15 Fast Facts About Supermarine Spitfires



The Air Ministry Almost Cancelled The Supermarine Spitfire

15 Fast Facts About Supermarine Spitfires - Fact 1

Here is the first of our “15 Fast Facts About Supermarine Spitfires.” Production was nearly canceled on the Spitfire after 310 aircraft were contracted. Production rates were way off schedule and the Air Ministry made plans to cancel the Spitfire not long after it began, but Supermarine managed to convince them otherwise.


Designer R.J. Mitchell Started The Spitfire, And His Successor Joseph Smith Finished It

Fact 2 - 15 Fast Facts About Supermarine Spitfires

Here are some more fast facts about Supermarine Spitfires – The Spitfire’s designer, R.J. Mitchell, died in the middle of production in 1937. His successor, Joseph Smith, took over and continued to make new variants after Mitchell’s death.


The Spitfires Frustrated Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring During The Battle of Britiain

Fact 3 - Facts About Supermarine Spitfires

German Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring had a heated debate with his pilots during the Battle of Britain, wondering why they weren’t winning the battle and what did they need to do in order to win. Ace pilot Adolf Galland infamously replied, “I should like an outfit of Spitfires.”


The Spitfire Had.50-caliber Machine Guns Plus 20mm Cannons

Facts About Supermarine Spitfires - Fact 4

The Spitfires provided crucial support on D-Day. By 1944, the Spitfire’s were outfitted with .50-caliber machine guns as well as 20mm cannons which gave the ground troops just enough cover to successfully take the beach at Normandy.


The Battle of Britain Movie (1968) Used Real Spitfires And Veterans

Supermarine Spitfires - VS Spitfire IXc 'MH434 - ZD-B' (G-ASJV)

In the 1968 iconic film, Battle of Britain, real Spitfires were used by real veteran pilots to portray the battle.


Supermarine Produced Spitfires Throughout The War

Next up on our “15 Fast Facts About Supermarine Spitfires” list is it was the only British fighter plane to be in continuous production throughout the war. Veterans and historians claim either the Spitfire or the P-51 as being the most famous plane of World War II.

The Spitfire is excellent. Another aircraft we love is the A-10. Here are 50 amazing facts about the A-10 Thunderbolt also worth checking out.


Supermarine Built 20,000 Spitfires Over 13 Years

Supermarine Spitfire-Duxford Spring Air Show 2010

Over 20,000 Spitfires were built over a 13-year period. They remained in production until 1947 and service for the Royal Air Force until 1955.


Supermarine Completed The Spitfire Prototype In 1936

Supermarine Spitfire- spitfire in field

On March 5, 1936, in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the first prototype of the Spitfire was tested and was piloted by Mutt Summers. It entered service in 1938.


36 Nations Used Spitfires

Supermarine Spitfire-Supermarine Spitfire VIIIc ‘MT928 - ZX-M’ flying

The Spitfire’s production was so advanced and well-received that a total of 36 nations operated the Spitfire at one point or another. Some as far away as Argentina, South Africa, and New Zealand.


Spitfire Wings Had A Washout

Supermarine Spitfire-upermarine Spitfire Mk XIV exposed

The Spitfire’s wings featured a washout which was a slightly upturned trailing edge of the wing. This allowed the air passing over the wing to vibrate the plane when it’s maximum limits were being reached – effectively a warning sign to all pilots.


Fighter-bomber Spitfire Variants Could Carry Up To 500-pound Bombs

Supermarine Spitfire- Spitfire LF IXC MH flying

Fighter-bomber versions of the Spitfire could carry either a 250-pound or a 500-pound bomb beneath the fuselage as well as a 250-pound bomb under each wing.


Spitfires Flew In Pairs

After the Battle of Britain was won, the first flight patrols over France since its fall in December 1940 were deployed. Spitfires flown in pairs completed the patrols, but were referred to as ‘rhubarbs’.


Spitfire Came Equipped With Standard Browning Machine Guns

The earliest version’s of the Spitfire came equipped with standard Browning machine guns. The guns fired from an open bolt in order to keep them from overheating, however, at high altitudes, wind flowed through the open bolts and the guns froze entirely.


All Later Spitfires Came Equipped With Dual Radiator Flaps

Supermarine Spitfire-Spitfire, Duxford propeller

All Spitfire’s after Mark VI edition were outfitted with dual radiator flaps that were automated and controlled by a thermostat.


Spitfire Is An Old English Term That Means Fiery Or Strong Character

Supermarine Spitfire-Spitfire at American Air Day Duxford 2010

‘Spitfire’ was borrowed from the old English meaning of the word which was someone with fiery or strong character. Fiery character, indeed! The words ‘Snipe’ and ‘Shrew’ were considered as well. The Supermarine Spitfire was the workhorse attack aircraft of the British Army during World War II.

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