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Spitfire XIV

British fighter plane


Spitfire XIV

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Type: British fighter plane.
History: The combination of the Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce Griffon aero-engine had already proved successful and operationally acceptable with the introduction of the Spitfire Mk XII (only 100 build as low altitude fighter to counter the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 hit-and-run bomber) which used a Spitfire Mk V airframe for its development.
Meanwhile, a major redesign of the Spitfire was planned. This would use the Griffon engine and exploit the Mk VIII airframe with a new mainplane. In due course this redesign was to appear as the Mk XVIII.
However, long before the new fighter appeared there was an operational demand in 1943, for an improved Spitfire capable of greater performance at higher altitudes.
To meet this demand, yet another interim type was evolved by the mating of a Mk VIII airframe and the Griffon engine. The result was the Spitfire XIV.
As had been the case with the Spitfire Mk IX, built as a 'stand in' for, but in larger numbers than, the Mk VIII, so the Spitfire Mk XIV was built in greater numbers then the Mk XVIII at the end.

The first production Spitfire XIV aircraft were delivered to No.39 Maintenance Unit in October 1943.
Only the first batch of aircraft produced were fitted with the 'C' wing armament. The remaining aircraft were fitted with the 'E' (universal) wing armament, which could be identified by the 20-mm cannon being situated in the outer bay with a faired stub plugging the inner bay.
External armament of the Mk XIV C consisted of one 500-lb bomb carried beneath the fuselage; while on the Mk XIV E, this was augmented by one 250-lb bomb under each wing.
Pilots were extremely eager to fly the new Spitfire XIV and were enthused by its superior performance.
The Mk XIV assemblies produced by the Vickers-Armstrongs Supermarine factories at Aldermaston, Chattis Hill, Keevil, Southampton and Winchester appeared in two versions: the F Mk XIV fighter version and the FR.Mk XIV for fighter-reconnaissance work at low altitude. A total of 957 of all variants were produced.

The privilege of receiving the first Griffon-Spitfires in service, went to No.610 Squadron, RAF, who picked up eight of the new aircraft on January 6, 1944.

During May, No.610 Squadron was engaged in offensive 'sweeps' over Occupied Europe. While four aircraft of the squadron were carrying out a shipping reconnaissance on the 22nd, the Flight Leader was hit by anti-aircraft fire of Plemont Point, Guernsey. Climbing to 1,500 ft., Flight Lieutnant H.Percy baled-out but, unfortunately, his parachute failed open. This was the first Spitfire Mk XIV known to be lost in action.

To combat the V1 Flying Bomb menace, No.91 Squadron began patrols on June 16 and had the first success when Flight Lieutnant H.Moffett destroyed one over Kenley (Surrey) after chasing it for 20 miles.
This are the results against V1 weapons, only from No.91 Squadron from the beginning of July:

July
Sorties
Destroyed V1
1
24
6
3
20
7
4
45
7
5
34
6
7
46
12

Until the end of the month, by which time 104 V1 had been destroyed by No.91 Squadron, bringing the total to 167.
A total of over 300 flying bombs were destroyed by Spitfire Mk XIV.

Spitfire XIV No.130 Squadron RAF
Aircrafts from No.130 Squadron. Used from August 1944 to May 1945 from bases in Holland.

During October, a new phase of operations for the Spitfire XIV was launched. This was directed against the Messerschmitt Me 262 twin-jet fighter and resulted in 'anti-jet' patrols. But the credit for the destruction of the first Me 262 jet fighter by a Spitfire, which happend on October 5, 1944, belonged to a Mk IX of No.401 Squadron.
Two Me 262 were encountered on December 8 to north of Nijmegen. Again no results were obtained. But a other incident occured the same day, involving No.130 Squadron aircraft. Ten Spitfires XIV were engaged by 12 Messerschmitt Bf 109 G and Focke-Wulf Fw 190s. Three enemy aircraft were destroyed plus two probables were claimed for the loss of one Spitfire.

Heavy German flak was, in fact, taking the most toll - particulary on the Spitfires engaged in the low altitude missions.

Spitfire Mk XIVs of No.41 Squadron operating from Twente Airfield in Holland, scored a number of successes against enemy jet aircraft during April 1945. On the 12th one of their fighters intercepted an Arado Ar 234 Blitz jet bomber of Bremen and opened fire, hitting the enemy aircraft in the starboard jet. Recovering from a spin, the Ar 234 was then attacked by a other Spitfire. It was further damaged and blew up when attempting to make a forced landing.
At last, two Me 262 were chased at Lübeck on April 25th by No.41 Squadron, where they made panic landings. One aircraft was claimed as destroyed.

In the Far East, No.11 Squadron was the first to receive the long-awaited new fighter at Chettinad near Bangalore, India, on June 20, 1945.

Supermarine Spitfire XIV aircraft museum Hanover
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV in aircraft museum Luftfahrtmuseum Hannover-Laatzen (Germany).

Two Spitfire of the final marks
Two of the final marks, flying together shortly after the end of WW2. An F21 and F22 built at Castle Bromwich.


Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Type
fighter plane
Power plant

two-stage Griffon 2,050 hp Mk 65 engine

Accommodation
1
Wing span
36 ft 10 in
Length overall
32 ft 8 in
Height overall
12 ft 8.5 in
Wing area
242.0 sqft
Weight empty
6,600 lb
Maximum loaded
8,500 lb
Maximum speed
450 mph
Initial climb
4,580 ft / min
Time to 20,000 ft
7 mins
Service ceiling
44,500 ft
Range
460 miles
(850 miles with 90-gallon drop tank)
Armament

Mk XIVC: two 20-mm Hispano cannon plus four 0.303-inch Browning machine-guns.
Mk XIVE: two 20-mm Hispano cannon plus two 0.50-inch Browning machine guns.

All one 500 lb bomb beneath centre-section.
Mk XIVE plus one 250 lb bomb under each wing.

Production delivery
October 1943
Service delivery combat units
6 January 1944
Final delivery
1945
Total production figure
957
(all variants: 20,351)

3d model Spitfire XIV
3d model Supermarine Spitfire XIV

Service on a Spitfire XIV No.132 RAF Squadron
Service for a Mk XIV, No.132 Squadron. Used from May 1945 to April 1946 in the Far East.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Spitfire XIVs from No.610 Squadron. Used from December 1943 until March 1945.


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