Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIB

HurcIIb-Left-Side-Gear

“I was diving vertically while the Me 110 was climbing up at the same angle. At the crucial moment he stalled right across my bows and I squirted a good burst into his belly from such point blank range that the bullets could be seen striking and buckling the plating of its wings and fuselage.

“A flash of flame and a puff of smoke and I jammed the stick forward just in time to avoid colliding with him. I did not have to look for another target because straight ahead came another Me 110 firing as he came.

“He did not hit me but holding fire to the last minute as we flashed past each other less than 50 ft apart I caught a glimpse of a puff of white – and there was the 110 on its back with a parachute opened behind it.”

— Roland “Bee” Beaumont, 

Pilot, 87 Squadron

 

Strengths:

Guns  – The two 20mm and two 12.7mm guns give the Hurricane IIB a heavier armament than most native fighters and as good as that of the late-war Spitfires.

Weaknesses:

Performance  – By the time it got to  Russia the Hurricane was easily outclassed by the newer Messerschmitt and the Focke-Wulf fighters.

In August 1941, No. 81 and No. 134 Squadrons of the RAF were combined to form the 151 Fighter Wing. They and their planes, 12-gun Hurri-Bombers, were packed onto ships and were shipped to Vaenga, near Murmansk in northern Russia. Their task was to provide operational training to help convert Soviet pilots to the Hurricane.

After several months of training, including taking part in several bomber escort missions, the Wing packed their things and went back to England, leaving their Hurricanes for the Soviets. These were the first of about 3,000 Hurricanes (over 20% of the production line) that would be shipped to the Soviet Union under ìlend-leaseî.

While the planes were certainly welcome, the .303 armament was fairly useless when trying to shoot down bombers, even with twelve guns. To solve this problem, most of these Hurricanes were retro-fitted with a pair of 20mm ShVAK cannon with 100 rpg and a pair of 12.7mm Beresin machine guns with 250 rpg in place of the twelve Browning .303s. Additionally, rails were fitted under the wings to allow carriage of six RS-82 rockets, which combined with the two 250 kg. bombs to provide a good ground attack capability.

 

 

Sources:
Scutts, Jerry; Hurricane In Action; Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX;1986.
Bowyer, Chaz; Hurricane At War; Ian Allen Ltd., London; 1974.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1362951/Wing-Commander-Roland-Bee-Beamont.html.

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