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Thread: Hawker Tempests

  1. #1
    Phil George Guest

    Default Hawker Tempests

    I'm not sure if anyone here can help, but I'm trying to track down the final disposition of all 100 or so Tempest V series 1's which were produced. I believe a number may have been transferred to Glosters (or possibly to storage in the Gloucestershire area) before they were finally disposed of and it is these I am particularly interested in tracing the details of.

    Any details wuld be most welcome.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    104

    Default Tempest V "Series 1" final disposition

    First I'd like to raise the question of "Series 1" and "Series 2". I have never seen this designation used in any official documentation and wonder if it is a term used by Hawker only (as it seems to originate in Frank Mason's works). Secondly, what exactly does it mean? The change from long to short barrelled cannon hardly seems a worthy factor for designation. Sure, the early Mk.Vs had a number of differences from later aircraft - rear fuselage joints with Typhoon Mod 286 'fishplates', ex-Typhoon (I believe) forward fuselage framework which resulted in a small fairing visible on the Tempest wing root, lack of provision for drop tanks, and lack of spring tabs. I doubt if all these were present after any one common airframe on the production line that warranted a change from Series 1 to 2.

    I recently saw a note from a meeting on 1 March 1944 wheen the 11 Group rep stated that the first 50 Tempests off the production line would not have the facility for drop tanks.

    Anyway, I have looked at the detailed 'history' (namely the Form 78s) of the first 50 production Tempest Vs (JN729 to JN796) to see if there are any commom themes or any sign of allocation to Gloster or storage...

    22 were lost in accidents or as a result of operations with RAF squadrons.
    10 ended up in storage with 20 MU Aston Down and were subsequently sold back to Hawker in 1950 (presumably for spares retrieval).
    6 were in store with 5 or 51 MUs and were scrapped.
    4 were lost in accidents or scrapped with Hawker or Napier
    4 were scrapped at A&AEE/ETPS
    3 became instructional airframes
    1 scrapped at 287 Sqn cnk

    Perhaps the most significant theme to show up on these histories is that of these 50 aircraft, after their initial operational service, no less than 14 were issued to 287 Sqn - an anti-aircraft cooperation unit. JN797 was also issued to 287, so what ever defined these first 50 aircraft probably extended to the 51st at least. None of these 51 aircraft were issued to front-line units after October 1944.

    It is also worth noting that JN798, 799 and 800 were all used by Hawker or A&AEE (which also suggests significant change at this point) and after that JN801 onwards were issued to operational units and some continued in use until VE day and beyond.

    Comments anyone?
    CT

  3. #3
    Phil George Guest

    Default Series 1 vs series 2

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the note.

    The series 1 and 2 aeroplanes were indeed a Hawker designations. Series 1 airframes have long barrel cannons, no drop tank provision and a rear carry through spar constructed on two seperate booms. On the series 2 machines the cannons were flush with the leading edges, drop tanks were an option and the rear cary through spar was a more comples machined forging affair.

    I believe that 100 Series 1 aircraft were built, commencing JN729. Were any of these ever part of the Newchurch wing on V1 destruction duties?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    104

    Default Early Tempest Vs

    Phil
    What is the source of your statement that 100 Series 1 Tempest Vs were built? Is it from Hawker, MAP or MoD documentation or from a published source? If correct it would mean that all the JN-serialled Tempest Vs were 'Series 1' (JN729-773, JN7792-822, JN854-877).

    Despite the fact that many Tempests with JN7xx serials were in service with 3 and 486 Sqns (including Beamont's famous 'RB' JN751) during the early summer of 1944 and continued through the anti-Diver campaign (albeit in dwindling numbers), none continued in front-line service after October 1944 (the Tempests joined 2nd TAF in Holland at the end of September). However many Tempests with JN8xx serials were used in 2ndTAF - some through to the end of the war and beyond.

    The JN7xx aircraft were available as no less than 14 were operated by 287 Sqn - a second-line anti-aircraft co-operation unit - between November 1944 and July 1946 - even though there was a desperate shortage of Tempests for front-line units (such that the conversion of 2 more Spitfire squadrons had to be abandoned). The implication is surely that there was something that rendered the JN7xx aircraft unsuitable - but not the JN8xxs, ie they were not all the same standard 'Series 1'.

    Unfortunately, photographs of the JN-series aircraft are rare, particularly the later ones ,but shots of JN807, 812 & 862 shows no sign of the wingroot blister required by the rear carry-through spar, JN802 and JN862 did not have long barrelled cannons when seen (JN862 was photographed early July 44 barely 2 weeks after its arrival on 3 Sqn).
    Chris

  5. #5
    Jeff W. Guest

    Default Tempest V Series

    I can see what Chris means when he talks about JN8xx serialled Tempests: Paul Sortehaug's book "The Wild Winds" lists some as being in service with 486(NZ) Sqn in 1945; eg:JN867/K, which arrived in February. My theory is that components were supplied to the production lines as they became available. It would be interesting, for example, to know how long it took for the new spars and spar booms to became available. When did supplies of the short barrelled Hispano V became available? It is likely that there was no sudden transition from an airframe being a "Series 1" and the next one being a "Series 2". An immediate comparison would be the Hawker Typhoon: over the different production runs some substantial changes were introduced without any clear definition of sub-series.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Yet somewhere it was decided that a difference did exist between two different blocks of production. If it was a Hawker term, then we must look for differences under Hawker control, and the spar changes/forward fuselage changes seem much more credible. Hawker may well have put up with whatever cannon arrived - assuming they were not fitted at the MUs anyway. Even then, did these two cannon types use the same pick-up points and the same surrounding structure?

    Any structural change would have been planned in advance, and it does not seem unreasonable to plan such changes together so that they ended up with the same number of spars/forward frames/cannon mounts. If the supply of cannon was late, that's someone else's problem, Hawker will have delivered the desired number of airframes to the requested standard. I don't see the supply of cannon being a driver - no similar term was used to reflect the adoption of the short-barrel Hispano on late Spitfires.

    Perhaps it was confusion stemming from the Typhoon variations that led to Hawker adopting the "series" terminology? It had previously been used on Mosquitoes and Halifaxes, with in both cases the series 1 being a short run before the main production.

  7. #7
    Phil George Guest

    Default Series 1

    Thanks for all your comments.

    It seems likely due to the quite substantial changes from series 1 to 2 that this was a well defined design change that happened at a pre-determined point on the production progess. I was under the impression that circa 100 series 1 airframes were produced, but Chris may well be more correct with his figure of 50.

    Turning back to the original purpose of the post, it would be useful to track down the identities of those series 1 machines that went to Gloucestershire for storage or to Glosters, particularly those that were previously involved in anti V-1 duties (part of the Newchurch Wing?).

    Does anyone have any photos they could share of the Series 1 aircraft used by the Newchurch Wing?

    Thanks,

    Phil

  8. #8
    Jeff W. Guest

    Default Tempest V production

    If Hawker originated documentation can be found separating JNxxx production into Series 1 and subsequent aircraft into Series 2, fair enough. It would seem that the major structural changes, leading to a reinforced wing plumbed for the use of drop-tanks, were made starting in the JN8xx batch - it also seems likely the reason none of the JN7xx Tempests were used by 2nd TAF on the continent is because they didn't have provision for drop-tanks or external stores, and, perhaps more important, they didn't have the enhanced aileron control which came with the introduction of spring tabs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    104

    Default Early Tempest Vs

    Is this thread fuelling an attempt to identify the cockpit section with V-1 kill markings that was recovered from a Gloucestershire scrapyard c.1980?

  10. #10
    Phil George Guest

    Default Series 1

    No, not the main intention, but if by the law of unintended consequences this can be acheived it can hardly be a bad thing, surely?

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