'Dex aie' - God aid

'Fairey Barracuda'

Technical Information

 

 

The Fairey Barracuda was a high shoulder all metal stressed skin monoplane, designed as a Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance (TSR) Carrier Aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. The aircraft was built around a central cabin for the Observer (a concept which seems to have been first tried in the Blackburn Blackburn and Avro Bison of the 1920's, but seemed to be unique to the FAA) which dictated the rather strange appearance of the aircraft.

The observers cabin, with large bay windows dictated the high wing, which in turn led to problems in designing an appropriate retractable undercarriage. The wing area was further augmented by Fairey-Youngman Flaps, which were separate surfaces mounted inboard of the aileron's and just behind the wing trailing edge (used to assist take off's and help in fast descents). The tail plane was also mounted high, as prototype trials showed high levels of buffeting from the flaps.

All in all the aircraft looked rather odd, to say the least, which was not helped by its characteristic nose down flight. Fully loaded with a range of armaments (and a range of strange loads ranging from lifeboats to paratroops drop containers in trials at the RAE) it looked like a disaster waiting to happen. Folded, and from the rear, it looked even odder.

Designed to replace the Swordfish and Albacore, the first Barracuda Prototype flew in 1940, but the aircraft (in its Mark II Version) did not enter Squadron service until 1943, and first flew operationally with 810 Squadron covering the landings at Salerno. The Mark II was the principal production mark, and equipped the bulk of FAA TSR squadrons throughout the remainder of the war.

The Mark III was an ASV aircraft produced in smaller numbers, and the series finished with the rebuilt and re-engined (Griffin) Mark V, which did not see operational service. It was used principally as a training aircraft after the war. There was never a Mark IV.

 

Fairey Barracuda Mk II

Power Plant One Rolls Royce Merlin 32 12 Cylinder 60 Vee Liquid cooled engine, rated at 1,600 bhp at 3000 rpm. 
Rotal 4 bladed constant speed propeller of 11 ft 9 in (3.58m) Diameter. Total Internal fuel Capacity of 226 imp gallons, (1027l) with provision for an additional 116 imp gallon (527l) external crutch tank.
Performance Clean weight 12,600 lb. (715 kg) Max. speed 210 mph at 2,000 ft, max. cruise 193 mph at 5, 000 ft. 

Range 725 Miles at 145 mph and at 5,000 ft. service ceiling 21,600 ft.

Dimensions Span 49 ft 2 in Length 39 ft 11 in Height 15 ft Width folded 18 ft 3 in, wing area 405 sq. ft.
Crew  Three, Pilot, Observer, TAG (Telegraphist Air Gunner)
Armament

By Calum Davidson.

One or Two .303 in (7.7mm) Vickers K gas operated guns on Fairey flexible mounting in rear cockpit, plus:-

1*18inch Torpedo, or six 250 lb bombs, three 500lb bombs, 4*285 lb Mk XI depth charges, or 4*450lb Mk VII Depth Charges.

 

812 Squadron Aircraft (Barracuda Mk.II's)

(1st June 1944 to 12th January 1946)

Serial No. Code No. Arrival Departure

Comments

P 9847  

1.6.44

12.44

 
BV 727  

1.6.44

8.44

 
BV797  

6.44

9.44

 
BV879  

1.6.44

9.44

 
BV 902  

1.7.44

9.44

 
DR 125  

1.6.44

9.44

 
DR 128  

1.6.44

9.44

 
DR 267

N1R

    Incident: Deck landing accident. Eleo collapsed, aircraft half over the side, 27th January 1945. HMS. Vengeance. S/L. Cookson and crew OK.
DR313  

12.44

2.45

 
LS 549  

6.44

9.44

 
LS 574  

9.44

12.44

 
LS 642  

6.44

9.44

 
LS 679    

25.11.44

Lost: Collided with MD 646 over Nigg Bay, near Fearn, Scotland on 25th November 1944. P.O. Hunt, S/L. Crosthwaite and L/A. Hughes killed.
LS 727  

6.44

  Incident: Tail wheel sank in soft earth at Fearn on 18th November 1944. S/L. Poole.
LS 734  

1.45

2.45

 
LS 744   23.1.45

2.45

 
LS 752

N1X

8.44

1.45

 
LS 785  

11.44

1.45

 
LS 841    

7.9.44

Lost: Ditched off Blackpool Tower due to fuel transfer problem. S/L. Terry and S/L. Dewsnap OK.
LS 850

N1M

8.44

   
LS 855

N1H

8.44

2.45

 
LS 856

N1K

8.44

7.45

 
LS 861

N1A

28.7.44

2.45

Squadron C.O.'s aircraft.
LS 862  

3.8.44

2.45

Incident: Prop struck flare at Fearn 20th November 1944. S/L. Burns. Incident: Barrier crash on landing 10.2.45. HMS. Vengeance. S/L. Fyles OK.
LS 870  

8.44

2.45

 
LS 898  

9.44

3.45

 
MD627

N1C

8.44

1.45

 
MD635  

8.44

   
MD646  

7.44

25.11.44

Lost: Collided with LS 679 over Nigg Bay, near Fearn, Scotland on 25th November 1944. S/L. Muncer and L/A. Balsam killed. S/L. Saggs survived with a broken back.
MD695

'R'

1.6.44

1.45

 
MD 697

'Q'

1.6.44

2.45

Incident: Taxied into tail of stationary Fulmar at Crail 30th August 1944. S/L. Pain.
MD 699  

7.44

  Incident: Heavy landing at Crail during the night of 16.8.44. Minor damage. S/L. Smallwood OK.
MD 740

N1G

8.44

  Incident: Brake failure, aircraft ran on to soft ground, ended up on it's nose, 12th January 1945 at Ballyhalbert, N. Ireland. S/L. Cookson OK.
MX 653

380/A

8.45

12.1.46

 
MX 657

N1S

6.45

   
MX 682  

2.45

  Incident: Deck landing accident, wing tip hit crane. HMS. Vengeance, 4th May 1945. Lt. Bristow OK.
MX 685       Incident: Pilot selected 'wheels up' instead of 'flaps'. Ballyhalbert, N. Ireland. 7th January 1945. S/L. Hodgkinson OK.
MX 695

379/A

7.45

12.1.46

 
MX 716  

3.45

   
MX 723

N1H

2.45

   
MX 737

'R'

5.2.45

  Incident: Deck landing accident, under carriage collapsed, HMS. Vengeance, 21st January 1945. S/L. Ashton OK.
MX 783  

3.45

6.4.45

Lost: Took off from Hal Far, Malta on 6th April 1945, in night search for 1850 Sqdn. pilot who had bailed out (KD 163). Aircraft never returned. S/L. Birch, S/L. Robins and L/A. Hamill presumed killed.
PM 716  

9.12.44

2.45

 
PM 723  

2.45

   
PM 745  

2.45

  Incident: Heavy landing, ADDL's Hal Far, Malta 24th March 1945. S/L. Balfour OK. Incident: Heavy landing, wrinkled skin on port stub plane on 11th May 1945. S/L. Collis-Squires.
PM 750

N1R

2.45

  Incident: Throttle jammed, Gunners hood jammed open, fast deck landing, caught No.8 wire, prop hit barrier HMS. Vengeance, 1st May 1945. S/L. Dickson, S/L. Brook and P.O. Squire OK. Incident: Night take-off from HMS. Vengeance, 4th May 1945, under carriage would not retract. Hasty landing. S/L. Dickson.
PM 753  

8.45

12.1.46

 
PM 757 381/A

7.45

12.1.46

Incident: Under carriage collapsed on landing, HMS. Vengeance, 28th November 1945. S/L. Taylor OK.
PM 758 N1W

2.45

5.45

 
PM 762 N1K 376/A

2.45

12.1.46

Incident: Night deck landing crash, HMS. Vengeance, 1st March 1945. S/L. Rushbrook OK.
PM 763  

4.45

5.45

 
PM 771  

3.45

4.45

 
PM 813    

4.3.45

Lost: Ditched into sea, elevator problem on approach to HMS. Vengeance, 4th March 1945. Lt. Wintringham and S/L. Wright OK.
PM 818  

2.45

4.45

 
PM 820 N1D

6.45

12.1.46

 
PM 830  

7.45

8.45

 
PM 837 N1M N1Y

3.45

   
PM 838 N1G

3.45

11.45

 
PM 854  

3.45

3.4.45

Lost: Engine fire, ditched in sea off Malta, 3rd April 1945. S/L. Hodgkinson and S/L. Boston picked up by Air Sea Rescue launch OK.
PM 873  

4.45

6.45

 
PM 942  

8.45

12.1.46

 
PM 943  

6.45

12.1.46

 
PM 949 374/A

8.45

12.1.46

 
PM 950 370/A

8.45

12.1.46

Squadron C.O's aircraft.
PM 953 371/A

6.45

12.1.46

 
PM 955  

6.45

7.45

 
PN 120  

10.45

12.1.46

 

 

812 Squadron Aircraft (Fairey Firefly F1's & FR.1's)

(12th January 1946 to 12th August 1946)

Fairey Firefly F1's

Serial No. Code No. Arrival Departure

Comments

DK 431   12.1.46

12.8.46

Previously flown by Lt. Cdr. MacWhirter, C.O. of 1771 Sqdn., and named 'Evelyn Tensions'. Now replicated in the F.A.A. Museum at Yeovilton, U.K.
DK 458

V4K

15.3.46

"

Incident: Stalled on ADDL's on approach to Katukurunda 3rd June 1946. S/L. R. Butterworth.
DK 479  

2.46

"

Incident: Removed prop. blade tip in barrier HMS. Vengeance 10th June 1946. S/L. D. Harris.
DK 485  

 

"

 
DK 552  

 

"

Info: At Trincomalee 3rd July 1946.  Ferried home with 812 Squadron on HMS. Vengeance, arriving U.K. 12th August 1946.
DV 123  

 

"

 

Fairey Firefly FR.1's

Serial No. Code No. Arrival Departure

Comments

MB 435

M

11.3.46

12.8.46

Incident: Undercarriage failure, belly landing on HMS. Vengeance 18th June 1946. S/L. Butterworth OK.
MB471

4VC

12.1.46

"

Incident: Forced landing at Katukurunda, Ceylon 20th May 1946. S/L. Taylor OK.
MB 501

280/N

 

"

Incident: Through barriers, crashed on deck HMS. Vengeance, 11th July 1946. S/L. Stride and P.O. Casey OK.
MB 504  

 

"

 
MB 511  

7.2.46

"

Incident: Starboard wing, stalled and struck ground at Schofields 15th February 1946. S/L. Demaine.
MB 520  

 

"

 
MB 535

V4K

 

"

Incident: Starboard under carriage collapsed on landing, HMS. Vengeance, 17th June 1946, off Trincomalee, Ceylon.  Ditched off Ceylon after spares recovery. S/L. R. Parton.
MB 551

270/M

2.46

"

Incident: Hook bounce into barrier HMS. Vengeance 19th March 1946. S/L. J. Cookson.
MB 566  

 

"

 
MB 579  

 

"

Bankstown to 812 Squadron. Ferried home with 812 Squadron on HMS. Vengeance. Arriving U.K. 12th August 1946.
MB 588  

 

"

 
MB 636

V4D

2.46

10.6.46

Incident: Heavy landing, caught No.5 wire, bounced, fell heavily, tyre burst HMS. Vengeance 30th March 1946. S/L. Taylor.

Lost: Turned steeply to go round again, to land on HMS. Vengeance dived into sea inverted 72deg. 9 miles off Force Point near Trincomalee, 10th June 1946. S/L. E. Smith killed.             

MB 646   20.3.46   Incident: Heavy landing HMS. Vengeance, port drift, lost port under carriage 30th March 1946. S/L. J. B. Cookson.
MB 668   30.5.46   Incident: Bounced, caught No.8 wire, into barrier HMS. Vengeance, 3rd July 1946. L/C. D. M .A. Wynne-Roberts.

N.B. For most part, the above Firefly F1's and FR.1's, had flown with 1770, 1771 and 1772 Squadrons of the Fleet Carriers and were left behind when those Squadron's were disbanded in late 1945.

 

SUMMARY

90 Aircraft (1st June 1944 to 12th August 1946)

11 Crew Killed

27 Incidents

9 Aircraft Lost