Fairey Barracuda

The Fairey Barracuda was a British carrier-borne torpedo- and dive bomber used during the Second World War, the first of its type to be fabricated entirely from metal. It was introduced to the Fleet Air Arm as a replacement for the Fairey Swordfish and Fairey Albacore biplanes. It is notable for its role in attacking the German battleship Tirpitz and known for its unusual appearance when the undercarriage was extended and wings folded.

The Barracuda first saw action with 810 Squadron aboard HMS Illustrious off the coast of Norway in July 1943 before deploying to the Mediterranean to support the Salerno landings. The following year they entered service in the Pacific Theatre. All the aircraft were withdrawn between March and July 1945.

Barracudas were used as dive bombers and played a part in a major attack on the German battleship Tirpitz. On 3 April 1944, 42 aircraft from British carriers HMS Victorious and Furious scored 14 direct hits on Tirpitz with 1,600 lb (730 kg) and 500 lb (230 kg) bombs at the cost of one bomber. The attack disabled Tirpitz for over two months.

From April 1944, Barracudas of No 827 Squadron aboard Illustrious started operations against Japanese forces, taking part in raids against Sabang in Sumatra. The Barracuda's performance was reduced by the high temperatures of the Pacific, with its combat radius being reduced by as much as 30%, and the torpedo bomber squadrons of the fleet carriers of the British Pacific Fleet were re-equipped with Grumman Avengers

Barracudas were used to test several innovations including RATOG rockets for takeoff and a braking propeller which slowed the aircraft by reversing the blade pitch. The Barracuda continued in Fleet Air Arm service until the mid 1950s, by which time they were all replaced by Avengers.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 49 ft 2 in (14.99 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
  • Wing area: 405 ft² (37.62 m²)
  • Empty weight: 9,350 lb (4,250 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 13,200 lb (6,000 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 14,100 lb (6,409 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,640 hp (1,225 kW)

  • Maximum speed: 228 mph (198 kn, 367 km/h) at 1,750 ft (533 m)
  • Cruise speed: 195 mph (170 kn, 314 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
  • Range: 686 mi (597 nmi, 1,104 km) with 1,620 lb (736 kg) torpedo
  • Service ceiling: 16,600 ft (5,080 m)
  • Wing loading: 32.6 lb/ft² (159 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.12 hp/lb (0.20 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 5,000 ft (1,524 m): 6 min

  • 2 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns in rear cockpit
  • 1× 1,620 lb (735 kg) aerial torpedo or 4× 450 lb (205 kg) depth charges or 6× 250 lb (110 kg) bombs

** Fairey Barracuda - Warbird Fare

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