Talk:Fairey Battle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Aviation / Aircraft (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the Aviation WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see lists of open tasks and task forces. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the aircraft project.
WikiProject Military history (Rated B-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
B This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality assessment scale.

30 May 1940 Attack[edit]

Is there a source for this attack on this date as quoted in the article? It sounds very much like the attack by 63 Battles and eight Blenheims on bridges over the Meuse and German columns near Sedan on 14 May from with 40 aircraft in total shot down (referenced in Richards, Denis, The Hardest Victory: RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War. London: Coronet, 1995. p.60-61. ISBN 0-340-61720-9. and in March, Daniel M. British Warplanes of World War II. London: Aerospace, 1998. ISBN 1874023 92 1.) after which, it was switched to Night attacks not withdrawn from operations.Nigel Ish (talk) 20:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

In my 'Armi da guerra' (De Agostini version's of a british one), the 14th may battles resulted in 37 Battles shot down, far more than Blenheims.

Battle underrated[edit]

I think this aircraft was not as bad as it could seem. It was quite advanced for its time. Slow, but after all, no pre-war bombers were fast enough to match Bf-109s. It was not armoured, but the same can be said for almost all the pre-war bombers. AFAIK, its design (you know, italians are interested in the look departement) was clean, good, modern, slim and laudable. Expecially if we look to Wellingtons and many other horrors that flew at that time. Look is not only a superficial issue: if the plane is clean, it will fly fast and well. Battle was underpowered, being 60% heavier than an Hurricane, but still with the same engine. But the same can be said about Ju-87, after all. At least, Battle was fast enough to match CR.32s, sometimes CR.42s too (but how fast it was? 288 kmh? 388? 440? Bah). I'd say that overall, Battle deserves a better consideration rather than the usual 'obsolete' and 'hopelessy outclassed'. RAF, in 1940, had 2,000 Battles, plus another 2,000 Blenheim. They weren't exceptional, but still not sub-(international) standards. Only the exceptional efficency of flak and german fighters annihiled them. Against italians they god a far better career.--Stefanomencarelli (talk) 22:56, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

It's difficult to make a case for the Fairey Battle as it was withdrawn from combat due to its many deficiencies. The article accurately describes the problems encountered. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 23:12, 5 September 2009 (UTC).
It's true enough that the Fairey Battle had deficiencies but the origins of those deficiencies are not made clear in the article. The aircraft was, after all, designed in compliance with RAF specifications. If the aircraft was intended for a low level 'ground attack' role then it would seem that specifications for armour would be a necessary requirement. If the aircraft wasn't meant for low level tasks, then what was it's intended purpose? There were many similarities between the Fairey Battle and the ubiquitous Illyshin 2, Sturmovik. The obvious difference was that the specifications for the Sturmovik were appropriate for it's role. Norloch (talk) 13:20, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The Fairey Battle in 1939-1940 was unsuited for the low level attack role as its armour, defensive weapons and systems protection were inadequate. The Battle was designed for a combat environment that was based on pre-war conditions and with the rapid advance of fighter aircraft, its relatively modest performance left it a "sitting duck" when confronted by the redoubtable Messerschmitt Bf 109. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:28, 28 March 2010 (UTC).
Bzuk re-states the case but it doesn't really address the question. The Bf 109 was a well publicised pre-war fighter aircraft. There were also several other pre-war interceptors with the ability to destroy the Fairey Battle. The question then is - what was the 'combat environment' for which the Fairey Battle was designed? - Or was it simply the case that RAF air intelligence assessments were out of date? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Norloch (talkcontribs) 13:59, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The original spec for the what would become the Battle was written in 1932 well before the Bf 109 flew. The 1932 requirement for a monoplane day bomber was to carry 1000lbs of bombs for a 1000 miles which I believe was exceeded. It really needed a fighter escort to perform well at the start of the war and by then other aircraft were available. MilborneOne (talk) 14:15, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The Air Ministry Specification P.27/32 was for an RAF light day bomber that would be the replacement for current biplane Hart/Hind bombers, and resulted in a progressive monoplane design with the Rolls-Royce Merlin ultimately as its powerplant. Intended for an unescorted daylight bombing role pitted against the contemporary biplane fighters of the early 1930s, the Fairey Battle would have been adequate in that combat environment. By the time that the design progressed through development and introduction into service in 1936, the high-speed monoplane fighters that the Battle would encounter far outstripped the capability of the bomber to survive in the hostile skies of Northern Europe and France. Forced into a low-level attack role, the Fairey Battle was committed to an untenable and deadly role. Without the more robust air-cooled engines that could potentially survive the ground fire at low altitude, the Battle's water-cooled Merlin was very susceptible to damage to radiator and cooling systems, while the anemic power of the early Merlin series engines could not provide a cushion of safety or enough dash speed to avoid interception by speedier single-seat fighters. The heavy (pilots could not "haul it around" easily) and relatively poorly armoured Battle was all that the RAF could throw up as the Blitzkreig rolled through the Low Countries and France (even the Westland Lysander was impressed into the attack role with similarly distressing results). FWiW Bzuk (talk) 14:28, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
It should also be noted that the RAF knew that the Battle was obsolete before the war started. One of the reasons for initial production was as a back-up if disarmament talks banned the use of larger/heavier (and more expensive) bombers. Production continued to keep the factories busy until something more useful could be built.Nigel Ish (talk) 16:57, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The Times 1936 The Battle which is as fast as some modern fighters will be flown for the first time in public at the RAF display in June. MilborneOne (talk) 21:03, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
... and in a few short years, fighter development progressed to the extent that in 1940, the Chance Vought XF4U-1 Corsair reached 400 mph in test flights. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 02:22, 29 March 2010 (UTC).
Very interesting observations in the thread. In essence, the rapid pre-war evolution of fighter aircraft was highlighting a serious flaw in the 'Douhet' philosophy. Perhaps the truly remarkable thing about the Fairey Battle was that the flight crews assigned to those squadrons, by 1940, must have been keenly aware of the limitations. Despite that, they still flew their missions.Norloch (talk) 10:35, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Really, flying the Battle in the 1940 French environment was a near death sentence which the pilots appear to have been aware of but continued to do their job.The British government felt they had to do something against the Blitzkreig so the Battle and the Blenheims got the job-often without fighter escort from the Hurricanes available.It is interesting to note that all of the Spitfires were(wisely?) held back in England by the RAF. Many of the Battles were lost to German flack guns.The lack of any armour made the planes and pilots very vulnerable. Attacks on bridges and armoured columns at low altitude meant that there was little time for aircrew to bail out and many attempted crash landings . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

The Battle was no worse than any other aircraft of the period designed for a similar role, its misfortune was for it to be employed a few years too late when it had become obvious to any observer that against modern monoplane fighters such as the Bf 109 it was effectively dead meat. The Battle was also never designed for low level attack, it was a normal high level bomber, and the Battle was only employed in attacking the Meuse bridges because there was nothing else available. A few years later the low level role would have been carried out by rocket-armed Hawker Typhoons.
.. the other thing to bear in mind is that Germany had started out knowing that a war was coming whereas the British had been doing everything possible to avoid one. For the period 1936 to Sept 3rd 1939, no-one in Britain knew whether war was coming or not, Germany did. As a result most of the RAF effort went into defensive measures such as the Chain Home radar system and the fighters of Fighter Command. Because there were many who supported appeasement pre-war, budgets were not relaxed until much later, and then most went again to Fighter Command. The Battle's reputation was lost fighting over and for a foreign country who's own air force of considerable size - Armée de l'Air - did far less than it could of. It was after all French territory the Battles and their crews were fighting for. Having said that, the whole period on the continent immediately prior to the Fall of France was an absolute shambles, and the Battles were used the way they were simply because there was no alternative.
BTW, the reason so many supported appeasement was because in the previous war, WW I - which the British had also become involved in in the defence of foreign countries' liberty - the British Empire had lost ~60,000 casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. That's more than the US lost in the ten years of the Vietnam War.
The Battle could have used a 2,000 hp engine but even with that it was probably too large an airframe ever to be a useful WW II bomber, it would probably not have been manoeuvrable enough. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Fairey Battle/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Rating copied from WP:MILHIST rating. Karl Dickman talk 18:02, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 18:02, 28 January 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 14:55, 29 April 2016 (UTC)