Lead by Battle Of Britain ace Sqn Ldr Robert “Bobby” Oxspring, DFC & 2 Bars, AFC.) Spitfire Mk Vb fighters of 91 (Nigeria) Sqn fly a first-light Fighter-Sweep across the channel to northern France in the summer of 1941. Such sweeps were a necessary duty in keeping pace with German forces movements in occupied France and as a means of keeping the Germans guessing where a possible invasion may be mounted. It was high-risk flying and many RAF fighter pilots were lost during these sorties.
The Mk.Vb Spitfire was powerfully armed with 2x20mm Hispano cannon and 4xBrowning .303 machine guns; but all too soon, it was to be outclassed by the Luftwaffe’s new Focke Wulf 190 and a terrible attrition rate was soon established, with the clearly-superior German fighter becoming known as “The Butcher Bird” by Fighter Command pilots who were facing it with increasing losses…..But from this dark period came the Mk IX Spitfire…In my view, the greatest and most beautiful of all the wartime Merlin Spitfires.
Copyright Image and Text Simon W. Atack