Aviation of World War II
The Spitfire was an outstanding fighter, combining absolute perfection of form with aerobatic qualities. Spitfire achieved combat success during the Battle of Britain, defeating high-altitude armada of Luftwaffe bombers and repelling all attacks from escorting fighters.
The Spitfire was the creation of the quiet, calm, genius Reginald D. Mitchell, who created, starting in 1925, a series of high-speed seaplanes for the Schneider Cup races, culminating in the excellent S6B, which in 1931 won the British Cup forever at 548 speeds. 3 km / h (and which, two weeks later, set a world speed record of 655 km / h). The immediate predecessor of the Spitfire, insofar as it is of the present design, was the Supermarine Type 224 (K2890), a single-seat monoplane fighter.
The Supermarine Type 300, as the final development was called, was vastly superior to the F. 5/34, and in January 1935 it was accepted by AM for construction as a prototype according to the F. 37/34 specification, which was actually drawn up for contract purposes. The final presentation of the layout took place in Woolston on 26.3.35, and less than a year later (5.3.36) the Spitfire prototype (K5054), equipped with a 990-horsepower Rolls-Royce Merlin C, made its first flight at Eastleigh airfield (Southampton) under directed by J. "Matt" Summers. Summers was the chief test pilot of Vickers (Aviation) Ltd., which in 1928 acquired a full stake in Supermarin Co.
The original contract for serial production of the Spitfire expired in March 1939, but due to problems with the establishment of production, it was extended until August. Meanwhile, in 1937, the initial contract was continued with an order for 200 subsequent vehicles. In the same year, at the age of 42, after being seriously ill for many months, Reginald Mitchell died.
His successor as chief designer of the "Supermarine" was Joseph Smith, who contributed the bulk of the further development of the Spitfire, its various modifications and variations.
When the Battle of Britain began in early July 1940, the FC RAF (Fighter Command Royal Air Force) had 19 Spitfire divisions.