Fairey Battle


The Battle was a new development when the first prototype flew on 10 March, 1936. It was at the forefront of aircraft development at that time when specified to replace fabric-covered biplanes. It included retractable undercarriages, variable-pitch propellers, cockpit canopies and all-metal, stressed-skin construction. The first production version flew in 1937. However, although it went into RAF service only one was briefly trialed in April 1939 by the Fleet Air Arm and three used a ground instruction.
It was its use in converting aircrews and ground crews to modern equipment that proved most valuable. By the time it saw active service in 1939/1940, the Battle was outmoded by the rapid development of fighter aircraft. Soon obsolete in operational units, the Battle went on to play a large part in the Empire Air Training Scheme which trained many thousands of pilots, navigators and gunners in Canada, Australia and South Africa.
With RAF, air forces of Australia, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, Greenland, Canada, Turkey
A total of 2,419 Battles were built.

            Fleet Air Arm history

          Total FAA 1939-1945:          3 transferred from the RAF
            First delivered to RN:          1940,  for ground instruction 12 School of Technical Training
                                                    Melksham 3.40 (K9314)
            First squadron 1939-1945:    820 sqdn April 1939 (N2082)
            Last with RN                     SOC 4.44 (K9314)

Aircraft Type:
Fairey Battle
Battle Mk.I
Primary Role:
Ground instructional aircraft with FAA. Light bomber for RAF 
First Flight: 
March 1936
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
1939. (1940 ground instruction only) 
Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., Great Britain 
One 1030 hp Rolls Royce Merlin II engine.
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan: 16.46 m
Length: 15.40 m
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Weight: 4900 kg



Max. speed: 386 km/h 
Ceiling: 7180 m
Range: 1680 km
Payload: 454kg bombs
Armament: Two 7.69 mm guns 
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA

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Fairey "Battle" bomber/trainer in RAF markings

With the RAF, when the Germans invaded the Low Countries in May 1940, it was still the equipment of the Advanced Air Striking Force in Eastern France. In attempting to stop the enemy advance, a large proportion of the Battles were lost in the face of enemy fighters and very accurate light flak, a fate also suffered by the Belgian Battles. It later saw action in East Africa with the South African Air Force and in Greece with the Royal Hellenic Air Force.

Surviving aircraft and relics
There are extremely few surviving Fairey Battle aircraft preserved around the world. Only three are known, one in UK, another in Belgium and the third in Canada. None are former FAA aircraft.

The National Aviation Museum of Canada: museum aircraft was manufactured as a pilot trainer in 1940, and taken on strength by the RCAF in 1941. Converted to a turret-gunnery trainer in 1942, it was used until 1943 when it entered storage. After moving among several storage locations, the aircraft was transferred to the museum in 1964.

Associations and reunions
No information
Constable Profile of the Fairey Battle General information profiles of the aircraft. 
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Olivier warbirds, Le site sur l'aviation de la Seconde guerre mondiale  Details of the Battle [in french]
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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