WOW196 – Spitfire ‘Douglas Bader’
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WOW196: The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing designed by Beverley Shenstone to have the thinnest possible cross-section, giving the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire’s development through its multitude of variants. During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against Nazi Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe. However Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of the fighter’s higher performance. During the Battle, Spitfires were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters-mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E series aircraft-which were a close match for them, whereas the Hurricanes were used to engage the slower German bombers. This variant of the Spitfire was one flown by Sir Douglas Bader and ace credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared, six probable’s and eleven enemy aircraft damaged. Bader joined the RAF in 1928 as a pilot and it was whilst carrying out aerial acrobatics he crashed and lost both his legs. The RAF discharged Bader against his will but he was able to rejoin the RAF on the outbreak of war. Bader scored his victories during the Dunkirk and Battle of Britain campaigns, only to be shot down in August 1941. Despite the lack of a leg (confiscated by the Luftwaffe) Bader made several escape attempts and was eventually sent to Colditz Castle prisoner of war camp. He remained there until US forces liberated the castle in 1945. After the war Bader left the RAF and went to work in the oil industry, he only stopped flying at the age of 69 and died of a heart attack at the age of 82 years old. Our 1/30 scale Mahogany model is limited to 8 pieces worldwide. Please note the figures shown in the photographs are for scale reference only and are not included with this aircraft.