Fairey Barracuda
Fairey Barracuda Mk III 5L


The first monoplane torpedo bomber of the Fleet Air Arm, the Fairey Barracuda was designed in Britain as a three seat torpedo/bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, which began entering service in late 1943.

When first flown on 7th December, 1940, the first prototype Barracuda a cantilever shoulder-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, the foldable wings incorporating Fairey-Youngman trailing-edge flaps that gave the aircraft a much improved performance capability over its predecessors, the Fairey Swordfish and Albacore. The fuselage accompanied a crew of three in tandem cockpits, enclosed by a long 'greenhouse' canopy; and housed the main units of the tailwheel landing gear when retracted.

Because of the high priority afforded to RAF fighters and bombers, the prototype did not fly until 29th June, 1941, and it was not until February 1942 that service trials and evaluation were completed. These showed the need for airframe strenthening which, together with the addition of equipment not included in the original specification, resulted in the Barracuda suffering from a weight problem that persisted through its service life. It seriously reduced take-off and climb performance and after 30 Barracuda Mk.Is had been built, introduction of the 1640 hp (1223-kW) Merlin 32 resulted in the redesignation to Barracuda Mk.II, which was the main production version. In all, 1688 Barracuda Mk.IIs were built by Fairey, Blackburn, Boulton Paul, and Westland.
The Barracuda TR.III was evolved to take a new ASV radar installation, with a blister radome beneath the rear fuselage. The prototype, converted from a Boulton Paul-built Barracuda Mk.II, first flew in 1943. Following orders placed that year, production of this version began in early 1944, built alongside Barracuda Mk.IIs, and 852 Barracuda TR.IIIs were manufactured by both Boulton Paul and Fairey.

No fewer than 2,572 Barracudas of all marks were delivered to the FAA. The Barracuda began entering service in late 1943 with Fleet Air Arm units, and at one point the Fairey Barracuda equipped twenty-three first-line squadrons. It gained a measure of fame in attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz in the spring and summer of 1944 in Arctic Norway. It went on to serve with the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) as well as seeing some post-war service.

With the Fleet Air Arm and RAF, French Fleet Air Arm and Dutch Fleet Air Arm.

Air Trails Magazine introducing the new FAA aircraft - the Fairey Barracuda - in 1945

            Barracuda Mk.I                         First production version, 1260 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 30 engine, three
                                                                propeller (30 built by Westland and Boulton Paul)
            Barracuda Mk.II prototype     single Mk I conversion; production versions - upgraded engine, new
            Barracuda Mk.II                        Main production model; unrated engines; Four blade propeller, ASV Mk
                                                                 radar (1,688 built)
         Barracuda Mk III Prototype    Single Mk II conversion
            Barracuda TR.Mk.III                Modified Mk II torpedo-reconnaissance version with ASV Mk X radar
                                                                mounted under the fuselage ( 852 built by Boulton Paul and Fairey)
            Barracuda Mk IV                      Unbuilt project
            Barracuda TR.Mk.V                 Post war development with upgraded engine, reduced armament, quickly
                                                                removable radar under the wing.  Never entered frontline service.

Pilots cockpit of Fairey Barracuda.
In Fairey Barracuda Pilot's Notes, and Technical Manual,

            Fleet Air Arm history

            Total FAA 1939-1945:         2572
            First delivered to RN:           1942 service trials A&AEE
            First squadron 1939-1945:   Spring 1943
            Last with RN                        Post war

       Two Fairey Barracuda prototypes ordered from Fairey under contract No 777067/38 to spec S.24/37.
            Serial Numbers P1767 and P1770. Built at Hayes
            P1767                    First flight 7.12.40 To C sqdn A&AEE 6.41
            To sqdn                778 Arbroath/Crail 1.43

         25 Barracuda I ordered from Fairey, Heaton Chapel under contract No 993331/39 to spec S.24/37/P.IIF
            Serial Numbers P9642-P9666. Flown at Ringway.
            First flight            18.5.42 (P9642)
            First RN               to C sqdn at A & AEE 7.42 (P9642), 10.42 C sqdn A& AEE  (P9644)
            First sqdn             P9645 to 778 sqdn at Crail from 9.42. to sqdns 785/786 Crail 7.43 P9650
            First op sqdn         1.43 P9657 to 827 Lee (P9657, 58 and 59 plus 9663). No other operation sqdn with
                                       Barracuda Mk I

            225 Barracuda II ordeerd from Fairey, Heaton Chapel under contract No 993331/39 to Spec S.24/37
            Serial Numbers P9667-P9986

            First RN                 P9667 to C sqdn A& AEE on 12.42
            First sqdn:              827 sqdn on 2.43 (P9672), and to 830 sqdn P9668 on 5.43
            Last                       11.44 (P9736). Balado bridge 3.52 (P9735)
            First RAF               RNAS China Bay to 618 sqdn 5.12.44 returned to the RN 8.45 (P9911). P9959 to 667 sqdn
                                         Gosport 1.12.43

         5 Barracuda I and 245 ordered under contract No Ctts/Acft/497/C.20(b) from Blackburn, Brough
            Serial numbers BV660-BV664 as Mk I. BV665-BV981 as MkII.
            Deliveries by ATA from Sherburn.

            First Mk II:               1.43 15 MU. Deld till 4.44
            Sqdn MKII:              827 4.43 BV667 at Stretton (many Barracuda to 827 from April 1943-July 1943)
            Last:                        3.46 in 767 sqdn at Easthaven (BV734). BV977 at Balado Bridge Dump 3.50
            RAF                        BV764 to RAF at Harrowbeer, then to 1623 AAC Flt Roborough 25.9.43 , became 691
                                           AAC sqdn Roborough 1.12.43, returned to the RN 4.45

            BV733 flown by British Admiralty delegation at Floyd Bennett Field, New York 9.12.43;  Naval Air Test
            Centre, USNAS Patuxent River 13.12.43-4.44, tested Donisbristle 9.45

         250 Barracuda Mk I and II ordered from Westland, Yeovil, under contract No Ctts/Acft/807/SAS
            Serial Numbers DN615-DN629 as Mk I (5 aircraft) and DN630-DN642 as Mk II (13 aircraft). Remainder cancelled

            Total                       18
            First deld                 12.42 to 785/786 sqdns DN625 to Crail (all Mk I to 785 sdqn)
            First Mk II               2.43 ready for collection, to 736 sqdn at St Merryn 9.43 (all to 736 and 785 sqdns)

         300 Barracuda Mk I, II and III ordered from Boulton Paul, Wolverhampton, under Contract No Ctts/Acct/1066
            Serial Numbers: DP855 Mk I (total 1) , then Mk II DP856-DR317, Mk III DR318-DT887

            Mk II first deld           12.42 DP856
            First sqdn:                 827 ‘U’ 4.43
            Last:                          785 DP862 Ballyhalbert 9.45. DP993 flown 12.9.45 by New Zealander T/O Miss Barbara
                                             Lankshear ATA. This aircraft was painted with the name  ‘Te Rauparaha’ and 4 vertical
                                             bombs over four swastikas. ‘The great but bloody Napolean of the Maoris’. RNARY
                                             Donibristle 10.1.46

                                             Many lasted till 1945 and DR134 in 818 sqdn,  DR137 in 769 sqdn Easthaven,
                                             DR158 in 736 sqdn at St Merryn etc

            RAF:                         DR154 to 679 sqdn at Ipswich on 3.44 and DR157 to 679 sqdn at Ipswich 3.44

         Mk III
           First deld                  3.44
            First Sqdn                810 1.45 DR324 (many to 810 sqdn at this time) , 747 sqdn 4.45 DR320 (many to 747 sqdn at this time)

         25 Barracuda Mk II ordered from Fairey, Heatron Chapel under Contract No B.993331/40(ADDL)
            Serial numbers DT813-DT887

            Delivered:                 9.43 (DT813)
            First sqdn :               768 sqdn at Easthaven 10.43 (DT814)
            Operational sqdn:       810 sqdn  12.43 (DT814), and 817 sqdn on HMS Indomitable  3.44 (DT813)
            Last                         2.46 to 700 sqdn at Worthy Down (DT814)

         400 barracuda mk ii ordered from Fairey, Heaton Chapel under contract No Ctts/Acft/2011
            Serial Numbers LS464-LS974 All delivered from Ringway.

            Deld:                        11.43 (LS464)
            Sqdn:                        1.44 to 831 sqdn (LS468)
            Last:                         LS617 to 767 sqdn at Easthaven on 1.46. Many to 1945-46.  LS936 at Crail to Balado
                                            Bridge 8.5.46. LS964 on Balado Bridge dump 10.57

         150 Barracuda Mk II ordered from Blackburn aircraft, Brough, under Contract No Ctts/Acct/497 and built on Works Order No.
            3360/251-400 as continuation from batch ending BV981
            Serial Numbers: MD612-MD807. Deliveries to Sherburn-in-Elmet for ATA ferrying

            First deld RN            3.44 MD612
            First sqdn                 778 sqdn on 5.44 (MD613)
            Last                         MD761 at Fairey Stretton 8.45, 731 sqdn MD764 on 9.45, and 736 sqdn MD765 at
                                           Dunino on 1.46, MD767 in 735 sqdn 3.46 ASH trainer, Crail 4.46. Many 1945 and into1946

         300 Barracuda Mk III ordered from Boulton Paul, Wolverhampton, under contract No Ctts/Acct/1066
            Serial Numbers: MD811-ME293

            First deld RN:          5.44MD811
            First sdqn                MD834 on 11.44 to 821 sqdn on HMS Puncher (many to sqdn), 822, 1.45 MD817 (many
                                          to 822 sqdn)
            Last:                       Most into 1945/46. ME260 of 703 sqdn at Thorney Isle up till 6.45-9.47.  Some Balado
                                          Bridge 3.52. ME287 at Easthaven to Ronaldsway 15.9.45 (fit photo gear for HMS
                                          Nairana, RN film unit Belfast 9.45.

         365 Barracuda Mk II ordered 10.10.42 under Cont no ctts/acct/2513/C.29(b) from Blackburn aircraft, Brough and built on
            Works Order No 3700/1-365
            Serial numbers: MX535-MX983. Cancelled 65 from MX908

            First deld RN:          7.44 to 15 MU (MX535)
            First sqdn:               786 sqdn on 8.44 (MX536), 713 sdqn on 9.44 at Ronaldsway (MX535)
            Last                        Many 1945 and 1946, also at Balado Bridge on 1952

         300 Barracuda Mk II ordered 12.6.43 under Cont no ctts/acct/2011 from Fairey, Heaton Chapel
            Serial Numbers: PM682-PN164. PM940 3rd prototype Mk V 2.45

            First deld RN:          9.44 pm 682
            First sqdn:               11.44 to 841 sqdn (PM684), and 12.44 to 828 sqdn (PM682)
            Last:                       PM742 to Trincomalee early 1946 (PM889 et al), Bankstown 1.46 PM757 et al. PM860 on
                                          Balado 10.57, Trincomalee 1.46

         300 Barracuda Mk III ordered 14.10.43 from Boulton Paul, Wolverhampton, under contract No Ctts/Acct/1066.
            Serial Numbers: RJ759-RK325. 208 cancelled from RJ967

            First deld RN:           15 MU on 6.45
            First sqdn:                 744 sqdn at Maydown 7.45

         350 Barracuda Mk II ordered 14.10.43 (updated 10.2.44) under Cont no ctts/acct/2011/C.20(b) from Fairey, Heaton Chapel.
            Serial Numbers: RK328-RK784. RK482-RK523 - 30 aircraft cancelled.
            RK530-RK574 delivered as Mk V; RK575 onwards cancelled.

            Total:                      125 Mk II, 3 Mk V (RK532 onwards completed in 1946 and 1947)
            First deld RN:           5.45 as RK328
            First sqdn:                826 sqdn on 10.45 (RK334)
            Last:                        1948. Balado 10.57 (RK387)

            RK400 RDU Anthorn to France 1948
            RK530 first pre-production Mk V aircraft 11.45

Aircraft Type:
Fairey Barracuda
Mk I, II, III, V
Primary Role:
Torpedo bomber
First Flight: 
prototype 7.12.1940
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Spring 1943-post war
Fairey, Blackburn, Boulton Paul, and Westland.
One water-cooled Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 in-line engine 1,640 hp
One 1640 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 47.6 ft 14.50 m 
Length 40 ft  12.18 m 
Height 15 ft  4.58 m 
Wingarea 405 sq ft  37.62 sq m
Wingspan: 14.99 m
Length: 12.12 m
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Weight empty 9,800 lb 4,445 kg 
max.14,080 lb 6,386 kg
Weight: 6395 kg



Speed 210 mph  338 km/h 
Ceiling 21,600 ft   6,585 m 
Range724 mi 1,165 km
Max. speed: 385 km/h 
Ceiling: 6100 m
Range: 1100 km
Two .303in machine guns;  One 1620 torpedo or upto 1640lb of bombs, mines, depth charges or mines.
753,756,764, 767,768,769,774,777,778,780,781,783,785,786,787,796,797,798,799.
Battle honours:
Norway, Mediterranean, Burma
Additional references and notes:
See the Technical Drawings and photographs from the Barracuda Technical Notes and Pilot's Notes copied on Sierra Scale Models.

Battle Honours and Operational History

Fairey Barracuda Mk II 371/A of 812 squadron on HMS Vengeance, British Pacific Fleet 1945/1946

The Barracuda saw  intense action from the Arctic, to the Mediterranean and to Malaya. Missions included dive bombing German capital ships, strikes against German convoys, minelaying of European harbours and support to invasion forces in Italy. The most notable success of the Barracuda was in the crippling of the German Battleship Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord (Norway) on 3 April 1944 by aircraft of No 8 TBR (827 and 830 squadron) and No 52 TBR (829 and 831 squadrons), the strike force under the command of Wing Leader Lt Cdr RS Baker-Falkner DSO DSC RN.

Barracuda bombers from the fleet carriers Victorious and Furious attack the Tirpitz, 3 April 1944

Barracudas from 827 and 830 squadrons landing on after the Tungsten strike, April 1944

            In addition the Barracuda claimed sinking two German submarines in its career. On
            27 October 1944, 828 and 841 squadrons of HMS Implacable with Fireflies from
            1771 squadron helped to drive ashore the German submarine U-1060 in the North
            Sea south of Bronnoysundlater (Norway). It was destroyed by 311 squadron
            Liberators and 502 squadron Halifaxes.

            The second claimed U-Boat sunk was by Barracuda DR327 ‘N6l’ of 821 squadron
            which claimed to have sunk a submarine 14 miles off the Dutch coast on 13 April
            1945. There were two survivors to which the Barracuda crew threw out a dinghy. A
            Catalina was later sent out to pick them up  (The Barracuda crew included Sub Lt LP
            McCarthy, Sub Lt JG Cooper, and TAG L/A B Conway).

Surviving aircraft and relics
The Fairey Barracuda is currently extinct as a complete aircraft, although various wrecks exist, including parts of two aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton (UK), DP872 and LS931.

DP872 of 769 squadron based at Easthaven, crashed in Blackhead Moss, near Enagh Lough, Waterside, Londonderry in August 1944. The wreckage was subsequently taken to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton where the cockpit has been restored.

The wreck of LS931 on Jura, Scotland (UK)

FAAM Barracuda project, Operation Jura:  In September 1999 FAA Personnel travelled to the Island of Jura to examine the wreckage of Barracuda LS 931. Flown by the CO of 815 Squadron, this aircraft had crashed into a mountainside on the Island on 2nd January 1945 and large pieces of wreckage have lain there ever since. In 2000 the wreckage had been brought down from the Mountain and arrangements made to transfer the recovered sections to the Fleet Air Arm Museum by sea and land.

Delivery of the Barracuda wreckage to the FAAM

Associations and reunions
The Fleet Air Arm Museum has large pieces of wreckage that it wishes to restore to a complete example, and to that end a Support Group has been set up. The Barracuda Support Group's aim is to raise enough to restore the aircraft using the designated on-site facilities. The group has raised over UK £2,000 in the past few weeks of 1999 and 2000 but there is still a long way to go. For a donation of more than £10, supporters will receive a membership card. This card entitles the the bearer unlimited  free entry to the museum. For further information contact the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Barracuda links on internet
Fairey Barracuda Pilot's Notes, and Technical Manual, copied by Sierra Scale 
Technical drawings, plans and photographs from the Pilots' Notes and Technical Manual.
Fairey Barracuda profile in Canadian Aircraft Carriers website  Profile history, technical aspects and history of the Barracuda serving with 821 squadron on HMS Puncher
Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS including FAIREY BARRACUDA T.B. Mk.II, 821 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Puncher, March 1944 , FAIREY BARRACUDA T.R. Mk.III, 821 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Puncher, March 1945
WPA Film Library database Wartime footage of The tirpitz bombed vs planes of the fleet air arm taking off from deck of carrier for the attack. Vs aircraft returning to the carrier. Ms fleet air arm pilots on the deck posing for camera. (WPA Film Library database
Barracuda 1/72 scale in Squadron Mail Order's Home Page. A review of the Barracuda 1/72 scale with model photos, description, history and references, by Chuck King 
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)  'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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