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Spitfire MkVb, Op. Spotter, March 1942

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Spitfire MkVb, No.249 Sqn RAF, Takali, Malta, March 1942

 

Malta stands in a key position in the middle of the Mediterranean, between Sicily and Libya, right on the main supply route for Axis forces in North Africa. For this reason, it came under constant attack from mid-1940 until late 1942 when the Allies took the initiative in North Africa. This is the longest siege in both British and Maltese history, and on 15th April 1942 King George VI awarded the island with the George Cross as a token of respect for its dogged and determined resistance.

 

Initially, Malta was defended only by a handful of worn out Hurricanes which nonetheless gave a good account of themselves, but they were clearly not a match for the latest Bf109F fighters deployed by the Luftwaffe. The choice was simple - supply the island with Spitfires, or lose it.

 

The difficult part of the operation involved actually getting the Spitfires to Malta in the first place. Shipping was being lost at an alarming rate, yet with the limited range of the Spitfire, flying them from Gibraltar was impossible. Finally, an underbelly slipper tank was designed, and a plan began to come together. The aircraft would be carried aboard HMS Eagle to a point off the Algerian coast from which they would be able to reach Malta with their last drops of fuel.

 

The Spitfires were shipped to Gibraltar, assembled and made ready. The Eagle took them aboard and sailed to the fly-off point, dangerously close to a hostile coast... Only to find that the extra fuel tanks would not work owing to an undetected air-lock. The Navy was furious...

 

On the second attempt on 7th March 1942, however, all aircraft bar one with fuel feed trouble took off successfully under the command of S/L Stan Grant, and flew the 660 mile journey to Malta without mishap. The way was open and Malta would survive.

 

By the time the next delivery of a further 9 Spitfires took place two weeks later, only two of this initial batch were still airworthy.

 

Serial numbers in this pack correspond to the aircraft used in Operation Spotter. All 16 were newly-built MkVb(T) aircraft, which explains their consecutive serial numbers. They were delivered in the typical Desert scheme of Midstone, Dark Earth and Azure Blue, and at the time of their epic flight, they did not yet carry individual letters. I have assigned these letters on a purely hypothetical basis as I have not been able to determine if they were in fact carried during service with 249 Sqn or not.

 

For use ONLY with SF2 including the Israel Expansion Pack. This will NOT work if you do not have the stock TW Spitfires installed and working.

 

Includes 2048 and 1024 size skin sheets.

 

Credits:

Model by Third Wire

Flight Dynamics by ShrikeHawk based on TW Spitfire MkIXc

Cockpit by Kesselbrut

Skin, decals, data.ini modifications, formations, sounds and assembly by ndicki

Guns by AvHistory




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