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These were initially fed from round drums, requiring the radar operator to change the ammunition drums manually—an arduous and unpopular task, especially at night and while chasing a bomber. As a result, they were soon replaced by a belt-feed system. The cannons were supplemented by six. When Beaufighters were developed as fighter-torpedo bombers, they used their firepower often the machine guns were removed anyway to suppress flak fire and hit enemy ships, especially escort and small vessels.

The areas for the rear gunner and bomb-aimer were removed, leaving only the pilot in a fighter-type cockpit. The Bristol Taurus engines of the Beaufort were not powerful enough for a fighter and were replaced by the more powerful Bristol Hercules. The extra power presented problems with vibration; in the final design they were mounted on longer, more flexible struts, which extended from the front of the wings. This moved the centre of gravity CoG forward, an undesirable feature in aircraft design.

It was moved back by shortening the nose, as no space was needed for a bomb aimer in a fighter. This put most of the fuselage behind the wing, and restored the CoG back where it should be. With the engine cowlings and propellers now further forward than the tip of the nose, the Beaufighter had a characteristically stubby appearance. When Australian production ceased in , Mk. By fighter standards, the Beaufighter Mk.

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I was rather heavy and slow. Nevertheless, this was all that was available at the time, as further production of the otherwise excellent Westland Whirlwind had already been stopped due to problems with production of its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines. The Beaufighter came off the production line at almost exactly the same time as the first British Airborne Interception AI night fighter radar sets.

By early , it was an effective counter to Luftwaffe night raids. The various early models of the Beaufighter soon commenced service overseas, where its ruggedness and reliability soon made the aircraft popular with crews although it was heavy on the controls and not easy to fly, good landings being a particular challenge.

As the faster de Havilland Mosquito took over in the night fighter role in mid to late , the heavier Beaufighters made valuable contributions in other areas such as anti-shipping, ground attack and long-range interdiction in every major theatre of operations. Through the summer the squadrons conducted both daytime convoy escort and ground-attack operations, but primarily flew defensive interception missions at night.

By the autumn of , the Mosquito was available in enough numbers to replace the Beaufighter as the primary night fighter of the RAF. By the end of the war some seventy pilots serving with RAF units had become aces while flying Beaufighters. At least one captured Beaufighter was operated by the German Luftwaffe — a photograph exists of the aircraft in flight, with German markings.

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IC long-range heavy fighter. This new variant entered service in May with a detachment from No. The aircraft proved so effective in the Mediterranean against shipping, aircraft and ground targets that Coastal Command became the major user of the Beaufighter, replacing the now obsolete Beaufort and Blenheim. Coastal Command began to take delivery of the up-rated Mk.

VIC in mid The first successful torpedo attacks by Beaufighters came in April , with No. X Torpedo Fighter , commonly known as the "Torbeau". The Mk X became the main production mark of the Beaufighter. The strike variant of the "Torbeau" was designated the Mk. Beaufighter TF Xs would make precision attacks on shipping at wave-top height with torpedoes or "60lb" RP-3 rockets.

Early models of the Mk Xs carried centimetric-wavelength ASV air-to-surface vessel radar with "herringbone" antennae carried on the nose and outer wings, but this was replaced in late by the centimetric AI Mark VIII radar housed in a " thimble -nose" radome, enabling all-weather and night attacks. The North Coates Strike Wing of Coastal Command, based at RAF North Coates on the Lincolnshire coast, developed tactics which combined large formations of Beaufighters using cannon and rockets to suppress flak while the Torbeaus attacked at low level with torpedoes.

Tactics were further adapted when shipping was moved from port during the night. This was half the total tonnage sunk by all strike wings between and Beaufighter of No. Beaufighters of No. The Beaufighter arrived at squadrons in Asia and the Pacific in mid It has often been said—although it was originally a piece of RAF whimsy quickly taken up by a British journalist—that Japanese soldiers referred to the Beaufighter as "whispering death", supposedly because attacking aircraft often were not heard or seen until too late.

This was most apparent in a reduced noise level at the front of the engine. The high-speed, low-level attacks were very effective, despite often atrocious weather conditions, and makeshift repair and maintenance facilities. The Japanese ships were left exposed to mast-height bombing and skip bombing attacks by the US medium bombers. Eight transports and four destroyers were sunk for the loss of five aircraft, including one Beaufighter.

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Many Mark 10 aircraft were converted to the target tug role postwar as the TT. A Beaufighter appears in the film Ice Cold in Alex where it drops a message to the crew of the fleeing ambulance. Additionally, a number of sunken aircraft are known to exist. It was lost in almost identical circumstances to the Malta aircraft — it ditched in August after an engine failure soon after takeoff. The aircraft sank within seconds, but all three crew escaped and swam to shore.

The wreck was located in Its identity is thought possibly to be T Orthographic projection of the Beaufighter TF Mk. X, with inset profiles of Mk. II F and Mk.

V and of "thimble" and "herringbone" radar installations. Sign In Don't have an account? Bristol Beaufighter is also the name of a car produced by Bristol Cars in the s.

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Contents [ show ]. See also: List of Bristol Beaufighter operators. Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, ISBN Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection. Retrieved March 27, July 26, Retrieved March 28, National Museums Scotland. Royal Air Force Museum. Camden Museum of Aviation. Australian National Aviation Museum. I try my best to test or examine everything, but I can't get to it all. Published in Also included is a letter from the author.

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Spine is tight. First printing, Paperback book, very good condition. Illustrated with photos. Signed by the author. The binding is tight. There are no spine creases. Pages are clean. Closed page edges show a little wear and discoloration.

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Dan Stouffer created the cover illustration. Author: Peggy Pond Church Cheaper than Amazon! A team of three authors German failure in Belgium, August Much of what we have all learned in school is based around the British Official History.

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