgrade - dont you ?

VW-IceFire
03-22-2008, 10:24 PM
Originally posted by mynameisroland:
The XVI was an upgrade over the Spitfire IX. Most XVIs had clipped wings, bubble canopys and all had enlarged rudder fin area. When you add this to 25lb Merlin rating you get quite an upgrade - dont you ?
So long as the engine is running properly. Apparently the Merlin 266 (which is Packard built in the US) which should be identical to the Merlin 66 did not always produce the same results. RR reps on the frontline suggested that pilots complaining about the XVI/266 were crazy but I've read more than one account from more than one source about that particular complaint by pilots.

Not that it mattered much...lots of XVI's were used as ground attack "bomb trucks" taking bombs in and out of the target areas. Low level work for sure. Most of the deep penetration assignments were handed out to Spit XIV and Tempest V squadrons.

Ratsack
03-22-2008, 10:54 PM
A lot of the Mk XVIs had the same fuselage as the earlier MkIXs, so they're externally indistinguishable except by serial number.

In addition, some accounts have the late Mk IXs receiving the bubble canopy, too. These, again, would be indistinguishable from Mk XVIs. Not all the Mk XVIs were clipped, either.

It really comes down to the engine.

cheers,
Ratsack

Kettenhunde
03-23-2008, 05:43 AM
Generally speaking most Air Forces maintained a ratio of 1/3 of the airframes in active service and 2/3 in reserve.

Engine reserves are commonly found at a 1/4 to 3/4 ratio. 25% of the engines produced are used operationally while 75% remain in maintenance reserve.

The actual size of the reserve is dictated by the statistical data and decision mathmatics in use by that countries Air Force.

It is very possible for an airframe to spend its entire service life in reserve status and never see operational use.

All the best,

Crumpp

Kurfurst__
03-23-2008, 08:35 AM
The 'Big Picture' - quite literally !

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e133/Kurfurst/Spit_twostagedMerlin_prod42-45.png

berg417448
03-23-2008, 10:01 AM
As an aside, does reserve status count aircraft used for training purposes?

As an example, I'm thinking about all of the Corsairs that were produced by Brewster Corporation which ended up being used almost exclusively as trainers in the USA because they were thought to be less well made than other Corsairs.

Kettenhunde
03-23-2008, 10:29 AM
As an aside, does reserve status count aircraft used for training purposes?

Usually training is considered operational. The aircraft is being flown and it's maintenance life is being used up.

Reserves are generally held by the maintenance unit with some airframes in short term preservation in anticipation of operational use. Many airframes are pickled for long term storage.

All the best,

Crumpp