Essay on The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire

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The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most iconic planes in the history of aviation. It represented the continual technological advancement in the study of aviation as well as being the focus of many a propaganda issue by the British Government and Press. The idea of flight was still a new and a very unknown theoretical and physical process in the nineteen thirties. Very much like the space race of the nineteen sixties or the Hadron Collider of today, aeroplanes seemed to catch the imagination of many people, young and old. Of these though, only the Spitfire still holds the imagination of so many people today.

The creation of the Supermarine Spitfire I was anything from an easy process. For a plane that presented the pinnacle
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In tests the Spitfires use of a wooden propeller increased its top speed from 230 to 248mph (Holmes, 2007) vastly outstripping the other two planes. Its use of the new Rolls-Royce Merlin engine also increased its speed and power (Crowther, Cressy, p.273, 1966).

Although it outstripped its contemporaries in both speed and power it was not its technological prowess that would make it a hallmark of British doggedness in the face of overwhelming odds. The declaration of war in 1939 plunged Britain into a war in which, it seemed, they were always on the defensive. The retreat of Dunkirk as well as almost the complete destruction of the BEF, British Expeditionary Force, at the hands of German troops in France left Britain’s populace in a state of shock and fear (Sebay-Montefoire, 2006). German troops were just across the English Channel and the RAF, Royal Air Force, seemed to be their last line of defense. Of course there were many tactical decisions as well as military mistakes, ingenious propaganda as well as the bravery of an entire nation that led to the victory of what is now called ‘The Battle of Britain’. However nothing has become more idolised than the Spitfire Mk. I.

In its original design the Supermarine Spitfire had twin 303. Vickers machine guns. These

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