Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc

Place in history: The Supermarine Spitfire was Britain's answer to the Messerschmitt 109, and in many ways it was as nimble and deadly as its German counterpart. The aircraft was produced by Supermarine (a subsidiary division of Vickers-Armstrong) which had manufactured racing seaplanes before the war. It was their seaplane design that was adapted as the basis for this fighter. The distinctive elliptical wing design increased the fighter plane's overall maneuverability and decreased drag. Pilots who flew it loved the airplane, calling it "a ballerina in flight." It has often been credited with winning the Battle of Britain, in spite of the fact that the much more numerous Hawker Hurricanes shouldered most of the burden.. It was the most extensively produced of all the Allied fighters.

This aircraft: Allocated to the British-based Czech 312 Squadron on September 11, 1942, it was piloted by Squadron Leader Tomas Vybiral. On May 14, 1943, Vybiral led his squadron on a daring wave-top raid against enemy shipping at St. Peters Port, Guernsey. AR 614 was heavily damaged by flak, killing its wingman and narrowly missing Vybiral in the cockpit, but he was able to lead his squadron safely back to England.

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