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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 16 : Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-1945

The Spitfire Mk V bore the brunt of RAF fighter operations during the difficult period between the end of the Battle of Britain and mid-1943, when the Allied air forces were finally able to assert full technical and numerical superiority over their enemies. The hardest fights involving Mk Vs were those staged over Malta. To get even a small batch of these fighters to the island was a major undertaking in itself. Once there, the fighters, and their pilots, were thrust into a life-and-death struggle against larger enemy forces. For several months it was touch-and-go whether the island would be bombed or starved into submission, but in the end the defenders prevailed. With Malta's needs met, Spitfire Vs could be sent to more-distant battle fronts. As the first Spitfire variant to see extensive service outside of Britain, the Mk V fought the Axis alliance over the deserts of North Africa, the waters of the Mediterranean and the vast expanses of the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Australia. Initially produced in haste to combat the arrival of new German fighters (the Bf 109F and the Fw 190) on the Channel front, the Mk V had been created simply by pairing a Mk I or II fuselage with the new Merlin 45 engine - so successfully that some 6479 airframes were eventually built. Although often outclassed (particularly on the Channel front by the Fw 190) by later generation fighters, the Mk V nevertheless proved to be a worthy opponent when flown by pilots of the calibre of Malan, Tuck, Johnson, Beurling, Caldwell and Duke, who all enjoyed success with it thanks to its agility and increased armament. Text by Alfred Price with illustrations by Keith Fretwell.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Stop-Gap Spitfire Variant
  • Improving the Breed
  • In Action over North-West Europe
  • Air Battle for Malta
  • Spitfire Vs Far and Wide
  • Top Spitfire Mark V Aces
  • Appendices

 

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces


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